Keyboardist Chick Corea has been selected best overall keyboardist in Keyboard magazine's 14th annual readers poll. The Los Angeles resident finished ahead of rockers Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson and jazz/fusioneer Lyle Mays (of the Pat Metheny Group) in voting announced in the magazine's current issue. Corea also won the jazz piano and jazz keyboard categories and his GRP release "Akoustic Band" came in second in the best keyboard album category.
Other winning jazz players included pianist Marcus Roberts, who won the best talent award, coming in ahead of Michel Camilo and Harry Connick Jr.
In the 20th readers poll for Guitar Player magazine, the elder sister publication of Keyboard, Larry Carlton copped top honors in the best jazz player category, edging out Stanley Jordan, Joe Pass and John Scofield. Stuart Hamm was named best jazz bassist and Allan Holdsworth best guitar synthesist.
Singer Sarah Vaughan is recovering from a carcinoma in her right hand for which she has undergone treatment--including radiation--since May. According to a press release, the carcinoma has caused Vaughan to halt her heavy touring schedule for a while. She plans to resume in February. The vocalist appears on three cuts on Quincy Jones' new "Back on the Block" LP (Qwest) and plans to have Jones produce an LP for her in the forthcoming weeks.
Brooklyn saxophonist Steve Coleman, a well-known member of the avant-garde M-Base collective, has replaced bassist Dave Holland as artistic head of the Banff Jazz Workshop. The month-long July workshop in Banff, Canada, is a program focusing on individual creativity, improvisation and composition and is designed for post-graduate or professional-level players.
This year's workshop will feature instruction from such modern jazz and contemporary American music stalwarts as pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, drummer Marvin (Smitty) Smith and Holland. Applications by tape are due by March 1. Financial aid is available. Information: Office of the Registrar, Banff Centre for the Arts, Box 1020, Banff, Alberta, Canada; (403) 762-6180.
****"Dedication" (JMT) is the mellifluous, vigorous debut release from New York-based trombonists Steve Turre and Robin Eubanks, who appear with their quintet at the Vine Street Bar & Grill in Hollywood tonight through Saturday. It's music that hints about mainstream jazz's future while heralding its past and spotlights two keen brass improvisers who have enchantingly rich tones.
"Perpetual Groove" is one tune that blends the leaders' buttery sounds over synthesizer pads and a chunk-a-chunk rock-ish rhythmic feel, while "Red, Green and Black Blues," which is not a blues, recaptures the essence of '60s hard-bop but makes it come alive, not just exist as nostalgia.
On the latter, pianist Mulgrew Miller is happily funky, and the trombonists install mutes and softly coo behind bassist Charnett Moffett's solo. Turre's "Especially for You," a balmy ballad dedicated to the late trumpeter Woody Shaw, is a particular delight.
****"Jenna" (Discovery), from Gerald Wilson's Orchestra of the '90s, leads us through big-band jazz from five decades, most composed by the leader/orchestrator, who wrote all the arrangements. This is an impressive collection that ranges from Eddie Durham's "Lunceford Special" and Wilson-Roger Segure's "Yarddog Mazurka," both recorded by Jimmie Lunceford in 1939 and 1941 respectively, to the title track, a rousing modern work composed last year. As always, Wilson writes thickly-voiced, colorful orchestrations and provides backgrounds for soloists that both support and prod the improvisers.
Included are such Wilson classics as "The Wailer," a bluesy shouter if ever there were one; "Carlos," a slow Latin work which shimmers with brass radiance, and his theme, "Blues for Yna Yna." Plenty of power-packed solos from top Los Angeles-based people like trumpeters Oscar Brashear, Snooky Young and Ron Barrows, reedmen Danny House, Randall Willis and Carl Randall, pianist Michael Cain and guitarist Anthony Wilson.