Music: Reviews and Interviews

I was the Times’ jazz critic for more than 10 years, focusing on the vanguard of the genre while placing artists and music into a broad cultural context. But I also wrote about the rock ‘n roll and pop with a broad mix of criticism and interviews with artists who struck my fancy. Here’s a few:

  • Artist profiles and interviews

Sharon Van Etten changes up the psychology of her songwriting on ‘Remind Me Tomorrow’ (Jan 18, 2019)

With ‘Sleep Well Beast,’ the National brings new layers to gloom and heartache (Oct. 10, 2017)

Ojai Music Festival expands its eclectic vision under the eye of Vijay Iyer (June 2, 2017)

Kamasi Washington expands jazz’s boundaries with ‘The Epic’ (May 4, 2015)

Wayne Shorter marks his 80th, but is far from ‘finished’  (Aug. 24, 2013)
Talking to a great like Wayne Shorter is a little like a carnival ride.

When you say ‘jazz,’ Nicholas Payton hears BAM (April 27, 2013)
A talented trumpeter talks about jazz and race.

Jazz echoes through the ribs of the Blue Whale (Oct. 22, 2010)
An unconventional space in Little Tokyo is the hottest room in L.A.

  • Music Criticism

Commentary: Hugh Hefner left a problematic legacy, but his Playboy Jazz Festival endures (Sept. 30, 2017)

Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington cross the generational divide at the Hollywood Bowl (Aug. 24, 2017)

Transcending genre labels, Vijay Iyer leads the Ojai Music Festival toward bold new territory (June 12, 2017)

Live review: Radiohead reflects on a timeless body of work at the Shrine (Aug. 5, 2016)

Appreciation: Jazz musician Charlie Haden spoke for beauty (July 12, 2014)
Charlie Haden called me one day to talk music.

Jazz review: Charlie Haden speaks volumes (Dec. 11, 2013)
A poignant show with a jazz master as his body fails. A strange honor.

‘Blurred Lines’ verdict: In jazz, the vibe is everything (March 13, 2015)
What does Robin Thicke have to do with jazz?

Critic’s Notebook: San Francisco turns the sound up with SFJAZZ Center (Jan. 26, 2013)
This landed on the front page. This also may be bragging.

Critic’s Notebook: Vince Guaraldi’s ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ score is a gift (Nov. 24, 2012) On the music that got me into this mess.

Critic’s Notebook: Cutting edge jazz is missing at the Bowl (July 17, 2011)
Where I told L.A. Phil they weren’t booking enough new jazz.

Other interviews: El Vy, Norah JonesThe National’s ‘Mistaken for Strangers,’ Nels Cline, Robert Glasper, Charles Lloyd, Dave Holland, The Bad Plus, Ambrose Akinmusire, Vijay Iyer, Norah JonesMedeski Martin and Wood, Christian Scott, Robert Glasper, Esperanza SpaldingCharlie Hunter, Skerik, Anthony Wilson, Gerald Wilson, Calexico, Sparklehorse

More reviews and features: David Bowie, Spiritualized, Appreciation: Al Jarreau, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Cecile McLorin Salvant,  Wayne ShorterThe Grammys: New voices in jazz, Backstage at SFJAZZ Center, Jazz Bakery finds a home, Where jazz and dance music meetAppreciation: Dave Brubeck,  Atoms for Peace, Medeski Martin and Wood, Keith Jarrett, ‘Joni’s Jazz’, Allman Brothers, Robert GlasperObituary: Chico HamiltonHerbie Hancock, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, Angel City Jazz Festival, Ornette Coleman, Esperanza Spalding, Sonny Rollins, Ambrose Akinmusire, Alternative jazz venues in L.A., Playboy Jazz Festival plays it smooth

Album reviewsRadiohead, Vijay Iyer & Mike LaddPearl Jam, Fela Kuti, Dawn of Midi, Solo piano albums 2013, Best jazz of 2012, Miles Davis: Live in Europe 1969, Live albums of 2012

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