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Jon Garelick is associate arts editor of the Boston Phoenix, where he has been on staff since becoming music editor in 1990. Jon writes the column “Giant Steps” -- which is mostly about jazz -- as well as pieces about TV, art, theater, and other subjects. He has also written for the New York Times and New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone, Jazziz, the Boston Globe, and other publications. He has won two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards -- in 1993 and 2003 -- for his writing about music.

Latest Articles


Street rhythm

Florencia Gonzalez gets ugly . Plus, Dave Holland is sitting pretty.
In the city where Florencia Gonzalez grew up — the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo — every neighborhood has its own candombe group. These are drum outfits that might meet on a Sunday afternoon, a Wednesday night, or particular holidays, depending on neighborhood tradition.
By: JON GARELICK  |  August 25, 2009


Covering the bottom end - and the bottom line

Newport Jazz comes back with a bang
The biggest news made by the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals the past two weekends was that they happened at all.
By: JON GARELICK  |  August 14, 2009

Matt Wilson Quartet_thumb

Review: Matt Wilson Quartet | That’s Gonna Leave A Mark

Palmetto (2009)
Whatever else is going on in jazz — fractured meters, indie-pop fusions — it's always good to hear a couple of horns burning through the changes over swing cymbals and a hard-walking bass groove.
By: JON GARELICK  |  August 03, 2009


Jeremy Udden | Plainville

Fresh Sound New Talent (2009)
Saxophonist and composer Udden (formerly of NEC and the Either/Orchestra) here dives deeper into the jazz-pop connections he began to explore in his 2006 debut as a leader, Torchsongs .
By: JON GARELICK  |  July 29, 2009


Scholarship gigs

Newpoli and Steven Bernstein do their homework
When in 1999 Björn Wennås moved from Sweden to Boston to study jazz guitar, he hardly imagined that he'd one day be playing in an ensemble that specializes in Italian folk music of the 12th to 19th centuries.
By: JON GARELICK  |  August 04, 2009


Joy, not jamming

King Sunny Adé and his African Beats, live at the Courtyard at the Museum of Fine Arts, July 15, 2009
In 1992, Nigerian juju master King Sunny Adé and his African Beats played the Park Plaza Hotel ballroom as part of the Boston Globe Jazz & Blues Festival. What I remember most vividly is the hypnotic overlap of undulating guitar lines.
By: JON GARELICK  |  July 17, 2009


Bill Frisell | Disfarmer

Nonesuch (2009)
Guitarist Frisell is one of jazz's great impressionists, and here he has the perfect subject for one of his audio mini-movies: the eccentric Arkansas portrait photographer Michael Disfarmer.
By: JON GARELICK  |  July 15, 2009


Boys' life

Hung and Entourage measure success
The premise for HBO's new half-hour comedy Hung (Sundays at 10 pm) is so over-the-top as to be cringe-worthy: high school basketball coach Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane), divorced and broke, starts whoring himself to ladies on the basis of his giant schlong. I know: ugh.
By: JON GARELICK  |  July 14, 2009


Music as memory

Marco Benevento, live at the Museum of Fine Arts, July 1, 2009
When I first saw him perform, at Newport last year, I slammed pianist Marco Benevento for playing "bombastic, leadfoot, pedal-to-the-metal instrumental rock." But that was long ago in another country, and besides, the wench is dead.
By: JON GARELICK  |  July 07, 2009


Inside out

Charlie Kohlhase's Explorer's Club, Lee Konitz + Minsarah, and Steve Swallow recanting
Charlie Kohlhase's love affair with jazz began with the avant-garde. As a high-school kid in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he found that it was Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago who rocked his world.
By: JON GARELICK  |  July 06, 2009


Interview: Steve Swallow on the Gary Burton Quartet

An interview with Steve Swallow
DO YOU REMEMBER EXACTLY HOW YOU GUYS FIRST GOT TOGETHER? I have a memory. I tend to distrust them, but my recollection is that I met Gary when he called me up and asked me if I would consider playing in Stan Getz's band, which he was already in.
By: JON GARELICK  |  June 30, 2009


Dave Douglas and Brass Ecstasy | Spirit Moves

Greenleaf Music (2009)
One of the most genial CDs in Douglas's vast discography is also one of his most accomplished.
By: JON GARELICK  |  June 16, 2009


Meet the Beatles!

The Gary Burton Quartet remembers its roots
Swallow says that when he first picked up an electric bass, "My immediate impression was: 'Oh, shit! I'm in deep trouble here!' "
By: JON GARELICK  |  June 17, 2009


Steve Lehman Octet | Travail, Transformation, and Flow

Pi (2009)
Young alto saxophonist/composer Lehman has been earning props both for his playing and his use of "spectral harmony" in his writing — where "attack, decay, and timbre provide the source material for orchestration and musical form."
By: JON GARELICK  |  June 09, 2009


Mixed messages

3play+ do what they wanna; Melody Gardot follows her instincts
Given the sound of its first track (which is also the title of the album), you'd have every reason to think that 3play+'s debut CD is about to plunge you into Bill Frisell–style Americana.
By: JON GARELICK  |  June 02, 2009


The Fully Celebrated | Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones

AUM Fidelity (2009)
After two albums with cornettist Taylor Ho Bynum, and now dropping "Orchestra" from their name, this venerable Boston avant-garde street band are again a trio — and they're still a virtuoso ensemble.
By: JON GARELICK  |  May 18, 2009


Tours of duty

John Clifford and Billy Bang's Vietnam; plus Icons Among Us and bye-bye Jazz Brunch
Clifford and Bang will celebrate Memorial Day weekend together at Highland Kitchen in Somerville this Sunday in a program called "Basic Training: An Evening of Art, Music, and Poetry."
By: JON GARELICK  |  May 18, 2009


Making it right

New Orleans drops the guns and dances
Whatever increments of recovery New Orleans has made since Hurricane Katrina, in many ways the city never changes. The only shocker was a lower-left-hand piece, "Crime is down sharply in N.O."
By: JON GARELICK  |  May 05, 2009


Museum pieces and other pieces

Jazz Week returns, the Jazz Hall of Fame inducts, Ron Gill says bye
It's Jazz Week time again — that time when the Boston jazz community looks to expand its minority-appeal music to a larger public.
By: JON GARELICK  |  April 21, 2009


Frank Carlberg | The American Dream

Red Piano  (2009)
Other jazz musicians have set the poetry of Robert Creeley to music. Here poetry takes on the form of incantation in the repetition of Creeley's short, oblique verses.
By: JON GARELICK  |  April 21, 2009
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