Donny McCaslin is a roof-raising tenor saxophonist. He uses the same effects that such tenor players have employed since the Swing Era: the rude honks at the bottom of his horn, the menacing middle register growls and the ecstatic squeals at the peak. If Illinois Jacquet, Lionel Hampton’s famously exuberant tenor star, were still alive, Read More
By Devin Leonard 8/06/09 12:59pm
The jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who has morphed into one of Hollywood’s busiest film composers, was tired and a bit distracted when The Observer met up with him early one afternoon recently at the Affinia Shelburne Hotel, where he’d been staying.
He was providing the “musical voice” of Louis the Alligator in Disney’s jazz-laden Read More
By Devin Leonard 7/21/09 11:45pm
In 2006, Brazilian-born jazz singer Luciana Souza moved to Los Angeles from New York City and left a void that hasn’t been filled.
During her eight years here, she became the singer for a new generation of firebrands eager to push the boundaries of the form in basement clubs like Small’s in the Village. Read More
By Devin Leonard 7/09 3:05pm
Leading his interviewer up to his second-floor apartment on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, Darcy James Argue, the leader of the Secret Society, a postmodern, 18-piece, big-band jazz outfit, apologized for the mess. He’d just received a new shipment of Secret Society T-shirts.
“They are all over my apartment,” he said. Mr. Argue’s flat is Read More
By Devin Leonard 6/26/09 6:08pm
Last fall, Mark Turner, the most influential jazz tenor saxophonist since John Coltrane, nearly sliced off two of his fingers while cutting firewood at his home in Flatbush.
It seemed as if fate couldn’t have been crueler to Mr. Turner. He has long been celebrated by the jazz cognoscenti as a unique talent. But Read More
By Devin Leonard 12/11/06 12:00am
Rockefeller Center has long been a haven for staid bank branches, airline ticket offices and other dreary retail tenants, a faded monument that New Yorkers surrendered years ago to camera-toting out-of-towners. But if Jerry Speyer has his way, the natives may soon be taking a second look.
The president of Tishman Speyer Properties has managed Read More
By Devin Leonard 1/17/00 12:00am
So … How’s Your Girl? , the latest release from Prince Paul, hip-hop deejay turned producer, begins with the sonic equivalent of a demolition derby. The first thing you hear is a vintage sample: an Irish brogue introducing a group of musical siblings. But instead of the Clancy Brothers, the listener is assaulted by a Read More
By Devin Leonard 12/06/99 12:00am
The up-and-coming brokers and landlords who attend the monthly luncheons of the Young Men’s-Women’s Real Estate Association are usually too busy networking to listen closely to the guest speakers. But the audience sat at rapt attention last winter when Steven Witkoff, a 41-year-old former Harlem landlord who built one of the country’s largest real estate Read More
By Devin Leonard 11/29/99 12:00am
It is one of those classic urban tales you are forever reading in The New York Times . A huge corporation abandons its longtime headquarters for a shiny new skyscraper in a more fashionable locale. It then horrifies community groups and historic preservationists by selling its beloved old building to a developer who tears it Read More
By Devin Leonard 11/22/99 12:00am
It must drive Steve Forbes crazy (and that’s if you didn’t find the wealthy editor in chief-turned-free-spending Presidential Don Quixote a bit unhinged already). Here he is selling off shares in the family publishing business, trying to spend his way into a two-man race with Republican front-runner George W. Bush. And who is soaring past Read More