Super User

Super User

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 21:55


Any student of jazz history can tell you how most big bands dried up soon after World War II, victims of changing taste and the economic challenges. They were dinosaurs in the era of bebop and rock and roll.

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 21:50


From his origins as an independent songwriter to his current gig recording and touring with Maroon 5, keyboardist PJ Morton has moved steadily from one success to another. Now he's come full circle with the release of his own EP, Following My First Mind, on Lil Wayne's Young Money imprint. "People are really digging it," he says. "I think my audience mirrors the type of fan that I am: a person who listens to all types of music, with very eclectic taste, but always energetic."

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 21:45


As the middle sibling of teenaged trio Hanson, keyboardist Taylor Hanson rocketed to full-fledged stardom while most of his peers were still struggling with their algebra homework. Their 1997 debut on Mercury Records, Middle of Nowhere, became a massive hit for the brothers (then just 16, 14, and 11 years old), selling 10 million copies worldwide. But when Mercury merged with Island Def Jam Records the following year, the band became entangled in a paralyzing creative struggle with their new label before finally going independent in 2001.
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 21:43


Singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins doesn't just hear music - she sees it. "I see all music in colors," she explains. "My last album, Mondo Amore, had lots of browns and golds, coppers and ambers in it. Some songs are blacks and greens. In fact, if I start writing a song and don't see any colors, I don't finish it."

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 21:40


It's not exactly news that the violin is a great jazz instrument - violinist Joe Venuti proved it back in the 1920s, and players such as Stéphane Grappelli, Stuff Smith, Svend Asmussen, and Jean-Luc Ponty have all reinforced the point. Yet jazz violinists remain a relatively rare breed, and it can still be an act of rebellion for young players to choose Miles over Mendelssohn.

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 21:37


Phil X is one of those rare players that seem equally comfortable adding the perfect guitar hook to an American Idol track or rocking stadiums with monster riffs.

"Dude, I'm a chameleon!" says the Greek-born, Canadian-raised, Los Angeles-based axman. "The way I see it, my mission is to enhance the song. A song is supposed to take you on a journey during the verse and make that chorus climax. That's equally true whether I'm playing with Kelly Clarkson or Avril Lavigne. I'm very good at secondary parts that complement the vocals and each section of a song. I just have this instinct, and I keep getting called back."

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 21:29


It's hard to keep up with Robin Thicke. During the past decade he's evolved from songwriter-to-the stars into a platinum-selling solo artist. After his fifth album, 2012's Love After War, hit the R&B Top Ten, he embarked on a completely different project: appearing as a judge on the ABC reality television show Duets, which also features fellow vocal superstars Jennifer Nettles, John Legend, and Kelly Clarkson, among others.

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 19:01

BOBBY SHEW - model trumpeter

TRUMPETER BOBBY SHEW’S RESUME IS LONG AND COLORFUL. He played big-band jazz with Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. He led blazing horn sections behind Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Barbra Streisand, and Smokey Robinson. He performed on countless film and TV soundtracks and has garnered GRAMMY® nods for his recordings as a leader. And as a leading educator and instrument designer, he influences the lives of countless young players, even from his current semi-retirement near Albuquerque, New Mexico, not far from where he grew up.
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 18:53

DAN NEEDHAM - the diversified drummer

IT’S NO SECRET THAT THESE CAN BE TOUGH TIMES for working musicians. But drummer Dan Needham has overcome adversity via sheer talent, a positive attitude, and a multifaceted approach to the industry.
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 18:41

RUSS IRWIN - the accidental sideman

SOLO ARTIST, SONGSMITH, SIDEMAN: Keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Russ Irwin’s musical career has been more like a game of musical chairs—one he’s definitely winning.