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J&R Music Festival in Lower Manhattan

Rhonda Hamilton sits in for NEW GRANDMOTHER Dee Dee Bridgewater. Congratulations, Dee Dee! We are at J&R Music and Computer World, a family-owned megastore in Lower Manhattan. Once every month, in the J&R Jazz Outlet, people gather for live music at lunchtime on "New Release Tuesday." You really get to see, hear and meet the artists. Rhonda is the MC for the live radio broadcasts of these concerts, and this time on JazzSet, she shares highlights from three recent shows.

Taylor Eigsti, from a publicity photo  

Taylor Eigsti

Pianist Taylor Eigsti from San Francisco just released Lucky to Be Me from the Concord label. His group includes Julian Lage, guitar; Reuben Rogers, bass; Eric Harland, drums. Eigsti tells a good story about meeting President Clinton while playing Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo a la Turk!"

Michael Carvin, from a publicity photo  

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin's been playing drums ever since he can remember. His father Hank -- a prominent Houston drummer -- was his first teacher. By age 12, Michael was playing professionally with blues and country/western bands.

He quickly mastered all the popular beats of the moment -- foxtrot, tango, cha cha cha, and the mambo. Moving to California, Carvin worked extensively in studio settings, including the Barbara McNair TV show, and was a staff drummer for Motown Records in Detroit. "I always wanted to save jazz for last, so I figured I would wait until I was 40," he says.

His new CD is special because Branford Marsalis produced it for Marsalis Music. "Branford came up with this concept which I really think is great -- a jazz masters series where a veteran gets to play with some younger guys. So when he first called me, I said, 'OK great, I've got the band.' And he said, 'Well, I want you to take some young guys that you've never played with, two days rehearsal, and then make the record. If you're supposed to be a jazz master, what's the problem?'"

Lionel Loueke, from a publicity photo  

Lionel Loueke

Guitarist Lionel Loueke's path begins in Benin. He studied music in Ivory Coast, then made a CD and sold it to raise money to go to Paris. Loueke's talent first opened doors for him at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Later, he spent time at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, a competitive, tuition-free program at the University of Southern California. Herbie Hancock and Terence Blanchard have taken Loueke into their bands. With two long-time classmates, he formed the trio on our JazzSet -- Gilfema.

Michael Carvin, drums
Marcus Strickland, John Farnsworth, tenor
Carlton Holmes, piano
Jansen Cinco, bass

Lionel Loueke, guitar
Ferenc Nemeth of Hungary, drums
Massimo Biolcati of Sweden (via Italy), bass

"Love for Sale"
"Giant Steps"
"Lucky to Be Me"

"In Walked Bud"
"Forest Flower"
Excerpt of "Hello, Young Lovers"

"Akwe" -- In Lionel's native language, akwe means money. He says money is great to have, but love is better.


  • Taylor Eigsti on Concord Records
  • Michael Carvin on Marsalis Music
  • Gilfema on Obliqsound
  • J&R Music
    Our music mixes are by Duke Markos; producer Josh Jackson; technical director Brian McCabe with assistance from Spencer Graves, Yujin Cha and David Tallacksen.
    Thanks to Sue Bryant, Bob Huber, and Charlie Bagarozza of J&R Music on Park Row in Manhattan.
    Thurston Briscoe III is Executive Producer of the "New Release Tuesday" broadcasts. Becca Pulliam produced this program.

    Copyright 2007 NPR