Will Layman is a writer, teacher and musician living in the Washington, DC area. He is a contributor to National Public Radio and frequently appears as a guest on WNYC’s “Soundcheck” as a jazz critic. He plays both funk and jazz in the bars and clubs in and near the nation’s capital. His fiction and humor appear in print and online.
Sunday, September 21 2014
The jazz of the '00s jumped past the great divide of earlier years, obliterating the distinction between tradition and avant-garde, jazz and pop, letting the genre blossom.
Monday, April 7 2014
PopMatters got an advance listen to the new recording from the "newgrass" sensation -- and an interview with guitarist Sean Watkins.
Sunday, February 3 2013
The recently released early recordings of Louis Armstrong remind us that no one made a more complete contribution to art in the 20th century.
Tuesday, January 15 2013
New Pornographers frontman and solo artist Carl "A.C." Newman talks about his failure to be a real rock star and how an almost painful self-consciousness creates his work.
Wednesday, December 12 2012
Jazz today remains the music that stays alive through a remarkable alchemy. On this list, traditions that go back to the jazz roots co-exist with modern pop tunes, and the avant-garde edges of the music blend in fluid ease with tonal beauty.
Sunday, January 18 2015
Grammy nominations in jazz are rarely adventurous and usually confusing. Yet this year's slate is intriguing.
Tuesday, December 9 2014
Trumpeter Igmar Thomas and his haunting tune, "The Hunted", sums up the most difficult lesson of 2014.
Wednesday, November 19 2014
There's an unending flow of vocal jazz these days, which is a blessing and a curse. Beyond the glut of rehashed standards from 50 years ago, some original work shines.
Wednesday, October 22 2014
What if today’s jazz is a little bit Bill Frisell and a little bit Ornette Coleman?
Thursday, September 25 2014
Somi is a not-exactly jazz singer with roots in Africa and the American midwest, and she has made the year's most amazing record, evoking the spirit of Lagos, Nigeria.
Wednesday, January 21 2015
A relaxed but interesting tribute to tenor sax giants Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young from one of today's most eloquent players.
Sunday, January 11 2015
An undiscovered duet concert between the two jazz musicians whose 2014 passing hurts the most.
Sunday, January 4 2015
Three long discs of the jazz pianist with a great trio but playing mostly music we’ve heard from him many times before.
Wednesday, December 17 2014
She started as a pre-teen Ella Fitzgerald clone, flirted with being Norah Jones, and now (at 20) finally sounds like the young pop singer she is...despite some lingering belief that she needs to "give jazz new life".
Monday, December 8 2014
The out-trumpet icon teams with Jamie Saft, Joe Morris, and Balazs Pandi, making six bracing free improvisations that hark back to the 1970s and come fully up to date.
Wednesday, December 14 2011
This week we presented our Best 75 Albums of 2011. Here are several more just bubbling under the top 75...
Sunday, December 13 2009
The Apples in Stereo - #1 Hits Explosion - Yep Roc [$13.98]