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Will Layman
Image: Will Layman

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.


Features

Sunday, September 21 2014

Jazz of the '00s: Jumping Past the Great Divide

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

Nickel Creek Returns to Recording and Touring with 'A Dotted Line'

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 Permanence of Pops: Louis Armstrong and American Music

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

"Very Self-Conscious About Everything": An Interview with A.C. Newman

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

The Best Jazz of 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.


Columns

Tuesday, December 9 2014

Six Shots in Ferguson, One Night in New York

Trumpeter Igmar Thomas and his haunting tune, "The Hunted", sums up the most difficult lesson of 2014.


Wednesday, November 19 2014

New Riffs From Jazz Lips: From Eminem to Sun Ra

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

Jazz May Be Reeling in Terms of Record Sales, But It's Thriving As an Art Form

What if today’s jazz is a little bit Bill Frisell and a little bit Ornette Coleman?


Thursday, September 25 2014

Singing Across Continents: An Interview with Somi

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.


Sunday, August 17 2014

The Sonny Rollins / 'New Yorker' Controversy and Jazz's Image Problem

Why do jazz folks always sound so defensive about the music they love? Why can’t they take a pie in the face from Django Gold?


Double Standards [16.Jul.08]
Bass Reflections [16.Oct.07]

Reviews

Wednesday, December 17 2014

Nikki Yanofsky: Little Secret

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

Wadada Leo Smith: Red Hill

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.


Sunday, November 30 2014

Henry Butler / Steven Bernstein and the Hot 9: Viper’s Drag

Jazz’s post-modern “little big band”, fronted by trumpeter Steven Bernstein, gets together with a great New Orleans pianist to bring you back in time and up to the present.


Thursday, November 20 2014

Dana Stephens: Peace

A rare saxophonist who is comfortable playing baritone, tenor and soprano records an album that is, simply, beautiful.


Thursday, November 13 2014

Frank Kimbrough: Quartet

A beautifully balanced group, including Steve Wilson on saxophones, Jay Anderson on bass, and Lewis Nash on drums.


NRBQ: Brass Tacks [18.Jun.14]
Keith Jarrett: Rio [28.Nov.11]
Keren Ann: 101 [22.Mar.11]
Vijay Iyer: Solo [19.Oct.10]
Commonwealth [22.Jul.08]
Fieldwork: Door [13.Jul.08]
Cuong Vu: Vu-tet [17.Apr.08]
Joe Jackson: Rain [27.Jan.08]
Tahiti 80: Fosbury [28.Jan.07]
Richard Bona: Tiki [13.Dec.06]
Sex Mob: Sexotica [31.Aug.06]
KEM: Album II [16.May.05]

Blogs

Wednesday, December 14 2011

Bubbling Under the 75 Best Albums of 2011: Tedeschi Trucks Band

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

The Apples in Stereo - #1 Hits Explosion - Yep Roc [$13.98]


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