At first you may be skeptical of Isaiah Richardson Jr. He doesn’t look like somebody who would be playing Hava Nagila for passengers waiting for their train in the subway. Firstly, he seems too young, and secondly, he’s a black kid from the Bronx, dressed sharply, derby hat and all. But when upon meeting Isaiah, the 32-year-old ticked off “Hevenu Shalom Aleichem,” “Bashana Haba’ah,” and “Zum Gali Gali” as some of his favorite songs to play passing crowds, I knew he was serious about his Jewish music.
Between Art Deco refurbishments, champagne fuelled speakeasys and the triumphant return of 1920’s boardwalk style, the jazz era is well and truly in resurgence and, with The Great Gatsby one of the year’s most anticipated film releases...
The 1960s gave us the Beatles and the Stones, Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin. They also gave us Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Indeed, among the era’s American hitmakers, few came close to matching the popularity of the TJB (none of whom were Mexican, including Alpert, who used to jokingly refer to the septet as “four lasagnas, two bagels and an American cheese”). Sure, it was fizzy, high-caloric pop, and Alpert was a solid though hardly exceptional trumpeter. But as suburbs sprawled, Alpert exhibited absolute genius at steering the hi-fi tastes of the bourgeois—not just with the TJB but with several of the acts under his A&M banner, including Sergio Mendes and the Carpenters.
Chucho Valdes reaffirms his status as one of jazz piano's great virtuosos with this new project, writes John Fordham. Chucho Valdes, Cuba's most famous jazzmusician, has rebalanced the repertoire of his Afro-Cuban Messengers on Border-Free, mixing its American-jazz agenda (the group's name deliberately references both Valdes' roots and the late Art Blakey's classic soul-bop Jazz Messengers group) with more extended Latin-American input, and some Native American and Andalusian connections, too.
All About Jazz is celebrating Richard “Groove" Holmes' birthday today!
Richard Arnold “Groove" Holmes, Born Richard Arnold Jackson (Camden, New Jersey) was a jazz organist who performed in the hard bop and soul jazz genre. He is best known for his 1965 recording of “Misty," and is considered a precursor of acid jazz. Holmes burst onto the music scene in the early 1960s (his first album, on Pacific Jazz with guest Ben Webster was recorded in March 1961).
Born 28 April 1928, East Durham, New York, USA. A singer, pianist and songwriter, with a “wispy, little-girlish" voice, Dearie is regarded as one of the great supper club singers. Her father was of Scottish and Irish descent; her mother emigrated from Oslo, Norway. Dearie is said to have been given her unusual first name after a neighbour brought peach blossoms to her house on the day she was born
Gerry Mulligan grew up in Philadelphia and first learned piano, which he played occasionally. While in his teens, he wrote arrangements for Johnny Warrington\'s radio band (1944) and played reed instruments professionally. After moving to New York in 1946, he joined Gene Krupa\'s big band as staff arranger, attracting attention with his Disc Jockey Jump (1947). He then became involved with the nascent cool-jazz movement in New York...
Recorded back in 1988. Influential vocalist and pianist Mose Allison joins Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland for a set of originals and a few favorite tunes by Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael and more.
The legendary jazz fusion drummer Billy Cobham is celebrating the 40th anniversary release of his solo debut classic album Spectrum with a tour, Spectrum 40. Cobham, a founding member of Mahavishnu Orchestra along with John McLaughlin, performed with Miles Davis. However, it is his work with Mahavishnu along with his solo records that established him as the definitive all-time greatest jazz-rock (fusion) drummer. Joining Cobham on the tour are his former Mahavishnu Orchestra colleague and one time member of the Dixie Dregs, Jerry Goodman, on violin; guitarist Dean Brown (who has played with the Brekcer Brothers, Marcus Miller and Joe Zawinul); pianist Gary Husband and Ric Fierabracci on bass.
In the story of Chico and Rita, Chico is the hottest piano player in the already hot music scene of 1948 Havana, and Rita is the sultriest singer. Trueba says these two characters weren't based on anyone specific, but were amalgams of people he knew.
"In my life, I became friends with many, many Cuban people and most of them [are] these things," Trueba says. "And I know their stories, their lives, so many anecdotes, that Chico in some ways has grown from many, many of them."
At the Iridium on Wednesday, the pianist George Cables seemed intent on reinvigorating some lesser-known tunes in his repertory. The pianist George Cables ended his first set at the Iridium on Wednesday night with “My Muse,” a compact tune with the kind of crisp, sunny melody that might have made it a staple in the age of jukeboxes and roller rinks. Over a percolating rock beat, he played the theme jauntily, saving all his flash for a cascading solo that started fast and never flagged. If the song carried a burden of sentiment, he wasn’t about to let it show.
In the late '30s, Herman never rivaled band-leading clarinetists Benny Goodman andArtie Shaw. But then came that late blooming. In 1944, not long before the swing era collapsed, Herman put together a stupendous band known as his First Herd. It was popping with talent, starting with hotdog bassist Chubby Jackson, whose added fifth string made him sound sped-up. The brass included young trumpeter Sonny Berman with his antic bebop solos, as well as the lyrical but shouting trombonist Bill Harris.Igor Stravinsky wrote his "Ebony Concerto" for them. Herman famously said later, "We had no more right to play it than the man in the moon had."
It’s near perfect irony that the highly crafted cocktail came of age during the time when our country tried its hardest to get people not to drink. During the era of Prohibition, spanning the years 1920 through 1933, cocktails came into the height of fashion in the underground speakeasies and at private parties, when strong flavors were imparted to cover the harsh tinge of bootleggers’ bathtub booze. And, of course, these very kind of parties were the centerpiece of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. With a new film treatment of the iconic jazz age novel just out from director Baz Luhrmann, Gatsby and cocktails are once again in the public consciousness.
In Gatsby Cocktails: Classic Cocktails from The Jazz Age (Ryland Peters & Small, $9.95) we find sixty-some pages of beautiful illustrations, succinct history lessons, terrific quotes from The Great Gatsby, as well as a solid list of timeless recipes for truly delightful drinks.
‘That’s It!,’ produced by Jim James and Ben Jaffe, is due July 9.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band will release a new album, That’s It! on Legacy Recordings. It marks the band’s first album of new compositions in its entire 50-year history.
That’s It! was produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and PHJB’s Ben Jaffe and recorded at the Preservation Hall in New Orleans. Band members Jaffe, Charlie Gabriel, Rickie Monie and Clint Maedgen wrote for the album and collaborated with Paul Williams, Dan Wilson and Chris Stapleton on several songs. An LP version ofThat’s It! will be pressed on 180 gram vinyl and includes a full size poster.
In 1961 and 1965, singer-songwriter and pianist Blossom Dearie returned to Paris on tour. She had first lived there from 1952 to '57—when she sang, played and recorded with the vocal group Les Blue Stars.
All About Jazz members are invited to enter the Resonance Records "Tommy Flanagan/Jaki Byard - The Magic of 2" giveaway contest starting today. We'll select THREE winners at the conclusion of the contest on June 1st.
Louis Armstrong singing spiritual-jazz anthem "The Creator Has a Masterplan" (and sounding great) is one of the more bizarre experiences on this neat compendium of black consciousness from the vaults of Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label.
Jazz at Lincoln Center has announced that it has acquired the jazz photo collection of the late Frank Driggs, one of the most extensive in the world. In addition to photographs, the Frank Driggs Collection includes posters, sheet music, records and Driggs’ personal papers.
Originally an amateur trumpeter, Driggs began acquiring images in the early 1950s, but, according to a press release from JALC, “During the second half of the decade he started to collect artifacts in earnest … Driggs became an executive at Columbia Records and later, worked for RCA Victor. His specialty was jazz reissue projects that included Count Basie, Bix Beiderbecke, Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Art Tatum, Fletcher Henderson and Lester Young. During the 1960s, Driggs … brought Robert Johnson's music to a mass market for the first time … From 1977 forward, administering the Frank Driggs Collection became his primary occupation. Driggs was still at it when he died on September 20, 2011.”
All About Jazz is celebrating Billie Holiday's birthday today!
Billie Holiday ("Lady Day") is considered by many to be the greatest of all jazz singers. In a tragically abbreviated singing career that lasted less than three decades, her evocative phrasing and poignant delivery profoundly influenced vocalists who followed her. Although her warm, feathery voice inhabited a limited range, she used it like an accomplished jazz instrumentalist...
This album was recorded in the spring of 1962 in New York City for RCA Records, when the record company was trying to cash in on the burgeoning bossa-nova craze of the period. They tried a nifty bit of subterfuge by subtitling the albumSonny Rollins Brings to Jazz a New Rhythm From South America. Actually most of the rhythms were brought from the Caribbean but regardless of their provenance the music is excellent and Rollins is in supurb command of his formidable talents. Joining him on this LP are Jim Hall on guitar, Bob Cransaw on bass, Ben Riley on drums and several extra percussionists.
By Diaa Bekheet F. Scott Fitzgerald named the 1920s “The Jazz Age,” and he was hardly the only writer to take inspiration from the music.
Poets, in particular, have been drawn to jazz, looking to capture its sound and feel in their phrases. Poets like Langston Hughes “incorporated the syncopated rhythms and repetitive phrases of blues and jazz music into their writing”, according the Jazz Poetry Anthology. Here’s a mashup someone’s done of Langston Hughes reading his poem “Weary Blues”together with some mournful jazz and some vintage clips of Cab Calloway.