Jazz West Coast: If you dig West Coast jazz (and who doesn't), you should know about Woofy, a nifty record label I came across a couple of weeks ago. The label, run by Woofy Productions and Bob Lorenz, was formed in 1993 and has recorded dozens of California jazz legends such as Carl Fontana, Shorty Rogers, Bill Holman and pretty much everyone else who spent years in Stan Kenton's band and in Hollywood's TV and film studios.
But before I could recommend anything to you, I had to hear a sampling of the recordings. I'm happy to report that Woofy's CDs are not only rich with swinging jazz, they sound fantastic. The two CDs I heard—The Dave Pell Octet: Sunday Afternoon at the Lighthouse Cafe (2005) and The Billy Root-Vinnie Tanno Quintet: Live at Capozzoli's (1999)—are both terrific.
When I originally saw the CD lineup at Woofy's site, I must confess I was a bit apprehensive, fearing that the label was just turning on a mike while legends played local gigs. Hardly! These are crisply recorded (almost no ambient noise) and the jazz ideas on the CDs are hard-driving and top shelf.
To see the Woofy catalog and learn more about Woofy Productions, go here.
New jazz site: Ted Gioia, the esteemed jazz book author, jazz pianist, jazz journalist, Stanford and Oxford graduate, tough Texan, former management consultant, and about 12 other cool things—has launched Jazz.com.
The site and platform is devoted to jazz news, profiles and interviews as well as as musings and critiques by contributors. If Ted's name rings a bell, it should. He's a one-man jazz writing machine who is best known for authoring The History of Jazz and West Coast Jazz. His next book, Delta Blues, a study of traditional blues music, will be published this year by W.W. Norton.
Letter to JazzWax: Don Frese sent along the following note earlier in the week. Don has seen 'em all and heard 'em all, and I couldn't agree more with his list and choices:
"In one regard, the entire history of jazz, with the usual exceptions—Armstrong, Ellington, etc.—was created by underrated artists. Artists who I think deserve more attention (two of whom you have already honored on your blog) are:
On the East Coast...
- Tina Brooks
- Clifford Jordan
- George Coleman
...and on the West Coast:
- Teddy Edwards
- Harold Land
- Bill Perkins
- Sister Salvation—from the CD of same name by Slide Hampton, the first Atlantic recording by his working group.
- Stella By Starlight—from Miles Davis' My Funny Valentine, the 1964 Lincoln Center concert.
- Good Morning Heartache—from Coleman's deliriously ecstatic Live at Yoshi's.
As always, thanks for providing a bright moment in my weekdays."