RSS feed: This past week, the fine folks at SixApart, the company that hosts my blog, helped me install a key piece of technology that will help make your life a little easier.
It's an "RSS" feed. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, which is a fancy way of saying you can have up to the last nine JazzWax headlines appear automatically on your home page. Click on the new headline and you'll be taken instantly to JazzWax. Now you can know what's spinning here each day before arriving at the site, and then click directly to the blog.
If you're interested in installing, simply click on the icon under "Subscribe to this blog" in the upper right-hand corner of this page and select your web browser and where you want these links to appear. That's it!
I think you'll find it useful.
David Amram. I caught David Amram's periodic intellectual variety show last Monday at the Cornelia St. Cafe in Greenwich Village. David is a tornado of energy and his spirit sweeps up poets, novelists, musicians, singers and other talents as he travels the country. Everyone loves David.
On Monday nights from time to time at the cafe, you'll come as close as possible to traveling back to 1957. David is a master of the jazz piano, French horn, flutes and a range of World Music percussion instruments. He jammed with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and played with Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus and many other jazz artists. (You can read my interview series with David by clicking on his name in "Jazzwax Interviews" in the right-hand column.) David also was buds with writer Jack Kerouac and all of the other New York beat poets and writers of the period.
If you're in town when David is down in the "center of everythingness," as David is fond of called Greenwich Village, stop in at the Cornelia St. Cafe [pictured] and dig his stream-of-consciousness scene.
Overheard track of the week. So often you're sitting in a bar or shopping in a store when a great jazz recording comes on the sound system and you want to know what was playing. Good luck, since most bars, restaurants and retailers plug in iPods and staffers have no clue what's on.
This happened to me last Sunday. I was having brunch at a superb Upper West Side restaurant called Telepan at 72 West 69th St. My wife and I had grabbed at bite around 2:30 pm, so the normally bustling restaurant was less noisy than usual. Whoever programs Telepan's music has good taste in pop singers from the 1950s and early 1960s—and has the good sense to keep the music at a level where you can hear it if you want to but not so loud that your conversation is distracted.
As my wife and I chatted, I could hear a range of obscure Nat Cole, Tony Bennett, Jo Stafford, Ella Fitzgerald and others passing faintly through the speakers. At one point, my wife asked if I was listening to her. I guess I had that glazed-over look. I said, "Hold on a minute." The best I could tell from what was playing, a singer who sounded remarkably like Dinah Washington in a good mood (Roulette Records?) was singing Getting to Know You from The King and I, backed by a nifty, early-1960s big-band arrangement.
When I returned home, I checked Miss "D's" discography. No entry for the song. Could it be who I thought it was, I wondered? I took a shot at checking another singer's discography, and there it was: Nancy Wilson. She recorded the song in November 1962 on an album called Broadway My Way. Further exploration revealed that the band was arranged and conducted by Jimmy Jones and included Don Fagerquist on trumpet, Lew McCreary on trombone, Bill Perkins on tenor sax, Lou Levy on piano, John Gray on guitar and Kenny Dennis on drums.
If you're interested, the track and album are at iTunes.
"It was no better the night when the Beatles returned to Studio 50 for the live broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show. This time the crowd outside had tripled in size, giving the place the jacked-up feeling of a Broadway opening. There were flowers in the dressing room and visiting dignitaries, including Dizzy Gillespie, who was playing around the corner at Birdland and "just stopped by to get a look at them."