Joe Valino. My post early last week on Learnin' the Blues sparked a raging web debate among Sinatrafiles. Comments ranged from questions about the date of Valino's demo v. Frank Sinatra's recording of the song in 1955 to the veracity of Valino's story and whether even Dolores Vicki Silvers was a real person or a pseudonym for one or more people. Fear not, I still have my reporter's hat on and I will have more on this unfolding mystery as soon as I have more to share.
Elliot Lawrence. After viewing all of those Elliot Lawrence home movies last week, I found myself again listening extensively to Elliot Lawrence Plays Gerry Mulligan Arrangements. I can't quite put my finger on why I love this band so much. Perhaps because it's the musical missing link between the Claude Thornhill band and Stan Kenton's orchestra. Drew Techner, whose dad, Joe, played in the Lawrence band from 1948 to 1951 and collected and posted all those home movies on YouTube, sent along more links. For Drew's video interview series with Lawrence, go here. For Drew's interview series with Lawrence drummer Howie Mann, go here.
Barbara Dennerlein. Following my post of Barbara's splendid organ duel with Rhoda Scott (here it is again for those who missed it), I received a lovely email from Barbara, who's touring in Europe. I have been a fan of Barbara's since hearing her Take Off CD in 1995. She brings funk and grace to the instrument, often working both into the same track. She also knows how to build a groove without ever becoming dull or riff-obsessed (I love Scott's gospel-tinged attack, too). In her e-mail, Barbara alerted me to a video clip from a July 10 concert here at New York's Trinity Church. Unfortunately I missed the concert, but Barbara promised to alert me next time she's in New York so I can come hear her and report back to readers. For more about Barbara, go here.
City Island. If you want to see how a movie is made—or rather, you want to be in on City Island's unfolding, I urge you to visit Raymond De Felitta's blog here. The director of 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris is currently shooting City Island, an urban comedy, in New York. And he's keeping an online diary of his movie-making travails and posting mini rushes of scenes. It's really quite fascinating. Having read Raymond's brilliant screenplay, here's my best shot at the film's logline without giving anything away: "The dynamics of a dysfunctional Bronx family change dramatically when dad brings home a convict." Check it out.
McCoy Tyner. Bret Primack's latest effort for Concord Records is a video podcast interview with producer Orrin Keepnews on the making of McCoy Tyner's Fly With the Wind here. As you may recall, I wrote about the album back in June here. Bret also produced a video podcast of trombonist Clifton Anderson here.
Bill Evans. Jan Stevens of the Bill Evans Web Pages sent an email informing me of the latest installment in his monthly series of appreciations of Bill Evans albums. This time around, contributor John Varrallo writes about Moonbeams (1962) here.
Tomorrow: An in-depth appreciation of the late Johnny Griffin (1928-2008), who died on Friday.