JazzWax in Canada. This past week I completed a content licensing deal with JAZZ.FM91, which bills itself as Canada's premier jazz radio station. As per our agreement, JazzWax content will appear on the station's web site and will change three days a week. In addition, I will be working with the Toronto-based station to produce a short JazzWax audio segment each month on my jazz legends interviews. My comments will be interspersed with the artist's music.
This is exciting news. Our agreement means that JazzWax will now be read daily not only by you (my beloved readers) but also by the 320,000 listeners who tune in to the station each week (new readers). JAZZ.FM91 operates on a not-for-profit basis and reaches listeners worldwide over the web.
Why do a deal with JAZZ.FM91? Because the station does a fabulous job. See for yourself. In addition to the station's good taste in jazz and a smart-looking web site, Ross Porter [pictured], the station's president and CEO is an old hand at interviewing jazz legends. He's a huge jazz fan, an author, a radio host, and he shares my passion for preserving the intimate stories of jazz artists. He also loves JazzWax.
I will keep you posted on my upcoming monthly audio segments for JAZZ.FM91 and alert you before they air. With any luck, they'll be podcast so you can access them at your convenience.
"The Duke Is On the Air." That's how the announcer began the April 1945 U.S. Treasury Department radio broadcasts when Duke Ellington was the featured artist. With World War II over in German but still raging in the Pacific, the Treasury Department sponsored a series of radio broadcasts to drum up war-bonds sales. To hear these glorious live Ellington band performances, visit WFIU's Night Lights page here and scroll down. Click on the blue links at the bottom. Then click on the big blue "Listen Now" button. The 30-minute WFIU podcasts are narrated by Night Lights' host David Brent Johnson and are stunning audio documents of the Ellington orchestra at its very best.
Christian Jacob. About a week ago, I received a CD in the mail from a friend in California. The album is Contradictions, recorded by the Christian Jacob Trio in 2006. It's a tribute to the music of pianist Michel Petrucciani, who died in 1999 at age 36. When I put the CD on, I was blown away. Pianist Christian Jacob has a delicate touch that's reminiscent of Bill Evans' late period (I don't use Bill's name lightly). Jacob's gentle, beauty-intensive technique works splendidly with the music created by Petrucciani's whirling mind and spirit. Jacob's playing throughout sounds like the tinkle of chandelier crystal after running your finger through the hanging pieces.
Jacob [pictured, left] has enormous passion, and on Contradictions, he pulls off the near-impossible: celebrating Petrucciani's roiling works without falling into the trap of mimicry or forfeiting his personality. Jacob is joined on the album by Trey Henry on bass and Ray Brinker on drums [pictured below, with Ray Charles], both of whom are extraordinary musicians and perfectly matched to Jacob's approach. Listen as Even Mice Dance rises and falls beautifully in waltz time with a firm sensitivity. Or dig the robust solo work by each trio member on Dumb Breaks. Wow. And the pulsating title track, Contradictions, is fusion-y—without becoming painfully percussive. Contradictions is a glorious concept album to be enjoyed from start to finish.
To read an insightful interview with Jacob, go here. The album is available as a download at iTunes and as a CD at leading e-retailers.
Bill Evans. Jan Stevens, host of the Bill Evans Web Pages, tells me that the Jazz Icons DVD series will release Bill Evans Live: 1964-75 on September 30 and that it will be available at e-retailers for between $15 and $18. For more information, go here. Judging by the clip at the site, this DVD looks like a must for anyone who digs Bill Evans.
Kind of Blue. On Friday, Sony BMG Legacy announced it will release Kind of Blue: 50th Anniversary Collectors' Edition on September 30. The two-CD set will feature the album's masters as well as rare live material. Best of all, the CDs will include the Miles Davis Sextet's recordings from the earlier May 26, 1958 session: On Green Dolphin Street, Fran-Dance, Stella By Starlight and Love For Sale. Finally, listeners will be able to compare the two dates by the same group.
Speaking of Bill Evans... Here's a great way to start your Sunday: A YouTube clip of Bill Evans, Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell playing Johnny Mandel's Emily from a December 1969 performance in Denmark.