Waxing & musings. My post last week on Patsy Cline seemed to have struck a steel-guitar chord. Based on the volume of my email traffic, JazzWax readers were overjoyed to read about the Virginia-born vocalist who died tragically in 1963. A sizable number even confessed that they regularly enjoy country music from the 40's, 50's and into the 60's. Makes perfect sense to me. Jazz and country share sensuality, joy and hard luck stories.
As readers of this blog know, from time to time I diverge into country, soul, rock and even disco when there are artists and albums that I love that I think you'll enjoy, too. Too many jazz fans dismiss other forms of music as lacking in emotional and artistic depth. Which is true in some cases. But there are exceptions to every rule, and not all jazz albums are works of art either, as we all know.
Which brings me to my point: This site first and foremost is about good stuff—with a strong focus on jazz, since jazz is my passion. But occasionally I like to write about non-jazz albums and musicians that fit into the "good stuff" category. And since most forms of music rubbed shoulders with jazz at some point, there's often a connecting historical thread.
Nothing unites this country—and the world, for that matter—like music. Which just goes to show that listening often beats talking.
If you encounter this problem, the rub, I'm afraid, is on your end. The good news is there's a solution: In nearly every case of text-image display issues, the reader is using Safari rather than Firefox to browse the Web. For some reason, Safari doesn't reload often enough.
If you prefer Safari and don't want to switch to Firefox, no worries. Simply refresh your Safari browser—which means clicking on the icon at the top that features an arrow going around in a circle. The icon is gray and in Safari appears all the way to the right of the white browser bar.
Village Vanguard. Can't make it down to the fabled Greenwich Village club? Now you can listen in on Wednesdays on your computer—thanks to a joint effort between the club, NPR and New York radio station WBGO. You can join the discussion in a chat room and watch a live video feed. After each show, NPR Music hosts the archived recordings of all the concerts. For more information, go here.
CD discoveries of the week. Brazilian drummer/percussionist Adriano Santos has just released In Session, a festive new CD that is as rollicking as it is tenacious. The samba beats here churn incessantly with saxophonist David Binney weaving in and out. The first track, Sabor Carioca, will knock you out, as will the second one, From the Lonely Afternoons. You'll find steamy introspection in From Ton To Tom, featuring Binney on the soprano sax, and Contemplação. From start to finish, this is an album that shimmers with melodic energy and sophisticated excitement. I defy you to sample the first tune and not be moved. You'll find In Session at iTunes or here.
When valve-trombonist Bob Brookmeyer tells me to dig something, I put my feet up and listen. The CD in question in Daniel Szabo's Contribution. Pianist and composer Szabo is one of Bob's former students who now lives in Budapest. The music is introspective and makes inventive use of modal figures and fusion elements. The album features Szabo's trio with saxophonist Chris Potter. Favorites include There Was That Too, Attack of the Intervals and Bubble Song. You can sample Contribution at iTunes or here.
Oddball album cover of the week. If you thought this 1956 Johnny Windhurst album cover was about Columbus Ave. in New York or a scene from West Side Story, you'd be wrong. Though the look of the brownstones in the background bear a striking similarity to Manhattan's famed roadway, the title refers to Columbus Ave. in Boston. As Boston jazz expert Dick Vacca kindly explained: "I've always assumed the Windhurst album got its name because the corner of Columbus Ave. and Massachusetts Ave. in Boston was where the clubs were. Windhurst and the other Dixielanders played frequently at the Savoy, which was actually on Mass Ave, just off Columbus Ave." The un-New York fire hydrant and bus stop sign also should have been giveaways.