Introducing the JazzWax Insider. Next week I am launching a free monthly e-newsletter called the JazzWax Insider. JazzWax, as you already know, is devoted to jazz of the 1950s and beyond and the music and musicians we love most. The JazzWax Insider will share with you a range of additional jazz-related topics that for one reason or another doesn't fit during the week. Think of the free emailed newsletter as an extra shot of JazzWax. The items will be short and the type large, so you'll find it easy and fast to read.
If you don't subscribe to JazzWax and want the JazzWax Insider, simply look at the right-hand column for "Extra JazzWax Newsletter." Then click on the "subscribe" link. Just provide your e-mail address and you'll receive the JazzWax Insider for free when I send it out each month.
You can always un-subscribe by clicking a link at the bottom of an issue. Try it and see what you think. And if there's stuff you want more of, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jazz spouses—now and then. Thank you one and all for your kind notes about my Wall Street Journal article last week on jazz-legend spouses and the steps that motivated ones are taking to preserve their husbands' legacies and generate income.
Paul Benkimoun, a writer in Paris with Le Monde, sent along the following link to a Jet magazine article from 1952 on jazz stars and their wives. Fascinating reading! Go here.Sonny Rollins in New York. Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins will present a special concert at New York's Beacon Theatre on Friday, September 10 at 8 p.m. The concert, Sonny Rollins @ 80—A Celebration with Special Guests, will be held three days after the jazz legend's 80th birthday. Tickets are on sale here.
Here's a video that Bret Primack put together in support of the concert:
Chloe Feoranzo. She lives in Los Angeles, so from an early age reed player Chloe Feoranzo has been able to rub shoulders with seasoned pros. As you can see from the photo here, Feoranzo is one lucky musician. That's Med Flory on the left and Dave Pell on the right. They play regularly at Henri's Restaurant in Canoga Park, CA (818-348-5582).
Rosa at the Wurlitzer. Doug Ramsey has posted a wonderful obit of Rosa Rio, probably the greatest of all Mighty Wurlitzer organ players. Her fingers and feet provided the musical drama in silent movie theaters and on the radio in the 1930s and 1940s. And if Rio wasn't the greatest, she certainly was the oldest. She died last week at age 108. Go to Rifftides here.
Rare jazz CDs. Looking for a hard-to-find CD but don't want to pay a fortune? JazzWax reader and album know-it-all David Langner runs a store at Amazon that sells rare jazz CDs. He also can help you track down albums you're looking for. David says the used CDs in stock are in perfect condition unless described otherwise. For more, go here.
Radio roundup. Sid Gribetz presents a special radio broadcast featuring trombonist Curtis Fuller today from 2 to 7 p.m. on WKCR. You can listen to the show on your computer from anywhere in the world by going here... JazzWax reader and Belle of Boston Marla Kleman can now be heard on KRML in the Carmel and Monterey Peninsula area in California. Her show, Jazz Straight Ahead, airs Monday evenings from 8 to 10 p.m. (PDT). You can listen here.
CD discovery of the week. Alto saxophonist Phil Woods has always been daring as the leader of small groups but he really pulls out all the stops on big band dates. All you have to do is listen to Phil on Gene Krupa Plays Gerry Mulligan Arrangements and the Quincy Jones big band sessions of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
On Solitude, Phil's latest CD, recorded with the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble in 2008 and 2009, Phil rises to the orchestral occasion once again. Phil not only solos throughout but he also wrote the album's 10 songs and arranged three of them.
The result is the big band release of the year. You've got to hand it to Bob Lark, DePaul's jazz-program director. The student big band here is one well-oiled machine, metaphorically hoisting Phil high in the air and giving him room to create inventive lines. As Ira Gitler points out in the CD's liners notes, this is Phil's third encounter with the DePaul band. The other two were live recordings.What makes this album special is the clean arranging and Phil's impatient intonation, which to me always sounds the way italic type looks: forward-leaning and urgent.
You'll find Solitude (Jazzed Media) at iTunes or here.
Oddball album cover of the week. If you think American album cover designers were feeling their way around in the dark back in the early 1950s, check out this relic from France in 1955. On the Swing label, this album featured Bobby Jaspar, Barney Wilen, Jean-Louis Chautemps (ts), Jay Cameron (bar), Henri Renaud (p), Benoit Quersin (b) and Andre Baptiste "Mac Kac" Reilles (d). Just a guess: when the photos were developed, the designer couldn't fit the faces and saxes on the jacket. So he or she sliced two different images in half. Chic alors!