More Newport riot pictures. In the wake of my post and my Wall Street Journal article last week on the Newport Jazz Festival riot of 1960, reader Alan Kurtz posted a comment that referred to a Life magazine spread on the disturbance. I managed to track down the issue. Here are three images from the article, featuring (top to bottom) rioters on the loose, a sea of discarded beer bottles and cans, and sleeping rioters on the beach early the next morning:annual Louis Armstrong Birthday Broadcast airing today around the clock and into tomorrow morning. Listen now to Pops on your computer from anywhere in the world by going here... The smooth and wise David Brent Johnson has posted a terrific podcast of his Night Lights (WFIU) show called "It's All in the Game: Louis Armstrong, 1947-57." The show includes music and interviews with Dan Morgenstern and Indiana University historian Michael McGerr. Go here.
Spartacus rex. Crazy for Alex North's score for Stanley Kubrick's 1960 film epic Spartacus? You're in luck. Check out Ed Leimbacher's post here. As Ed notes at his blog I Witness, there's a mega box coming celebrating North's magnum opus featuring six CDs, one DVD and a 168-page booklet ($110). There also are two CDs with jazz and classical interpretations of the Spartacus Love Theme. For more information, go here.
CD discoveries of the week: On Cocolamus Bridge, bassist Harvie S is front and center on tracks that groove with your pulse and open your mind. There are sexy fusion touches (Courage), Latin-jazz themes (Coco Loco and Ike), a bossa (To Bea) and slow cookers (Cocolamus Bridge and Truth and Beauty). This is a gorgeous album that builds slowly and lets you think and reflect. You'll find Cocolamus Bridge (Blue Bamboo) at iTunes or here.
Sun Ra was the father of action-jazz, electronic-jazz fusion and performance-jazz (the last one hasn't arrived yet). Sun Ra understood the energy of the music and spirit of jazz stagecraft better than virtually any other jazz artist. Though the composer and keyboardist died in 1993, his astral energy, humor and spirit remain thanks to Marshall Allen and the Sun Ra Arkestra. Live at the Paradox, the band's latest CD, features works by alto saxophonist Allen and Sun Ra. Highlights include You'll Find Me, Velvet, Space Idol and Millennium (my favorite). If you're unfamiliar with the Sun Ra Arkestra, think Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk meet Stan Kenton and Return to Forever. Or something like that. You'll find Live at the Paradox (In and Out) at iTunes or here.
Two months before Johnny Griffin's death in July 2008, he recorded his last date live in London. The result has just been released as Johnny Griffin: Live at Ronnie Scott's. Here, the "Little Giant" works admirably through Lester Leaps In, The Blues Walk, The JAMFS Are Coming and Hot Sake. But the album's best moment comes on When We Were One, a slow and steady ballad featuring trumpeter Roy Hargrove and Griffin. The liner notes are by Orrin Keepnews. You'll find Live at Ronnie Scott's (In & Out) at iTunes or here.
Oddball album cover of the week: Talk about overselling. Forget for a moment that Kessel is pictured obliviously perched in the middle of a blaze and that his cordless guitar has magically convinced two women to dance nude in the flames. The more significant question about this 1965 LP is this: Can an album with tracks like Who Can I Turn To, One Mint Julep and Just in Time really be described as On Fire?