As new JazzWax readers arrive daily, I am receiving a growing number of email questions about the site and how best to navigate its many features. Here are the most recent ones and some helpful answers:
How can I reach you? The fastest way is to click under "Email me" in the upper right-hand corner of the site.
What is the JazzWax Insider? It's a free monthly e-newsletter supplement that allows me to send you material that didn't fit in my daily JazzWax posts. You can sign up for free by going here. It takes 10 seconds, and the December issue is being emailed out this week.
How can I add a Comment to a post? You can make a comment or see what other readers are adding to the conversation by going to the very bottom of a post and clicking on the blue "Comments" link under the post.
Why do images sometimes cover type? Actually, the problem is occurring on your end. You're most likely experiencing this because you're using Apple's Safari browser to read JazzWax. The platform I use and Safari aren't always compatible. JazzWax works best with Firefox, which can be downloaded for free here.
How are your interview choices made? I tend to interview jazz legends from the '40s and '50s whom I admire for one reason or another. While I would love to interview everyone, I simply cannot based on my time constraints.
Where are additional parts of interviews? At Part 1 of an interview, simply scroll up above the red date at the top of the page. There you'll find a blue link to Part 2. Simply click and you'll be taken there. Subsequent parts appear in the same place.
Where can I find all of your interviews? Scroll down the right-hand side to "JazzWax Interviews" for a complete list.
What's the best way to print a post? Go to the bottom of a post. Look for the word "Permalink" in blue. Click on it. When the page comes up, print out.
Can I search JazzWax? Yes. Just type what you're looking for into the search engine atop the right-hand column. Just be sure that "JazzWax" is checked, not the "Web." This will ensure that you're searching just the JazzWax archive.
And thanks to all of my daily JazzWax readers who send along words of encouragement and praise. It's a joy to host what has become the e-equivalent of a wood-paneled, fireplace-roaring den in which readers with like-minded musical interests can drop by for a few minutes of rest and relaxation each day before going about their busy lives.
And finally, Happy Holidays to all of you in the U.S. and abroad!
James Moody radio. Today, "Symphony Sid" Gribetz is hosting a special five-hour memorial broadcast for saxophonist James Moody from 2 to 7 p.m. on WKCR-FM. You can listen from anywhere in the world by going here. [Photo by Herman Leonard/CTSImages.com]
Bill Evans sings. Fellow blogger Doug Ramsey posted this clip last week of a nasal Bill Evans being coaxed to warble a holiday favorite. Interestingly, it's one of the rare instances of Evans dropping his somber, didactic tone and exhibiting a natural sense of humor. As Doug notes, it was taped during a session with Swedish vocalist Monica Zetterlund in 1964...
Jazz Messengers in Japan. Filmmaker Bret Primack alerted me to this clip featuring Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Japanese jazz journalist Makoto Gotoh informed me that the clip was filmed in Japan in 1961 and that the messengers were accompanied by the Nobuo Hara Sharps and Flats Big Band.
Dave Brubeck documentary. Many readers have asked me when Turner Classic Movies expects to re-air In His Own Sweet Way, Bruce Ricker's Dave Brubeck documentary. The film's writer Hank O'Neal says it most likely will be re-broadcast on TCM in the spring when it is released on DVD by Warner Home Video. Also, it will be aired on KCET in Los Angeles in late January and possibly other California Public TV Stations.
Bill Evans and Johnny Carson. If you dig Bill Evans, you need to know about Jan Stevens' site here. There's always news about Evans recordings and clips. During my most recent visit, I noticed that Jan is featuring a clip of Bill Evans and Tony Bennett on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in the '70s. Go here.
CD discoveries of the week. Piano-saxophone recordings are tough to pull off but pianist Bruce Barth and saxophonist Steve Wilson manage to do so with harmonic aplomb on Home: Live in Columbia Missouri. The challenge that such partnerships typically face is that both instruments want to lead, which can result in a pushy mess. In this case, however, both musicians avoid a two-instrument pile-up by listening carefully and weaving in and out of each other's lines. Tracks like All Through the Night and The Ways of the West exhibit enormous energy and restraint. You'll find Home: Live in Columbia Missouri (We Always Swing Records) at iTunes or here.
Jazz isn't dead—it's simply picking up hitchhikers. One of the finest exponents of jazz's current merger and acquisitions phase is Mojo Mancini, which is both the name of a band and its first album. Maybe this isn't your father's jazz, but it's certainly experimental without becoming esoteric. This album is funky, textured and fun without ever being lightweight or derivative. Dig the space-age Hammond B3 on Gansevoort. Or Just Sit—a mashing of moods from Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and Twin Peaks. Call the music what you will—this is an exciting electronica-funk bon-bon with a jazz filling. Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti even makes a cameo. You'll find Mojo Mancini at iTunes or here.
Jazz and hip-hop? In the case of Freedom Suite by The Beast and Nnenna Freelon, the combination works because it thrashes with new and familiar riffs as well as addictive jazz and house beats. There are electronic shades here of Roy Ayers Ubiquity, Koop and Earth Wind and Fire. I find this music tremendously exciting. It's not quite what you're used to in terms of button-down jazz. But someone thought through this concept in advance and pulled it off. I'd recommend specific tracks but it's best heard from start to finish—as a complete concept. And get this—it's a free download. Go here.
Oddball album cover of the week. Beware of the words jazz and rock followed by "excursion." I have no idea whether this LP is good or not, but the cover is about as wooden as a pine box. Looks like Scott stepped into a photo shoot just as Frankie Laine stepped out. Also, I'm not sure what the sartorial rules were in the Wild West, but a stovepipe hat, pressed jeans and shiny black cowboy boots had to have been akin to white pants after Labor Day. Readers who know this album I'm sure will fill us in on its quality in the Comments section.