Has the digital age robbed a generation of its memories? We all know that downloads are enormously convenient, but I can't help wondering—and worrying—that today's youth have little in the way of a cultural breadcrumb trail back to their childhood. I know that when I talk with friends from my generation, we have music in common. We remember the years in which singles and LPs were released, bought and danced to. For baby boomers, music remains the art through which we most vividly recall our parents, our old neighborhoods and where our young lives began.
Today, most kids I encounter are remarkably knowledgeable about the classic rock and soul albums their parents played during long car drives. But they don't have hits of their own because the marketplace grew too fractured in 2001. As we know, there are no unified charts, large record stores or traditional radio stations. Even young adults in their 20s have little music to remind them of growing up except, perhaps, for the Spice Girls and a couple of other 90s sensations.
The point is this: what kind of society will we be when adults have no music history? Will that society be better off, building on a clean slate? Or will there be a generation without a soul or clear memories—bereft of recordings to transport them back to times when they had no worries or responsibilities except getting to school on time. This perhaps is the saddest part of the digital age—that music won't be there to comfort kids when they are old and most want to remember what their youth was like.
Newport Jazz Festival 2012. George Wein sent along his lineup for this year's Newport Jazz Festival (presented by Natixis Global Asset Management)...
Saturday, August 4—Pat Metheny Unity Band with Chris Potter, Antonio Sanchez and Ben Williams; Dianne Reeves; Jack DeJohnette’s 70th Birthday Celebration featuring his Quintet and an All-Star group performing two sets; Bill Frisell on the John Lennon Songbook; Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas Quintet: Sound Prints; The Bad Plus with Bill Frisell; James Carter Organ Trio with Special Guests Rodney Jones and Miche Braden; Dafnis Prieto Sextet; 3 Clarinets: Ken Peplowski [pictured], Evan Christopher, Anat Cohen; Christian McBride’s Inside Straight; John Ellis & Double-Wide; Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society; and Pedrito Martinez Group.
Sunday, August 5—Tedeschi Trucks Band; Maria Schneider Orchestra; Jason Moran and the Bandwagon; Kurt Elling; Miguel Zenón’s Rayuela; Jenny Scheinman & Bill Frisell; Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet; Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Samdhi; Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loueke with special guest Becca Stevens; John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet + 1 featuring Theo Bleckmann; 3 Cohens: Yuval, Anat and Avishai Cohen; Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks; Lewis Nash [pictured] Quintet featuring Jeremy Pelt and Jimmy Greene; Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Centennial Project; and Berklee Global Jazz Institute Sextet.
The Newport Jazz Festival kicks off on Friday, August 3. Artists and ticket information for this concert will be announced at a later date.
Modern Jazz Quartet. JazzWax reader Duane Peirick sent along this video gem from What's My Line...
- April 7—Billie Holiday Birthday Broadcast
- April 17-21—Han Bennink Festival, a five day long celebration of the Dutch modern jazz percussion master
- April 22—The Charles Mingus Birthday Broadcast
- April 29—Duke Ellington Broadcast
You can tune in from anywhere in the world on your computer by going here.
Bob Brookmeyer. A memorial for Bob Brookmeyer, who died last December, will be held in New York on April 11 at St. Peter's Lutheran Church (E. 54th St. between 3rd and Lexington Avenues) from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. A reception will follow immediately afterward at the church. [Bob Brookmeyer performing at the Civic Opera, Chicago, Illinois, in the 1950s. Photograph: Ted Williams/Corbis]
Bob's music will be played by the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (for which he wrote for over 40 years) and two specially assembled smaller groups. There will also be a number of distinguished speakers: (in alphabetical order) Darcy James Argue, Greg Bahora, Dave Bailey, Bill Crow, Ed Dix, Jim Hall, Bill Kirchner, Jim McNeely, Dick Oatts, Jimmy Owens, John Snyder, Michael Stephans, and Terry Teachout. In addition, there will be an audio tribute by Clark Terry, and a video presentation by Maria Schneider, Ryan Truesdell, and Marie Le Claire. Bill Kirchner is handling the event. He can be reached at [email protected]
CD discoveries of the week: Tommy Bolin is a rock footnote today. But back in the '70s, he had a great blues-rock sound on the electric guitar, particularly with Deep Purple. Bolin died of a drug overdose in 1976. On Great Gypsy Soul (429), 11 of his unfinished guitar-vocal tracks have been paired with contemporary artists for an unusual tribute album. For example, Peter Frampton joins on The Grind, John Scofield is on Savannah Woman and Glenn Hughes and Sonny Landreth are on Sugar Shack. Rock air-guitar at its best.
Back in 1964, songwriting team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller founded Red Bird Records and its subsidiary Blue Cat Records. Though the labels were launched just as the market was shifting away from soulful girl groups to long-haired boy bands, superb 45s were recorded that unfortunately were drowned out by the British Invasion. On The Red Bird Girls (Real Gone Music), 20 stereo masters from the vaults have landed on one CD. Terrific pop-rock singles include Ellie Greenwich's You Don't Know, the Ad Libs' Boy From New York City, the Dixie Cups' No True Love and The Jelly Beans' magnificent I Wanna Love Him So Bad. For those who love this period of sophisticated innocence, this CD also includes 11 tracks of studio banter and production direction, which gives you a sense of how these records were made.
If you dig your back-beat served up on a rubbery surface, you'll enjoy Papa Grows Funk's Needle in the Groove (Funky Krewe). Producer Allen Toussaint assembled a snap-tight band featuring John Gros (vox, organ, keyboards), Juen Yamagishi (guitars), Marc Pero (bass), Jeffrey Alexander (drums) and Jason Mingledorff (saxes). Sparky bass and guitar riffs and licks are given kicky beats and soulful organ lines, and each track lands right in the groove. Sample Planet of Love & Hate and Rollo.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, country and pop shacked-up. Country hits in the 1960s like Ode to Billie Joe, Harper Valley PTA and Glen Campbell's singles had enormous success on the pop charts. The trend continued in the early 1970s, but both country and pop suffered as soul, disco and hard rock left little space for many country-pop artists. Among the gems of this period was Jody Miller. On Jody Miller: The Complete Epic Hits (Real Gone Music), we once again hear how the decade sounded outside of the major cities, away from the platform shoes and glitter. Miller had a warm, cozy and confidential voice that rang with clarity and sincerity. Sample If You Think I Love You Now (I've Just Started) and Darlin You Can Always Come Back Home. And don't miss countrified renditions of He's So Fine, Be My Baby, To Know Him Is to Love Him and Natural Woman, which gets a Nashville treatment and remains one of the finest non-Aretha renditions. A superb, gentle trip back to the early '70s.
Burt Bacharach tribute albums cut only two ways: disasters and knockouts. Burt, himself, is very picky when it come to such albums. When I interviewed him in L.A., he mentioned Dionne, Aretha and Luther. But he also digs what Steve Tyrell did with his and Hal David's catalog on Back to Bacharach (Koch). It's probably my favorite male treatment of Burt's songbook, primarily because Tyrell's voice is worn, vulnerable and expressive—similar in this regard to Elvis Costello's. This 2008 album also is plenty jazzy. Sample anything and everything. There really isn't a bad track on here. This truly is the perfect male-vocal interpretation, and a must for lovers of Burt's music.
Oddball album cover of the week: Mood music maestro Marty Gold was quite an easy-listening orchestrator. Think Liberace meets Sauter-Finegan. Here, thanks to some fancy superimposing, a giant (not Gold) is enthralled by a shin-sized woman singing and swaying below. Our jolly giant must have already gobbled up the percussionists and bass player.