A week ago I made room in the right-hand column of JazzWax for Kickstarter ads. If you look there now, you'll see click-through ads that were purchased by JD Walters (for his new CD project) and by Bret Primack (for his Pauly Cohen documentary project).
If you're unfamiliar with Kickstarter.com, it's an online platform that enables you to solicit money for a project. Think TV's Shark Tank meets old-fashioned panhandling. You make a video outlining your project and how much you need to raise and when. If visitors feel your project has merit, they can donate sums electronically.
Dollars change hands only if you reach your target goal by the date you've specified. If you fall short when time elapses, dollars committed return to donors' pockets.
To see how it works, click on JD Walter's or Bret Primack's Kickestarter ads in the right-hand column. You'll see how much they're trying to raise, how much they've raised thus far and how much time remains in their fund-raising drives. [Pictured above: JD Walter]
If you have a Kickstarter campaign up now or you are planning one, let JazzWax readers know by placing an ad here at JazzWax. Just click email@example.com and tell me how long you want your ad to appear. Then I'll shoot you a rate. Payment is via PayPal, and your ad can be up in a matter of minutes.
Mike McCartney [pictured], a member of the satirical Liverpudlian poet-rock band The Scaffold in the 1960s and '70s and photographer of all things ironic and whimsical, is exhibiting his images of Scotland at the Butler Institute of American Art’s Trumbull Branch—now through September 2. The Butler Institute's Trumbull Branch is in Howland, Ohio. For more information, go here.
Mike sent along an exhibit photo above—Castle of Mey. As Mike wrote in his email, "It's the Queen Mother's house as viewed through Disneyesque trees." For my Wall Street Journal profile of Mike, go here. For my JazzWax interview, go here.
In Memoriam. Kitty Wells, one of Country's first female vocalists to sing songs grousing about the mistreatment of women by men, heartbreak and bad relationships, died July 16. She was 92. If you're unfamiliar with Wells, here's a fine starter collection... Stephen Covey, [pictured] self-improvement author whose 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was a huge bestseller in the 1990s, died on July 16. He was 79. Stephen was a generous friend and a swell source when I edited Bottom Line/Personal in the 1990s. He also provided me with a blurb for my 1999 book, How to Make Luck: 7 Secrets Lucky People Use to Succeed... Jon Lord, [pictured] the keyboard player for early British arena-rock band Deep Purple, died July 16. He was 71. Lord's meaty organ chords on the band's Smoke on the Water (1973) will forever be seared into the memories of teens just learning to drive or tasting a beer for the first time.
Discount at Mosaic. Mosaic Records sent out word last week that it's offering a 10% discount on 12 of its boxes through the end of July. On sale are boxes by Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Sarah Vaughan, Jazz Crusaders, Oliver Nelson, Duke Ellington small groups, Quincy Jones, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, Oscar Peterson trios, Anthony Braxton and Bing Crosby. Go here.
Kay Starr. In the wake of my post on Kay Starr's I Cry By Night, a nifty jazz album the pop vocalist made in 1961, Larry Kart was first to remind me of her 1975 GNP album Back to the Roots. As Larry noted: "The band led by Jimmy Rowles includes Blue Mitchell, Georgie Auld, Red Norvo, Al Viola, Monty Budwig, and Stix Hooper. Starr was a swinger and a real improviser."
CD discoveries of the week. Pianist Denny Zeitlin takes a new approach on his latest release, Wherever You Are (Sunnyside). Here, Denny plays solo piano and sticks exclusively to ballads. Denny's most recent albums have been spiritual tours de force, with cascades of musical exploration. Here, it's Denny in slow motion, affording an opportunity to hear his voicings up close and learn how he builds ideas on the backs of eight standards and two originals. Sample Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars/How Insensitive and The Meaning of the Blues. For my interview with Denny, go here.
The Richard Sussman Quintet opens Continuum (Origin) with a strong Hank Mobley-esque original by pianist Sussman called Spare Change. From there, the moods change almost by the track. All are compsed by Sussman, except for two—Alone Together and Theme for Ernie. What I love about this album is how it sifts contemporary execution with a sighing '70s feel. Once you have a look at the lineup, you realize why this album is so good: Sussman is on piano and synthesizer with Randy Brecker (trumpet), Jerry Bergonzi (tenor sax), Mike Richmond (bass), Jeff Williams (drums) and Mike Stern (guitar on one track). This is tight jazz with a heart. And anyone who thanks his mom in the liner notes, as Sussman does, has to be a good guy. Sample Meridian, which will take your breath away. And catch Randy Brecker on every track. His horn sounds sensational.
One of this year's finest hard bop albums is trombonist Steve Davis' Gettin' It Done (Posi-tone). All of the songs and arrangements are his, and the sound is Blue Note, circa 1962. Davis is joined by Josh Bruneau on trumpet and flugelhorn, Mike Dirubbo on alto sax, Larry Willis on piano, Nat Reeves on bass and Billy Williams on drums. The pacing and aggression are just right—powerful enough to get the message across but sufficiently spacious to allow the poetry to come through. Sample Village Blues, the title track and Wishes.
Drummer Bruce Cox is new to me. On Status Cymbals, Cox leads a quartet through seven originals and a clutch of jazz standards (Whisper Not, Darn That Dream, Evidence and Night Dreamer). The results are shockingly and consistently superb. In addition to Cox, Abraham Burton is on tenor sax (channeling Dexter Gordon), Aruan Ortiz is on piano and Gianluca Renzi is on bass. Clean, smart and a rock-solid production. Sample Darn That Dream and Cox's Robbie-Jean. More on Cox here.
Guitarist Jimi Hendrix is special because he was first to merge the electric blues with Seattle funk, producing what is now known as hard rock. He is also special because he is the starting gun for jazz-rock fusion. And he's special because his guitar wailing and vocals forced everyone who followed to get in line. Today, too many rock and blues guitarists sound like Hendrix, so the stalking wailer doesn't sound so revolutionary. But as you listen to Live at Berkeley: The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Sony Legacy), the May 30, 1970 concert will knock you out. This is Hendrix at his peak—four months before his death by overdose. You hear the full flavor of the electric rock guitar and the chill of Hendrix's vocals. Most of all, you hear the Birth of the Tool—the guitar as explosive star-maker, especially in the hands of a virtuoso. If you know nothing about Hendrix and wonder what all the fuss is about, this is your album.
It's always satisfying when a musician records his or her own work and that work turns out to be moving stuff. Such is the case with pianist Collin Shook. On Derivatives (Mont Elefant), Shook and Dylan DeRobertis (bass) and Matt Pirc (drums) play together gracefully. Clearly Shook knows his Bill Evans, a joyous thing. His pacing, voicing and dramatic builds have Evans whispering in his ear. A thoroughly enjoyable album that engages you in spiritual conversation. Sample any of the album's tracks; they're all great. For more on Collin Shook, go here.
Way back in the early 1960s, girl singers and girl groups were all the rage. There are many reasons for this, but first and foremost, the demographics were right. The oldest female baby boomers were 14 in 1960, which meant that they were old enough to know about dating but not old enough to actually go out on one. So they spent hours on the phone talking about crushes. Among the voices high-fiving those anxieties was Timi Yuro. Timi who? Yuro was an Italian-American in her early 20s with the R&B pathos of Johnnie Ray, the delivery of Brenda Lee and the anguish of Little Jimmy Scott. Dig Timi Yuro: The Complete Liberty Sessions (Real Gone) and hear for yourself. At the dawn of blue-eyed soul.
Oddball album covers of the week. I'm not quite sure who was in charge at Decca when these albums were released but clearly pets were allowed. It's nice to know that Don Elliott was a basset hound while Toots Thielemans was a boxer. It could have been worse. They could have used images of canaries and gerbils.