If you're in New York on January 3, come join me at Barnes & Noble on 82d and Broadway at 7 p.m. I will be interviewed by legendary jazz author and writer Ira Gitler on my new book, Why Jazz Happened. Actually, it will be more of a conversation, since Ira—author of the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz and the indispensable Swing to Bop—has written hundreds of album liner notes since 1951 and will have a few stories up his sleeve. I will be signing books, and it would be great to see you there.
And if you're in New York on February 4, at noon, I will be at 92YTribeca. I plan to cover the history of jazz from 1942 to 1972 in just 45 minutes. Best of all, I will be treating this 30-year saga as a film noir—complete with audio clips and images on a huge screen. There also will be a Q&A at the end, and I will be signing books. Tickets are $21 each. To buy tickets, go here.
Why Jazz Happened news...
Why Jazz Happened also made Publisher's Weekly's famed "Our Favorite Books We Read in 2012" list. Also on the list, Ted Gioia's The Jazz Standards.
JazzTimes magazine is offering Why Jazz Happened as part of a sweepstakes, ending on January 11. So if you haven't purchased a copy yet, here's your shot at a free one. But hurry. Go here.
Yet more mentions of Why Jazz Happened in literary posts by Marshal Zeringue in New Orleans. Marshal put me to the Ford Maddox Ford "Page 99 Test"—asking me to turn to said page in my book and relate what's there. A fascinating challenge. Go here and here.
Superb radio interview by Mark Hayes of Passing Notes on WDNA in Miami. The podcast is up now.
Upcoming radio interviews...
January 3 (11:15 a.m., EST)—With host John Greenspan of KSFR-FM in Santa Fe, N.M.January 11 (10 p.m., EST)—With host David Brent Johnson of Night Lights on WFIU-FM in Bloomington, Ind.
January 13 (11 a.m., EST)—With host Terence Tyson of Making Waves on WHFR.FM in Dearborn, Mich.
January 15 (7 p.m., EST)—With host Ron Wynn of Freestyle on WFSK-FM in Nashville, Tenn.
Jazz in Ireland. What's happening in Dublin? JazzWax reader Billy O'Hanluain sent along the following video clip of singer Jaime Nanci and the Blues Boys. Dig Nanci's vocal interpretation of Mood Indigo and the Paul Desmond-esque alto sax of Ciaran Wilde (go here). For more about the band, go here.
More free Art Pepper. Laurie Pepper, the alto
saxophonist's entrepreneurial widow, sent along another free download for all to enjoy. It's a track recorded at the Village Vanguard in 1977—a few weeks before Pepper's gig was recorded by Contemporary Records and with a different group: Onaje Allen Gumbs, Gene Perla, and Joe LaBarbera. To download, go here.
Marlene VerPlanck. If you're in New York over the coming days, singer Marlene VerPlanck [pictured above] will be at the Blue Note brunch on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 ($29.50 buys brunch, a drink and the show). She'll be backed by the Tedd Firth Trio. For more information, go here. And on Friday, December 28, Marlene will be at The Kitano, at 66 Park Ave. (38th St.). For more information, go here.
A special JazzWax thanks to those who provided me with extraordinary behind- the-scenes assistance throughout 2012: Mary Francis and Alex Dahne, Jon Foley, Eric Gibson, Ira Gitler, Nat Hentoff, Lisa Hoke and David Bemis, Bill Kirchner, David Langner, Brenda Marsh and Lou Pizzitola, Hank O'Neal, Bret Primack, Fred Seibert, Todd Selbert, Herb Snitzer, Creed Taylor and Terry Teachout.
CD discoveries of the week. At first, trumpeter Allen Vizzutti's new album Ritzville (Village Place) sounds like a funk-fusion work. But as the CD progressed and became more sophisticated, I grew curious, reaching for the cover. No wonder. Stanley Clarke and Chick Corea are on two tracks. Vizzutti—formerly of Woody Herman's band and four years with Chick—composed and arranged all of the tracks. On this album, his playing is powerful and peppery, backed by a large string section. Sample Silhouette and Ticklish. Thinking big never sounded so good.
Before Paul Winter changed the name of his band to the Paul Winter Consort and began playing World and spiritual music, the saxophonist was a jazz player who in 1961 was signed by Columbia Records. On The Paul Winter Sextet: Count Me In, 1962-63 (Living Music), a two-CD set, the group is recorded in the studio and at the Kennedy White House on Nov. 19, 1962. The music is rich and edgy (Winter had a Cannonball Adderley feel), with hard bop and bossa influences. On the bossa side, sample Casa Camara and Voce E Eu. On the jazz side, sample A Bun Dance and Mystery Blues. Intellectual jazz from the '60s at its very best.
It's impossible not to dig Bob Wolfman's Transition. Guitarist-singer Wolfman has a voice like Brian Wilson's—up high and passionate. His guitar playing is sharp and tasteful. Produced by fusionista Larry Coryell, who puts a mighty electric twang on the recording, the album is a grab-bag of musical pieces. New Yorker Wolfman has played with Coryell, Chick Corea, Joe Beck, James Cammack and others. Sample Trees, Seeds and Bailey's Bounce. A fusion album of musical truffles.
Oddball album cover of the week.