My new book, Why Jazz Happened, will be in stores on Monday. Those of you who have ordered it online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble have already received it. If you've held off but are curious, I will be featuring a five-part video about the book starting on Monday. Hopefully this will spark your interest. [Cover photo by Herb Snitzer]
Here's where I'll be in the coming weeks—and where I've been:
Where I'll be...Jan. 3—Barnes & Noble/82nd and Broadway in New York, 7 p.m. I will be interviewed by jazz author and liner-notes maven Ira Gitler. We will be talking about the birth of the extended solo on long-playing records and why such solos happened when they did in 1951. Come on over, buy a book, say hello and have it signed. Go here for information.
Feb. 4— 92Y Tribeca/200 Hudson St., New York; noon to 1 p.m. For this multimedia event, I will be talking about why jazz styles changed so often between 1942 and 1972—using music tracks and large-screen images to illustrate the dramatic changes. Tickets: $21. Go here. Need directions? Go here.
Where I've been (in order of most recent event)...
Interview—Scott Timberg at The Misread City blog interviewed me yesterday. Go here to read the Q&A.
Interview—Ron Wynn of the Nashville Scene interviewed me on Thursday. Go here.
Literary blog mentions—Based in the New Orleans area, Marshal Zeringue runs a fabulous series of literary blogs. He asked me to share with readers what I was reading. My response will be posted shortly. For now, go here, here and here.
Appearance—Last Monday I spoke to David Adler's jazz history class at Queens College in New York and played tracks to illustrate points. Students were excited, engaged and asked terrific questions. To read David's blog, go here.
Podcast—A week ago, I did an on-air interview with WRTC (Hartford, Conn.) host and soul-music maestro Chris Cowles. Go here (interview comes on automatically).
Want me on your show or in your classroom to talk about Why Jazz Happened? Email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Brubeck. Writer Larry Blumenfeld emailed during the week to chat about the passing of Dave Brubeck. Larry has a touching, up-close post here.
Slim Gaillard. JazzWax reader Joe Lang sent along a fabulous clip of Slim Gaillard...
CD discoveries of the week. Carrie Newcomer's Kindred Spirits: A Collection (Rounder) isn't an official holiday album, but it could be. The forceful folk singer's career is captured here in 19 luxurious tracks. Unfamiliar with Newcomer? She's a singer-songwriter, guitarist and banjo player with 13 solo albums and a bushel of awards. Her voice is deep and maternal—in the tradition of female artists of the late '60s and early '70s. Best of all, there's a blend of strings and acoustic instruments that give this roundup a woodsy, snowshoe feel. Sample almost any track, including Where You Been? and Two Toasts. Impossible not to be moved by a woman who sounds like your wise sister—if she could sing.
If you like your coffee strong, you'll dig the Hammer Klavier Trio's Rocket in the Pocket (Jan Matthies). This trio features pianist Boris Netsvetaev, bassist Phillipp Steen and drummer Kai Bussenius. Tracks are strong and confident, with impeccable technique, earthy melodies and roiling ideas. It's astonishing how many superb artists today fly under the radar, and I'm glad this one came to my attention. Each track stands out, carrying an enormous jazz torch in the dark, brooding European tradition. Liner notes by Howard Mandel. Dig Kaleidoscope, Take Fifteen and Harold Mabern. Three musicians with a big sound who know how to work with their hands.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and guitarist Ben Harper also has a retrospective album out called By My Side (EMI). I guess the best way to describe Harper for those not in the know is acoustic folk-rock, with an empahsis on the vocal and blues. In fact, it's pretty tough not to fall in line with what Harper's doing as soon as you hear his originals on this look-back album. Sample Diamonds on the Inside, Beloved One and Waiting on an Angel. Shades of Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan and Bob Seger with a highly original twist.
Oddball album cover of the week.