Act now—tickets are going fast to my multimedia presentation of Why Jazz Happened at 92Y/Tribeca in New York on February 4 at noon. I'll be taking you through the history of post-War jazz between 1942 and 1972—connecting the dots, complete with music tracks and large-size jazz photos. To buy tickets and for more information, go here.
Book review. F. Norman Vickers reviewing Why Jazz Happened for the Jazz Society of Pensacola...
"The book represents scholarly work and integrates sociological and technological factors influencing the music in a way different from the usual writing about the music and jazz musicians. Highly recommended."
TV talk about John Cale. Yesterday, I was on the WSJ's Lunch Break to talk about my John Cale piece in Friday's paper...
How to access JazzWax tracks. Whether you read JazzWax online or you're a subscriber and wait until your email version arrives in the evening, you know by now that many of my posts include a track to illustrate the music I'm writing about. For those unsure how to start the music, here's a tip:
- At the site, move your cursor over the left side of the gray bar; a "play" arrow will appear. Just click to hear.
- On the email, click on the link, and in a few moments a song bar should appear and the music will start automatically.
Free Art Pepper. Laurie Pepper has once again made a track by her late alto-saxophonist husband free to one and all. This month, it's Tickle Toe from disc #1from the three-CD set The Art History Project (Widow's Taste). To play and download, go here.
Ella Fitzgerald fans will be overjoyed to see what Bret Primack found on YouTube. Here, the First Lady of Song is joined by Duke Ellington on a scat version of Cottontail in the 1960s. Dig tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves. Go here.
Buddy Rich's West Side Story is a favorite of Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine's. He found this one at YouTube from 1980 in Germany...
Arnett Cobb. At Armin Büttner's Crownpropellor's Blog, you'll find an unpublished interview with Arnett Cobb from 1980. Go here.
Bethlehem Records—the 1950s label that producer Creed Taylor brought into the LP age in the mid-'50s that went on to feature terrific jazz into the early '60s—is back. The vintage label was recently purchased by the Verse Music Group in New York. The company has already begun to make the 150-200 recordings in the Bethlehem catalog available at iTunes. Here's what's available now:
- Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers—Hard Drive
- Art Blakey's Big Band—Art Blakey's Big Band
- Charles Mingus—A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry
- Charles Mingus—East Coasting
- Duke Ellington—Historically Speaking
- Duke Ellington—Duke Ellington Presents…
- Helen Carr—The Complete Bethlehem Jazz Collection
- Johnny Hartman—All of Me: The Debonair Mr. Hartman
- Mel Tormé—It's a Blue World
- Mel Tormé—At the Crescendo (Live)
- Mel Tormé—Mel Tormé Sings Fred Astaire
- Nina Simone—Little Girl Blue
- Stan Levey—This Time The Drum's On Me
- The Australian Jazz Quartet—At The Varsity Drag
According to the company, each song on the albums has been taken from analog tape and completely remastered to give them a crystal clear, digitally remastered sound. Verse is still searching for physical distribution in the U.S.
CD discoveries of the week. Trumpeter Adam O'Farrill and drummer Zack O'Farrill team up with tenor saxophonist Livio Aleida, guitarist Gabe Schnider, pianist Adam Kromelow and bassist Raviv Markovitz for Sensing Flight (Zoho). The O'Farrill Brothers are sons of pianist Arturo O'Farrill and grandsons of the legendary arranger Chico O'Farrill. This album is a jazz outing with rich moods and challenging rhythms. Sample Mind Troubles and Sensations.
If you're not hip to drummer Duduka Da Fonseca, a great entry point is a CD he slapped into my hand when I saw him a few weeks ago: Songs from the Last Century (Blue Toucan). The 2005 album has everything—Duduka's sublime cat's whisker drum style, strings arranged by Oscar Castro-Neves, bassist Eddie Gomez, alto saxophonist Phil Woods soaring along lyrically and others. I love all of Duduka's albums, but this one is particularly beautiful. Sample Three Views of a Secret, Bluesette and Very Early. The Brazilian touch doesn't get much more sublime than this.
If you missed Houston Person's So Nice (HighNote) from 2011, circle back and give a listen. As always with Houston's albums, there's a terrific mix of standards you actually want to hear as well as blues. On this one, there's even a Stephen Sondheim medley. But the album's choice cuts are the surprises: a skippy version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's Close to You; Star Eyes and Kiss and Run taken as smokey ballads; and an uptempo I Wished On the Moon. A jazz songsmith of the highest order, Houston is joined on tracks by cornetist Warren Vache.
Oddball album cover of the week.
Last week I posted an album cover featuring a frolicking couple calmly wading in what appeared to be the raging Niagara River. This week, here's a cover from the bottom of the falls—showing violins, violas and cellos enjoying a skinny dip, with bows neatly tucked behind their strings. No sense getting those wet.