At noon on Monday, I will be at 92Y/Tribeca in New York presenting a multimedia history of jazz between World War II and Watergate. Based on my new book, Why Jazz Happened, the one-hour event will include music and jazz photos, a Q&A and a book-signing. There are still tickets available. Go here or call: (212) 415-5500.
Bethlehem records update: New York's Verse Music Group—which owns the Bethlehem Records catalog—will be making the following titles are available at iTunes now:
- Got A Date With An Angel - Helen Carr
- One for my Baby - Bobby Troup
- Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man - Betty Roche
- Cheek to Cheek - Mel Torme
- Love Is Just Around The Corner - Frances Faye
- I Get A Kick Out Of You - Johnny Hartman
- Ev’rytime We Say Goodbye - Peggy Connelly
- The Charm of You - Joe Derise
- All About Ronnie - Chris Connor
- I Only Have Eyes For You - Herb Jeffries
- Be Careful It’s My Heart - Helen Carr
- Wonderful One - Mel Torme
- Lullaby of Birdland - Chris Connor
- I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Bobby Troup
- Too Much in Love to Care - Carmen McRae
- S’Wonderful - Joe Derise
- I’ve Got You Under My Skin - Frances Faye
- Sweet Lovin’ Baby - Eddie Vinson
- You Make Me Feel So Young - Sallie Blair
- I Concentrate On You - Johnny Hartman
New Robert Johnson photo. Ted Gioia hipped me to this one. Finally, a third photo of the famed bluesman has been acquired by Getty Images from the Johnson estate. Johnson, left, with fellow musician Johnny Shines. For more, go here.
New Jersey Jazz Society. Join the society and you'll receive the Jersey Jazz Journal, a monthly publication with interviews and commentary by noted jazz writers and columnists. A great read. Go here.
Francis Davis's poll. Each year, jazz writer Francis Davis compiles a list of the best albums of 2012 based on a survey of jazz writers (including yours truly). You'll find the results of his Rhapsody's Jazz Critics Poll 2012 here.
Kenny Vance and the Planotones were in New York at the City Winery in support of their new CD Acapella, which comes out February 12. In case you missed by my holiday CD picks for the Wall Street Journal, Vance is a founder of Jay and the Americans and was Steely Dan's first producer. He's also a doo-wop fanatic. Here's Vance and group at the City Winery singing Sunday Kind of Love...
CD discovery of the week. After stumbling across a used copy of The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, guitarist Ken Hatfield assembled a sextet and recorded an album dedicated to the writer-social activist and soul of the Harlem Renaissance. On For Langston, Hatfield avoided the trap of trying to out-heavy Hughes. Instead, he has produced an uplifting, spiritual jazz tribute that treats its subject seriously but with joyous lyricism. The music is completely unexpected, given the album's title. Each of the 14 tracks corresponds to a Hughes poem, and Hilary Gardner handles the vocals with aplomb. The star here, though, is Hatfield, who composed and arranged the songs and plays with a glorious feel. Easily one of the finest tribute albums so far this year. (Use Safari to access the site link above.)
Oddball album cover of the week.
Tony Bennett has referred to Johnnie Ray as "the true father of rock and roll." I'm not sure I'd go that far, but Ray certainly introduced over-the-top emotion to song delivery with early '50s hits like Cry, Little White Cloud That Cried and Whiskey and Gin. His passionate performance style motivated scribes to dub him "The Cryer," and by 1954, mobs of girls who rushed the stage when he performed were known as his "Cry Team." Above, Johnnie sheds quite a tear.