On Monday I will be appearing as Dennis Owsley's guest on Jazz Unlimited—a radio show Dennis has been producing for KWMU-St. Louis since 1983. We will be talking about my new book, Why Jazz Happened, and Dennis will be spinning related tracks pulled from his enormous vinyl collection. [Cover photo of Dizzy Gillespie above by Herb Snitzer]
The show will be broadcast on a future date, and I will fill you in as details become available.
Dennis is on every Sunday night from 9 p.m. to midnight (CST). After each show, you can listen to it at your leisure over the following week in the archive. For more on Dennis, go here.
Wayne Shorter was interviewed recently by Larry Appelbaum—senior music reference librarian and jazz specialist in the music division at the Library of Congress. You can read Larry's interview with the tenor saxophonist here.
Jazz & Blues TV announced it will soon launch an online platform that will allow subscribers to view streaming jazz and blues gigs live or on-demand. For more details, go here.
Radio documentaries galore. JAZZ.FM91—Canada's most widely heard all-jazz radio station in Toronto—has made its treasure trove of audio interviews with noted jazz musicians available as podcasts. The list of artists interviewed includes Renee Rosnes, Rob McConnell, Phil Nimmons, Moe Koffman, Lenny Breau and many more. For the complete list, go here.
John Farnsworth. Scott Robinson of SOLOS, a project launched to promote artists "one video at a time," emailed to say he had just posted a video of saxophonist John Farnsworth's Mozzin.' To view, go here.
Sue Raney and Pinky Winters. If you're in Culver City, Calif. next Thursday (Valentine's Day), swing over to the Kirk Douglas Theater. Bill Reed has written a Songbook program that will feature singers Sue Raney, Pinky Winters, Michael Dees and Kurt Reichenbach celebrating the music of George Gershwin. Backing the singers will be pianist Jim Cox, bassist Jeff D'Angelo and drummer Ralph Penland. For more information, go here.
CD discovery of the week. Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington's new Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (Concord) is a thoughtful tribute to the 1963 album Money Jungle, featuring Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. Never an intensely popular recording when it was released, Money Jungle was a de facto political statement meant to express the frustration jazz musicians felt over balancing art and commerce. Carrington updates the album's restlessness, making its original intent as meaningful today as it was 50 years ago. Sample Fleurette Africain and the emotionally torn Cut Off.
Book discoveries of the week. If jazz had an Elvis Presley, it was Miles Davis. Throughout jazz's post-war development—with its surging styles—Davis was consistently at the tip of the spear. He played with Charlie Parker in the late '40s, he was with Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan on what would later be known as The Birth of the Cool sessions. He was at the dawn of hard bop with Walkin' in 1954. Along with Dave Brubeck, he became jazz's first LP superstar in 1956, forming a quintet and sextet that revolutionized the music in the late '50s. Kind of Blue in 1959 stretched jazz and radicalized rock through the use of modal scales. The second quintet in the '60s pushed the limits of acoustic jazz while In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew in 1969 helped ignite the jazz-rock fusion movement. Now Miles Davis: The Complete Illustrated History (Voyageur Press) helps capture Davis's energy and propulsion with loads of colorful images. If you miss holding an album cover while listening to music, this book will do the trick, particularly when listening to Davis.
If you're curious about the origins of the jazz orchestra, Eddy Determeyer (Rhythm Is Our Business: Jimmie Lunceford and the Harlem Express) has written Big Easy Big Bands: Dawn and Rise of the Jazz Orchestra (self-published). You'll find it here.
Oddball album cover of the week.
The music on this one is certainly the polar opposite of the mood-music albums I've featured here recently. I'm not sure of the album's song titles or how they sound, but I'm guessing that this trio's tracks did well with men.