On August 3, 2007, I started JazzWax at the urging of Terry Teachout, author of the forthcoming Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington and theater critic for The Wall Street Journal. Terry and I used to get together quarterly in the 1990s and well into the 2000s to listen to jazz. This was the staring-at-speakers kind of listening. Today, we're all grown up and no longer have the luxury of that kind of time, but the memories are sweet. Instead, we talk by email. It's not the same—but it will have to do.
For those new to JazzWax, there are links to more than 350 JazzWax interviews in the right-hand column and links to my 200 Wall Street Journal articles. Since inception, I've written 2,001 posts that have received 2.2 million page views. JazzWax has 3,300 subscribers in addition to the site's daily 2,000 visitors. You can follow me on Twitter and at Facebook. And if you want to subscribe and receive my daily post in the evening for free, sign up in the right-hand column. Thank you one and all for making JazzWax one of the most popular daily music blogs on the web.
And Tony Bennett's birthday. Today is the birthday of the classiest guy in show business with the warmest voice and biggest heart. Happy 87th, Tony!
Meredith Vieira. In the Review section of this weekend's Wall Street Journal (go here or please buy the paper), I chat with NBC correspondent and talk-show host Meredith Vieira about her favorite song—Over the Rainbow.
Joe Pass jazzumentary. Nearly 50 years after guitarist Joe Pass recorded For Django, surviving members of his quartet—John Pisano, Jim Hughart and Colin Bailey, along with Joe's protege Frank Potenza—recently recorded a tribute for Capri Records entitled For Joe. The two-day recording session was captured by jazzumentarian Dailey Pike. The result—A Not So Average Joe—will have its online screening September 28. But JazzWax readers can see it now by going here and typing in the password "jazzwax."
Billy Root memorial page. Billy Root's family has put up a webpage with his biography, discography and more. Go here. [Pictured above: Billy Root]
Rita Reys (1924-2013), a Dutch jazz singer, died on July 28 in the Netherlands. She was 88. Reys spent much of her career in Europe but was probably most famous among jazz fans for recording the only album on which Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers backed a vocalist. [Pictured above, Art Blakey and Rita Reys in 1956] You'll find my posts on Reys and Blakey here and here.
Phil Spector, Lucy lover. In 1966, Phil Spector wrote, produced and sang a song called Lucy in London, which was used in Lucille Ball's hour-long TV show to celebrate her visit there. Have a look..
I never understood why the Wall of Sound producer bothered. Last week, Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine helped solve the mystery when he sent along a photo...
That's Spector in the second row, right, as a teen member of a Lucille Ball fan club, with Lucy in the middle. Now it all makes sense.
More Patty Duke on a fixed income. For those who enjoyed the public service video I shared with you last week featuring Patty Duke for the Social Security Administration, JazzWax reader John Cooper reminds me there's more where that one came from. Go here.
Oddball album cover of the week.