Clark Terry is one of jazz's most exquisite trumpeters and flugelhornists—and a lovable human being. For years he sacrificed and toiled to create beautiful music, and everyone who loves jazz owns Clark's magnificent recordings.
Now Clark needs your help. Health problems have left his family reeling and struggling. Unlike many charities, where you hope funds reach their destination but wind up who knows where, contributing to Clark's care and well-being will wind up with him and his wife to offset their mounting bills. Your dollars matter.
You can contribute directly to him or you can contribute to the Jazz Foundation, which is helping to cover his medical costs. [Photo of Clark Terry above by Herman Leonard Photography LLC/CTSImage]
Donating is easy, and every dollar counts. Simply go here.
Tod Williams. In today's Wall Street Journal, I interview architect Tod Williams—who designed the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia with partner Billie Tsien—on the song that had the most influence on him at the start of his career. The song he chose was Bob Dylan's The Times They Are a-Changin'. Go here—or please buy the paper.
Barcelona jazz. In just over six weeks I will be in Barcelona to give a series of talks about the history of post-war jazz at the Barcelona International Jazz Festival. I'm excited to reunite with the festival's artistic director, Joan Anton Cararach, who has piloted the event for the past 11 years. I'm also excited to see and hear the artists performing and meet the great jazz fans of the Catalonian capital. Of course, there will be amazing food, lots of jazz conversations at cafes and listening to live music late into the night. Here's a Down Beat article. Hope to see you there! For more information, go here.
Frank D'Rone. Howard Reich, jazz columnist for the Chicago Tribune, wrote a touching piece on guitarist-singer Frank D'Rone's last performance in August and the determination it took for Frank to get on stage despite his pain. Here's Howard's opener...
"On the day of the last concert of his life, Chicago singer-guitarist Frank D'Rone didn't know whether he should go to the emergency room or the concert hall. A long and difficult battle with cancer had taken its toll, yet D'Rone fervently wanted to make the Aug. 24 performance at the Auditorium Theatre.
'I was sick all day,' D'Rone told me in his dressing room, immediately after he finished his set. 'At about 3:30 (p.m.), I decided I had enough strength to do the concert,' which he shaped into a tour de force of subtle jazz singing and exceptionally sensitive guitar playing.
Two days later, D'Rone headed to the ER, spent the next few weeks in and out of the hospital and finally returned to the Wheaton home he shared with his wife, Joan D'Rone, where he was in hospice."
To read the entire article, go here.
A JazzWax mystery. Jon Jackson, the superb mystery writer, is a huge jazz and JazzWax fan. He also hosts a weekly radio show in Montana early on Wednesdays from midnight to 4 a.m. (EDT). You can access Jon's program from anywhere in the world on your computer by going here. Curious about his books? You'll find them all here.
JazzWax on Newsify. For those looking for a phone or iPad app that lets you keep up with JazzWax and all your favorite blogs and RSS feeds, reader Ed Pettersen recommends Newsify. Now you won't miss a single post. For more information, go here.
Marty Napoleon. Fabled pianist Marty Napoleon—who replaced Earl Hines in Louis Armstrong's All-Stars in 1952—will be making a guest appearance in New York this Monday, October 14. Marty will be at Symphony Space during the second set of Evan Christopher's Clarinet Road, presented by the Sidney Bechet Society. For more information, go here.
CD discoveries of the week. I'm constantly asked by non-jazz fans for names of albums that are ideal for novices looking for a way into the music. One recommendation would be the newly re-issued Art Tatum: Solo Masterpieces Vol. 1 (Pablo). On this album, you get 16 tracks by the piano master recorded between 1953 and 1955. All of jazz history up until the mid-'50s is wrapped up in Tatum's hands—the dance tempos the drama, the anxiety, the struggle, the wide range of piano styles and the mischievous humor. Remarkable is one way to describe what you'll hear. Acrobatic and poetic are additional words that come to mind.
John Abercrombie's new album 39 Steps (ECM) is wonderfully gentle. You don't hear music like this anymore. The pacing is patient and the music is thoughtful and enveloping. The originals are all understanding and understated, allowing for fusion-y exchanges in the most hushed approach. And yet, the energy of these pros simmers throughout. The famed guitarist is joined by Marc Copland on piano, Drew Gress on bass and Joey Baron on drums. I spent hours last week writing away while this album was on. The only standard is Melancholy Baby. The rest are originals by Abercrombie and Copeland, with one credited to all of the musicians. Sample Abercrombie's Bacharach for a taste.
An instantly appealing and cryptic boogie-woogie album, The Claudettes: Infernal Piano Plot Hatched (Yellow Dog) features just two musicians—pianist Johnny Iguana and drummer Michael Caskey. But there's so much going on here that you'll assume there are four musicians playing instead of a duo. Iguana's hands are that powerful and skillful. As best I can tell, Claudette is a woman who books the band into Midwest joints while yelling at them as she sells beer. At any rate, this is highly addictive music with all the history of rock and roll built in—before they had a name for it.
Phil Woods never lets album-buyers down. He comes to play, and what he plays always clings. On Phil Woods & the Festival Orchestra: New Celebration (Chiaroscuro), Woods soars through material that he composed, arranged and conducted. The band is the COTA Festival Orchestra, which was formed in 1988 and has had many different members. As Quincy Jones says in his liner notes, Phil "writes his ass off." Which may come as a surprise to some jazz fans. Phil is a superb big band writer whose work has been overshadowed by the spectacular quality of his horn. His charts here are elegant, expressive and full of sass. And great track-by-track notes by Jim McNeely. This is the big band album of the year. Dig the sax soli on Bop'n Bob Don't Stop. Wow.Oddball album cover of the week.
In our model's hand is an odd circular photo of a beau while the correspondence with the pink bow must be a stack of love letters (Fontanna was big on Easy Listening strings). What's difficult to understand is whether the album title refers to the songs or—given our model's cheerful expression—that the guy in question is history.