In the introduction to his 2011 autobiography, trumpeter Clark Terry writes; “I’d always thought that the most important thing was to play my horn — to get into this band or that band or Duke’s band, to have my own band, to perform, record. And I did enjoy those things. Worked hard to achieve them. But, later on, I had a new dream: helping young musicians to make their dreams come true. That became my supreme joy and my greatest aspiration.” Indeed, while Terry’s musical career is legendary (Dizzy Gillespie thought he was “the best trumpeter around”), his life may be remembered as much for his work with young musicians as his impact on the bandstand.
A new documentary, Keep On Keepin’ On, is evidence of Terry’s passion for mentoring younger […] Continue reading »
Described by one reviewer as “one of the pioneers of this raucous, rapid-fire, eight-to-the-bar piano style,” this pianist was active in Chicago from 1915 but remained unrecorded until 1939. In addition to his work as a pianist, during World War I he played baseball for the Negro Baseball League’s Chicago All-Americans, and was a groundskeeper for the Chicago White Sox throughout his life. Who is he?
James P. Johnson
Meade Lux Lewis
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In honor of the late jazz photographer Lee Tanner, Jerry Jazz Musician presents a number of editions of “Master of Jazz Photography,” featuring a work by one of the photographers featured in Tanner’s book The Jazz Image.
This edition: Chuck Stewart […] Continue reading »
Fans of the trumpet may enjoy reading an interview I did with critic Gary Giddins on underrated jazz musicians. (This was part of my 15 part series of interviews with him called “Conversations with Gary Giddins.”) In this snippet from the interview, Giddins talks about Fats Navarro, Kenny Dorham, Booker Little, and a few others who never quite received their “due.”
GG: Another trumpet player that I never actually did a whole column on — and it sort of spooks me that I didn’t because he’s one of my favorites — is Fats Navarro, one of the very pivotal players of the late forties. I wrote a number of times about Clifford Brown, who in some ways arrived as Navarro’s heir apparent, but he’s another musician I feel I never did justice to because
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I can’t let Columbus Day go by without paying homage to the Chu Berry/Andy Razaf song that was a “novelty hit” for Fats Waller and the theme song of Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra. Recorded and performed by countless artists from Louis Armstrong to Lawrence Welk, Jeffrey Magee, author of The Uncrowned King of Swing: Fletcher Henderson and Big Band Jazz, tells the story of the song’s origins, and how it became “another focal point of frustration to those around [Henderson].” […] Continue reading »