• Online tributes to the great saxophonist from entertainers and journalists

  • A short story by Arya Jenkins, inspired by the life and music of Billie Holiday

  • What Queen Latifah left out of Bessie — the myth of Bessie Smith’s death

  • Reflections on meeting B.B. King

  • Surfing the Net -- Remembering Ornette Coleman
  • "Don't Threaten Me with Love, Baby" -- by Arya Jenkins
  • What Queen Latifah left out of Bessie
  • My B. B. King Story
bessie2 Uncategorized

What Queen Latifah left out of Bessie — the myth of Bessie Smith’s death

Queen Latifah’s homage to Bessie Smith, the HBO film Bessie, offers a look at the complexity of this transcendent entertainer’s life. The movie is wonderfully entertaining with strong performances by Latifah throughout, but, like most “biopics,” it is also somewhat flawed. For example, while her overt bi-sexuality, alcohol abuse, violent temper, and tempestuous marital life were central to her life story – and thus important to this film – her great musical talent didn’t feel completely honored in performance.

Given that the myth encompassing Bessie Smith’s death has dominated her life story to the point where prominent historians believe she was better known for her death than for what she accomplished in life, it was not surprising that Latifah chose to end her film without […] Continue reading »

mlk522 Quiz Show » Jazz History Quiz

Jazz History Quiz #72

Following Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 assassination, this famous singer was offered unofficial leadership in the civil rights movement by King’s widow, Coretta Scott King. Who is she?

Ethel Waters

Aretha Franklin

Josephine Baker

Ivie Anderson

Dinah Washington

Carmen McRae

Alberta Hunter

Go to the next page for the answer!
[…] Continue reading »

lundvall1 Features » In Memoriam

Bruce Lundvall, 1935 – 2015

Bruce Lundvall, a record executive best known among fans of jazz music as Blue Note Records president for 25 years, died yesterday at the age of 79. In addition to his work at Blue Note, Lundvall was president of CBS Records during the heyday of the LP business, and was responsible for signing many of that label’s major artists, and for expanding the jazz division of Columbia Records.

My own experience with him was always very favorable. Although I hadn’t spoken to him for several years, whenever I did reach out to him, either as a record executive myself or as publisher of Jerry Jazz Musician, he always made himself available and was supportive of my work.

In 2003, I hosted a conversation on the state of the business of jazz with Lundvall, New York Times columnist Ben Ratliff, and saxophonist Joshua Redman. Part of the discussion dealt with […] Continue reading »