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 »
Her rhythms are held by open
waves of blue strength.
Faces cool under a crescent moon.
The insides of listeners turn red
with passion. The crowd reaches
for her flavor.
Words birth from her as the children
of sound. Fingers tap to the
[…] Continue reading »
German filmmaker Christoph Felder is crowdfunding for a project he calls “Blue: Magical Moments in Jazz,” which he hopes will document the recording session of pianist Martin Sasse, Steve Grossman, saxophonist Bill Evans, and others. Felder claims this project will result in “the first film ever to explore and show how magical moments in jazz music happen.” A three minute film is found on the crowdfunding page, and is a worthwhile visit.
The lure of record stores was pretty strong during that industry’s glory days, and no chain record store was held in higher esteem than Tower Records. Founded by Russ Solomon in Sacramento in 1960, the chain would spread to major cities all over the country (Columbus and Bay in San Francisco, Sunset Blvd. In LA, and the two Manhattan locations were the chain’s most revered U.S. addresses), and eventually all over the world. Before the stores were liquidated in 2006, Tower had established itself as a major retailer, with consumer recognition of its logo among the top 20 in all of retailing.
Paul Morris turned me on to a terrific video of the Tower/Sunset store in 1971. In its nearly 11 minutes, you will see employees floor stacking albums, ringing up customers while dangling smokes from their lips, $2.77 new releases, and […] Continue reading »
Charles Mingus called him “the greatest trumpet player that I’ve heard in this life,” and he became well-known during his nine years playing in Count Basie’s orchestra, taking a “Pop Goes the Weasel” chorus on “April in Paris.” Who is he?
Thad Jones […] Continue reading »