“Father Kniest, Jazz Priest” is a short story by Con Chapman about “a man of the cloth…deputized by a higher power to save jazzmen’s souls from the lures and wiles and temptations of bad taste.”
I’m getting too old for this, I thought as I made my way down Boylston Street, my tambourine in one hand, the Good Book in the other. I started ministering to the jazz scene in Boston back when Estelle Slavin and Her Swinging Brunettes were the house band at Izzy Ort’s Coney Island Club on Essex Street. Floogie Williams and the Unquenchables were ensconced at the Tip-Top Lounge, which didn’t sit well with the sconces that came with the place as trade fixtures, but so what? We were young and crazy for jazz — we didn’t care.
But now I’m closing in on eighty, and eighty’s looking over its shoulder, nervous as hell. I’ll catch it soon enough — if I don’t die first.
Back in ’55 I was just out of the seminary and was assigned by my […] Continue reading »
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: Francis Wolff […] Continue reading »
“If you can dance at all, you can dance to [Guy] Lombardo’s music,” the Metronome writer George T. Simon wrote in 1942. The Lombardo band’s popularity was once so immense and widespread that he set attendance marks wherever he went, including at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom. His appeal came despite what Simon described as the band’s “exaggerated sax vibratos, the clippety brass phrases with their illegitimate tones…and the style of singing that lets you hear all consonants and no vowels,” leading to what some musicians would ridicule as being “about as artistically creative as the average comic book.”
But, as Simon wrote in the chapter on Lombardo from his essential 1967 book The Big Bands, “Lombardo believed implicitly in his music, and he succeeded handsomely in selling it to two generations of dancers.”
For many of us born in the years following World War II – raised culturally by the likes of […] Continue reading »
He is best known for writing “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66″ — which Nat Cole made famous in 1946 — but his earliest musical success came with the song “Daddy,” recorded in 1941 by Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra, which was the #1 record for eight weeks. He was also famous for being married to the glamorous singer Julie London. Who is he?
Go to the next page for the answer!
[…] Continue reading »
Arguments abound about what is hip and what isn’t when it comes to Christmas music, but few can argue that Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas remains a breath of fresh air in a world otherwise dominated by recordings by Kenny G, Mannheim Steamroller, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Certified “triple platinum” by the Recording Industry Association of America, and ranked by Sound Scan as the #10 best selling Christmas album since 1991, A Charlie Brown Christmas — and his association with Peanuts creator Charles Schulz — is what Guaraldi is best remembered for.
What few of us probably know about Guaraldi, however, is that he was actually a self-proclaimed “reformed boogie-woogie player” who got his start filling in for […] Continue reading »