With the Miles Davis and Chet Baker films now in distribution, there is a marked increase in traffic on this website’s content that is devoted to them, including several interviews that we conducted with biographers and family members. I have chosen five of them for you to consider spending some time with, featuring Ashley Kahn, James Gavin, John Szwed, Carol Baker and Gerald Early.
I’ll have it spare as the reverence you feel for silence
in your long melodic lines, where the music cries
in the sacred spaces you leave between the notes…
I’ll have the long curve of your back bending over
your shadow on the keys as you play “Turn Out
the Stars”, written for your father when he died,
Blue Notes stretching out as if you’d have them last
Fans of the saxophone may enjoy reading a January, 2004 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 George Coleman, Booker Ervin, Paul Gonsalves, Charlie Rouse and others who he considered “underrated.”
This saxophonist’s first important jobs were during the 1940’s with Lionel Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, Louis Armstrong’s big band, and Billy Eckstine’s Orchestra (pictured). Additionally, he was a Savoy Records recording artist as a leader before being an important part of the scene on Los Angeles’ Central Avenue. Who was he?
Go to the next page for the answer!
The revival of the landmark all-black Broadway musical “Shuffle Along” – originally produced in 1921 and opening at New York’s Music Box Theatre on April 28 – reminds us of the great Noble Sissle/Eubie Blake compositions (most famously “Love Will Find a Way” and “I’m Just Wild About Harry”), but also the challenges (and humiliation) performers, theater owners and audiences faced within a racist American society. “’Shuffle’ wasn’t exactly forward thinking on race,” John Jeremiah Sullivan writes in a recent New York Times feature titled “American Shuffle.” “It broke boundaries, no doubt, but mainly through its success, and by having great pop tunes. Otherwise, it was a blacks-in-blackface production.”
“An area in which the show genuinely pushed things forward,” Sullivan writes, “[was] romance.” This during a time when white America found black sexuality