The visual artist Jazzamoart of Guanajuato, Mexico has long enticed serious jazz collectors with his uncommon, audacious, and joyful paintings. Possibly the most important expressionist artist interpreting jazz, the critic Antonio Rodriguez wrote that Jazzamoart’s paintings “are reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s style and the expression takes from the horrorific elements of Willem de Kooning’s work,” while Jose Luis Cuevas describes it as “if he were a mad jazz dancer who discovers the origins of the earth every time his toe dips into it.” His colorful, creative work […] Continue reading »
In the mid-1950′s, after a failed audition for the Benny Goodman band, this drummer found work in New York, toured with Charles Mingus’s band, and performed on J.J. Johnson’s J Is for Jazz. Who is he?
Philly Joe Jones
Jack De Johnette
Besides doing his best to help raise three kids, during my 1960′s childhood my father worked his heart out at two jobs — one of which was as owner of a restaurant on Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue, and the other as a musician, playing trumpet and viola throughout the San Francisco Bay area, mostly on evenings and weekends in “casual” jobs. For years he was part of a strolling quartet that entertained San Francisco’s elite at the World Trade Club — an ensemble that at its peak toured the Philippines, playing to an audience that included “strongman” Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda.
Prior to that, in the 30′s he traveled the country and led his own band in Sacramento. In the 40′s, he spent the war years as a member of the Winged Victory Orchestra. And, in the late 40′s and 50′s, among many musical pursuits (although toned down once he married my mom in 1947), he played in the Jack Fina Orchestra, as well as in Ernie Heckscher’s orchestra, which famously played at the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill.
He loved his music, and part of my own early appreciation for music came as a result of hearing his practice sessions. To this day I can still very clearly hear the sound of his viola […] Continue reading »
Ruby Dee, perhaps best known for her work on stage and screen in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun — a play the New York Times’ Frank Rich said “changed American theater forever” — and for her political activism, particularly during the era of the civil rights movement, died on June 11.
In Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism, Thomas Brothers picks up where he left off with the acclaimed Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans, following the story of the great jazz musician into his most creatively fertile years in the 1920s and early 1930s, when Armstrong created not one but two modern musical styles. Brothers wields his own tremendous skill in making the connections between history and music accessible to everyone as Armstrong shucks and jives across the page. Through Brothers’s expert ears and eyes we meet an Armstrong whose quickness and sureness, so evident in his performances, served him well in his encounters with racism while his music soared across the airwaves into homes all over America.
Brothers discusses his book with Jerry Jazz Musician publisher Joe Maita in an April, 2014 interview. […] Continue reading »