• 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
bud2 Literature » Poetry

“Lake Bud,” a poem by Ishmael Reed

Lake Merritt is Bud Powell’s piano
The sun tingles its waters
Snuff-jawed pelicans descend
tumbling over each other like
Bud’s hands playing Tea for Two
or Two for Tea

Big Mac Containers, tortilla chip, Baby Ruth
wrappers, bloated dead cats, milkshake
cups, and automobile tires
[…] Continue reading »

kamasi1 Uncategorized

The latest West Coast jazz scene

In Sunday’s New York Times, music critic Ben Ratliff’s feature entitled “Los Angeles Jazz With Kamasi Washington and Others” addresses a snapshot of the current West Coast scene, with an emphasis on Washington’s group and its triple-disc recording titled “The Epic.”

In the piece, Ratliff reminds us of the aesthetic divide that has long existed between New York (“the center of the jazz-performance business”) and Los Angeles – specifically the “temper of life” there, where there is a “possibility for working in a less-pressured and lifelong artistic community, the artist’s sense of security against New York hustle.” From this comes a sense of artistic freedom perhaps not found in the […] Continue reading »

booker1 Interviews » Conversations with Gary Giddins

Booker Ervin and other “underrated” saxophonists

I got caught up into listening to Booker Ervin this morning, and was reminded about my first experience listening to him as a leader — on a big band session he led called Booker ‘n’ Brass, a 1967 Pacific Jazz recording that has found its way to my turntable for the first time in probably 25 years. Forty-eight years since its recording, Ervin’s crisp attack over the top of the stalwart Teddy Edwards-led band on songs like “St. Louis Blues,” “Baltimore Oriole,” and “Harlem Nocturne” sounds as good as it did when I first discovered this record in a Portland used record shop for $2.99 , c. 1980.

Getting into Ervin again reminds me of a conversation I hosted in January, 2004, with the most eminent jazz critic of his era, Gary Giddins, who shared his thoughts with me in a three part series regarding the jazz musicians he deemed as being “underrated.” Here is the part where he talks about […] Continue reading »