On the heels of terrific books on Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington comes Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism, author and Duke University Music Professor Thomas Brothers’ follow-up to his revered Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans.
In the book’s introduction, Brothers reports that his book picks up where Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans left off, with Armstrong’s 1922 Chicago arrival, and ends ten years later. He writes, “My main thesis is that the success of this nimble-minded musician depended on his ability to skillfully negotiate the musical and social legacies of slavery. Indeed, his career can be understood as a response to these interlocking trajectories.” I have just begun reading it and have been taken in by “Welcome to Chicago,” the book’s first chapter that tells the story of what Armstrong would have seen as he entered Lincoln Gardens for the first time in August, 1922; for example, the racially inflected floor show whose “centerpiece of the presentation is a row of light-skinned dancing girls;” dancing couples in an environment where “correct dancing is insisted upon” (to keep immorality charges at bay); and the local white musicians — “alligators” — described as “the little white boys…motivated to learn the music and cash in.”
I had the privilege of interviewing Thomas Brothers following the publication of Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans, and he has accepted my invitation for an interview about his new book. It is […] Continue reading »
Paul Morris is an avid Portland, Oregon record album collector who, in his words, will “share his enthusiasm for the artists who created album covers in the ‘40′s and ‘50′s.” In addition to being a collector of the art, he is a scholar of it. This edition retruns to the work of Alex Steinweiss, when he used the pseudonym “Piedra Blanca.” […] Continue reading »
It’s light on silver-black and white,
Grainy footage of a smoky room,
A woman at the keys. A spotlight
As perfectly round as the moon
Frames her form. She picks at a tune.
This is jazz, now, it’s uncertain.
Her fingers stop, hover, resume.
She stands, walks behind a curtain.
Years later — in color now –her
Faith allows her to break that long
Silence, permits her to […] Continue reading »
As part of its 75th Anniversary celebration, Blue Note records has announced that it has “donned our lab coats” and worked with “a team of dedicated and groovy engineers” in an all-out effort to release 100 “essential remastered jazz albums” on vinyl, beginning with the March 25 release of Art Blakey Free For All, John Coltrane Blue Train, Eric Dolphy Out To Lunch, Wayne Shorter Speak No Evil, and Larry Young Unity. Future vinyl releases are expected on a monthly basis, and will feature “modern classics” as well, including Joe Lovano Quartet: Live At The Village Vanguard, Jason Moran Soundtrack To Human Motion, Terence Blanchard Flow, Medeski Martin & Wood Combustication, and Cassandra Wilson Traveling Miles.
The vinyl release is just part of the news reported in their February 28 press release. “On the same date,” the release states, “the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles will launch Blue Note Records: The Finest In Jazz, a one-of-a-kind exhibit offering visitors an in-depth look at the legendary record label through music, album artwork, photographs, artifacts, […] Continue reading »
What sax player initially turned from the alto to the tenor sax in a purported effort to escape his image as a follower of Charlie Parker?
[…] Continue reading »