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
Oh, Mister Silver, please please please,
don’t make me beat my feet
no more no more no more.
I’ve been finger poppin’, thinking
about Juicy Lucy, dreaming
of some sweet stuff,
wanting to come on home to some
[…] Continue reading »
In a just recorded podcast, two of this era’s most accomplished jazz writers — the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff and Nate Chinen — discuss the two first-run biopics now out on Miles Davis and Chet Baker, the ingenious trumpeters who each experienced great drama in their professional careers and personal lives, most obviously their chemical dependency and great personal charisma. You can hear the journalists discuss