Where would jazz be without New York’s “joints’ of the 1920′s – 1950′s? If Ellington hadn’t been hired to play the Cotton Club, what direction would his orchestra have taken? Without the Royal Roost, would Parker play with Miles and Max Roach, and would Miles have had a venue to perform “Birth of the Cool” in? And, where would Monk and Coltrane have played if not at the Five Spot?
I came upon this terrific history today, “Jazz Joints Through the Ages.” Written by noted jazz historian Ashley Kahn and originally published in Jazz Times in 2006, the feature provides short biographies of many of the most important clubs in jazz music’s past. […] Continue reading »
After joining Billy Eckstine’s band in 1944, Eckstine named this new band mate “Jug” when straw hats ordered for the band did not fit. Who is he?
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Last night, CNN aired an episode of the Spielberg/Hanks/Goetzman-produced documentary “The Sixties” that focused on the Vietnam War. Lots of historic and horrific footage — some I have never seen before — that will hopefully serve as a blunt reminder about the cost of involving ourselves in an unnecessary war. So many wonderful young men of my generation paid the ultimate price…
Two of the key commentators on the program are Karl Marlantes, author of the essential Vietnam war novel Matterhorn that focused on the aims of the war — which was not about gaining territory but solely on the mass killing of the Viet Cong — and David Maraniss, author of They Marched Into Sunlight, an account of the war on the battlefield, […] Continue reading »
Concerning yesterday’s passing of the great pianist Horace Silver, others much more qualified than I will write of his musical brilliance, and communicate his importance to the music’s growth. (To that end, there is an excellent life remembrance of Silver by Peter Keepnews in today’s New York Times that you can read by going here). I would just like to devote a couple paragraphs to my own introduction to his music, and what it meant to me at the time.
When I moved from Berkeley to Portland in the summer of 1978, I was already a pretty passionate listener of jazz, but I was still in the “101″ phase. I knew and loved the “A Team” – Basie, Ellington, some early Armstrong, Monk, Bird and Miles. Coltrane’s ballads were gorgeous, and I loved his playing on […] Continue reading »
Still tingling with Basie’s hard cooking,
between sets I stood at the bar
when the man next to me ordered
scotch and milk. I looked to see who had
this stray taste and almost swooned
when I saw it was the master.
Basie knocked his shot back,
then, when he saw me gaping,
raised his milk to my peachy face
and rolled out his complete smile
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