• I deplaned in Amsterdam to confront my father. In 1990, the year I was born, after the likes of Stan Getz and Freddie Hubbard dubbed him “the reincarnation of Chet Baker,” he quit his part-time job repairing cars in Gilbert, Iowa to go on a worldwide tour from which he never returned.

  • The friendship of Coltrane and Dolphy and the time of “anti-jazz”

  • This edition features a selection of covers by Curt John Witt, the prolific illustrator for mid-century budget record labels

  • Mercies would have put blues on the menu if it could, but that was a province of the kitchen, where I worked four and a half months too many. I heard actual blues music and caught a gust of air conditioning whenever I

     

     

  • "Homage" -- a short story by Kenneth Levine
  • A Moment in Time -- John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy, 1961
  • Cover Stories with Paul Morris, Vol. 10
  • "HEAT," -- a short story by Arya Jenkins
navarro1 Uncategorized

Gary Giddins on underrated trumpet players

Fans of the trumpet may enjoy reading an 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 Fats Navarro, Kenny Dorham, Booker Little, and a few others who never quite received their “due.”

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GG: Another trumpet player that I never actually did a whole column on — and it sort of spooks me that I didn’t because he’s one of my favorites — is Fats Navarro, one of the very pivotal players of the late forties. I wrote a number of times about Clifford Brown, who in some ways arrived as Navarro’s heir apparent, but he’s another musician I feel I never did justice to because

[…] Continue reading »

fletcher1 Features » Book Excerpts

Fletcher Henderson and “Christopher Columbus”

I can’t let Columbus Day go by without paying homage to the Chu Berry/Andy Razaf song that was a “novelty hit” for Fats Waller and the theme song of Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra. Recorded and performed by countless artists from Louis Armstrong to Lawrence Welk, Jeffrey Magee, author of The Uncrowned King of Swing: Fletcher Henderson and Big Band Jazz, tells the story of the song’s origins, and how it became “another focal point of frustration to those around [Henderson].” […] Continue reading »

evans3 Uncategorized

Blue: Magical Moments in Jazz — a (proposed) film by Christoph Felder

German filmmaker Christoph Felder is crowdfunding for a project he calls “Blue: Magical Moments in Jazz,” which he hopes will document the recording session of pianist Martin Sasse, Steve Grossman, saxophonist Bill Evans, and others. Felder claims this project will result in “the first film ever to explore and show how magical moments in jazz music happen.” A three minute film is found on the crowdfunding page, and is a worthwhile visit.

Click here to view it

[…] Continue reading »

tower2 Uncategorized

A Day in the Life of the Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard – 1971

The lure of record stores was pretty strong during that industry’s glory days, and no chain record store was held in higher esteem than Tower Records. Founded by Russ Solomon in Sacramento in 1960, the chain would spread to major cities all over the country (Columbus and Bay in San Francisco, Sunset Blvd. In LA, and the two Manhattan locations were the chain’s most revered U.S. addresses), and eventually all over the world. Before the stores were liquidated in 2006, Tower had established itself as a major retailer, with consumer recognition of its logo among the top 20 in all of retailing.

Paul Morris turned me on to a terrific video of the Tower/Sunset store in 1971. In its nearly 11 minutes, you will see employees floor stacking albums, ringing up customers while dangling smokes from their lips, $2.77 new releases, and […] Continue reading »