A conversation about women who formed a group that became known as “Heterodoxy,” whose members were fired up by a desire to change their world, and who became public ambassadors of a brand-new philosophy; feminism.
Besides being one of the first to be influenced by Charlie Christian, in 1944 this electric guitarist employed Charlie Parker on his first recording date and eventually led an R&B-oriented group “The Rockin’ Highlanders” that featured the saxophonist Red Prysock (pictured). Who is he?
You listen to Karrin Allyson sing “Blame It on My Youth,” you picture her in the throes of its May-December scenario. You picture her on a college campus. Columbia University, the steps in front of Low, a pleated skirt, a short bob, the full flush of love on her cheeks.
. . Distributed by Joe Glaser’s Associated Booking Corporation. Photographer uncredited and unknown., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Chet Baker, 1955 . . Always Cool Alison weaves on her loom in the living room. Fifth floor walk up. Manhattan. Chet plays on the stereo; a trumpet divinely graced, caressed like a stunning woman’s body, soft … Continue reading ““Always Cool” — a poem by Judith Vaughn”
The voice comes down from the bedroom, winding down the stairs, crankily.
It does not at once compel in the manner of one of my “favorite singers” on the radio. I am a person, to use the word loosely, who does not own record albums, or a record player. What I hear from upstairs at her house, wailing down from the steps in that unassimilable voice, is the whine of the prairie. A rusty gate. A barroom complaint…
In The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America, author Nicholas Buccola tells the story of the historic 1965 Cambridge Union debate between Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and Buckley, a staunch opponent of the movement and founder in 1955 of National Review, the leading conservative publication. The evening’s debate topic? “The American dream is at the expense of the American Negro.”
Buccola discusses his book in a July 23, 2020 interview with Jerry Jazz Musician editor/publisher Joe Maita
It was a summer of jazz leaking out through shuttered windows; of breaking glass and rage from the anonymous facades of brick apartments; of winged girls trying to fly from atop the Cathedral of St. Louis; of women trying to take back the night from jugglers and mimes and the men who lurked and looked too long. And through all of this, we walked hand in hand, visitors from a planet where soybean fields bookmarked the horizon and the sweet smell of corn danced across the dusk.
Three in the morning in the Hollywood Hills feels like five in the morning anywhere else. The coyotes and owls cross the northern boundaries and stray down under the big HOLLYWOOD sign that glistens in the moonlight at the top of Beachwood Canyon. Field mice, possum, snakes, and house cats become fair game for the wild intruders that prowl the narrow streets and canyons for a quick kill and a quiet meal with the family.
So long ago, before Ornette Coleman,
Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane—
all those free spirits running up and down
the alphabet of jazz, there was old
J.S. Bach, running through the changes.
I always picture him, and hear him,
at the pipe organ in Tomas Kirsche
all by himself,
December has once again produced a large number of year-end “Best Of” lists, and the goal of this post is to present those albums oft mentioned by the critics. While these 21 albums hardly constitute a comprehensive assessment of the “Best Of the ‘Best Of’” lists, it does provide some guidance about 2021 recordings critics seemed to agree about, and suggest we check out more thoroughly.
In a modern literary retelling of The Little Mermaid, Pearl, a talented singer, leaves her tiny seaside town to enter the music business. She must let go of everything she thought she wanted to discover her true worth.
Virtually all recordings of this influential trumpet player are available, but the only known film footage of him is in a 1955 appearance on the Soupy Sales variety show, which was one year before his death. Who is he?
Molly Larson Cook’s abstract-expressionist paintings accompany the 50 poets contributing to this collection. Her art has much in common with the poetry and music found within it; all three art forms can be described as “landscapes of the imagination,” created by artists from all over the world who are inspired in a meaningful way by jazz music, and whose work can be uniquely interpreted and appreciated (or not!) by those who consume it.
It was probably Dean who was responsible for him being where he was right now, he thought as he sat across the table from his fiancée listening to her talk about the wedding and the gifts they were registered for and the reception. He had discovered an album he didn’t approve of – Barbra Streisand – among Dean’s records when he went to stay with him shortly after he got married to a woman from Cleveland.
One of my greatest joys for decades
was exploring unknown record shops.
I once walked into a newly opened used
shop around the corner from my university
and discovered a used album, apparently
the improvisatory result of a session
set up by Norman Granz that included
Being the daughter of an international celebrity is sure to have its rewards and challenges, particularly when the mother – in this case Eartha Kitt – grew up motherless and in extreme poverty in the South, and who as an adult, broke hardened and racist societal barriers with her intense inner drive, determination, and strength of character. In a November, 2021 Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Ms. Kitt’s daughter Kitt Shapiro, author of Eartha & Kitt: A Daughter’s Love Story in Black & White, talks about Eartha’s legacy as a mother, the life and career challenges they both faced, and her book—a moving account of a heartfelt mother/daughter relationship.
I never did read the news, though I don’t suppose
it made a splash in the Post or Herald Tribune–
with maybe just a line or two
among the baseball stats, divorces,
and the marches picking up
deep down in the Cotton States.
Bob Hecht has created an extensive Spotify playlist he calls “Jazz Tributes” that also serves as a kind of “Thanksgiving” greeting – compositions and performances by jazz musicians, for jazz musicians.
Friends remember Al Summ, whose love and appreciation of jazz showed up in a variety of ways. His artwork was found (and rescued) by his friends Dan Brown, Dave Watson, Bob Crimi and “Andy” – a.k.a. “The Gang of Four”.
This remembrance is a reminder of how jazz and its culture can touch the soul of an enthusiast, and a demonstration of a longtime, devoted friendship. I am proud to assist the “Gang” in sharing their heartfelt connection to their departed friend.
In this edition, producer Jean-Phillippe Allard talks with Michael Jarrett, author of Pressed For All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums from Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday to Miles Davis and Diana Krall about working with the singer Abbey Lincoln on her 1990 Verve album The World is Falling Down
Kevin Whitehead, the longtime jazz critic for NPR’s Fresh Air, discusses jazz music and the movies – the “natural allies” that both grew out of existing creative traditions, and, since the mid-1920’s have told stories about “child prodigies, naturals who pick up the music the first time they hear it, hard workers with a painstaking practice regimen, talented players diverted into soul-killing commercial work, and even non-improvisers taught to fake it.”
December has brought the tradition of year-end “Best Of” lists, and the consensus among critics is that – as difficult as it may be to understand given the challenging circumstances – 2020 was a banner year for new jazz recordings.
Frank’s day begins as so many have in the last decade, a decade lost to a job, a way of life, as his phone wakes him with the bourbon-drenched tones of Tom Waits announcing he ‘can’t wait to get off work.’ Frank knows he will have that sentiment lingering in his mind until he returns home later, much later in fact, after another shift at the tavern of ill-repute. Beginning his day as he has almost every other he moves to his chair with a piping hot mug of tea and proceeds to construct and then smoke a big fat joint.
I belong to a jazz listening group and this month’s topic has been the music of Gerry Mulligan and other baritone saxophone players. A rich, engrossing experience that has offered me the chance to wade deep into Mulligan’s career, and to rediscover great baritone players like Leo Parker, Pepper Adams, Hamiet Bluiett, Nick Brignola, Serge Chaloff, Ronnie Cuber and Scott Robinson.
Along the way I found a terrific 90 minute documentary of Mulligan’s life that I recommend as an antidote to cabin fever and as a temporary diversion from the many contemporary films/series found on Netflix, Hulu, et al.
With the aid of good fortune and health, life has a way of going on, even when external forces distract and alarm. Amid yet another flurry of extreme presidential chaos and the unending nightmare of COVID, I recently closed down the office space I have worked out of since 2000.
. . “Sphinx,” a story by Brian Greene, was a short-listed entry in our recently concluded 55th Short Fiction Contest. It is published with the permission of the author . . . “Lucy XV,” by Vakseen . Sphinx by Brian Greene . 1. …..I met Leonor when I was 23 and she was 51. … Continue reading ““Sphinx” — a short story by Brian Greene”
We tripped through the parking lot and fell into the Woods—
Brown Amphitheater, then rested a bit as musicians tuned up.
When John McLaughlin’s first eerie notes of “Birds of Fire”
came through, we were taken by surprise. I’d thought
we were going to India, instead it was a caravanserai
to hear the scream of the butterfly.
The evidence against Monk was overwhelming. As he spun in circles, his beard greeted all the be-boos and scat tops with a whiff of singular restraint, knowing the blue minor chord could only hold so much dissonance before the black harmonies started some fragile shite.
In the book’s prologue, “Bigger Than Jazz”– a portion of which is published here with the consent of the publisher, Oxford University Press – Riccardi writes about Armstrong’s Apollo Theater performances of 1935 (marking his comeback from an 18 month stay in Europe), his final big band performance of 1947, and subsequent appearances there with his integrated small group, the All Stars.
Too many miles, far away from
home, my girl’s photo in my pocket
mine in her gold locket, above
my bunk, Lena smiling down on
me, my girl, she don’t mind
she knows I love her, she knows
she too is fine