Lee Santa, who calls himself “simply a fan of jazz who is also a photographer” and whose life has been “heavily influenced by jazz’s sounds, structures and impressions,” recently reached out to me via email, informing me that Roundbend Press has just released his collection of photographs, A Journey Into Jazz: Anecdotes, Notes and Photos of a Jazz Fan.
Along with his entertaining introduction to the book, Santa sent me several photographs from the book — all of which I have never seen before. For example, there is Ornette Coleman at Berkeley’s Greek Theater in the turbulent year of 1968, Pharoah Sanders at the Village Gate in 1970, Sam Rivers playing outdoors (maybe at the Jazz Festival?) in Portland, 1979, and one of Mose Allison in Seattle in 1988 (about the same time I recall seeing him at a club in Portland).
Santa’s background story is very cool, and is told in his introduction and in Terry Simons’ publisher’s note, both published here. At the end of Santa’s introduction, you will find several photos […] Continue reading »
Our most recent edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo: Memories and Opinion” asked critics, writers and musicians the question: “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz albums of the 1960’s?” We received responses from some of the profession’s most prominent thinkers, including Gary Giddins, Dan Morgenstern, Michael Cuscuna, John McLaughlin, Terry Teachout, and many others. To read the entire edition, go here.
Meanwhile, we are asking a new question of many of the same people (and others as well). This time, the question is “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz albums of the 1970’s?” Hoping to publish the edition yet this month…Stay tuned. […] Continue reading »
“Jazz is neither specific repertoire, nor academic exercise… but a way of life.”
– Lester Bowie
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Cannonball Adderley was an endearing, charismatic and cutting-edge musician who, as Adderley biographer Cary Ginell writes in the introduction of Walk Tall: The Music and Life of Julian “Cannonball” Adderley “brought an enthusiasm for his music to nightclubs around the world, expanding jazz’s boundaries with a fresh exuberance as the music progressed from the bebop of the 1940s and ’50s to combine with gospel and soul to help pioneer the subgenres of hard bop and soul jazz in the ’60’s.” His signature sound — though cut short at the age of 46 in 1975 — remains an essential ingredient of the music’s past, present and future.
I am in the process of working on an interview with Ginell, which I expect will be published sometime in August. Meanwhile, the book’s Foreward — a fond remembrance of Adderley by his friend Quincy Jones — is published here in its entirety, […] Continue reading »
“Great Encounters” are book excerpts that chronicle famous encounters among twentieth-century cultural icons.
When Clark Gable came to the aid of Billie Holiday
Excerpted from Lady Sings the Blues, by Billie Holiday
One day in Hollywood I went out for a drive with this rich young blonde starlet. She was running around with Billy Daniels, whom I used to work with back at the Hotcha. Billy had loaned her his pretty Cadillac to drive around in. She was taking me to the aquarium, when boom, this brand-new fishtail stopped and we couldn’t start it.
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Although Dexter Gordson’s influence was felt by many of the great tenor saxophonists of the 1950’s, due to what is often described as “personal demons,” he was pretty much overlooked throughout the decade. “Dexter was able to consolidate his substantial progress only during the first couple of years in the fifties,” wrote Stan Britt, author of Dexter Gordon: A Musical Biography. “Thereafter, his was to become something of a half-forgotten name among jazz personalities of the decade.” At the root of this inactivity was, of course, that “demon” — heroin. His two year incarceration for heroin possession, followed by the death of his close friend Wardell Gray was, Britt wrote, […] Continue reading »
In 1967, Macmillan published the first edition of George T. Simon’s The Big Bands, an entertaining and essential account of the era that was hailed at the time by the Los Angeles Times as “the definitive volume in its field.” Simon, whose credits include being an early drummer in Glenn Miller’s band, was editor of dance band publication Metronome from 1939 – 1955, and during the 1960’s wrote regularly as a critic for the The New York Post and The New York Herald-Tribune.
In Part Four of the Second Edition (printed in 1971), Simon visits with several of the iconic big band leaders he profiles in his book, and asks them to express their opinions about rock and roll, the Beatles, and the generation gap. Their responses — now 43 years in the rear-view mirror, and excerpted here from Simon’s book — are worth revisiting. […] Continue reading »
Writing that the “good” African-American orators of the day (“spellbinders”) do for lifting up the “Race” is “nil,” this 1919 Chicago Defender editorial makes the case that the music of James Reese Europe could have a significant political impact on race relations of the time.
With the ringing down of the curtain at the Auditorium last Saturday night there closed a remarkable period of band concerts. If you were not fortunate enough to attend you missed a rare treat. This band had made a wonderful record with the American expeditionary forces in France and with its jazz music had proved a source of great entertainment wherever it went. When it returned to the United States it was given a great ovation by the people of New York City, and Chicago found it equal to advance notice. It has all the artistic finish of any band that has invaded these parts in many years. […] Continue reading »
“We’re here to bring beauty to the world and make a difference in this planet. That’s what art forms are about.”
– Charlie Haden, 1937 – 2014
Haden touched everyone who loves this music…
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In the late 1970’s, the great trumpeter Roy Eldridge wrote of his experience mentoring Dizzy Gillespie during the 1930’s.
“I was with my own band at the Savoy. And Dizzy, Charlie Shavers, Bama, Joe Guy, and another little cat that was bad, named Bobby Moore, all used to come around. They could play all the things that I had made better than I could, you know. But Dizzy had his thing going. I talked to him once down at Minton’s and he was asking me how I did certain things and I told him. And the one thing I appreciate about Diz, even though he used to play something like me, is that he went on and […] Continue reading »