C. Andrew Hovan

C. Andrew Hovan

We really don't have many living jazz legends walking around these days, but fortunately we're lucky enough to still have Horace Silver going strong (just check out his new…
During the ‘60s, one would have been hard pressed to find a local bar or juke joint that didn’t have a Hammond B-3 organ and the concomitant Leslie speaker as part of the landscape. Groups led by Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Sonny Stitt, Wild Bill Davis, Willis Jackson, and many others kept those kinds of places packed with people who liked to jam and finger pop to the funky sounds of the time. It’s no accident then that the major independent record labels of the day would develop a stable of artists …
29.01.2011

A Monk and His Music

Published in Jazz Viewpoints
While few would even consider arguing the relative importance of the musical genius of Thelonious Monk and his impact on generations of subsequent composers and pianists, dissent can sometimes by heard when considering Monk’s recorded oeuvre which spanned many decades and is documented by several labels. While his Riverside years are universally hailed as the period of greatest artistic growth and integrity, his subsequent stay at Columbia found him producing music that many critics felt was som …
In the right hands, a guitar is like a piano in that its combined harmonic and melodic possibilities can render a sound that is larger than life. From the 12-string to the kind of hybrid models that give players like Charlie Hunter the ability to play bass lines in tandem with their chords and lead lines, the guitar continues to be one of the most versatile instruments in jazz, a fact to be gleaned by merely sampling our modest survey of some new releases by a handful of string artists.

As hi …

Even as this is written, master engineer Rudy Van Gelder has finished mastering another set of 50 albums for the Japanese RVG Series. That brings the total available output in that country to 250 titles. On the American front things have been far more conservative, yet an additional five titles have just been issued to compliment the 30 discs already in circulation. Of these five, one session has never been reissued in the United States, while the others are making a second appearance on compact …
For the first time in at least five years, it seems that the jazz market has evened out, with few surprises and even fewer reissues when compared with the plethora of vault goodies that have seen the light of day over the past decade. Although Ken Burns’s Jazz created some momentum, marketing ploys favored the kind of compilation discs that hardcore jazzers stay away from like the plague. Nonetheless, among the slim pickings this year were the selected gems listed below, in no particular …
Well it’s been a few years now that the legendary recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder has been working on restoring the legacy that he’s played such a big part in. The man responsible for the larger than life sound that categorized the vast majority of Blue Note recordings from the late ‘50s to the late ‘60s, Van Gelder first started his project of remastering albums in 24-bit digital for Japan. While the American counterpart series to the Japanese is quite a bit smaller in scope, quite re …
Following the most recent batch of Van Gelder reissues that focused on the label’s earliest sides (the current set of Stateside RVG Editions numbers some 56 albums), a new set of titles launched at the start of 2002 attempts to pick up some stray items from the modern period, including several albums that have never been available in the United States on compact disc. So, in no particular order, here’s a quick synopsis of some praiseworthy and up-to-the-minute RVG Editions.

Maybe it was the s …

When it comes to the opportunity to expose some of the many talents that got lost in the shuffle during the ‘50s and ‘60s, no other concern has more to unearth than Fantasy’s group of associated labels, including Prestige, Riverside, and Contemporary. Through their Limited Edition Series, Fantasy is able to present releases that will undoubtedly appeal to only a small number of jazz fans, but will nonetheless have importance in bringing to light some unfairly ignored performers and performances. …
Without a doubt, the piano trio provides an ideal format for jazz. Complex and yet ideally manageable, the grouping can speak with the authority of a big band or bring it down to a soft whisper. Furthermore, the bass and drums offer up enough variety in terms of sound and texture to keep it all interesting. Even after Bill Evans and others have had their say in terms of what the piano trio offers, the ensemble continues to be a viable one in the hands of some modern practitioners, as we shall se …
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