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Jazz Viewpoints (222)

It's the 10 year Anniversary of Jazz Fm 91, the station actually started in 1949, CJRT radio, it was created by Ryerson University as an educational radio station to compliment the college's journalism program - reportedly one of the best in the country at this present date. The station went 24-hour jazz in 2001 and changed its moniker to Jazz Fm 91, and this is what we are celebrating - if you are in fact a jazz fan or at least a Jazz Fm91 fan.

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 Second Listen

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Today I re-listened to EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION, the okkadisk CD released this year. I listened to it in the context of the nature of the recording: live or studio. Since I originally wrote about this CD, I have reviewed and heard other live recordings and have resultantly become increasingly aware of the way in which they are mastered.

EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION is a live recording. I did not remember being annoyed by the humming of conversation and the clanking of glasses and bottles …

The divine demoiselle, Diana Krall, performed Sunday night, singing selections from her new CD "The Look of Love," which is scheduled for release September 19. Reviews in local daily newspapers that one could find around this charming jazz-drenched village were not really positive about Diana Krall's performance, crowning her with the label "Miss Cool!"

"She shows no emotion at all. She's a pure marketing product!" And, what's worse, "She hasn't got a clue about music!"

29.01.2011

Independent Jazz Releases

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Some of the most exciting music being recorded around the world is on independent labels, often only available through websites. These are a few that have caught my ear lately.


Johnny A: Sometime Tuesday Morning; Favored Nations (PO Box 550. Salem, MA 01970. 562-989-8707) ***

Johnny A is a Boston-based guitarist who defies easy categorizations. He reminds at times of Danny Gatton, simply for the fluidity of his playing and the seeming effortlessness of crossing stylistic …
29.01.2011

The Genius of Ken Burns

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After watching all of the Ken Burns "Jazz" movies I am now aware of the significance of Jazz music in America. The documentaries were so informative and so interesting that it is impossible not to learn something new. Jazz is very important to me and it should be important to every American. It is the most original American form of art. Jazz is so complex that its musicians deserve the utmost respect for their talents. Judging from a difficult standpoint, Jazz is harder to play well than any oth …
29.01.2011

Guitar Picks

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In this new era in which Palm Pilots are replacing wirebound book organizers, the preferred reading of the morning commuter has become PC Magazine and MP3 is making us all either sweat or smile, the guitar world luckily still maintains a core simplicity of wood and wires, plugs and picks.

Not to say that technology hasn't made many things better, but certain rules will always stand, and while silicon chips may make your ideas easier to get on CD, they don't replace good old-fashioned creativi …

29.01.2011

Guitar Picks

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Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of Guitar Picks, an educational column dedicated to the guitar's role in jazz past and present. I should begin first by telling you what I hope can be accomplished by readers and students of this column over time.

First and foremost, this column can assist beginner and intermediate guitar students of all styles in incorporating and introducing jazz sensibilities, phrasings and improvisational tools into their own playing, in hopes of …
29.01.2011

A Monk and His Music

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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 …

29.01.2011

Notes on Eternal Spirit

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It is with certainty that I know that this is not the first time within the recent past that a writer has paused to examine the meaning of existence and how that meaning is pursued by individuals who live on this earth in a non-geopolitical/economic context.

The question arises through what mode is a sense of loss, mystery, the passage of time, internal value expressed? The mode is that to which there is the most easy access. That is to say, the mode that is closest to the strain of crea …
29.01.2011

The Personification of Jazz

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The auditorium was packed standing room only. The people were ready. There was an aura of splendor hovering over the audience; excitement, allied with love as they waited to hear the inimitable, and, paramount musician, singer, and entertainer the world over "Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong"

When the band kicked off the intro to "Hello Dolly," the audience went into an emotion-packed uproar as they watched their hero, with his unmistakable prance, walk to the microphone, his trumpet in one hand, hi …

29.01.2011

Contemporary What?

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About a month ago, at six in the morning, while I was eating breakfast, on the radio was playing a concerto for soprano sax written by John Harbison, a contemporary classical composer of high note, these days. The female commentator spoke after the piece was over, in fact, I believe she was interviewing Harbison, about how wonderful and unusual it was to be featuring a soprano sax in classical music and how amazing it was that Harbison’s composition stretched the capacity of the instrument.

W …

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 …
The title is attributed to the foremost tenor saxophonist of the be-bop era, Dexter "LTD" Gordon. On his album, American Classics, in an interview, Gordon is quoted with this phrase, "Be-bop is the music of the future." Having made his mark as the "Sophisticated Giant" of the be-bop school, Gordon was the first musician ever to be nominated for an academy award. Gordon portrayed Dale Turner in producer, Bertrand Tavernier's, most praised jazz film, "Round Midnight."

Let's take a look at be-bo …

And so it shall be, that the myriad of would-be musician-kind will succumb to the trials and tribulations leading to that final plateau of being a musician-a professional. And let the essence of the musician blossom to fruition; with practice and study. And let not the necessary technicalities rein over the promise land of a musician. Rather let it be the soul that guides the executant to produce beauty; and the sonorities will ring, producing the music of the Universe.

At this point, it is n …

Many times in my thoughts (related to music and more often the visual arts, but this is not the right place to talk about visual art) is the question: why are the general public, marketeers, investors so riveted to what they are told is the stuff to pay attention to rather than, on their own, seeking out what is interesting, what touches them, what is the substance of the music that has gutsiness? Because they are scared. They are scared of feeling what can be felt within them in response to the …
29.01.2011

Tribute to Jeanne Lee

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I am very much saddened that, as many of you already know, the great and beautiful singer / composer / lyricist / educator Jeanne Lee, who was very ill with cancer, left us on October 25th. In Jeanne's memory, I have written this personal tribute.

LOVE NOTE FOR JEANNE LEE (1/29/39 - 1O/25/OO)

When I was a New York City youngster just discovering this music, the great and beautiful Jeanne Lee did it all for me. First, she'd open me up to sonic possibilities I'd never heard in human …

29.01.2011

The Cosmic Dust of Jazz

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Jazz takes a ride around the world and stops here and there; wherever it stops, it leaves an indelible mark of sophistication; it rides on the power of cosmic dust. And let cosmic dust represent the galactic fall-out from the most popular and widely know form of music ever heard on Earth-and elsewhere, the music of the Universe-JAZZ!

And from this we have a mode of music which has been around for 100 years; with the help of those masterful architects, the musicians whose innovative talents, b …

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