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Jazz Viewpoints (222)

29.01.2011

Jazz and the Architects

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And there shall be no toil, no tribulations, as the architect knoweth of what he has done, and will continue to do; for time immemorial, within the rose peddles that have blossomed, there has been music-of one sort or another, as it experienced a prodigious growth on into present time-the twenty-first century. And behold, to all that have had the delectable pleasure of being adorned-with harmony and rhythm-by the executants that make the world of music go around and around as they institute peac …
29.01.2011

Opening the Floodgates

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With coffers from a slew of independent labels, Fantasy just might have the most extensive vault of jazz and blues performances known to man. Through their Original Jazz Classics series much of the important work from the Contemporary, Prestige, and Riverside/Jazzland catalogs has been brought to light for new generations to explore. However, anyone who has ever peeked at the complete discographies of both the Prestige and Riverside labels as offered by the Japanese Jazz Critique books will atte …

Johnny Adams, who began as a gospel singer, made the jump to R& B in 1959. Known as the "Tan Canary " for his incredibly beautiful lilting falsetto. Mr.Adams hit the R&B charts in the late 60's with country style "Release Me" and "Reconsider Me". His career re-ignited and soared again in the 80's after he signed with Rounder Records, a label that allowed him to explore other styles. He stretched out on blues and jazz on such strong discs as "Good Morning Heartache" and "One Foot in the …

Louis Armstrong's recipe for Red Beans and Rice has inspired not only an event in honor of his 100th Birthday but a slew of kidney bean recipes to feed SATCHMO SUMMERFEST attendees, August 3-5, 2001 in New Orleans. Imagine joining Louie's table at his home in Corona, Queens, NY for his "Creole Rice 'n Beans" made by his wife Lucille with salt pork, ham hocks, tomato sauce, dried peppers and of course kidney beans served either over rice or beside the rice, as preferred.

If you do go, seek ou …

Keiko Matsui is working on her second cancer treatment fundraiser and proving jazz artists have a voice of support to offer the world. Keiko's 25+ city worldwide tour and Gift Of Life EP benefit the National Marrow Donor Program and the Marrow Foundation as well as their organizations and chapters. Mrs. Matsui is no stranger to benefits aimed at curing cancer and has offered her talents in other occasions (Say It, Fight It, Cure It and A Gift of Hope). While working with the likes of world-class …
Under the banner of the huge Verve Music Group comes some of the greatest jazz catalogs of recent vintage, including Verve, Mercury, ABC Paramount, and A M/CTI. Fortunately, the mother company has seen fit to a balanced reissue program that draws liberally from all the catalogs. Of the several reissue programs they have, the main one is their Master Edition series, which features deluxe gatefold covers, photographs, new liners, and restored 24-bit sound. Very briefly, we take a quick survey here …
In looking at jazz and film noir in the 1950s, some of the music was good and some achieved varying degrees of success depending upon the composer who scored the music. Much was happening in the jazz community throughout the United States.

Essentially, film noir refers to a period of film making in the United States developing in the 1940s through the 1950s in which the themes, motifs, and general lighting and appearances were considered dark. It comes from the French word, noir, meaning blac …

Very much like his former employer Miles Davis, John Coltrane's later work always seemed to raise more questions than there seemed to be answers. Miles' cronies would have just as easily favored him playing "Bye Bye Blackbird" with mute in hand as to be subjected to the electric onslaught that marked his work from the early '70s until his death in the early '80s. In the same way, Coltrane's followers were much more comfortable with "Giant Steps" and "My Favorite Things" than the radical innovati …
29.01.2011

2001 Jazz Christmas CDs

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A Nancy Wilson Christmas (MCG Jazz/Telarc). Nancy Wilson’s first ever full-length Christmas album with proceeds benefiting the Pittsburg-based Manchester Craftman’s Guild. Joining Nancy on this benefit holiday album is the Nancy Wilson Trio, The New York Voices, and the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Band and guests comprised of Herbie Mann, Monty Alexander, Claudio Roditi, Ali Ryerson, James Moody, Jimmie Heath, Jon Faddis, Earl Garner, Antonio Hart, Renee Rosnes, Slide Hampton and coun …
On several occasions in the past few years, the Fantasy group has taken the lead from their Japanese counterparts, reissuing special edition titles in 20-bit form. The latest items to come from this series are taken exclusively from the Prestige catalog and focus entirely on material from the early to late '50s. As with past issues, these sets come in a cardboard slipcase and are limited editions. Furthermore, they feature originals graphics, a facsimile CD label, and 20-bit remastering supervis …
LONDON - Since 1975, the Milan-based Black Saint and Soul Note labels have ranked amongst Europe's most influential recording names, developing a global reputation for excellence over the intervening two decades - Europe's answer to Blue Note.

Indeed, these recording institutions have collectively ploughed a distinguished furrow through the fertile musical soils of jazz and improvised music.

With a staggering catalogue of close to 500 titles, the pair of labels have been boldly managed b …

29.01.2011

Dee Daniels

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LONDON - For those who have been closely following the flowering of Dee Daniel's musical talents over the last decade, recent nominations for the 2001 West Coast Music Awards come as no real surprise. The Vancouver-based American jazz vocalist has been simmering on a slow but bright fire with three generally under-appreciated albums including the uniquely themed Love Story (3XD 502-2) nominated for Best Jazz Release.

Each of the ten standards on Love Story is a chapter in the romantic narrat …

29.01.2011

A Grand Day For Swinging

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When it comes to vintage jazz of the '50s and '60s, nobody has a larger archive of independent material as does Fantasy, Inc. Not taking into account their pop and blues holdings, the company counts among its jazz labels the Prestige, Riverside/Jazzland, Pablo, and Contemporary catalogs. It has been largely due to their Original Jazz Classics program over the past decade or more that much of this great legacy of jazz recordings has come to light for new generations to explore and enjoy. Even des …
New Orleans merges music and culture from three continents during the turn of the 20th Century to help create Afro-Cuban music - A Historical Perspective. Part 1 - 1900 - 1999

Since the inception of jazz, a Latin influence has been very apparent in various early incarnations. One variation such as the Storyville, New Orleans style, incorporated Latin rhythms into the jazz lexicon almost 100 years ago. These Latin rhythms have proved very influential to the development of jazz, as we k …

29.01.2011

Hard Bop and Beyond

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It's been some 20 years and some 200 albums later and Criss Cross Jazz is still going strong as one of the major purveyors of mainstream jazz sensibilities. Run almost single handedly by producer and talent scout Gerry Teekens, Criss Cross started out by just releasing a few albums each year. Times have changed for the better and now it's hard just keeping up with a release schedule that includes four to six batches of new titles annually. In brief, we now take a look at some of the latest title …
For several decades now producer Nils Winther has nurtured a bastion for jazz recording in what would seem an unlikely place. From his home base in Denmark, Winther has built-up a stylized catalog of recordings true to the artists' vision and packaged in a no frills manner. It's been a bit dicey here in the United States since SteepleChase ended it's relationship with its longtime distributor, Allegro, a few years back. Now under the guidance of Stateside Distribution, based in Chicago, the cata …
For Al Harewood, jazz drumming is much more than keeping time and being the backbone of a small ensemble or big band. It's a way of life that has kept him in a privileged position as a pioneering bebop percussionist.

Last winter, patrons at the Paint It Jazz Festival in Barbados would have caught him in action as he led a stellar quartet of musicians who were all more than half his age.

Born in New York City to Barbadian parents a little over seventy years ago, Harewood has been a major …

Trumpet playing and diplomacy are not usually uttered in the same breath.

The jazz trumpet is a notoriously difficult beast to tame, and numbered among its exponents have been more than a fair share of temperamental and 'media-hostile' personalities.

Dapperly dressed, and exuding a refreshingly urbane air, trumpeter and flugelhorn player Harold Beckett, by contrast, cuts the image of an artistic ambassador. The interview has taken place in the teeth of yet another brutish British winter, …

It's the most exciting time of year, and after spending most of the winter sick with a nasty flu, I'm ready for it! We've got a ton of great things going on in the Spring jazz season in this already-blooming-for-the-last-month-town, so let's get to it. As usual, the Productive Season begins around here in the Fall of each year after a Summer Hibernation period of sorts. Post-Jazz Fest (early July), everyone kind of shuts down and regroups, making plans for the next 'jazz season', which runs from …
29.01.2011

DellaRatta Delights

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The Rick DellaRatta Trio starts off mellow at a crowded Catalina's on Saturday, St. Patrick's Day. DellaRatta's loud silk shirt and black fedora belie his gentle demeanor. He sneaks onstage and pedals softly.

"Kojo Notsuki," an original arrangement of a Japanese melody, opens the first set. DellaRatta begins in a pedal-happy Winston-esque prelude accompanied by Eddie Gomez' rich bass bowing, then with a sly smile introduces a more up-tempo left-hand rhythm that propels the band into the hear …