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Jazz Viewpoints (222)

29.01.2011

Budget CDs

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Everyone loves a bargain and sometimes your local Wal-Mart or other discount store can yield gems if you have patience. Personally, I enjoy weeding through the discount bins of CDs in search of jazz items that are often of questionable value and origin. But who among us cannot afford to purchase a recording for two or three dollars. A large part of my vinyl collection was picked up in the ‘cast-off’ section of record shops who were only too anxious to part with LPs at 3 for a dollar. What the he …
29.01.2011

Kind of Blue by Ashley Kahn

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Mutli-versed music journalist Ashley Kahn has written a book about "the most well-known jazz record of all time", entitled KIND OF BLUE: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece. The structure of this book is extremely tight, apparently, according to the preface, on purpose. Kahn writes about the times both historically and biographically before and after the making of the original 1959 recording at the now-defunct 30th Studios of Columbia Records with the transcripts of and annotations on the …
In association with PBS and Ken Burns, Verve has introduced twenty-two CDs featuring performers covered in the recent Jazz Series on the Public Broadcasting Service. I happened to purchase the Lester Young issue while visiting a bookstore on the weekend. Having watched the series on TV during January, I can't withhold my comments any longer.

This is, without a doubt, the most important jazz documentary ever. Filmmaker, Ken Burns, has been working on this project for six years and has done a …

The world of contemporary jazz is no stranger to great instrumentalist who collaborate on projects together. Just like the bebop and early swing eras of the past, we have a great engaging synthesis of two great artists on the same instrument with two new releases and a world tour to usher in the New Year. This January in Japan, a great tour begins with two-time Grammy winner Bob James of America and a favorite daughter of Japan, number one female contemporary jazz artist, Keiko Matsui. The new m …
29.01.2011

Kazu Matsui

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Kazu Matsui is synonymous with American cinema music, particularly the films that feature Ry Cooder and James Horner as composers. Bursting on the scene in the early eighties with his eerie, suspense-laden accompaniment of the epic TV movie SHOGUN, he has been an ever-growing staple of action films. While he is a resident of Huntington Beach, CA, Kazu is the main proponent of his instrument, the Japanese shakuhachi flute, in the Western world. While carrying on the tradition of his mystical inst …
29.01.2011

Keep A Light In the Window

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It's perfectly understandable that some confusion was bound to exist when Joel Dorn announced that he was jumping ship from 32 Records to form yet another recording enterprise. Label M has all the marks of a Dorn endeavor and while it may seem that both 32 Jazz and Label M are merely cut from the same cloth, closer inspection does reveal some notable differences. Most importantly, Dorn has acquired the rights to release many unheard concert performances drawn from the archives of the Left Bank J …
29.01.2011

Billy, Denny, Bobby & Sam

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Let me see if I have this straight. Just when 32 Jazz seemed to be making a noticeable impact on the jazz reissue market, record guru Joel Dorn jumps ship to start yet another company, namely Label M. To make things more confusing, both 32 Records and Label M seem to have their eyes on similar product from the vaults, not to mention utilizing the same black plastic digi-packs that now makes it harder than ever to distinguish between the two labels. Makes for some interesting press, wouldn't you …
29.01.2011

Count Basie

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"When you put the right note.....at the right place.....at the right time.....what do you have? A composite musical sound abode with precision, perfect spacing and timing, the right tempo, and, most important, one of the most outstanding band leaders in the history of jazz, "Count Basie and His Orchestra"..... "Swingin' the Blues".....and, "The Jazz Explosion."

Basie represented the hallmark of sophisticated simplicity-elegant simplicity. He was the ornament that embellished the very roots of …

Cleveland's independent Telarc International, long a significant player in the classical music arena, has grown into one of the most respected jazz and blues labels in the country over the past few years, as well. The offerings below speak to their growing roster of major names in jazz.

Ray Brown Trio: Some Of My Best Friends Are ... The Trumpet Players (83495)
Bassist Ray Brown knows a little about working with trumpeters. He's shared stage and studio space with the likes of Dizzy Gil …
29.01.2011

Top Jazz Picks For 2000

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From big band to electric fusion, the year's new releases offered a little something for every taste. In no particular order, here's a sampling of ten of the best.

1. Dave Stryker - SHADES OF MILES (SteepleChase)
Conjuring the vibes set forth in such Miles Davis classics as Bitches Brew, guitarist Dave Stryker's own program for electric ensemble is in a class all its own.

2. Carla Bley - 4 X 4 (Watt/ECM)
Simply put, take four horns, add a four-piece rhythm section, and …
29.01.2011

Barney Kessel

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The Walnut Tree Pub and Restaurant in Yalding, Kent, UK was the venue for the first time I heard and met Barney. WHAT A PLAYER!. I had the pleasure of running him back to his hotel in London after the gig and from then on we were friends. That was a good 18 years ago. Sadly, Barney had a stroke in May 1992, but is still with us and lives in San Diego, California. I hadn't heard of Barney before the Walnut Tree and didn't know what a legend he was. But over the years I've got the full picture! Ba …
29.01.2011

Dipping Into The Vaults

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While the classic Blue Notes of the '50s & '60s have been the focus of quite a few batches of reissues as of late, it's also great to see Capitol delve deeper into its own holdings, with jazz sides from the mother label and the Pacific Jazz catalog taking center stage via a half dozen new titles, all of which have been long unavailable. Included in this new series of reissues are works by drummer/bandleader Buddy Rich, alto man Cannonball Adderley, vocalist Nancy Wilson, and trumpeters Don Ellis …
29.01.2011

Post-Concert Postscript

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Writing about improvised music means transcending a language barrier somewhat like, but not the same as, moving analog sound to a digital format. Each process necessitates some sort of converter. In writing about music, the converter is multileveled. The filtering begins with the ears; it is also accompanied by human sensibility, knowledge of the subject at hand, innate human penchants, and a human psychology that manifests predilections towards sound that is organized. I know that to describe m …
29.01.2011

60's Funk And Soul

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Fortunately for the jazz community at large, Blue Note has done a great service to its catalog by stepping up its reissues over the past five years or so. A stream of notable items continues to come our way with six new titles available as budget-priced discs and with a focus on the soulful B-3 type fare that marked the label's late '60s output. All discs also feature new 24-bit remastering.

Arguably the best of the lot and one of the baddest organ groove records ever cut, Lou Donaldson's MID …

John Coltrane's one of major tenor players in jazz history. His life and work have influenced today's modern jazz scene and his contemporaries have been studied his harmonic structure in his composition Giant Steps in order to master the harmonic complexity while attempting to create their own. The expansion of harmonic structure in Giant Steps has been studied that could point a new direction for jazz musicians who seek alternative ways to create new harmony ideas for their composition and impr …
The Jazz fest epitomizes everything to love about New Orleans-the music, the food, her laid back approach to life, her history and unique culture, her engrained traditions, her warm people and her party atmosphere.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival maintains a remarkable balance between grassroots conservation and contemporary innovation, set in an atmosphere of sensory delight that has reached legendary proportion. Through a deft combination of traditional and cutting edge performance …

29.01.2011

Passport To Brazil

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The success of Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's multi-cultural exchange that brought bossa nova to the attention of the 1960's public at large resulted in a double-edged sword when viewed through the glasses of hindsight. While it's true that names like Gilberto and Jobim entered the American lexicon, the music's intoxicating sense of communication lead to many copycat projects that flooded the market and ultimately diluted the entire movement's vivacity. In turn, record-buying consumers who had rea …
29.01.2011

Jazz-Rock Fusion

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In the early '70s rock spectrum, another strange musical mutation was gathering force and would soon make a tremendous impact on rock guitar style and technique: the sound of jazz-rock. The real pioneer of early jazz-rock though was jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, who began using static rock rhythms in his recordings and allowing his musicians to stretch out with rock inflected solos. The two ground-breaking Davis' fusion recordings were 1969's "In A Silent Way" and 1970's "Bitches' Brew", both of w …
Although the development of jazz took place exclusively in America, the music’s roots are clearly African in origin. It comes as no great surprise then that the percussive influences of Africa and other derivative Latin styles (all of which, of course, have as their origin the music of Africa) have played a colorful role in the musical melting pot that distinguishes many hybrids. Jelly Roll Morton is largely acknowledged for taking advantage of what he called "the Spanish tinge" in his writing a …
29.01.2011

Charles Christopher Parker

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If you've never heard Bird play "Laura" and "April In Paris" backed with strings, then you have something to look forward too; Bird weaves in and out of the chords with double- time figures that only Bird can manifest, and still maintain the sonorities of the melody with the inimitable technique of the craftsman that he was; his incomparable artistry is surpassed by none!

Charles Christopher Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on August 29th, 1920. Parker played his last gig at Birdland o …