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Jazz Viewpoints (222)

29.01.2011

Jazz Vocals 101

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Since 1990 Toronto-based Rita di Ghent has enjoyed a professional career as a jazz bandleader, vocalist, composer and teacher. She made her New York performance debut in 1993 as a special guest with Verve recording artist Mark Ledford; she formed her indie label, Groove, in 1995 and released her debut CD, Mindin' the Shop. Her new release on the Groove label, The Birth of Sprawl, was produced by Nick Blagona (Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Cleo Laine, Barbara Streisand and others). …
Ed Smith and his "JAZZ" store celebrate 1st year Birthday Bash with Kirk Whalum, Benita Hill and Rod McGaha to an enthusiastic crowd all day at Bellevue Center Mall. The festivities mark Ed’s first year in business in Nashville and the birthday of his wife Lynn (Dec, 01, 2001), who incidentally, is from the Crescent City. Ed Smith is a renaissance man who has an infectious excitement about jazz music and art as evidenced by the "top shelf" products he stocks his store. He has been an arts curato …
Like many jazz collectors of my general age range, I began my serious collecting back in the early '80s and Blue Note discs were always at the top of my ever-expanding want list. Of course, staying put in Cleveland, Ohio was no way to develop a jazz collection; you had to venture out to other cities (Ann Arbor, Michigan being one) and various mail order sources (Euclid Records, Craig Moerer, and Toad Hall come to mind) to get "the good stuff." Then the internet came along and opened up new vista …
...WELCOME TO SPRING 1999 where we've just had a whack of great big shows (can you say Joshua Redman Band, Rova Saxophone Quartet and Erik Friedlander's "Topaz" within a five-day period!?!) courtesy of the jazz fiends at the Coastal Jazz & Blues Society, the non-profit organization that is responsible for year-round concerts and the annual summer jazz extravaganza known as the du Maurier International Jazz Festival Vancouver. Coastal Jazz & Blues has been bringing Vancouver some of the world's f …
29.01.2011

Two-Feet Off The Floor

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There I was, standing in front of 20 of the heaviest musicians in the business. The date was Thursday, April 20, 1972. The place, Lococo's Manhattan in Manhattan Beach, Ca. Was I nervous?...you damn right I was nervous. I had just drank two martinis...this was my third; one more and I'll be conducting 40 musicians, not 20?

What was the occasion? Well, it goes down something like this. For several months, I had been scoring charts for a 20 piece jazz orchestra-I needed a place to premier this …

29.01.2011

Savoy Jazz Classics

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You truly need a score card to keep up with the distribution end of the Savoy label over the past five to ten years or so. Going as far back as this reviewer can remember, Muse was reissuing the catalog on vinyl and then CD, usually with re-done covers. A bit further down the road, things changed and Denon Japan got a hold of the inventory and the direction they took, not surprisingly, was one of facsimile reissues with original graphics and often woefully short playing times. Just at the tail e …
29.01.2011

Joe McPhee

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Drummer Randy Kaye brought together, in an unusual setting for improvisational music, bassist Richard Downs, reed players Joe Giardullo and Joe McPhee. This gig, juxtaposed with listening to the Hat Hut reissue on CD of McPhee’s first solo album TENOR, brought to light an understanding of McPhee’s playing heretofore unrealizable.

The focus of Joe’s music is to strike a balance between structure and expression. These are polarities in the musical world. The distance between them allows for a m …

29.01.2011

Jazz Intensity & A Wet Reed

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From where does jazz intensity in it's primordial self originate? The answer is three-fold; from the soul, the composition being played, and leave us not forgot, the performing musician. So what about the soul; can we have an awareness of it. Yes! Through the use of our intellect. Why intellect? It is with the intellect that we conceptualize and perceive the existence of the soul, spirit, and ultimately, jazz intensity!

Is it possible to identify with jazz intensity. Yes! The facial expressio …

29.01.2011

5am Bourbon Street

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The gig was over, and there I was, walking down Bourbon street at 5 AM. I had just left a session at the Monteleone Hotel; it began a little before midnight. As I walked to my hotel, six blocks away, wearing my Dobbs Fifth Avenue, blue blazer, red tie, and the usual...I was holding my black tenor bag in one hand, my clarinet in the other hand; the tools of my trade...a musician. I noticed that there were only three people in the street; the driver of a garbage truck, a young African-American kid …
29.01.2011

Big Band...What's Big?

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Over the years, people have come up to me with this, "Hey Duffy, the big bands are coming back." My response, with a detectable assertiveness, was, "They never left!" Any discussion about big bands cannot go without a definition or what constitutes a big band?

Actually, big bands never went anywhere; they have, to some extent, succumb to economics; more importantly, to the many modes and styles of music which constitute simplicity and lie under the umbrella of what is considered today as, pop …

In what's shaping up to be a ridiculously busy late Winter season, there are enough events going on to almost keep even me happy, and out and about filling my ears and soul with the godsend known as jazz. No time to waste: get our your calendars and start marking dates!

Vancouver's acid jazz hot stuffs Millennium Project, who just released their latest album on Mo' Funk Records (and have hopefully answered their last question about how they got the infamous Bill Laswell to produce their disc) …

29.01.2011

Top Jazz Picks For 1999

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As we close one decade and get ready to open a fresh one, it seems that jazz is in a healthy state, fostered tremendously by the colossal reissue boom. That's not to say there wasn't great new music being made. In fact, there was an interesting shift in equilibrium as the overt neo-classicism of Wynton Marsalis and his clan gave way to a healthier mix of styles, from the "tradition with an edge" of Nicholas Payton to the mind-expanding journeys of Dave Douglas, Don Byron, and many others. As a s …
29.01.2011

The Birth of Jazz

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A music created mainly by black Americans in the 20th century through an amalgamation of elements drawn from European-American and tribal African music. A unique type, it cannot safely be categorized as folk, popular, or art music, though it shares aspects of all three. It has had a profound effect on international culture, not only through its considerable popularity, but through the important role it has played in shaping the many forms of popular music that developed around and out of it.

The title is attributed to the foremost tenor saxophonists of the be-bop era, Dexter 'LTD' Gordon. On his album, American Classic, in an interview, Gordon is quoted with this phrase, "Be-bop is the music of the future." Haven 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 of all time..."Round Midnight."

About be-bop, …

29.01.2011

Jazz...It's Definitions

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No discussion of jazz would be complete without some knowledge of just where the word "jazz" came from. One of the most gifted musicians in New Orleans was saxophonist, Sidney Bechet, who played in the Noble Sissle's orchestra along with Charlie Parker in the late twenties. In his autobiography, Bechet insisted that the word jazz, in it's original form of "jass," was local slang for sexual activities. The evidence in favor of Bechet's assertion seems overwhelming; Becket's declaration is substan …
This review is a bit of a departure from the norm, being a VHS , broadcast quality, video cassette rather than a CD. Several readers have written asking why traditional jazz is seldom reviewed. The simple answer is that little is submitted to me. That seems to be changing with the arrival of Mart Rodger's Manchester Jazz and the Alex Pangman CD recently featured as CD of the week. Manchester Jazz is not to be confused with the plethora of "trad" bands who frantically copy the sound of the Late G …
29.01.2011

Top Jazz Picks For 2001

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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 …
The closer you get to New York City, the more it draws you near. Not only because of its big city heart and the appealing diversity of its people, but for its exciting jazz and the history it embraces.

Exhilaration builds as the taxi winds its way towards your hotel. Looking out the window, the flavor of the city rushes past you sidewalk soft-pretzel vendors, waiters changing the daily menu specials on the marquee, delivery trucks lined up by the curb, sneaker-clad people in business attire, …

The polls are open for the public to choose the best smooth jazz artists of the year. 2002 marks the 3rd time for The National Smooth Jazz Awards Show. This year’s event will take place at the Golden Hall in San Diego California on March 2, 2002 at 7 PM (Pacific Time). Hosted by Mr. Personality himself, saxman Dave Koz and broadcast nationally on all participating smooth jazz radio stations, this show should be an event to remember.

Stay tuned to your local smooth jazz radio station where …