September 23, 2021
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A Fargo artist recently painted a mural of the legendary artist and his historic Fargo recording in 1940. Duke Ellington’s 1940 show at Fargo’s Crystal Ballroom has become ...
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BOOKS VIDEOS

Let me start this story with some context: I really like jazz. I’m listening to it right now, and did while I wrote my last article, too. But it isn’t just ...
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This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of “The Voice of Frank Sinatra,” the first recorded album by the Italian-American singer from Hoboken. Through all that time, and through ...
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John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, recorded near the close of 1964 and released early the following year, inhabits an exalted plane beyond the realm of most other albums, in any ...
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The visionary jazz artist sketched an “Astro-Black mythology” that aligned ancient Egyptian history with a future human exodus “beyond the stars.” When the aliens came for Sun Ra, ...
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Simon Gronowski had committed many acts of bravery and generosity in his 89 years of life, and opening a window in April wouldn’t ordinarily have counted among them, ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

The best jazz requires improvisation. So do the best lives. You can’t buy sheet music that tells you how to live. Improvise, man. Improvise. So when Dizzy Gillespie ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

He was nicknamed Bird and he soared in his music – if not in his life. For the centenary of the saxophonist who redefined jazz, today’s players reveal ...
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He died young, only barely outliving the big-band era, but his influence lives on. Dave Tough looked like a gaunt but elegant character in a classic film noir, ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS NEWS VIDEOS

A Black-empowering label’s catalog from the 1970s is re-released. Should Black people helm its return? About eight minutes into Kamaal Williams’’ Dekmantel podcast,, I haphazardly experienced a record nerd ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

By the mid-1950s, tenor saxophonist Stan Getz had become a sensation as a soloist and started to be featured in films. A few years later, Getz’s horn could ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

In 1964, Canadian filmmaker Gilles Groulx directed Le Chat Dans le Sac (The Cat in the Bag), a black-and-white film about two young lovers in Montreal. The film is ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS Woman in Jazz & Blues

On February 28, 1978, pianist Mary Lou Williams was at Les Mouches, a restaurant and cabaret on New York’s 11th Avenue and 26th Street. She was joined by ...
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Passion Flower: For Doris Duke Sunnyside Records presents the second boxed set of recordings from the archive of pianist Joe Castro, a diverse collection featuring incredible and never ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

If we’re evaluating jazz musicians on tone alone, Art Farmer was perhaps the prettiest trumpeter and flugelhornist to emerge in the 1950s. Distinguished by a warm, orchestral sound ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Boss tenors take charge. I don’t know how else to put it. When a boss tenor plays a ballad, a mid-tempo tune or a barn-burner, the saxophone’s sound ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

In the 1950s, musicians who could play jazz, blues and R&B increased their income considerably. Guitarist Tiny Grimes was one of those who could switch around depending on ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Fifty years ago, Herbie Hancock formed a sextet on the vanguard of electroacoustic music. We remember it now as Mwandishi, after the title of its debut album — the ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Guitarist Pat Martino cooked, especially in clubs. He’s probably best known for his version of Sunny, recorded at New York’s Folk City on his Live! album in 1972. Back in 2014, High Tone Records ...
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The Fourmost Guitars, was a 1956, 12-inch release from ABC-Paramount that featured four different top jazz guitarists of the period. At first glance, I thought it was akin to ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Horace Parlan’s body of work remains special and he should be thought of as one of the Top-10 post-war piano greats. Today, for the many newly minted Parlan ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

While this isn’t possible and wouldn’t be even if they were still with us today, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley was lucky to have them behind him on February ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Guitarist Grant Green recorded two gospel-flavored leadership albums for Blue Note. The first was Sunday Mornin’, in June 1961, and the second was Feelin’ the Spirit, in December 1962. Green, of course, ...
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Few artists ever traveled farther while keeping a foothold in the blues. Yusef Lateef, the pioneering multi-reedist and composer born 100 years ago this week, could never be ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

There are no bad recordings of pianist Thelonious Monk together with tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse. Well, maybe two—when they were in a top-notch group assembled in the late ...
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BOOKS VIDEOS Woman in Jazz & Blues

1938, a young woman stands playing in the centre of the screen, confident and beautiful. In a long white dress, cinched at the waist, she walks around the ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Long before Bill Murray was making it a Suntory time, Davis brought VAN to the masses. A scraggly, hoarse voice announces, almost unintelligibly, “I’m always in the vanguard, ...
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The myth of jazz recordings is that they’re pure documents of what occurred in the studio on a given day. That’s broadly true—jazz has always been a live, ...
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Awash in blues that blend into the sky on clear days, the mural of jazz great John Coltrane on the side of a rowhouse depicts the saxophonist gazing ...
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‘Central was like a river. A mighty river like the Amazon or the Nile, or in this case the Congo. And all the streets were tributaries that branched ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS NEWS VIDEOS

One day in the late Nineties, Dave Lombardo, the metal drumming powerhouse best known for bringing a tornado-like fury to Slayer’s early thrash masterpieces, was driving from San Francisco to ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

As black Americans fought for equal rights in the 1960s, music reflected their calls to action. In jazz, that meant sounds that were spiritual, boundary-pushing and celebrated blackness. ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

On June 4, the iconoclastic composer, esteemed academic/pedagogical luminary, and free-jazz firebrand Anthony Braxton turned 75 years old. To trace the course of Braxton’s career, from its beginnings ...
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My New Yorker Culture Desk essay “Think of Monk” is a well-edited aerial view. What follows is a ramble though the underbrush of musicianly detail, stuff I thought about while ...
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1930: The Orquesta Típica is out and the Conjunto is in The year 1930 marked a turning point in the development of popular Cuban music. Traditional outdoor ensembles ...
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BOOKS VIDEOS

This was going to be a year of great jazz centennials. For 1920 marked the birth of several jazz musicians who either changed the course of the music ...
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BOOKS VIDEOS

A review of the book by Dafnis Prieto, entitled Rhythmic Synchronicity – Individual and Collective Drumming Skills: A rhythmic course for non-drummers. Anyone who has heard Dafnis Prieto play ...
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The partnership between the British saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and a group of South African musicians has produced an imaginative second album… If jazz is looking to reinvent itself ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

McCoy Tyner, who died on Friday at 81, has been a steadfast presence on the air at WBGO since our inception. His album Horizon was made in 1979, the year WBGO ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Miles Davis led such a prismatic and changeable career that any attempt at summation is destined to feel incomplete. But the 2019 documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool does ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

For some 60 years, beginning in the early 1950s, pianist-composer Dave Brubeck was one of the most famous jazz musicians alive. During the height of that fame, he ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

I prefer to pay attention when I listen to music, so if I need background noise while I’m doing something else, I put on a TV show that ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

From May 1979 to September 1980, Laurie Verchomin was pianist Bill Evans’ lover. After their meeting in Edmonton, Canada, in April 1979, Laurie and Bill struck up a letter-writing ...
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Charles Dickens, that prose poet of Christmas, believed that the end of the year—the holiday portion—not only was made for the best celebrations but also was the ideal ...
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Bandleader Glenn Miller, who was lost at sea 75 years ago, played and replayed the song before troops serving in World War II. At 1:45 p.m. on December ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist Gene Jefferson — one of the finest human beings and greatest musicians I have ever known — died on Wednesday at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

“To me, his gruffness was more of a protective shell,” jazz guitarist says of deceased Cream and Ginger Baker Trio co-founder. In 1994, Ginger Baker released a jazz ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS Woman in Jazz & Blues

Jessye Norman died on September 30, at 74. In her honor, we are reposting this 2013 interview with Rhonda Hamilton, in which she discusses her myriad jazz-vocal influences. ...
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As legend has it, Miles Davis assembled a super group of jazz musicians in a New York studio and recorded a bunch of songs without retakes. They left ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Saxophonist John Coltrane was born on Sept. 23, 1926. On what would have been his 93rd birthday, scholar and historian David Tegnell offers this guest installment of Deep ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS Woman in Jazz & Blues

The last time I saw Celia Cruz perform was in Central Park in 2002, one of her final shows, when SummerStage was less managed and thus more exciting. ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS Woman in Jazz & Blues

Mary Lou Williams seemed to learn early that playing piano would keep her alive. Maybe she realized this at age six, when she started venturing to her white ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Historians and critics have pored over the recordings of these jazz greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Stan Getz so exhaustively, it might feel like they’ve left no stone unturned. And yet, ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS Woman in Jazz & Blues

Nana had a big wooden box of a television in the corner of her apartment along Van Aken Boulevard in Cleveland, Ohio, known as “the Widow’s Block.” Brick ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

The Century 21 Exposition, better remembered as the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, left an indelible mark on the skyline of that city: the iconic Space Needle was created for ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS Woman in Jazz & Blues

To consider a women’s Hall of Fame in American music is to come face-to-face with that music’s debt to African-American religious life. The biggest names in blues — ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

Herbie Hancock explains how he composed Watermelon Man and how Mongo Santamaria influenced it. He then performs both the original 1962 and the 1973 Headhunters versions. “Mongo” Santamaría ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS NEWS VIDEOS

Bob Wilber, a saxophonist, clarinetist and bandleader who spearheaded a traditional jazz revival in the face of a postwar modernist boom, and kept the faith well into a ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS

It was winter in late 1988 and a fax arrived in my newspaper office in Cardiff. Miles Davis would be playing at St David’s Hall. What, Miles Davis? ...
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ARTISTS BOOKS VIDEOS Woman in Jazz & Blues

The National Trust is hoping to preserve the North Carolina house where Simone first learned to play piano. Nina Simone was born in a small, clapboard house in ...
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