In The Wall Street Journal this week, my monthly "Anatomy of a Song" column looked at Alice Cooper's Eighteen, a potent hard-rock single in 1970 about teenage uncertainty and self-doubt (go here). The song became the band's first hit just...
My favorite tracks of Chet Baker singing aren't in English. They're in Italian, and they were recorded in Rome in 1962 with the Ennio Morricone Orchestra. Yes, that Ennio Morricone (above), the composer of music for The Good, the Bad... Related Stories Chet Baker: Cold Trumpet Phil Urso and Carl Saunders New Year's Day Recordings
Roscoe Mitchell, Bells For The South Side (ECM) If you have followed Mitchell’s searching music over the past 50 years, Bells For The South Side will reassure you that the septuagenarian composer, saxophonist and tireless avant-garde inspiration continues to innovate. Mitchell’s music makes demands on listeners—and rewards them for their attention. This is not a […]
Kenny Drew Jr. lived under too many shadows. A superb pianist, he died in 2014, and his passing, like his piano, went almost unnoticed. Here's my obit. Drew Jr. was the son of the masterful bebop pianist Kenny Drew. How...
On February 19, 1968, tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins was in Copenhagen at the Cafe Montmartre, the city's most historic jazz club. Sonny was in fantatic form and backed by a stunning trio—pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and drummer... Related Stories Sonny Rollins: Cafe Montmartre, 1968 Benny Golson: Germany, 1993
On July 12 we lost Joe Fields. During his long career Fields was the guiding spirit of record labels committed to unalloyed jazz. He started the Cobblestone label and later changed its name to Muse. Among the dozens of musicians he recorded on Muse over three decades were Woody Shaw, Houston Person, Grant Green and […]
Pianist McCoy Tyner is best known for being a member of the John Coltrane Quartet beginning in 1960. During those years, Tyner re-invented the piano as a highly percussive, stirring instrument that churned the waters for Coltrane's abstraction and spiritual...
Thrilled to say that Jazz from Gallery 41 and yours truly are among the nominees selected for 2017 JazzWeek Awards. (As published on July 13, 2017, by JazzWeek). Nominations have been tabulated for the 2017 JazzWeek Awards, which will be presented on August 10 in San Jose, California, at the JazzWeek Summit. Show More Summary
By my count, trumpeter and flugelhornist Bob Lark and alto saxophonist Phil Woods have recorded six albums together prior to Woods' death in 2015. Their final collaboration, Thick as Thieves, recorded in 2009 at Chicago's Jazz Showcase, was just released.... Related Stories Alto Summit: Four Saxes, 1968 Phil Woods: 1960 Phil Woods (1931-2015)
Before long, the Rifftides staff will be flying to Europe for the 2017 Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival. As always, the festival lineup will include prominent visiting American artists. Among them are tenor saxophonists Jerry Bergonzi and Joshua Redman, trumpeter Tim Hagans, drummer Al Foster and guitarist Al Di Meola. In addition, the Ystad artistic director, […]
Surely that will never catch on… XXJFG Mixtape – Doctorin’ the Tardis
For The Wall Street Journal this week, I interviewed documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (go here), who directed Dont Look Back, Monterey Pop, Ziggy Stardust, The War Room and many others, including Audition at RCA. Penny and I talked about his...
Today’s early morning cycling expedition took me past a magnificent pear orchard in the hills west of town. Here is the orchard… …and here are pears taking on color and that lovely pear shape. Apples are the principal cash crop in this area of Eastern Washington State, but in a good year pears do nicely […]
African-American women came into their own in the early 1960s as solo pop singers. Long pegged as jazz or R&B recording artists in the '50s or members of girl groups in the early '60s, African-American women began to cross over... Related Stories 7 Nancy Wilson Videos Clips Lena Horne and Gabor Szabo Videos: Aretha Franklin
Harry South is virtually unknown in the States today, but in the U.K. and throughout much of Europe, he was a highly regarded English jazz pianist, composer and arranger. South began his career in the early 1950s and remained active...
Our occasional Rifftides Russian correspondent, Svetlana Ilicheva, writes that one of her favorite listening spots in Moscow is the Zhurfac café. Not far from the Kropotkinskaya metro stop on Gogol Boulevard, the Zhurfac is in a neighborhood of major cultural interest because of the State Art Museum named for writer and national icon Alexander Pushkin […]
One of the hippest female jazz singers of the late 1940s and beyond was Jackie Cain. Jackie had an upbeat wholesomeness and sly sensibility that seemed to come naturally. When Jackie met pianist Roy Kral in Charlie Ventura's bop band...
Pianist Aaron Diehl has a way of making you think about what you're hearing. This happens on the ballads Single Petal of a Rose and Blue Nude from his The Bespoke Man's Narrative (2013). But Aaron also can make you... Related Stories Interview: Roger Kellaway Gerry Mulligan: Bern, 1990 Interview: Bill Charlap
Bill Evans, Another Time, Resonance For years, it was thought that drummer Jack DeJohnette’s only recorded appearance with the Bill Evans trio was at the 1968 Montreux Jazz Festival. Then in 2013, producer Zev Feldman discovered that five days after Montreal, Evans, DeJohnette and bassist Eddie Gomez recorded privately for the owners of the MPS […]
None of the songs on Songbook, vocalist Georgia Mancio's new album, is an American Songbook standard. In fact, all 12 tracks on the album were composed by Alan Broadbent, Mancio's piano accompanist here, with Mancio writing the lyrics. These days,... Related Stories Alan Broadbent: Developing Story Interview: Meredith d'Ambrosio