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Magnolia And “Footprints”

20 hours agoMusic / Jazz : Rifftides

This spring, the magnolia tree at the edge of the yard is in full bloom. I was determined to show you an image of just one of its magnificent blossoms. Then the challenge—this being primarily a jazz blog—became finding a piece of music that would be a suitable companion, something to listen to as we […]

John Cameron on Harold McNair

20 hours agoMusic / Jazz : JazzWax

Back in March, I posted about Flute & Nut, a marvelous album by flutist and saxophonist Harold McNair. The orchestral album with McNair soloing was arranged by John Cameron, whom I had the honor of interviewing for my recent "Anatomy...        


Bohren Und Der Club of Gore are a German jazz band who have been going on for a while. They make the kind of jazz that gets published in Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records, and for good reason: they are weird, lumbering and spectral. You’d expect Fantômas to play them in his glass condominium, during a […]

Recent Listening: Cuong Vu Plays Michael Gibbs

yesterdayMusic / Jazz : Rifftides

Cuong Vu 4TET, Ballet (Rare Noise) Trumpeter Vu and three fellow Seattle adventurers explore pieces by Michael Gibbs. It was guitarist Bill Frisell’s idea to bring the British composer to the University of Washington last year for concerts of his orchestral music as well as sets by Vu’s quartet with Frisell, bassist Luke Bergman and […]

Lester, Ella and Billie

2 days agoMusic / Jazz : JazzWax

In The Wall Street Journal this week, I interviewed John Oates of Hall & Oates for my "House Call" column on growing up in New York and North Wales, Pa. (go here). John talked about a medical complication at 13...        

Shades of Happiness now available on CD Baby!

Listen to all the tracks from my new CD Shades of Happiness just release on CD Baby. You can also to purchase it on iTunes, and will soon be available on all the streaming services. Hope you enjoy it. Album notes: Alto saxophonist David...Show More Summary

JazzWax: 3 JJA Nominations

3 days agoMusic / Jazz : JazzWax

Yesterday, JazzWax and I were nominated in three categories by the Jazz Journalists Association for its 2017 JJA Jazz Awards, to be announced on May 15. JazzWax was nominated for "Blog of the Year" while my book, Anatomy of a...       Related Stories JazzWax Wins JJA Award  

Miles, Cleanhead, Sonny And “Four”

4 days agoMusic / Jazz : Rifftides

“Four” is one of the best-known jazz tunes attributed to Miles Davis. He may actually have written it, although a substantial number of musicians maintain that the composer was the alto saxophonist and blues singer Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson. It is all but certain that Vinson also wrote “Tune Up,” another modern jazz standard for which […]

Ben Webster + Ahmad Jamal

4 days agoMusic / Jazz : JazzWax

Jazz From Studio 61 was a CBS show hosted by Robert Herridge that aired on February 15, 1960. It was part of the network's Herridge-produced Robert Herridge Theater series. For this half-hour jazz program, Herridge brought together two groups—one led...       Related Stories Nat Hentoff (1925-2017) Young People's Concerts: Jazz Gerry Mulligan: Three Videos  

Renaud Digs Gryce + Jaspar

5 days agoMusic / Jazz : JazzWax

Yesterday, I posted about a marvelous and rare Jimmy Rowles album called Profile: The Music of Henri Renaud (French Columbia), which was produced by Renaud in 1981. The reaction to my post was so strong, I decided to look way...       Related Stories Jimmy Rowles Digs Henri Renaud Video: Bobby Jaspar, 1958 Video: Bobby Jaspar, 1957  

Monday Recommendation: Mosaic’s Savoy Bebop Treasury

6 days agoMusic / Jazz : Rifftides

Classic Savoy BeBop Sessions 1945-49 Just a quick run-through of the names involved in this ten- CD set might be enough to whet the curiosity of the uninitiated and the appetites of devotees of the music that changed jazz in the 1940s. A few of them: Bud Powell, Allen Eager, Milt Jackson, Fats Navarro, James […]

Jimmy Rowles Digs Henri Renaud

6 days agoMusic / Jazz : JazzWax

Henri Renaud was a Parisian jazz pianist in the 1940s and '50s who never lost his French touch. Outgoing, charming and a delightful composer, he was a natural point person for American musicians on tour in Paris searching for sidemen,...       Related Stories Bud Shank: Shorty Rogers, 1954  

Algorithmic Pre-raphaelite pop party

People say that recommendation engines will be the death of creativity, but we have actually found them to be pretty handy guides for the recondite, ever expanding reaches of YouTube’s musical long-tail. There are several conditions that enable this: The works we explore have been created and uploaded by humans. What is the opposite of […]

The saga so far......also- Shades of Happiness Chamber-Jazz CD preview!

I've been working like crazy for the last several months now, attempting to complete my Berklee degree so that I can accept a graduate teaching assistant position at the University of Kansas next Fall. Thirty years ago I bailed Berklee seven semesters into a performance degree. Show More Summary

Interview: Denny Zeitlin

last weekMusic / Jazz : JazzWax

This week, San Francisco pianist Denny Zeitlin will make one of his rare appearances in New York. Starting Wednesday, April 19, and running through Saturday, April 22, Denny will be at the Mezzrow Jazz Club at 163 W. 10th St....       Related Stories Denny Zeitlin: Early Wayne Mike Neer: Steelonious Thelonious Monk on Riverside  

Weekend Extra: Bud Freeman With Art Hodes

last weekMusic / Jazz : Rifftides

Coleman Hawkins made the tenor saxophone a jazz instrument. Bud Freeman (1906-1991), two years younger than Hawkins, followed as another of the horn’s early masters. Freeman (pictured) started on C-melody saxophone and was a member of Chicago’s Austin High Gang, which also included Frank Teschemacher, Dave Tough and Jimmy McPartland. After he switched to tenor […]

John, Buckets and Teddy

last weekMusic / Jazz : JazzWax

In The Wall Street Journal this week, I interviewed director John Waters on growing up in Lutherville, Md. (go here). In the 1970s, I spent many hours in Boston movie theaters watching Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, The Diane Linkletter Story...        

Tony Bennett and Henry Mancini

last weekMusic / Jazz : JazzWax

In 1986, Blake Edwards directed That's Life, a film starring Jack Lemon as a grumpy aging architect frustrated by his aches and pains and lost youth. Julie Andrews plays his wife, uncertain of her own health until the end of...       Related Stories Henry Mancini: Dreamsville The Gals of Gunn Tony Bennett: Mystery Solved!  

Nostalgia for Nostalgia

In the chemical makeup of pure, uncut nostalgia there is always a heavy component of innocence. Innocence lost, innocence revisited, innocence of the existence of nostalgia itself. But more than that, the pleasant state of nostalgia relies on a certain degree of present tense innocence. The guilt ridden escapist nostalgia is perhaps best left to […]

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