Jon Hendricks, a singer, songwriter and lyricist who pioneered vocalese—the art of crafting words to famed jazz solos—and was a co-founder of the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, died November 22. He was 96. Jon died on the same...
George Avakian, who as an executive and producer at Columbia Records in the 1940s and '50s created a successful formula for packaging jazz as popular music and who signed Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and Johnny Mathis to the label, among...
We tend to think of Bobby Darin as the last old-school pop singer, before the American songbook was submerged by the rock-and-soul surge of the 1960s. And in many respects he was. But just as Darin was becoming the heir... Related Stories Pete Brady: Exciting New Voice Chris Connor: Gershwin Almanac Henry Mancini: Lola Albright
Della Reese, best known as the boss of a band of divine messengers on the 1990s TV series Touched By an Angel but started her career decades earlier as an earthy pop singer, died on Nov. 19. She was 86....
For much of the latter part of the 19th century and into the post-war years, Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley was a center of Italian immigration. Prior to residential development in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Valley was... Related Stories Hod O'Brien Meets Sal Nistico Frank Strazzeri: Taurus
Sol Schlinger, a baritone saxophonist who played in several major big bands in the 1940s and was part of the East Coast sax section that handled a sizable amount of studio recording in the 1950s and beyond, died last week.... Related Stories The Sax Section: 'Shazam'
With two Identity Theft posts in a month it’s almost like the old days, putting up as many tracks by our favourite bands as we could. And so here we are (again) with a new track from a new album by Identity Theft. Reconnaissance Peak is a giddy mix of early-80s Eastern Block spy thriller […]
Forty-eight years ago this month, pianist Thelonious Monk appeared in Berlin at the Berliner Jazztage festival. Translated, the event's name meant Berlin Jazz Days, which today is known as JazzFest Berlin. On solo piano, during the first week of November... Related Stories Who's Afraid of Monk? Video: Joe Turner & Jack Dupree Sonny Rollins & Monk
Yesterday, I finally worked my way through two stacks of incoming CDs that I had set aside for a listen. Among them was Diana Panton's new Solstice/Equinox. What a lovely surprise. Panton is a Canadian singer with a breathy, hip... Related Stories Julie London's Holiday Album 21 New CD Discoveries Julie London: A Good Cry
Following its release in 1974, Who's Afraid of the Big Band Monk? was scorned by jazz fans and critics. The double album featured Thelonious Monk recorded in 1963 and 1968 with large ensembles. The earlier live date covered both sides... Related Stories Sonny Rollins & Monk Thelonious Monk: Movie Music Interview: Denny Zeitlin
The history of the Count Basie orchestra is generally divided into two broad periods—the Old Testament band, which lasted from 1935 to 1950, and the New Testament band, which ran from 1952 until Basie's death in 1984. The former orchestra... Related Stories Count Basie: New Testament Band Count Basie and Kay Starr Videos: Basie in the '30s & '40s
Bobby Scott (above) was a remarkable arranger, composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer. If you're unfamiliar with him, you certainly know his biggest pop hits in the 1960s: A Taste of Honey and He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. Before he topped... Related Stories Larry Elgart (1922-2017) More Bands on WGN-TV in '65 The Lost Bobby Scott
Die Wilde Jagd are too cool to exist. They are too alive (and well dressed) to be Neubauten and too disciplined to be Add (n) to (x). Too organic to be Photek and too robotic to be Deerhunter. We have been listening to their stellar s/t album a lot recently, and wished we could travel […]
This week in The Wall Street Journal, I interviewed bestselling suspense writer Lee Child (go here) for my "House Call" column. Lee talks about his childhood and how the Beatles transformed his generation in the U.K. from glum offspring of...
On July 19, 1959, baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan was on tour in Rome, performing at the Teatro Adriano. Joining him was trumpeter Art Farmer, bassist Bill Crow and drummer Dave Bailey. The performance was captured by Italian television and issued... Related Stories Gerry Mulligan: Jeru Farmer, Quincy and Coltrane Art Farmer + John Coltrane
At the tail end of October, I devoted several posts to Wild Bill Davis, who I feel is the true father of the soul-jazz organ. Davis's superb taste, popular success and treatment of the instrument as a big band in... Related Stories Illionis Jacquet: Go Power! Milt Buckner: Locked Hands Sonny Stitt: Tune-Up!
Yesterday I posted on Go Power!, saxophonist Illinois Jacquet's 1966 album with Milt Buckner on organ and Alan Dawson on drums. In the post, I mentioned that Buckner had created the locked-hands technique on the piano keyboard. Unleashing this difficult... Related Stories Illionis Jacquet: Go Power!
In January 1964, trumpeter Chet Baker was arrested at the Blue Note in Berlin. Earlier, at a local pharmacy, he had foolishly tried to fill prescriptions for Jetrium from two different doctors—a sign of abuse or hoarding with an intent... Related Stories Phil Urso and Carl Saunders Chet Baker: Live in London Chet Baker at the Moonlight
In 1944, Stan Kenton and Charles Lawrence wrote a song called And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine. Little is known about Lawrence, how he came to write the song with Kenton, or what influenced Joe Greene's lyric—a noir tale about... Related Stories Bob Corwin and Don Elliott Two Stans in Holland: 1970s Stan Kenton in Paris, 1953
Here we stomp, sucked into a dance vortex after our participation in Helena Hauff’s Printworks revival, an injection of dark Latin American body music and too many videos of Boiler Room mixes, bodies swinging vacant and pure like phantoms in a Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore reenactment. Mexican motorik-tek duo Zombies in Miami are the right […]