For reasons ranging from time and interest (or lack of either), it’s been more than a year since I’ve done one of these posts. And I have to admit that the topic of this one actually came up in late summer or early fall. But I’m hoping to resume this a bit, if only sporadically.
Something that had been in the back a my mind for a while really started to sink in with last week’s announcement of the Grammy nominees — age is not only staring me in the face, it is slapping it.
Ever since this blog started, I’ve had an annual post on my record of the [...]
Today’s music moment comes about only because of today’s news. The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings 1961, the outstanding performance by the Bill Evans Trio, is one of 25 new additions to the National Recording Registry.
In making the announcement, the Library of Congress said the five sets the trio performed on June 25, 1961, “are [...]
With Springsteen and Dylan both releasing new CDs in 2009, you would think that would simplify my choices for album of the year. But Working on a Dream ranks as a below average Springsteen release and I’m enough of a Grinch that even Dylan doesn’t make me want to buy a CD of Christmas songs. [...]
Book blurbs often seem the equivalent of movie blurbs. Skepticism seems justified when a publisher puts a blurb smack on the front cover just below the title — especially when it says, “May be the best book ever written about jazz.” Is this honest commentary or gratuitous puffery? With Geoff Dyer’s But Beautiful: A Book [...]
Usually, I try to use album releases and recording sessions as the basis for these features. But something struck we when I realized that September 15 was the anniversary of the death of jazz pianist Bill Evans. When he died in 1980, he was barely 51. That’s what struck me. With my birthday this week, [...]
You have to be of a certain era for the name Bill Chase to mean much. And it actually could mean something to you in two different contexts. Yet both contexts have an untimely limit. Bill Chase died in a plane crash on August 9, 1974, near Jackson, Minn..
One context is a pure jazz [...]
Today’s jazz fan could only dream of a line-up like this: Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Billie Holiday, Oscar Peterson, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz. Yet those are just a few of the artists who performed at the first Newport Jazz Festival July 17-18, 1954.
Newport is the granddaddy of the [...]
With the Fourth of July upon us, it seems an appropriate time to celebrate a unique American music: jazz. So, you wonder, why is this post about Frank Zappa? The vast majority of the uninitiated think Zappa was just a weird rock musician. In point of fact, he was a too often unheralded explorer of [...]