Ave Teo Macero

Following Teo Macero's death on February 19, most news stories and obituaries concentrated on his role as the producer of Miles Davis's Columbia recordings. Beginning in 1959 with Kind of Blue,  Macero edited or oversaw Davis's sessions, which included those for Sketches Of Spain, In A Silent Way, and Bitches Brew, some of the most influential albums of the past fifty years. With exceptions, notably in the editing of In A Silent Way, Macero got along well with Davis. "We had our battles," … [Read more...]

Brubeck: Things, Sweet

Someone known to me only by the e-mail handle "Bloorondo" pointed out links to a pair of Dave Brubeck video performances new to me and, perhaps, to you. The first, "All The Things You Are," was at a concert in Berlin in 1972 when Gerry Mulligan was the saxophonist in the Brubeck Quartet and Paul Desmond joined them on tour. Jack Six was the bassist, Alan Dawson the drummer. Brubeck, Mulligan and Six are turned out in seventies fashions, including lots of hair. Be sure to notice Brubeck's … [Read more...]

A Rifftides Makeover

Welcome to the new, improved, more functional Rifftides. Artsjournal.com commander-in-chief Doug McLennan and his team spiffed us up as the pioneer site (aka guinea pig) in reformatting all of the artsjournal.com blogs. The Rifftides staff thanks them for a dazzling makeover. There is a change in the comments procedure. You will still click on the "Comments" link below each item. That takes you to a simple form. After you have filled in the form, you will be asked to enter a couple of words in … [Read more...]

On Forging New Directions

Rifftides reader George Finch sent this message in reaction to a ten-year-old article in The Atlantic. There has been so little essential change in jazz since 1997 that The Atlantic piece might have been written last week. It consists mainly of a conversation among authors Tom Piazza, the late Eric Nissensen and the magazine's Ryan Nally. To read the article, go here.  Just read Eric Nissensen's book while I was in Boston, and happened to come across this article. Haven't read Tom … [Read more...]

Phineas Newborn, Jr.

Phineas Newborn, Jr.

For weeks, the CD reissue of Phineas Newborn, Jr.'s 1961 album A World of Piano! has been propped up near my computer as a reminder to post something about him. It is neither his birthday (December 14, 1931) nor the anniversary of his death (May 26, 1989), and no recently discovered Newborn recording has been released, but we need no special occasion to remember his astonishing talent. Because he was sporadically troubled by emotional instability, Newborn's career was spotty. He never got the … [Read more...]

Julian Priester And Dawn Clement

Julian Priester is a musician of uncommon breadth as a composer, leader teacher and--most notably--a highly individual and subtle trombone soloist . Priester is quiet and self-effacing, but he could justifiably boast about having satisfied such contrasting leaders as Duke Ellington and Sun Ra, Cal Tjader and John Coltrane, Lionel Hampton and Dave Holland, Bo Diddley and Max Roach, among others. Since he immersed himself in academia thirty years ago, opportunities to hear Priester live have been … [Read more...]