Compatible Quotes

Great artists pay homage to Billy Strayhorn's God-given ability and mastery of his craft. Because he had a rare sensitivity and applied himself to his gifts, he successfully married melody, words and harmony, equating the fitting with happiness. -- Duke Ellington  'A' Train was born without any effort - if was like writing a letter to a friend. -- Billy Strayhorn … [Read more...]

Bill Finegan, 1917-2008

Bob Brookmeyer sent this message today: Bill Finegan passed peacefully on today with his son James and his daughter Helen by his side. He was a hero, a dear friend and one of the most gifted arrangers we have ever had. Somewhere an orchestra sounds better. Finegan was an arranger who gave Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey some of their most substantial music. In 1952 he and Eddie Sauter formed the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, which was famous for its musicianship, wit and a couple of hits that … [Read more...]

Freddie Hubbard!

Here's something I've been saving for a slow day--that is, a day when I haven't prepared a new posting. It's Freddie Hubbard in 1962 at age twenty-four, getting famous with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. To many, this was the Blakey band. It had Wayne Shorter, Curtis Fuller, Cedar Walton, Reggie Workman and Hubbard. Watch for Blakey's smile when Hubbard tears into the second chorus of his solo with that beautifully placed allusion to "Why Don't You Do Right?" . It's too bad this … [Read more...]

Compatible Quotes: Practicing

If someone wants to play music you do not have to get a ruler or whips to make them practice.--Thelonious Monk. They would tell me to practice, and they would get on my case, but only because they knew that's what I wanted to do. They never really did pressure me. They wouldn't have made me take lessons if my heart wasn't in it. I was 3 or 4 years old, and I wanted it.--Taylor Eigsti … [Read more...]

Hal McKusick

The Rifftides staff has no more intention of making this blog a birthday watch than of making it a death watch, although there is an endless supply of both phenomena. However, on the Jazz West Coast listserve, Desne Villepigue pointed out that yesterday was the eighty-fourth anniversary of Hal McKusick's appearance in the world, and that is worth noting. McKusick was one of the most rewarding alto saxophone soloists of the fifties and sixties. He is still active as a player, teacher and inspirer … [Read more...]

Weekend Extra: Butch Warren

Butch Warren was a fixture on Blue Note albums in the 1960s. One of the bright young bassists of his generation, he recorded with Herbie Hancock, Dexter Gordon, Jackie McLean, Thelonious Monk and others. Then he disappeared. Reporting for MSNBC, Antoine Sanfuentes found Warren, traced his success, downward trajectory and attempt to re-etablish his career. The piece includes a link to a video profile of Warren. Thanks to Larry Appelbaum for calling our attention to it. For more … [Read more...]