Other Matters: Return Of The One-Man Band

No, not the Sidney Bechet "Sheik of Araby" kind of one man band, but the television news kind. Today, Howard Kurtz devotes his column in The Washington Post to a phenomenon brought about in broadcast news by the convergence of technology and economic hard times. Scott Broom turns his tripod toward the wall of gray mailboxes, adjusts the camera, walks into the shot and delivers his spiel. "Here's how bad it is for the U.S. Postal Service," the WUSA reporter says as a handful of customers at the … [Read more...]

Kansas City Suite: Still Rare, Still Wonderful

Nearly two years ago, I wrote about a Benny Carter masterpiece that received raves from musicians and critics after Count Basie recorded it for Roulette in 1960. Kansas City Suite went out of print as an LP, had a brief revival as a Capitol CD in 1990, sold poorly and has all but disappeared. Basie's so-called "new testament" band included Thad Jones, Joe Newman, Frank Wess, Frank Foster, Marshall Royal, Benny Powell, Al Grey and the great latterday Basie rhythm section. They gave Carter's work … [Read more...]