DVD: Martin Wind

Martin Wind New York Quartet, Live At Jazz Baltica (Jazz Baltica). Bassist Wind returned to his native land in 2008 for Germany's Jazz Baltica Festival in Schleswig-Holstein. With the addition of the astonishing multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, the Bill Mays Trio with Wind and drummer Matt Wilson became the Wind quartet. The vigor, ingenuity and camaraderie among the musicians reach a peak in "Remember October 13th," with Robinson's bass clarinet alternating between the joy of unbridled … [Read more...]

Book: Jazz Loft

Sam Stephenson, The Jazz Loft Project (Knopf). In the late 1950s and early '60s, a loft on New York's Sixth Avenue was headquarters for master photographer W. Eugene Smith and hangout for dozens of musicians including companions as various as Zoot Sims, Pee Wee Russell, Thelonious Monk and Bud Freeman. Stephenson's narrative links transcriptions of conversations taped in the loft and pages of photographs Smith made of jam sessions and of the street life he saw from his windows. The book captures … [Read more...]

Other Matters: Language Followup

If you are a fan (sic) of the kind of language misuse eloquently exposed by the poet Taylor Mali in this recent Rifftides piece, you may enjoy the following video, a commercial for accountants. Thanks to Bill McBirnie for calling that to our attention. … [Read more...]

The Portland Jazz Festival

I was unable to cover the Portland Jazz Festival this year, to my regret. For reasons of economy, the festival came in compact form; one week instead of two. Jack Berry of Oregon Music News tells me he thinks that smaller was better. Berry wrote about two of the festival artists. This is some of what he had to say in advance about Pharaoh Sanders, for forty years among the freest of the free. So this is your cup of tea or it isn't. Sanders was playing with John Coltrane on Live in Seattle and … [Read more...]

Correspondence: Breitenfelds

As a young adult, Paul Breitenfeld adopted the last name Desmond. Over the years, to amuse himself and confound others, he concocted several reasons for the change. He sometimes said he did it because he thought that in the event that he ever made records, the shorter name would fit better on 78 rpm labels. In truth, the inspiration came when he and his friend and fellow saxophonist Hal Strack were at Sweets Ballroom in Oakland, California. Hal's story is in Chapter 6 of a certain book. "We were … [Read more...]