CD: Ray Skjelbred, Jim Goodwin

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Ray Skjelbred & Jim Goodwin, Recorded Live in Port Costa (Orangapoid) A couple of years ago I wrote about the night I discovered Jim Goodwin’s cornet playing and became an instant fan: “His solos had echoes and intimations of Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong, Ruby Braff, Max Kaminsky and Wild Bill Davison. He wrapped all of that into a style of great individuality, intimacy, forthright conviction and humor.” This CD captures Goodwin and pianist Skjelbred in 1977, 32 years before Goodwin’s … [Read more...]

DVD: Zoot Sims

Zoot Sentimental

Zoot Sims, In A Sentimental Mood (MVD) We see the tenor saxophonist sitting on a couch telling bassist Red Mitchell about his treasured old horn. Then the two and guitarist Rune Gustafsson play “In a Sentimental Mood.” Sims tells about Benny Goodman stealing his apple, and they play “Gone With the Wind.” For nearly an hour, we eavesdrop on a superb trio in an intimate setting, sharing stories and music. Like The Sound of Jazz, it is a video rarity—musicians allowed to be themselves, … [Read more...]

Book: Hershorn on Granz

Hershorn Granz 2

Tad Hershorn, Norman Granz, The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice (California) In his biography of the concert, recording and equal rights trailblazer, Hershorn praises Granz’s achievements as thoroughly as he examines the impresario’s notoriously abrasive manner. In the balance, Granz emerges as an admirable figure who bulled his way through or finessed his way around obstacles to gain acceptance for the music he loved while demanding just treatment of its musicians. The book is alive with … [Read more...]

Walter Norris, 1931-2011

Walter Norris

Pianist Walter Norris died this week at his home in Berlin. He was two months short of his 80th birthday. Because of his early recording with Ornette Coleman and later experimental work, he is often described as associated primarily with free jazz, but Norris’s stylistic range was virtually unlimited. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and first received substantial notice in the 1950s in Los Angeles when he recorded with Jack Sheldon and was the pianist on Coleman’s first album. After he … [Read more...]