America’s great vernacular songwriter Frank Loesser was born 100 years ago today. To celebrate, cable tv network TCM is showing the film of his Pulitzer Prize winning musical How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, and Neptune’s DaughterÂ which features Loesser’s evergreen duet “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (see and hear below, I hope — much Loesser material seems to have been removed from Amazon today, after I linked to it).
Archives for June 2010
As a teenager in pursuit of the avant garde, I took tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson, who died June 24 at age 81, as a hero upon first hearing himÂ in 1966. It wasÂ at a Unitarian Church-run coffee house in downtown Evanston near Northwestern U., and attention clearly had to be paid toÂ the long, fierce, unreeling, knotty improvisations Anderson delivered in an ever-more hunkered-down posture as the evening went on.
Miles Davis is still at it — in Prospect Park, the Highline Ballroom, (le) Poisson Rouge, Carefusion Jazz Festival’s Carnegie Hall concerts, also overflowing the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,Â as perÂ my City Arts – New YorkÂ column and enriching the glorious Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (June 25 – July 5).
Why give Jazz Awards? See
my new column in City Arts re the event Monday
6/14 at City Winery in NYC, produced by the Jazz Journalists Assoc.Â
(Full disclosure: I’m deeply involved — as left, last year presenting Kurt Elling his statuette for Best Male Vocalist, photo by Enid Farber. See us this year, streaming live video online at www.JJAJazzAwards.org, with satellite parties in Albuquerque, Berkeley, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Scottsdale, and tweeting using the hashtag #jjajazzawards)
Musicologists are convinced blues icon Robert Johnson’s recordings as released are 20% faster than he performed in two solo sessions in 1936 and 1937. It’s unclear whether they were sped up intentionally (to push their excitement, which seems hardly necessary) or accidentally at some point in the chain between microphone and pressing plant. What is obvious is that since only 11 of the 41 existent Johnson takes were issued by Vocalion on 78 rpm discs during his lifetime (and one posthumously), his complete documented repertoire of 29 tunes issued on two Columbia Records lps, King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961) and King of the Delta Blues Singers, Vol. 2 (1970) and finally 41 tracks, alternates and all, released on a best-selling 2-CD boxed set, Robert Johnson The Complete Recordings by Columbia in 1990, we have probably never heard what the blues’ most influential singer-guitarist actually sounded like.