main: April 2006 Archives

Within a half hour of returning from a trip late this afternoon, I got into the appropriate duds, jumped on the mountain bike and took a twelve-mile ride before supper. The route was a favorite, along one of the irrigation canals carrying the water that allows this high desert valley to bloom. For long stretches, the margins of the path are graced with lilacs, clouds of lilacs, in parks, yards, the borders of orchards, vacant lots. The blossoms range from purest white through pink, lavender, mauve and magenta down to an indigo that approaches black.

The light slanted across the lilacs as the sun lowered toward the peaks of the Cascade range. The scent of the blooms intensified in the evening air and, without having been near a glass of wine, I came home in a state of slight intoxication.

April 30, 2006 7:52 PM | | Comments (0)

The next few days will find me consorting with friends from educational endeavors long ago; in other words, a college reunion. I leave you with the two items below. The first is brief, a bit of welcome news. The second is long, intended to bring to your attention a musician who deserves it.

I'll be traveling without benefit or burden of the old laptop. Hey, we all need breaks now and then from the digital world . Without them, we might need digitalis.

Have a good weekend.

April 28, 2006 1:06 AM | | Comments (0)

Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond has been named a semi-finalist in the performing arts category for an IPPY, a 2006 Indpendent Book Publishers Award.

The competition:

Vivian Perlis and Libby Van Cleve, Composers' Voices from Ives to Ellington

Calum Waddell, Minds of Fear: A Dialogue With 30 Modern Masters of Horror

Jack Lane, A Gallery of Stars: The Story of the Hollywood Brown Derby's Wall of Fame

Weathervane Theatre, Nights of Northern Lights:40 Seasons of the Weathervane Theatre

The winner will be announced on May 10.

April 28, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

Here is an excerpt from a much longer piece that will soon appear elsewhere. More about that later.

The trumpeter and sometime guitarist Randy Sandke receives neither the critical nor popular attention that goes to fellow trumpeters Wynton Marsalis and Dave Douglas—to pick a couple of names out of the air—but everything about his music says that he should. He is a technical and creative virtuoso on the trumpet. Regardless of the style and era of music he chooses for his projects, he seems unrestricted in interpretive power. He arranges and composes for large and small groups with a canny understanding of dynamics, instrumental textures, relative harmonic densities and the importance of space. A lover of challenges, risks, surprises and humor, Sandke is serious about his music but exhibits no evidence of pomposity, pretentiousness or proprietary airs.

Of a piece called “Berlin” on his Subway Ballet CD (Evening Star), Sandke explains in his literate notes, "I decided to release it on the belief that there just aren't enough atonal guitar solos in the world, and also it may help dispel (or at least further defy) the persistent notion that I am merely a 'swing' musician. (Okay—I worked with Benny Goodman, but so did Fats Navarro and Herbie Hancock and nobody refers to them as 'swing musicians.') Being thus labeled is somewhat akin to being called a child molester in that the tag never seems to go away, and both can be equally deleterious to one's career."

April 28, 2006 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

The new series of Prestige recordings remastered for compact disc by Rudy Van Gelder, the engineer who recorded them, is the occasion for the reappearance of one of Kenny Dorham’s finest albums, Quiet Kenny. The sound was never inadequate on a Van Gelder session, but his rebalancing and adjustment of some of the sonic nuances of the rhythm section etch Dorham’s sound closer to the intimacy the trumpeter achieved in person.

Dorham was of the generation of trumpet players who followed and were indebted to Dizzy Gillespie. Unlike his contemporary the incandescent Fats Navarro, Dorham played journeyman bebop for a few years before his musical personality emerged. In 1948, when he replaced Miles Davis in Charlie Parker’s quintet, he began phasing out the standard bop phrases that dominated his concept. The increased maturity of his harmonic thinking led to greater individuality in the creation of improvised melodic lines. At the same time, his articulation, always a hallmark of his work, took on even more of a speechlike quality. In the mid-fifties, Dorham’s playing with Horace Silver, Cecil Payne and Max Roach established him as one of the most personal voices on any instrument.

Quiet Kenny, from 1960, is an album of masterly Dorham performances. His rhythm section is pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Arthur Taylor. A few months earlier, they accompanied John Coltrane in his watershed “Giant Steps” session. The CD contains Dorham’s compositions “Lotus Blossom,” “Blue Spring Shuffle” and “Blue Friday” in addition to five standard songs. His readings of the melodies of “My Ideal,” “I Had the Craziest Dream” and “Old Folks” “Mack the Knife” conjure up the lyrics almost as surely as if he were singing them. Then, he proceeds to create melodies that sometimes equal or surpass the originals. His compelling “Alone Together” consists of Dorham playing the melody one time, his only improvisation ten seconds of gentle declension at the end. It’s a magical performance.

Dorham never achieved the popular success of Gillespie and Davis, and never a smattering of their financial independence. Throughout his career, he found it necessary to have day jobs to keep his family housed and clothed, moonlighting in a sugar refinery and an airplane factory, occasionally writing record reviews and articles for Down Beat. During one period, he taught at the Lenox School of Jazz. At the time he recorded Quiet Kenny, he was working at Manny’s music store in Manhattan, not teaching trumpet, but on the floor selling instruments. Dorham fell victim to kidney disease in the sixties, but he kept developing, exploring the new freedom that entered jazz with the innovations of Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans and Miles Davis in Kind of Blue and the post-“Giant Steps” Coltrane. He died in 1972.

A new generation of musicians discovered or re-discovered Dorham in the 1990s. Trumpeters as diverse as Ryan Kisor, Nicholas Payton and Byron Stripling have acknowledged his influence not only as an improviser but for his insights into the possibilities in chords. I’m not sure that the Van Gelder remastering of Quiety Kenny justifies replacing previous CD editions of the album, but I hope that it brings Dorham to the attention of listeners unfamiliar with the work of one of the great soloists of the second half of the twentieth century.

The other CDs reissued in the first batch of Prestige’s projected series of remastered Van Gelders are:

Red Garland: Red Garland’s Piano
The Modern Jazz Quartet: Django
Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane
Coleman Hawkins: The Hawk Relaxes
Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus
Miles Davis: Relaxin’
John Coltrane: Lush Life
Gene Ammons: Boss Tenor
Eric Dolphy: Out There

There's not a B + in the bunch. They are all A’s. It will be a challenge for Prestige to match that level of quality in the next release.

April 27, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

The great (adjective used advisedly) photographer William P. Gottlieb died on Sunday at the age of 89. He hadn't made a photograph with a jazz theme for decades, but that didn't matter. The ones he shot in the forties and fifties are indelible images. Once you have seen his picture of 52nd Street in the rain, you won't forget it; nor his shots of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Sid Catlett, young Frank Sinatra and valuable, barely-remembered figures like Al Casey and Dave Lambert. For a thorough review of Bill Gottlieb's work, go to the Library of Congress site devoted to him. It includes a series of sound bites of his reminiscences and an extensive collection of his photographs. This is an instance of the nation preserving and honoring the work of one of its finest visual artists.

April 26, 2006 1:06 AM | | Comments (1)

I don’t pay much attention to rock and roll revival musicals because I avoid rock and roll, to the limited extent possible in a world saturated with it. Paul Paolicelli is an author, fellow journalist and former jazz trumpeter just enough younger than I to have been a part of the first rock generation. He sent a charming essay concerning the Broadway show called Jersey Boys. I had never heard of it and had to look it up. It is about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. I liked Paul’s little story and asked him if I could share it with you. Here it is.

A Question Of Time?

I put the Jersey Boys CD into the deck in my car’s radio. As it happens, another CD I’d loaded earlier that week was a Johnny Hartman/John Coltrane compilation. It made for an interesting juxtaposition and ride to the other side of town.

(I don’t know what gets into these producers' heads when they do these sorts of things. Within the first five minutes of the Jersey Boys CD I was treated to four letter words in dialogue a couple of times. More to the point, my soon-to-be ten year old in the back seat was also so enlightened. Don’t these people understand that sharing music with your children is part of the fun? Why do they have to put the PG rating on everything?)

But language is, I think, of the essence here. I talked with my daughter about the social relevance of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Tried to explain to her how pervasive and inescapable popular music had been in that time period, my time period, my youth. Told her of how I had been a music student and couldn’t have been less interested in this form of music, yet heard it often. Reminisced about how, in the army, you heard music everyday and, if you were a purist (and a bit of a snob) as I was, it didn’t matter. You heard popular music. And that the truly surprising thing about it was that it now held a certain warm place in memory, a nostalgia that overwhelmed poetical or compositional inadequacies.

I played “Sherry” for my daughter. Asked her what she thought.

“It’s neat,” she said.

Then I played Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane doing “My One and Only Love,” by Robert Mellin and Guy Wood. What did she think?

“It’s okay,” she said, damning it with faint praise.

I wouldn’t let it go. Listen to the lyrics, I said. Listen to the difference in approach, in tone, in complexity. Here…scan these lines:

Sherry, Sherry baby
Sherry, Sherry baby

She - e - e-e-e-e-ry baby
She - e - rry, can you come out tonight
She - e - e-e-e-e-ry baby
She - e - rry, can you come out tonight?

Okay? Now compare those lyrics with these…

The very thought of you makes my heart sing
like an April breeze on the wings of spring.
And you appear in all your splendor,
My one and only love.

Do you see the difference? Can you see why a hopeful musician in my generation would want the sophistication and delicacy of a well crafted lyric? Why we thought popular lyrics and chord structures were silly, immature, superficial.

“What’s splendor?” she asked.

I remember two of the most magnificent teachers I’d ever had, Bass and Helen Hutchinson who ran the Newport Beach Jazz Workshop in which I was privileged to play. Some years later, in an interview, Bass was asked what he had tried to accomplish in working with kids all those years. “Well, it’s really fairly simple,” he said. “We were trying to teach these kids the difference between artistry and noise.”

The difference between artistry and noise.

In my youth, in my arrogance, I was convinced I knew the difference. Now I was trying to pass that wisdom along to my daughter.

So how does that explain the extraordinary success of Jersey Boys on Broadway? Here’s the really funny thing; I’m enjoying the music. Despite my sensitive, overactive, formally educated brain, there’s something in those simplistic lyrics and uncomplicated chords that is downright toe-tapping and head-bouncing. Something that captures the energy and spirit of that generation in a way that literature or graphic arts never did. Something that delves into the dynamics of a generation raised in the contradictions of a childhood in Eisenhower lethargy, a manhood and adulthood in Southeast Asian violence and Reganonomics. There is something in this music that expands beyond its structure. Is it nostalgia? Is it the fundamental human instinct to look back with fondness for what can never be again?

The shadows fall and spread their mystic charms
In the hush of night while you are in my arms.
I feel you lips so warm and tender,
My one and only love.

Lush and well-crafted words. Romantic poetry. The level of artistry I wanted to reach. Something haunting, beautiful, ineffable in the song and in the solos. Both men masters of their craft. Polished and evocative lyrical and musical statements.

And then there’s:

(Why don't you come out) to my twist party
(Come out) Where the bright moon shines
(Come out) We'll dance the night away
I'm gonna make-a you mi-yi-yi-yine

Simplistic twaddle sung in unbelievable falsetto. “I wanna’ dance and make you “mi-yi-yi-yine.” I was so beyond and above that then.

So why is my foot tapping? Why can I still remember those semi-moronic words? Why am I sharing this with my daughter? On the cut, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” I’m singing the lead trumpet part, remembering a tour of Germany with a sextet when we—soldiers all—played that song, so simplistic in its rhyme scheme, but so much fun in its syncopation and brass licks. Downright joyous in a way. And my daughter, for the first time, sees a young musician in her old man.


I give myself in sweet surrender…

Sherry, can you come out tonight?

(Paul Paolicelli is the author of Dances with Luigi and Under the Southern Sun)

Now, with permission, here is one critic’s view of Jersey Boys. The critic is our next-door neighbor Terry Teachout. His review was for The Wall Street Journal.

Seasons Bleatings

YET ANOTHER jukebox musical has come to town, and this time I don’t feel like arguing—much. For reasons not obvious to me, “Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons” is not only giving pleasure to paying theatergoers (that part I get) but has also passed muster with certain critics who should know better. Contrary to anything you’ve read elsewhere, it’s nothing more than 32 songs performed on a cheap-looking set by a high-priced lounge band, strung together like dimestore pearls on the most vapid of all-tell-no-show books.

So why is this un-musical selling tickets by the carload? Because, judging by da accents I hoid in da lobby, New Jersey is full of boomers who grew up with such ditties as “Big Girls Do-Hon’t Ka-Rie-Yie-Yie” and are flocking to Broadway to fondle their memories. They clearly don’t care that “Jersey Boys” borders on the plotless: for them, a plot would be a distraction. What they like are the songs, the Joisey jokes and the gangster jokes, not necessarily in that order.

No doubt I’m the wrong person to review this show, seeing as how the hyped-up falsetto yelps of Mr. Valli (convincingly simulated here by John Lloyd Young) give me hi-yie-yives. All I can say is that it would be a lot simpler for everyone involved if they’d just move the whole thing to Newark.

—Terry Teachout

April 26, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (2)
Pinky Winters is one of the treasures of the vocal world. I would suggest that any endeavor to locate her recorded work is well worth the effort. I am partial to Rain Sometimes, Cellar Door Records CCLR 101, recorded in 2002, also produced by Bill Reed. She is masterfully accompanied on piano by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and the fondly-remembered Bob Maize on bass. Wonderful songs, inspired renditions ... Look for it and buy it. You will thank me.

Carol Sloane

New female singers billed as jazz artists pop up these days at the rate of about two a minute. If they must pop up, I wish that they would first listen carefully to Carol Sloane and then, if they decide to persist, listen to her again. And again. Something might rub off. They could start with one of her new CDs, Whisper Sweet, for instance—or one from her early career—say, Out of the Blue.

Out of the Blue, a 1961 Columbia album, was the first under her own name. It had Bob Brookmeyer's first string arrangements and other charts by Brookmeyer's hero Bill Finegan. The soloists included Brookmeyer, Clark Terry, Nick Travis, Barry Galbraith and Jim Hall. The album opened with Brookmeyer's introduction to Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss"—which amounts to a short composition—then Sloane entered with the most perfect delivery I have ever heard of that enchanting first line:

If you hear a song in blue, like a flower crying for the dew....

Instantly, I was hooked.

Columbia never issued Out of the Blue on compact disc. Koch Jazz did, ten years ago, but the CD is out of print, inexcusably, and copies are going for nearly fifty dollars. Is it worth it? It would be to me.

But, I'm still hooked.

April 24, 2006 1:06 AM | | Comments (1)

The Rifftides piece about pianist John Williams incorrectly identified him as a former mayor of Vero Beach, Florida. Williams sent a postcard with an aerial view of Vero Beach, where he lives now, setting the record straight.

Thanks for very generous—if unwarranted— warm words in Rifftides. But thought I should correct “mayor of Vero Beach” bit. I was City Commissioner (& vice-mayor one term) for 20 years in Hollywood, Fla. 1971-1991. Elected to 5 terms, 4 yrs. each. Did a good job. Have a nice park named after me.

The Rifftides staff regrets the error. The research assistant responsible will be forced to correct the original posting and listen to Yanni, John Tesch and George Winston for one week.

For a photograph and description of John Williams Park, go here and scroll down to the middle of the page. Where's the statue?

April 24, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

After my daily journalism days ended, I spent several years educating professional journalists about issues they cover in economics, science, the environment, foreign affairs and other fields. One of our key areas at the nonprofit Foundation For American Communications (FACS) was ethics. That resulted in Journalism Ethics: Why Change? a book edited by me and my assistant Dale Shaps that is still read by reporters, editors, producers and others in journalism who know how difficult it is, day in and day out, to be balanced, accurate and fair.

Over several years, we did a series of educational conferences on ethics for journalists. The programs attracted some of the leading figures in American news organizations as students, teachers, speakers and panelists. A few of them were Richard Harwood of The Washington Post; former National News Council President Norman Isaacs; Jeff Greefield, then of ABC News; William Henry III of TIME: Bud Benjamin of CBS News: and David Lawrence, president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Jesse Mann, an ethicist and philosophy professor at Georgetown University, often led the participants through thinking about moral reasoning and newsgathering. At one of our sessions, Dave Lawrence, when he was publisher of The Detroit Free Press, confessed that he hadn’t fully connected the obligation to be accurate with ethics until he was the subject of a front page profile in a national newspaper. Lawrence said that the reporter made mistakes of fact that got past the copy desk and the editors. By being on the receiving end of the news process, he said, he acquired a greater understanding of why so many readers, listeners and viewers question the reliability of what they read, see and hear in the news.

All of that came to mind when I read DevraDoWrite's latest installment. It had to do with her hometown newspaper’s short profile of her husband, John Levy. Devra had a David Lawrence experience. Here’s some of what she wrote:

What could have been a lovely feature story in Friday’s Pasadena Star News was, sadly, full of factual errors, and worse, it was woefully short on substance. Errors included my age — I am 50 years old, 44 years younger than John, not 55 years younger than John which would make me 39 (and no, I don’t wish it were so); and we won’t even mention that there is no jazz musician I know of named Jim Hail. Okay those are two errors that are personal to me and I’m feeling snarky, but there are many other errors and a few misquotes as well. Whether due to shoddy/sloppy journalism practices or lack of experience I can’t say for a fact, but I do have an opinion.

Even though the reporter did request (and receive) a free copy of Men, Women and Girl Singers, John’s life story written entirely by yours truly (as John himself told her), I guess she didn’t have time to read it or any of the materials on the web site. However, she did interview John for two hours, consulted twice at length with his publicist, even called me with questions, and there is so much she could have written about.

To read all of Devra’s piece, go here.

It is almost instinctual among news consumers to conclude that when errors are made in print, radio and television news, they stem from political or ideological bias. I have found in working for decades in all three media—and now in this strange new digital one—that a large majority of working journalists want to get it right and want to be fair. (The question of ethical instincts among bloggers, most of whom are not journalists, is a subject for another occasion. Maybe, someday.) An overwhelming fact of life in the daily journalism business is that in a tighter, faster, news cycle with newsroom budgets being slashed by corporate ownerships that no longer regard news as a responsibility and a privilege but as a budgetary burden, with fewer reporters and editors cranking out more news, there will be more mistakes. That excuses nothing. The professional obligation to be informed, fair and accurate is a constant.

In the preface to Journalism Ethics: Why Change? I wrote:

Consciously or not, journalists practice ethics every day of their working lives. How much time to devote to a story, whether to include a name, whether to disclose a source, what to show on the screen: these are value judgments and involve ethical decisions as surely as massive arguments over fairness, balance and maintenance of the watchdog function of the press made possible by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

To many journalists, talking about matters of fairness and ethics is akin to inviting censorshop. But unless they make conscious efforts to view those decisions in an ethical framework, journalists will not fully understand their professional obligations and opportunities.

Twenty years later, I would add that the new owners of news organizations, many of them from industries with no connection to journalism traditions, must somehow come to understand that their new corporate assets carry an obligation to more than their stockholders. They have become gatekeepers of the free flow of information upon which the democracy depends. We will all be affected by how—and whether—they accommodate the pressures of the market to that responsbility.

April 24, 2006 1:03 AM | | Comments (0)

Bill Kirchner's next Jazz From The Archives on WBGO, the Newark, New Jersey, jazz station, will feature the 1960s Columbia recordings of pianist Denny Zeitlin. The program will be an opportunity to hear some of Zeitlin's important work for Columbia that has never been issued on CD. Bill will include tracks from Cathexis, Carnival, Shining Hour and Zeitgeist. The show airs Sunday night at 11:00 EDT. It may also be heard on WBGO's live web stream at 10 p.m. Central time; 8 p.m. Pacific; 8 a.m. Monday, Paris; 10 a.m. Dubai, etc.

Tip: clicking on the "Listen Now" symbol at the upper right corner of WBGO's screen gets you nothing. You must click on the appropriate box in the middle of the screen.

Cathexis and Carnival are on one CD. Shining Hour, also known as Live at the Trident, is out as an import CD. Zeitgeist has never made it to compact disc.

For a Rifftides essay on Zeitlin's first recording go to this archive piece.

April 21, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)


Here's a message from Bill Crow following the recent Rifftides piece about pianist John Williams.

There is a recent release on Hep Records of a Spike Robinson CD, The C.T.S. Session, on which John is the pianist. I am the bassist, and Peter Cater of London is the drummer.Louis Stewart plays guitar on a few tracks. We made it in 1998 after our appearance at the Cork Jazz Festival, but it sat on the shelf for a few years after Spike died. Johnny Williams was a great pleasure to play with on that tour.

Thanks to Jim Wardrop for also calling the Robinson album to our attention.


The critic Larry Kart sent this:

Thanks for the heads up on that John Williams CD and the neat (sorry to sound like a '50s teenager, but that's the word that came to mind) profile of him. I've always enjoyed Williams' playing, which was, as you say, a unique personal offshoot of his influences; no one could mistake Williams for anyone else. Percussive and rollicking, but there were times when he got so rumbustious that it seemed as though he were about to throw some furniture around the room. In that vein, he sounded to me like a modern Joe Sullivan. Wonder if Williams knew Sullivan's stuff. Speaking of which, here's a remarkable (I think) poem by Englishman Roy Fisher (b. 1930), who's also a jazz pianist. It's in his new book The Long and Short of It: Poems 1955-2005:


The pianist Joe Sullivan
jamming sound against idea

hard as it can go
florid and dangerous

slams at the beat, or hovers,
drumming, along its spikes,

in his time almost the only
one of them to ignore

the chance of easing down,
walking it leisurely,

he'll strut, with gambling shapes,
underpinning by James P.,

amble, and then stride over
gulfs of his own leaving, perilously

toppling octaves down to where
the chords grow fat again

and ride hard-edged, most lucidly
voiced, and in good inversions even when

the piano seems at risk of being
hammered the next second into scrap.

For all that, he won't swing
like all the others;

disregards mere continuity,
the snakecharming business,

the 'masturbator's rhythm'
under the long variations:

Sullivan can gut a sequence
in one chorus--

--approach, development, climax, discard--
and sound magnanimous.

The mannerism of intensity
often with him seems true,

too much to be said, the mood
pressing in right at the start, then

running among stock forms
that could play themselves

and moving there with such
quickness of intellect

that shapes flaw and fuse,
altering without much sign,

so wrapped up in thoroughness

it can sound bluff, bustling
just big-handed stuff--

belied by what drives him in
to make rigid, display,

shout and abscond, rather
than just let it come, let it go--

And that thing is his mood:
a feeling violent and ordinary

that runs in among standard forms so
wrapped up in clarity

that fingers following his
through figures that sound obvious

find corners everywhere,
marks of invention, wakefulness;

the rapid and perverse
tracks that ordinary feelings

make when they get driven
hard enough against time.


When Dick Wellstood was a young man beginning to play piano around New York in the mid-1940s, he was so thoroughly under Sullivan’s spell that he handed out business cards reading, “Perhaps you can help me to meet Joe Sullivan. My name is Dick Wellstood.” With a tip from cornetist Muggsy Spanier, he finally did meet Sullivan. The story, told by clarinetist Kenny Davern, is in Edward N. Meyer’s valuable biography of Wellstood, Giant Strides.

Mugsy looked at him and said, “Well, he lives right around the corner.” Muggsy gave him the number and said, “Why don’t you knock on the door and tell him Muggsy sent you, as a way of introduction, kid.” So Dick said, “Are you sure it’s not too late?” He looked at his watch. It was 1:30 in the morning and Muiggsy said, “Oh, no, no. Sullivan is up all the time, he’s up at all hours.

So Dick goes over there and rings the doorbell. Soon this disheveled figure in slippers and a bathrobe comes shuffling through. Joe opens the door and says, “Yeah?” Dick says, “Hi, my name is Dick Wellstood and Muggsy Spanier said to say hello.” And Joe Sullivan said, “Tell Muggsy Spanier to go f____ himself,” and slammed the door right in Dick’s face.

There is a reasonably comprehensive short biography of Sullilvan on the Red Hot Jazz website, and a batch of MP3 tracks of his playing. They include Gin Mill Blues and Little Rock Getaway, two of his most famous—and most imitated—recordings. This CD has those tracks and twenty-two others from 1933 to 1941.



Speaking of "rumbling boisterously in the basement of the piano", as you did in reference to John Williams on a Stan Getz recording, it reminded me of how few pianists explore the left side of the keyboard and how, done properly, it can be an additional arrow in the quiver.

Eddie Costa was a very special practitioner who rumbled about as boisterously as I've ever heard. He is missed.

John Birchard


Although I'm "not from the discographers" (as my grandmother might have worded it), I can offer a little more info on the recorded output of the unique player John Williams. (BTW, his lower register rumblings and his general attack always, to my ear, have brought Eddie Costa to mind.)

But wait a sec: practically unknown is a CD issued by the ever-resourceful Japanese (the imprint is Marshmallow, #MVCJ 30061, recorded October 20 and 21, 1994). This gives us ten tracks by Williams, Jeff Grubbs and Frank Isola; on 5 of the tracks Spike Robinson on tenor is added. Title of the side is Welcome Back.

George Ziskind

Speaking of ever-resourceful, the Rifftides staff went on a googling expedition into the darkest recesses of the internet and tracked down (heh heh) the mysterious Marshallow in its lair, a Japanese website.Welcome Back is the third item on the page. A click on the button quaintly labeled "Listen More" will bring up a box with audio samples of three tracks. The page gives the price, 2,800 yen, but, alas, nary a hint about how to acquire this CD, so perhaps the staff is merely semi-ever-resourceful. A message to may bring ordering information. If you try, please let us know what happens.

April 20, 2006 1:07 AM | | Comments (1)

Jim Harrod writes concerning the Rifftides item about Pinky Winters:

I enjoyed your recent celebration of Pinky’s Mandel CD. If readers inquire where they might acquire this gem for less than $40, I would heartily recommend Early Records in Tokyo. The owner, Hiroshi Tanno, sells it for ¥2,800 and charged me ¥450 for delivery. The total was ¥3,250, translated to $28.33 and was paid via PayPal, making the transaction seamless and fast. Hiroshi can be contacted at
April 20, 2006 1:07 AM | | Comments (0)

The veteran vibraharpist Charlie Shoemake writes in response to yesterday's John Williams item:

I bought the John Williams 10' inch LP while in high school. (Stephen F. Austin in Houston). I still have it today and it's in excellent condition. I play it every once in awhile. I also bought during the same period the big Stan Getz at The Shrine Auditorium double recording with John Williams and Bob Brookmeyer. Over the ensuing years someone lifted that one from me but I got it back years later on CD.

Stan Getz at The Shrine, originally a fancy two-LP boxed set, is reissued as a single CD. "Feather Merchant," the piece that opened the live concert recording on LP, closes the CD. It begins with four blues choruses by Williams in which he manages to be elliptical and allusive while at the same time rumbling boisterously in the basement of the piano. It's a balancing act that I never tire of hearing.

April 19, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

During long stretches of 1953 and ‘54, John Williams was the pianist in Stan Getz’s quintet and quartet. Wiliams is often described in biographies as a disciple of Bud Powell who was also influenced by Horace Silver. That is true. It is also true that oxygen influences flame, a fact that tells us nothing about the differences among flames. In the population of pianists influenced by Powell and Silver, Williams was identifiable by a keyboard touch that produced a spikey, percussive, rollicking forward motion, an infectious swing. Almost in contradiction, at the same time he somehow achieved a smoothness of phrasing that invested his improvised lines with the logic of inevitability. He managed to make his listeners anticipate what was coming in a solo and yet surprise them when he got there.

Williams’ first album under his own name was John Williams, a ten-inch LP on the Emarcy label, recorded in 1954. His trio had Bill Anthony on bass and the unique Detroit drummer Frank Isola, fellow members of the Stan Getz group. Williams jokes today that he often wonders who got the third copy of the album after he and his mother each bought one. It may not have been a big seller, but it quickly became a favorite of musicians and, after Emarcy pulled it, of collectors. In the 1990s, a broker of rare LPs who sold to Japanese LP zealots told me that a mint copy of John Williams was going in Japan for upwards of $300. I blush to confess that I sold him my beat-up copy for considerably less than that, making him wait while I first copied it to tape. As we listened, I hummed along to Wiliams’ solos, so embedded in my brain had they become over four decades of nearly wearing out the album.

It was a puzzle, given the LP’s iconic status, why Emarcy did not reissue it on CD, and why Verve did not bring it out after the company acquired the Emarcy catalog. A good guess is that the decision was made by accountants. Time has cured that ill. Copyright laws in Spain declare that after fifty years, recorded material is fair game (I’m not sure that’s the exact wording of the law). So, the resourceful Fresh Sound label has put on one CD John Williams and the pianist’s second Emarcy album, a twelve-inch LP called John Williams Trio, recorded in 1955. This belated event probably doesn’t do much for the inflated price of the original LPs, but it is a boon to the substantial number of Williams fans who have been clamoring for a reissue. It may also gain him new fans.

The second album, done in three sessions with shifting personnel among bassists and drummers, doesn’t have quite the concentrated charm of the ten-inch 1954 session. That is in part, I suspect, because Frank Isola is on only one track. Nonetheless, it has wonderful moments. Taken together, the twenty tracks capture John Williams when his playing was full of freshness, vigor and peppery lyricism. By all accounts, including the evidence of an appearance with Marian McPartland on Piano Jazz, it still is. He has never stopped playing, but he took a few decades off to become a banker and, for twenty years, a city commissioner of Hollywood, Florida. In conversation, Williams tends to deprecate his playing in the 1950s as inadequate, an evaluation that flies in the face of the wisdom of his employers—StanGetz, Bob Brookmeyer, Cannonball Adderley, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims among them—and of listeners who have been stimulated by his work for half a century.

I should point out, although by now it may be obvious, that this John Williams is not the Star Wars John Williams.

April 18, 2006 1:06 AM | | Comments (3)

Pianist and singer Patti Wicks saw yesterday's post about Antonio Carlos Jobim and sent a link to video of Jobim, widely known as "Tom," and his friend the incomparable Elis Regina singing his "Aguas de Marco." I've played it a half-dozen times and can't get enough of seeing the joy they found in performing together. Watch her hands.

April 18, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

Eleven years after his death, the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim is as universal as that of Gershwin, Berlin and Porter. Yet, until the issue of the new boxed set The Prime of Antonio Carlos Jobim, the three albums in it were out of general circulation except for a brief reappearance shortly after he died. They are The Wonderful World of Antonio Carlos Jobim; Love, Strings and Jobim; and, most important, A Certain Mr. Jobim, all from the 1960s, all originally on the Warner Bros. label but reissued on dbk.

The Wonderful World has good arrangements by Nelson Riddle, and in the instrumental “Surfboard” a great one. Jobim’s voice is more relaxed than in A Certain Mr. Jobim, but his collaboration with the arranger Claus Ogerman in A Certan Mr. Jobim strikes the Brazilian spark that Riddle achieves less successfully. The empathy between Jobim and Ogerman, so dramatically displayed in Jobim’s first American album a few years earlier, is typified in a haunting performance of “Bonita” that puts the Riddle “Bonita” in the shade. But in each case, we hear the composer of “Desafinado,” “She’s a Carioca,” “Dindi,” “Outra Vez” and “Agua de Beber” singing, playing piano and guitar and giving his songs definitive interpretations.

Love, Strings and Jobim was, and is, packaged to look like a Jobim album. It is, rather, a collection of songs and performances by other Brazilian musicains presented by Jobim, with only two of his songs included and not peformed by him. It offers glimpses of Eumir Deodato, Oscar Castro-Neves and Baden Powell, among others, all part of the infusion of bossa nova into the mainstream of music and worth having for that reason. Terri Hinte’s liner notes, full of knowledge, keep such matters in perspective and provide insights into Jobim and his music. Her understanding of Brazil and Brazilians is a bonus in a package that will fill empty spaces in many otherwise complete Jobim collections. The set does not provide a comprehensive look at Jobim, but it is a reasonable point of entry to his world.

April 17, 2006 1:06 AM | | Comments (0)

Julius La Rosa, naturally, has a considerable interest in lyrics and lyricists. He called my attention to these little verses by Yip Harburg, one of the greatest American lyricists (“Over the Rainbow,” “April in Paris,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” among 600 or so others).

No matter how much I probe and prod
I cannot quite believe in God,
But, oh, I hope to God that He
Unswervingly believes in me.

O innocent victims of Cupid,
Remember this terse little verse:
To let a fool kiss you is stupid,
To let a kiss fool you is worse.

©Rhymes for the Irreverent, E.Y. Harburg

April 17, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

A few Rifftiders—if that’s the term (and it might as well be)—have asked about our mid-week visit to tulip country in the Skagit Valley of western Washington State. Briefly, then:

The first day was warm and sunny. We walked around the charming waterfront town of La Conner, population 750, where we stayed two nights at the Wild Iris Inn. The second day was chilly, damp, exhilarating. We went to the fields of Tulip Town, then RoozenGaarde, and toured both extensively, glad that we had our muck boots. We drove around the valley and saw hundreds of acres of tulips and daffodils at their peak, also admiring the splendid old houses on high foundations, ready for the hundred-year flood. New Orleans might benefit from sending a delegation to study their construction. We ate and drank well at good La Conner restaurants. It was a fine and welcome short vacation.

April 15, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

While I was away in the tulip fields, On An Overgrown Path posted a piece on the late Michel Petrucciani. It includes a link to a thirty-eight-minute video about the pianist. In it, Petrucciani talks about his aversion to applause, his fear of death, his love of the piano. It's an important film. Visit On An Overgrown Path, then come back, please.

April 14, 2006 1:33 PM |

The most recent concert at The Seasons was by a Russian group I went to hear out of curiosity. I knew that the members of Trio Voronezh were classically trained at the conservatory in Voronezh, a city near the Don river 250 miles south of Moscow. I knew that they played instruments I had never heard; the domra, the bajan and the double-bass balalaika. But what drew me in was their repertoire, which included J.S. Bach, Shostakovich, Mozart, Astor Piazolla, Gershwin, Khachaturian, an assortment of other Russian composers, Leroy Anderson and Consuelo Velasquez ("Besame Mucho").

The domra played by Vladimir Volochin is a sort of lute dating from the 1400s, a forerunner of the balalaika. Its heritage is Mongolian. Like the balalaika, it is a three-stringed instrument played with a pick, but it is round, not triangular. Sergei Telshev's bajan is an accordian with chromatic buttons rather than a keyboard. In most parts of the world, it is considered, even disparaged as, a novelty or folk instrument. Russians take the bajan seriously and study it in institutes of higher music education. Valerie Petrukhin's instrument is a large version of the traditional balalakia, tuned in E, A and D in the general tonal range of the double bass violin. It stands on a leg attached to the low corner of the triangle. Petrukhin plays it standing, slightly hunched. For the most part, he strums the strings to keep time and provide chords, but once in a while he uses pizzicato in the way a jazz musician plays the bass. You may see the instruments and hear samples of the trio's work if you go to their website.

Trio Voronezh's virtuosity was astonishing. They played everything from memory, including the complex "Burlesque" allegro con brio from the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 and a wild medley of Gershwin songs that incorporated devilish variations on "I Got Rhythm." Their "Air On The G-String" from BWV 1068 was a passionate performance of that ravishing Bach melody. They captured the Argentine tango mystery of three of Astor Piazolla's pieces, including his famous "Oblivion." These are not improvising musicians, but they played with verve so infectious that they created an aura of sponaneity. They charmed the audience with their demeanor, Volochin with his mime's expressions, all with their close attention to one another and their double bows following each piece. They played two encores and got three standing ovations, heartfelt ones, not the obligatory kind. I was standing and applauding with the rest of the audience.

Afterward, chatting with Volokhin, I jokingly asked why they included no Charlie Parker pieces in their concerts. At first he looked puzzled, then he played a few bars of air saxophone and grinned. "We don't know any," he said.

Later, I dubbed the master takes of "Yardbird Suite" and "Donna Lee," packaged the CDR with lead sheets and sent them off to Trio Voronezh headquarters. Whether they will tackle Bird, I have no idea, but if they do, I want to be there for the premier performance. I'll let you know if it happens. In the meantime, if they show up in your neighborhood, don't miss them.

April 14, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

The new Doug's Picks in the right column include CDs by Roland Kirk and Herb Geller. Kirk's is a live recording made in Hamburg in 1972. Geller lived in Hamburg then, as he does now. In a coincidence that I don't possess enough imagination to have made up, Geller attended Kirk's concert. He read the Rifftides reviews and sent the following message. I have added links to explain some of his references.

Dear Doug,

I remember Roland Kirk´s concert at the NDR concert hall (the funkhaus). It was the only time I heard him live. It seemed to me at the time he did about 20 minutes of blowing in one breath! Then he started playing two and even three instruments at a time. He even played a few notes of flute and clarinet spontaneously and I almost fell out of my chair. This was of course like a circus act, but he pulled it off. The depth of his music for me was not that enthralling but the physical act itself was incredible.

I didn´t know the other musicians, but after they were announced, the drummer´s name rang a bell, especially since he was Richie Goldberg and black. After they finished, I went to him and told him my name. He jumped up and hugged me, saying he used to be married to Vi Redd, and Lorraine and I had visited them at their home in L.A. I went to Dorsey High School along with Vi and we were good friends there. He introduced me to Roland who told me he admired my playing especially on "Sleighride" and commented that the song had a difficult bridge, (which was why I enjoyed playing it).

Herbie G.

Lorraine was Geller's first wife, a brilliant pianist who is with him on "Sleighride" on the Herb Geller Plays album. She died in 1958, an event that sent him into depression and on an extended trip to escape it. He ended up in Europe, where he has lived, for the most part, ever since.

Amazon offers Herb Geller Plays at an inflated import CD price. The album has not been reissued on CD in the United States, but Verve, which controls the EmArcy catalogue, offers it here as an iTunes download. Those who comprehend that technology may want to investigate.

April 11, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

No blogging for a couple of days. I'm off the see the tulips.

You are invited to browse the Rifftides archive. You'll find the archive gateway in the right-hand column. Just click and you can travel back in time...but only as far as June 15, 2005, our launch date.

April 11, 2006 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

Observe, please, that in the right column we have brand new Doug's Picks. They are three CDs by saxophonists who could hardly be less alike, a DVD to replicate a great night out, and a book that may make you wish you could drop back into a special time in San Francisco. Of course, it could be argued that in San Francisco, every time is special, but this one, worse luck, is gone forever.

April 10, 2006 1:07 AM | | Comments (0)

The brilliant pianist Kenny Drew, Jr., has reached the boiling point over the condition of black popular music in the United States. Here are two excerpts from his current essay on the All About Jazz website:

...when I first started studying music I was told that music had to consist of three elements: melody, harmony and rhythm. Rap music (an oxymoron similar to “military intelligence “or “jumbo shrimp”) has basically discarded the first two elements and is left with nothing but rhythm. Since only one element of music is present in most of this crap it doesn't even justify being called music. Our culture has been dumbed down to the point where your average dumb-ass American can't tell the difference between a truly great musician and somebody who's been studying their instrument for a week.

I recently discovered that there is now a form of rap called “coke rap”, in which the lyrics deal mainly with the sale, distribution and use of cocaine and crack. I find it offensive that any record company would try to make a profit from glorifying something that has decimated the black community the way that crack has. I hope that one day while 50Cent is lounging by the pool in his humongous mansion surrounded by beautiful groupies, he might consider how many lives were ruined by the poison he used to sell, and how many more lives will be potentially damaged by the musical poison he's selling now.

Drew gets more colorful and specific about what rap and hip-hop are doing to the fabric of American society with their messages about drugs, the subjugation of women and glorification of criminal violence. He’s far from the first to notice; Gene Lees long ago addressed all of it in his JazzLetter. But Drew is a young black man. Maybe his rant will get a modicum of attention in the black community. To read the whole thing, go here.

April 10, 2006 1:06 AM | | Comments (1)

The great football player, singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson was born on this day in 1898. Like legions of other Americans, he made the mistake in the 1930s of thinking that Communism had the solution to problems of inequality in the United States. He went to the Soviet Union to investigate the system and for the rest of his life paid for the trip by being made the target of relentless surveillance by the government. Dr. Chilledair (Bill Reed) posts a recollection of Robeson’s ingenious, courageous and humorous 1949 end-run around McCarthyite witch-hunters. Go here to read the piece and follow Reed's link to a sound bite of saxophonist Buddy Collette’s eyewitness account of the event.

April 9, 2006 10:49 AM | | Comments (0)

In my report on the Johnny Mandel concert at the Jazz West Coast 3 festival last fall, I remarked on the exquisite performance by Pinky Winters of one of Mandel’s songs.

Ms. Winters sang Dave Frishberg’s lyrics to Mandel’s “You Are There,” accompanied by only the composer at the piano. Together, without embellishment, they created magic, something at which this masterly singer has excelled for many years to recognition that comes nowhere near her level of artistry.

At JWC3, I learned from Ms. Winters and her producer, Bill Reed, that she had recorded an entire album of Mandel songs with the great pianist Lou Levy, her companion in music and life who died in 2001. In 1983, they performed in the Great American Songwriters series at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC. Until this spring, the recording of their Mandel concert was squirreled away on a reel of tape. The good news for those who relish singing that serves the song is that the recital has emerged on an imported compact disc. The slightly less-good news is that The Shadow of Your Smile: Pinky Winters Sings Johnny Mandel…with Lou Levy, produced by the Sinatra Society of Japan, sells for nearly forty dollars. If I had not received a review copy, I would have paid the forty bucks. Singing of this quality is worth it.

Why? Maybe the key lies in that phrase from the October Rifftides review: “without embellishment.” Pinky Winters does not scat, swoop, or indulge in any form of “jazz singer” posturing. I have no doubt, given her innate musicianship, that she could embellish up a storm, but—like the man who knows how to play the accordion in Mark Twain’s definition of a gentleman—she chooses not to. She merely sings the song, with impeccable diction, interpretation, time and phrasing, and with intonation that is centered in the heart of each note. Strike “merely;” there’s nothing mere about her kind of artistry. The great bassist Red Mitchell once wrote a song called “Simple Isn’t Easy.” He might have had Pinky Winters in mind.

In her two minutes with Mandel’s “You Are There” (lyrics by Dave Frishberg), she presents the song as a chapter in a life story. Through her subtle phrasing, “it’s morning,” makes us feel the freshness of morning. She sings “pretend the dream is true” with the softest diminuendo on the word “dream,” and we’re dreaming. At a dynamic level of double piano, she makes the piece a soliloquy. She works the same magic with Peggy Lee’s lyrics to Mandel’s “The Shining Sea,” with “Cinnamon and Clove,” with “Emily,” indeed, with all ten of the songs she caresses here. It’s no wonder that in his back-cover endorsement Mandel says, “I’m proud to say that many fine singers have recorded my songs, but none of them made me as happy as what you’re about to hear on this record.”

Levy’s accompaniment is half the story of the album’s success. One of the finest of the generation of bebop pianists who followed Bud Powell, he was a member of Woody Herman’s Second Herd and of Chubby Jackson’s big band. He went on to solo with power and imagination through a career that brought him together with a high percentage of the top jazz artists of the second half of the twentieth century. He worked often with Stan Getz, his pal from the Herman days. Levy’s sixth sense about what singers need made him a favorite accompanist of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson and, of course, Pinky Winters—the royalty of vocalists in the second half of the twentieth century. Levy once said, “I’ve played for every singer except Pavarotti.” That’s a tough break for Pavarotti.

In addition to the pieces with Winters, Levy plays “Theme from M*A*S*H,” “El Cajon” and “A Time For Love” as piano features, aided by the late bassist Bill Takas, who also assists on the vocal tracks. The intimate quality of the recording captures all of Levy’s full-bodied harmonies. The album ends with a 1991 recording of Ms. Winters singing “Take Me Home,” Mandel accompanying her in what is described as a demo track. Some demo. Some album.

April 7, 2006 6:17 PM | | Comments (1)

Paul Conley of KXJZ in Sacramento, California, writes:

Hi Doug, If you're looking for some audio to add to your reflections on Jackie Mac, you might consider this short piece I did for the station. It draws from an interview originally recorded in 2001 and a feature produced in 2002. To hear it, click here.

There is one faux pas, I'm afraid. At the end I say Jackie died at the age of 75... meant to say 73.

Mr. Conley has produced several programs in National Public Radio's Jazz Profiles series.

April 7, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

You never know where, or in what language, Paul Desmond will turn up next. Here is a sample from a collection of Desmond’s most quoted bon mots, now translated into Spanish.

Probé a practica unas pocas semanas y acabé tocando demasiado rápido.

(I tried practicing for a couple of weeks and ended up playing too fast.)

The translator, Fernando Ortiz de Urbina, writes from London:

Apart from my research on Eddie Costa, I am working on a series of short translations for a Spanish website. Latest in the series is the Desmondisms and Paul Desmond's interview with Charlie Parker, which I've done with the help of Paul Caulfield.

I have also mentioned your book on Desmond, which left me completely speechless when I opened the box it came in (luckily postage was charged by item, not by the kilo.) I have been only browsing, but it is amazing.

Anyway, if you want to have a look all this, it is here:


Muchas gracias al Sr. Ortiz. Se agradecerán los comentarios de los lectores hispanohablantes.

( Many thanks to Senor Ortiz. Comments from Spanish speakers are most welcome.)

April 6, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

Among the many news columns about Jackie McLean the past few days, Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press hit a number of right notes in his appreciation.

There was nothing in jazz like the sugar-free sound of alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, who died last week at his home in Hartford, Conn., at age 74.

McLean produced a searing, anguished wail that rode the sharp side of the pitch like a cowboy trying to tame a wild steer. Even those of us who worship McLean recognize that his acidic tone and slippery tuning are not to everyone's taste. But for true believers, McLean's bittersweet sound remains one of the most soulful cries in American music, and the hot-blooded intensity of his style manifests the same urgent quest for self-expression that made us fall in love with jazz in the first place.

To read all of Stryker's column, go here.

April 5, 2006 11:10 AM | | Comments (0)
There are no wrong notes on the piano, just better choices.—Thelonious Monk

I played the wrong, wrong notes.—Thelonious Monk

April 4, 2006 11:41 AM | | Comments (0)

Jackie was raw but, man, he adored melody. He was lyrical yet never sold out (imagine a Jackie McLean and Strings LP!). How could he with that frantic, sharp, pants-on-fire sound? But he was no pocket Sonny Rollins.

For my money, the best example of Jackie's work and energy level is Music From The Connection, with Freddie Redd, Mike Mattos and Larry Ritchie. The sad yet hopeful quality of Jackie's lines on that date are staggering. Each song is hummable and loaded with soaring runs, not only by Mack but also Freddie Redd. Makes you wonder why the pair didn't record again and again.

Interestingly, this was the East Coast version of The Connection. The West Coast version featured songs written and played by Dexter Gordon, some of which pop up on Dexter Calling on Blue Note. I think it's fair to say Mack topped Dex hands down—and that's saying something. Much more soul and passion—and a burning desire for wider recognition.

The Connection is the perfect soundtrack for any Jackie eulogy.

Marc Myers

April 4, 2006 10:24 AM | | Comments (0)

I was really saddened to hear about his passing. Huge inspiration to me as a young player. I'd toss the following into your list (see below). I've always had a preference for the records that were a little more angular and less Blue Note-boogalocentric.

(includes great playing by Pete LaRoca)

4 5 6
(excellent earlier McLean, with great versions of "Why Was I Born" and "Sentimental Journey"--showing a knack for Sonny Rollins-like sense of phrasing. Album has solid contributions for Mal Wadron and Mobley too! Listen closely, Art Taylor's hi-hat pedal needs to be oiled)

Right Now!
(Especially notable for Clifford Jarvis' s hard-swinging drumming and McLean's tune "Eco", burning!)

I'd also throw in the curveball of the 1967 session Demon's Dance
(which features Woody Shaw, Jack DeJohnette and two great tunes: Shaw's "Sweet Love of Mine" and the gorgeous ballad "Toyland").

Tim DuRoche

April 3, 2006 10:13 AM | | Comments (0)

Jackie McLean

Jackie McLean died in Hartford, Connecticut on the last day of March. He was 74. When he was a teenager, McLean’s goal in life was to sound just like Charlie Parker on the alto saxophone. Despite his determination to be a Bird clone, he became one of the most recognizable of the post-Parker alto saxophonists. There was a distinguishing cry in his playing, achieved in part by tuning his horn a tad sharp and in part by building on his deep love of the blues. His first recording was with Miles Davis on the Dig date in 1951. McLean worked with Davis through the early 1950s, was on a memorable album as part of George Wallington’s quintet in 1955, recorded on his own for Jubilee and Prestige and in 1959 made the first of his thirty-one albums for Blue Note.

If you have yet to discover Jackie McLean, the few albums listed here will constitute an introduction to his adventurous and exhuberant music.

Lights Out

Jackie’s Bag

A Fickle Sonance

Destination Out!

Let Freedom Ring

Oscar Treadwell

On March 10, we reported that the exceptional jazz broadcaster Oscar Treadwell had returned to the air in Cincinnati and on the internet. The news staff of WXVU, his station, sent this report, dated April 2.

Long time Cincinnati jazz host Oscar Treadwell has died. He began his career in 1947 in Reading, Pennsylvania. His longtime love of jazz led to friendships with many musicians including Dave Brubeck, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Thelonious Monk wrote a song for him called "Oska T." Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie wrote "An Oscar for Treadwell" in honor of their friend. OT began broadcasting in Cincinnati in 1962 on WZIP. He also broadcast on WNOP and WGUC. His Sunday night program on WVXU has been on the air since last August. He often weaved poetry and vintage interviews into his program. Tonight at nine you can hear an interview Lee Hay did with OT when he was returning to the airwaves. His regular Sunday night program will follow that interview tonight. Treadwell was 79.

To hear the interview and then Jazz With OT, go here at 9:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time tonight. The station also has an archive of Treadwell's broadcasts.

For more about OT, go to the Oscar Treadwell website.

April 2, 2006 5:50 PM | | Comments (0)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the main category from April 2006.

main: March 2006 is the previous archive.

main: May 2006 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
State of the Art
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
The Unanswered Question
Joe Horowitz on music

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.