Andrew Hill : uniquely gifted composer, pianist and educator

Whenever the thumbnail sketch of the 1960s American jazz avant-garde is drawn, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor or Sun Ra appear in the foreground – and even a half-dozen other faces might materialize before that of Andrew Hill, who died at age 75 of lung cancer on this date in 2007. A uniquely gifted […]

Three Birthdays Today : Mississippi Fred McDowell; Jay McShann; Morton Feldman

When Mississippi Fred McDowell proclaimed on one of his last albums, “I do not play no rock & roll,” it was less a boast by an aging musician swept aside by the big beat than a mere statement of fact. As a stylist and purveyor of the original Delta blues, he was superb, equal parts Charley […]

Wynton Marsalis : His Jazz Suites from the 1990s

Shortly after Wynton Marsalis burst on the scene in the 1980s, he and what was seen as his “agenda” became subjects of controversy.  Just prior, the Jazz scene had experienced Free Jazz and Fusion, both of which were styles Marsalis and his fellow traveler Stanley Crouch opined were “outside the tradition” of Jazz. Two decades […]

A Love Supreme : John Coltrane’s Statement of Faith

2015 marked the fiftieth anniversary from the release of John Coltrane‘s seminal recording A Love Supreme.   This recording is unique in Coltrane’s discography in that it was the first time he conceived the music as a four-part suite, broken up into tracks: “Acknowledgement” (which contains Coltrane chanting the phrase that gave the suite its name), “Resolution”, “Pursuance”, […]