Charles Mingus : The Jazz Workshop Concerts: 1964-1965

When Sy Johnson, a jazz pianist and arranger, used to visit Charles Mingus at his apartment in the East Village in the 1960s, there was always a pot of soup on the stove, and Mingus—a gourmand who once interrupted a concert to eat a steak dinner on the bandstand—was constantly tasting it. “He would say—‘Needs … Continue reading Charles Mingus : The Jazz Workshop Concerts: 1964-1965

Abbey Lincoln : A Turtle’s Dream

Singer Abbey Lincoln has been persuasive in her recordings over the past few years, but in her latest release, "A Turtle's Dream," she attains a new expressive depth and ardor. Probably the best recording of her career, "A Turtle's Dream"  documents an artist who has pared down her means and her message to their essence. … Continue reading Abbey Lincoln : A Turtle’s Dream

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

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 … Continue reading Wynton Marsalis : His Jazz Suites from the 1990s

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", … Continue reading A Love Supreme : John Coltrane’s Statement of Faith

Mal Waldron & Archie Shepp Pay Tribute to Billie Holiday

Mal Waldron's first tribute to Billie Holiday, titled Left Alone, was recorded in 1959, mere months before the singer's death.  He and tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp came together in 2002 to salute the legendary vocalist with the CD Left Alone Revisited which is likely to be his final tribute to Holiday. Waldron, who died within a year of making … Continue reading Mal Waldron & Archie Shepp Pay Tribute to Billie Holiday

A year in Jazz : 1959

Six albums were either recorded or released in 1959 that had historic importance, arguably more so than in any other single year: Kind of Blue - Miles Davis’s smoldering modal meditation which both broke with the past and set a new course for jazz. Giant Steps - John Coltrane’s last hard bop recording, released at … Continue reading A year in Jazz : 1959

Joe Henderson : The Art of the Tenor

Joe Henderson (April 24, 1937 – June 30, 2001) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. In a career spanning more than forty years Henderson played with many of the leading American players of his day and recorded for several prominent labels. After being discharged from the army he traveled to New York and sat in … Continue reading Joe Henderson : The Art of the Tenor

Arve Henriksen : The Nature of Connections

Arve Henriksen is a classically trained musician whose ethereal, Japanese-influenced trumpet playing has placed him in a league of his own. He was born in Stranda, Norway, and educated at the Trondheim Conservatory. It was during his time at the conservatory that a friend gave him a tape recording of the shakuhachi flute. Henriksen was … Continue reading Arve Henriksen : The Nature of Connections

Bruno Martino’s “Estate” : Summer

Estate (Summer) is an Italian song written in 1960 by Bruno Martino (music) and Bruno Brighetti (lyrics).  It was a minor hit in Italy when released, but it eventually became a worldwide jazz standard, recorded by dozens of singers and jazz instrumentalists.  I first heard the song on the João Gilberto album Amoroso.  Amoroso, released in 1976, is an … Continue reading Bruno Martino’s “Estate” : Summer