Tag: charlie parker

The famous alto break.

The famous alto break.

Dial Records was one of the many small, specialty record labels that popped up after World War II. Unlike some of the others, Dial was focused almost exclusively on jazz. Owner Ross Russell was an ersatz novelist, reporter and music journalist. He served in the Merchant Marine during the war, and while stranded in the […]

Posted in: Jazz
By February 14, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Individuality: a case for Erroll Garner, part 1.

As we’ve lamented here ad nauseum, individuality has become a lost art in jazz and other improvisational music. We talked earlier about tenor sax and trumpet players in that narrow temporal window between the demise of Swing and the birth of modern jazz, and how an immediately recognizable, unique style seemed to be an essential […]

Posted in: Iconoclasts, Jazz, Videos
Jazz’s leading men.
By January 10, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Jazz’s leading men.

(left to right): Al Porcino, Marshall Royal, Mario Bauza The New York Times reports that trumpeter Al Porcino died on New Year’s Eve. Porcino was what is called in orchestral jazz a “lead” trumpeter. Unlike rock and roll, where the “lead guitarist” is the one who solos, lead players in jazz rarely do. Instead, the […]

Posted in: Jazz
With apologies to Miles Davis: a playlist

With apologies to Miles Davis: a playlist

We’ve created a playlist to support the contentions we’ve made in our four-part post, “With apologies to Miles Davis“. As with all of our listening suggestions, you can click on the song title and you’ll be taken to an Amazon.com page where you can either listen to a sample, buy the individual song as an […]

With apologies to Miles Davis (part 1).
By March 31, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

With apologies to Miles Davis (part 1).

(left) Billy Eckstine’s band, about 1945; (right) Miles, Lee Konitz and Gerry Mulligan, 1949. Miles Davis is a name that still carries some weight outside jazz circles, and for folks of a certain age, he represents styles and raisons d’etre that transcend the limited cultural impact of improvised music. For those who actually remember Miles […]

Posted in: Iconoclasts, Jazz
By March 11, 2013 1 Comments Read More →

Hendrix and other dead things, like jazz.

(above) Audio file of Jimi Hendrix playing on the the 1965 Isley Brothers recording “Testify”. Jimi Hendrix’s People, Hell and Angels collection has been out for a week now, and with the dust from that event settled, one can make a couple of observations. It’s a mostly-unremarkable set of studio odds and ends from the […]

The clubs where modern jazz was born.

The clubs where modern jazz was born.

New York City, while always the main mecca of jazz, enjoyed a period of full flower during World War II that will likely never be seen again in any genre or town. Prior to the war, jazz had been an uptown thing, flourishing in small, integrated Harlem clubs, segregated cabarets and black dance palaces like […]

Posted in: Jazz
Jazz archaeology.

Jazz archaeology.

From left to right (above): Sidney Bechet’s soprano sax, Louis Armstrong’s first cornet, Lester Young’s tenor, Roy Eldridge’s trumpet Aficionados of practically anything enjoy the arcane, the ephemeral, the trivial, the obscure and even the bizarre about whatever it is that captures their devotion. Students of “serious” history are no exception. And they certainly don’t […]

Posted in: Jazz

In praise of weirdos.

One thing that strikes us about the current state of American audio culture is the conspicuous lack of weirdos. We’re not talking about people who simply dress weird, or those who act weird due to mental impairments or disease. And we aren’t talking about “weird” when it becomes some sort of mainstream thing, like “alternative” […]

What’s in a name?
By February 25, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

What’s in a name?

As anyone with even a cursory knowledge of jazz is aware, many of its most famous exponents, particularly those working in the years 1940 through 1960, were users of pharmaceuticals, both legal and otherwise. The most dangerous drug typically abused in that era was heroin. While musicians had been smokers of marijuana from jazz’s earliest […]

Posted in: Jazz, Odds & Ends

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