Tag: count basie

From Spirituals to Swing.

From Spirituals to Swing.

in 1938, producer John Hammond decided to present an ambitious concert documenting the history of “American Negro music, from spirituals to Swing.” Hence the name, and hence the historic night at New York’s Carnegie Hall that December. Intended as a tribute to Bessie Smith, who had died the previous year, the concert ended up being […]

Posted in: Jazz
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 (part 4).

With apologies to Miles Davis (part 4).

Miles Davis’ great 1960’s quintet at Newport: (left to right) Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Miles, Tony Williams. (continued from part 3) The advances made in vertical improvisation exemplified by John Coltrane’s 1960 recording Giant Steps, the modal innovations that dominated jazz in the early to mid-1960s, and the move to free, atonal improvisation that Coltrane […]

Posted in: Iconoclasts, Jazz
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
Individuality: a lost art, part 3.
By February 10, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Individuality: a lost art, part 3.

We threatened to continue this diatribe, and so we will. Our contention is that creative American music all seemed to die at roughly the same time around 1980. We don’t mean that it disappeared. We simply mean that genres like jazz, country and rock all stopped evolving and either became repertory, classical forms, like jazz, […]

Posted in: Jazz, Rants
Individuality: a first listen
By February 6, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Individuality: a first listen

In our last few posts, we’ve begun a lament about the demise of individuality and easily recognized styles among musicians. Here’s a suggested playlist to support what we’ve discussed thus far. As usual, hit the song titles, which are Amazon links, to listen to a sample, and to purchase the songs individually. We mentioned Count […]

Individuality: a lost art, part 2
By February 5, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Individuality: a lost art, part 2

We mentioned in our last post that individual style, wherein a musician’s general sound is so unique and recognizable as to be unmistakably his alone, is a dead commodity in modern American music. We went on to say that one of the most fruitful periods and environments for this sort of individuality was that transitional […]

Posted in: Jazz, Rants
By January 21, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Mr. Nistico, meet Mr. Nestico.

One thing that has always intrigued us, at least in a silly, coincidental sort of way, begins with the fact that many of the Count Basie band’s best 1960’s arrangements were written by Sammy Nestico. Any dweeb who ever played in his high school jazz or stage band has played a Nestico arrangement at least […]

Posted in: Jazz, Videos

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