How Jazz Photographers Work: What’s Really Happens Behind the Shutter
We all marvel at the artistry of a great jazz photograph, but we sometimes have to nudge ourselves that there’s a lot more behind landing a great music photograph than just pressing the shutter button. In this NPR feature, WWNO’s Eve Troeh shadowed working photographer Skip Bolen around the recent New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. This sounds crazily cross-sensory, but listen to how this photographer worked his craft.
I may be prejudiced because he’s been my friend for 40 years, and my roommate for two of them, but I think Todd Barkan is one of the great keepers of the flame for jazz. He opened and ran the beloved Keystone Korner for ten years, and later built Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola from scratch into the venue it is today. Now a freelance club producer, Todd’s tireless efforts are the subject of this Wall Street Journal article by Pia Catton.
Did you hear Rudresh Mahanthappa on NPR’s All Things Considered last weekend? Mahanthappa compares sides and influences with the show’s host, Arun Rath, who seems to especially relish interviewing a musician he considers a rocking contemporary Indian-American kindred spirit.
The line has been forming for people who have something to say about Baz Luhrmann’s new film The Great Gatsby. Not surprisingly for a story based on the Jazz Age, the jazz world has been eager to find out how the film measures up. The Atlantic asked jazz scholars to weigh in with their views of the film’s soundtrack, and its fidelity to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story and the age it depicts. Check out their reactions.
On the occasion of the 2012 induction of Gene Ammons into the Down Beat Hall of Fame, Ed Enright wrote a beautiful biography and appreciation of this soulful, big toned tenor master, whose father was a great boogie woogie pianist and whose brother was a Catholic bishop!!
Aretha Franklin’s version of “You’re All I Need To Get By” was hardly her biggest hit, but it was one of her greatest records, with an amazing Arif Mardin arrangement. Aretha plays a lot of Arif’s string arrangement on the Fender Rhodes. What a voice!
Marian McPartland posted this wonderful photo on Facebook. She writes: “I believe this photo was taken by Dizzy the day of the ‘A Great Day in Harlem’ Photo shoot. With Ronnie Free, Mose Allison, Lester Young, Mary Lou Williams, Charlie Rouse and Oscar Pettiford.” Thanks for sharing this, Marian.
I never knew this existed. It’s an interesting 1967 short film profiling Marion Brown with a performance by his quartet with Dave Burrell, Sirone and Bobby Kapp. While the majority of the post-Coltrane saxophonists tended toward the tenor sax and punctuated their solos with growls or screams, Marion stood out as the gentle, lyrical voice on the alto.
Blue Note and ArtistShare Form New Label to Promote Young Artists
Bruce Lundvall has been a lifelong champion of young and innovative artists, especially in jazz. As recording straight-ahead jazz became more and more economically difficult at Blue Note, which Bruce had headed until recently, he came up with a brilliant idea that has just come to fruition. Blue Note has partnered with ArtistShare, enabling the label to help record a lot of young artists who may not be profitable in the major label world. From JazzTimes.
This 1992 interview of Wayne Shorter by fellow saxophonist Mel Martin is wonderfully in-depth and revealing. Wayne talks about horns, meeting John Coltrane and Lester Young, joining Blakey and Miles and other early career highlights.
Jeffrey Brown’s interview with Charles Lloyd on the occasion of his 75th birthday is only about six minutes long, but covers a lot of ground with some fascinating stories about his early Memphis years. Scroll down the post for a beautiful version of “You’ve Changed” by Charles and Jason Moran from their duet album, “Hagar’s Song.”
Celebrate the Birthday of Gil Evans: Born May 13, 1912
Gil Evans, arranger, composer and bandleader extraordinaire, would have been 101 years old this May 13.
Some ways to celebrate: New Yorkers can check out nearly a week’s worth of Gil’s music played live by Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project at the Jazz Standard. Or, pull out some of Gil’s music at home: if you’re lucky enough, maybe Mosaic’s out-of-print box set: Miles Davis/Gil Evans - The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings.
In his frontespiece for the notes for that set, Quincy Jones wrote:
“In a little less than three years time, beginning in May 1958 and completed by March 1960, the collaborative efforts of jazz giants Miles Davis (trumpet-flugelhorn soloist) and Gil Evans (arranger-composer-conductor) resulted in the making of three landmark recordings still unsurpassed in the history of jazz.
“These albums, Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain, are the masterpieces created by the reunion of two great masters.
“If ever pushed for a choice of desert island music, Miles and Gil, these albums would indubitably be my top three. This is as good as it gets. Timeless!”
Timeless to be sure. Happy birthday, Gil.
Photo of Gil Evans by William Claxton, via @jazzstagenet.
The 25th anniversary of Chet Baker’s fatal fall in Amsterdam has inspired a number of reminiscences.
This lengthy essay by Richard Williams on his thebluemoment blog is excellent. I remember Dexter Gordon telling me how impressed he was with Baker when they first met in Los Angeles in the early ‘50s. Dexter recalled, “Chet introduced himself and ask to sit in. I asked him what tune he’d like to play and he said on ‘Body And Soul’. I asked him what key he’d like, and looked at me blankly and said, ‘I don’t know. The first note is mmmmmmm.’ I realized this guy had no idea what I was talking about, but when he played, it was beautiful, so intuitive. An amazing musician.”
Here is a two-part blog that West Coast jazz expert Ted Gioia wrote five years ago, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Chet’s death. If you’ve never read Ted’s West Coast Jazz tome, it’s worth seeking out.