Ted Panken’s absolutely brilliant conversation with Artie Shaw is one that has thankfully been transcribed. This is raw Shaw — with Panken commendably prodding and reeling him into answering questions. Two great uncut interviews that will be hard for you to stop reading.
Crossing Over is a great documentary about the unique Sam Cooke, a pioneer singer, songwriter and entrepreneur whose life ended needlessly in early morning confusion. As the documentary shows, Cooke took his own path and had his own silky, smooth style.
Bane or boon (or, for many of us, both), email has become an inextricable fixture in our contemporary lives. Larry Weber tells the sometimes startling story of how email got invented, not so long ago — by a 14-year old — and how, like so many visionaries, he and his idea had to battle naysayers convinced that his brainchild would never catch on. And to think that today, many 14-year olds have already beyond email and on to the next thing.
Although his health was declining by the time, this JATP concert of 1969 was presented at the Poplar Town Hall in London, Coleman Hawkins’ solo work did have some shining moments. Here, along with stellar soloing by Benny Carter and backed by Teddy Wilson, Bob Cranshaw and Louie Bellson is “Blue Lou.”
Chris Albertson hosted and produced “The Jazz Set” for Public television in 1972. One celebrated episode posted here, in audio form, featured the Charles Mingus sextet of the time, with Charles McPherson, Bobby Jones, Lonnie Hillyer, John Foster and Roy Brooks. At the time, I remember being disappointed that Dannie Richmond had been seduced by the much higher salary of the Mark-Almond Band; but listening now, Brooks did a magnificent job in his stead.
Lest we take her for granted, this 2009 appearance on BET’s Jazz Central reveals what a great artist Geri Allen is. Her pianistic chops and her taste, pacing and harmonic invention make her one of the greatest artists in jazz today. When she came from Detroit in the ‘80s (Woody Shaw first hipped me to her), she turned heads immediately. And she has let her artistic achievements slide yet!
If you were a hip college student in the 50s, you liked jazz. And Jim Henson, in 1961 an experimental artist, was among the hippest. Chico Hamilton tapped into the rage better than most, so it’s no surprise that Chico’s music was the source of a lot of Jim’s various investigations.
“Drums West” is one of the sharpest Hamilton tracks I’d never heard, and Henson’s film is a perfect visual execution of his drums (reminds one of Chuck Jones’ “The Dot and The Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics”, music by Eugene Poddany, story by Norman Juster).
"Mahalia Jackson was due to close the Saturday night blues program. As usual, she was worried about appearing on such a secular bill. Our solution: we programmed her set to begin after midnight, to let her ring in Sunday morning. At 12:01 A.M., Wills Conover announced: "Ladies and Gentlemen. It is Sunday - and it is time for the world’s greatest gospel singer - Miss Mahalia Jackson."
Mahalia walked out and delivered some of the most stirring music heard that year. By this time rain had come pouring down on Freebody Park, but the crowd stayed put. They were captivated. Mahalia’s voice carried every ounce of her heartfelt convictions. When she delivered a hand-clapping and soulful rendition of “Didn’t It Rain,” the rain, as if chastised, stopped falling. When she left the stage, the audience’s applause was more deafening than it had been all night. Mahalia returned and, almost bashfully, said, “You made me feel like a star.”
We are fortunate enough to have this moment preserved on film, in Bert Sterns movie Jazz on a Summer’s Day. ”
A generation after Miles Davis issued his recording On the Corner, and musicians and listeners have increasingly recognized the importance of that period of Miles’s music, the music world has also been reaching a growing comfort level with the path finding music of composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Greg Sandow’s 2008 dispatch on Stockhausen and his influence on Miles, Bjork and Frank Zappa (and yes, the Beatles) puts some perspective on their respective work, and what might have been, had the rumored collaboration between Miles and Stockhausen actually borne fruit.
Steve Coleman’s excellent quartet with trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson performs his “Cud Ba-Rith” at the 2013 Cully Jazz Festival. The composition is very reminiscent of Anthony Braxton pieces for quartet and all of the members are superb. The interaction between Coleman and Finlayson is especially noteworthy.