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Found 39 results

  1. Grammy-award winning trumpeter Arturo Sandoval will headline the 16th annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival, according to an announcement from the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District. The free festival will be held Saturday, Aug. 24 from 3-10 p.m. on two stages, with performances by festival cofounder Marcus Johnson, The Eric Byrd Trio, Paul Carr and The Real Jazz Ambassadors, and others: https://www.sourceofthespring.com/county-news/sandoval-headline-silver-spring-jazz-festival/
  2. Monica Lewis was the voice of Chiquita Banana for 14 years. She also dated Ronald Reagan.
  3. Wynton Marsalis holds a special place in my heart, in that he's the most famous person (sorry, Jon 🍷) with whom I've ever had an extended conversation. On Jan 19, 1984, he performed a modern jazz concert at UNC-Charlotte - not long after his Grammy triumph - and my professor, my fellow student, and I drove two hours each way (from Clemson) to see it. Unbeknownst to the entire crowd, there was a "meet-and-greet" after the performance in a small room - we happened to overhear that it was occurring - and we got to speak with him, just the three of us, for what must have been twenty minutes - he even gave my professor (a fine, amateur horn player) pointers on his embouchure (you've never seen a Computer Science professor with a bigger smile on his face). Two of my greatest treasures are a Marsalis-autographed copy of the CDs linked to above (the second also autographed by drummer Jeff Watts). Enough background - this is a wonderful podcast: "Jazz Artist Wynton Marsalis Says Rap and Hip-Hop are 'More Damaging than a Statue of Robert E. Lee'" on washingtonpost.com
  4. For the younger folk out there, Rosemary Clooney was George Clooney's aunt. She had a remarkably warm and graceful way of singing. She fell out of sight in the 1960s because of some personal problems, but came back strong in the 1980s with some wonderful American-songbook type records. Here (in 1984) she sings one of Irving Berlin's greatest songs, "What'll I Do?". I tormented myself with this song after a particularly painful break-up, but now it's just an old, sweet friend.
  5. The Souljazz Orchestra is another newly discovered band (for me). Their 2012 release Solidarity is a nice mix of afrobeat fueled funk with a couple reggae inspired tracks thrown into the mix. They are already promoting a new release called Inner Fire for February 2014 backed by a Canadian and European tour. Hopefully they will make a return trip to DC (Rock & Roll Hotel in 2012, which was before I discovered them...doh). Couple official videos up on YouTube: Ya Busta Bibinay Jericho
  6. Esperanza Spalding - wow. Just listen. Just. Precious (studio) Precious (Live) Apple Blossom (so great, so inventive) - I love, love, love this one. So, if y'all have not figured it out yet, I love music in almost all of its forms. I let my ears do the listening.
  7. Okay, who was lucky enough to see the legendary Danny Gatton play live? His reputation is not just local - my Lyft driver in LA not only knew who he was, but put on a recording of Gatton playing after getting *very* excited that I mentioned his name. "Danny Gatton: World's Greatest Unknown Guitarist" by Phil Harrell on npr.org Tom Principato talks about Danny Gatton (I've seen Tom Principato play - he's no Danny Gatton, but I *love* his sound and stage presence). "The Humbler" is a documentary about Danny Gatton in the works. IndieGoGo page. "New Film Reveals Mastery, Tragedy, of D.C. Guitar Hero Danny Gatton" by Neil Augenstein on wtop.com You can just tell by the way Gatton *perfectly* imitates Chet Atkins - with a super-clean base line accompanying the upper register in two distinct voices - without even trying, that this guy had licks coming out every pore of his body.
  8. "Guitarist J. Geils Dead at 71" by Jon Blistein on rollingstone.com "Musician John Warren Geils, Jr., Founder of the J. Geils Band, Dies at Massachusetts Home at Age 71" on abcnews.go.com
  9. I'm not well versed on the history, but during the 1960s to mid 1970s, Ethiopia had a kicking jazz scene. Some background: "Ethio-Jazz - The Amazing Story of Ethiopian Jazz from London to Addis" by Lilian Diarra on theculturetrip.com This music is having a bit of a revival these days, with contemporary bands drawing inspiration. One such band is DC's own Feedel Band. They play the first Thursday of the month at Bossa Bistro + Lounge in Adams Morgan, which if you are into world music, jazz, funk should be on your radar. Feedel playing live (which of course is the best way to experience their music)
  10. I love Big Maybelle. I used to have a two-LP compilation of her work that was fantastic. I haven't heard it in probably 20 years (or more), but I recognize this track from it. Thanks for posting it. I must confess I don't remember ever hearing of Sid Wyche, so thanks for your research. Turns out he co-wrote the widely recorded standard "Well all right, okay, you win" and also the mischievous (to put it mildly) "(I Love to Play Your Piano) Baby Let Me Bang Your Box", first released by The Toppers in 1954:
  11. Her live album from the Monterey jazz fest is also excellent. Truly a great artist.
  12. I almost posted this in "Who are you drinking to", but it's probably better here. Maurice White, founder and presiding genius of the group Earth Wind & Fire, died yesterday. They were among the great musical acts of the 1970s. Here's one of their greatest recordings:
  13. Not sure how long this has been an event or if it's new...but...on the third Thursday of the Month, the American Art Museum holds the Take 5! Jazz series in the Kogod Courtyard. 5pm-7pm. FREE! Upcoming performances: Dec. 17, 2015 - Luke Stewart Ensemble Jan. 21, 2016 - Alexander Norris Ensemble Feb. 18, 2106 - Kenny Nunn Quartet
  14. Helen Merrill is one of my favorite singers. I think she's probably my very favorite jazz singer who isn't or wasn't black, which actually puts her in some pretty rarefied company. Here she is singing " " on her first album, Helen Merrill, in 1954, with the brilliant trumpeter Clifford Brown, who had a career of about fifteen minutes before being killed in an automobile accident, which also claimed the life of jazz pianist Richie Powell, brother of the legendary Bud Powell. What a sad loss. Brownie didn't even have a chance to get fucked up on heroin like most of his contemporaries. And here's Helen Merrill in the title track of what I guess is my favorite album of hers, , from 1992. That's the brilliant Wayne Shorter blowing.
  15. I've been a fan of Dr. John for most of my life. My first exposure to him was his very first album, Gris-Gris, released in 1968, although it was probably the following year when I first heard it. "Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya": His earliest work as a leader was drenched in voodoo, or at least voodoo trappings, and was sometimes rather disturbing, like the track above, and this, from Dr. John's 1971 album The Sun Moon & Herbs, "Craney Crow": Later in his career, Dr. John concentrated more on straightforward New Orleans music, although he continued to make unconventional costume choices, as you'll see here in a brilliant performance of the New Orleans classic "Iko Iko" with the first iteration of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band (1989), and a remarkable collection of icons it was: I don't use "brilliant" casually. God, I wish I had been there. The talent on that stage was positively prodigal.
  16. Alberta Hunter was a wonderful jazz and blues singer in the 1910s to 1940s who had, like many black performing artists, more success in Europe than in the US. She made quite a lot of recordings. This one, "You Can't Tell the Difference After Dark," was recorded in 1935 but not released commercially at the time. It surfaced on the compilation of naughty blues and jazz recordings called "Copulatin' Blues," which was released some time in the 1980s and is available today on CD: This song was broadly suggestive, as were many of the recordings on the compilation. Others were downright filthy, and I encourage you to go out and find them. In the 1950s, Hunter abandoned her singing career and embarked on a career as a nurse. In the mid-1970s she re-emerged, in her 80s, recording the soundtrack for the offbeat Alan Rudolph film "Remember My Name," whose title song she wrote. (The movie starred Tony Perkins, Geraldine Chaplin, and Alfre Woodard, with whom I had gone to acting school.) She had an engagement of several years at a Greenwich Village club called The Cookery, where I caught her act sometime in 1977 or 1978. She sang one of her signature tunes, "My Castle's Rockin'," which she sings in this recording from a few years later: Here's a recording of the same song that I imagine she made in the 1930s: I loved her.
  17. I have a young friend, 30-something, with whom I've been sharing my old musical loves for the last several years, as an educational exercise. He's been very patient about it. When I sent him off to listen to the song "A Salty Dog" by Procol Harum (1969), with a vocal by Gary Brooker that I've always considered breathtaking, he instantly jumped to talking about the drumming, which was by the late B.J. Wilson. And when I listened to the song again, it struck me that without that gob-smacking drum part, the recording would have been unbearable, pretentious drivel. So listen to Gary Brooker's soaring vocal peformance, with a big orchestra and the rock drumming of B.J. Wilson:
  18. Okay, one more 20th-century chanteuse, Sarah Vaughan, who had one of the great voices of the century, which can be mentioned in the same breath with, say, Janet Baker. Here she is in 1954, with the phenomenal horn player Clifford Brown, singing "It's Crazy":
  19. While I love Ella Fitzgerald, and have mentioned elsewhere the pleasure I had in hearing her in concert long ago at Symphony Hall in Boston, she has never been one of my favorite singers, and I've never been a devotee of her cult. I think my biggest problem with Ella's singing is that in so many recordings, she seems to sing songs as if the words had no particular meaning. Not always, but often. There's no denying her mostly flawless vocal technique. My favorite album of hers is "Pure Ella", which you can find on YouTube. It's just Ella's voice and Ellis Larkins's piano; it was released in 1994, but was a combination of two LPs from the early 50s. Here is Ella from that album singing "I've Got a Crush on You."
  20. I had been meaning to post something of the Brazilian singer Luciana Souza's weeks ago, and then it slipped my mind. I'll make up for it now. I'd have to say she's my favorite jazz/pop singer working today. "Doralice" (1960, Antí´nio Almeida and Dorival Caymmi) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FawMGW4xygg "Muita Bobeira" (1998, Luciana Souza) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06Xix1XnkLg "Here It Is" (2001, Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson) Enjoy.
  21. One of the greatest concert albums of all time, "The Johnny Otis Show Live at Monterey!", from the 1970 Monterey Jazz Festival, was once among the crown jewels of my LP collection. From that record, here is Esther Phillips, known in her early years as "Little Esther", with "Little Esther's Blues". She left us way too soon.
  22. Quite possibly the coolest person of the Twentieth Century. Jonah, 1946 That's All,1960 (?) Didn't It Rain, 1964 I came to Sister Rosetta by way of gospel music, and found myself in the middle of rock 'n' roll.
  23. I especially love Billie Holiday's late recordings for Verve. This recording of "April in Paris" from 1956 was included on the wonderful collection "Lady in Autumn: The Best of the Verve Years" released in 1991, which I strongly suggest anyone who cares for singing or for jazz or for Billie Holiday should have. I believe that's the great Ben Webster on tenor sax.
  24. Continuing my series on 20th-century chanteuses, here is the wonderful Lee Wiley singing "Manhattan" (1925) by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (Rogers and Hart) in a recording from 1951. How anyone can listen to this material and prefer Rodgers and Hammerstein is bewildering to me, but apparently there are such people. The lyric to this song has been commonly "updated" to reflect newer Broadway shows. This version refers to "South Pacific." The original lyric, which is much smarter than any of the subsequent revisions, is Our future babies We'll take to Abie's Irish Rose I hope they'll live to see It close (At the time (1925), this was a comment on the show "Abie's Irish Rose," which was a long-running Broadway hit universally derided by the critics. The early 1970s sitcom stinker "Bridget Loves Bernie" was sort of based on it.) The first line of the chorus is also often changed from "We'll have Manhattan" to "I'll take Manhattan" for unknown reasons. Anyway, listen to Lee Wiley. Her style of singing was already old-fashioned by 1951, but so fresh and lovely and loveable.
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