In a long-awaited biography, British saxophonist and jazz historian Simon Spillett examines the music and life of Tubby Hayes in "The Long Shadow of the Little Giant". Spillett details the development of the British modern jazz scene and Hayes' primary role within it, and also tells of Hayes' addictive tendencies and messy personal life. In his review, Thomas Cunniffe calls this book one of the best biographies he's read in years.
New in Retro Reviews:
WES MONTGOMERY: "IN THE BEGINNING" While Wes Montgomery was not well-known in the jazz world before 1960, he had been a semi-professional musician in his home town of Indianapolis since 1944. Following on their acclaimed album "Echoes of Indiana Avenue", Resonance Records has issued a new collection called "In the Beginning" which traces Montgomery's playing back to 1949. Thomas Cunniffe offers his thoughts on the set in this Retro Review.
AT THE OPERA HOUSE REVISED AND UPDATED! In 1957, Norman Granz launched the 18th tour of Jazz at the Philharmonic. The concerts yielded 5 separate albums featuring Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Stan Getz, J.J. Johnson, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge and the JATP All-Stars. All of the albums were titled "At the Opera House" but on four of the five albums, the mono editions were recorded at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles! In this Historical Essay, Thomas Cunniffe sorts out the discographical maze and discusses all five of the albums in both their mono and stereo editions.
Anita Wardell may be the greatest singer you've never heard. Well-known in Europe, but barely known in the US, Wardell is one of the best scat singers in jazz today, and she also is a superb interpreter of vocalese, jazz originals and standards. Thomas Cunniffe introduces you to Wardell in this profile which features 5 complete audio selections and a video performance.
Al Hood is one of the world’s foremost experts on Clifford Brown. He was a researcher for Nick Catalano’s biography “Clifford Brown: The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter” (Oxford), and is presently writing his own book on Brown’s music and legacy. Along with fellow trumpeters Brad Goode, Terell Stafford and Greg Gisbert, he will present the first annual Clifford Brown Jazz Trumpet Consortium in Wilmington, Delaware from June 15-18, 2015. Thomas Cunniffe spoke with Hood about Brown and the upcoming event.
For progressive jazz singers, performing duets with Ran Blake is both challenging and rewarding. Blake expects a lot from vocalists, including the ability to find their own way through the music without help from the keyboard. However, this method makes the vocal/piano duet a truly equal partnership. Thomas Cunniffe reviews two new duet albums featuring Blake with vocalists Christine Correa and Sara Serpa.
Vibraphonist Joe Locke’s fame has grown considerably over the last five years through a series of recordings on the Motéma label. However, he has been known as a “musician’s musician” since he first appeared on the New York scene in the early 1980s. Thomas Cunniffe reviews two new albums, scheduled to be released within the same week, which offer further evidence of his flexibility.
and the movies are America's two greatest contributions to the arts,
but Hollywood rarely gets it right when jazz musicians are portrayed on
the silver screen. "Syncopation", a 1942 film directed by William
Dieterle has been issued on home video for the first time, and while
it's not the classic that the trailer claims, it is considerably better
than most Hollywood jazz films. As a bonus, the DVD and Blu-Ray editions
contain nine exquisitely restored jazz shorts featuring Louis
Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw, Jack Teagarden
and Cab Calloway, and reviewer Thomas Cunniffe states that these films
are more entertaining than the feature.
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