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Ward Swingle; 2014 Summation, Boswell Sisters,
Manhattan Transfer, Fred Hersch!
Details in Notes from the Editor
New in Book Reviews:
(by Kyla TItus)
Don't look now, but the Boswell Sisters are currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity. A recent gathering in New Orleans featured tribute groups from all over the globe, and a new documentary on the Boswells is due to air on PBS in 2015. Unfortunately, none of the sisters are still alive to take part, but Vet Boswell's granddaughter, Kyla Titus, has just self-published a new biography, "Boswell Legacy" that clears up many of the mysteries surrounding the sister's personal and professional histories. Thomas Cunniffe reviews this long-overdue book.  

New in Retro Reviews:
In their 30-year history, the Manhattan Transfer has recorded several fine albums. However, few were as pivotal as "Extensions", the 1979 LP which introduced Cheryl Bentyne as a new member of the group, and solidified the group's commitment to jazz and vocalese. Thomas Cunniffe takes a fresh look at the album in this Retro Review.

Historical Essays:

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. 

In Memoriam:
WARD SWINGLE (1927-2015)
Jazz History Online remembers Ward Swingle, who passed away in his sleep January 19, 2015 at the age of 87. A true innovator in vocal jazz, he was a member of the Blue Stars and Les Double Six before starting his own Swingle Singers in 1962. Swingle's unique rhythmic approach to Bach influenced choral groups all over the world, and the current edition of the Swingle Singers are one of the world's most innovative vocal groups. Swingle was a supporter of this website and an invaluable resource during the research and preparation for JHO's Swingle Singers interactive history. As a tribute, we again post a Front Page link to the Swingle Singers profile, discography and gallery. 

Special F
Jazz History Online marks the new year with a summation of the year just passed. Thomas Cunniffe's Sidetracks essay discusses the highlights of concerts, books, DVDs, films, and CDs of 2014, and bids farewell to many great musicians who left our world in the past 12 months.

New in CD Reviews:
Jazz duos offer a format where cooperation and communication are found in their purest form, and where each musician has the responsibility to make his partner sound good. By the same token, each musician must retain his own individuality and find places in his partner’s style where a dynamic interaction can take place. Thomas Cunniffe reviews three new duo albums in this CD review. 

The three vocal CDs reviewed this month feature an abundance of original compositions. Gabriel Espinosa and Hendrik Meurkens lead an international ensemble on a celebration of Brazilian music, "Samba Little Samba", Lauren Hooker sings an autobiographical song cycle on "All For You, My Heart and Soul", and the duo of Judi Silvano and Michael Abene perform daring improvisations from compositional sketches on "My Dance." Thomas Cunniffe examines the music. 

New in DVD Reviews:
Like most people, Fred Hersch doesn't remember his dreams. But the dreams he envisioned while in a medically-induced coma were so vivid, he described them in detail after he regained consciousness. Those dreams, and the story of his illness, are part a of a hybrid jazz/theatre work called "My Coma Dreams". Thomas Cunniffe reviews the newly released DVD of a performance at Columbia University. 

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