The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society’s webpage is a fine site dedicated to preserving the memory of Bix via their outstanding yearly festival, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival held in Bix’s hometown of Davenport, Iowa. Thirteen magnificent bands from around the world will meet August 1st through the 4th in what will be the 42nd annual.
-Scott WenzelRead More
Ornette Coleman Birthday: Born March 9, 1930
Ornette Coleman becomes 83 on March 9 and remains a forward-thinking iconoclast to this day. This New Grove Dictionary Of Jazz biography also documents his unceasing creativity and compositional projects.Read More
pa href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNbD1JIH344"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNbD1JIH344/a/p Ornette Coleman: Lonely Woman
“Lonely Woman” is considered Ornette Coleman’s first major composition. It has an altogether original melody, derived from nothing that preceded it. Coleman’s alto and Don Cherry’s cornet have deeply personal sounds that have the quality of human voices. Billy Higgins’s double-time drumming under the song introduces a sense of forbidding and urgency while Charlie Haden’s deep double stops give the piece weight and gravity. The song would soon be recorded by the Modern Jazz Quartet and by vocalist Chris Connor (with Margo Guryan’s lyrics). But nothing rivals the haunting, raw power of the original version.
-Michael CuscunaView Video
Ornette Coleman: Jazz Conversations
Erik Jackson’s 26-minute conversation with Ornette Coleman on Boston’s WGBH-FM is a remarkable document. Ornette is released, focused and willing to talk about the past, present and, of course, the future. It’s rare to catch Ornette in such an affable, flowing mode of conversation.
-Michael CuscunaRead More
Ornette Coleman: Beauty Is A Rare Thing
“I guess in jazz music, there are two horns and a rhythm section, that’s what Charlie Parker and all the guys followed. But what happened with me is that I never was thinking about the format as much as I was thinking about the melodic line not having to be just played with that small structure. So what I was doing was to try and write a melodic line that sounded like it was structured orchestraredly. I was trying to play orchestrated music in a small combo context. I realized that if I changed the harmonic structure or the tempo structure while someone else was doing something, they couldn’t stay there. They’d have to change with me. So I’d more or less bring that about myself a lot, knowing where I could take the melody. In other words I could create a showcase of the melody and then show the distance between where 1 could go and still come directly back to that melody . Instead of trying to show the different inversions of the same thing.” - Ornette Coleman about “Beauty Is A Rare Thing” from The Harmolodic Life by John LitweilerView Video
Well, there you have it. For your ears and eyes, a perfectly conceived, totally improvised solo on “All The Things You Are” by the maestro himself Charlie Parker.View Video
Terence Blanchard’s upcoming “Opera in the Jazz” Style
New Orleans trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard is joining the ranks of jazz musicians who have branched out to write formal long-form compositions. His first opera, “Champion,” based on the story of boxer Emile Griffith, will premiere with Opera Theatre of St. Louis this June. Find out, in this St. Louis Beacon story by Patricia Rice, what motivated Blanchard to turn to opera and this tragic subject.
-Nick MoyRead More
Some Things Get Easier
Dan Morgenstern once remarked to me that whenever he heard a recording by Louis Armstrong or Fats Waller it was sure to bring a smile to his face. I agree. This clip was one of the reasons I used to comb through the TV Guide each week (before the days of VHS, DVD and YouTube) to see when the next viewing of “Stormy Weather” would be shown on WPIX-TV in New York just to catch a glimpse of the great Waller. The musicians are Benny Carter (tp), Alton Moore (tb), Gene Porter (cl), Irving Ashby (g), Slam Stewart (b) and Zutty Singleton (d). Ada Moore sings and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson dances a bit and waits on tables!
- Scott WenzelView Video
A Short Post On Tracking Down Blue Note LPs
This “Tracking Tres Blue Notes” post on Jazz Collector and the ensuing comments show just how complicated and high stakes collecting jazz LPs can be. This site is full of great topics and tips like “$1,000 Records” and “Collecting Tips.” Be careful; record collecting is highly addictive and definitely hazardous to your marriage.
-Michael CuscunaRead More
Vijay Iyer: Five Great Ways to Listen to Wadada Leo Smith
We’re gratified to see the name of Wadada Leo Smith crop up in recent conversation, whether to acknowledge his contributions to long-form composition or to point to his tribute to Rosa Parks. In this post on NPR’s A Blog Supreme, pianist Vijay Iyer recommends five recordings of Wadada Leo Smith \u2014 including “Rosa Parks” \u2014 that you should check out. NPR provides the click buttons.
-Nick MoyRead More