The Last Days of Jimi Hendrix
This column on Jimi Hendrix by the wonderfully talented writer/critic Richard Williams is spot on about the slew of posthumous albums since Hendrix’s death 43 years ago. There are great live shows and just okay live shows (by Hendrix standards) that have come out, but the studio material is essentially unfinished and not revelatory. Had Hendrix been able to pursue the music he was hearing in his head, and lived long enough to bring it to fruition, the story might be quite different.
Richard brings up something I’d totally forgotten. The last time I saw Hendrix was in 1970, at a Philadelphia arena. I was emceeing the concert and noticed Hendrix was skittish and out of it. In fact, even though the audience was sitting on a field 30 feet below the stage, Hendrix got spooked that the audience was getting to close, and left me to distract a massive, tired audience sitting in a wet football field in the dark, for what was probably 10 minutes but felt like 4 hours.
-Michael CuscunaRead More
Freddie Hubbard at CTI – a 21st Century Appraisal
Freddie Hubbard’s career took a conspicuous, and in some quarters, suspicious turn, when he signed with Creed Taylor’s CTI Records in 1970. David Brent Johnson’s feature on Indiana Public Media surveys Hubbard’s recordings from his CTI period, and sets forth the case that Hubbard expanded his art, rather than compromised it, with recordings like Red Clay – now more visibly, in the light of 21st century day, one of his classics.Read More
Randall’s Island Carnival Of Swing Concert - 1938
On May 29, 1938, a benefit concert (for Musician’s Local 802’s Hospital Fund) was held at Randall’s Island, NY, to a crowd of 23,000 swing fans. WNEW broadcast part of the event, however, no audio either filmed or disc has surfaced. In this clip we see what is was like to be a swing fan during those years along with images of the Count Basie band (with Lester Young) and a dubbed airshot of “I Got Rhythm” from the Southland Ballroom in Boston (1939).
In a preview of what would happen 18 years later at Newport, the highlight of the show was Duke Ellington’s “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue”. During the selection, 3,000 grandstand spectators rushed onto the field in an effort to get near the bandstand. This delayed the concert about ten minutes while emergency police restored order.
Other artists who performed that day were Chick Webb, Vincent Lopez, Artie Shaw, Hal Kemp, Sammy Kaye, Bunny Berigan, Kay Kayser, Russ Morgan, Will Hudson, Milt Herth, Stuff Smith, Larry Clinton, Will Osborne and the Andrews Sisters. Also visible on the “sidelines” diggin’ the Basie band is Stuff Smith and Teddy Bunn.
-Scott WenzelView Video
Stan Getz: Seven Steps to Heaven
Stan Getz was not only a magnificent tenor saxophonist with a gorgeous sound all his own, but also had an uncanny knack for assembling great rhythm sections out of unlikely combinations of people. This rendition of Victor Feldman’s “Seven Steps To Heaven” is driven by a young and deftly swinging Teri Lyne Carrington. Kenny Barron, who had a wonderful rapport with Getz musically, sparkles throughout.
-Michael CuscunaView Video
Excellent Documentary Footage On The Miles Davis Quintet
Check out this with great interview segments with Miles, Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams. I’d never seen this before but it’s a wonderful 14-mnute crash course on of the most complex and intuitive ensembles in jazz history.
-Michael CuscunaView Video
Clarke-Boland: Jazz is Universal
It’s true the Big Bands didn’t just stop after World War II and there were some that made an impact on the jazz scene well after Elvis and Rock n’ Roll dominated the pop charts. JazzWax takes a look at some of the outstanding post-war big band jazz units including the powerful ensemble led by drummer Kenny Clarke and pianist Francy Boland.
-Scott WenzelRead More
Happy Birthday, Duke Ellington
Duke would have been 114 today. One way to celebrate: listen to Ellington’s music all day today \u2014 straight through midnight \u2014 on WKCR Radio’s birthday broadcast, streaming on wkcr.org.Read More
Randy Weston’s Journey
Randy Weston’s music is nothing if not notable for the breadth and depth of its influence by his world travels. In this Boston Globe profile by Jeremy Goodwin, Weston’s recollections of his many eventful stops, from Bedford-Stuyvesant through the Berkshire Mountains to his life in Tangier, paint the backdrop for the powerful music we’ve heard from him for decades since.
Photo: Carol FriedmanRead More
Esperanza Spalding on NPR Piano Jazz
Is it too early to think of this as a retrospective? Probably; yet Esperanza Spalding has done a lot since this 2008 visit to Marian McPartland’s piano jazz, so let’s just consider this an interesting listen, documenting where this quickly evolving artist was in her (relative) youth \u2014 including her take on “Jazz Ain’t Nothin’ but Soul.”
-Nick MoyRead More
Lester Young and His Followers: Flip Phillips and Don Byas
From a website dedicated to the Berklee High School Jazz Festival comes an interesting piece written by Nik Rodewald as he takes a view of Lester Young and a couple of his disciples: Flip Phillips and Don Byas. There’s an incredible amount of great music of both Byas and Flip and I’m glad to see this site give some space to these giants.
-Scott WenzelRead More