All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Jazz Articles

BOOK REVIEWS March 31, 2009

Jazz Lives: Till We Shall Meet and Never Part

Jazz Lives: Till We Shall Meet and Never Part Jaap van de Klomp and Scott Yanow Hardcover; 223 pages ISBN: 9789022993538 VIP Books 2008

Now and then a book comes along that defies all expectations. Jazz Lives, a collaboration between Dutch photographer Jaap van de Klomp and American jazz writer Scott Yanow, is just such a volume. Given its structure--short biographies of deceased jazz artists, combined with photos of their gravesites--you might be expecting some morbid joke. This is hardly the case. Jazz Lives is a truly beautiful, ...

Read More
INTERVIEWS November 8, 2007

Michael Wolff: The Art of Communication

Read "Michael Wolff: The Art of Communication"

The idea of music as communication is as old as music itself, and has become just about as clichéd as some of its referents. Igor Stravinsky once opined that music was powerless to communicate anything. And, truth be told, the number of active instrumentalists who can successfully communicate thoughts, feelings, concepts and dogmas without words is significantly smaller than the number of those who believe they can. Even many vocalists and lyricists aren't as adept at getting things across as they would like to imagine. Enter Michael Wolff, who has spent half a lifetime challenging the notion that music is ...

Read More
MULTIPLE REVIEWS September 3, 2007

Michael Wolff: Impure Thoughts On Hold

Read "Michael Wolff: Impure Thoughts On Hold"

Pianist Michael Wolff has some of the most expansive vision of anyone working in jazz today. Born in the California High Desert, raised in New Orleans and now making his home in Manhattan, the well-traveled, big-eared Wolff is never short on surprises for his listeners. With his dazzling Impure Thoughts ensemble on hiatus, Wolff's two current albums up the ante beyond that band's extraordinary work.

Michael Wolff Jazz, Jazz, Jazz Wrong Records 2007

Recorded in some spare studio time after Impure Thoughts' session for Intoxicate (Indianola Music, 2001), Jazz, Jazz, Jazz is ...

Read More
ARTIST PROFILES June 23, 2006

Charlie Peacock: Exhibits Curiosity, Returns to Jazz Roots

Read "Charlie Peacock: Exhibits Curiosity, Returns to Jazz Roots"

Nashville pianist, composer and author Charlie Peacock has raised a lot of eyebrows with 2005's Love Press Ex-Curio, the scintillating first release from his label, Runway Network. It marks his first full-on jazz effort in nearly three decades, a bold step away from the lucrative world of contemporary Christian music. The album is the latest in a long series of reinventions for the category-resistant musician.

The album's title is shorthand for “Loves Pressure, Exhibits Curiosity." Says Peacock, “I can't remember the exact origin of the title, whether I was just playing with words or what. But it really ...

Read More
BOOK REVIEWS May 23, 2006

Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era

Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era Elizabeth Pepin and Lewis Watts 200 B/W photographs ISBN 0811845486 Chronicle Books 2006

Harlem of the West is a charming, violet-hued paperback that digs deeply into one of America's most endangered jazz legacies. Long before it gained a new reputation in the hippie era, the Fillmore neighborhood west of San Francisco's City Hall was the site of the “other West Coast jazz boom. The title is apt; there were indeed a number of parallels between the Fillmore and ...

Read More
EXTENDED ANALYSIS February 22, 2006

Anita O'Day: Indestructible!

Read "Anita O'Day: Indestructible!"

Anita O'Day Indestructible! Kayo Stereophonic 2006

In 2003 View Video put out a DVD of one of cabaret singer Mabel Mercer's last performances. She was in the twilight of her life, and every minute of her advanced age was reflected in her loving, yet passionless and cursory delivery of songs she must have sung thousands of times each. The audience was wrapped around her little finger in bittersweet attention, witnessing the denouement of a legend who once defined her art and was now grasping for one more moment of glory. It was all too ...

Read More
EXTENDED ANALYSIS November 30, 2005

Kayl Brecher: Spy Music

Read "Kayl Brecher: Spy Music"

Kaylé Brecher Spy Music Penchant Four Records 2005

The remarkable Kaylé Brecher ranks among Philadelphia's finest jazz singers; nay, among the best the East has to offer. Over the past decade she has distinguished herself as a fearless interpreter of song, a subtle stylist with an instrumentalist's creativity. On this, her fourth album, she presents the best evidence yet that she is ready to burst onto the main stage of American jazz.

Spy Music is rife with the sort of creative wisdom that has characterized Brecher's work to date: the use of reduced instrumentation ...

Read More
ARTIST PROFILES September 8, 2004

Memories Of Steve Lacy

Read "Memories Of Steve Lacy"

Steve Lacy's return to America in 2002, following three decades in France, was welcomed with as much enthusiasm as Dexter Gordon's triumphant repatriation in the '70s. A quirky and beloved individualist, Lacy, who died in Boston of liver cancer on June 4, 2004, took a mongrel horn and brought it into a permanent place of jazz prominence. Lacy was the first jazz musician since Sidney Bechet to concentrate specifically on the soprano saxophone, and his adeptness inspired John Coltrane to give it a spin. Ironically, Trane's recording of “My Favorite Things" led him to quickly overshadow Lacy as the soprano ...

Read More
ARTIST PROFILES August 3, 2004

Cow Bop Hits the Mother Road

“The sun was high, the air was still, a day so hot the sun was sweating. In rode a redhead on a pinto pony, singing and yodeling. Legend has it she was raised by Comanche; others opine that she was left in a shopping mall by Scottish settlers. She was headed for parts unknown when she fell in with a band of renegade beboppers and ended up 'Swingin' Out West'."

Thus is the legend of Cow Bop, the Bay Area's premier cowboy-jazz band. The spirit of Western swing is not only alive and well, but in May 2004 ...

Read More
BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY January 13, 2003

Steve Lacy

Soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy is not only one of the few players since Sidney Bechet to specialize on the straight horn, he has become one of the most prolifically recorded musicians in jazz during a career that has spanned nearly fifty years. Though his early roots were in Dixieland, where he freely drew from Bechet's legacy, Lacy's major claims to fame have been as an avant-gardist and one of the premier interpreters of Thelonious Monk's music.

Lacy's first recording was the debut of Cecil Taylor, Jazz Advance! (1956, Transition); the following year saw Lacy's first session as a leader, Soprano ...

Read More
BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY January 9, 2003

Fusion

Since the early 1970s, fusion music has served as an appreciable back door for people seeking an entry into the complexities of jazz. The term “fusion" refers to the blending together of jazz, rock, world music, classical, or other influences into a concrete whole. Most often it's applied to a form of music also known as “jazz-rock", which first gained wide popularity with Miles Davis' electric-jazz experiments in the late 60s. Today there is an earnest resurgence in fusion across America and the world, with a vast number of technically brilliant musicians creating exciting sounds, and classic recordings being reissued ...

Read More