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You Know You're a Jazz Reviewer When...

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You know you're a jazz reviewer when...After you check the mail, your spouse asks “Do I live here?"You get 800-1,000 CDs for review within a year, yet you still get the inevitable email follow up from a little known artist or his/her publicist a week after the CD arrives that asks “Have you heard it yet?"You have ever had to repack review copies of CDs received during IAJE from your luggage to your carry on bags at the airport to avoid overweight charges.You've figured out a filing system for your ...


Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz with Frank Zappa

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Although many fans of Marian McPartland's long running NPR series heard former Frank Zappa sideman George Duke's guest appearance on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, few are likely to be aware of Zappa's own visit to the program, which took place in early 1988, just prior to the start of what would be his final tour. McPartland's interest in Zappa developed from conversations with a number of jazz musicians who had played with him, while the guitarist's familiarity with jazz helped to make things work. At times Zappa's sarcastic replies to her interview questions threaten to befuddle her (but never do), ...


Dave Brubeck Quartet at the 1993 Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival

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Public radio listeners were frequently frustrated when the Chicago Jazz Festival and Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival offered live satellite feeds to stations on the identical weekend (Labor Day), causing program directors to typically air one or the other, unless they chose to archive and rebroadcast the alternate.

Montreux-Detroit's lineup rivaled Chicago's, but the Motor City broadcasts had one major flaw: someone instructed the hosts of the nationally syndicated broadcasts to start talking at the top of the hour, whether or not the artists on stage (including local, national or international players) were through with their set; yet whoever was ...


From Ragtime to Rock-A History of American Music (1970 Today Show Special)

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When I attended the 2001 IAJE Conference in New York City, I made one of my first trips to Fred Cohen's Jazz Record Center, a mandatory stop for jazz collectors visiting the Big Apple. Within the LP bins I found an unusual record which was the soundtrack to a Today Special (broadcast January 13, 1970) that celebrated the completion of its 18th year on the air. In spite of the $60 price tag, I snapped it up without hesitation, only learning later how rare it was. It turns out that Mrs. Paul's Kitchens, the lone sponsor of this special broadcast, ...


Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz with Eldar Djangirov, 1st Show

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Fans of Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz may have read the program synopsis with reservations when 12 year old Eldar Djangirov made his U.S. broadcast debut on her program a few years ago, but he quickly proved that he deserved the national exposure. A polite young man who was still getting used to living in a new country, Eldar doesn't seem overly infatuated with his budding talent, though he clearly impresses his host with formidable chops for someone so young. He begins with an arrangement of “Emily" that he credits to Marian, though she admits that someone else ...


Joe Pass Live at the Four Queens Hotel, Las Vegas, 1988

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By the time of his death from cancer in 1994, Joe Pass was widely recognized as one of the top jazz guitarists of all time, especially for his virtuoso solo performances. Prior to his passing, I had an opportunity to do a phone interview with Pass and was rather surprised that the guitarist found it difficult to listen to his recordings, as he always felt that he could have played better.

The 1988 broadcast of his appearance at the French Quarter Room of the Four Queens Hotel in Las Vegas was compiled from several sets by engineer Brian ...


Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz with Nellie Lutcher

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I had never heard of Nellie Lutcher when she appeared on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz during the mid-1980s, but I was taken with her right away. With her playful vocals and swinging piano, Lutcher was famous for a time during the 1940s, but her record sales declined during the following decade and after being dropped by Capitol and recording for a few independent labels, she only played on a part-time basis and worked for the musician's union.

Just as she coaxed Cleo Brown out of retirement to appear on her show, McPartland successfully lured Lutcher into the studio ...


Phil Woods Quintet Live at Nick's Cafe in Lauren, Holland

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Gene Parrish's syndicated radio program Worldwide Jazz is not one that I've heard very often over the years, so this circa 1996 broadcast of the Phil Woods Quintet at Nick's Café in Lauren, Holland, was a special treat.The alto saxophonist's quintet at the time was a strong one (when isn't Woods leading a great band?), featuring trumpeter Brian Lynch, pianist Bill Charlap, plus his long time rhythm section, bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin.They kick off the set with Lynch's snappy vehicle “One For Mogie (dedicated to Lee Morgan) showcasing Woods, Lynch and Charlap in ...


Dominique Eade on Mountain Stage

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One of the most intriguing singers to emerge on the jazz scene during the 1990s was Dominique Eade, a gifted, chance-taking alto with a very expressive voice. Her considerable abilities as a composer and arranger, and her desire to seek deserving but less frequently performed songs, along with surrounding herself with top-flight musicians add to her appeal.

Eade has made only four CDs as a leader, two for Accurate and two for RCA, all of which seem to be out of print. She has also recorded as a guest with Either/Orchestra, French horn player Tom Varner and pianist ...


Dave Brubeck at the Chicago Jazz Festival August 31, 2001

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Over the past half century, the Dave Brubeck Quartet has undoubtedly been featured on numerous broadcasts on several continents, few of which have ever been issued by legitimate record labels. But this Labor Day weekend set from the 2001 Chicago Jazz Festival is rather special, as it not only includes his current quartet but also revisits some of the arrangements he wrote for his octet of the late 1940s.

Brubeck kicks off the festival with a favorite opener, “St. Louis Blues featuring Bobby Militello's blazing alto sax, Michael Moore's adventurous bass and the leader's rollicking piano, with the ...


Billy Taylor's Jazz at the Kennedy Center with Clark Terry

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The NPR series Billy Taylor's Jazz at the Kennedy Center only aired for 26 weeks out of the year for a few years, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a terrific program. Taylor is not only a masterful pianist who brought out the best in his guests, but a terrific interviewer as well. Of the relatively few broadcasts which I recorded, the edition featuring Clark Terry was one of the most memorable shows.

Terry is obviously one of the easiest to recognize flugelhornists and trumpeters, with a tone so distinctive it can often be identified in a single ...


Mel Torm, Gerry Mulligan & George Shearing at Carnegie Hall 1982

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When I first conceived this column, one of the first programs that I intended to cover was one of my favorite concert broadcasts, a joint appearance by Mel Tormé, Gerry Mulligan and George Shearing on stage at Carnegie Hall in 1982. Impresario George Wein was responsible for encouraging the three men to perform together for the first time (though Tormé had performed separately with Mulligan and Shearing prior to this evening) and the concert was obviously a treat for those present. One of the running gags of the evening was their frequent reference to themselves as “The Terrible Trio," a ...


Eubie Blake at the 1977 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival aboard the S. S. President

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One of my great regrets is not having the opportunity to hear Eubie Blake in person. The closest I ever came was when he appeared at the Palm Beach Jazz Festival during the late 1970s; I had tickets to see classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz in Miami Beach on the very same day. My mother said something like “He's getting up in years so he'll probably play a token performance." In a newspaper review of his set the very next day, he was described as playing a long set, followed by eight encores.

Fortunately, I have been able to ...


Jaki Byard at the Chicago Jazz Festival - September 6, 1992

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I was introduced to the work of pianist Jaki Byard through his work as a sideman with Eric Dolphy and Charles Mingus. Both his eclectic style and sense of humor appealed to me, so I soon found myself snapping up every record and CD in which he took part, even getting an opportunity to do liner notes for the long hidden tapes which made up the Jaki Byard Quartet with Joe Farrell: The Last From Lennie's , issued by Prestige in 2003.

When I learned that Byard was doing a solo set at the 1992 Chicago Jazz Festival, ...

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