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 ...read more
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), ...read more
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 ...read more
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, ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more