Late Night Thoughts on Jazz

Jacquet and Granz: Class Acts

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The recent passing of jazz impresario Norman Granz brought to mind his Jazz at the Philharmonic series of concerts, and that brought to mind the person of Illinois Jacquet, who was a popular fixture at many of the JATP concerts.

Jean Baptiste “Illinois" Jacquet was merely 19 years old when, as a member of Lionel Hampton's band, he blew a tenor solo on “Flying Home" that became a classic and oft-imitated solo. It was so popular that ...

LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS ON JAZZ

Respect for Hank Mobley

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Hank Mobley always suffered from the perception in some quarters that he was neither an innovative nor particularly gifted improviser. This is hogwash, as the many Mobley reissues that are becoming available demonstrate. The main problem most listeners had with Mobley was that he was not fortunate enough to be born John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins. With these two tenor players seen as the most interesting and gifted of the time, Mobley was relegated to the back burner of mere ...

LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS ON JAZZ

Don Ellis, Dave Douglas, and the 'Progression' of Jazz

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A few weekends ago I was watching reruns of the old Ed Sullivan Show on my local PBS station, when who should appear but Don Ellis. I had been a bit of an Ellis fan in my rock-influenced teenage years, and it was interesting and a bit surreal to suddenly see him on my television screen leading his big band, dressed in full sixties sartorial regalia.

During the end of the 1960s and into the ‘70s, Ellis ...

Dance of the Infidels: Some Jazz Musicians Take Aim at Critics

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There have been a couple of incidents recently of jazz musicians striking back at critics who they feel have wronged them that have gained some degree of notoriety, at least in the small circle of people who are avid jazz fans or who actually read jazz criticism. While it is not new for musicians and critics to be at loggerheads, the particularly vitriolic nature of the responses in these cases seems shocking, at least at first glance.

LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS ON JAZZ

Freedom Suite Revisited

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In 1956 Sonny Rollins was one of the best-known tenor saxophonists in jazz, having recorded and released two wonderful and classic jazz albums, Saxophone Colossus and Tenor Madness, the latter being a tenor standoff with John Coltrane. In the following two years, freed from his Prestige Records contract, Rollins set about making some great records that were released on a variety of labels, including Riverside, Contemporary, and Period. He released Way Out West and worked with Thelonious Monk. Yet, even ...


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