Daily articles including interviews, profiles, live reviews, film reviews and more... all carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. You can find more articles by searching our website, see what's trending on our popular articles page or read articles ahead of their published dates on our future articles page.
by Chris May
Miles Davis once said you could tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker. You might want to add John Coltrane, you might even want to add Davis. But however you cut it, saxophones and trumpets have been the flag bearers of the music. Trumpets got things rolling and saxophones came into their own a decade later, during the swing era, when Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young legitimised the instrument as a solo voice.read more
by Jakob Baekgaard
Back in 2016, BGO Records started reissuing the complete works of alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe (1940-2017) on Columbia. The first volume containing Lenox Avenue Breakdown (1979), In the Tradition (1980), Illusions and Blythe Spirit (1981) has already been reviewed on AAJ. The following two volumes complete the project of putting an important body of work from one of the great, unsung saxophonists in jazz history back into circulation. Arthur Blythe Elaborations/Light Blue: Arthur Blythe Plays Thelonious ...read more
by Todd S. Jenkins
The emotive power of Arthur Blythe's bracing alto saxophone tone and flighty phrasing set him apart from many of his generation. A poet, a muezzin, an angry activist, a lamenting lover: Blythe conjured a broad array of sonic images through his nonpareil approach to music. The beloved altoist, who had battled Parkinson's disease for the past several years, passed away on March 27, 2017 at the age of 76. Blythe's musical cohorts and fans remember him with deep ...read more
by Jakob Baekgaard
Jazz-reissues are important because they help to write and rewrite jazz-history. Through reissues, the prominence of an artist is maintained and the canon is confirmed, but it can also be questioned and corrected. A double-disc from the excellent reissue label, BGO, brings four key records from leader and alto saxophonist, Arthur Blythe, back into circulation. The records, all released on Columbia, are: Lenox Avenue Breakdown (1979), In The Tradition (1980), Illusions (1980) and Blythe Spirit (1981). The ...read more
by Rex Butters
Arthur Blythe continues his fruitful association with producer/drummer Cecil Brooks III on Exhale, his latest for the Savant label, also teaming up with longtime partner and tuba player Bob Stewart, plus John Hicks on piano. The eclectic playlist conveys the many facets of the musicians involved.
Coltrane's "Cousin Mary" gets the party started in swing time with Stewart pumping the bass line. Blythe sneaks a little 'Trane phrasing in, but stays true to himself. His short, full toned solo sets ...read more
by AAJ Staff
At one time, Arthur Blythe was part of the Columbia machine (not unlike the Miramax machine, how else do you explain the Gangs of New York phenomenon). Then trends took precedent over music and a young Wynton over a middle-aged Blythe (so the urban legend goes). Blythe still managed to record a classic Lenox Avenue Breakdown. Blythe is a Horace Tapscott throwback, having worked with the late Tapscott early in his career. I spoke with Blythe and we talked about ...read more
by Todd S. Jenkins
After what many considered a dry period in the early 1990s, Arthur Blythe gently began his return to alto prominence through exotic collaborations with cellist David Eyges and mallets player Gust William Tsilis. Focus presents one of his most unusual ensembles since the early '80s tuba/cello/guitar quintet. The sparse, foreign sound of this new quartet takes a moment to adjust to, but after a short distance into “Opus 1” (a Blythe original, not the old Sy Oliver chestnut) we are ...read more