Articles by Ed Kopp

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From Far and Wide

Blues Starter Kit

Read "Blues Starter Kit" reviewed by Ed Kopp


If you're just beginning to explore the blues, here's a list of 70 suggested artists and recordings, some old and some new. These picks should get anybody's mojo workin' overtime, but purists will note some flagrant omissions. Unfortunately, many deserving artists had to be excluded for brevity's sake. For a more thorough guide to blues artists and recordings, check out the All Music Guide to the Blues. As to the dates listed after each recording, the CD release date appears ...

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From Far and Wide

A Brief History of the Blues

Read "A Brief History of the Blues" reviewed by Ed Kopp


When you think of the blues, you think about misfortune, betrayal and regret. You lose your job, you get the blues. Your mate falls out of love with you, you get the blues. Your dog dies, you get the blues. While blues lyrics often deal with personal adversity, the music itself goes far beyond self-pity. The blues is also about overcoming hard luck, saying what you feel, ridding yourself of frustration, letting your hair down, and simply having ...

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Building a Jazz Library

Blues

Read "Blues" reviewed by Ed Kopp


The blues is the progenitor of most popular music in America, but it hasn't always gotten the respect it deserves. The recorded history of the blues proves the point. Prior to World War II, very few white people had ever heard any authentic blues music. Up until the late 1950s, blues labels could only afford to record and market singles, never albums. Even today the blues is widely regarded as the old-fashioned cousin of jazz, rock and rap, when it ...

442

Live Review

Great Northeast Blues Festival

Read "Great Northeast Blues Festival
" reviewed by Ed Kopp


James Cotton and Elvin Bishop heated up a cool, cloudy night in downtown Syracuse, N.Y., during the final two performances of the Great Northeast Blues Festival on Saturday, August 14, 1999.Performing on a stage set up in the middle of Erie Blvd. in Syracuse's Clinton Square, Cotton and Bishop played to a subdued but varied crowd of bikers, families, social butterflies, beer drinkers, and genuine blues fans. Saturday's crowd at the free two-day festival was estimated at 7,000, a ...

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Album Review

Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks: Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks Vol. 1/Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks Vol. 2

Read "Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks Vol. 1/Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks Vol. 2" reviewed by Ed Kopp


If you like jazz vocalese, doo-wop, old-time soul, gospel, South African township music, or any combination of the aforementioned, you will probably love these two CDs by Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks. Together these separate releases provide a comprehensive overview of the group's recorded legacy. Makeba and the Skylarks were one of the most successful South African vocal groups to blend American influences (Mills Brothers-style pop, gospel, and jazz) with South African tribal rhythms and vocal styles ...

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Album Review

Sheer All Stars: Indibano/Live @ the Blues Room

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The Sheer All Stars belong on that short list of contemporary jazz bands (along with the Pat Metheny Group, the Yellowjackets, and Bela Fleck and Flecktones) whose music is both accessible and sophisticated, a rare combination in pop-jazz. The All Stars are a jazz supergroup comprised of musicians who record for Sheer Sound, a prominent South African label. Its members are five of South Africa's most popular jazzmen: pianist Paul Hanmer, saxophonist McCoy Mrubata, guitarist Errol Dyers, ...

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Album Review

West Nkosi: Sixteen Original Sax Jive Hits

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Before he died from injuries sustained in a car crash in 1998, West Nkosi produced hit records for renowned South African bands Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens. A household name in South Africa, Nkosi was best known as a producer, but he also achieved popularity as an alto saxophonist and pennywhistler. In the '60s and ‘70s, Nkosi was one of the chief practitioners of sax jive, a simple but danceable form of township ...


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