History of Jazz


Shut Up, He Explained: On Talking Heads In Jazz Flicks

Read "Shut Up, He Explained: On Talking Heads In Jazz Flicks" reviewed by Con Chapman

As an avid watcher of jazz documentaries, my thoughts on the genre may be summed up by the words of two of my favorite writers, Raymond Carver and Ring Lardner. Carver named his first short story collection “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?--the words are spoken by a character named Ralph to his wife Marian, who has confessed to cheating on him in the story of the same name. From Jazz by Ken Burns and Geoffrey Ward to ...


Which Came First—Jazz or Baseball?

Read "Which Came First—Jazz or Baseball?" reviewed by Con Chapman

Baseball and jazz rank high among the objects of my affection, and have several things in common: Both are distinctively American products with foreign roots; both are inexhaustible sources of enjoyment, at least to me; and both are popular in the best sense of that word, with broad appeal across ages, races and classes. That doesn't mean they're related, although a school of thought has developed that the word “jazz" originated as a baseball term. The genesis of ...


Where Clifford Brown Learned to Play: Love In A Wilmington Neighborhood

Read "Where Clifford Brown Learned to Play: Love In A Wilmington Neighborhood" reviewed by Arthur R George

Part 1 | Part 2 Robert “Boysie" Lowery was trumpeter Clifford Brown's first music instructor in the early 1940s, and mentored decades of young musicians thereafter in jny: Wilmington, Delaware. He taught as a sideline to club work, a resource for his community but caring not so much about being paid for his lessons. That generosity continues with the eighth year of a tuition-free Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency, in conjunction with the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, which ...


Jazz at the Blackhawk: Reflections of Cal Tjader’s First Live Album

Read "Jazz at the Blackhawk: Reflections of Cal Tjader’s First Live Album" reviewed by Geo Thelen

The historic Blackhawk jazz club (1949-1963) was formerly located at 200 Hyde Street on the northeast corner of Turk Street in the heart of San Francisco's tenderloin district. The smoky neighborhood nightclub launched the career of Johnny Mathis, helped Dave Brubeck find an audience, and gave numerous national artists such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk a musically intimate space to experiment and record quality live albums. Arguably though, Bay Area vibraphonist Cal Tjader (pronounced Jay-der) was the most synonymous ...


Jimmy Zito: Young Man With a Horn

Read "Jimmy Zito: Young Man With a Horn" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

So, we can start with a question? Name me another musician who played with both Ted Fio Rito and (maybe) Frank Zappa? Aside from Jimmy Zito. Time's up. No, it's not some kind of trick question. I doubt there was another. But wait a second, Jimmy Who? Even if you're a trumpet devotee, Zito's name is probably not a familiar one to you. Zeets, as he was known, was one of the elite West Coast studio trumpet players in the ...


Thad Jones Centennial

Read "Thad Jones Centennial" reviewed by David Demsey

On March 28, 2023, the great arranger, bandleader, cornetist, and composer Thad Jones (1923-1986) would have turned 100 years old. As influential as he was during his lifetime, that influence has grown even more pervasive since his death. Thad was a Detroit native, a member of one of the “royal families" of jazz: His brothers were pianist Hank Jones, giant of the jazz scene as well as of the New York City recording studios; and drummer Elvin Jones, ...


Rhythm and Roots: The Influence of Jazz on Ska and Early Reggae

Read "Rhythm and Roots: The Influence of Jazz on Ska and Early Reggae" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

If any country could be identified solely by its music, Jamaica would probably be a prime example. Over the years, reggae music has become one of the most identifiable art forms in Jamaica, but this was not always the case. Reggae rose to prominence in the late sixties, and much of its roots are in American music. While R&B and doo-wop certainly influenced the burgeoning genre, many of the major players in the earliest days were jazz fans.


Banding Together Against Segregation in Los Angeles

Read "Banding Together Against Segregation in Los Angeles" reviewed by Eve Goldberg

Once upon a time, jazz musicians in jny: Los Angeles led a groundbreaking struggle for racial justice and economic opportunity that sent ripples of change across the country. Most of us are aware of the seminal names and events of the civil rights era: Rosa Parks spearheading the Montgomery bus boycott; Martin Luther King leading the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights; Jackie Robinson integrating the Brooklyn Dodgers, to name a few. But the big national needle-movers ...


Groove Town: Buffalo Jazz And Its Legacy - Historical Insights

Read "Groove Town: Buffalo Jazz And Its Legacy - Historical Insights" reviewed by Barbara Ina Frenz

From early on, Buffalo attracted musicians as a place to live and pursue their artistic endeavors—and they were excellent ones: Lil Hardin Armstrong, Jimmie Lunceford, Pete Johnson, and Stuff Smith. Dodo Greene, two masters of polyrhythm, Frankie Dunlop and Clarence Becton, as well as pianist and bassist Wade Legge grew up here. Two distinctive voices on the saxophone, Charles Gayle and Grover Washington Jr., come from and developed their respective sounds in this city. Juini Booth and Sabu Adeyola as ...


Bebop, Beats, and the Drive of Beat Literature

Read "Bebop, Beats, and the Drive of Beat Literature" reviewed by Arthur R George

"Mulberry-eyed girls in black stockings, Smelling vaguely of mint jelly and last night's bongo drummer... fling their arrow legs / To the heavens / Losing their doubts in the beat" of jny: San Francisco nights, announced poet Bob Kaufman's “Bagel Shop Jazz." (Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness, New Directions Publishing, 1965; Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman, City Lights, 2019) “Angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,.. floating across the tops of ...

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