First Time I Saw

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The Great, Late Show with Dakota Staton

Read "The Great, Late Show with Dakota Staton" reviewed by Rob Mariani


She seemed to come out of nowhere. In 1957, suddenly Dakota Staton's Late, Late Show album was even being played on the pop radio stations, as well as on the jazz stations. But she was clearly a jazz singer out of the Dinah Washington school. She had that natural swing built right into her voice, a wonderful feeling for the blues, and great spontaneous instincts when it came to interacting with her musicians. When I heard she was ...

964

Betty Carter: Along Came Betty

Read "Betty Carter: Along Came Betty" reviewed by Rob Mariani


This article first appeared at All About Jazz on May 13, 2006. It's a warm October Saturday, the first year of the new Century. Small leaf storms are rising into the cloudless blue sky. The early autumn peace is broken by the news in the paper that Betty Carter has died in New York City at the age of 69. None of the accounts I read say just where and under what conditions she died. So many jazz ...

112

Dr. Billy Taylor

Read "Dr. Billy Taylor" reviewed by Rob Mariani


He was probably the first person I'd ever heard talk intelligently about jazz. On his New York radio show on WLIB in the late fifties, Billy Taylor spoke with eloquent simplicity about the music he loved. And then he'd play one of his own records and I remember thinking, this is how piano playing should sound—expansive, inclusive, full of endless possibilities. I finally got my father, who was not all that enthused about my interest in jazz at ...

407

Who's The Hippest Chick In Town? Anita.

Read "Who's The Hippest Chick In Town? Anita." reviewed by Rob Mariani


This article first appeared at All About Jazz on November 22, 2006. Who the hell shows up at a midnight jam session at the Loews Sheraton Theater in Greenwich Village wearing white, elbow-length gloves, a little, flowered print dress and a hat that looks like an inverted birdbath? Who dares to show up on stage like that where guys like Zoot Sims and Conte Candoli and Al Cohn are playing? And then proceeds to not merely hold her ...

235

Billie's Last Chorus

Read "Billie's Last Chorus" reviewed by Rob Mariani


This article first appeared at All About Jazz on December 27, 2006. She came on last at a concert that started at midnight at the Lowe's Sheraton on Seventh Avenue in The Village. It was one of those big, everybody-gets-to-play jam sessions they called concerts then, and it probably cost the promoters less than what Kenny G spends on hair gel these days. But there were at least a dozen top-flight groups including Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Chet ...

509

Lullaby of Birdland

Read "Lullaby of Birdland" reviewed by Rob Mariani


This article first appeared at All About Jazz on December 26, 2006. This month, instead of writing about a jazz personality, I decided to write about a room. A jazz room which sadly no longer exists but that had a personality as unique as the great musicians who played there. I'm talking about a club called Birdland--the original Birdland on Broadway near 56th Street in Manhattan's Times Square (before it got Disney-fied.) It billed itself as ...

312

Just Plain Trane

Read "Just Plain Trane" reviewed by Rob Mariani


This article first appeared at All About Jazz on November 17, 2006. He appeared on a bandstand that was at least two football fields away, at the Randall's Island Jazz Festival in 1960. I had already heard him on record and read what the reviewers were saying about him, and indeed, what seemed to be emanating from the bandstand on that breezy New York summer night were those infamous “sheets of sound." He was with Miles's Kind of ...


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