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First Time I Saw


Kay Starr

Read "Kay Starr" reviewed by Carol Sloane

It was probably on a popular television variety program such as The Ed Sullivan Show. Or it could have been the cover of a magazine I bought faithfully once a month which contained all the lyrics to the popular songs of the day. I was just fourteen years old in 1951, and Kay Starr had a huge hit record which played constantly on the radio. It was called “The Wheel of Fortune," and I can still hear her voice at ...


Lee Wiley

Read "Lee Wiley" reviewed by Carol Sloane

I was singing in the Big Room of an elegant club in New York City called The Blue Angel. One night after the show, I joined some friends in the Art Deco lounge and saw a sight I'll never forget: a woman, draped in sable, seated at one of the black leather upholstered banquettes, surrounded by five or six gentlemen in black tie. The men were clearly enchanted with this glamourous creature, lighting her cigarettes, pouring her champagne, laughing ever ...


Jimmy Rowles

Read "Jimmy Rowles" reviewed by Carol Sloane

Part 1 I had just finished my night's work at a long-since vanished jazz club in Greenwich Village called Hopper's. I was singing with The New York Jazz Quartet: Sir Roland Hanna, George Mraz, Richie Pratt, and Frank Wess. The year was 1977. Mraz said he was going to walk over to Bradley's* to listen to the legendary jazz pianist Jimmy Rowles, and invited me along. I was very eager to hear the great California musician who had played for ...


Dave Holland Circa 1976

Read "Dave Holland Circa 1976" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

Ah, College. Life, liberty and the pursuit of... well... among other things, the quest for jazz music, trying to expand my horizons regarding an art form that had entered my blood in high school, despite the prevelant sounds of the Beatles, Joe Cocker, Blood Sweat & Tears, Leon Russell, the Allman Brothers and Sly and the Family Stone et. al., that I had grown up with. The search for the sweet sound of surprise, as they called it. Whatever it ...


Carmen McRae

Read "Carmen McRae" reviewed by Carol Sloane

It was in the early 1960's. I had by that time lived in New York's Greenwich Village for a couple of years, and went to hear Carmen McRae when she made an appearance at one of the holy shrines of jazz located in my neighborhood, a club with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and great Italian food. This was the Half Note, and, although it was one of the best places to nosh and listen to music, it did not provide ...


Freddie Hubbard at the Jazz Cafe in London

Read "Freddie Hubbard at the Jazz Cafe in London" reviewed by Rob Hancock

I love the sound of the trumpet and flugelhorn, above all else in jazz. Hey day players like Miles, Morgan, Dorham and Gillespie are some of my favourites, but no one has left a bigger mark on my ears than Freddie Hubbard. Whether it be his firing early 60's works with the Messengers, his countless Blue Note dates or his super funky contribution to the CTI catalogue, it's all great. Freddie was one of the few trumpet players to have ...


Billie's Last Chorus

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

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 Baker's quartet, Al Cohn and {{Zoot Sims with Conte Candoli. But Billie Holiday was ...


Cooking with Philly Joe

Read "Cooking with Philly Joe" reviewed by Rob Mariani

Sitting over by the bar in the cheap seats at Birdland during a Monday night jam session, I watched a group of aspiring young drummers roll their eyes and shake their heads in disbelief. I saw them nudge each other, smile and even laugh out loud. They sat forward with their chins on their hands watching and listening intently to the great Philly Joe Jones. Philly Joe was playing with his old buddy, Elmo Hope, on piano and ...


Diana Krall: Singing Beautifully

Read "Diana Krall: Singing Beautifully" reviewed by Rob Mariani

The twilight skies over the aged wood shingled roofs at the Newport Tennis Hall of Fame were looking ominous. The air was damp and flecks of rain started and stopped as we walked into the beautiful Stanford White-designed courtyard with its hanging flowerpots and dark green shutters. It was like traveling back to another era of summery charm and Victorian opulence. The seats had been set up on one of the famed plush grass courts. The sight lines to the ...


Coda For Elvin

Read "Coda For Elvin" reviewed by Rob Mariani

Coda: a musical passage used to conclude a movement. It had been over 40 years since I'd seen Elvin Jones in person. Now here he was at 72-plus years of age, appearing with his Jazz Machine at the Regattabar in Cambridge, Mass., an exquisitely intimate room with a sound just perfect for acoustic jazz. Outside a March rainstorm swept the streets and tapped staccato notes on the windows. As the place began to fill up, I estimated that ...

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