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HISTORY OF JAZZ

Ella Plays Dice

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Ella Fitzgerald was eating a piece of pie when the police burst into her dressing room, guns drawn. Nearby, Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Illinois Jacquet were playing a game of craps. The place was Houston, Texas. The date was October 7, 1955. The occasion was a sold-out concert at The Music Hall, one stop on tour for Jazz At The Philharmonic. Standing in the wings while Gene Krupa's band performed on stage, tour producer Norman Granz heard the ...

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The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at Greer Cabaret Theater

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Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Greer Cabaret Theater The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's International Festival of Firsts Pittsburgh, PA November 6, 2018 The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra (PJO) rounded out the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's International Festival of Firsts with their concert, titled “Liberation" in tribute to the prolific African American writer, philosopher, and advocate James Baldwin. Originally founded in 1970 by the late Nathan Davis, the PJO disbanded in the late '70s before Sean Jones revived the group ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marshall Gilkes / WDR Big Band: Always Forward

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This is the second album on which Maryland-born trombonist Marshall Gilkes (pronounced “Jilks") has collaborated with Germany's superlative WDR Big Band, a world-class ensemble with whom he has also served as a member of the trombone section. This time around, Gilkes not only gets to solo but to conduct, compose (eight numbers including the three-part “Denali Suite") and arrange (all of the album's ten selections). If that calls to mind a tour de force, give yourself a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pamela Hines Trio: The Music of Richard Whiting

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The first thirty seconds of a listening experience sets the tone. The disc spins, and music emerges. It's Richard Whiting's “Sleepy Time Gal." And it just might be the loveliest thing pianist Pamela Hines has ever recorded, languid and syrupy, with the trio that includes bassist John Lockwood and drummer Miki Matsuki. Her trio mates are as locked into the tune's concept--and Hines' concept--as they can be. The Music of Richard Whiting is Hines' album-long tribute to the ...

RADIO

Chillin' or Bernin'

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We start this installment by looking at two artists confronting the jazz doldrums in the nineteen seventies and early eighties, then move on to two brand new releases by artists dealing with tradition in different ways, whether the small group classics of the fifties and sixties or the big band legacy. Talk about Lloyd Cole, Stephin Merritt and Andrew Bird rounds out the pop matters segment. Playlist Discussion of Pat Martino's album Starbright (Warner Brothers) 6:00 Discussion of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jim McNeely: Barefoot Dances and Other Visions

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When today's top composer-arrangers of large ensemble jazz are discussed, Jim McNeely's name sometimes gets overlooked. He deserves the recognition. He's been a long-time associate of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra and its descendant, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and he's also done a lot of work with several European big bands. It could be that simply his large ensemble writing seldom gets recorded. That makes Barefoot Dances special. It's a powerful suite McNeely wrote for the Frankfurt Radio Big ...

RADIO

Mountweazel, Tim Haldeman & More

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Musicians are no different than many of us as we move from place to place for reasons of opportunity, love, employment, school, freedom, safety and peace. This week's edition of One Man's Jazz features three sax players who have done just that. Sweden's Alberto Pinton is Italian, but has lived in Sweden for many years. You'll hear music from two different Pinton-led groups: his trio and his quartet Noi Siamo. Also Italian, but now living in Berlin, is Davide Lorenzon, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Colin Edwin & Lorenzo Feliciati: Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor

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On their first album, Twinscapes (Rare Noise, 2014), British bassist Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) and Italian bassist Lorenzo Feliciati (Naked Truth) explored ambient soundscapes, improvisation and progressive jazz/rock with help from guest musicians like Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær (a pioneer of electronic jazz) and British saxophonist David Jackson (of Van der Graaf Generator). The second volume comes from the same place, but with a bit more emphasis on dance rhythms (as “dancefloor" in the subtitle implies). Italian ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roland Dahinden: Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker

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There have been numerous Charlie Parker tributes over the years, which is to be expected, yet Swiss trombonist, composer Roland Dahinden is no stranger to thinking outside the box via his contemporary classical experience, performing pieces written for him by the likes of Anthony Braxton, John Cage and Daniel Wolf. He's also a jazz improviser and highly regarded 'idea man.' This album signifies the output of his compositions based on imaginary discussions with Parker, interpreted and executed by this multinational ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gene Krupa Quartet: The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!

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This was a period, late in Gene Krupa's career, when he really wasn't up to much, or so some critics said. Whether that's fair or not is not for me to say. When Krupa appeared in the summer of 1965 at the Steel Pier in jny: Atlantic City he only rated second billing to The Supremes. He didn't seem to care. The band he had was, with the exception of Eddie Shu, this one. If you were young and impressionable, ...