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Jazz Articles | Blog

BIG BAND REPORT

Time Check: A Paucity of Riches?

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On May 18, Betty and I flew to Los Angeles to attend Time Check: A Buddy Rich Alumni Reunion, a four-day panorama sponsored by the L.A. Jazz Institute and held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, about a stone's throw or two from the LAX airport. We arrived early afternoon so we could also be present for the “bonus" concert that evening, billed as an all-star tribute to vibraphone great Terry Gibbs with Chuck Redd sitting in on vibes for the ...

BIG BAND REPORT

Buddy Rich Rides Again

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Those who believe that Buddy Rich is the greatest big-band drummer who ever lived (yes, I'm one of them) can look forward to a marvelous treat this spring when Ken Poston and the Los Angeles Jazz Institute present Time Check: A Buddy Rich Alumni Reunion May 19-22 at the Sheraton Gateway / LAX Hotel. The four-day event will spotlight big bands and smaller groups comprised in part of Buddy Rich alumni, all-star alumni-plus bands performing original arrangements written for Buddy's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Buddy Rich: Birdland

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There's usually a reason why previously unreleased material was never initially offered for consumer consumption, whether it's due to subpar sound quality, less than adequate material or blasé musicians' outtakes and so on. However, these tracks by the Buddy Rich Killer Force band were recorded at various venues through the years when saxophonist Alan Gauvin--who also penned the album notes --was in the band and recorded these performances for posterity and not initially intended to be sold. Gauvin doesn't recall ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Whiplash, Snidely

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Jazz lovers, while always attuned to the possibility of their cherished art form entering the media mainstream, are also equally filled with dread when it occasionally does happen. Inevitably we end up consoling ourselves with a revived career (Dexter Gordon--Bird) or an outstanding performance (James Carter, et al.--Kansas City) in lieu of an actual believable plot or an authentic resemblance to any known jazz milieu. In Whiplash, we have both deficiencies illustrated. Seriously, are there any real life ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Whiplash

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Whiplash Directed by Damien Chazelle Sony Pictures Classics 2014 Whiplash is director Damien Chazelle's portrait of an aspiring jazz drummer who falls prey to an overbearing conservatory teacher. Although the film has attracted well-earned praise for its acting and editing, this review sets technical flourish aside and approaches Whiplash not as a film, per se, but as a failed musical exercise--a didactic riff, if you will, on the power of “greatness" and the suffering born ...

BIG BAND REPORT

Buddy Rich: The Beat Goes On

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Was Buddy Rich really “the world's greatest drummer"? The answer to that speculative question is debatable, of course, and opinions may vary, as they no doubt do on what kind of a person (or persons) he was when not weaving his particular brand of magic behind a drum kit. Buddy's remarkable talents as a drummer and his ambivalent and often volatile nature were the twin focus June 1 of a spectacular Buddy Rich alumni reunion and concert at the KiMo ...

BIG BAND REPORT

Buddy Rich: In a Zone of His Own

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One of the channels that came with my Dish Network package is Classic Arts Showcase, which is a treasure trove of film clips documenting classical, ballet, folk, pop and other forms of music that one is unlikely to see anywhere else (although some footage is presumably available on YouTube, which more and more seems to encompass almost everything musical and beyond). When there is nothing else of interest to watch (which, alas, is much of the time), I sometimes press ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Buddy Rich & His Buddies: Playtime

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Buddy Rich & His BuddiesPlaytimeFresh Sound2012 More than 25 years after his death, the controversy about master drummer Buddy Rich rages on. Was he nothing more than an incredible drum technician of little sensitivity or flexibility? Or was he, as many history books contend, truly “the world's greatest drummer"?While it is ultimately up to the listener to decide, the record, literally and figuratively, speaks for itself. Though known as the ...


All About Vince Guaraldi!

An exclusive opportunity for All About Jazz readers to participate in the celebration of a jazz legend.