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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: Duke Ellington's Treasury Shows - Vol. 21

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This volume of the Duke Ellington Treasury Shows commemorates the death on July 20 1946 of Joe “Tricky Sam" Nanton, one of the founding fathers of the band's early “jungle" sound that helped make its name at the Cotton Club. Nanton was the first musician to die with Ellington and the leader--a highly superstitious man--took it as a bad omen. As indeed it was, heralding an end to stable line-ups and an extended period of “musical chairs" ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Why Jazz? A Concise Guide

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Why Jazz? A Concise Guide Kevin Whitehead 184 pages ISBN-10: 0199731187 Oxford, University Press 2011 Small books on big themes are a tough gig. Jazz is a uniquely American, musically challenging, and highly improvisational musical form. Jazz is also a rather vexing topic to explain to the uninitiated (or even to the initiated, who quarrel much over it). Several years ago, I played some late-period work of John Coltrane (the first four ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

How Teachers can Swing in the Classroom

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I am a jazz aficionado as well as a philosophy professor. Being in front of a classroom teaching is my favorite place on earth, second to a good jazz club with hip friends. In the midst of a philosophy class, I may wax enthusiastic about the transcendent qualities of a John Coltrane saxophone solo or the preternatural swing of Buddy Rich's timekeeping or the song-writing and band-leading genius of Duke Ellington. These comments are not merely idiosyncratic. They reflect something ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: Rotterdam 1969

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Right up to the end Duke Ellington maintained an ability to surprise lesser mortals with his impish wit. In 1969 he visited the White House to celebrate his 70th birthday and kissed President Richard Nixon on the cheek four times. When Nixon asked why four times, Ellington replied, “One for each cheek." Tricky Dicky was--as they say nowadays--totally gobsmacked but regained his composure in time to present Ellington with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Top 15 "Read" Articles: 2015

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All About Jazz tracks how often an article is read, and the articles listed below represent our top 15 published in 2015. Deconstructing Money Jungle Duke Ellington by Graham E Peterson Published: October 23, 2015 John Coltrane and the Meaning of Life John Coltrane by Douglas Groothuis Published: January 22, 2015 Kind of Purple: Jazz Musicians on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: The Treasury Shows, Vol 20

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What makes this album stand out among the welter of Treasury Show releases is that most of the tracks feature Oscar Pettiford on bass. Duke Ellington hired many excellent bass players but only two who were great. The first was Jimmy Blanton. In the short time he was with the band--from 1939-1941--he transformed the bass into a front line instrument, changing its role in jazz forever. When he died, aged just 23, from tuberculosis, Duke searched despairingly ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Deconstructing Money Jungle

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Duke Ellington was born at the turn of the century. Because his career stretched from the roaring twenties to just after the Nixon scandal, and because of the large breathe of his work he has been a household name for decades. Most individuals know Ellington for his work pioneering big band music, as a bandleader, composer, and brilliant improviser. Few ever reference Ellington's solo piano music or small ensemble work; mainly because he did not make many recordings of this ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Duke Ellington: At The Cotton Club

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These recordings by Duke Ellington from 1937-39 emphasize his unique place in the history of jazz. On the eve of the Swing Era, they open with a solo piano piece. Ellington introduces it as “Swing Session" but it's actually “Soda Fountain Rag," the first piece he ever wrote, in 1913, aged 14, while working as a soda jerk in the Poodle Dog Café on Georgia Avenue in his home town, Washington D.C. Ellington recalled: ...


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