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MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Dot Time Legends Series: Is Every Night New Year's Eve Around Here?

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Soon after The Embers opened in New York City in late 1951, Joe Bushkin and His Quartet spent 16 memorable weeks there. With Milt Hinton and Jo Jones, Bushkin was joined by Buck Clayton on trumpet. Astoundingly, Art Tatum had a solo piano gig there at the same time. Bushkin and Tatum listened to each other every night. The crowd was as distinguished as the players. Louis Armstrong sat in with Bushkin, and Vladimir Horowitz was in the house one ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Jazz Ambassadors: Representing A Segregated America During The Cold War

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Jazz Ambassadors THIRTEEN Productions 2018 Here, long overdue, is a comprehensive documentary about the legendary jazz musicians in the 1950s who served as “cultural ambassadors" under the aegis of the U.S. State Department, touring Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Soviet Union. The film comes sixty years after the fact. As Americans continue to mourn the loss of Tom Brokaw's “Greatest Generation" of WW II soldiers and their families, we jazz fans also grieve the passing of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong: Cheek to Cheek

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Cheek to Cheek, a four CD box set, collects three classic albums from Verve Records featuring Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald: Ella and Louis (1956), Ella And Louis Again (1957) and Porgy And Bess (1958). This sequence began before rock and roll had deepened its roots--in spite of the Elvis Presley blossoming--and before The Beatles had arrived to change the music world. The popularity of the long playing record album was picking up speed, with a little help ...

UNDER THE RADAR

State and Mainstream: The Jazz Ambassadors and the U.S. State Department

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The Cold War that began in 1947 and ran for forty-four years, had jazz music as its primary deterrent to global tensions, and it did more to foster good will between the U.S. and global citizens than any previous program launched by the U.S. Department of State. Jazz music, even in its Golden Age, was seldom a front page story in the national press so it was a rare publishing event when the Sunday New York Times placed such a ...

JAZZ BASTARD

March 2018: Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berrigan, and Henry “Red” Allen.

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Episode 135 takes a thorough and loving look at Louis Armstrong's 1930's recordings for the Decca company. After a couple years nursing a blown lip and searching for new musical contexts, Louis hooked up with manager Joe Glaser and soon had a contract with Decca records, which featured him on a kaleidoscope of recordings, from remakes of some Hot Fives triumphs to collaborations with the Mills Brothers to novelty numbers about Hawaii. The resulting four hours of music is surprisingly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Louis Armstrong: The Decca Singles 1935-1946

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Good news, jazz fans--rhythm saves the world again. The Universal Music Group tentacle labeled “Verve Records" has issued The Complete Decca Singles 1935-1946. Don't be put off by the term “singles." Since this was the 78 era, all recordings were essentially singles and the set thoroughly covers Satchmo's output for Decca during the period. (Even the spoken-word “Elder Eatmore" sermons are included). This material previously appeared in a fine Mosaic box and a Definitive Records set of dubious provenance. Both ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

The Best Of The Hot Five And Hot Seven Recordings

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Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule Portrait of the artist as a young genius. In these immortal recordings, Armstrong blew new life into jazz and changed it forever. Background Many people remember Louis Armstrong only as a popular entertainer, recalling how he wrapped his warm, gravelly voice around such hits as “Hello, Dolly" ...

GENIUS GUIDE TO JAZZ

An Evening With the Pops, Part II or, Louis Louis, We Gotta Go Now

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Well, kids, when last we left Louis Armstrong; he had solidified his place as America's first legitimate jazz superstar on the basis of his seminal recordings with his Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles, was married to a legumicidal maniac and trusting his fortunes to a mobbed-up dandy who shared his neckwear with Al Capone. There was some nonsense about aliens and crabs, a veiled slam at the sorry state of modern celebrity, Canadians were somehow involved, and Prime Minister ...

GENIUS GUIDE TO JAZZ

An Evening with the Pops

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There are several theories concerning the origin of jazz. The most prevalent is that jazz originated primarily in New Orleans, a so-called “gumbo" of influences ranging from African polyrhythms to European classical to American Negro spirituals, and permeated the turn-of-the-century culture to the point that within two decades it had established hotbeds in the two largest cities in the country at that time, New York and Chicago. Another, lesser-accepted theory is that the same aliens who built the pyramids returned ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Jazz Trumpet, Part 1

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Jazz trumpet is practically an art form unto itself, with a richness in terms of its greatest soloists that is hard to match. Some have even argued for it being the “classiest," most sophisticated solo instrument in jazz. Moreover, it seems that in every period of jazz history, dominant voices on trumpet have leapt to the fore and made critical contributions to developing styles. Consider swing without Roy Eldridge, bebop without Diz, hard-bop without Lee Morgan, post-bop without ...