Articles

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz and the Meaning of Life

Read "Jazz and the Meaning of Life" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

I find jazz meaningful and delightful for a happy riot of reasons: its grand tradition and respect for standards, its uniquely American (but also global) identity, its breaking of color barriers, its persistence through changing musical fashions (jazz will never die), its courageous freedom within beautiful forms, and more. Therefore, I was fascinated to find that the prolific literary critic and philosopher Terry Eagleton likens the meaning of life to a jazz performance. That sounds promising! In his ...

RADIO

That Dizzy Cat - Dizzy Gillespie (1945 - 1948)

Read "That Dizzy Cat - Dizzy Gillespie (1945 - 1948)" reviewed by Russell Perry

Dizzy Gillespie grew up professionally playing in the big bands of Teddy Hill, Cab Calloway, Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine and writing for Woody Herman and Jimmy Dorsey. The wartime economy with its shortages and the musician's strike of the early 1940s led Gillespie to focus on small combos for his own projects, including his seminal collaborations with Charlie Parker in 1945—1946. However, Dizzy returned whenever he could to the big band format and by mid-1946 he was fronting the ...

RADIO

The Birth of Bebop (1939 - 1945)

Read "The Birth of Bebop (1939 - 1945)" reviewed by Russell Perry

"By the early 1940s... a new approach to small-combo jazz playing was developing, characterized by a more flexible approach to rhythm, a more aggressive pursuit of instrumental virtuosity, and an increasingly adventurous harmonic language."--Scott Deveaux Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Coleman Hawkins -the pioneers of Bebop. Playlist Host Intro 0:00 Cab Calloway and his Orchestra. “Pickin the Cabbage" from Cab Calloway-- The Chu & Dizzy Years (Hep) 3:23 Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra. “Little ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Dizzy Gillespie: Concert Of The Century

Read "Concert Of The Century" reviewed by Mark E. Gallo

This superb album was recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in November of 1980. All of the principals have passed on, so it's that much more of a treat. Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie fronted the group of Ray Brown (bass), Milt Jackson (vibraphone), Hank Jones (piano), Philly Joe Jones (drums) and James Moody (tenor sax and flute), and the few thousand folks in attendance must have been delirious with joy. What a magnificent collection of musical geniuses. The tribute ...

JAZZ RACONTEURS

As Dizzy's World Turns

Read "As Dizzy's World Turns" reviewed by Michael Bourne

Master raconteur, award winning jazz broadcaster and Downbeat contributor, Michael Bourne recounts a series of remarkable stories about Dizzy Gillespie based on experiences that stretch over a couple of decades. Embodying Bobop I happened to be at home in jny: St. Louis when Dizzy Gillespie was playing at this new jazz joint near the baseball park, called The Gourmet Rendezvous, owned by jazz DJ Spider Burks, so I went. I was still relatively new at Downbeat ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

In Praise of Liner Notes

Read "In Praise of Liner Notes" reviewed by Marc Davis

Joni Mitchell was onto something. You don't miss liner notes until you don't have them. I admit: Many liner notes leave me cold, for two reasons. First, they're way too detailed, especially in jazz. Every take has to be scrupulously annotated. Who played third trumpet in that big band? Was that Bird's second or third take? Was that recorded in 1943 or 1944? Phooey. Second, the actual commentary tends to be syrupy. Has anyone ...

REASSESSING

Dizzy Gillespie: Dizzy’s Big 4

Read "Dizzy Gillespie: Dizzy’s Big 4" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Dizzy Gillespie Dizzy's Big 4 OJC 1975/2013 Concord Music Group kicked off their Pablo Records 40th anniversary celebration with the releases of John Coltrane: Afro Blue Impressions (Pablo, 1963/2013) and Sarah Vaughan: Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook (Pablo,2013) both supplemented by improved programming. These releases have been followed by additional straight remasters of: Zoot Sims And The Gershwin Brothers (Pablo, 1975/2013), Art Tatum: Solo Masterpieces, Volume 1 (Pablo, 1975/2013), and, now, Dizzy's Big ...


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