Articles

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

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Radio

April In My Heart: Celebrating Spring With Carmen McRae and Billie Holiday

Read "April In My Heart: Celebrating Spring With Carmen McRae and Billie Holiday" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


Midway through Jazz Appreciation Month, this broadcast continues the Spring celebration with songs of April plus birthday shoutouts to Carmen McRae, Freddie Hubbard, Dorothy Donegan, Andre Previn, Marilyn Maye and Billie Holiday, among others. Thanks for listening and please support the artists you hear by purchasing their music during this time of lockdown. Playlist Dr. Lonnie Smith “Up Jumped Spring" from All In My Mind (Blue Note) 00:00 Suzanne Pittson “We're Having a Crisis (Crisis)" from Out of ...

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Film Review

Billie

Read "Billie" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Billie New Black Films 96 minutes 2020 A victim of her own self-destructive excesses is a common trope when assessing Billie Holiday. Yet James Erskine's handsome documentary Billie makes a convincing case for Holiday—arguably the greatest of all jazz singers—as more a victim of poverty, racism, manipulation and brutal misogyny. Holiday's story has been amply documented in the past and Erskine sketches the basic biographical details of her life with the aid ...

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Radio

I'll Remember April - Happy Jazz Appreciation Month!

Read "I'll Remember April - Happy Jazz Appreciation Month!" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


A smooth segue from Women's History into Jazz Appreciation Month, commencing with a celebration of Gene Bertoncini, Freddie Hubbard and John Pizzarelli's birthdays in the first hour and concluding with a celebration of Billie Holiday in the final hour, plus new releases from Ashley Pezzotti, Ulysses Owens, Jr., Alicia Olatuja and Claire Martin & Jim Mullen and more birthday nods to Alberta Hunter, Doris Day and Andre Previn, among others. Playlist Tom Wolfe & Gene Bertoncini “I'll Remember ...

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Book Review

Billie Holiday: Lady Sings The Blues

Read "Billie Holiday: Lady Sings The Blues" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Lady Sings The Blues Billie Holiday/William Dufty 180 Pages ISBN: 978-0-241-35129-1 Penguin Modern Classics 2018 For many, Billie Holiday was the greatest of all the jazz singers, while her emotive delivery and tragic persona seemed to embody the early jazz life in all its boho chic and with all its dark undertones. Six decades after her death from alcohol-related illness at the age of forty four, Holiday remains a hugely admired and somewhat ...

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Book Review

Tracy Fessenden: Religion Around Billie Holiday

Read "Tracy Fessenden: Religion Around Billie Holiday" reviewed by S.G Provizer


Religion Around Billie Holiday Tracy Fessenden 280 pages ISBN: #9780271080956 Cambridge University Press 2018 This is one of the most unusual books about a jazz figure that I've encountered in a long time. The premise, as spelled out in this interview with author Fessenden, is fascinating. She is the Steve and Margaret Forster Professor and interim Director of the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. Her previous ...

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Charts of Elegance

The Timeless Voice Of Billie Holiday

Read "The Timeless Voice Of Billie Holiday" reviewed by Ava Louise


The name Billie Holiday seems indelibly linked with jazz. Her vocal quality and style were unique and masterful, and her work helped to define the genre. Modern jazz musicians and vocalists earn their chops from refining their performance of standards and many of these were recorded and performed for the first time by Holiday. She was also a pioneer in civil rights activism through protest song performance. By her own account, she was a vocalist who needed a ...

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What is Jazz?

Jazz: The Sacred and the Profane

Read "Jazz: The Sacred and the Profane" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


“As above, so below" --Hermes Trismegistus A warning: this article is worth reading only if you believe, as I do, that jazz is not just a form of entertainment, but an art form that has deep significance for our lives and contributes to our search for meaning. I fully appreciate the value of “digging the music" and leaning into it for its rhythmic syncopation and feelings of fun and excitement. But for many of us, jazz is part ...


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