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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Fats Waller: If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It!

Read "Fats Waller: If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It!" reviewed by Jim Santella

Fats Waller If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It! Bluebird Jazz 2006

His career was short, but he left behind the kind of memories that will never fade. Fats Waller had it all: personality, keyboard talent, musical ear, and an intuitive feel for communicating with an audience. He was funny. He was unique. And yet, he was musically superior.

Waller died of pneumonia in 1943 at the age of 39. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Fats Waller: If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It!

Read "Fats Waller: If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It!" reviewed by David Rickert

Fats Waller If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It! Bluebird Jazz 2006

The first thing that strikes you about Fats Waller's music is how much fun it is. Today we recognize Waller as one of the first geniuses of jazz, both as a composer and as a musician, but jazz is serious business now and it's hard to imagine a guy like Waller doing his thing today.

This is probably why Waller ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Larry Carlton: Fire Wire

Read "Fire Wire" reviewed by John Kelman

If veteran session guitarist Larry Carlton's Sapphire Blue (Bluebird, 2004) was a first shot at the bow of those who'd written him off as too smooth, Fire Wire is a veritable volley. Sapphire Blue found Carlton in a more energetic, blues-based context, but his trademark singing tone still spoke the language of jazz. Leaving all such references behind, Fire Wire is more rock instrumental than jazz fusion--and the rawest album he's made in his forty-year career.

The laid-back minor blues ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Larry Carlton: Fire Wire

Read "Fire Wire" reviewed by Sarah Moore

Steely Dan session musician and former Crusaders member Larry Carlton brings another dose of fusion with his latest release, Fire Wire. The followup to his 2004 album Sapphire Blue includes a horn section named after that CD. The disc begins with an upbeat, hard edge that takes you worlds away from the smooth, complacent jazz guitar sound you might have expected from earlier recordings. With a style evoking Stevie Ray Vaughan's blues in “Double Cross, Carlton breaks free from the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Harvey Mason: With All My Heart

Read "With All My Heart" reviewed by Javier AQ Ortiz

Harvey Mason's motto on With All My Heart seems to be “The one who plays drums in a jazz trio with the most bad-ass pianists and bassists wins. Arguably, that can be also stated of his entire career, as he has played and recorded with a mind-numbing amount of artists through various historical periods and musical styles. The lengthy and illustrious development of the quintessential small jazz group is definitely boosted by this recording.The premise of the production ...

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Benny Goodman: Centennial Collection

Read "Centennial Collection" reviewed by AAJ Staff

By Francis Lo Kee

Clarinetist Benny Goodman (1909-86) is considered by jazz historians to be one of the most important musicians in all of jazz, though not all of his important achievements were strictly musical. He is credited with racially integrating his bands at a time when it was not a popular idea, yet he brought jazz a level of audience attention that would earn it the title of pop music today. The DVD presents footage from 1939-66, while the ...

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Rosemary Clooney: Rosie Solves The Swingin' Riddle

Read "Rosie Solves The Swingin' Riddle" reviewed by David Rickert

Rosemary Clooney declared her love affair with Nelson Riddle “the best blending of my job and my personal life that I've ever had." While it ended their respective marriages, it also resulted in some excellent music. Riddle will be familiar to most as the guy who orchestrated the great Sinatra records for Capitol; that is, if he's familiar at all. Suffice it to say that he was one of the greatest arrangers of all time, creating backgrounds ...

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Bing Crosby: Bing With A Beat

Read "Bing With A Beat" reviewed by David Rickert

They just don't write songs like “I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter" anymore. It's a catchy melody combined with witty lyrics that conveys an innocent longing for love that would be inconceivable as a radio hit today. However, the same goes for just about any other song on Bing With A Beat.

But then they weren't really writing songs like that in 1957, either. That's when this album first appeared, and none of the songs were ...

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Coleman Hawkins: The Centennial Collection

Read "The Centennial Collection" reviewed by Joel Roberts

Though it won't get the attention of the recent Duke Ellington or Louis Armstrong centennials, the 100th anniversary of Coleman Hawkins' birth, coming up on November 21, certainly warrants celebration from jazz fans. Dubbed the “father of the tenor saxophone," Hawkins was a vital force on the jazz scene for five decades, moving through the swing era to bebop and beyond. Bluebird's “Centennial Collection" begins and ends, appropriately enough, with two renditions of the tune Hawkins is ...

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Various Artists: It's De Lovely: The Authentic Cole Porter Collection

Read "It's De Lovely: The Authentic Cole Porter Collection" reviewed by David Rickert

One of the criticisms of the movie De Lovely was that Cole Porter's music was sung by pop stars who weren't quite up to the task of interpreting his tunes. Bluebird has wisely issued an alternative to the soundtrack with It's De Lovely: The Authentic Cole Porter Collection, a compilation which features renditions of Porter tunes culled form the vast RCA Victor catalog, a lot of them done by people that helped make him famous.

There are some ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Fourplay: Journey

Read "Journey" reviewed by Brian Soergel

Fourplay has always been misunderstood by many jazz critics, who misinterpret the band's easygoing groove as background music. But while Fourplay has always remained true to its name--with seductive rhythms to get you in the mood--on its new CD, its seventh in thirteen years, more than ever the band combines those seductive sounds with some real playing that fans can feast on. It's no surprise that Fourplay puts the talents of its leaders out front, since the band boasts the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Fats Waller: The Centennial Collection

Read "The Centennial Collection" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The centennial of Thomas “Fats" Waller’s birth is yet another good reason to release another collection of his recordings. This one is a nice accumulation of songs (don’t know why “Jitterbug Waltz” is missing), enough to whet newcomers' appetites. Plus, this disc includes a bonus DVD of footage from King of Burlesque and an animated version of “Your Feets Too Big.” The “music video" shows Waller as a jester and entertainer, mugging for the camera. I’ll leave the cultural criticism ...


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