History of Jazz

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

HISTORY OF JAZZ

The John Coltrane Home in Philadelphia: The Fight to Preserve an Historic Landmark

Read "The John Coltrane Home in Philadelphia: The Fight to Preserve an Historic Landmark" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

John Coltrane (1926-1967) was in the upper echelon of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. He, along with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, and other innovators, changed the face of jazz forever. Beyond such encomiums, Coltrane has become a great African American hero, overcoming his heroin addiction, experiencing a spiritual awakening which he brought to realization in his devoted marriages to Naima and Alice Coltrane, their children, and music (the iconic albums A Love ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim: A Musical Love Story and a Timeless Recording

Read "Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim: A Musical Love Story and a Timeless Recording" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

One of my all-time favorite albums and desert island picks is Elis and Tom (Phillips, 1974), featuring duets by the legendary Antonio Carlos “Tom" Jobim and Elis Regina, an iconic Brazilian singer lesser known in the U.S. who a few years later died of a drug overdose at the age of 36. I'm writing about it now because recently I was listening to some of Jobim's records and took this one off the shelf and played it. I marveled as ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Coleman Hawkins: Fifty Years Gone, A Saxophone Across Time

Read "Coleman Hawkins: Fifty Years Gone, A Saxophone Across Time" reviewed by Arthur R George

Fifty years ago this past year, Coleman Hawkins, considered the father of tenor saxophone in jazz, passed away. Thelonious Monk was pacing back and forth in the hallway outside Hawkins' hospital room when the saxophonist succumbed at age 64 on the morning of May 19, 1969, from pneumonia and other complications. Monk was holding a short stack of albums that Hawkins had gifted him just before being hospitalized. With Monk was the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, attendant to ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

The Creative Musicians Improvisers Forum: New Haven's AACM

Read "The Creative Musicians Improvisers Forum: New Haven's AACM" reviewed by Daniel Barbiero

The late 1960s through the 1970s and '80s were difficult years for jazz and jazz-derived improvised music, but they were also years that saw musicians—by necessity—respond to these difficulties with creative solutions. With first the rise and then the commercial dominance during those years of rock music and the corresponding eclipse of jazz, creative musicians in various parts of the country began to organize themselves into artist-run groups in order to ensure the survival of the music both commercially and ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Bird's Trumpets

Read "Bird's Trumpets" reviewed by Matt Lavelle

Looking closely at all the trumpet players that played with Thelonious Monk in a piece I wrote in March 2018, I decided to continue the focus, and explore the trumpet players that played with Charlie Parker. As challenging as the trumpet is to play, playing Bebop raised the technical bar. Playing with Charlie Parker at fast tempos where he thrived took trumpet playing to an extreme that may have never been matched since. Parker certainly enjoyed the alto saxophone and ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Chet Baker’s Singing: A Cultural Shift

Read "Chet Baker’s Singing: A Cultural Shift" reviewed by Steve Provizer

We think of the 1950's as a time of relative social conformity, but in fact, there were significant cultural shifts happening. For one, male stereotypes were being unpacked and to some degree, unfrozen. Where once films and music gave us male characters that were either hyper-macho or limp-wristedly homosexual, male characters and performers who showed emotional vulnerability began to emerge from the underground. Two musicians who were exemplars of this change were Frank Sinatra and Chet Baker. The ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Ella Plays Dice

Read "Ella Plays Dice" reviewed by Eve Goldberg

Ella Fitzgerald was eating a piece of pie when the police burst into her dressing room, guns drawn. Nearby, Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Illinois Jacquet were playing a game of craps. The place was Houston, Texas. The date was October 7, 1955. The occasion was a sold-out concert at The Music Hall, one stop on tour for Jazz At The Philharmonic. Standing in the wings while Gene Krupa's band performed on stage, tour producer Norman Granz heard the ...


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