History of Jazz


Pilar Arcos: An Extraordinary Life

Read "Pilar Arcos: An Extraordinary Life" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

The fascinating life of Pilar Arcos is one carved aggressively by the Fates which were so very active as the 19th century paged over into the 20th. World and cultural events were exploding. Countries' wars for independence, the end of colonialism, the Spanish-American War and World War I, the Spanish Civil War, and the womens' rights movement, as well as emerging technological developments—automobiles, recording, communication, and film technologies—all were percolating. This was the exciting and volatile world in which future ...


Clifford Brown’s Trumpet and One Summer in Atlantic City

Read "Clifford Brown’s Trumpet and One Summer in Atlantic City" reviewed by Arthur R George

For 22-year-old trumpeter Clifford Brown, the summer of 1953 in jny: Atlantic City, New Jersey, was transformative. Playing with bebop elders, he cumulatively opened the door for what came next: a groove-oriented swinging style, in which small groups used structured arrangements like big bands, with room for improvisation, but less frenzy. It became known as hard bop, or “mainstream." In early June, Brown went to jny: New York City at the call of Tadd Dameron. Dameron planned a ...


The Mysterious Ms. Morel

Read "The Mysterious Ms. Morel" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

“Never heard of her." --Me “Rings a bell." --Angela Levey “An underground singer." --Terry Gibbs “The mysterious Ms. Morel." --Michael Steinman, Jazz Lives All these descriptions fit a singer from jny: Philadelphia whose memory has almost completely faded. It's true, there are some web sites dedicated to following female singers from the 1950s and 1960s who were never quite household names, but with a few exceptions, Terry Morel has managed to elude even ...


Jazz in Cleveland: A Storied Past, Surviving Present, and an Optimistic Future

Read "Jazz in Cleveland: A Storied Past, Surviving Present, and an Optimistic Future" reviewed by Matthew Alec

Cleveland, Ohio. Having lived here for my entire life, the word “city" does not quite describe what Cleveland truly is. There is of course a downtown urban area, one filled with noteworthy neoclassic architecture and an overall stately appearance that is often overlooked by those who live here. That said, most “Clevelanders" don't actually live within the downtown city limits. In the 1950's Cleveland was heralded as an “All-American City" and its population grew to one of the largest in ...


That Slow Boat to China: How American Jazz Steamed Into Asia

Read "That Slow Boat to China: How American Jazz Steamed Into Asia" reviewed by Arthur R George

A kind of jazz was already waiting in Asia when American players arrived in the 1920s, close to a hundred years ago. However, it was imitative and incomplete, lacked authenticity and live performers from the U.S. Those ingredients became imported by musicians who had played with the likes of Joseph “King" Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Chu Berry, Josephine Bakerand W.C. Handy. Notably, Buck Clayton, later trumpeter for Count Basie, and Paul Gonsalves, who would find fame with Duke Ellington, ...


Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists

Read "Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

[The following is a commentary on pianist Richie Beirach's 2020 e-book The Historical Lineage of Modern Jazz Piano: The 10 Essential Players (Conversations between Richie Beirach and Michael Lake), downloadable for free here.] Jazz piano has always garnered (no intended reference to Erroll Garner) special interest among the instruments because it is truly an orchestra in itself. Its keys cover the full range from low bass to highest soprano, and it is tailored (no allusion to Dr. Billy ...


Charlie Parker: In Praise of Bird on His 100th Birthday!

Read "Charlie Parker: In Praise of Bird on His 100th Birthday!" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

A hundred years ago, on August 29, 1920, soon after jazz was born, Charlie Parker came into this world, and in the 35 years of a life cut short by addictions and impulse-driven living, he changed the face of the music. His innovations as one of the creators of bebop and his stunning sound and virtuosic saxophone playing changed the way music is composed and played, not only in jazz but most other musical genres as well. The changes he ...


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