Hardly Strictly Jazz

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

HARDLY STRICTLY JAZZ

Death Is Not The End and the Law of Periodical Repetition

Read "Death Is Not The End and the Law of Periodical Repetition" reviewed by Skip Heller

"Will this wonderful civilization of today perish? Yes, everything perishes. Will it rise and exist again? It will--for nothing can happen that will not happen again. And again, and still again, forever. It took more than eight centuries to prepare this civilization-- then it suddenly began to grow, and in less than a century it is becoming a bewildering marvel. In time, it will pass away and be forgotten. Ages will elapse, then it will come again; and not incomplete, ...

HARDLY STRICTLY JAZZ

2020 and Me

Read "2020 and Me" reviewed by Skip Heller

As I type this, it is December 8, 2020, the fortieth anniversary of John Lennon's murder. I was then a newly-minted barband guitarist, fifteen years old and thinking how the world —via the election of Ronald Reagan —and music had just suffered the worst season that could ever be. 2020 has been an ongoing parade of American horrors. No matter what city you're in, the town is paused. I live in Hollywood, three blocks from the former site ...

HARDLY STRICTLY JAZZ

Back To... SOUL

Read "Back To... SOUL" reviewed by Skip Heller

While everyone else seems to have been attending jazz festivals, I've been flying under the radar with film and TV music jobs, so I haven't had the time to write about the summer's recorded music treasures, and it has been bountiful for record/CD fans. Not least of all because some really careful and wise music fans have made sure that round things with a hole in the middle deliver something digital downloads can't: a real package. Two come from Memphis, ...

HARDLY STRICTLY JAZZ

Pryor Experiences

Read "Pryor Experiences" reviewed by Skip Heller

If it seems like everything is being anthologized into a box set these days, that's because it is. While on a trip to Amoeba Music (the enormous record store from where I live about a block), I took stock of all kinds of box sets. There was even one of the Mitch Miller Sing Along With stuff. Oh joy. The thought of being trapped in a room with someone who could get through even one disc of that... Horrors.

HARDLY STRICTLY JAZZ

Reliving Elvis

Read "Reliving Elvis" reviewed by Skip Heller

No matter how much is written, or by whom, Elvis Presley remains impossible to explain. The usual “young white rocker who could sing black" is as inaccurate as any standing American mythology. His legacy has been as mangled as his career was, often to the detriment of the work itself. Yes, at the time of his death, Elvis had become (to use Frank Zappa's description) “that poor guy, that drug-infested blimp." Yes, by 1962 he had become the star of ...

HARDLY STRICTLY JAZZ

Carole Simpson Remembered

Read "Carole Simpson Remembered" reviewed by Skip Heller

As news of Donald Byrd's passing was leaking out slowly, jazz educator Keith Pawlak sent me a note on Facebook asking if I had heard that pianist/vocalist Carole Simpson had passed away.Her name is barely known except to a few collectors who specialize in female singers of the Eisenhower era. She was during that period almost an archetype--a gorgeous, glamourous blonde with an intimate singing style not far from June Christy and a pianistic approach that borrowed most ...

HARDLY STRICTLY JAZZ

Beyond The Blues

Read "Beyond The Blues" reviewed by Skip Heller

Back when I was a kid--I was born in 1965--the first comprehensive push for children's education about American Black History was on. Elementary school libraries suddenly included books about Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and George Washington Carver, and there were even a few books about jazz and blues for young readers.I wish I could remember the title of the book about blues I found in my school library when I was in the fourth grade (about 1976). It ...


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