Profiles

PROFILES

Martin Speake: The Thinking Fan's Saxophonist

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British alto saxophonist, Martin Speake, is one of the most adventurous and articulate musicians in a music peppered with creative artists. That he is not a household name--even within the proscribed and marginalised world of jazz--says more about the times than it does about Speake or his single-minded approach to his art. Speake combines in his music a purposeful curiosity with a love of the jazz tradition. He is equally capable of flights into free improvisation and into ...

PROFILES

Arthur Blythe, 1940-2017: A Remembrance

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The emotive power of Arthur Blythe's bracing alto saxophone tone and flighty phrasing set him apart from many of his generation. A poet, a muezzin, an angry activist, a lamenting lover: Blythe conjured a broad array of sonic images through his nonpareil approach to music. The beloved altoist, who had battled Parkinson's disease for the past several years, passed away on March 27, 2017 at the age of 76. Blythe's musical cohorts and fans remember him with deep ...

PROFILES

Billy Krechmer: A Philadelphia Story

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There is a story told of the last night of an iconic jazz club in Philadelphia in 1966. The bandleader-owner, it was said, had been called away prior to closing. He was unable to return before the end of the last set. Walking back, he watched the crowd filing out. Some, I am told, had tears in their eyes. Ok. Too good to be true. Or too sentimental to be true. Unconfirmed by independent sources. All true. But if the ...

PROFILES

Rolling in Rhythm: Philly Joe Jones and Charles Wilcoxon

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Drummer “Philly" Joe Jones is known as one of the most recorded drummers in jazz history, appearing on more than 200 albums. His legacy as a studio drummer appears on seminal classics like John Coltrane's Blue Train, Thelonious Monk's Blues at the Five Spot, Miles Davis's Milestones, and Bud Powell's Time Waits. Beside these recordings, Jones regularly toured as a member of the Miles Davis Quintet and a later incarnation of the Bill Evans Trio. Jones also learned or received ...

PROFILES

Dwight Sills: Creating His Own Space

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After delivering three projects on other record labels, guitarist-composer-producer Dwight Sills decided it was time to start creating an outlet for himself on his fourth and most personal CD yet, Short Stories. Creating this outlet was not a new concept for the Houston, Texas resident. Most of the eight tunes on this eclectic and engaging 2016 offering were written by Sills during the early '80s, when he was honing his craft on the ever-burgeoning jny: Houston jazz club ...

PROFILES

The Early Years of Sonny Stitt in Saginaw, Michigan

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As one of most recorded saxophonists of his generation, Sonny Stitt made more than 100 albums under his own name. He also performed as a sideman with the likes of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Art Blakey. Despite the breadth of recorded work he left behind, Sonny Stitt's upbringing in Saginaw, Michigan is less well-documented. The basic facts of his birth have been widely circulated: Edward “Sonny" Stitt was born Edward Boatner Jr., the son of a Massachusetts concert singer/composer ...

PROFILES

Julie Tippetts: Didn't You Used To Be Julie Driscoll?

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The respect in which Julie Tippetts is held by her fellow musicians and fans is truly heartening--and truly deserved. Back in the late sixties, then Julie Driscoll, she gave up a very different career trajectory in music, one that had begun with Steampacket and continued with Brian Auger & The Trinity, to follow a journey characterised by experimentation and self-discovery. Though the qualities of Tippetts' voice are often acknowledged, her unique and personal approach to song-writing is less ...

PROFILES

Improvised Music Company: Orbital Pathways, Gravitational Pull

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Arguably some of the most dramatic changes in jazz have taken place in the last quarter of its century-long history: the emergence of a strong European jazz identity/identities; technological advances that empower individuals to become their own producers; Youtube, which has all but erased the boundary between past and present; the increase in pedagogical institutions; pan-national collaborations facilitated by myriad budget travel options; instant communication and dissemination brought about by the explosion of social media; greater cross-genre experimentation than ever ...

PROFILES

Duane Allman at 70: A Reflection

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The actor James Dean once said, “If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live after he's died, then maybe he was a great man." James Dean is perhaps the charter member of a modern subset of such individuals who, due to modern technology, live on in the consciousness of others. They remain frozen in time--ascendant, vibrant, and youthful. When you think of James Dean, chances are you can visualize his magnetic ...


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