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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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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The Blue Notes and the Brotherhood of Breath - Marching to a Different Drum

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Early one August morning in 1964, seven people crossed the border by train passing from South Africa into Mozambique. It was an unusual group of people--five black men, one white man and one white woman. Any “mixing of the races" was, of course, immediately suspicious in apartheid South Africa. The six men--Louis Moholo, Chris McGregor, Dudu Pukwana, Johnny Dyani and Nikele Moyake--made up The Blue Notes. South Africa's only multi-racial jazz group was ostensibly travelling via Mozambique to Paris and ...

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Roland Kirk: Here Comes The Whistleman

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This December, it will be thirty-nine years since Rahsaan Roland Kirk split the scene for good. He was forty-one and about two-thirds of that short life span had been spent as a professional musician. He might not have been around long but he left behind a powerful legacy that may have no parallel in jazz or any other modern music. He might not have courted controversy but somehow it kept finding him. For some critics and musicians, he ...

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The Ganelin Trio: Creative Tensions

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Imagine a time, not so very long ago, when a foreign Jazz/Improvising Trio created such a stir in Britain that they made the TV news! Imagine the national newspapers queuing round the block for interviews. And imagine London's Bloomsbury Theatre filled with musicians, journalists and arts administrators--not to mention the odd, very odd, raincoated spook. That noise was the Ganelin Trio in 1984 on their first visit to these shores, from Russia with love. All that noise left ...

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Paul Winter Sextet: Count Me In

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The Paul Winter Sextet might just be one of the best early sixties groups you never heard. Their story, and that of their leader and altoist Paul Winter's, is certainly one of the most remarkable in jazz. Had some director made a film of the Sextet's short life, jazz buffs would have scoffed at the conceit. But it happened, man. It happened. A few years ago, Winter released Count Me In on his own Earth Music label. It's ...


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