Highly Opinionated

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Blue Note's 80th Anniversary Vinyl Initiative

Read "Blue Note's 80th Anniversary Vinyl Initiative" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

Blue Note moves in mysterious ways. It seems like only a few months ago that the storied jazz label announced its Tone Poet vinyl series, because, well, it was only a few months ago, and here they are with yet another entry in the vinyl reissue game: the Blue Note 80th Anniversary Series. Like the Tone Poet sequence, the 80th Anniversary releases will be on 180 gram vinyl and mastered from analog sources “where possible." So far, so much better ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Good Vibes, Bad Vibes: Jazz in Film

Read "Good Vibes, Bad Vibes: Jazz in Film" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

Several films about jazz depict troubled and vice-ridden musicians, such as Charlie Parker, in Bird, and Chet Baker, in Born to be Blue. I walked out of the latter after twenty minutes of excessive obscenity, graphic vice, and general disgust. These films reinforce the idea that jazz is associated with illegal activities, illicit sex, and generally flawed character. The Miles Davies film, Miles Ahead, gives the same picture. I will not watch that movie, since I already know enough about ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Bolden: A Movie Review And Beyond

Read "Bolden: A Movie Review And Beyond" reviewed by Matt Lavelle

Bolden Directed by Daniel Pritzker Abramorama; King Bolden LLC Release Date: May 3, 2019 Bolden is a film about jazz legend and cornetist Buddy Bolden, released on May 3rd, 2019. There was only one theater playing it in Manhattan, all the way on 12th Avenue and 57th St. The author was the only person present there for an 11:50am Monday viewing on May 13th. The film only showed for one week in ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Sex and The Single Trumpet Player

Read "Sex and The Single Trumpet Player" reviewed by Steve Provizer

Jack Sheldon (November 30, 1931) and Chet Baker (December 23, 1929-May 13, 1988)—two trumpeter/vocalists with a great deal in common. They spent their years of jazz apprenticeship, the early 1950's, on the West Coast, largely in jny: Los Angeles. They played in similar styles and their musical career paths early on were pretty similar, although Baker got started recording earlier than Sheldon, recording more prolifically and making early waves playing with Gerry Mulligan's group. They played sessions and recorded with ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Why Steely Dan Can Never Really Be Yacht Rock

Read "Why Steely Dan Can Never Really Be Yacht Rock" reviewed by Eric Pettine

The website Really Smooth Music provides the definition of the term Yacht Rock as being “a variation of popular Soft Rock that peaked between the years of 1976 and 1984 (as featuring a) highly polished brand of soft rock that emanated from Southern California during the late '70s and early '80s. The term is meant to suggest the kind of smooth, mellow music that early yuppies likely enjoyed while sipping champagne and snorting cocaine on their yachts." This sounds like ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Blue Note's Tone Poet Series

Read "Blue Note's Tone Poet Series" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

With CD-quality streaming a reality for those with butch internet and money to burn, and vanilla streaming the reality for almost everyone else, digital music has never seemed less collectable. Why clutter your Marie Kondo-approved home with jewel boxes when much (though heaven knows not all) of the digital catalogue is available on tap? While compact disc sales crater, however, vinyl rises phoenix-like (a poetic image--please do not expose your records to excessive heat). If you're going to buy a ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Who Needs Monk?

Read "Who Needs Monk?" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

2017 is Thelonious Monk's hundredth anniversary year and as good a time as any to ask whether he has anything to teach young, ambitious, up-and-coming jazz musicians today. Monk's recordings still nurture and entertain countless jazz fans, and the clarity and directness of his conception makes him a wonderful “introductory" artist for newbies. Gigging jazz musicians draw from the well of his compositions to fill their sets, and it's hard to imagine a future where “'Round Midnight" or ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Jazz Karaoke anyone?

Read "Jazz Karaoke anyone?" reviewed by David Hadley Ray

Venues seem to want jazz karaoke more than jazz with attitude. With decibel meters, political correctness and noise laws, is the rebel music of Bird, Monk and Dizzy being snipped and manipulated into being safe for the masses? Do folks really want their jazz neutered, or genetically modified? (It may look and taste like jazz, but it sho' nuff tastes like Kenny G.) From an outward perspective, it seems that some artists are so worried about offending people, they end ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Dusseldorf Rally: Jazz's Best Kept Secret?

Read "Dusseldorf Rally: Jazz's Best Kept Secret?" reviewed by Phillip Woolever

Year after year, the Dusseldorf Jazz Rally continues to provide visitors with one of the finest festival experiences to be found in Western Europe. While other events in the region may spend more on self-promotion, feature more prominent line-ups or gather more media coverage, the Jazz Rally cheerfully and consistently serves up what is quite likely the best bargain of the bunch. The festival originated in 1993 and has enjoyed general stability and growth since it's inception. The ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

The New Orleans All-Star Brass Band: Do You Know What It Means?

Read "The New Orleans All-Star Brass Band: Do You Know What It Means?" reviewed by Ian Patterson

This article was originally published in October 2006. It has been said that the truest expression of a people is in its music and dance. That being the case, then pianist {m: Herbie Hancock was right on the money when he described jny: New Orleans as “the soul of our country. The nation's soul however, was laid painfully bare for the world to see when hurricane Katrina struck. Katrina killed over fifteen hundred people and forced the displacement ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Sing a Mean Tune, Kid: Chicago for people who hate Chicago

Read "Sing a Mean Tune, Kid: Chicago for people who hate Chicago" reviewed by Mark Lempke

When people rebuff my attempts to share my love of jazz-pop-rock group Chicago with them, I understand their qualms. Really, I do. Few bands went from being quite so inventive to quite so predictable in the long, tough slog between 1968 and 1984. (The political parallels alone are terrifyingly relevant: many of the exact same people who were in SDS went on to become Yuppies by the midpoint of the Reagan years, but I digress.) So, I understand ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Sacred Cows, Led Zeppelin and Does the Song Remain the Same?

Read "Sacred Cows, Led Zeppelin and Does the Song Remain the Same?" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

"Sacred cows make the tastiest cheeseburgers" --after Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989) I have always said of popular culture, that like a McDonald's cheeseburger, it is to be consumed but never considered. Much of music is nothing more than a reflection of popular culture and certainly falls beneath that grand proclamation. A good deal of hip hop and all of dubstep, electro house, post-hardcore and what passes for R&B today will not be remembered, much less heard regularly, in fifty ...


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