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Ken Dryden

Ken has collected jazz for over three decades and been a jazz journalist since 1988.

About Me

I started collecting jazz records while attending Tulane University in the early 1970s. Since I was already a history buff (and majoring in it as well), research was something I also enjoyed. After graduating in 1976 and earning my MBA at the University of Georgia the following year, I eventually wound up in Chattanooga, where I began a 15-year stint on WUTC-FM hosting Timeless Jazz in 1987. In early 1988, I began reviewing jazz, writing for various publications including Cadence, The Jazz Link, Letter From Evans, and the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Between 1998-2012, I was a regular contributor to All Music Guide, writing thousands of jazz reviews for their website, along with reviews of rock, bluegrass and classical recordings and a few biographies. In 2005, I also became a regular contributor to Coda, The New York City Jazz Record and Hot House (NY). I began writing for All About Jazz in 2000, creating the Ask Ken column to answer recording related questions and trying to help folks find out of print LPs and CDs, finally ending the column 3 years later because I couldn't keep up with the volume of requests. I also jointly edited the late lamented All About Jazz Trivia Quiz with Alex Henderson, which ended only because of AAJ's frustration with the purchased program utilized by the quiz. I also contributed annual reviews of the IAJE Conference to All About Jazz, along with occasional CD and concert reviews, label profiles and interviews, some of which initially were written for the All About Jazz-New York newspaper. A few years ago I took a hiatus from All About Jazz, but now that I'm retired from my radio career, I'm considering a relaunch of Not For Sale and contributing a few reviews and articles, too. My new baby for All About Jazz is Not For Sale, a column which enables me to review non-commercial broadcasts of live and studio jazz which has never appeared on CD or LP. Since 1977, I have recorded hundreds of shows, including Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, Jazzset, Four Queens Jazz Night From Las Vegas, Jazz Alive!, the American Jazz Radio Festival, Jazz From Lincoln Center, Jazz at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, Vintage Jazz at the Vineyard, Riverwalk: Live From the Landing, along with occasional broadcasts of music from festivals in Chicago, Detroit, Caramoor and elsewhere. I'm still working on compiling a comprehensive list; not to mention transferring my first 27 years of cassettes to CDRs. My hope is that Not For Sale will encourage record labels to track down and release music mentioned in the column (believe it or not, before I could start work on my second Not For Sale column, I was asked by Concord Records to writer liner notes for a portion of a concert I had recorded off NPR over 20 years earlier). Complete personnel, song titles, composers, plus dates of recording and broadcast (the latter when known) are also included. Artists are encouraged to get in touch with me if they don't have a copy of the recording or have additional information, comments, etc. I have already dubbed CDs for a number of musicians in my collection. Every once in awhile, I get an opportunity to write liner notes. The CDs include: Oscar Peterson Plays Duke Ellington (Pablo) Joe Pass: Meditation-Live at Yoshi's (Pablo) Wes Montgomery: The Best of Wes Montgomery (Riverside) Jaki Byard Quartet with Joe Farrell: The Last From Lennie's (Prestige) Mel Torme, Gerry Mulligan & George Shearing: The Classic Concert Live (Concord) BED (Becky Kilgore, Eddie Erickson & Dan Barrett) Watch Out! (Blue Swing) Jimmy Ponder: Somebody's Child (HighNote) Lorraine Feather: Language (Jazzed Media) Jeff Barone: Open Up (Jazzed Media) Leslie Pintchik: Quartets (Ambient) Joe Lee Wilson & Jimmy Ponder: Come and See (Explore) Joe Lee Wilson: The Shadow (Explore) N. Glenn Davis Quintet w/Phil Woods: Come Right In (Jazzed Media) Arlyn Valencia: Secret Love (jbQ Media) I also write press bios. If you need a bio or liner notes, drop me a line, using the subject: liner notes/press bio. Regarding my current "Listening to Now" list: CDs aren't necessarily heard in the order listed. Assigned CDs and long favorite artists take priority. Once posted, I will try to get to a specific disc as soon as possible! I'm always looking for LPs or CDs and usually have some current and out-of-print things on hand for trading. If you're interested in learning more, drop me a line, using "Trade List" for the subject. I'm also interested in trading broadcast (not commercially issued) recordings, including the ones I've featured in my Not For Sale column. I current have over 1000 listed on line and many more not yet added to my list. Email me drop me a line for a list or link to my online collection. Don't forget to watch out every April 1st for April Fool's reviews and articles!

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2018-12-02

My interest in jazz began during my undergraduate days at Tulane University during the early 1970s. attending a Dave Brubeck concert and buying various jazz LPs that looked interesting. I was already a fan of Frank Zappa and after hearing his composition "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" I happened to see a Dolphy LP and I ended up acquiring nearly his entire discography. Being in the southeast had its drawbacks, as national jazz acts weren't playing all that often where I was living. I never had the opportunity to meet any artists until I spoke to Brubeck around the time I began broadcasting a jazz series on WUTC-FM in 1987, though I would end up interviewing him amany times over the rest of his career, along with seeing him perform on 25 or so occasions in numerous cities. My first date with my wife was a Brubeck concert, neither of us could have predicted that she would end up being a part of a choir accompanying him in a 2000 concert of his sacred music. I entered jazz journalism by chance, after discovering that the local newspaper arts editor had traded in a Duke Ellington CD at a local used record store. I called and asked about writing reviews and quickly became a regular contributor. The Brubeck connection came up again, when I proposed an article about the quartet's appearance at the Reagan-Gorbachev Moscow Summit in 1988, since I had just completed a phone interview. That became my first published free lance article, though I would later contribute to Cadence, AllMusic.com (where I wrote thousands of reviews over a 14 year period), the short-lived Jazz Review and briefly revived Coda and many other publications. Now retired from my day job as a public radio development officer, I have more time to write and returned to the AllAboutJazz family with my Phillip Johnston interview in November 2018. Listeners today have the ability to sample music excerpts and often complete performances on line, so take advantage of previewing music if you are unsure about buying it. I feel like buying CDs, LPs or downloads (if you prefer them--I don't), is very important to support the artists. Read enough by any reviewer to get an idea of what kind of music appeals to him or her, then consider that when evaluating their work compared to your tastes. Also be open to explore music outside of your normal listening habits, not everything will catch your ear, but you may be surprised at what you like. That's why I prefer to leave the packaging and playlist out of sight when I hear a new CD for the first time, this also helps me consider the possible source of the chord changes for some tracks, along with deciding for myself what influences are present. Occasionally, I also discover incorrect or missing information by not consulting the playlist or liner notes. It's always nice to hear from readers. I am happy to provide additional information or address concerns if that is the case, unless you are trying to locate the CD Yanni: A Tribute to Art Tatum.

My House Concert Story

My wife and I are in talks with several musicians about a planned solo house concert. We have a Kawai baby grand and room with a vaulted ceiling and good acoustics.

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