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Pete Johnson

Pete Johnson - pianist, composer, recording artist (1904-1967) The history of jazz and blues piano is an interesting one, and it benefits from being told separately from the history of jazz in general. The best performers didn’t always fit into the prevailing styles of the time. Boogie-Woogie piano developed largely in the Midwest, particularly Chicago, with the result that its practitioners were sometimes referred to as “western” pianists in order to distinguish them from the New York piano professors. Some players in this style developed in St. Louis or Detroit, but this blues-based variation was centered in Chicago, for it was there that the great Jimmy Yancey developed this approach and influenced many other pianists. Pete Johnson began his musical career in 1922 as a drummer in Kansas City, Missouri

ARTICLE: RADIO

More Miles/Gallon

Read "More Miles/Gallon" reviewed by Marc Cohn

This week we return with a “Bitches Brew -Day 2" and a “compare and contrast" between two Wayne Shorter tunes (from Super Nova) versus Miles Davis (from Water Babies). But of course, there's more. We moon over Anita O'Day (a centennial warmup) and go to a hotel with Kenny Clarke keeping time on a phone book ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Blue Note 50ths, American Pianists Association Winners & More

Read "Blue Note 50ths, American Pianists Association Winners & More" reviewed by Marc Cohn

A light schedule of Blue Note 50th anniversaries this month: Hank Mobley's The Flip. But we missed a Thad Jones, Mel Lewis Orchestra recording (originally on Solid State but reissued on Blue Note) last month due to an error in our working discography. So, we feature album that as well. To celebrate Blue Note's 80th anniversary, ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

June 50th Anniversary Blue Notes

Read "June 50th Anniversary Blue Notes" reviewed by Marc Cohn

50th anniversaries of Blue Note recording sessions from June 1969 this week: (1) Stanley Turrentine with McCoy Tyner & Billy Cobham; (2) pianist Jack Wilson's trio; (3) John Patton; (4) Andrew Hill with a string quartet; (5) Brother Jack McDuff's 'Down Home Style'; (6) Donald Byrd's 'Fancy Free.' Sessions (1) & (3) were never released in ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Etta Jones: A Soulful Sunday - Live At The Left bank

Read "A Soulful Sunday - Live At The Left bank" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Pochi si ricordano di Etta Jones e qualcuno la confonderà con {Etta James}}. A dispetto delle alte doti tecniche e interpretative, la cantante non ha avuto i riconoscimenti che meritava. Cresciuta ad Harlem, debuttò negli anni '40 nelle serate per debuttanti dell'Apollo Theater, si fece le ossa con Pete Johnson, Barney Bigard ed Earl Hines, ottenne ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Kansas City and the Territory Bands (1927 - 1940)

Read "Kansas City and the Territory Bands (1927 - 1940)" reviewed by Russell Perry

Outside of the Chicago—New York nexus, jazz thrived during the late 1920's and 1930's in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, with its center in Kansas City. Under the careful control of Boss Pendergast, Kansas City was a wide open town with a thriving night club music scene, nurturing musicians like Joe Turner, Mary Lou Williams, Count Basie, ...

Earl Hines, Pete Johnson and James P. Johnson: Reminiscing at Blue Note – 1939-43

Read "Earl Hines, Pete Johnson and James P. Johnson: Reminiscing at Blue Note – 1939-43" reviewed by Marc Davis

In the beginning, there was the piano--if not in jazz generally, then definitely at Blue Note Records. From the start, Blue Note founder Alfred Lion was obsessed with the piano. Blue Note's very first recordings, in 1939, were 19 tunes by boogie-woogie pianists Meade “Lux" Lewis and Albert Ammons. You can hear them all ...

ARTICLE: BOOK EXCERPTS

On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom

Read "On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom" reviewed by Dennis McNally

The following is an excerpt from the “Spirituals to Swing" chapter of On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom by Dennis McNally (Counterpoint Press, Berkeley, 2014). Danny Barker, who in the 1930s was Cab Calloway's guitarist, told a particularly revealing story of working at the Nest Club, a Harlem ...

Take Five With Mike Skory

Read "Take Five With Mike Skory" reviewed by Mike Skory

Meet Mike Skory:I play Hammond/piano for the regional soul/blues/original band, Root Doctor Featuring Freddie Cunningham. I also have a unique rock trio call Suzi & the Love Brothers. Both acts are out of Lansing, MI. Instrument(s):Piano, Hammond organ.Teachers and/or influences?The two musicians who helped me in ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Alexander Hawkins: Retaining The Sense of Discovery

Read "Alexander Hawkins: Retaining The Sense of Discovery" reviewed by John Sharpe

One of the fastest-rising stars of the UK jazz scene, pianist Alexander Hawkins is remarkable in that he shines equally in both the further reaches of free improvisation and the creation of ingeniously crafted charts. Indeed, Hawkins' particular talent might be in bringing the two so close that it's hard to distinguish between them. At times ...


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