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Bret Primack on Jazz Video and the Ira Gitler Documentary

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Since the 1990's, Bret Primack has probably been the most prolific video chronicler of jazz in the world. He has just released a documentary about jazz writer-record producer Ira Gitler called Ira Gitler Lives. Since Gitler was a big fan of Charlie Parker, I presume this is a play on a famous bit of graffiti—"Bird Lives." ...

Sex and The Single Trumpet Player

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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 ...

A New Jazz Typology

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A letter from an admirer of the Institute reads as follows: ..."why is the Tristano school always shown as a branch of cool jazz? Those guys were hardcore bebop heads. Is it just that they were white and some of them wore glasses so people confuse them with Brubeck?" A seemingly offhand, almost rhetorical question, which ...

ARTICLE: HISTORY OF JAZZ

Chet Baker’s Singing: A Cultural Shift

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We think of the 1950's as a time of relative social conformity, but in fact, there were significant cultural shifts happening. For one, male stereotypes were being unpacked and to some degree, unfrozen. Where once films and music gave us male characters that were either hyper-macho or limp-wristedly homosexual, male characters and performers who showed emotional ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux: Path of Totality

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Composer/musician/producer Quinsin Nachoff, the force behind Path of Totality, is interested in and is at least somewhat conversant with physics and other things celestial. The 'Totality' he refers to in the title is that period of complete darkness, which is achieved during a complete solar eclipse. Of course, using themes is fairly common in jazz releases ...

ARTICLE: BOOK REVIEWS

Dexter Gordon: Portrait of a Sophisticated Giant

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Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon
Maxine Gordon
261 Pages
ISBN: #9780520280649
University of California Press
2018

Maxine Gordon was the last of Dexter Gordon's several wives and she has written a biography of Gordon, a task with which he charged her before he died in ...

ARTICLE: BOOK REVIEWS

Sonny Rollins: Meditating on a Riff

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Sonny Rollins--Meditating on a Riff
Hugh Wyatt
304 Pages
ISBN: #978-0-9981219-2-5
Kamama Books
2018

Author Hugh Wyatt doesn't hide his friendship with Sonny Rollins-Rollins is his daughter's godfather-he has written a spiritual biography of saxophone great Sonny Rollins which is perilously close to hagiography. He says in the ...

ARTICLE: BOOK REVIEWS

Tracy Fessenden: Religion Around Billie Holiday

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Religion Around Billie Holiday
Tracy Fessenden
280 pages
ISBN: #9780271080956
Cambridge University Press
2018

This is one of the most unusual books about a jazz figure that I've encountered in a long time. The premise, as spelled out in this interview with author Fessenden, is fascinating. She is ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Bob Brookmeyer Celebration at New England Conservatory

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NEC Jazz Orchestra
Jordan Hall
Bob Brookmeyer Celebration
Boston, MA
March 1, 2018

All of the composer-arrangers featured at the Bob Brookmeyer Celebration concert had been mentored, to some degree or other, by Bob Brookmeyer. Listening to what each of his former students said during the program and ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Curtis Brothers At Scullers

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Curtis Brothers
Scullers
Boston, MA
February 1, 2018

Mentoring is one of the foundational elements of jazz culture; the elders teaching the young ones until the young ones are ready to establish their own identities and careers. This mentoring happens in a lot of ways. It happens by observing how an ...