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Pete Seeger: Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

Read "Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

It is no coincidence that folk singer, songwriter and social activist Pete Seeger (1919-2014) turns up as one of the important voices on the recently released Smithsonian Folkways box set The Social Power of Music (Smithsonian Folkways, 2019). Seeger, one of the towering figures of American folk music, believed in songs as tools that could transform ...

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Various Artists: Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Read "Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

On the surface, some jazz festivals look a lot like each other, with the same established names travelling around the globe. This is globalization at its worst, meaning we can travel endless miles to hear the same musicians we could have heard in our own backyard. However, a good jazz festival is also a celebration of ...

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Various Artists: The Social Power of Music

Read "The Social Power of Music" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

It could be argued that music has been around for as long as humans have walked on Earth. When we are born, one of the first things we do is cry and scream, and to calm babies down, lullabies are sung. As we grow up, music becomes the soundtrack for joy and mourning; the rites of ...

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Buddy Bolden: The Sky Is Blue

Read "The Sky Is Blue" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

2008 will always be remembered fondly in the world of jazz because it's the year of this music's greatest discovery. Buddy Bolden's only recording is no longer stuff of legend and lore, but a reality. The story of this great find sounds almost fictional: A graduate student at the University of Kansas while helping a local ...

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Mary Lou Williams: Mary Lou Williams Presents Black Christ of the Andes

Read "Mary Lou Williams Presents Black Christ of the Andes" reviewed by Bob Jacobson

Calling this album mainstream is a bit misleading, since it includes four pieces of choral/sacred music and one avant-garde cut. In a way, it's the perfect mirror of where Mary Lou Williams was in the early 1960's, coming out of a nearly ten year absence from performance. At the beginning of that period she had devoted ...

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Badenya: Badenya: Manden Jaliya in New York City

Read "Badenya: Manden Jaliya in New York City" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Let's get the facts straight up front: no jazz here. Why bother to review the music, then? Because it's good. Progressive jazz musicians have long appreciated the musical traditions of Africa, especially West Africa, and especially as they relate to percussion. During the '60s, jazz drummers began to assimilate instruments played with the hands, not with ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

James P. Johnson: The Original James P. Johnson: 1942-1945 piano solos

Read "The Original James P. Johnson: 1942-1945 piano solos" reviewed by Mike Neely

The Original James P. Johnson goes a long way toward summing up the early history of jazz piano. The early jazz singer Ethel Waters stated, “ All the hits you hear, now as then, originated with musicians like James P. Johnson . . . the rest of the hot piano boys . . . just followers ...