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NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

Perfect: Glad to Be Unhappy

Perfect: Glad to Be Unhappy

In September 1959, guitarist Jim Hall and alto saxophonist Paul Desmond teamed up to record the first in a series of six albums together. The first was called First Place Again (Warner Bros.). The duo was backed by bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay—two-thirds of the Modern Jazz Quartet. When Desmond and Hall shifted to RCA, ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

Bill Evans Videos: Nice, 1978

Bill Evans Videos: Nice, 1978

On July 16, 1978, pianist Bill Evans performed at La Grande Parade du Jazz in Nice France. He was backed by Marc Johnson on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. The trio played four songs before being joined by baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams for two more. The performance was captured by République Française TV. The ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

J.J. and Kai: Stonebone

J.J. and Kai: Stonebone

In 1967, Creed Taylor launched CTI Records as a subsidiary of the A&M label. Creed had just left Verve, where he headed the jazz label and pioneered new concepts in young-adult jazz, including covers with abstract color photography and jazz interpretations of pop-rock and pop-soul radio hits. In New York, Creed had complete autonomy over CTI. ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

Prez Day: Lester Young Clips

Prez Day: Lester Young Clips

Here in the U.S. today, the country is celebrating President's Day, a national holiday set up in the 1880s to cover both George Washington (22nd) and Abraham Lincoln's (12th) February birthdays. At JazzWax, we celebrate Lester Young, whom Billie Holiday nicknamed the President or Prez of the tenor saxophone. Whether or not you're familiar with Prez ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

7 More French Vocal Groups

7 More French Vocal Groups

Back on February 1, I posted seven videos of French vocalese groups from the 1950s and early '60s. As readers know by now, I love French vocal harmony groups. For me, they're like catnip. Fortunately, Rémi Carémel in Paris hosts In the Shadow of Studios, a terrific site devoted to these groups and French pop singers. ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Perfect Album: Horace-Scope

Perfect Album: Horace-Scope

Two of the most dominant and successful hard bop groups of the 1950s were Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and the Horace Silver Quintet. One wasn't better than the other. Their differences were a matter of flavors and hues. Blakey's group tended to be mightier and bluesier. Silver was funkier and more lyrical, largely because ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

Gigi Gryce + Richard Williams

Gigi Gryce + Richard Williams

Last week, I posted on composer-arranger and alto saxophonist Gigi Gryce and his Jazz Lab partnership with trumpeter Donald Byrd in 1957. I also mentioned that that their union came to an end when Byrd went off to Paris for six months starting in July 1958. Upon his return in December, Byrd began recording as a ...

NEWS: MUSIC INDUSTRY

Birth of American Bossa Nova

Birth of American Bossa Nova

One of America's first champions of Brazilian bossa nova was Felix Grant. A jazz disc jockey in Washington D.C., Grant hosted The Album Sound on WMAL. His voice had a soft, sophisticated on-air sound that caught the ear of listeners. Among those tuning into his show in 1960 was Dr. João Oliveira Santos, an economist and ...

NEWS: OBITUARY

Bob Freedman (1934-2018)

Bob Freedman (1934-2018)

Robert M. Freedman, a jazz pianist, saxophonist and Grammy-winning arranger who orchestrated for artists ranging from Sarah Vaughan and Harry Belefonte to Maynard Ferguson and Paul Simon, and scored theme music for TV shows including ABC's Monday Night Football, died on Dec. 22, 2018. He was 94. Bob was a long-time JazzWax reader  and an avid email ...

NEWS: TV / FILM

Doc: Ben Webster in Europe

Doc: Ben Webster in Europe

In this 31-minute documentary of Ben Webster in Europe in 1967, there are whimsical moments and moments of great artistry. In '67, Webster moved to Amsterdam for a year, where director Johan van der Keuken captured him on film between March and June. It's a vastly humanistic mid-length portrait that showcases Webster's sense of humor and ...