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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Introducing Phil Stewart: Melodious Drum

Read "Melodious Drum" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Cellar Live Records continues its run of admirable mainstream albums with Melodious Drum, Canadian-born and New York City-based Phil Stewart's debut as leader of his own groups, which range from trio to sextet. It's an interesting title, as Stewart's drums may be congenial but aren't melodious in the manner of, say, Jeff Hamilton, Ed Thigpen, Shelly ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

Ken Hohman's Top Jazz Releases of 2014

Read "Ken Hohman's Top Jazz Releases of 2014" reviewed by Ken Hohman

I'd taken a six month hiatus from my radio show, Freedom Jazz Dance, to concentrate on other things. Turns out my timing couldn't have been worse. I was inundated with so many excellent recordings in 2014 that my head was spinning. Fortunately, I now had the time to truly enjoy them! Here are the lucky 13 ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Chris Byars - Lucky Strickes Again (Steeplechase, 2011)

Chris Byars - Lucky Strickes Again (Steeplechase, 2011)

Coming into the jazz world at the intersection of swing and bop, saxophonist Lucky Thompson was a well regarded performer in the 1950's and 60's before leaving the music business in the 1970's. One of his most well regarded albums was the Lucky Strikesalbum released on OJC in 1964. Inspired by Thompson's approach to music and ...

NEWS: INTERVIEW

Chris Byars: Lucky Strikes Again

Chris Byars: Lucky Strikes Again

When the names of great tenor saxophonists are tossed around, the chain of succession generally runs like this: Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. All, of course, were reed titans, and Sonny still is. A half-step below this esteemed group is a second tier of greats that include Don Byas, Wardell Gray, Stan Getz, Zoot ...

NEWS: INTERVIEW

Lucky Thompson in Person

Lucky Thompson in Person

The logical followup to the piece below about Chris Byars' hero Lucky Thompson is a piece by Thompson. Here's a film from Paris in 1959 at the Blue Note. The rhythm section is Bud Powell, piano; Pierre Michelot, bass; Jimmy Gourley, guitar; Kenny Clarke, drums. The compostion is Dizzy Gillespie's and Charlie Parker's “Anthropology." The video clip ends before ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Recent Listening: Lucky Strikes Again

Recent Listening: Lucky Strikes Again

Chris Byars, Lucky Strikes Again (Steeplechase). This album by a gifted saxophonist, composer and arranger has several things to recommend it. It presents 10 pieces written and arranged by Lucky Thompson (1924-2005), a saxophonist whose brilliance and originality as a player and writer failed to make him as well known as equally gifted contemporaries like Miles Davis, Stan ...

NEWS: OPINION

Jazz: For all, or the few?

Let's face it... Jazz as a musical force is not what was back in it's heyday. Yes, Jazz continues to evolve with it's never ending strive for innovation. Jazz radio stations remain very popular, and as I hear from Voice of America's Jazz America program every Saturday morning (Kuwait local time), the amount of new Jazz ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Chris Byars - Bop-Ography (Steeplechase)

Chris Byars - Bop-Ography (Steeplechase)

On the occasion of his second Steeplechase outing Chris Byars cannily continues in a musical rich vein tapped on his first. Gigi Gryce counts as a current healthy obsession of the saxophonist and three of the composers' pieces grace the program. Another of Byars abiding interests concerns the work and legacy of vibraphonist Teddy Charles, a ...

NEWS: INTERVIEW

Saxophonist Chris Byars Interviewed at AAJ

Saxophonist Chris Byars Interviewed at AAJ

As legendary jazz vibraphonists Teddy Charles describes him, “It's not easy to be Chris Byars. With an incredible array of talents brought to bear on his composition, arrangements, and cooking jazz performances, it's no wonder he's worked his way to the forefront of the myriad of jazz players overwhelming the scene."

Byars has been working hard ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Chris Byars: Studying Unsung Heroes

Read "Chris Byars: Studying Unsung Heroes" reviewed by Ludwig vanTrikt

[Introduction by Teddy Charles]

It's not easy to be Chris Byars. With an incredible array of talents brought to bear on his composition, arrangements, and cooking jazz performances, it's no wonder he's worked his way to the forefront of the myriad of jazz players overwhelming the scene.

For me, our felicitous association led to multiple gigs ...