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NEWS: OBITUARY

Christo (1935-2020)

Christo (1935-2020)

Lost this week in the flurry of shocking events in Minneapolis and on the nation's streets was the death on May 31 of environmental artist Christo Javacheff, known professionally as Christo. He was 84. With his wife, Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, Christo specialized in massive sculptural pieces that shrouded iconic architecture and intruded on landscapes ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

10 tracks: Niehaus and Brass

10 tracks: Niehaus and Brass

With the recent passing of alto saxophonist and arranger-composer Lennie Niehaus, I spent yesterday listening to his Stan Kenton and sideman sessions and arrangements. During this period, Lennie used a wonderful device on up-tempo arrangements, opening with a heavy, dark riff and then cutting the cord and letting the song float into bright swing. On ballads, ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

Greek Legend Manolis Mikelis

Greek Legend Manolis Mikelis

Today, jazz flourishes in Athens—or at least did before the virus lockdown. Many clubs dot the city, and gifted Greek jazz musicians perform there. Greek jazz greatness begins with a pianist whose name might be new to you—Manolis Mikelis. That's because Mikelis barely recorded, preferring to play live throughout Europe during his lifetime. Back in the ...

NEWS: OBITUARY

Lennie Niehaus (1929-2020)

Lennie Niehaus (1929-2020)

Lennie Niehaus, a Los Angeles alto saxophonist and prolific composer for big bands and his own octet starting in the 1950s before moving on to television and Clint Eastwood-directed films, died May 28. He was 90. Lennie was one of the giants of the West Coast linear jazz sound. Along with Bill Holman, Shorty Rogers, Gerry ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Lenny Breau: 7-String Swing

Lenny Breau: 7-String Swing

In August 1982, Canadian jazz guitarist Lenny Breau was in Nashville to record, of all things, a country album. Or rather, a guitar album with Western Swing sensibilities. For the studio session, Breau played a seven-string guitar and a six-string electric guitar. He was backed by the legendary Buddy Emmons on pedal-steel guitar, Jim Ferguson on ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Bobby Spellman: Cool Revenge

Bobby Spellman: Cool Revenge

The birth of the cool took place at 14 West 55th Street in Manhattan in 1947. There, at arranger Gil Evans's bare-bones apartment, musicians constrained by bebop's small-group limitations began meeting to develop a new sound. Inspired by Claude Thornhill's sighing sectional approach to orchestral jazz, the revolutionary arrangers included Evans, Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis, George ...

NEWS: OBITUARY

Jimmy Cobb (1929-2020)

Jimmy Cobb (1929-2020)

Jimmy Cobb, a drummer whose sensitive, smoldering touch on Miles Davis albums such as Kind of Blue and Some Day My Prince Will Come gave the trumpeter's masterful sextet and quintet a sheer, elegant quality, died on May 24. He was 91. Jimmy began his recording career on Dinah Washington 78s in the late 1940s followed ...

NEWS: OBITUARY

Another big loss for jazz

Another big loss for jazz

Drummer Jimmy Cobb, for 29 years the only surviving member of trumpeter Miles Davis' Kind of Blue sextet, died yesterday at his home in Manhattan. He was 91 and had been battling lung cancer. Cobb was the fourth NEA Jazz Master to pass away in 2020. In addition to the seminal Kind of Blue album, he ...

NEWS: MUSIC INDUSTRY

Byrd, Ellis and Kessel: 1982

Byrd, Ellis and Kessel: 1982

On July 17, 1982, three virtuoso jazz guitarists performed together on stage at the Congresgebouw in the Hague, the Netherlands, during the North Sea Jazz Festival. Known then as the Great Guitars, the pickers were Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel. They were backed by bassist Joe Byrd, Charlie’s brother, and drummer Chuch Redd. The ...

NEWS: TV / FILM

Pete Rugolo and the Beaver

Pete Rugolo and the Beaver

The death of Ken Osmond last week came as a shock to anyone who grew up watching TV's Leave It to Beaver in the early 1960s. The shock for me wasn't that Osmond had died but that he had been alive all this time. The word on the playground in the late 1960s and early '70s ...


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