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News: Recording

Backgrounder: Hank Mobley - Poppin', 1966

Backgrounder: Hank Mobley - Poppin', 1966

In tribute to Michael Cuscuna, the great jazz-reissue record producer and Mosaic co-founder who died April 19, I thought I'd feature one of my favorite Hank Mobley albums today as a Backgrounder. Michael found Poppin' in the Blue Note vaults when he was there and released the album for the first time in 1980. If not ...

News: Video / DVD

Backgrounder: Johnny Alf: Rapaz de Bem, 1961

Backgrounder: Johnny Alf: Rapaz de Bem, 1961

For those in the know, Johnny Alf has long been thought of as the father of the bossa nova. Whether that statement is completely accurate or whether he was merely a significant influence has been hotly debated over the years. Even if the Brazilian singer-songwriter wasn't the bossa's earliest pure exponent, his softly romantic, Johnny Mathis-like ...

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News: Video / DVD

Backgrounder: Quincy Jones - Twilight Time

Backgrounder: Quincy Jones - Twilight Time

Early in March, I posted a Backgrounder on a 1957 album arranged by Quincy Jones in Paris. In the U.S., the LP was released by United Artists and was called Americans in Paris. In France, it came out on Barclay and was known as Et Voila! The album was recorded with Eddie Barclay, the owner of ...

News: Recording

Backgrounder: Sonny Stitt - Tune-Up!

Backgrounder: Sonny Stitt - Tune-Up!

Perhaps the high points of Joe Fields's Cobblestone label were a pair of albums by Sonny Stitt released in 1972—Tune-Up! and Constellation. Both were produced by Don Schlitten. On Tunre-Up!, Stitt played alto and tenor saxophone and was accompanied by Barry Harris on piano, Sam Jones on bass and Alan Dawson on drums. What made this ...

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News: Video / DVD

Backgrounder: Quincy Jones - Americans in Paris

Backgrounder: Quincy Jones - Americans in Paris

In 1957, Quincy Jones moved to Paris to study composition and theory with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen. In his spare time, the producer, composer, arranger, bandleader and conductor became music director at Barclay, a French record company owned by Eddie Barclay, a composer-arranger and contractor. Barclay also was the licensee for Mercury in France. Jones's ...

News: Recording

Backgrounder: Ray Bryant - Alone With the Blues

Backgrounder: Ray Bryant - Alone With the Blues

Recorded in December 1958, Alone With the Blues was Ray Bryant's first solo piano album. Growing up, Bryant was deeply influenced by the church, and gospel always played a big part in his approach to jazz. His mother was an ordained minister in Philadelphia and made sure Bryant was with her in the pews. He began ...

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News: Recording

Backgrounder: Gerry Mulligan - Jeru

Backgrounder: Gerry Mulligan - Jeru

"Jeru" is a nickname Miles Davis came up with for baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan in the late 1940s when they were rehearsing the Miles Davis Nonet. The recordings they made between 1949 and 1950 would eventually wind up on a Capitol compilation album entitled Birth of the Cool. Jeru is also the title of an album ...

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News: Recording

Backgrounder: Bobby Timmons - Soul Time

Backgrounder: Bobby Timmons - Soul Time

Pianist Bobby Timmons's Soul Time is an early soul-jazz classic. Recorded for Riverside over two days in August 1960 while Timmons was a member of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, the album's line-up of musicians assembled by Timmons was ingenious. Since it was Timmons's record date, he knew he'd get a good chunk of the ...

News: Video / DVD

Backgrounder: João Gilberto, 1998

Backgrounder: João Gilberto, 1998

In the early spring of 2008, I planned to see João Gilberto in Boston. That is until he cancelled at the last minute. Gilberto had a reputation for such things throughout his career. Some I've interviewed have said he had agoraphobia—a psychological fear of being outside. Others have claimed he was hyper-finicky about things he wanted, ...

News: Video / DVD

Backgrounder: Art Pepper and the Marty Paich 4

Backgrounder: Art Pepper and the Marty Paich 4

In August 1956, Art Pepper was teamed with Marty Paich on piano, Buddy Clark on bass and Frank Capp on drums on a Hollywood recording session for Tampa Records. The label was founded in Los Angeles a year earlier by Robert Scherman and Irving Shorten, and the album was Pepper's first since 1954 due to time ...


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