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Bessie Smith

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“Empress of the Blues” She embodied the meaning of the blues, living the life she sang about. Bessie Smith set the standard for blues singers on how it should be done. Bessie Smith, born on Apr. 15, 1894, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was one of ten children. Her parents died by her eighth birthday, and she was raised by her older sister Viola. She was taught to sing and dance by her older brother Clarence, who later arranged an audition for Smith with the traveling Moses Stokes Show where she was hired as a dancer in 1912. She became friends with Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, a blues singer, who became her mentor

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Article: Interview

A Conversation with Amiri Baraka

Read "A Conversation with Amiri Baraka" reviewed by Lazaro Vega


From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in November 1999. All About Jazz: I'm just really happy to see that in the last year or so you've become a much more public figure outside of academia through the recording with Hugh Ragin, Afternoon in Harlem on Justin-time, that When ...

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Article: Radio

Birthday Celebrations for Bessie Smith and Herbie Hancock Plus New Releases From Rosalyn McClore and Yulia Musayelyan

Read "Birthday Celebrations for Bessie Smith and Herbie Hancock Plus New Releases From Rosalyn McClore and Yulia Musayelyan" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


This broadcast features new releases from vocalist Rosalyn McClore and flutist Yulia Musayelyan with birthday shoutouts to Bessie Smith, Wendy Kirkland, Tia Fuller, Judy Wexler, Vanessa Perica, Herbie Hancock, Haruna Fukazawa, Pete Malinverni and Michelle Lordi, among others. Thanks for listening and please support the artists you hear by purchasing their music during this time of ...

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News: Obituary

Margie Evans, Iconic And Sophisticated Queen Of The Blues, Dies At 81

Margie Evans, Iconic And Sophisticated Queen Of The Blues, Dies At 81

Margie Evans, a legendary, international Blues and Gospel entertainer, songwriter, music producer, actress, music historian, community activist and motivational spokeswoman, who broke barriers for African American female Blues performers with poise, dignity and sophistication, died on March 19, 2021. In addition to her musicianship, Evans is noted as an activist for parity in music education as ...

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Article: Film Review

Billie

Read "Billie" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Billie New Black Films 96 minutes 2020 A victim of her own self-destructive excesses is a common trope when assessing Billie Holiday. Yet James Erskine's handsome documentary Billie makes a convincing case for Holiday—arguably the greatest of all jazz singers—as more a victim of poverty, racism, manipulation and brutal misogyny. ...

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Article: Album Review

Marty Elkins: 'Tis Autumn

Read "'Tis Autumn" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


There exists a group of jazz musicians dedicated to pre-bebop jazz who have traditionally populated the catalogs of the Nagel-Heyer and Arbors record labels. These musicians include Herb Pomeroy, Max Kaminsky, Randy Sandke, Harry Allen, and Dave McKenna. Central to this group is vocalist Marty Elkins who, while in college, discovered the recordings of Ella Fitzgerald, ...

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Article: Catching Up With

Ron Miles: Rainbow Sign Of The Times

Read "Ron Miles: Rainbow Sign Of The Times" reviewed by Ian Patterson


The title of Ron Miles' Rainbow Sign (Blue Note Records, 2020) carries great personal meaning for the Denver cornetist/composer and educator. The initial influence was The Carter Family song “God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign," with its line 'No more water but the fire next time," which in turn gave James Baldwin the title for his ...

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Article: Album Review

Ada Bird Wolfe, Jamieson Trotter: He & Me

Read "He & Me" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


Ada Bird Wolfe's 2018 debut CD, Birdie (Self Produced), was one of the best recordings released that year. For Wolfe, music has been a lifetime love, even while in school and after, working in business, and writing full time. Wolfe has sojourned from the East to the West Coast, where she finally landed, set down roots ...

Article: Interview

Mauro Ottolini: Nel cuore pulsante di Storyville

Read "Mauro Ottolini: Nel cuore pulsante di Storyville" reviewed by Paolo Marra


Con il disco Storyville Story, prodotto dall'etichetta Parco della Musica Records, Mauro Ottolini ci riporta nel cuore pulsante della vita artistica di New Orleans facendoci rivivere lo spirito esuberante della tradizione del jazz degli anni'20 del secolo scorso. L'album, registrato dal vivo ad Orvieto e Perugia tra fine 2018 ed estate 2019, vede Fabrizio Bosso come ...

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Article: Live Review

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 2020

Read "Festival International de Jazz de Montréal  2020" reviewed by Mark Sullivan


2020 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Various Venues Montréal, Canada June 27-30, 2020 Above all else the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is a spectacular ten-day event: with around 2 million visitors and 500 concerts on 20 stages, it is ranked as the world's largest jazz ...


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