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Musician

Billy Harper

Born:

Billy Harper's unique music creativity was first noted in Houston, Texas, where, at age 5, he was singing at sacred and secular functions and participating in choral and solo singing events. By age 14, he formed his first Billy Harper Quintet while a student at Evan E. Worthing High School. Graduating cum laude, he went on to study saxophone and music theory at North Texas State University and received his Bachelor of Music degree. He continued graduate studies at NTSU and became a member of their "big band." That year, 1965, the University's big band won first prize at the Kansas Jazz Festival. Harper moved to New York in 1966 and began attracting attention from some of jazzdom's giants - Gil Evans, Max Roach, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

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Article: Under the Radar

A Different Drummer, Part 1: Mark Lomax II and Mauricio Takara

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 1: Mark Lomax II and Mauricio Takara" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The drum is an instrument of power and presence. It is the heartbeat of music but with uncertain origins. In Africa, China, and Turkey, archeologists have found evidence to suggest that any of those regions may have been the forebearers of the beat, of the definitive expression of freedom. Data concludes that instrumental music is at ...

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Article: Album Review

Linda Sikhakhane: An Open Dialogue

Read "An Open Dialogue" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


When tenor saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane released Two Sides, One Mirror (Skay Music, 2017), it was a statement of arrival, marking his ascendancy within the jazz ranks in his native South Africa, and departure, signaling a move to the United States that would result in studies with tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, trumpeter Charles Tolliver, bassist Reggie Workman ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter

Read "Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter" reviewed by Chris May


Jazz has been inextricably linked with social and political protest since at least the late 1930s, when Billie Holiday made famous the leftist songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol's “Strange Fruit." The song, which has a power to move that is undiminished by familiarity, likens the bodies of lynched African Americans to fruit hanging in trees.

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Article: Radio

Jazz from the Black Saint Label (1975 - 1989)

Read "Jazz from the Black Saint Label (1975 - 1989)" reviewed by Russell Perry


Ironically, the record label that most consistently offered an outlet for the American jazz avant-garde in the 1980s was the Italian Black Saint / Soul Note imprint. On All About Jazz, Jeff Stockton wrote, ..."from 1984 to 1989 Black Saint won the Down Beat critics poll for “Best Label" and “Best Producer" and established itself as ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman Records: Ten High Altitude Albums

Read "Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman Records: Ten High Altitude Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Bob Thiele is best remembered for his years as the artistic director and house producer of Impulse!. He took over from founder producer Creed Taylor in 1961 and stayed with the label until 1969, when he left to run his own Flying Dutchman Records. Thiele's tenure at Impulse! was its most glorious period, when Thiele curated ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Strata-East: Seizing the Time

Read "Strata-East: Seizing the Time" reviewed by Chris May


Operating on minimum finance and maximum passion, Brooklyn's Strata-East label was a pivotal platform for the spiritual-jazz movement that emerged during the Civil Rights struggle of the 1970s. Its closest contemporary comparator was Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Both were non-profit organisations. The AACM was non-profit by design. With Strata-East, co-founder Charles Tolliver ...

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Article: Album Review

Piotr Damasiewicz & Power Of The Horns Ensemble: Polska

Read "Polska" reviewed by Chris May


Poland's jazz tradition is perhaps the deepest rooted in all of Europe. Only Britain can rival it. But unlike British jazz, Polish jazz began in part as a declaration of protest against slavery and repression, as did that of its American parent, and this has given it a special quality. The slavery and repression were occasioned ...

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Article: Live Review

Ravi Coltrane Quartet at the New Hazlett Theater

Read "Ravi Coltrane Quartet at the New Hazlett Theater" reviewed by Mackenzie Horne


Ravi Coltrane Quartet New Hazlett Theater Pittsburgh, PA October 5, 2019 Since 2007, the Kente Arts Alliance (KAA) has worked diligently to underscore the relationship between the arts and community by providing accessible cultural programming within the city of Pittsburgh. KAA has hosted a number of elder jazz statesmen, including Hugh ...

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Article: Album Review

The Fred Hersch Trio: 10 Years / 6 Discs

Read "10 Years / 6 Discs" reviewed by Mark Corroto


You might be surprised by pianist Fred Hersch's response to a near-death coma in 2008. Quoting from his memoir Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz (Crown Archetype Press, 2017), “a confrontation with death brings home the preciousness of life... It was the newest, brightest, shining, most surprising, most uplifting feeling I ...


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