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Musician

Billy May

Born:

The last of the great arrangers who wrote regularly for Frank Sinatra, Billy May had several varied careers in and out of jazz. His first notable gig was as an arranger/trumpeter with Charlie Barnet (1938-1940), for whom he wrote the wah-wah-ing hit arrangement of Ray Noble's "Cherokee." Later, he worked in the same capacities for Glenn Miller (1940-1942) and Les Brown (1942) before settling into staff jobs, first at NBC studios, then at Capitol Records, where he led his own studio big band from 1951 to 1954. His arrangements for Sinatra, beginning with Come Fly With Me (1957) and ending with Trilogy (1979), are often in a walloping, brassy, even taunting swing mode, generating some of the singer's most swaggering vocals

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Article: Profile

Ahmad Jamal: After Poinciana

Read "Ahmad Jamal: After Poinciana" reviewed by Chuck Lenatti


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 On Location and at the Penthouse In an apparent effort to capitalize on the new-found popularity from his 1958 record, At the Pershing, But Not for Me (Argo LP628), Ahmad Jamal released a flurry of albums between 1958 and 1970, many of them recorded on location. ...

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Article: Album Review

The Flying Horse Big Band: A Message From The Flying Horse Big Band

Read "A Message From The Flying Horse Big Band" reviewed by Jack Bowers


The Message on the Florida-based Flying Horse Big Band's sixth album comes straight from the “messengers" themselves-- drummer Art Blakey's legendary Jazz Messengers, whose music is admirably presented here, and to whom the album is dedicated. Its ten songs were composed by members of the Jazz Messengers--Wayne Shorter, Hank Mobley, Horace Silver, Cedar ...

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Article: Live Review

Joe Block Christmas Extravaganza at Chris’ Jazz Café

Read "Joe Block Christmas Extravaganza at Chris’ Jazz Café" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Joe Block Christmas Extravaganza Chris' Jazz Café Philadelphia, PA December 17, 2023 Pianist Joe Block is a remarkable pianist and band leader born and bred in Philadelphia and its suburbs. He is a graduate of both Juilliard and Columbia, was mentored by legendary pianists like Tom Lawton ...

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Article: Bailey's Bundles

November 2022: Novel Noël: A Jingle Jazz Celebration

Read "November 2022: Novel Noël: A Jingle Jazz Celebration" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


Lyn Stanley Novel Noël: A Jingle Jazz Celebration A. T. Music 2022 Vocalist Lyn Stanley ironically calls her ensemble the Big Band Jazz Maverick when it is she who is the maverick, the evidence being how seamlessly she expands the holiday canon on Novel Noël: A Jingle Jazz Celebration. Over ...

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Article: Interview

Norman David: Forty-Year Wizard of The Eleventet

Read "Norman David: Forty-Year Wizard of The Eleventet" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


A few years ago, a musician friend suggested I go hear a band that was playing at a place in Bella Vista, Philadelphia, a neighborhood with a significant jazz history (violinist Joe Venuti and guitarist Eddie Lang lived there and are honored with several plaques and a mural) -but not much current music to speak of. ...

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Article: Interview

Chuck Granata: On Sinatra, The Beach Boys, and Johnny Mandel

Read "Chuck Granata: On Sinatra, The Beach Boys, and Johnny Mandel" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


Chuck Granata is a record and radio producer, author, music historian and archivist. He has written four books on music and sound recording: Sessions with Sinatra: Frank Sinatra and the Art of Recording (Chicago Review Press, A Capella Books, 1999), Wouldn't it be Nice: Brian Wilson and the Making of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (Chicago ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

The Songbooks (1950 - 1959)

Read "The Songbooks (1950 - 1959)" reviewed by Russell Perry


Songs from what came to be known as the Great American Songbook, have been part of jazz perhaps since The Original Dixieland Jazz Band began recording Irving Berlin compositions. In the 1940s, singer Lee Wiley recorded several collections of 78s, known as “albums"--a name that stuck into the LP era, focused on the work of individual ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Gerry Mulligan, Adam Price & More

Read "Gerry Mulligan, Adam Price & More" reviewed by Joe Dimino


This week we begin with a profile of a the fresh jazz sounds out of the United Kingdom with The Beats and Pieces Big Band featuring the group's leader Ben Cottrell off their latest commemorative CD simply entitled Ten. It celebrates a full decade of their groundbreaking jazz groove. The hour continues with a mincing of ...

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Article: Big Band Report

Los Angeles Jazz Institute Festival - Woodchopper's Ball: Part 3-4

Read "Los Angeles Jazz Institute Festival - Woodchopper's Ball: Part 3-4" reviewed by Simon Pilbrow


Los Angeles Jazz Institute Festival “Woodchoppers' Ball" Four Points by Sheraton at LAX Los Angeles, CA May 23-27, 2018 Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 Concert 8: The Herdsmen -Bobby Shew meets Larry McKenna Trumpeter Bobby Shew is a well- known ...


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