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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. May also did extensive scoring for television, film, and commercials

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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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Article: Album Review

The Ken Peplowski Big Band: Sunrise

Read "Sunrise" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Many contemporary big bands are all about “breaking new ground" and “exploring new pathways." Not this one. Ace clarinetist Ken Peplowski, who has performed and recorded with myriad large ensembles, at home and abroad, but has seldom led one--although he did record one other big-band album, Last Swing of the Century (Concord Jazz, 1999)--simply wants to ...

News: Video / DVD

Billy May: The Transcriptions

Billy May: The Transcriptions

Something happened in the 1950s. Actually two things did. The generation that grew up during the Depression and fought in World War II turned 40 in 1955. Just as they blew out the candles, the long-playing album expanded from 10 inches to 12. Both trends set the table neatly for Frank Sinatra's recording comeback. By the ...

Article: Album Review

Curtis Stigers with the Danish Radio Big Band: One More For The Road

Read "One More For The Road" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


Curtis Stigers è un cantante pop che ha debuttato nel 1991 con brani di grande appeal commerciale come “I Wonder Why," “Never Saw a Miracle" e “You're All That Matters to Me." Per un decennio ha variato leggermente quel patinato blend di pop, soul, smooth jazz, folk e rock, fino ad abbracciare più decisamente il jazz ...

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Article: Interview

Walt Weiskopf: All About the Sound

Read "Walt Weiskopf: All About the Sound" reviewed by Bob Kenselaar


What is it that drives Walt Weiskopf? It's all about the music, all about the sound.He's reached a large audience in ten years of touring with Steely Dan. He's written a half dozen books on jazz improvisation techniques and methods, and he's taught at the Eastman School of Music, Temple University and New Jersey ...


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