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Billy Strayhorn

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If you are familiar with the jazz composition, "Take the A Train," then you know something about not only Duke Ellington, but also Billy "Sweet Pea" Strayhorn, its composer. Strayhorn joined Ellington's band in 1939, at the age of twenty-two. Ellington liked what he saw in Billy and took this shy, talented pianist under his wings. Neither one was sure what Strayhorn's function in the band would be, but their musical talents had attracted each other. By the end of the year Strayhorn had become essential to the Duke Ellington Band; arranging, composing, sitting-in at the piano. Billy made a rapid and almost complete assimilation of Ellington's style and technique

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Article: Album Review

Charles Lloyd: Trios: Chapel

Read "Trios: Chapel" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Blue Note Records has a history of boasting strong stables of players. In the 1950s and 60s, we could look to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter--and if ever there was an incomplete list compiled, that one is it. Time rolls on. Twenty years (or thereabouts) into ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Cool and Groovy Vibes for a Hot Summer Night

Read "Cool and Groovy Vibes for a Hot Summer Night" reviewed by David Brown


This week, a cool and groovy mix for a hot summer night. Sets with string quartets, vibraphone vibes, burning roller-coaster rides, and dancing with ants in your pants. Playlist Thelonious Monk “Esistrophy (Theme)" from Live at the It Club--Complete (Columbia) 00:30 Valaida Snow “I Can't Dance" from Valaida Snow 1933-1936 (The Classics Chronological Series ...

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Article: Live Review

Joel Frahm at Jazz At The Joint

Read "Joel Frahm at Jazz At The Joint" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


Joel Frahm Jazz At The Joint North Little Rock, AR July 11, 2022 Synergy. The word was first used in 1600, derived from the Greek συνεργός ("synergos"), which means “to work together" or “to cooperate," with the corollary that the results of this “cooperation" afford an output greater than the sum ...

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Article: Album Review

Vicki Burns: Lotus Blossom Days

Read "Lotus Blossom Days" reviewed by Jeff Winbush


Whatever else can be said about jazz, there is little disagreement that it is best experienced in a live setting. Listening to Vicki Burns' Lotus Blossom Days is as close to a front-row seat in a New York nightclub as many of us are likely to get in these times of high fuel costs and crowded ...

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Article: Album Review

Naama Gheber: I’m A Fool To Want You

Read "I’m A Fool To Want You" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


Vocalist Naama Gheber is applying a different paradigm to the release of her second recording, the EP If I Knew Then, presently due for release in November 2022. She previously released the single “Old Mother Hubbard" and now follows it with a starkly fashioned “I'm A Fool To Want You." Gheber released her debut recording Dearly ...

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Article: Bailey's Bundles

June 2022: Constellations

Read "June 2022: Constellations" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


ChimyTina Constellations La Reserve 2022 ChimyTina is a collision moniker for the duo of bassist Dan “Chimy" Chmeilinski and vocalist Martina DaSilva. They are part of a daring group of singers/bassists perfecting the most musically intimate of performance formats. With the bass as the “harmony" instrument supporting a vocalist, ...

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Article: Album Review

Richard Nixon & Spiro Agnew: Dick & Spiro Play Duke & Billy

Read "Dick & Spiro Play Duke & Billy" reviewed by Ken Dryden


Anyone who has read much history probably knows that President Richard Nixon once serenaded ex-President Harry Truman during a White House visit by playing “Missouri Waltz" on the piano in his honor (he was unaware that Truman hated the song). But history buffs may overlook that Nixon's Vice President, Spiro Agnew also played piano and was ...

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Article: Interview

Bill Charlap: Intellect And Emotion

Read "Bill Charlap: Intellect And Emotion" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


"I don't ever remember a time when I didn't play the piano," reflects pianist Bill Charlap, who has become one of the giants of his generation on his instrument of choice, as evidenced by the array of other great players with whom he has performed. With his deft and agile approach he can summon a fiery ...

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Article: Album Review

Sean Fyfe Quartet: Late Night

Read "Late Night" reviewed by Jack Bowers


The opening number on pianist Sean Fyfe's latest album, Late Night, is “Happy," which could serve as a subtext for the album as a whole. Even when performing a solo rendition of Billy Strayhorn's mournful “Lush Life," Fyfe somehow manages to sound happy, lending a sunny counterweight to the heart-breaking sense of loss that permeates Strayhorn's ...


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