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Booker Ervin

Booker Ervin had a large hard tone like an r&b tenor saxophonist, but he was actually an adventurous player whose music fell between hard bop and the avant-garde. Ervin originally played trombone but taught himself the tenor when he was in the Air Force in the early 1950s. After his discharge, he studied music for two years before he made his recording debut with Ernie Fields in 1956. During that year he first performed with Charles Mingus and he was a key part of Mingus’s groups during 1956-1962, offering a contrast to the wild flights of Eric Dolphy. During 1963-1965, Ervin led ten albums for Prestige and each has its rewarding moments

Blue Note Records: Lost In Space: 20 Overlooked Classic Albums

Read "Blue Note Records: Lost In Space: 20 Overlooked Classic Albums" reviewed by Chris May

For anyone with a passion for Blue Note, it is hard to conceive of an album that has been “overlooked," let alone twenty of them. For connoisseurs of the most influential label in jazz history, the passion can be all consuming: if a dedicated collector does not have all the albums (yet), he or she will ...

Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums

Read "Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun's Atlantic Records differs in one key respect from Prestige, Riverside, Impulse!, Strata-East and Flying Dutchman, the most prominent labels covered so far in this Building A Jazz Library series. Those labels' discographies consist almost exclusively of jazz. Atlantic had parallel interests in soul and rhythm-and-blues and, later, rock. This had consequences, as ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Nicholas Krolak Interview

Read "Nicholas Krolak Interview" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

In this wide-ranging interview, the boys talk with bassist Nicholas Krolak, a Philadelphian with insights on pacing a set, marketing difficult-to-publicize music like jazz, the cost of including standards on a CD, and the oblique thinking of Bad Plus pianist Orrin Evans. There's also some discussion of “bachelor cookies" (not a euphemism) in there.

Jazz & Film: An Alternative Top 20 Soundtrack Albums

Read "Jazz & Film: An Alternative Top 20 Soundtrack Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Jazz and the movies have a shared history stretching back almost a hundred years. The relationship came into its own in the US in the mid twentieth century. Elia Kazan's 1950 movie Panic In The Streets is an early example of how film makers used jazz-based soundtracks to enhance drama and atmosphere and create ambiances of ...

Hard Bop: An Alternative Top Ten

Read "Hard Bop: An Alternative Top Ten" reviewed by Chris May

Hard bop was the jazz centre of the world from the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s, producing many hundreds of immortal albums. Trying to whittle these down to a definitive Top Ten is fun—but it is a subjective and ultimately impossible exercise. In an attempt to dodge those hurdles, the list which ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

[email protected], Newk with Monk & More

Read "BU@100, Newk with Monk & More" reviewed by Marc Cohn

Art Blakey turns 100 in October. He's too important to have to wait till then. So, we've got 3 more tracks from Bu as well as a 'pre-Bu' segment of tunes associated with or inspired by the great drummer. Our chronological Sonny Rollins celebration continues with a 4tet session with Monk @ the 88s. Along the ...

Charles Mingus: Mingus in Wonderland – 1959

Read "Charles Mingus: Mingus in Wonderland – 1959" reviewed by Marc Davis

In 1959, there were two Charles Minguses: the Mingus you knew and the Mingus you didn't. In May 1959, Mingus recorded his very best album ever: the incomparable Mingus Ah Um. And I mean incomparable in the literal sense. There is, literally, no other record quite like it. It's a big band, but not ...

Booker Ervin: The In Between -- 1968

Read "Booker Ervin: The In Between -- 1968" reviewed by Marc Davis

There's a kind of music I like to think of as harder bop. It's a lot like conventional 1950s hard bop, but tougher, more muscular, more cerebral. Booker Ervin's The In Between is that kind of record. Ervin has an edgy style. It starts with a John Coltrane feel, then pushes a little further. ...

Horace Parlan: Up and Down – 1961

Read "Horace Parlan: Up and Down – 1961" reviewed by Marc Davis

I have a new hero: Pianist Horace Parlan. Until recently, I had heard of Parlan, but never really heard him. I certainly never knew his back story. It's inspirational--and his music is pretty damn good, too. Parlan had a handicap. As a child, he lost some function in his right hand due to polio. ...


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