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Charles Mingus

One of the most important figures in twentieth century American music, Charles Mingus was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer. Born on a military base in Nogales, Arizona in 1922 and raised in Watts, California, his earliest musical influences came from the church— choir and group singing— and from "hearing Duke Ellington over the radio when [he] was eight years old." He studied double bass and composition in a formal way (five years with H. Rheinshagen, principal bassist of the New York Philharmonic, and compositional techniques with the legendary Lloyd Reese) while absorbing vernacular music from the great jazz masters, first-hand

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Charles McPherson: The Art Of Teaching

Read "Charles McPherson: The Art Of Teaching" reviewed by Jim Trageser

Charles McPherson will always be known for his alto sax playing. A favorite of Hollywood director Clint Eastwood, McPherson first gained a national reputation playing in Charles Mingus' combo in the late 1950s. By 1964 he was recording as a leader (although he'd continue to perform with Mingus for another half-decade), and later re-created Charlie Parker's ...

ARTICLE: HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Ornette Coleman: An Outsider Cracks the Egg

Read "Ornette Coleman: An Outsider Cracks the Egg" reviewed by Steve Provizer

Part 1 | Part 2 There are two ways a musician can make a significant impact on jazz. One is to mobilize virtuosity and knowledge to push the current boundaries of the music. There are a number who fall in this category, but unassailable examples are Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum and Charlie Parker. The ...

Charlie Parker: Ten High Flying Albums Of Paradigm Shifting Genius

Read "Charlie Parker: Ten High Flying Albums Of Paradigm Shifting Genius" reviewed by Chris May

Born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1920, and brought up across the state line in anything-goes, jazz-friendly Kansas City, Missouri, controlled from the mid 1920s to the late 1930s by the spectacularly corrupt politician Tom Prendergast, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker lived fast and hard and passed in 1955, aged only 34 years. A founding father of ...

ARTICLE: HISTORY OF JAZZ

Charlie Parker: In Praise of Bird on His 100th Birthday!

Read "Charlie Parker: In Praise of Bird on His 100th Birthday!" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

A hundred years ago, on August 29, 1920, soon after jazz was born, Charlie Parker came into this world, and in the 35 years of a life cut short by addictions and impulse-driven living, he changed the face of the music. His innovations as one of the creators of bebop and his stunning sound and virtuosic ...

Muse Records: Ten Smoking Hot Albums

Read "Muse Records: Ten Smoking Hot Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Alone among the other great jazz labels of the 1960s and 1970s—Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside, Impulse!, Strata-East and Atlantic—Joe Fields' Muse is rarely anthologised, written about or otherwise celebrated. Yet like its peers, Muse was prolific, releasing over 200 premium-grade albums during the 1970s, its most active decade, alone. This relative obscurity is ...

ARTICLE: TAKE FIVE WITH...

Meet Dion Kerr

Read "Meet Dion Kerr" reviewed by Dion Kerr

Meet Dion Kerr: Dion Kerr is a multi-dimensional artist (multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, songwriter, photographer, and videographer) born and raised in South Florida. Kerr's work reflects a broad range of influences and mediums. He has toured and recorded all around the world as both a leader and a sideman to a wide variety of groups spanning across ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Alan Wakeman: The Octet Broadcasts 1969 and 1979

Read "The Octet Broadcasts 1969 and 1979" reviewed by Chris May

Despite a perception fostered by the more breathless media coverage given to the young lions who have emerged on the London scene since the mid 2010s, an identifiably British strand of jazz did not kick off when Shabaka Hutchings' Sons Of Kemet released its debut album in 2013. The groundwork was laid back in the 1950s ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Maria Schneider: On Worlds Diverged

Read "Maria Schneider: On Worlds Diverged" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

We stand today at an intersection between two realities. On one side there's digital darkness--an underbelly of networked netherworlds, profiteers building fortunes on the collective back of musicians, sinister forces posing as corporate protagonists--and on the other, pure light given over through nature's gifts, a kindness and humanity that grace daily existence, and the beauty and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Zeena Quinn: Going My Way

Read "Going My Way" reviewed by Jack Bowers

With so many singers these days competing to tempt the ears of an ever-shrinking jazz audience, success often rests not only on the talents of the vocalist but on the songs he or she chooses to interpret. On Going My Way, San Francisco-based vocalist Zeena Quinn puts her best foot forward on the opening numbers, “Lover" ...


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