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Count Basie

Bill Basie studied music with his mother as a child and played piano in early childhood. He picked up the basics of early ragtime from some of the great Harlem pianists and studied organ informally with Fats Waller. He made his professional debut as an accompanist for vaudeville acts and replaced Waller in an act called Katie Crippen and her Kids. He also worked with June Clark and Sonny Greer who was later to become Duke Ellington’s drummer. It was while traveling with the Gonzel White vaudeville show that Basie became stranded in Kansas City when the outfit suddenly broke up. He played at a silent movie house for a while and then became a member of the Walter Page Blue Devils in 1928 and ’29

Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums

Read "Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums" reviewed by Chris May

There can be little argument that a jazz label ever captured a zeitgeist more completely than Impulse! did during its original 1960s incarnation. In the US, the fight back against white racism was cresting, opposition to the Vietnam war was growing, outrage over the assassinations of figures of hope such as President Kennedy, Martin Luther King ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Denys Baptiste: Pathfinder For The New London Jazz

Read "Denys Baptiste: Pathfinder For The New London Jazz" reviewed by Chris May

Bandleader, composer and educator Denys Baptiste is among the generation of musicians, many of them of Caribbean or African heritage, who pointed the way for the younger players who have emerged on the London jazz scene since around 2015. Baptiste's contemporaries include saxophonists Jason Yarde, Soweto Kinch, Steve Williamson and Courtney Pine, and trumpeter Byron Wallen, ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Jazz for James Bond and other Secret Agents, Spies and Detectives - Part 1

Read "Jazz for James Bond and other Secret Agents, Spies and Detectives - Part 1" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

For a reason or another, movies about detectives, secret agents or spies have gone mano a mano with jazz, and so this week we'll feature jazz inspired by adventurous characters. In this first segment, the focus is on James Bond and how anyone from Louis Armstrong and Count Basie to Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas and Steven ...

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 ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Hedvig Mollestad: Ekhidna

Read "Ekhidna" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

In 2003, the English writer John Murray published his Booker Prize-listed novel Jazz Etc. It narrated the life and times of a female guitarist, the improbably named Fanny Golightly, from working class Cumbria. One observer in the story describes Golightly's playing thus: “I suppose jazz is the only name for it. It was as delirious as ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Muriel Grossmann: Reverence

Read "Reverence" reviewed by Chris May

Since the late 1990s, the Spanish island of Ibiza has been synonymous with two things: electronic dance music and 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine aka MDMA or ecstasy. Austrian-born saxophonist Muriel Grossmann has lived on Ibiza since 2004 and her intense wall-of-sound style of astral jazz suggests she is familiar with both those pillars of Ibizan nightlife. ...

John Scofield As A Sideman: The Best Of…

Read "John Scofield As A Sideman: The Best Of…" reviewed by Ian Patterson

John Scofield is a modern-day jazz legend, one of the most instantly recognizable voices on the guitar, and an inspiration to many. In a solo career that began in earnest in 1977, Scofield has carved out his own sound on dozens of albums, including his tribute to Steve Swallow, Swallow Tales (ECM, 2020), a trio album ...

Prestige Records: An Alternative Top 20 Albums

Read "Prestige Records: An Alternative Top 20 Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Along with Alfred Lion's Blue Note and Orrin Keepnews' Riverside, Bob Weinstock's Prestige was at the top table of independent New York City-based jazz labels from the early 1950s until the mid 1960s. Like those other two labels, Prestige built up a profuse catalogue packed with enduring treasures. Originally a record retailer, Weinstock ...

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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