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ARTICLE: HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Zappa and the burning strings

Read "Zappa and the burning strings" reviewed by Mick Raubenheimer

Zappa. A glimpse.The composition was entering its fifth mood, a diabolical, gleeful, lurching rhythm, led by deep-plowed violin. The song was “Revised Music for Violin and Low Budget Orchestra," it was written for Jean-Luc Ponty by Frank Zappa. A new instrument dawned into my framework as that composition wheezed and moaned and ranted and ...

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 ...

Frank Sinatra: Myth, Reality and a Critic Standing in Line at Arby’s

Read "Frank Sinatra: Myth, Reality and a Critic Standing in Line at Arby’s" reviewed by Steve Provizer

The mere act of re-releasing a 1960 Frank Sinatra album speaks to the fact that his name still creates ripples when tossed into the cultural pond; still has the power to inspire a reaction when other other vocal stars of yore have receded into distant memory. An ocean of ink has been spilled in portraits and ...

The Trump Files

Read "The Trump Files" reviewed by Gene L. Ford

Having observed—from a safe distance—president Donald Trump's pathetic and propaganda-driven response to the coronavirus pandemic, the nation's collapsing economy, the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the coast-to-coast protests that have followed, your intrepid reporter was moved to present (as Fox News would assert) a more “fair and balanced" narrative ...

ARTICLE: HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Craft Recording's "Chet" is a Rare Win for Baker

Read "Craft Recording's "Chet" is a Rare Win for Baker" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

"There's a little white cat out here who's going to eat you up." —Charlie Parker (to Miles Davis) Chet Baker and Miles Davis. Two trumpet players born three years apart. Both unusually handsome and slight of build. Both lacking, as trumpeters, the qualities most often associated with those brass alphas of the jazz ...

ARTICLE: HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Blue Note's 80th Anniversary Vinyl Initiative

Read "Blue Note's 80th Anniversary Vinyl Initiative" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

Blue Note moves in mysterious ways. It seems like only a few months ago that the storied jazz label announced its Tone Poet vinyl series, because, well, it was only a few months ago, and here they are with yet another entry in the vinyl reissue game: the Blue Note 80th Anniversary Series. Like the Tone ...

Sex and The Single Trumpet Player

Read "Sex and The Single Trumpet Player" reviewed by Steve Provizer

Jack Sheldon (November 30, 1931) and Chet Baker (December 23, 1929-May 13, 1988)—two trumpeter/vocalists with a great deal in common. They spent their years of jazz apprenticeship, the early 1950's, on the West Coast, largely in jny: Los Angeles. They played in similar styles and their musical career paths early on were pretty similar, although Baker ...

ARTICLE: HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Who Needs Monk?

Read "Who Needs Monk?" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

2017 is Thelonious Monk's hundredth anniversary year and as good a time as any to ask whether he has anything to teach young, ambitious, up-and-coming jazz musicians today. Monk's recordings still nurture and entertain countless jazz fans, and the clarity and directness of his conception makes him a wonderful “introductory" artist for newbies. Gigging ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

Montreux Jazz Workshops: A Fine, Free Forum

Read "Montreux Jazz Workshops: A Fine, Free Forum" reviewed by Phillip Woolever

One of the most rewarding experiences at the Montreux Jazz Festival is attending one of the many free workshops conducted by a wide range of jazz and production masters. Many showcases are led by musicians with shows scheduled on or near those afternoons, so they are in high performance mode. Participants are often top ticket attractions, ...

Dusseldorf Rally: Jazz's Best Kept Secret?

Read "Dusseldorf Rally: Jazz's Best Kept Secret?" reviewed by Phillip Woolever

Year after year, the Dusseldorf Jazz Rally continues to provide visitors with one of the finest festival experiences to be found in Western Europe. While other events in the region may spend more on self-promotion, feature more prominent line-ups or gather more media coverage, the Jazz Rally cheerfully and consistently serves up what is quite likely ...


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