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Article: Book Excerpts

Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz

Read "Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz" reviewed by David Burke


The following is a revised excerpt from “Chapter 3: Full Force Gail" of Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz by David Burke (Desert Hearts, 2021). In the 1980s, a new generation of black British musicians began to reconfigure the country's jazz scene, changing the face -and sound-of what had previously been a ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Thelonious Monk: An Alternative Top Ten Albums Of Deep And Staggering Genius

Read "Thelonious Monk: An Alternative Top Ten Albums Of Deep And Staggering Genius" reviewed by Chris May


Thelonious Monk's position in cultural history grows in stature with each passing year and every new generation. Lionised by jazz fans and a continuing influence on musicians, Monk in 2020 is also held to be a hero by the hip hop movement. While his music no longer has the power to shock that it once possessed, ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

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 ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter

Read "Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter" reviewed by Chris May


Jazz has been inextricably linked with social and political protest since at least the late 1930s, when Billie Holiday made famous the leftist songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol's “Strange Fruit." The song, which has a power to move that is undiminished by familiarity, likens the bodies of lynched African Americans to fruit hanging in trees.

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Riverside Records: An Alternative Top Ten

Read "Riverside Records: An Alternative Top Ten" reviewed by Chris May


From 1953, when it was set up, to 1964, when it was acquired by ABC, Riverside Records rivalled Blue Note and Prestige as one of the leading independent jazz labels based in New York City. The founders of all three labels were jazz fans who operated on slim margins and became producers partly because they enjoyed ...

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Article: In Pictures

Bobby Watson at the Attucks Jazz Club

Read "Bobby Watson at the Attucks Jazz Club" reviewed by Mark Robbins


From 1977 to 1981, Bobby Watson was a student at the “University of Blakey," otherwise known as the Jazz Messengers led by drummer Art Blakey. After “graduation," Watson went on to become an acclaimed alto saxophonist, sought out by instrumentalist and vocalists alike while he led his own band, Horizon. Now, in addition to a fulltime ...

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Article: Album Review

The Joshua Breakstone Trio: Children of Art: A Tribute to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers

Read "Children of Art: A Tribute to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers" reviewed by Mark Sullivan


When last heard from, guitarist Joshua Breakstone was exploring the music of legendary jazz pianists with his Cello Quartet on 88 (Capri Records, 2016). On this album he is joined by double bassist Martin Wind (whose credits include several recordings with drummer Matt Wilson as well as dates as leader) and drummer Eliot Zigmund (who is ...

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Article: Radio

The Jazz Messengers in the 1960s (1960 - 1964)

Read "The Jazz Messengers in the 1960s (1960 - 1964)" reviewed by Russell Perry


As the 1960s began Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers were fueled by the compositions of Wayne Shorter with the front line of Shorter and Lee Morgan. In 1961, this transitioned to the last great Messengers lineup of the 1960s—and it was one of the best ever—Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Wayne Shorter on tenor, ...

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Article: Album Review

Mark Kavuma: The Banger Factory

Read "The Banger Factory" reviewed by Chris May


An associate of the Tomorrow's Warriors and Kinetika Bloco community projects through whose ranks have passed practically all the leading musicians in London's woke-jazz world, trumpeter Mark Kavuma stands a little apart from many of his peers. While the new London scene is characterized by hefty infusions of modern Caribbean and African music and London club ...

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Article: Radio

Sons of the Jazz Messengers (1956 - 1964)

Read "Sons of the Jazz Messengers (1956 - 1964)" reviewed by Russell Perry


In 1956, with Horace Silver's departure, Art Blakey inherited the Jazz Messengers. Over the next five years, the Jazz Messengers took part in recording sessions that have resulted in almost 40 live and studio recordings. Also in this period, Blakey collaborated with players who became the stars of Hard Bop. In this hour, we will hear ...


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