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Jimmy Witherspoon

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One of the great post-war blues shouters, Jimmy Witherspoon, or 'Spoon, as he's known throughout the jazz and blues world, straddled the line between blues and jazz, becoming an integral participant in the history of both of these classic genres of American music. Born August 8, 1923, in Gurdon, Arkansas, the young James Witherspoon sang in church choirs much like his railroad worker father. Confidence came early as he won first prize in a singing competition at the age of five. While in his teens, Witherspoon decided to try his luck pursuing a singing career and ran away to Los Angeles. It was there that he decided to become a blues singer after seeing a performance by Big Joe Turner. Bouncing around from job to job and not having much success as a singer, Witherspoon joined the merchant marines in 1941

Article: Radio & Podcasts

Will Power Versus Won't Power

Read "Will Power Versus Won't Power" reviewed by H William Stine


What does it take to lose weight? Willpower. Stop biting your nails? Willpower. What does it take to stop watching America's Got Talent? Half a brain—but that's a different issue. Getting back on topic: what does it take to give up smoking? Again, Willpower. So let me get this straight: Willpower is forcing yourself not to ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Jon Hendricks: An Essential Top Ten Albums

Read "Jon Hendricks: An Essential Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Peter Jones


Considering he reached the ripe old age of 37 before recording an album, Jon Hendricks' jazz legacy is remarkable. Although a singer, in his head he was more of an instrumentalist. When he improvised, he would imitate the tenor saxophone, the flute, the trombone, or the double-bass. His professional singing career lasted from 1932, when he ...

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Article: Album Review

Steve Maddock: The Blues Project

Read "The Blues Project" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


In the mid 1960's, there was a Greenwich Village, NYC pop band called The Blues Project which was primarily informed by folk, rhythm & blues, jazz and pop music of the day. One of their early success was entitled “Flute Thing," a tune from the group's 1966 album Projections (Verve / Folkways). Keyboardist / vocalist Al ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

August Birthdays

Read "August Birthdays" reviewed by Marc Cohn


August birthdays this week, celebrating the centennials of Charlie Parker, singer Jimmy Witherspoon and bassist George Duvivier. George only did one session as a leader for a French label, which I have never been able to find. So, we pair him with other August celebrants: Jimmy Rushing, Lester Young, Arnett Cobb and Art Farmer. We also ...

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Article: Album Review

Frank Basile: 2 Part Solution

Read "2 Part Solution" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


One might have expected there would be a plethora of baritone sax / tenor sax recordings following the standout 1959 Verve release Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster. Not so, although the two principals were involved in a follow-up album in 1960 for HiFi Jazz entitled Jimmy Witherspoon With Mulligan and Webster at The Renaissance. The Frank ...

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Article: Album Review

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis: Big Band Holidays II

Read "Big Band Holidays II" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki


Jazz at Lincoln Center Big Band Holiday concerts, featuring the JALC Orchestra with Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis and guests, are a welcome addition to New York City holiday jazz traditions. Big Band Holidays II presents the second set of live recordings from these concerts beginning from 2015, the year that the JALC Orchestra released ...

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Article: From the Inside Out

Back in the Day, Around the World

Read "Back in the Day, Around the World" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki


Brooklyn Funk Essentials Stay Good Dorado Records 2019 Back in the day, jazz bands like Roy Ayers' Ubiquity and soul bands like the Ohio Players played more than jazz and soul. Jazz and soul were their main ingredient, but only one ingredient among others stirred in ...

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Article: Album Review

Nick Weldon: Eleven Flames

Read "Eleven Flames" reviewed by Roger Farbey


Nick Weldon is best known as a pianist and in that context has accompanied some of the biggest names in jazz including Sonny Stitt, Johnny Griffin and Jimmy Witherspoon. However on this album he plays bass. He's had classical training on the instrument and in addition to jazz dates, he continues to play in orchestras. But ...

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Article: Multiple Reviews

Jazz is Mod: An Introduction to the Mod Jazz Series

Read "Jazz is Mod: An Introduction to the Mod Jazz Series" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard


In England there is a solid tradition for crate digging and appreciation of American music. In fact, the whole idea of Northern Soul is based on the concept of English hipsters digging out rare soul gems in the sixties and giving them new life on the dance floor. However, the English mod scene, as it was ...


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