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Johnny Mercer

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When people write about Johnny Mercer, they usually talk about his fabulous career, the sheer quantity of his output, the speed and ease with which he wrote, his southern charm, the hip sophistication of his lyrics. But all this misses the real point. Ask anyone who writes lyrics. Johnny Mercer was a genius. He was born John Herndon Mercer on November 18, 1909 into an old Southern family in Savannah, Georgia. His father was a wealthy attorney with a flourishing real estate business, and young John was sent to a fashionable prep school, the Woodbury Forrest School in Virginia. However, when he was 17, his father's business collapsed, and his father found himself a million dollars in debt

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Article: Album Review

Jeff Ellwood: The Sounds Around The House

Read "The Sounds Around The House" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


As a professional musician hoping to have a meaningful career, hiding one's light under a bushel, may not be the best way to recognizable success. Such might be the case for tenor saxophonist Jeff Ellwood. He may have fallen into the trap evinced by the Dave Frishberg ditty “I Want To Be ...

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Article: Radio

Lucky To Be Me: Happy Birthday to Sheila Jordan

Read "Lucky To Be Me: Happy Birthday to Sheila Jordan" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


The broadcast features new releases from vocalist Aubrey Wilson, saxophonist Dean Tsur, pianists Jihee Heo and Jeni Sotchiver plus birthday shoutouts to Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, Diana Krall, Cindy Blackman Santana, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer, Michelle Ann May, Cynthia Hilts and Kari van der Kloot, among others. Thanks for listening and please support the artists you ...

News: Video / DVD

Once Upon a Summertime

Once Upon a Summertime

One of the most difficult songs to sing well is Once Upon Summertime. Written in 1954 by Michel Legrand, French music producer Eddie Barclay and French songwriter Eddy Marnay, the slow waltz originally was entitled La Valse des Lilas (or The Lilac Waltz). In the late 1950s, the song was given English lyrics by Johnny Mercer ...

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Article: Album Review

Naama Gheber: Dearly Beloved

Read "Dearly Beloved" reviewed by Jim Trageser


Cabaret singer? Jazz singer? Pop singer? The splendid debut from Israeli singer Naama Gheber recalls a time when such distinctions were utterly without meaning. “Dearly Beloved" finds her inhabiting the same territory as such classic crossover singers as June Christy, Peggy Lee and Lena Horne. Of course, for that generation, jazz WAS ...

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Article: Live Review

The Peter And Will Anderson Trio At The Jazz Corner

Read "The Peter And Will Anderson Trio At The Jazz Corner" reviewed by Martin McFie


Peter and Will Anderson Trio The Jazz Corner Hilton Head Island, SC. February 21-22, 2020 Eight instruments on stage and only three musicians seemed like a challenge, particularly as the guitar was the only instrument played by Adam Moezinia. The other instruments were all for twin brothers Peter and Will Anderson ...

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Article: Live Review

Tierney Sutton At The Jazz Corner

Read "Tierney Sutton At The Jazz Corner" reviewed by Martin McFie


Tierney Sutton The Jazz Corner Hilton Head Island, SC February 8, 2020 When a lady has chosen nine new outfits, attended nine nerve wracking awards dinners and been nominated for nine Grammys since 2006, it would simply be impolite not to vote for her to win next time. Tierney Sutton certainly ...

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Article: Live Review

Harry Allen With Rossano Sportiello At The Jazz Corner

Read "Harry Allen With Rossano Sportiello At The Jazz Corner" reviewed by Martin McFie


Harry Allen with Rossano Sportiello The Jazz Corner Hilton Head Island, SCJanuary 10-11, 2019 At a certain point in a musician's career the shorthand of describing them as influenced by, or sounding like, this or that great player from the past becomes redundant--Harry Allen sounds like Harry Allen. His ...

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Article: Live Review

Norwegian Road Trip, Part 4: Oslo and an Interview with Jan Erik Kongshaug

Read "Norwegian Road Trip, Part 4: Oslo and an Interview with Jan Erik Kongshaug" reviewed by John Kelman


Author's Note: Jan Erik Kongshaug, owner and recording engineer at Rainbow Studios, Oslo, passed away on November 5, 2019. Beyond his best-known work on hundreds of recordings for the lauded ECM Records label in collaboration with label head/producer Manfred Eicher, Kongshaug's studio and engineering, mixing and mastering work has garnered significant international acclaim. Still, Rainbow continues ...

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Article: Live Review

Live From Birmingham: Chris Bowden, Andy Derrick, Föllakzoid, Yellowman, Sharon Shannon & Seckou Keita

Read "Live From Birmingham: Chris Bowden, Andy Derrick, Föllakzoid, Yellowman, Sharon Shannon & Seckou Keita" reviewed by Martin Longley


Chris Bowden & Andy Derrick The Blue Piano August 1, 2019 Birmingham alto saxophonist Chris Bowden operates a monthly gig at The Blue Piano pub, just outside the city centre. He always invites guest players, and this time it was local trombonist Andy Derrick. Bowden is one of the best ...


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