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Musician

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

Alex Bird: You Are the Light and the Way

Read "You Are the Light and the Way" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki


You Are the Light and the Way presents an interesting challenge for a writer. Twelve new songs by Canadian vocalist Alex Bird (lyrics and music) and keyboardist Ewan Farncombe (music and arrangements) consistently sound like new “songbook classics"--in several places, as if Harry Connick Jr. magically composed music with Johnny Mercer. Bird, Farncombe and the Jazz ...

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Article: From the Inside Out

Bird Songs, Tripping Fantásia, Real Harmony & Klezmer-Hop

Read "Bird Songs, Tripping Fantásia, Real Harmony & Klezmer-Hop" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki


Alex Bird & the Jazz Mavericks You Are the Light and the Way Self-Produced 2021 You Are the Light and the Way presents an interesting challenge for a writer. Twelve new songs by Canadian vocalist Alex Bird (lyrics and music) and keyboardist Ewan Farncombe (music and ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

It's Infrastructure Week!

Read "It's Infrastructure Week!" reviewed by H William Stine


This week I paid tribute to the roads and highways, the bridges and tunnels, the power, communications, and water systems. I thought I'd better hurry up and celebrate Infrastructure Week before everything crumbles, fizzles out, implodes, and self-destructs.  Playlist Cody Owen Stine “Paris Mismatch (Theme Music)" 00:00 Rosemary Clooney “On The Road Again" from ...

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Article: Extended Analysis

The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia & RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-66

Read "The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia & RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-66" reviewed by Skip Heller


Louis Armstrong officially returned to small band leadership May 17, 1947 via a triumphant concert at Town Hall that was less comeback than reaffirmation. It was even the dawn of his second great period, full of recordings that stood tall with his epochal 1920's output, and the subsequently-assembled Louis Armstrong and his All Stars would immediately ...

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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 & Podcasts

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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