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Johnny Mercer


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


Article: Album Review

Sean Fyfe: Stepping Stones

Read "Stepping Stones" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

In an era when the echoes of jazz legends resonate through the ages, pianist Sean Fyfe emerges as a torchbearer of the hard-bop tradition with his latest release Stepping Stones . This album is a testament to the power of collaboration, as Fyfe is joined by the dynamic ensemble of tenor saxophonist Dave O'Higgins, drummer Matt ...


Article: Album Review

Cannonball Adderley: Poppin In Paris: Live At L'Olympia 1972

Read "Poppin In Paris: Live At L'Olympia 1972" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

In his most natural setting--onstage alongside brother Nat Adderley--and accompanied by pianist George Duke, bassist Walter Booker and the trusty Roy McCurdy on drums, Cannonball Adderley pops and bops to all heart's content on Poppin' In Paris: Live at the Olympia 1972 . Appearing as part of the Paris Jazz Festival, the band holds ...


Article: Album Review

Chris Keefe: Opening

Read "Opening" reviewed by Geannine Reid

Chris Keefe may be new to the jazz recording scene as a leader, but his debut album, aptly titled Opening (Zugzwangbebop Records, 2023), reflects his lifetime commitment to the intricate art of jazz. With an academic background from the New England Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music and performance credits alongside Joe LaBarbera and Antonio Sanchez, ...


Article: Album Review

Bernie Senensky: Moment to Moment

Read "Moment to Moment" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

Bernie Senensky is a nuanced and adaptable pianist. Throughout his career he has shown an unparalleled improvisational approach to the material he chooses that crosses borders and generations. In this current release, entitled Moment to Moment, the music comes from two performance opportunities, from 2001 and 2020, and is anchored simultaneously historically and from the future. ...


Article: Album Review

Seth Kibel: Clown with a Stick

Read "Clown with a Stick" reviewed by Jack Bowers

A stick? Most definitely. A clown? Most definitely not. Seth Kibel is far more virtuoso than court jester, especially on his main axe, the clarinet (sometimes referred to as a liquorice stick), as he proves time and again on this inclusive and thoroughly delightful album. Okay, so the music is for the most ...


Article: Album Review

The Las Vegas Boneheads: Sixty and Still Cookin'

Read "Sixty and Still Cookin'" reviewed by Jack Bowers

There aren't many albums a listener might care to revisit again immediately after an initial spin. This is one of them. The Las Vegas Boneheads, a trombone-and-rhythm nonet formed by Abe Nole in 1962, marked their sixtieth(!) anniversary by recording Sixty and Still Cookin', an album that more than lives up to its name while presenting ...


Article: Live Review

Birth of the Cool at 75: A Philadelphia Premiere at the Clef Club

Read "Birth of the Cool at 75: A Philadelphia Premiere at the Clef Club" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Orchestra 2001 Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts Birth of the Cool: A Philly Premiere, 75 Years Later jny:Philadelphia, PA March 29, 2023 The advanced publicity for this exciting historically-based concert must have hit the pleasure centers of many fans, as it sold out on the second ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

New Releases Plus Jazz Master Sheila Jordan Celebrates Another Solar Journey

Read "New Releases Plus Jazz Master Sheila Jordan Celebrates Another Solar Journey" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

This broadcast presents new releases from from Kate Hamann, Vanessa Racci, Sam Taylor, The Ostara Project, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Kris Allen, plus a new single from Abbie Finn, with birthday shoutouts to lyricist Marilyn Bergman, Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, Cynthia Hilts, Nioka Workman, Cindy Blackman, Marianne Solivan, Jen Hodge and Johnny Mercer among others. Thanks for ...


Article: Album Review

Shawn Purcell: 180

Read "180" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Guitarist Shawn Purcell's latest CD, 180, is all about swinging; Purcell's trio (Pat Bianchi on Hammond B3 organ, Jason Tiemann on drums) nestles squarely into the groove on the double-quick opener, “Cat and Mouse," which sets an upbeat tone for the album as a whole. The rhythm seldom flags on Purcell's sunny compositions ...


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