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Article: Album Review

Frank Zappa: Funky Nothingness

Read "Funky Nothingness" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Long after his death at the age of 52 in December 1993, Frank Zappa remains one of the most fascinating musicians and composers of his generation. Zappa was a rare individual who was equally skilled playing and writing in a number of different genres and styles, Funky Nothingness represents the brief era of a band which ...


Article: Liner Notes

Hal Galper Trio: Trip the Light Fantastic

Read "Hal Galper Trio: Trip the Light Fantastic" reviewed by Ken Dryden

This liner note assignment was very special to me, as it followed a phone interview that I did with Hal Galper that was a cover feature. Galper was ecstatic when it was published and called me one afternoon, exclaiming that the release date for his new CD was being moved up and he didn't have time ...


Article: Album Review

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto: The Real Tokyo Blues

Read "The Real Tokyo Blues" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (April 4, 1884-April 18, 1943) is a notorious military figure, as he was the commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet during much of World War II. Yamamoto was responsible for planning and executing the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. But before Japan attacked the United States, Yamamoto ...


Article: Album Review

Werner Klemperer: Colonel Klink Swings World War II

Read "Colonel Klink Swings World War II" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Werner Klemperer was a veteran actor who escaped Germany with his family prior to the start of World War II. Classically trained as a violinist and the son of noted conductor Otto Klemperer, he played Colonel Klink, the bumbling commandant of Stalag XIII on the 1960s television series “Hogan's Heroes," and was occasionally featured in the ...


Article: Liner Notes

Lorraine Feather's Language Turns A Witty Phrase

Read "Lorraine Feather's Language Turns A Witty Phrase" reviewed by Ken Dryden

I got to know Lorraine Feather through reviewing several of her CDs, amazed by her gifts as a lyricist and singer, who was equally at home with witty songs and tender ballads. I first met Lorraine when she was performing at the late lamented Manhattan club Danny's Skylight Room with pianist Shelly Berg. We would chat ...


Article: Liner Notes

Joe Pass: Meditation

Read "Joe Pass: Meditation" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Although a few jazz guitarists still perform solo concerts in the early days of the 21st century, none of them has produced anything approaching the series of live recordings by Joe Pass during his two decades as a Pablo artist. Incredibly, Pass maintained that playing unaccompanied on stage wasn't even his idea. During my November 1993 ...


Article: Album Review

Charles Mingus: The Lost Album from Ronnie Scott's

Read "The Lost Album from Ronnie Scott's" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Charles Mingus was larger than life as a composer, performer and bandleader. A writer of frequently difficult music, Mingus was demanding of himself and his musicians, yet he never wanted his works to sound overly polished. These recordings made over two consecutive nights at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in jny: London in 1971 were recorded to ...


Article: Album Review

Art Tatum: Nursery Rhymes A La Tatum

Read "Nursery Rhymes A La Tatum" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Art Tatum was a piano virtuoso whose improvising skills impressed even the likes of classical greats such as Vladimir Horowitz, though he had a fondness for folk songs in addition to standards and jazz favorites. This recording came about when a friend, Mitt Kinder, and his wife Mutti, announced the arrival of their first child, a ...


Article: Album Review

Richard Nixon & Spiro Agnew: Dick & Spiro Play Duke & Billy

Read "Dick & Spiro Play Duke & Billy" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Anyone who has read much history probably knows that President Richard Nixon once serenaded ex-President Harry Truman during a White House visit by playing “Missouri Waltz" on the piano in his honor (he was unaware that Truman hated the song). But history buffs may overlook that Nixon's Vice President, Spiro Agnew also played piano and was ...


Article: Album Review

Clark Terry: This Could Be The Start Of Something Big! - Clark Terry Plays TV Themes

Read "This Could Be The Start Of Something Big! - Clark Terry Plays TV Themes" reviewed by Ken Dryden

The late NEA Jazz Master Clark Terry was known for his brilliant playing and sense of humor, the latter which first came into wide recognition when he introduced his “Mumbles" routine in two original blues on the album Oscar Peterson Trio + 1—Clark Terry (Mercury, 1964). By the early 1970s, he was well established and had ...


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