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Musician

Lester Young

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Lester "Prez" Young was one of the giants of the tenor saxophone. He was the greatest improviser between Coleman Hawkins and Louis Armstrong of the 1920s and Charlie Parker in the 1940s. From the beginning, he set out to be different: He had his own lingo; In the Forties, he grew his hair out. The other tenor players held their saxophones upright in front of them, so Young held his out to the side, kind of like a flute (see picture above). Then, there was the way he played: Hawkins played around harmonic runs. He played flurries of notes and had a HUGE tone that the other tenor players of the day emulated. Young used a softer tone that resulted In a soft, light sound (if you didn't know better, you would think the two were playing different instruments)

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Charles Mingus: An Essential Top Ten Albums

Read "Charles Mingus: An Essential Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Charles Mingus was rarely a happy man and yet his music possessed a power to uplift listeners unlike that of most other composer / bandleaders before or after him. It still has that power in 2021, four decades after his passing and on the eve of his hundredth anniversary in 2022. In his personal life, too, ...

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Article: Interview

A Conversation with Jackie McLean

Read "A Conversation with Jackie McLean" reviewed by AAJ Staff


From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in October 1998. All About Jazz: You grew up in the same neighborhood as Bud Powell. How did he impact your life? And, what was Bud Powell the man like? Jackie McLean: He certainly lived in the vicinity of my ...

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Article: Album Review

Don Rendell Quintet: Space Walk

Read "Space Walk" reviewed by Chris May


As British jazz reaches new and unprecedented peaks of popularity, major labels are revisiting their vaults and rereleasing artistically enduring but long unavailable albums. Universal/Decca's British Jazz Explosion: Originals Re-Cut is the most ambitious of such reissue programs to be announced so far in 2021. It concentrates on the years 1965 -1972, a pivotal period in ...

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Article: Album Review

Doug MacDonald: Live in Hawaii

Read "Live in Hawaii" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Here is a guitar-led quartet with a couple of fresh angles. First, instead of using a piano, guitarist Doug MacDonald has enlisted vibraphonist Noel Okimoto to provide the harmonic counterpoint; and second, Philadelphia-born MacDonald has temporarily forsaken his decades-long base in Southern California to return “home" to Hawaii, where he began his professional career performing with ...

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Article: Album Review

Paul Bley Trios: Touching & Blood Revisited

Read "Touching & Blood Revisited" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Pianist Paul Bley (1932—2016) wasn't just a witness to jazz history, he was a key contributor. Bley performed with Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Sonny Rollins, yet his true sound was set in motion when he performed with Ornette Coleman in California, evidenced by Live At The Hillcrest Club 1958 (America Records, 1971). While ...

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Article: Album Review

Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multi-National Crusade For Harmony

Read "The Boyé Multi-National Crusade For Harmony" reviewed by Mark Corroto


There is something inherently objectionable when a billionaire acquires an artistic masterpiece by say, Leonardo DaVinci or Claude Monet, only to sequester it from public view. You might feel the same about Julius Hemphill's recordings Dogon A.D. (Mbari, 1972) and 'Coon Bid'ness (Arista/Freedom, 1975). Both five star recordings, now out of print, cost a small fortune ...

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Article: Under the Radar

A Different Drummer, Part 2: Royal Hartigan

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 2: Royal Hartigan" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Drums of Life--Drums of DeathThe ruins of the Anasazi people stand undisturbed in the cliffs between the high mesas and the canyon floors of the southwest. Dating to 2500 B.C., the multi-story adobe pueblos and stone cities were the sites of the ancient indigenous peoples of North America. Archeologists have uncovered an assortment of percussion instruments ...

Article: Profile

La Jazz Poetry di Jayne Cortez

Read "La Jazz Poetry di Jayne Cortez" reviewed by Maurizio Zerbo


Articolo originariamente pubblicato nel marzo 2003 e ora riproposto in occasione del mese dedicato al contributo femminile al jazz Per la sua spiccata componente di oralità, la Jazz Poetry è probabilmente l'espressione che meglio di altre connota—insieme al jazz stesso—l'esperienza artistica afroamericana del '900, in quanto trait d'union fra improvvisazione e composizione scritta.

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Article: Album Review

Schapiro 17: Human Qualities

Read "Human Qualities" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Following its splendid premiere recording, an exploration of Miles Davis' unrivaled album Kind Of Blue (Capitol Records, 1959), composer/arranger Jon Schapiro's 17-member ensemble broadens its horizons on Human Qualities, pairing seven of the maestro's astute and adventurous charts with the Roberta Flack best-seller, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." This time around, Schapiro proves ...


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