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Louis Armstrong

By virtue of the role he played in its evolution during the first quarter of the 20th century, Louis Armstrong is regarded as the most influential jazz musician in history. This distinction is coupled with his stewardship of jazz around the world over the next five decades as the earliest and greatest ambassador of America's first true musical art form. With the liberating effects of the Jazz Age reverberating on world culture since the 1930s, Satchmo's contributions to society are now measured alongside those of the greatest artists, philosophers and statesmen of the modern era. In the year 2000, we celebrate the centennial of his birth on August 4, 1901—a date that Louis took with him throughout his life

ARTICLE: PROFILE

Stuff Smith: Swing Violinist

Read "Stuff Smith: Swing Violinist" reviewed by AAJ Staff

From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in 2002. When Hezekiah Leroy Gordon “Stuff" Smith picked up the violin, the house began to rock. The second major popularizer of the violin in jazz after Joe Venuti, Stuff received great success with his small high energy swing band in the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Jay Thomas Quartet: Upside

Read "Upside" reviewed by Paul Rauch

Seattle-based musician Jay Thomas may be considered the oddest of ducks in the jazz universe. By that, I am referring to his fierce musicality expressed both on trumpet and saxophone, as well as most members of the brass and woodwind families. Inspired early in his career by the like minded veteran Ira Sullivan, Thomas in a ...

ARTICLE: HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Ornette Coleman: An Outsider Cracks the Egg

Read "Ornette Coleman: An Outsider Cracks the Egg" reviewed by Steve Provizer

Part 1 | Part 2 There are two ways a musician can make a significant impact on jazz. One is to mobilize virtuosity and knowledge to push the current boundaries of the music. There are a number who fall in this category, but unassailable examples are Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum and Charlie Parker. The ...

Charlie Parker: Ten High Flying Albums Of Paradigm Shifting Genius

Read "Charlie Parker: Ten High Flying Albums Of Paradigm Shifting Genius" reviewed by Chris May

Born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1920, and brought up across the state line in anything-goes, jazz-friendly Kansas City, Missouri, controlled from the mid 1920s to the late 1930s by the spectacularly corrupt politician Tom Prendergast, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker lived fast and hard and passed in 1955, aged only 34 years. A founding father of ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

August Birthdays

Read "August Birthdays" reviewed by Marc Cohn

August birthdays this week, celebrating the centennials of Charlie Parker, singer Jimmy Witherspoon and bassist George Duvivier. George only did one session as a leader for a French label, which I have never been able to find. So, we pair him with other August celebrants: Jimmy Rushing, Lester Young, Arnett Cobb and Art Farmer. We also ...

ARTICLE: PROFILE

American Frederick Thomas: 'The Black Russian' Who Connected Jazz To The Margins Of Asia

Read "American Frederick Thomas: 'The Black Russian' Who Connected Jazz To The Margins Of Asia" reviewed by Arthur R George

The child of former slaves, Frederick Bruce Thomas' New York Times obituary called him “the sultan of jazz," for the jazz palace he founded in Constantinople (now jny: Istanbul) after World War I, a jazz borderland beyond even the music's early jny: Paris outpost. He was hosting bands in Constantinople in 1921 even before Louis Armstrong ...

ARTICLE: HISTORY OF JAZZ

Charlie Parker: In Praise of Bird on His 100th Birthday!

Read "Charlie Parker: In Praise of Bird on His 100th Birthday!" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

A hundred years ago, on August 29, 1920, soon after jazz was born, Charlie Parker came into this world, and in the 35 years of a life cut short by addictions and impulse-driven living, he changed the face of the music. His innovations as one of the creators of bebop and his stunning sound and virtuosic ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Marvin Stamm: Team Player

Read "Marvin Stamm: Team Player" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

Trumpeter Marvin Stamm is known for being part of a gazillion albums, having that ability to go into a studio and play exactly what's required, whether it's for a records by pop singers, jazz artists, Paul McCartney, Donny Hathaway or touring with Frank Sinatra. It's a reputation the highly skilled player earned with hard work.

Muse Records: Ten Smoking Hot Albums

Read "Muse Records: Ten Smoking Hot Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Alone among the other great jazz labels of the 1960s and 1970s—Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside, Impulse!, Strata-East and Atlantic—Joe Fields' Muse is rarely anthologised, written about or otherwise celebrated. Yet like its peers, Muse was prolific, releasing over 200 premium-grade albums during the 1970s, its most active decade, alone. This relative obscurity is ...


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