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Mamie Smith

Born:

Mamie Gardener began her career in show business as a dancer with the Four Dancing Mitchells. By 1910, Smith was touring the Midwest and East Coast with the Smart Set Company, a Black minstrel troupe. She married singer William “Smitty” Smith in 1912. The couple moved to New York where she began working as a cabaret dancer, pianist, and singer. Her first major break came in 1918, when she appeared in Perry Bradford’s musical “Made in Harlem.” Though technically not a blues performer, Mamie Smith notched her place in American music as the first Black female singer to record a vocal blues

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Article: Catching Up With

Ron Miles: Rainbow Sign Of The Times

Read "Ron Miles: Rainbow Sign Of The Times" reviewed by Ian Patterson


The title of Ron Miles' Rainbow Sign (Blue Note Records, 2020) carries great personal meaning for the Denver cornetist/composer and educator. The initial influence was The Carter Family song “God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign," with its line 'No more water but the fire next time," which in turn gave James Baldwin the title for his ...

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Article: Profile

Cotton Pickin' Blues

Read "Cotton Pickin' Blues" reviewed by Martin McFie


Blues began with enslaved African peoples' work songs in the cotton fields of the Deep South of America. The Slave Narrative of Mr. Sam Polite, given at 93 years of age, chronicles that life. It was written on St. Helena, a cotton producing Sea Island in the Carolinas, where Mr. Polite was born into slavery. The ...

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Article: Radio

Jazz Comes to Records (1917)

Read "Jazz Comes to Records (1917)" reviewed by Russell Perry


This is the first in a series of programs that will play representative music from 100 years of jazz history. We will explore the broad sweep of that narrative; its representative and its idiosyncratic players; its durable movements and dead ends; its popular recordings and rarities. We hope you will join us over the next 100 ...

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Article: Bailey's Bundles

Memphis Fire – Matt Isbell and the Cigar Box Guitar

Read "Memphis Fire – Matt Isbell and the Cigar Box Guitar" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


"The past is never dead. It's not even past." --William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun Ghost Town Blues Band Hard Road to Hoe Self Produced 2015 Memphis, Tennessee: The American South's conflicted Mecca. For its size and location, Memphis should be much more than it ...

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Article: Book Review

On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom By Dennis McNally

Read "On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom By Dennis McNally" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom Dennis McNally 384 Pages ISBN: #978-1619024496 Counterpoint 2014 Since Samuel Charters The Country Blues (Reinhart) in 1959, beginning, effectively, the serious reportage of American Folk Music, in particular the blues, there have been two far-reaching trilogies that ...

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Article: Extended Analysis

China Moses: Crazy Blues

Read "China Moses: Crazy Blues" reviewed by Mehdi El Mouden


Pouring old wine into new bottles has become a specialty of vocalist China Moses and Pianist/Arranger Raphael Lemonnier. Rejuvenating classics with a pint of spirited innovation is a landmark of the duet, who, for their first encounter revisited the best of Dinah Washington, This One's for Dinah. For their second collaboration they pay tribute to great ...

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Article: Album Review

Johnny Dunn: Cornet Blues

Read "Cornet Blues" reviewed by Andrew J. Sammut


In hindsight, it seems natural that trumpeter Louis Armstrong's arrival onto the New York jazz scene of the 1920s would put a lot of players out of work. Yet apparently not every New Yorker was waiting for some guy from New Orleans to show them how it's done. As Mark Berresford's informative liner ...

News: Recording

"Complete" Louis, Duke, Bessie and Charlie Boxes Coming in October

The ultimate year-round jazz festival of Legacy Recordings continues to set a new industry standard with four more Complete Album Collections from the Sony Music archives family of labels, by the greatest names in jazz and blues: LOUIS ARMSTRONG – THE COMPLETE OKeh COLUMBIA & RCA VICTOR RECORDINGS 1925-1933 (OKeh/Columbia/RCA/Legacy) 10 titles, 10 CDs; CHARLIE CHRISTIAN ...

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Article: Hardly Strictly Jazz

A Few Frames Of Public Access Art

Read "A Few Frames Of Public Access Art" reviewed by Skip Heller


Music and television have always worked together, and through the history of the medium, apocolypses have happened because the world was tuned in together. Language quickly becomes hyperbole when people recall Elvis Presley or the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, Ricky Nelson's fantastic weekly performances on his parents' show (The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet), any number ...


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How Don Mopsick Uses Jazz Near You To Promote Jazz in SW Florida
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