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Melba Liston

Born in Kansas City, Melba moved to Los Angeles as a child, and became a working musician at age sixteen. She learned to arrange and write, as well as play, and quickly found herself snapped up by Gerald Wilson, who hired her as a copyist, arranger, and trombonist during the War. When Wilson's band broke up in 1948, she joined Count Basie, and in 1949, Dizzy Gillespie. Her writing and arranging were formidable, and after Dizzy's big band folded in 1957, she stayed busy in New York with writing and playing. She returned to Los Angeles in the late 1960s, and moved to Jamaica in 1974, to teach at the Institute of Music there

Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums

Read "Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun's Atlantic Records differs in one key respect from Prestige, Riverside, Impulse!, Strata-East and Flying Dutchman, the most prominent labels covered so far in this Building A Jazz Library series. Those labels' discographies consist almost exclusively of jazz. Atlantic had parallel interests in soul and rhythm-and-blues and, later, rock. This had consequences, as ...

Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums

Read "Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums" reviewed by Chris May

There can be little argument that a jazz label ever captured a zeitgeist more completely than Impulse! did during its original 1960s incarnation. In the US, the fight back against white racism was cresting, opposition to the Vietnam war was growing, outrage over the assassinations of figures of hope such as President Kennedy, Martin Luther King ...

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

Women in Jazz, Pt. 3: The International Women in Jazz Organization

Read "Women in Jazz, Pt. 3: The International Women in Jazz Organization" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

In part 1 and part 2 of the Women in Jazz series, we looked at the historical marginalization of women in jazz from Lil Hardin Armstrong and Blanch Calloway in the 1920s to Tia Fuller in 2019. Part 2 focused on several prominent pioneering artists including the all-female International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Marian McPartland, and Melba ...

Riverside Records: An Alternative Top Ten

Read "Riverside Records: An Alternative Top Ten" reviewed by Chris May

From 1953, when it was set up, to 1964, when it was acquired by ABC, Riverside Records rivalled Blue Note and Prestige as one of the leading independent jazz labels based in New York City. The founders of all three labels were jazz fans who operated on slim margins and became producers partly because they enjoyed ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Big Long Silidin' Thing - Celebrating Melba Liston

Read "Big Long Silidin' Thing - Celebrating Melba Liston" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

In the first hour, we celebrate trombonist, composer and arranger Melba Liston in honor of her birthday, and take a look at some recent trombone players making noise in the jazz world. We sample some new releases by vocalists Josephine Beavers, Lila Ammons, Virginia Schenck, flutist Andrea Brachfeld and pianist Roberta Piket, with birthday shout outs ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Audrey Ochoa: Frankenhorn

Read "Frankenhorn" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Trombonist Audrey Ochoa's Frankenhorn has a big, bold sound. The set was originally planned as a feature for duets with pianist Chris Andrew, with remixes by electronica DJ Battery Poacher. But things got out of hand, in the best sense of things. A rhythm section and strings and keyboard seasonings were brought into the mix, resulting ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Cheik Tidiane Seck: Timbuktu: The Music of Randy Weston

Read "Timbuktu: The Music of Randy Weston" reviewed by Chris May

A well-intentioned tribute to the late pianist, composer and pioneer of Maghrebi jazz Randy Weston by the keyboard player Cheikh Tidiane Seck, Timbuktu: The Music of Randy Weston never really gets off the ground. Seck, whose c.v. includes spells with Mali's Super Rail Band de Bamako, Les Ambassadeurs, Salif Keita and Amadou & Mariam, and Senegal's ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Jennifer Wharton: Bonegasm

Read "Bonegasm" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Esattamente sessant'anni fa Melba Liston incideva Melba Liston and Her Bones, presentando due ensemble con ognuno quattro tromboni più ritmica. Quel disco dimenticato della grande trombonista è un antecedente significativo di quanto fa oggi Jennifer Wharton. È ovviamente improprio stabilire connessioni con un'opera così lontana nel tempo ma sul versante della ricchezza espressiva, melodica e ritmica ...

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

Women in Jazz, Pt. 2: The Girls From Piney Woods

Read "Women in Jazz, Pt. 2: The Girls From Piney Woods" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

In Part 1 of Women in Jazz we looked at the historical position of women in early jazz. Despite their influence in shaping the art, their talent as composers, arrangers, instrumentalists, and band leaders, women have often been token additions; marginalized window dressing in a male-dominated world. One hundred years after Lil Hardin held ...


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