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MUSICIAN Born:

Oscar Brown Jr.

As a performer, he acted his songs more than he sang them; as a songwriter, hedrew as much from gospel, the blues and folk music as he did from jazz. He preferred to call himself an entertainer, although even that broad term didnotgo far enough: he saw his art as a way to celebrate African-American life andattack racism, and it was not always easy to tell where the entertainer ended and the activist began. His song "Brown Baby," recorded by Mahalia Jackson and others, was both a lullaby for his infant son and an anthem of racial pride. Other songs, like "Signifying Monkey" and "The Snake," took their story lines from black folklore

Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter

Read "Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter" reviewed by Chris May

Jazz has been inextricably linked with social and political protest since at least the late 1930s, when Billie Holiday made famous the leftist songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol's “Strange Fruit." The song, which has a power to move that is undiminished by familiarity, likens the bodies of lynched African Americans to fruit hanging in trees.

ARTICLE: RADIO

I See You; I Hear You

Read "I See You; I Hear You" reviewed by H William Stine

I think one of the responsibilities of having a microphone every week is knowing when to shut up. I did that (for the most part) this week and let singers and songwriters who for so many years have seen and heard with perception and then written with eloquent honesty about this painful struggle playing out once ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Fire Music: When Jazz Speaks Out - Part 3

Read "Fire Music: When Jazz Speaks Out - Part 3" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

As Martin Luther King put it in the opening address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival, “Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with ...

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

Women in Jazz, Part 1: Early Innovators

Read "Women in Jazz, Part 1: Early Innovators" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

"Lil Hardin [Armstrong]...often imagined herself standing...at the bottom of a ladder, holding it steady for Louis as he rose to stardom." (Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, 2012). “The all-female band is an anomaly in music, one that must constantly prove itself as a 'band,' and not just 'girls playing music together.'" (Mary Ann Clawson, 1999). Everything ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Giacomo Gates: What Time Is It?

Read "What Time Is It?" reviewed by Jack Bowers

What is it that separates a “jazz singer" from the wannabes? While many people are known as or call themselves jazz singers, only a handful truly merit the name. Giacomo Gates, whose latest album What Time Is It? is his seventh (and fourth for Savant Records), is one of the chosen few. Why? Well, as the ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Kim Nalley's Tribute to Nina Simone

Read "Kim Nalley's Tribute to Nina Simone" reviewed by Walter Atkins

Kim Nalley Tribute to Nina Simone Freight & Salvage Berkeley, CA March 3 2017 Popular San Francisco vocalist Kim Nalley skillfully painted a stunning portrait of the iconic Nina Simone, using her voice like an artist's brush and Simone's songbook like a sonic canvas. The captivating ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Kurt Elling With The Keith Ganz Trio at Jazz Standard

Read "Kurt Elling With The Keith Ganz Trio at Jazz Standard" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Kurt Elling With The Keith Ganz Trio Jazz Standard New York, NY July 31, 2016 If there's any genre of music that's truly built on the idea of spur-of-the-moment change, it's jazz. And so, in that very spirit, we had this performance. The audience that came down to hear ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Giacomo Gates: Everything Is Cool

Read "Everything Is Cool" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Giacomo Gates was almost forty years old when someone suggested that he try his hand at singing. Luckily for the rest of us, Gates thought that was a good idea, moved to New York City later that year (1989) and began singing in clubs. Six years later Gates recorded his first CD, Blue Skies, and Everything ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Cynthia Felton: Cynthia Felton Sings The Nancy Wilson Classics: Save Your Love For Me

Read "Cynthia Felton Sings The Nancy Wilson Classics: Save Your Love For Me" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Dr. Cynthia Felton dots all the i's and crosses all the t's when putting together an album. She's a detail-oriented singer with enough smarts, business savvy, and musical skill to pull off whatever type of project she wants to pursue, be it a salute to a woefully under-appreciated figure like Oscar Brown Jr. or a tribute ...


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