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Percy Heath

The American jazz musician and bassist with the Modern Jazz Quartet, Percy Heath, began his musical apprenticeship in 1946, after Air Force service. It was just the right time. Though the double bass had always been used sporadically in jazz, performers capable of advancing both its rhythmic and harmonic role into a distinctive jazz-bass language were arriving on the scene more slowly than trumpeters, saxophonists or pianists. But by the 1940s, the place of the bass had significantly changed. Swing specialists like Pops Foster, John Kirby and Walter Page had brought animation, drive and swing - as well as harmonic breadth - to bass technique, and Duke Ellington's young star, Jimmy Blanton, had added a soloistic agility that rewrote the book on the instrument

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: UNDER THE RADAR

The Rebel Festival

Read "The Rebel Festival" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

On the morning of July 4, 1960, there were more than a few signs of the mayhem that had taken place the night before in Newport, Rhode Island. Newport's Millionaires Row woke up to broken store windows, overturned vehicles, and storm drains clogged with garbage and beer bottles. One-hundred-eighty-two people, mostly young, New England college students ...

Blue Note Records: Lost In Space: 20 Overlooked Classic Albums

Read "Blue Note Records: Lost In Space: 20 Overlooked Classic Albums" reviewed by Chris May

For anyone with a passion for Blue Note, it is hard to conceive of an album that has been “overlooked," let alone twenty of them. For connoisseurs of the most influential label in jazz history, the passion can be all consuming: if a dedicated collector does not have all the albums (yet), he or she will ...

ARTICLE: THE JAZZ LIFE

My Early Years With Bill Evans, Part 3

Read "My Early Years With Bill Evans, Part 3" reviewed by Chuck Israels

Bassist and composer, Chuck Israels was raised in a musical family. Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger and The Weavers were visitors to his home and the appearance of Louis Armstrong's All Stars in a concert series produced by his parents in 1948 gave Chuck his first opportunity to meet and hear jazz musicians. Chuck studied the cello ...

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 ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Steve Swallow Interview

Read "Steve Swallow Interview" reviewed by Mike Brannon

From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in January 2001. Steve Swallow may not be a household name, at least in most households, but if you've listened to contemporary jazz over the last thirty years, you've likely heard him on one side of the studio glass or the other. ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

John Scofield: One For Swallow

Read "John Scofield: One For Swallow" reviewed by Ian Patterson

From time to time in his storied career John Scofield will take a look over his shoulder and re-examine some of the music that has fed into his own, personal brand of jazz. The influences are many, for no matter the context that Scofield engineers, his distinctive sound always carries something of the blues, a little ...

ARTICLE: REASSESSING

New Faces - New Sounds

Read "New Faces - New Sounds" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Jazz is littered with musicians like Elmo Hope: young, talented and, ultimately, doomed because of racism, poverty, and chemical dependency. Born in jny: New York City, the son of immigrants from the Caribbean, Hope managed to release more than a baker's dozen of studio recordings in as many years, before dying of drug addiction-related health problems ...

NEWS: BIRTHDAY

Jazz Musician of the Day: Percy Heath

Jazz Musician of the Day: Percy Heath

All About Jazz is celebrating Percy Heath's birthday today! The American jazz musician and bassist with the Modern Jazz Quartet, Percy Heath, began his musical apprenticeship in 1946, after Air Force service. It was just the right time. Though the double bass had always been used sporadically in jazz, performers capable of advancing both its rhythmic ...


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