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Russ Freeman

Jazz pianist Russ Freeman, was a key figure in the career of Chet Baker in the 1950s, when the trumpeter was making some of his most distinctive music. Though his contribution was eclipsed by Baker's relationship with the charismatic Gerry Mulligan, he was an ideal collaborator, imparting focus and narrative shape to Baker's sound. Born in Chicago, Freeman studied classical piano in Los Angeles. By the 1940s, when bebop was taking over New York's hip clubs, there were few west coast pianists who understood its harmonic complexities - and pianists, with their more sophisticated theoretical awareness, were often crucial to helping other instrumentalists get to grips with how the new idiom worked. With his training, and a spare but flexible technique, Freeman grasped bebop's mechanics fast

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

John Di Martino: Passion Flower: The Music of Billy Strayhorn

Read "Passion Flower: The Music of Billy Strayhorn" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

When esophageal cancer took Billy Strayhorn's life in 1967, his work and legacy rested squarely in the shadow of Duke Ellington's world. More than half a century later, though the two figures remain inextricably linked, Strayhorn's genius has moved past the penumbra of his legendary collaborator and employer, occupying its own clear place in the jazz ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

Brazilian Jazz Quartet: Pepper Pot

Brazilian Jazz Quartet: Pepper Pot

Last week, I was listening to early Brazilian bossa nova albums from the late 1950s when I came across an obscure one from 1958. The album was by a Rio group known as the Brazilian Jazz Quartet. Recorded in 1958 for Columbia, Coffee and Jazz featured alto saxophonist José Ferreira Godinho Filho (better known as Casé), ...

ARTICLE: HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Craft Recording's "Chet" is a Rare Win for Baker

Read "Craft Recording's "Chet" is a Rare Win for Baker" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

"There's a little white cat out here who's going to eat you up." —Charlie Parker (to Miles Davis) Chet Baker and Miles Davis. Two trumpet players born three years apart. Both unusually handsome and slight of build. Both lacking, as trumpeters, the qualities most often associated with those brass alphas of the jazz ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Franco D'Andrea: La sostenibile leggerezza del suonare

Read "Franco D'Andrea: La sostenibile leggerezza del suonare" reviewed by Mario Calvitti

L'occasione è troppo bella per lasciarsela sfuggire: il Maestro Franco D'Andrea è a Roma (siamo nella seconda metà di Settembre) per registrare il suo nuovo disco presso gli studi del Parco della Musica, e siamo stati invitati ad assistere alla sessione. Sono previste due giornate, e il nostro appuntamento è fissato per il primo giorno, nelle ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Octobop: Live @ Savanna Jazz

Read "Live @ Savanna Jazz" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Having recorded half a dozen creditable albums in studio settings, saxophonist Geoff Roach's central California-based ensemble Octobop has added something new and exciting on No. 7--a hip and enthusiastic audience. Live @ Savanna Jazz was recorded in January 2018 at the nightspot which bears that name in San Carlos, CA. “I've always thought the band was ...

Meet Davis Wilson

Read "Meet Davis Wilson" reviewed by Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper

Jeopardy contestant, amateur pianist, dance teacher, actor, sailor, postal worker, our July Super Fan has lived all over the place and done it all. Now based in St. Paul, Minnesota, he met “zillions of artists" as keeper of the flame at the old Artists' Quarter jazz club. But he stumbled upon one of the most memorable ...

ARTICLE: BOOK EXCERPTS

Go Slow: The Life Of Julie London

Read "Go Slow: The Life Of Julie London" reviewed by Michael Owen

The following is an excerpt is from “Chapter 12: For the Night People" of Go Slow: The Life of Julie London by Michael Owen (Chicago Review Press, 2017). All Rights Reserved. In 1965, after three years of largely recording pop tunes under Liberty Records' hit-making producer Snuff Garrett, Julie London was eager to ...

Art Pepper: Presents “West Coast Sessions” Volumes 3 & 4

Read "Art Pepper: Presents “West Coast Sessions” Volumes 3 & 4" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Today is the day that I finally come clean about Art Pepper and me. In 1984, I was taking a year off between having finished Pharmacy School and beginning a graduate program in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design. During this time, I had my yearly eye appointment with my ophthalmologist, one Dr. A. Henry Thomas, with ...

ARTICLE: BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Art Pepper: Presents “West Coast Sessions” Volumes 1 & 2

Read "Art Pepper: Presents “West Coast Sessions” Volumes 1 & 2" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Alto saxophonist Art Pepper's comeback began the release of Living Legend (Contemporary, 1975). His previous 20 years had been fully devoted to heroin and prison, and their inevitable aftermath. Following the release of Living Legend, Pepper toured Japan in April 1977 and March 1978. Pepper found his most dedicated and enthusiastic crowd in Japan, recording a ...


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