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Sonny Criss

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Alto saxophonist Sonny Criss is a rather tragically overlooked figure in Jazz. Born in Memphis in 1927, he moved to Los Angeles at the age 15 where he remained much of his playing career. When he became professional after finishing school, he joined various bands visiting the West Coast and performed with such artists as Billy Eckstine and Johnny Otis. He also featured in Gene Norman's "Just Jazz" concerts alongside stars such as Howard McGhee, Stan Getz and Wardell Gray. In 1948 Criss was a part of Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic tour package. In the mid 1950s Criss played with Buddy Rich's quintet and recorded a fine session with Rich and Wynton Kelly live in Chicago "Sonny Criss at the Crossroads", but his base in LA generally left him isolated

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Article: Album Review

Idit Shner: Live at the Jazz Station

Read "Live at the Jazz Station" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Alto saxophonist Idit Shner is a professor of saxophone and jazz studies at the University of Oregon. On Live at the Jazz Station, she offers her students (and others) a master class in how to translate academic theory into performance art—and she does it live, without a net, at Portland's Jazz Station. The ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

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 ...

News: Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Vince Guaraldi

Jazz Musician of the Day: Vince Guaraldi

All About Jazz is celebrating Vince Guaraldi's birthday today! By Derrick Bang Like most so-called overnight successes, Vincent Anthony Guaraldi—who forever described himself as “a reformed boogie-woogie pianist"—worked hard for his big break. The man eventually dubbed “Dr. Funk" by his compatriots was born in San Francisco on July 17, 1928; he graduated from Lincoln High ...

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Article: Radio

The Songbooks (1950 - 1959)

Read "The Songbooks (1950 - 1959)" reviewed by Russell Perry


Songs from what came to be known as the Great American Songbook, have been part of jazz perhaps since The Original Dixieland Jazz Band began recording Irving Berlin compositions. In the 1940s, singer Lee Wiley recorded several collections of 78s, known as “albums"--a name that stuck into the LP era, focused on the work of individual ...

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Article: Profile

Sonny Buxton: Strayhorn’s Last Drummer, A Radio Master Class Mid-Day Saturdays

Read "Sonny Buxton: Strayhorn’s Last Drummer, A Radio Master Class Mid-Day Saturdays" reviewed by Arthur R George


Sociologist, anthropologist, historian: storyteller, raconteur, entrepreneur and griot, in the guise of a deejay. Registrar, dean, professor: The jazz class of Sonny Buxton is barely concealed as entertainment within his weekly radio program every Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pacific time on San Francisco Bay Area FM station KCSM 91.1, streaming live on kcsm.org.

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Article: Album Review

Wes Montgomery with the Wynton Kelly Trio: Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)

Read "Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


In his superb contribution to Bloomsbury Press' 33 & 1/3 series, Bitches Brew (2015), George Grella notes (emphasis mine): “No style of art can remain static: irrelevance is just as much a risk as the inevitable decadence that comes from a style developing to its last measure. But fans, including critics, of particular movements ...

Article: Multiple Reviews

Tornano i tesori della Xanadu

Read "Tornano i tesori della Xanadu" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


Proseguono le riedizioni dei dischi della Xanadu grazie all'accordo tra Zev Feldman e Jordi Soley di Elemental Music e la società The Orchard, attuale proprietaria dell'etichetta fondata da Don Schlitten. Dopo un primo assaggio di sei dischi uscito qualche mese fa, il nuovo capitolo della Master Edition Series è corposo e ci dà l'occasione per rievocare ...

Article: Multiple Reviews

I classici Xanadu - Seconda parte

Read "I classici Xanadu - Seconda parte" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


In questo nuovo blocco di riedizioni Xanadu, pubblicate dalla Elemental, dopo la puntata dedicata ai sassofonisti, ci occupiamo soprattutto di pianisti, ovviamente legati alla scuola bop secondo le preferenze stilistiche del produttore Don Schlitten: Kenny Drew, Dolo Coker e Barry Harris. Questi non sono leader in tutti i dischi ma il loro contributo è sempre centrale. ...

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Article: Album Review

Barry Altschul: The 3dom Factor

Read "The 3dom Factor" reviewed by Troy Collins


Drummer Barry Altschul is widely revered for his innovative work during the 1970s with the all-star quartet Circle and as a member of the influential trios of pianist Paul Bley and multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers. Despite his avant-garde credentials, Altschul's purview also included sideman work with traditional jazz artists, including saxophonists Sonny Criss, Lee Konitz and Art ...


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