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Walter Davis Jr.

Born:

Walter Davis, Jr.a superb jazz pianist who played with and was a respected peer of the founding fathers of bebop, was born September 2, 1932 in Richmond, Virginia, and was reared in East Orange, New Jersey. His mother sang gospel; his father and four uncles played church and stride piano. By the time he entered high school, Walter was clearly a gifted classical pianist, but hearing Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in the legendary Billy Eckstine big band changed his music and his life. In 1949, he played his first gig with Bird at the Apollo. It went so well that Bird asked Walter’s mother if he could go with him on a road tour

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Article: Interview

Ricky Ford: From Across the Sea

Read "Ricky Ford: From Across the Sea" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


Ricky Ford is a badass tenor saxophonist. Many will recall his fierce and strong playing on his Muse releases in the '80s. Others may be aware that he was a stalwart member of big bands like the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the leadership of Mercer Ellington and with Charles Mingus and later the Mingus Dynasty band. ...

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Article: Album Review

Howard University Jazz Ensemble: HUJE 2018

Read "HUJE 2018" reviewed by Jack Bowers


One sure sign of spring is the arrival of the latest yearly recording by the superb Howard University Jazz Ensemble, a tradition that dates without pause from the days of vinyl in 1976, one year after the ensemble was formed by its first and only music director, Fred Irby III. For archivists and numbers-crunchers, that's forty-four ...

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Article: Album Review

Cory Weeds Quintet: Live at Frankie's Jazz Club

Read "Live at Frankie's Jazz Club" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Yes, this is saxophonist/master of all livelihoods Cory Weeds' quintet, the year is 2018, and the group is beyond a doubt Live at Frankie's Jazz Club in Vancouver, British Columbia. But close your eyes, open your ears and it's the unapologetic re-creation of a quintessential hard-bop session from the historic Blue Note / Prestige years of ...

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Article: Album Review

Ralph Peterson's GenNext Big Band: I Remember Bu

Read "I Remember Bu" reviewed by Jack Bowers


In 1983, Art Blakey invited fellow timekeeper Ralph Peterson to perform with Blakey's two-drummer big band at the Boston Globe Jazz Festival. It was a life-changing experience for Peterson, whose debut album with his Boston-based GenNext Big Band, I Remember Bu, honors Blakey's memory (the late drummer's Muslim name was Abdullah ibn Buhaina, and he was ...

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Article: My Blue Note Obsession

Walter Davis Jr.: Davis Cup - 1959

Read "Walter Davis Jr.: Davis Cup - 1959" reviewed by Marc Davis


Every now and then, I hear a musician in a band and I think, “Damn, can we get rid of the other guys and just hear this one by himself?" That was my immediate thought after listening to Davis Cup, a hard bop cooker from 1959. Walter Davis Jr. is a pianist with a ...

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Article: Profile

The Giant Legacy of Rudy Van Gelder

Read "The Giant Legacy of Rudy Van Gelder" reviewed by Greg Simmons


Recording Engineer Rudy Van Gelder died at home of natural causes on August 25th at the age of 91. His legacy--and it's a big one--is the countless recordings he made during modern jazz's greatest period of innovation. Almost any jazz musician of note who was making records--especially if they were working on the east coast--was captured ...

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Article: Interview

Wayne Shorter: Portrait Of A Visionary

Read "Wayne Shorter: Portrait Of A Visionary" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


To speak with Wayne Shorter can feel like an exercise in the mystical. At times, it's stream of consciousness, ideas flowing that can reach the profound; but the direction can switch suddenly. There are frequent references to films (Shorter is a lifelong movie buff), as well as books whose subject matter run from science to philosophy. ...

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Article: Forgotten Finds

Great Sidemen - Great Leaders

Read "Great Sidemen - Great Leaders" reviewed by Greg Simmons


Being a sideman can be a thankless job. Sure, you might get to play regularly, but you rarely get to call the tune. If your boss is a big star, the gig might even pay pretty well, but if the band is going to Fargo, North Dakota in January, brother, so are you, and you weren't ...

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Article: Interview

Paul F. Murphy: Playing Universally

Read "Paul F. Murphy: Playing Universally" reviewed by Dominic Fragman


Legendary drummer Paul F. Murphy has been involved with the high end of improvised music since the mid-1970s in San Francisco. He is most closely associated with the avant-garde of the '70s, '80s and '90s as a 12-year member of alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons' band and a leader of several of his own groups, including Trio ...


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