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W.C. Handy

William Christopher Handy, known as “the father of the blues,” was the first person to notate and publish blues songs, and is recognized for integrating blues elements into ragtime, which was a seminal form of jazz, changing the course of popular music. He wrote over 60 blues, spirituals, and popular tunes, including the perennial blues standard St. Louis Blues. W.C. Handy was born in Florence, Alabama, November 16, 1873, the son of former slaves. His first instrument was the coronet, and he advanced from lessons in a barbershop to studying classical music. While still a teenager Handy began teaching school but left for better paying work in a factory. At the age of twenty, he organized a quartet to play the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, a gathering that attracted other musical luminaries of the time, notably ragtime pianist Scott Joplin. After the fair, Handy toured with various ensembles and taught music at Alabama A&M in Huntsville

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Afro Blue: We Shall Overcome

Read "We Shall Overcome" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The vocal group Afro Blue was founded (in 2002) by its director, Connaitre Miller, Jazz Voice Coordinator at Howard University in Washington, DC. Miller's approach to vocal jazz is patterned after that of such celebrated groups as Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, the Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, a blueprint that has served Afro Blue well and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Eyal Vilner Big Band: Swing Out!

Read "Swing Out!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Eyal Vilner's fourth album as leader of his impressive New York-based big band is a throwback to the kind of concert dates audiences no doubt derived great pleasure from during the storied Big-Band Era well over half a century ago when groups not far removed from this one in spirit traveled cross-country by bus, car or ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

2016: The Year in Jazz

Read "2016: The Year in Jazz" reviewed by Ken Franckling

The year 2016 bubbled with events and initiatives to strengthen jazz's place in American and world culture, as well as a variety of venue openings, closings and cancellations. Jazz hit the silver screen in many ways throughout the year, and International Jazz Day continued to thrive--complete with a major all-star concert at the White House. Pop ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

The Julian Lage Trio at SFJAZZ

Read "The Julian Lage Trio at SFJAZZ" reviewed by David Becker

The Julian Lage Trio SFJAZZ Center San Francisco Sept. 11, 2016 Guitar virtuosity was the theme for the opening week of San Francisco presenter SFJAZZ's 2016 season. In the intimate Joe Henderson Lab at the SFJAZZ Center, that meant four nights of modern guitar wunderkind Julian Lage working through a string ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Julian Lage: Arclight

Read "Arclight" reviewed by Troy Collins

Julian Lage's star has been on the rise since the premiere of Julian at Eight--the award winning 1997 documentary short about the precocious guitar prodigy's childhood years. Since then, Lage has become a key collaborator to modern masters like Gary Burton, Jim Hall and Fred Hersch. Lage's widely acclaimed virtuosity is uncontestable, yet he remains a ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Junior Mance: Jubilation

Read "Jubilation" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Pianist Junior Mance has a bop-based facility with improvisation and a bluesy, “no- nonsense" candid style. Mance debuted his career with this unique blend of traits and his singular voice has changed little over the course of his prolific career that spans over half a century. The Delmark reissue of Jubilation, originally on the, now defunct, ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Dave Burrell: Pianist Navigating the Windward Passages

Read "Dave Burrell: Pianist Navigating the Windward Passages" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Dave Burrell is a master pianist and composer who encountered the avant-garde in the 1960s and has been following his own independent path ever since. He combines classical and jazz elements that are both “inside" and “outside" the mainstream. The title of a poem by J.V. Cunningham, “The Metaphysical Amorist" characterizes much of his playing, which ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Rex Richardson: Bugles Over Zagreb: The Music of Doug Richards and Blue Shift

Read "Rex Richardson: Bugles Over Zagreb: The Music of Doug Richards and Blue Shift" reviewed by Ken Hohman

Rex Richardson Bugles Over Zagreb: The Music of Doug Richards Self Produced 2014 Master class trumpeter virtuoso Rex Richardson is one of a rare breed of jazz musicians who can successfully straddle the worlds of classical and jazz without sounding like he's a mere overnight guest when performing in ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

"In the Mood" at Mesa Arts Center

Read ""In the Mood" at Mesa Arts Center" reviewed by Patricia Myers

"In the Mood": A 1940s Musical Revue Mesa Arts Center Mesa, Arizona March 12, 2014 A 13-piece big band revived the music of the 1940s, from Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey to Duke Ellington and Count Basie, accompanying six young singers and dancers in vintage costumes to re-create the music of ...


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