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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


Article: Book Review

Queer Blues: The Hidden Figures Of Early Blues Music

Read "Queer Blues: The Hidden Figures Of Early Blues Music" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Queer Blues: The Hidden Figures Of Early Blues Music Darryl W. Bullock 352 Pages ISBN: 978-1-9131-7252-7 Omnibus Press 2023 The blues is ripe with legends and myths, not least the oft-touted claim that W.C. Handy was the father of the blues. But as Darryl. W. Bullock tells it, there ...


Article: Album Review

Owen Broder: Hodges: Front and Center: Vol. Two

Read "Hodges: Front and Center: Vol. Two" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

Owen Broder's Hodges : Front and Center Vol.Two is a respectful yet refreshing tribute to Johnny Hodges, a saxophonist with an iconic sound while injecting a contemporary vitality into the mix. Hodges' influence looms large throughout the album, guiding Broder's approach to the music. In this quintet's musical journey, Broder, on both alto and baritone saxophone, ...

Article: Album Review

Jason Moran: From the Dancehall to the Battlefield

Read "From the Dancehall to the Battlefield" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Uscito il primo gennaio 2023 su Bandcamp, questo album di Jason Moran, per il suo concept, per la varietà e la ricchezza, per il modo in cui fonde radici storiche e modernità è probabilmente da considerare il disco dell'anno. Il suggestivo titolo From the Dancehall to the Battlefield sintetizza la storia del mitico musicista ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Interviews with Daniel Steigleder, Wellington Bullings, and Otis Taylor

Read "Interviews with Daniel Steigleder, Wellington Bullings, and Otis Taylor" reviewed by Steven Roby

This episode of Backstage Jazz features interviews with German saxophonist Daniel Steigleder, neo-soul singer Wellington Bullings, and international blues artist Otis Taylor.Born in Southern Germany, saxophonist Daniel Steigleder has already left his mark on the German music scene and has quickly become one of the most in-demand live and session musicians of his generation. ...


Article: Interview

Jean-Luc Ponty: Imaginary Voyages, Part 1

Read "Jean-Luc Ponty: Imaginary Voyages, Part 1" reviewed by Peter Rubie

Part 1 | Part 2 Jazz is an art form that has been a singular hothouse of musical talent over the decades. There are, and have been, lots of not just great but brilliant players. But perhaps not unsurprisingly, there have been far fewer jazz originals. I mean by that, musicians whose playing has ...


Article: Year in Review

Karl Ackermann's Best Creative Music of 2021

Read "Karl Ackermann's Best Creative Music of 2021" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

2020 was a disaster and 2021 was less than a beacon of hope. COVID-19 is in the rear-view mirror but closer than it appears. The political clown cars are over capacity, still running on fossil fuel and spilling occupants into the drinking water. That said, jazz and creative music flourished in ways that could make us ...


Article: Extended Analysis

The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia & RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-66

Read "The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia & RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-66" reviewed by Skip Heller

Louis Armstrong officially returned to small band leadership May 17, 1947 via a triumphant concert at Town Hall that was less comeback than reaffirmation. It was even the dawn of his second great period, full of recordings that stood tall with his epochal 1920's output, and the subsequently-assembled Louis Armstrong and his All Stars would immediately ...


Article: History of Jazz

That Slow Boat to China: How American Jazz Steamed Into Asia

Read "That Slow Boat to China: How American Jazz Steamed Into Asia" reviewed by Arthur R George

A kind of jazz was already waiting in Asia when American players arrived in the 1920s, close to a hundred years ago. However, it was imitative and incomplete, lacked authenticity and live performers from the U.S. Those ingredients became imported by musicians who had played with the likes of Joseph “King" Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, ...


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 ...


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