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Musician

W.C. Handy

Born:

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

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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 ...

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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, ...

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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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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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, ...

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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 ...


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