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Willie "The Lion" Smith

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With his derby and cigar, along with his command of counterpoint and swing, Willie "The Lion" Smith was one of the jazz world's outsized characters. Bravery during World War I earned him his nickname; friendship and mutual admiration led to Duke Ellington's "Portrait of The Lion" and Smith's own "Portrait of Duke." William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholoff was born in Goshen, N.Y., on Nov. 25, 1897. Growing up in Newark, he began playing at age 6, drawn to the piano by his mother's playing in church. His father's Jewish ancestry later led to work as a cantor, he claimed, during the '40s. In 1916, Willie enlisted in the Army where he became the drum major for his unit

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Article: Take Five With...

Take Five with Markos Chaidemenos

Read "Take Five with Markos Chaidemenos" reviewed by AAJ Staff


Meet Markos ChaidemenosMarkos Chaidemenos is a jazz musician who discovered his love for piano at the age of 16 (2005) and his passion for jazz at the age of 22. Although Markos earned his first bachelor at Informatics & Telecommunications in National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, he never worked in the field. After he mastered ...

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Article: Radio

Up In Harlem - Stride (1921 - 1939)

Read "Up In Harlem - Stride (1921 - 1939)" reviewed by Russell Perry


In the last hour, we listened to several of the bands associated with New York, with an emphasis on the new large ensemble form, the jazz orchestra. In this hour we'll stick with New York, but focus in on the piano music of Harlem—"Stride." We are joined in this hour by Art Wheeler, pianist, producer, composer ...

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Article: New York Beat

African-American Music: A retrospective at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Read "African-American Music: A retrospective at Jazz at Lincoln Center" reviewed by Nick Catalano


One of Jazz at Lincoln Center's most thoughtful concert ideas in recent memory came to life at the Appel Room on March 2, 2018. Dubbed “Rags, Strides & Habaneras" the intimate program managed to survey a host of strategic forms from origins in West Africa that shaped the art of music in the Americas.

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Article: Book Review

Fats Waller by Maurice Waller & Anthony Calabrese

Read "Fats Waller by Maurice Waller & Anthony Calabrese" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


Fats Waller Maurice Waller and Anthony Calabrese 256 Pages ISBN: # 978-1-5179-0391-6 University of Minnesota Press2017/1977 With regards to the jazz piano, who came before Art Tatum, Bud Powell, and Bill Evans. Well, it was James P. Johnson, Willie “The Lion" Smith and Thomas Fats Waller. The latter of ...

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Article: Album Review

Peter Saltzman: Blues, Preludes and Feuds

Read "Blues, Preludes and Feuds" reviewed by Geannine Reid


Solo piano albums have the special place in the cannon of improvised music as a mode of presentation and holds an honored place in jazz; the history could even be traced to music predating the origins of the genre. In mechanical terms, it has not changed, one musical artist sitting at the piano for well over ...

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Article: Live Review

Bill Charlap Trio at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts

Read "Bill Charlap Trio at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Bill Charlap Trio Tilles Center for the Performing Arts Jazz on Stage with Matt Wilson Brookville, NY November 8, 2015 To witness pianist Bill Charlap in action is to receive an education, so who better than the newly-appointed Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University to help kick ...

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Article: Film Review

A Great Day in Harlem: The Spirit Lives - 50 Years On

Read "A Great Day in Harlem: The Spirit Lives - 50 Years On" reviewed by Ian Patterson


This encore presentation from January 2009 celebrates Jean Bach, director of A Great Day in Harlem. Ms. Bach died on May 27th at her home in Manhattan. She was 94.It is probably the most celebrated ensemble jazz portrait of all time. Fifty-seven of the greatest jazz musicians gathered together on the steps of a ...

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Article: Album Review

Ehud Asherie with Harry Allen: Lower East Side

Read "Lower East Side" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


In this day and age, when shock-and-awe maneuvers and new-thing sounds tend to get all the plaudits and press in jazz, it says a lot when a throwback duo date is widely admired by critics and fans alike. Such was the case with pianist Ehud Asherie's Upper West Side (Posi-Tone, 2012), which brought him into contact ...

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Article: Live Review

Barcelona Voll-Damm Jazz Festival: Barcelona, Spain, November 24-30, 2012

Read "Barcelona Voll-Damm Jazz Festival: Barcelona, Spain, November 24-30, 2012" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay


Barcelona Voll-Damm International Jazz FestivalBarcelona, SpainNovember 24-30, 2012Sometimes picking a few festival highlights is easy. A big name turns on the charm, one or two young Turks announce their arrival on the scene, someone famous steps up at a jam session--the rest is okay, just nothing special. The Barcelona Voll-Damm Internacional Jazz Festival ...


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