If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...
If there were a Guinness World Records prize for jazz artist with the biggest organ, it could very well go to Barbara Dennerlein. No doubt, her Hammond B3 was a disc-crushing bane for countless roadies over the past three decades, but a B3 pales in comparison to what she's been playing lately. Imagine five organs with nearly 18,000 metal pipes, linked to one keyboard with over 200 registersthat's some seriously heavy metal. Welcome to the world of pipe organs.
Since our extensive career retrospective interview in 2007, Dennerlein's been traveling the world, bringing jazz and blues to pipe organ audiences. With the release of her third pipe organ album in the Spiritual Movement (Bebab Records) series that began in 2007, now seemed like a good time to check in with her.
Geography generally works against me with respect to my Talkin' Blues column. I live in the German Alps, so the "talkin'" is usually done over the phone or via Skype, but this time location worked in my favor. Because Dennerlein lives less than an hour from me, I was determined to come up with something special for All About Jazz fans. Thankfully, Michael Ricci, our publisher, agreed to a video interview for the site.
Now, truth be told, I'm not equipped for such a thing, but I figured a basic camcorder without any professional lighting was still better than a transcription of my conversation with Barbara Dennerlein. Her YouTube channel already has over two-and-a-half-million views, so clearly the world outside of Europe is catching up; but I've seen her play up close, and a two dimensional screen just doesn't capture the magic of what she does. Well, it just so happens that I bought an entry level 3D camcorder this year, and YouTube now supports 3D videos, so I have a real treat in store for you.
In addition to the interview, she also agreed to play her Hammond B3 for you in her studio and record the audio, so I was able to replace the crappy camcorder sound with high quality audio. While she was waiting for me to arrive, she came up with a blues piece she affectionately entitled "Talkin' Blues," that, thanks to a studio glitch, I watched her perform three times. She did a 2D version for those of you without 3D glasses, and also a 3D versionbelieve me, you need to get a hold of some 3D glasses.
It also turns out that she recently had an organ maker build a virtual pipe organ for her, so she performed on it to give you a taste of what she is doing on pipe organs. That video is only in 3D, but you can fiddle with the 3D controls on YouTube to get some interesting effects for viewing without 3D glasses (not 3D, but interesting.)
We are both very pleased with the musical clips, but the audio and video on the interview portion is a far from professional. The lighting in the studio was bad, so we opted to do the interview under the gazebo in the garden. Accustomed as I am to Murphy's Law, I used both of my camcorders for the interview, and it's good that I did.
Halfway through, one quit working, so the final half of the interview is from the backup camcorder which was overexposed and plagued by a light breeze we hardly noticed. It was especially frustrating because this is the segment where we talked about her association with Friedrich Gulda, the world famous Austrian pianist. Despite the recording quality, this is great stuff.
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!