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Some tasty morsels from the 1920s jazz table

Have you heard the music of Tiny Parham? Though not as celebrated a name as some of his early jazz contemporaries like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong or King Oliver, Tiny's arrangements were inventive, lively and big fun to listen to, and his bands were full of fine players. Here are three slow to medium tempo numbers selected by The Mainspring Press Record Collectors blog that are a good starting point. Then, if you want to get things jumping a little hotter, try Nervous Tension and Sud Buster's Dream. We'll round it out with Tiny's Stomp. Thanks for the music, big man!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 14, 2013 - 4 comments

 

3 examples of great African-American music, with commentary and analysis

Listening Guide to West End Blues by Louis Armstrong - Listening Guide to Backwater Blues by Bessie Smith - Listening Guide to Salt Peanuts by Dizzy Gillespie and His All Stars
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 11, 2013 - 6 comments

A relentless curiosity and desire to move beyond

The World According to John Coltrane is a one-hour documentary, featuring lots of music footage and interviews with prominent jazz musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Tommy Flanagan and many others. It's an excellent primer on the enormously influential saxophonist's life and music.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 6, 2013 - 12 comments

The legendary giant of free jazz

My Name Is Albert Ayler.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 1, 2013 - 19 comments

Drink up, y'all!

New Year's Eve is fast approaching, and for lots of folks that means... drinking. Plenty of drinking. And since there's no shortage of singers and songwriters who've had a little something to say about that particular topic, maybe some of the following tunes can serve as an appropriate soundtrack to your own joyous (or not?) imbibing of spirits. For example, there's... Jimmy Liggins with his succinct rendition of Drunk, and there's... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 30, 2011 - 67 comments

it came upon a Bb minor diminished 7th clear

Jazz does Christmas: Charlie Parker - Bill Evans - Chet Baker - Kenny Burrell - Dexter Gordon - Oscar Peterson and Louie Armstrong.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 22, 2011 - 24 comments

Straight, No Chaser

One of America's most idiosyncratic musical geniuses was, of course, the great Thelonious Monk (Wiki), and what better way to celebrate his birthday today than viewing (in its entirety!) an excellent documentary on the man and his music? Straight, No Chaser
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 10, 2011 - 25 comments

The Birka Jazz Archive

The Birka Jazz Archive is a treasure trove of record jackets from all eras of jazz. American releases are grouped by label (for example, Columbia, Blue Note, Atlantic, etc.) with, in some case, further sub-categorization by designers or visual artists (such as the amazing David Stone Martin). European releases are sorted by country (France, Sweden, Germany, etc.) and it all adds up to a fabulous online resource for jazz fans and graphic design fans alike.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 17, 2011 - 9 comments

a rare glimpse of drum set artistry

If you were to ask me "What is the most artistic drum solo you've ever heard?", I'd say "You mean the one with the most exquisite sense of dynamics? One that doesn't bludgeon you over the head, but instead pulls you in with its subtlety and restraint? Where masterful technique is purely at the service of musicality? That best conveys a musical vision and a deep understanding of the interrelationships of percussive timbre and tone that make up that remarkable instrument we call the drum set?" You'd say "Yeah." I'd say this. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 24, 2010 - 49 comments

what a washboard's for

The Washboard Serenaders (or was it the Washboard Rhythm Kings?) had one of the best, if not the best, fake trumpet players who ever walked the earth. 'Course, their washboard player weren't no slouch, neither. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 22, 2010 - 5 comments

Warren "Baby" Dodds, father of American drumming

Back in the 1920s, when Warren "Baby" Dodds was busy inventing jazz drumming in the company of pioneers like King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong, to "give the drummer some" usually never meant more than a couple of bars fill every now and again. Fortunately, though, come 1946, when Dodds was already an older man but still in fine playing form, someone had the wherewithal to record this seminal percussion stylist in a series of extended drum solos, displaying his exuberant rhythmic stylings as well as his lending of superbly playful swing to the the rudiments. But let's jump back to the 20's again, and hear drummer Dodds, with the aforementioned King Oliver, take what's gotta be the killingest slide whistle solo in all of jazz history. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 22, 2010 - 11 comments

Blanche Calloway, singer and bandleader, remembered

Though she didn't enjoy the same level of fame and fortune as her younger brother Cab, singer and bandleader (said to be the first African-American woman to lead an all-male orchestra) Blanche Calloway is a musician worth remembering and checking out if you're a fan of 1920s/30s jazz stylings. It's Right Here For You, It Looks Like Susie, I Gotta Swing, Last Dollar and I Got What It Takes.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 29, 2009 - 26 comments

it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing?

With his whimsically biting number from 1988 entitled Jazz Police, ol' Lenny Cohen has shown himself to be a prophet once again: Jazzer drop your axe it's jazz police! [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 12, 2009 - 9 comments

A loving look back on Dixieland Jazz

"Men working on the river would move in time to the beat of the music. It was everywhere: on the street, in the church. In the tonks and barrelhouses where people went to be together. Like the beating of a big heart. It gave everyone a good feeling." The Cradle is Rocking is a delightful 12-minute film that, though somewhat damaged (Folkstreams has found what may be the only surviving print), is highly recommended viewing for anyone interested in American roots music: in this case, New Orleans jazz. The film's thoughtful and affable narrator is trumpeter George "Kid Sheik" Cola, who can be heard along with Captain John Handy serving up some fine old-school Dixieland jazz here and here.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 9, 2009 - 13 comments

Jimmy Smith on the BBC

If you're in the mood for some of that juicy, satisfying, blues-inflected and soulful-as-hell organ jazz served up Jimmy Smith-style, check out these 1964 BBC TV appearances from Smith and his trio: The Sermon, Wagon Wheels, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Uptempo Blues and Theme from Mondo Cane. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 29, 2009 - 16 comments

Some saxophonists.

Here's a chance to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourself with the music of some of the great saxophonists who've made their mark in American improvised music. The following MySpace Music pages feature audio, video, photos and text aplenty, to get your jazz mojo working. In no particular order: Lester Young, Hank Mobley, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Don Byas, Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler, Charlie Parker, Joe Henderson, Earl Bostic, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Johnny Hodges, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Stitt, Benny Carter, Sidney Bechet and David Murray.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 12, 2007 - 33 comments

Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Even if you're one of those "I don't like jazz" folks, the iconoclastic multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1936-1977) is probably someone you can dig. For one thing, he wasn't afraid of using a fat backbeat, more akin to soul/R&B than most of the jazz of his time. And how can you say no to a guy who passed out little flutes to his audience members, inviting them to join in, saying "What about a blues in W, in the key of W". Or who played 3 or 4 horns at once, followed by a nose-flute solo? God bless you, Rahsaan Roland Kirk. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 7, 2007 - 50 comments

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