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What a happy dance this is

Frankie Manning, as seen previously, passed away, but his 95th birthday party will go on as scheduled which will feature a Battle of the 'Bones with the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet. [more inside]
posted by psylosyren on Apr 29, 2009 - 10 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

At last, the present is getting Soul!

Soul! New York City PBS affiliate WNET have digitized 9 episodes of Soul!, a early 1970's live music program, providing a groovy video interface with chapters to break down each hour long episode. [more inside]
posted by myopicman on Apr 23, 2009 - 20 comments

The Trombone

Last week was International Trombone Week. But what is a trombone? Can you recognize the many types of trombone? [more inside]
posted by winna on Apr 13, 2009 - 66 comments

"I played at August Wilson's funeral. You know what he wanted me to play? Danny Boy."

Wynton Marsalis waxes poetic (and music) at the Kennedy Center about art, freedom, jazz, the minstrel shows of yesterday and today, Walt Whitman, American history, the similarities between the Battle Hymn of the Republic and the Mickey Mouse Club March, rock and roll, and how it all ties together. [more inside]
posted by Ndwright on Apr 13, 2009 - 30 comments

Happy Birthday Gil!

April Fools Day, 2009 also means happy 60th birthday to one of my favorite musicians, Gil Scott-Heron (previously). From his popular early works like the heavily referenced "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", "Whitey On The Moon", and "The Bottle", to his continued productions and tours over the decades, he's had a few hurdles, but never stopped. For more on his life and music, here's a great documentary from a few years back (MLYT): pt. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
posted by p3t3 on Mar 31, 2009 - 26 comments

Do you really want to hurt me? I'm thinking you do, Limahl. I'm thinking you do...

1980s pop music hasbeen + swing big band = OMIGOD NO MAKE IT STOP.
posted by miss lynnster on Mar 23, 2009 - 102 comments

Lester Young (1909-1959)

50 years ago today, we said goodbye to Pork Pie Hat. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 15, 2009 - 12 comments

Mahanthappa picks Indian music

Destination: Out, an astounding mp3 blog devoted to mostly out-of-print free jazz and improv records, has been linked a few times on Ask, but never gotten the main-page exposure it deserves. Until now. The editors' selections are always interesting and written about well, and they're ready to go to the mat for the music. (The interview with Marsalis by the Bad Plus to which that's a response is also well worth reading.) But the real impetus for this post is only tangentially related to jazz: recently they got saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa to do a guest post on Indian (mostly Carnatic) music, and it won't be long before the links expire. Fall to! [more inside]
posted by kenko on Mar 9, 2009 - 18 comments

The Sun Ra Quilt of Joy

The Sun Ra Quilt of Joy
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 7, 2009 - 28 comments

Kind of Blue turns 50

As jazz fans know, fifty years ago on March 2, 1959, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb met at the Columbia 30th Street Studios in NYC for the first session of Miles new album, Kind of Blue. (Link goes to the 50th anniversary collector's box set edition page at amazon.) It was the touchstone for many other future recordings bearing its mighty influence and it fostered several high profile careers, and a new modal sound for jazz. Kind of Blue went on to be certified platinum, selling 4 million records, the most ever for a jazz album. Bill Evans had left the band in late 1958, but was called back by Miles for the sessions, which included his new pianist Wynton Kelly on one track only, Freddie Freeloader. The tunes they did that day, "So What", "Blue in Green" (written by Evans, though credited to Miles) and "Freeloader" all became standards as did "All Blues" from the April session. Documentaries and entire books have been written on this one album alone. The phenomenon lives on. (previously on AskMeFi, but just on Trane and Miles.)
posted by Seekerofsplendor on Mar 3, 2009 - 71 comments

The Music According to Lafayette Gilchrist

Lafayette Gilchrist is one of my favorite piano players. Featured on a Down Beat cover a few months ago (with Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran), he has released a half-dozen or so albums with his group, New Volcanoes, and he's the regular piano player in saxophonist David Murray's quartet. His playing and composition styles are informed by funk, go-go and hip-hop. And he's from Baltimore. Of course, you might also know him from his appearance on the soundtrack to The Wire.
posted by box on Feb 24, 2009 - 8 comments

Sooo Funky

29 year old Hiromi Uehara first mesmerized the jazz community with her 2003 Telarc debut, Another Mind. 4 albums later she continues to astonish and inspire. On February 3rd, she released the album Duet, a collaboration with Chick Corea, having first played with Corea at age 17. A graduate of the Berklee School of Music, Hiromi tours relentlessly with her crack band. I defy your jaw not to drop at their performances here, here, and here. [more inside]
posted by Roach on Feb 24, 2009 - 85 comments

Cuban jazz greats Chucho and Bebo Valdes reunited

Estranged father and son Chucho and Bebo Valdés, both pioneers of Cuban jazz, sat down and immediately played a duet after years of being apart. This recording of their reunion beautifully captures the range of emotions that could only be expressed without words.
posted by roaring beast on Feb 23, 2009 - 13 comments

She was a BIG FREAK!!

"A wildly flamboyant funk diva with few equals even three decades after her debut, Betty Davis combined the gritty emotional realism of Tina Turner, the futurist fashion sense of David Bowie, and the trendsetting flair of Miles Davis, her husband for a year. ... she turned Miles on to Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone (providing the spark that led to his musical reinvention on In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew), then proved her own talents with a trio of sizzling mid-'70s solo LPs." - All Music Guide (many links nsfw-ish)
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 17, 2009 - 22 comments

All reet!

Thelonius Monk's advice to Steve Lacy (as transcribed by Lacy)
posted by ericbop on Feb 5, 2009 - 24 comments

Playing him out.

Henry Hey's new Bush Song. (SLYTP; previously; via waxy.) [more inside]
posted by progosk on Jan 30, 2009 - 14 comments

Pretty Complex Stuff

Leave Me Alone! a jazz opera by Harvey Pekar (libretto) and Dan Plonsey (music) will have its world premiere on January 31, 2009 at Oberlin College, presented in cooperation with Real Time Opera. The performance will also be streamed live. [more inside]
posted by Herodios on Jan 25, 2009 - 10 comments

Freddie Hubbard 1938 - 2008

Freddie Hubbard passed away today. [more inside]
posted by bluedaniel on Dec 29, 2008 - 42 comments

The Bay area jazz scene

Plays Monk Live at Intersection for the Arts. A terrific video and audio performance of Plays Monk recorded by BayTaper, an excellent one man multimedia operation recording the San Francisco area jazz & creative music scene. (previously)
posted by semmi on Dec 19, 2008 - 6 comments

Good luck not dancing

At Sammy's at 2016 Main, on September 8, a historic jam session occurred, an impromptu reunion of many of the city of New Orleans's finest musicians. Each player who walked in the door was much more than a mere musician that night -- they were an affirmation of life. Not only did their attendance indicate that they had survived the storm, but their collective presence also indicated that their music would survive, too.
The New Birth Brass Band (and friends) tears it the hell up in downtown Houston post-Katrina. The whole show is great, but if you're short on time, parts one and three are especially smoking.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas on Dec 14, 2008 - 3 comments

Friends of Lady Day

In 1972 Lady Sings the Blues was released. Ostensibly a biopic about the life of Billie Holiday, it was a travesty of made up history and glaring ommissions. In response to that release a symposium was held on Lady Day's life and work which included storytelling from Artie Shaw (about hiring her in 1938) and Carmen McRae (about her drug life). The CBC recently put together an excellent podcast with these stories and some interview tape from Billie Holiday herself.
posted by salishsea on Nov 9, 2008 - 3 comments

SARAH PALIN'S BAADASSSSS SONG

PALIN SONG
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 22, 2008 - 58 comments

Neal Hefti, 1922-2008

Neal Hefti, trumpet player, arranger, big band leader and composer for film & televison, has died. This may be his most loved work.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Oct 15, 2008 - 35 comments

Jazz For the Eye

The iconic photographer William Claxton has died at the age of 80. His unforgettable shots of Miles Davis, Steve McQueen,Chet Baker (the book of his Baker photos here), Bob Dylan, Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Bill Evans, Lenny Bruce, Frank Sinatra and so many others are legend. His books "Jazz Life" and "Photographic Memory" are great collections, but his official site is probably the best way to appreciate the amazing legacy of work he left behind.
posted by Seekerofsplendor on Oct 12, 2008 - 13 comments

High Times Hard Times

Last month, a wonderful documentary entitled simply Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer debuted in NYC and LA and was very warmly received. It tells the story of a singer regarded by many jazz fans to be among the greatest who ever lived (her strikingly modern small-group recordings from the 1950s attest to a singer whose talent grew far beyond her Big Band days), and who, despite living an incredibly self-destructive life, lived and performed well into her 80's. Here's Anita from her famous 1958 Newport performance, and here are some other notable clips: Honeysuckle Rose, Let Me Off Uptown (w/Gene Krupa and feat. Roy Eldridge; a huge hit in 1941), Love for Sale, and more from the film here.
posted by ornate insect on Sep 22, 2008 - 25 comments

Trumpeteer Videos

Trumpet Kings is a blog dedicated to videos of trumpeteers, mostly jazz but there are a few classical ones. On the companion youtube channel there are 184 videos. These are some of my favorite things: Wynton Marsalis - Riot, Dizzy Gillespie - trumpet battle, Maynard Ferguson - Round Midnight, Louis Armstrong - C'est Si Bon, Miles Davis - No Blues, Ray Anthony - Harlem Nocturne, Booker Little - Minor Mode Blues, Ingrid Jensen - Foxy Trot and Sergei Nakariakov - Bach's Air.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 16, 2008 - 11 comments

Delicate Things

Who you are is what you listen to: Prof. Adrian North of Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University recently published results of what the Beeb calls "the largest study of its kind" linking music listening habits to personality characteristics. His breakthrough conclusions? Heavy metal listeners, contrary to public perception, are not a "suicidally depressed" or a "danger to themselves and society in general. But they are quite delicate things." [more inside]
posted by beelzbubba on Sep 5, 2008 - 65 comments

Guardian's Top 50 Arts Videos

The Guardian has compiled a list of their top fifty arts videos, the majority being from either rare or obscure sources and uploaded onto YouTube.
posted by djgh on Aug 30, 2008 - 13 comments

Kids love Coltrane

A cool tale about second graders at P.S. 178 in Queens falling in love with John Coltrane, and raising funds to help restore the house in nearby Dix Hills [previously on mefi] where the saxophonist (and saint?) composed his spiritual masterpiece A Love Supreme [last four links go to Youtube].
posted by the_bone on Aug 21, 2008 - 18 comments

Jazz bassist who blew them all away

In July of 1961, the bass genius Scott LaFaro, perished in a fiery car crash after visiting family and friends in upstate NY, just ten days after doing the last gigs he would ever do with the great Bill Evans's trio (which became the legendary live recordings from the Vanguard) . He was only 24 years old. But he was also developing as a fine writer as well, as this Evans trio track - a mystical ballad in 9/4, shows. [more inside]
posted by Seekerofsplendor on Jul 15, 2008 - 20 comments

Visual jazz.

(Follow-upFilter) It's rare that jazz videos venture beyond filming live performances. This makes the exceptions all the more notable. Animation seems the medium of choice: from George Griffin's 1988 paper collage for Charlie Parker's "Ko Ko" to Len Lye's swinging The Lambeth Walk (1939), or (stretching musical definitions just a bit) his 1958 masterpiece "Free Radicals". More recent jazz seems to fit just as well: witness Lung's psychotic piece for Ladyscraper's "Thou Art Fucking Dead". [more inside]
posted by progosk on Jul 14, 2008 - 11 comments

There's Always One More Time

September 14, 1998 "the Tan Canary" passes away. He started out as a gospel singer but went on to perform blues, soul, county, and jazz. In 1968 he covered the country standard "Release Me" and it became a hit. His audience grew, but stardom outside of his home in New Orleans was not to be his. [more inside]
posted by nola on Jul 6, 2008 - 4 comments

Canadian Brass

The brass quintet Canadian Brass is both venerable--it's been around 38 years--and prolific--its discography is as long as your arm. While they often play classical arrangements, they also mix in jazz and blues, along with a complement of showmanship and humor. (Also, they play Flight of the Bumblebee on the tuba.) [Mouseover for titles.]
posted by Upton O'Good on Jul 3, 2008 - 18 comments

Is it jazz? Listen, bud...

The swingin' sounds of Spider-Man! After years of searching, Kliph Nesteroff found original reels of the incidental music to the classic Ralph Bakshi Spider-Man cartoon, and has included most of the masters in his podcast. [more inside]
posted by Shepherd on Jul 1, 2008 - 25 comments

Jack Sheldon...Oh Yes!

Trying To Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon Who is Jack Sheldon? You may remember him as Merv Griffin's comedic trumpet-wielding sidekick, or the indelible voice on School House Rock (etc.), but musicians know him as a jazz giant. Unlike his close friend and collaborator, Chet Baker, Jack Sheldon survived the demons of drugs, alcohol and unspeakable personal tragedy...
A documentary film by Penny Peyser and Doug McIntyre. (multiple YT clips in description; official site contains Flash audio)
posted by LinusMines on Jun 25, 2008 - 6 comments

What's black and white and was heard all over?

In the 1930-40s there was an interracial, all woman swing band, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. They are not exactly forgotten. There is a book, a movie, a black history month public radio special and a tribute album devoted to them. Ladies and gentleman: the International Sweethearts of Rhythm (YouTube). More audio files here. Photo 1, 2 [more inside]
posted by shothotbot on Jun 16, 2008 - 7 comments

Soviet Jazz

When people think of Soviet culture in the Stalin era, jazz usually isn't the first music to come to mind. But it was there, and some of it was pretty good, whether adapting Western standards, partying with a Russian twist, or just being adventurous. If that's a little too old-school for you, try some Soviet funk.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Jun 9, 2008 - 14 comments

Rufus Harley, the Jazz Bagpipe Player

Rufus Harley is generally best known for being a Jazz Bagpipe player. He promoted peace and an appreciation of the United States. A native of Philadelphia, he gave out replicas of the liberty bell to famous celebrities including Bill Cosby. A documentary of his life, which includes an extended interview of Rufus in his home, was recently released: Pipes of Peace [Trailer]. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious on May 31, 2008 - 12 comments

Hava nagila, have two nagilas, have three nagilas; they're very small.

Claire and Merna Bagelman, better known as The Barry Sisters. Every Sunday from 1938 to 1955 on WHN in New York, they mashed Swing with Yiddish Folk as the main attraction on the radio program Yiddish Melodies in Swing.[via] "We take a tune that's sweet and low, and we rock it solid and make it gold." They are indeed a Hebrew National Kosher Classic. More Yiddish music webceptacles. [more inside]
posted by not_on_display on May 27, 2008 - 8 comments

Phil Schaap, jazz aficionado

Phil Schaap has hosted a jazz program for the past twenty-seven years on WKCR, Columbia University’s radio station with unapologetic passion and a depth of familiarity that comes, in part, from the personal relationships he had with the musicians themselves.
posted by semmi on May 12, 2008 - 27 comments

"Frog" and Papa Jo

Here's a wonderful, brief clip of the great tenor saxophonist Ben Webster (wiki) and the great drummer Papa Jo Jones (wiki). Both men were marvels: here's a little illustration from 1957 of what made Jones so great, and here's Ben (accompanied by pianist Teddy Wilson[wiki]) late in life, milking the ballad "Old Folks" for so much feeling that one literally sees tears running down his face. [more inside]
posted by ornate insect on Apr 28, 2008 - 15 comments

The Art Ensemble of Chicago

An introductory piece on the Art Ensemble of Chicago. [more inside]
posted by sleepy pete on Apr 25, 2008 - 16 comments

Jazz legend Lyttelton dies at 86

Humphrey Lyttelton has died. Musician, cartoonist, journalist and chairman of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
posted by verisimilitude on Apr 25, 2008 - 33 comments

Orchestral Maneuvers in the dAKAH

In LA, a 63 (70!)-piece orchestra blends the styles of Charles Mingus and Duke Ellington with hip-hop, European classical music, and free jazz. Spend some time with the dAKAH Orchestra and it's founder Geoff "Double G" Gallegos.
posted by mikoroshi on Apr 23, 2008 - 9 comments

We travel the spaceways

Brother from Another Planet (Pts. 2, 3, and 4) is a documentary about Sun Ra and his Arkestra(s) on YT. It features interviews with Archie Shepp, Amiri Baraka, John Sinclair, and several members of the Arkestra as well as several live clips and scenes from the 1974 movie Space is the Place. (previously) [more inside]
posted by sleepy pete on Apr 19, 2008 - 18 comments

Do You Like American Music?

Sounds of America is a new monthly streaming audio program, a collaboration between the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Global Sound. Up now are 3 episodes: African-American music in New Orleans, Women in American Music, and Freedom Songs of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
posted by Miko on Apr 2, 2008 - 12 comments

help?

Jim Henson's 1965 short film, Time Piece [more inside]
posted by not_on_display on Mar 24, 2008 - 33 comments

Wardell Quezergue: The Creole Beethoven

Regarding the 'Creole Beethoven' Wardell Quezergue, composer, arranger, big band leader, master of Second Line funk, who brought us Earl King's Trick Bag, the Dixie Cups' Iko Iko and Chapel of Love, King FLoyd's Groove Me, Baby, Jean Knight's Mr. Big Stuff to name but a few--not to mention A Creole Mass--and who, later in life, survived Katrina, to become, among other things of late, according to Home of the Groove's Quezergue Onstage and Behind The Scenes, a street performer in the French Quarter. His is a name that ought not be forgotten. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Feb 23, 2008 - 5 comments

'Radioactive mama, we'll reach critical mass tonight'

Atomic Platters :: Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security
posted by anastasiav on Feb 15, 2008 - 5 comments

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