The June 9, 1945 Town Hall concert produced by Timme Rosenkrantz was ostensibly a celebration of small group swing, featuringRed Norvo, Gene Krupa, Bill Coleman, Teddy Wilson, Don Byas and Stuff Smith. However, there were elements of the newly emerging bebop style for anyone who was listening.Thomas Cunniffe discusses the music and tells of the concert's fascinating back story in this month's Sidetracks.
In one of the finest books ever written on the subject, Thomas Brothers' "Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism" examines Armstrong's development and pioneering recordings of 1922-1931. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the volume, noting Brothers' free use of the race card, but praising his thorough method of humanizing Armstrong.
New in Retro Reviews: CLARENCE GENE SHAW IN CHICAGO In 1957, trumpeter Clarence Shaw left the music business after a violent argument with his employer, Charles Mingus. By 1962, Shaw was in Chicago and playing again . Now using his middle name, Gene, he recorded three superb LPs for Argo featuring the best of the Windy City's musicians Thomas Cunniffe discusses those rare albums in this Retro Review.
THE EARLIEST RECORDINGS OF "BODY & SOUL" Before it was interpolated into the Broadway revue, "Three's A Crowd", Johnny Green's "Body and Soul" had been a hit in England. As the musical went through tryouts, the lyrics of the song underwent a complete rewrite before its Broadway premiere. In this interactive Historical Essay, Thomas Cunniffe examines 17 recordings of "B&S" recorded between February and October 1930.
Jazz composition is a unique art. Rather than creating a piece of music completely from start to finish, jazz composers must leave room for others to improvise and realize the score. This month, Thomas Cunniffe reviews CDs by three composer-pianists who have found their voices within the small-group format.
INTERNATIONAL FLAIR This month's vocal CD reviews take us to Spain, Hungary, Switzerland and Brazil via four superb vocalists who may be not be well-known to American audiences. Thomas Cunniffe introduces you to Carmen Cuesta, Paulinho Garcia, Beat Kaestli and Rozina Pátkai, who perform music covering a wide (and surprising) range of genres.
With contemporary music styles cross-fertilizing before our very ears, the training of young musicians requires instruction in an ever-widening range of genres. A gala concert featuring the talented students, alumni and mentors from three pioneering music education programs has just been released as the CD/DVD set (and PBS special), "Jazz and the Philharmonic". Thomas Cunniffe reviews the discs.
LAUREN KINHAN & THE ART OF INTERPRETATION (February 5, 2014) In
support of her newest album, "Circle in a Square", vocalist Lauren
Kinhan returned to Denver's Soiled Dove for a performance which
exhibited the depth of her musical world. Thomas Cunniffe, who considers
Kinhan's album her best to date, offers his views on both the CD and
Wardell may be the greatest singer you've never heard. Well-known in
Europe, but barely known in the US, Wardell is one of the best scat
singers in jazz today, and she also is a superb interpreter of vocalese,
jazz originals and standards. Thomas Cunniffe introduces you to Wardell
in this profile which features 5 complete audio selections and a video
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