Such Sweet Thunder, Miles at Newport, Jive Colored Glasses, CD reviews!
A new look coming for JHO! Details in Notes from the Editor
New in Historical Essays:
DUKE ELLINGTON & BILLY STRAYHORN'S "SUCH SWEET THUNDER" In 1956, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn spent a week at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival. Inspired by the performances of the Bard's plays, Ellington promised that he and Strayhorn would write a new Shakespeare-inspired suite for the next year's festival. The result was "Such Sweet Thunder", one of the most highly acclaimed albums in the Ellington discography. In this Historical Essay, Thomas Cunniffe explores the suite in depth, offering historical and musical background for this important recording. A rare aircheck of the Ellington orchestra performing portions of the suite is also included in this extended article.
New in Retro Reviews:
"MILES DAVIS AT NEWPORT, 1955-1975" When Miles Davis first took the stage at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955, Duke Ellington joked that Davis and his fellow musicians inhabited the world of Buck Rogers. Actually, the music Davis played that day was fairly accessible, and it wasn't until 14 years later that his music began to alienate his long-time fans. While the new Legacy 4-CD set "Miles Davis at Newport" dutifully presents the music in chronological order, Thomas Cunniffe's review offers a different perspective as he starts with the most recent (and less known) sets and works backward from there.
Up until a few years ago, John F. Goodman’s best-known work in jazz journalism was his nine-year tenure as the music critic for Playboy magazine. Jazz has been a passion for Goodman ever since his childhood, and in his new self-published memoir, “Jive Colored Glasses” he relates how jazz was a constant part of his life, even when he was not writing about the music. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the book.
Anita 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 performance.
Anyone who wishes to become a jazz vocalist must find a way to stand out from the crowd. In this month's vocal CD reviews, Thomas Cunniffe discusses the music of Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lainie Cooke and Joanna Pascale, three women whose sounds differ a great deal, but who all possess a distinctive approach to their music.
Saxophonists can be a combative lot, but it's not always necessary for them to battle to the death. This month's instrumental CD reviews spotlight two new albums which each feature three saxophonists. However, as Thomas Cunniffe notes, the leaders David Berkman and Jerry Granelli take very different approaches in contrasting and uniting their fine saxophonists.
and the movies are America's two greatest contributions to the arts,
but Hollywood rarely gets it right when jazz musicians are portrayed on
the silver screen. "Syncopation", a 1942 film directed by William
Dieterle has been issued on home video for the first time, and while
it's not the classic that the trailer claims, it is considerably better
than most Hollywood jazz films. As a bonus, the DVD and Blu-Ray editions
contain nine exquisitely restored jazz shorts featuring Louis
Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw, Jack Teagarden
and Cab Calloway, and reviewer Thomas Cunniffe states that these films
are more entertaining than the feature.
singers could discover the inner meaning of a lyric like Susannah
McCorkle. A self-described hopeless romantic, she thoroughly researched
the songs she performed, and sometimes added long-forgotten lyrics to
her arrangements. McCorkle committed suicide in 2001, but her memory
lives on through a newly-released live recording from Berlin. Thomas
Cunniffe, who once interviewed McCorkle, discusses her life and artistry
in this Sidetracks article.
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