David Baker, who passed away March 26, 2016 at the age of 84, was one of jazz’s true Renaissance men. Best known as a pioneer of jazz education, Baker was also a musician, author, composer, conductor, historian and activist. This month, Thomas Cunniffe reviews Monika Herzig's collection of essays, "David Baker: A Legacy in Music", which Cunniffe notes is a book that openly celebrates its subject, but is not always effective in relaying its wealth of information.
New in Retro Reviews:
REVISITING "SHUFFLE ALONG" When "Shuffle Along" premiered on Broadway in May 1921, it ended a 12-year drought of black shows on the so-called Great White Way. With a new version of the show about to premiere on Broadway, Thomas Cunniffe examines a 1976 LP and a new CD which reconstruct the show's proto-jazz score, written by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake. Cunniffe also examines a new solo piano recording by Ehud Asherie of songs from the score.
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.
Few contemporary vocalists have the stylistic
range of Luciana Souza. She is a remarkable improviser and composer who
can not only offer passionate interpretations of songs from America and
Brazil, but is also a collaborator with contemporary classical composer
Osvaldo Golijov. Thomas Cunniffe introduces you to Souza in this JHO
profile, which includes audio and video clips of Souza at work.
46th annual UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival featured a remarkable array of guest
artists including New York Voices, Ellis Marsalis, the Clayton-Hamilton
Jazz Orchestra, Houston Person, Tamir Hendelman and Joey DeFrancesco.
However, it was also a reunion of alumni from Greeley's University of
Northern Colorado Jazz Studies department. Thomas Cunniffe, who is one
of those alumni, offers an extended review of the festival.
Since the summer of 2015, when she uploaded her remarkable scat version of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps", French jazz vocalist Camille Bertault has been an internet sensation. In this edition of Sidetracks, Bertault tells Thomas Cunniffe about the inspiration for that video, and her unique and varied background. The article includes four embedded videos (and links to several more) plus a review of Bertault's new CD, "En Vie".
As Billy Joel's song has it, New York City is as much a place as it is a state of mind. This month, Thomas Cunniffe reviews new albums by three outstanding (and considerably different) pianists from the Big Apple: Bill Charlap, Steve Kuhn and Leslie Pintchik.
The three veteran singers spotlighted in this month's vocal CD reviews bring their wealth of personal and professional experiences to the music. Freddy Cole eclipses the shadow of his famous older brother Nat on the tribute album "He Was the King"; Barb Jungr offers a salve for the world with "Shelter from the Storm", and the late Mark Murphy performs a stunning collection of Miles Davis standards on "Live in Athens, Greece". Thomas Cunniffe reviews the discs.
The flamboyant electric bassist Jaco Pastorius was an anomaly in jazz history. Since his instrument has generally gone out of favor in jazz circles, Pastorius' main influence has been within rock bands. A new documentary, authorized by the Pastorius family, was produced by Metallica's Robert Trujillo, and features an equal number of rock and jazz musicians as interviewees. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the 2-DVD set of "Jaco", noting that the film discusses Jaco as a person well, but gets a few key facts wrong.
Jazz History Online is optimized for use on Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera browsers.
We do not support or recommend Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Content copyright . Jazz History Online.com. All rights reserved.