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The Best of Jazz History Online!!!
A Special Anniversary Celebration!!!
Special New Sidetracks, posted August 14, 2014
 A note from the editor:
Welcome to a special retrospective issue of Jazz History Online. We're celebrating our third anniversary by sharing some of our favorite articles.
While this site gains readers each month (we get about 1500 unique visits per week), we know that the only we can complete with the major jazz magazines is to provide unique content. That's why we regularly feature artists not regularly featured in the jazz press, and we offer interactive features with audio and video clips which illustrate the points in our detailed texts.

For those new to the site, here's a few tips: links under the title of a reviewed item will take you to an online shop where you can purchase the item in question. Other links will take you to artist websites and/or informational sites.

Every article that has appeared on these pages lives in our archives, and you can easily access these articles by clicking on the category tabs located below the banner. You can also use the search function or by search through the sitemap to locate articles on your favorite musicians. 

Finally, if  you haven't done so already, please use the "Donate" button (located under the photo of the newspaper above) to help keep this site active and online. The button leads to a secure PayPal portal.

New articles coming in the first week of September. Until then, enjoy the best of the past.
Tom Cunniffe

Our Profile section offers extended-length, in-depth discussions of contemporary musicians. The astounding progressive jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato graced our inaugural issue, and that was followed by one of our most popular features, an interactive history of the Swingle Singers. That article also included a complete discography of the group and a gallery displaying the various editions of the group, starting with the 1960s French group to the international ensemble that performs today. If your taste runs toward avant-garde jazz, check out our profile of the wonderful soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom.  Our most recent profile features the remarkable British vocalist Anita Wardell, and the article includes 5 complete audio selections and a video performance that shows why Wardell is such an amazing talent.

Historical Essays:
Jazz History Online offers detailed essays on important music of the past. Our interactive essay on the classic television show "The Sound of Jazz" includes the entire hour-long program with corrected speed. It also includes little-known behind-the-scenes facts about the making of the show and discusses why this one show is still considered the greatest presentation of jazz on television. And did you know that the great song "Body and Soul" was recorded seventeen times before it was premiered on Broadway? You can hear those recordings complete (many with surprising differences) in our Historical Essay. Finally, learn about Tommy Flanagan's wonderful series of tribute albums here.

Sidetracks is a relatively new feature on this site. It is an open forum for historical information that is a little off the beaten path. We've included a wide range of material in this section, including a famous Paul Desmond solo that has appeared in edited form since the mid-1950s (and no one realized it was an edit!). Our article includes audio of both the complete and edited solos--thanks to the estates of Desmond and Dave Brubeck. We've also used this space to examine the music and career of vocalist Jeri Southern, explore the source of jazz's most famous anthem, and review a classical album by the jazz composer Maria Schneider.

Interviews have been an occasional feature on our site. One of our earliest supporters was Clare Fischer. Marissa Dodge set up an interview with Clare, but to her (and our) surprise, Clare's son Brent answered the questions. As it turned out, Brent had been co-writing most of his father's arrangements. Jazz History Online was the first to reveal this information (with the blessings of the Fischer family).  Another great interview occurred a few months ago, when I spoke with vocalist/educators Kerry Marsh and Julia Dollison about their remarkable vocal transformations of Maria Schneider's big band scores.

An important message:

Jazz History Online needs your financial help to continue operations. Please follow the link for more information, then return to the Front Page and give what you can via our donate button and PayPal. Thank you in advance.

New in Sidetracks:
The New Yorker's fake Sonny Rollins interview has probably gotten more attention than it ever deserved, but the suicide of Robin Williams has brought out a new and disturbing element about the Rollins article. In this special edition of Sidetracks, Thomas Cunniffe explores the darker side of the New Yorker's "satire".

Book Reviews:
The history of jazz holds endless fascination to us, and we've reviewed many fine biographies, histories. and even a little jazz fiction. When two major biographies of Charlie Parker appeared in the same month, we took the opportunity to compare the two works. A few months back, we examined the controversial new book on Duke Ellington, sorting through the various arguments and criticisms of the work to see what was supported by the actual text and what seemed to be mere publicity. We've also examined the jazz photography of Kathy Sloane, and reviewed a wildly funny and imaginative novel about an avant-garde saxophonist.

Retro Reviews:
Since this is a jazz history site, we review old records as well as new ones. In our Retro Review section, we alternate between reissued albums and classic LPs. Some of the vinyl discs have never been reissued, but are worthy contenders (such as "Memories Ad-Lib", a great Count Basie/Joe Williams small group session that features guitar solos by Freddie Green!) Our most recent Retro Review was of the Louis Armstrong live performances on Mosaic. To date, Jazz History Online's review is the most detailed discussion of the album in print or online. We've also discussed the Chicago recordings of the obscure trumpeter Clarence Gene Shaw, and compared the newly-released 1956-1957 German recordings of the Modern Jazz Quartet to their more familiar US recordings to show how the group developed their repertoire.

CD Reviews:
Each month, Jazz History Online reviews the best new CD releases for both vocal and instrumental jazz. Jane Ira Bloom's Grammy-nominated ballads collection "16 Sunsets" and Sonny Rollins' historic "Road Shows Volume 2" (with guests Jim Hall, Roy Hargrove and Ornette Coleman) were presented in feature reviews. Amy Duncan and I discussed a wide range of albums in a CD Review Roundup (featuring Dena DeRose, Lewis Nash, Monday Michiru and the Hot Club of Detroit). I explored the music of  progressive singers Sara Serpa, Andrea Wolper, Clare Wheeler and Jay Clayton in "Vocalists at the Edge". I also reviewed tribute albums by Marc Cary, Eddie Daniels, Evan Christopher and the collaborative group Hush Point in "For Our Jazz Heroes", and examined the jazz partnerships of the Caswell Sisters and the mother/son team of Sandy Stewart and Bill Charlap in "Collaborations".             

DVD Reviews:
Jazz DVDs have become something of a rarity these days, but Jazz History Online tries to cover any worthwhile releases. In our first issue, I compared the television series and feature versions of "Icons Among Us", a fascinating look at the contemporary jazz scene in Brooklyn, New Orleans and Western Europe. Both versions were available separately on DVD, but no one ever issued the most logical box set, which was "all of the above". We've also screened Criterion's beautiful edition of "Anatomy of a Murder" which offers the option of hearing Duke Ellington's score in Dolby Digital Surround. We also look at independent jazz films, such as the women-in-jazz history "The Girls in The Band" and the wonderful documentary on Marian McPartland, "In Good Time".

Concert Reviews:
Jazz History Online is based in Denver, and we cover as many jazz concerts here as we can. On one memorable night, Anat Cohen and her brothers Avishai and Yuval brought authentic Brooklyn progressive jazz to Denver. In addition to covering the concert, we reviewed the latest CDs by Anat and Avishai in the same column. We have also reviewed concerts outside of Denver, including the Vail Jazz Party, as well as New York performances by Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project, and the duet of Luciana Souza and Romero Lubambo (courtesy of our East Coast correspondents, Chris Coulter and Nicky Schrire). Photo above by Drew Winners.

And don't forget...
There's plenty more to discover here at Jazz History Online. The samples on this page represent only about 10 percent of our work. Feel free to explore the site--you'll never know what treasures you might find!

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