The role of the jazz producer has evolved considerably in the past 80 years. As recording technology transformed from shellac to vinyl, and then from analog to digital (and back again!), producers accepted increasing responsibilities from editing master tapes to sequencing LPs and CDs. Michael Jarrett's new book "Pressed for all Time" is an oral history of jazz production, and as Thomas Cunniffe notes in his Book Review, the narrative includes several fascinating historical tidbits about iconic jazz albums, but leaves out discussions of several key players.
New in Retro Reviews:
"NATIONAL JAZZ MUSEUM OF HARLEM SAVORY COLLECTION, VOLUME 1" In the Thirties and Forties, a young radio engineer named Bill Savory captured broadcast performances of Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, and many others. Up until this year, a double-disc set of Goodman airchecks were the only parts of Savory's collection available to the general public. However, this fall Loren Schoenberg and the National Jazz Museum of Harlem released the first in a series of digital albums featuring highlights from the Savory archive. As Thomas Cunniffe notes in this Retro Review, the recordings make us reconsider our knowledge of these great jazz icons.
MEL, MARTY & THE DEK-TETTE The recorded collaborations between vocalist Mel Tormé and arranger Marty Paich were arguably the highlights of each man's career. The albums they recorded with a 10-piece studio ensemble, the Marty Paich Dek-tette are some of the finest vocal LPs ever made. Thomas Cunniffe's study of this music was originally part of his Master's Thesis, and has been published on several websites over the past two decades. This newly-revised edition of the article (with three embedded videos) now marks its first appearance on Jazz History Online.
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
Special Holiday Feature: MUSIC FOR A COOL YULE 2016 Happy Holidays from Jazz History Online! For our annual feature, Music for a Cool Yule, Thomas Cunniffe and Marti Mendenhall offer capsule reviews of the best in holiday jazz, both new and classic. We have received far less holiday discs for review this year, so we hope that you will look through the entire list to find a new holiday favorite, regardless of whether it is a new release, or one from years past.
Back in 2011, the Manhattan Transfer and the New York Voices joined forces for a pair of concerts. The "vocal summit" concept was so successful (artistically and commercially) that several of today's best vocal groups have staged these performances all over the world. One of these concerts, featuring the Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, finally came to Colorado, and Thomas Cunniffe was there. He details their combined performance at Macky Auditorium in Boulder.
The Liberation Music Orchestra has now outlived its founder, Charlie Haden. Under the leadership of its longtime pianist/arranger Carla Bley, they have recorded a new CD, "Time/Life", as a tribute to Haden (who appears on two tracks) and a statement about the world's environmental crisis. Released too late to be included in last month's review of political big band recordings, Thomas Cunniffe has written an extended review for this month's Sidetracks.
Here at the JHO offices, we have an abundance of CDs waiting for review. For the next two months, we are trying to get as many discs reviewed as possible--not only to relieve the overflowing pile of discs, but to qualify them for next month's "2016 Summation". Thomas Cunniffe offers reviews of (fairly) recent discs by Richie Cole, Brandi Disterheft, Monika Herzig and Catherine Russell.
Don Cheadle's long-awaited Miles Davis film, "Miles Ahead" is far from a typical biopic. It requires its audience to come in with prior knowledge of Davis' life. However, it is a remarkable film, especially for a first-time director like Cheadle. In this DVD review, Thomas Cunniffe marvels at the way Cheadle juxtaposes various time frames from Davis' career into the same scenes.
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