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Love Songs, MJQ, Red Garland, Katie Thiroux, CD Reviews!
Details in Notes from the Editor
New in Book Reviews:
(by Ted Gioia)
Ted Gioia is one of today's finest music historians. Since he usually focuses on American music, it's a little surprising that his latest book "Love Songs" is not limited to modern love songs, but is a comprehensive history of the subgenre going back to the 23rd century BC. Thomas Cunniffe's review states the book contains many fascinating and controversial theories, but that the section on American music should have been expanded.

New in Retro Reviews:
One of the reasons for the Modern Jazz Quartet's longevity was the wide appeal of their music. Cool jazz adopted them as their own for the fugues and Third Stream works, while boppers could appreciate their strong roots in the blues. Mosaic's 7-CD collection of the MJQ's studio albums from 1956-1964 offers generous helpings of the group's wide repertoire. In his review, Thomas Cunniffe notes that a companion volume of the MJQ live would complete the picture.

When Red Garland left the Miles Davis Sextet in 1958, his career continued on with recordings for Prestige and a busy schedule of sideman appearances. But in 1962, Garland moved to Dallas to care for his ailing mother, and he didn't return to active playing for nearly a decade. Elemental's new 2-CD set. "Swingin' on the Korner" finds Garland in exceptional form, leading a trio with Leroy Vinnegar and Philly Joe Jones in live sets recorded in 1977 at San Francisco's Keystone Korner.

Historical Essays:

In 1957, Norman Granz launched the 18th tour of Jazz at the Philharmonic. The concerts yielded 5 separate albums featuring Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Stan Getz, J.J. Johnson, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge and the JATP All-Stars. All of the albums were titled "At the Opera House" but on four of the five albums, the mono editions were recorded at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles! In this Historical Essay, Thomas Cunniffe sorts out the discographical maze and discusses all five of the albums in both their mono and stereo editions.

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. 

New in Sidetracks:
The number of bassist/vocalists in jazz history is rather small, and the number gets smaller when factoring in how many are women. In this edition of Sidetracks, Thomas Cunniffe introduces us to Los Angeles-based Katie Thiroux, whose abundant talents as singer, composer, arranger, bassist and bandleader are displayed in her newly-released debut CD. 

New in CD Reviews:

Because jazz is learned through listening to recordings of established masters and/or in-person mentoring from great musicians, the debt to our forebearers is quite significant. This month, Thomas Cunniffe reviews three new tributes from pianists Alex Conde, Jean-Michel Pilc and Justin Kauflin.

One of the greatest challenges for young jazz vocalists is how to stand out among the competition. In this month's vocal CD reviews, Thomas Cunniffe examines the music of Allegra Levy, whose first album is entirely comprised of original love songs written in the form of standards, and Lara Solnicki, whose second album features an eclectic playlist including pieces by Henry Purcell, Maurice Ravel, Jimmie Rowles, Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell. 

In Memoriam
WARD SWINGLE (1927-2015)
Jazz History Online remembers Ward Swingle, who passed away in his sleep January 19, 2015 at the age of 87. A true innovator in vocal jazz, he was a member of the Blue Stars and Les Double Six before starting his own Swingle Singers in 1962. Swingle's unique rhythmic approach to Bach influenced choral groups all over the world, and the current edition of the Swingle Singers are one of the world's most innovative vocal groups. Swingle was a supporter of this website and an invaluable resource during the research and preparation for JHO's Swingle Singers interactive history. As a tribute, we again post a Front Page link to the Swingle Singers profile, discography and gallery. 

Special F
Jazz History Online marks the new year with a summation of the year just passed. Thomas Cunniffe's Sidetracks essay discusses the highlights of concerts, books, DVDs, films, and CDs of 2014, and bids farewell to many great musicians who left our world in the past 12 months.

DVD Reviews:
Like most people, Fred Hersch doesn't remember his dreams. But the dreams he envisioned while in a medically-induced coma were so vivid, he described them in detail after he regained consciousness. Those dreams, and the story of his illness, are part a of a hybrid jazz/theatre work called "My Coma Dreams". Thomas Cunniffe reviews the newly released DVD of a performance at Columbia University. 

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