Thomas Cunniffe

Notes from the Editor 02-20

Hello everyone, Hope you’re having a lovely winter. Here in Denver, we’ve received twice as much snow as normal and the mountains have had epic storms. Those who go up to the mountains to ski have raved about the fresh powder–and complained about the traffic to and from! One of our new CD Review columns […]

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NEW RECORDINGS FROM VAIL JAZZ PARTY SOLOISTS

Every time Thomas Cunniffe returns home from the Vail Jazz Party, his luggage includes several new CDs featuring the festival artists. This year, it took a little while to gather CDs because some sold out quickly at the party, and other discs will still awaiting release. Here are capsule reviews of newly released albums featuring these superb musicians, many of whom are scheduled to return to Vail this summer.

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HIS VOICE

The four male vocalists featured in this month’s Vocal CD Reviews have spiced up their new discs with unusual repertoire and unique arrangements. Thomas Cunniffe discusses the newly released music by John Allee, Benny Benack III, Paul Jost and Jay Leonhart.

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HER VOICE

With an increased presence in today’s jazz scene, more and more female musicians are asserting themselves with projects focusing on personal heroes, historical milestones and contemporary politics. In this CD review, Thomas Cunniffe explores powerful albums by Nancy Harms, Karrin Allyson and Virginia Schenck.

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TUBBY HAYES: “THE COMPLETE FONTANA ALBUMS” (Fontana 7743915—13 CDs)

While most of Tubby Hayes’ recordings have been reissued in recent years, his important recordings for the Fontana label have been in and out of print since their original issues. With the success of the recently rediscovered “Grits, Beans and Greens” sessions, Universal Music has finally reissued all of Hayes’ Fontana albums as deluxe CD and LP box sets. Thomas Cunniffe offers a detailed summation of the 13-CD set in this extended Retro Review.

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JAZZ IN THE 21ST CENTURY

As we enter the 20th year of the 21st century, two new books focus on jazz in the new millennium. In this Book Review, Thomas Cunniffe notes that neither Bill Beuttler’s “Make it New” nor Abby Mendelson’s “Spirit to Spirit” are perfect books, but they may well become valuable resources for further scholars.

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2019 SUMMATION

Jazz History Online’s annual recap of the year in jazz. Includes listings of the year’s best books, concerts, and CDs, and a memorial for those jazz musicians and supporters who died in the past year.

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THE SWINGLES AT POPEJOY HALL, ALBUQUERQUE, NM (December 19, 2019)

In a holiday-themed concert at Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque, The Swingles proved once again that they are without equals among vocal groups. While the group was able to overcome the temporary loss of one member when they sang in Lakewood Colorado last March, their concert in Albuquerque found the entire group present and in splendid voice. In this concert review, Thomas Cunniffe reports that while The Swingles are still in transition, they are at the top of their game performing a wide variety of arrangements (including some dating back to the group’s early years)

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THE PROPER COMBINATION

In discovering a unique repertoire, jazz musicians (both instrumentalists and vocalists) must search to find their own proper combination of standard and original material. If the two are not balanced, a musician can be unfairly labeled as either a cover artist or too esoteric. In this month’s Vocal CD Reviews, Thomas Cunniffe examines four self-released discs by artists who are searching for that elusive formula.

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