Thomas Cunniffe

STANDARDS…OF MANY KINDS

The term “standards” can mean different things to different artists. On Holly Cole’s new CD, it refers to the Great American Songbook. Nancy Kelly, Jenna McLean and the Anöna Trio mix pop and jazz standards on their discs, and on the Tierney Sutton Band’s latest release, the term embraces a wide variety of movie music. Thomas Cunniffe reviews all of the above CDs in this month’s Vocal CD Reviews.

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CATHARSIS: APART AND TOGETHER

Ryan Keberle’s outstanding group Catharsis has won wide acclaim in recent years for its superb ensemble work, commitment to collective improvisation and strong political stance. In this feature review, Thomas Cunniffe reviews the band’s latest disc, alongside albums led by two members of Catharsis’ front line, Scott Robinson and Camila Meza.

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JAZZ FROM DETROIT (by Mark Stryker)

“It takes a village to raise a jazz musician, and one reason Detroit has produced so many front-rank players is that the villagers are as hip as they come.” This sentence from Mark Stryker’s new book “Jazz from Detroit” is an apt summary of the city’s contribution to jazz. In this month’s Book Review, Thomas Cunniffe explores Stryker’s history, which traces the Motor City jazz scene from the bebop era to the present day.

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NOTES FROM THE EDITOR 7-19

Hello everyone— It’s Jazz History Online’s 8th anniversary! Eight years seems to be an eternity on the internet, but this site has survived despite many setbacks and hardships. I’m grateful to all of the readers and supporters for keeping this online magazine alive. This issue is a little smaller than normal, owing to some personal […]

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DIVERGENT CAREER PATHS

This issue’s Retro Review tells of two superb vocalists whose careers took different paths in the late 80s and early 90s. Lisa Rich was a rising singer with a new album ready for release when health problems sidelined her career. Betty Carter was at the zenith of her career, and was celebrated in a career retrospective at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The recordings have received belated releases, and Thomas Cunniffe discusses both in this essay.

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SINGER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE TO TOURING (by Elisabeth Lohninger)

While universities do a credible job of training young jazz musicians for successful careers, the one course usually missing from the curriculum might be the most beneficial: “The Road 101”. Elisabeth Lohninger comes to the rescue with “Singer’s Survival Guide to Touring”, a comprehensive guide to life on the road. In his book review, Thomas Cunniffe notes that while the book is designed for vocalists, much of the information is equally applicable to instrumentalists.

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THE MANY SOUNDS OF “SUMMERTIME”

In honor of the upcoming Summer equinox, Jazz History Online’s principal writer has retrieved and revised one of his vintage articles, discussing 17 different of George Gershwin’s “Summertime”. Embedded YouTube clips are included, so grab an iced tea and take this article out on the porch.

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NEW SONGS: DISCOVERED & CREATED

The challenge for singers to find unique repertoire is not new, but with new jazz vocalists debuting every week, the repertoire challenge is as important as ever. Thomas Cunniffe reviews new CDs by Claire Martin, Judy Wexler, Hilary Gardner and Rosana Eckert which find solutions to this continuing issue.

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BASSISTS & COMPOSERS

All three of the albums covered in this issue’s Instrumental CD Reviews are led by bassists, but they are also tied together in their focus on compositions by the leaders and well-regarded masters. Thomas Cunniffe examines albums by Jay Anderson, Mark Dresser and Linda May Han Oh.

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CYRILLE AIMÉE AT THE SOILED DOVE, DENVER (June 6, 2019)

The Soiled Dove, a 300-seat club in East Denver was transformed into an intimate cabaret on June 6, 2019, as Cyrille Aimée presented her jazzy interpretations of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway songs. Thomas Cunniffe was there, and in this Concert Review, he reports that the music’s presentation varied considerably from her recent CD, as Cyrille used a reduced instrumentation (piano and bass) and added detailed introductions of the songs.

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