Thomas Cunniffe

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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SOLO PIANO!

Artists of all kinds strive for a direct connection with their audiences (basically, where thoughts move from their mind to yours)_. Until the day when telepathic communication becomes the norm, solo performances are the closest equivalents, with only an instrument, a communication method and our comprehension. In this month’s Instrumental CD Reviews, Thomas Cunniffe discusses three new solo piano recordings where the artist’s emotions and motivations are clearly expressed in their music.

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Music for a Cool Yule 2019

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.

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