Female musicians continue to make inroads in the jazz world, and this collection of capsule reviews celebrate five new albums led by prominent jazz women. The supergroup Artemis presents their second album, violinist Sara Caswell offers a long-awaited CD of her music, Champian Fulton shines in a new live recording, Jo Lawry collaborates with Linda May Han Oh and Allison Miller for a daring recital, and Gretchen Parlato and Lionel Loueke celebrate 20 years of music-making with a splendid duet album. Thomas Cunniffe offers his evaluations.
This issue’s Retro Review spotlights two collections of historic bebop recordings. Savoy’s “The Birth of Bop” was originally issued in 1952 and consists solely of commercial recordings made for Savoy, while Verve’s “Bird in LA” collects rare private recordings which document three of Parker’s visits to the City of Angels. Thomas Cunniffe evaluates each set.
Saxophonist Dave Liebman and pianist Richie Beirach have created compelling music together for the past 50 years, and their joint memoir “Ruminations and Reflections” collects their stories and opinions from interviews, letters and lectures. Thomas Cunniffe offers his review of the book, which manages to be both enlightening and frustrating in equal degrees.
Vocalist Carol Sloane never received sufficient recognition in her lifetime, but a wonderful new documentary “Sloane: A Jazz Singer” may rectify the situation even though Sloane is no longer here to receive it. The film is just beginning to appear in festivals, and Thomas Cunniffe, offers his appraisal.
Hello everyone– Here, at last, is the final issue of Jazz History Online for 2022. It is a double issue with extra book, video, and CD reviews, along with a new interview. I’ve been working on this issue since the middle of autumn, and the only reasons I can give for their tardy publication are
…And another year has passed. This one seemed to move quicker than the others but not being in quarantine might have made the difference. In 2022, Jazz History Online covered more concerts than in any other year in its history; however, this was also the year with the fewest full issues. Only 3 books and
Sonny Rollins is rightly considered “the world’s greatest living jazz improviser” even though he has been unable to play his tenor saxophone for several years. Yet, very little has been published about Rollins’ personal life. A massive 700+ page biography by Aidan Levy rectifies the situation with pages of previously undocumented information, and an incredible collection of new interviews, including with Rollins. Thomas Cunniffe discusses this important reference work in this Book Review.
No one ever claimed that being a jazz musician was easy, and the three films reviewed here focus on those struggles. “Louis Armstrong: Black and Blues” spends considerable time on the jazz icon’s personal issues with racism, “Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes” examines the bassist’s struggles with the unexpected deaths of family members and the challenges of maintaining his high level of artistry, while the feature film “Round Midnight” explores loneliness, depression, and alcoholism. Thomas Cunniffe discusses the common themes in this Video Review.
During the 1980s, MaryLynn Gillaspie was a key member of the vocal group Rare Silk. Gillaspie has performed solo performer in the Denver/Boulder area for the past decade. She has returned to the recording studio to create an outstanding new album, “Secret Language”, which represents a new depth for her in repertoire and performance. Thomas Cunniffe spoke with Gillaspie and her arranger/collaborator Kip Kuepper about the album’s scope and concepts.
With the exception of Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard was the hottest jazz trumpeter during the early to mid-1960s. Prior to leading his own group, he was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and he appeared on many landmark albums of the time. A new Mosaic box collects the first 10 LPs Hubbard recorded under his own name, in stunning fidelity with outstanding liner notes by Bob Blumenthal. Thomas Cunniffe offers a track-by-track summary of this set in this Retro Review.
At the end of every year, Thomas Cunniffe attempts to review all of the noteworthy discs remaining on his review stack. Laura Anglade, Camille Bertault, Roberta Donnay, Aubrey Johnson, Manhattan Transfer, Paul Marinaro, Luciana Souza, and Nancy Harms are the featured vocalists in this collection of CD Reviews (see elsewhere on The Front Page for a collection of instrumental CD reviews).
At the end of every year, Thomas Cunniffe attempts to review all of the noteworthy discs remaining on his review stack. Franco Ambrosetti, Jane Ira Bloom, Terri Lyne Carrington, Al Foster, Tom Harrell, Enrico Rava and Fred Hersch, and Jason Yeager are the featured leaders in this collection of CD Reviews (see elsewhere on The Front Page for a collection of vocal CD reviews).
It has taken 60 years, but the story of Dave and Iola Brubeck’s pioneering musical “The Real Ambassadors” has been told in a full-length book. Using vintage interviews and materials from the Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck archives, author Keith Hatschek examines the work in the larger scope of the civil rights movement, as well as the details of the creation, recording and sole performance of the work. There is talk of a film treatment, and reviewer Thomas Cunniffe explores that angle in this Book Review.