Thomas Cunniffe

CONCERT JOURNAL Autumn, 2021

Jazz History Online’s new feature, Concert Journal, offers capsule reviews of performances from various locations up and down the Atlantic seaboard. This regularly updated column is part of JHO’s new focus on live performance. Thomas Cunniffe acts as reviewer and guide.

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UNBURIED TREASURES

This issue’s Retro Review covers three new discoveries, including a pair of highly interactive duo concerts by Roy Hargrove and Mulgrew Miller, three Seattle nightclub sets from the 1960s by Harold Land, and the recording debut of Sheila Jordan. Thomas Cunniffe reviews these instant classics.

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ODE TO A TENOR TITAN (by Bill Milkowski)

Idolized by fellow musicians but ignored by traditional jazz critics, Michael Brecker proved time and again that he was a worthy member of the great jazz tenor legacy. Bill Milkowski, who knew Brecker and understood his importance at the time, has written a new biography “Ode to a Tenor Titan” which documents Brecker’s astounding talent and achievements. Thomas Cunniffe offers his reactions in this month’s Book Review.

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NEW CONCEPTS

The concept album has been around since 1939, but the artists featured in this month’s vocal CD reviews have adapted the concept to fit their own needs. Thomas Cunniffe reviews albums by Patricia Barber, Stacey Kent, Kate McGarry and Roseanna Vitro.

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LARA SOLNICKI ON “THE ONE AND THE OTHER”

Following on the artistic successes of her previous album, Canadian vocalist, poet and composer Lara Solnicki has created a challenging new project, “The One and the Other” which mixes elements of progressive jazz, art song, poetry and symbolism. In this exclusive JHO interview, Solnicki and Thomas Cunniffe discuss the background and content of the album.

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OF PIANOS AND TENORS

This month’s instrumental jazz reviews focus on the two most popular instruments in jazz. Eliane Elias plays duets with Chick Corea and Chucho Valdés on “Mirror Mirror”; Joel Frahm interacts with his trio on “The Bright Side”; Renee Rosnes and Chris Potter are reunited on “Kinds of Love” and Helen Sung pays tribute to great female jazz composers on “Quartet Plus”. Thomas Cunniffe discusses these four outstanding albums.

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THE SOUNDS OF CHICAGO

After a busy summer covering jazz concerts on the East Coast, Jazz History Online’s Thomas Cunniffe traveled to Chicago and caught performances by several of the Windy City’s finest local musicians…plus one notable alumni, Herbie Hancock. In this special essay review, Cunniffe discusses each concert, as well as a special memorial for the late Penny Tyler.

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CONCERT JOURNAL (Spring/Summer 2021)

Jazz History Online’s new feature, Concert Journal, offers capsule reviews of performances from various locations up and down the Atlantic seaboard. This regularly updated column is part of JHO’s new focus on live performance. Thomas Cunniffe acts as reviewer and guide.

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NOTES FROM THE EDITOR (05-21)

Hello everyone– Welcome to the spring edition of Jazz History Online. Sorry for the delay in getting this issue to you, but as we all know, deliveries have been very slow lately, and I simply can’t review materials if I don’t have them! I’ve also taken on extra freelance work (including COVID-19 tracing and book […]

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JUST SING…

By a happy and well-timed coincidence, the JHO mailbox has been filled with new discs by outstanding vocalists, all of whom have been previously featured on the site. With our 10th anniversary coming up this July, here are Thomas Cunniffe’s reviews of new CDs by Roseanna Vitro, Jane Monheit, Gretchen Parlato, Alyssa Allgood and Veronica Swift.

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JAZZ IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 (May 2021)

In what we hope will be the final installment of this series, Thomas Cunniffe reviews 5 new discs released during the pandemic. Included are Franco Ambrosetti’s “Lost Within You”, Jane Ira Bloom & Mark Helias’ “Some Kind of Tomorrow”, Noah Haidu’s “Slowly: Song for Keith Jarrett”, Jon-Erik Kellso’s “Sweet Fruits, Salty Roots” and Chris Pattishall’s “Zodiac”.

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“SITTIN’ IN: JAZZ CLUBS OF THE 1940s & 1950s” (by Jeff Gold)

Live music and venues were one of the first casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while some venues are reopening with reduced seating capacity, it may be several months before we can all enjoy an evening at a nightclub. Jeff Gold’s new book “Sittin’ In” offers an unusual look at the legendary clubs of the past, with rare souvenir photos, menus and handbills. In his review, Thomas Cunniffe notes that the timing for this book could not be better.

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