To commemorate the 80th anniversary of Tubby Hayes’ birth, there’s been several new CD reissues, a long-awaited full-length biography and now a documentary on the British tenor sax giant. Hayes lived a fast and full life before his passing at the age of 38, which makes the documentary’s title, A Man in a Hurry all the more appropriate. Thomas Cunniffe offers his thoughts on the film in this month’s DVD review.
The three veteran singers spotlighted in this month’s vocal CD reviews bring their wealth of personal and professional experiences to the music. Freddy Cole eclipses the shadow of his famous older brother Nat on the tribute album He Was the King; Barb Jungr offers a salve for the world with Shelter from the Storm, and the late Mark Murphy performs a stunning collection of Miles Davis standards on Live in Athens, Greece. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the discs.
Vocalists from all over the globe highlight this month’s vocal CD reviews. Swiss vocalist Beat Kaestli offers a wide range of songs on his disc Live in Europe, Australian vocalist and pianist Sarah McKenzie draws from a rich set of vocal and instrumental influences on We Could Be Lovers and from here in the US, Kurt Elling joins Branford Marsalis for a brilliant collaboration on Upward Spiral. Thomas Cunniffe notes the highlights in his reviews.
New Jersey vocalist Vanessa Perea’s debut CD, Soulful Days is as remarkable for its understatement as it is for its musicality. This month, JHO reviewer Thomas Cunniffe focuses on this stunning album, and speculates that Perea could become jazz’s next major vocalist.
In their celebrations of George Gershwin and Bill Evans, pianist Ted Rosenthal and bassist Martin Wind offer tribute albums that present the music in new and surprising ways. According to reviewer Thomas Cunniffe, the surprises start with the instrumentation and get better from there.
One of the greatest challenges for young jazz vocalists is how to stand out among the competition. In this month’s vocal CD reviews, Thomas Cunniffe examines the music of Allegra Levy, whose first album is entirely comprised of original love songs written in the form of standards, and Lara Solnicki, whose second album features an eclectic playlist including pieces by Henry Purcell, Maurice Ravel, Jimmie Rowles, Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell.
In a long-awaited biography, British saxophonist and jazz historian Simon Spillett examines the music and life of Tubby Hayes in The Long Shadow of the Little Giant. Spillett details the development of the British modern jazz scene and Hayes’ primary role within it, and also tells of Hayes’ addictive tendencies and messy personal life. In his review, Thomas Cunniffe calls this book one of the best biographies he’s read in years.
When arrangers set a piece by another composer, they can adapt it in several ways, In this month’s instrumental CD reviews, Thomas Cunniffe explores how Ben Markley, Mark Masters, Chris Washburne and Tina Raymond have adapted other composers works to create their own artistic statements.
Tenor saxophonist Tubby Hayes has been nearly forgotten in the United States, but in the United Kingdom, he is revered as one of the greatest jazz musicians Britain ever produced. Hayes died over 40 years ago, but his legacy has been kept alive through an avalanche of live and unissued Hayes recordings issued in the past decade. In this expanded Retro Review. Thomas Cunniffe examines the wide-ranging music of this sometimes neglected giant.
This month’s instrumental CD reviews collect a stunning tribute to Hank Mobley by fellow tenor man Eli Degibri, a quintet recording featuring trumpeter Brad Goode and tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts, and a lovely ballad-drenched album with trombonist Steve Turre. Thomas Cunniffe offers his thoughts on these three new releases.
Resonance Records’ latest Wes Montgomery issue will not be new to seasoned fans. The guitarist’s 1965 Paris concert has been available as a bootleg for many years. However, Resonance’s edition offers the concert in its entirety, mastered from the original ORTF master tapes. It is also the first legitimate release of this material. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the recording, which also features Harold Mabern, Arthur Harper, Jimmy Lovelace and Johnny Griffin.
The five vocalists featured in this month’s CD reviews offer something for everyone. Alyssa Allgood impresses with her sophomore disc, Exactly Like You, Mark Winkler and Cheryl Bentyne celebrate 1959 in Greenwich Village on ‘Eastern Standard Time, Bob Dorough offers quirky takes on well-known songs on But for Now and Judy Niemack collaborates with Jim McNeely and the DR Big Band for a multi-faceted salute to New York. Thomas Cunniffe provides the details.
As 2015 comes to a close, Jazz History Online recognizes the best new and reissued CDs, DVDs and books that have appeared in our pages over the past 12 months. We also pay tribute to the great musicians and historians who left us in 2015.
Jazz History Online marks the new year with a summation of the year just passed. Thomas Cunniffe’s Sidetracks essay discusses the highlights of concerts, books, DVDs, films, and CDs of 2014, and bids farewell to many great musicians who left our world in the past 12 months.