FrontPage

2022: THE SUMMATION

…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 […]

More

“SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS: THE LIFE & MUSIC OF SONNY ROLLINS” (by Aidan Levy)

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.

More

LESSONS IN HUMANITY

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.

More

MARYLYNN GILLASPIE & KIP KUEPPER ON “SECRET LANGUAGE”

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.

More

“THE COMPLETE FREDDIE HUBBARD BLUE NOTE & IMPULSE STUDIO SESSIONS” (Mosaic 274)

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.

More

2022’s BEST OF THE REST: VOCAL CD REVIEWS

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).

More

2022’s BEST OF THE REST: 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).

More

“THE REAL AMBASSADORS” (by Keith Hatschek)

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.

More

CONCERT JOURNAL: SUMMER-FALL 2022

Jazz History Online’s Concert Journal continues to cover the finest jazz concerts from the Eastern US. Thomas Cunniffe is your guide to the wide variety of jazz performed from Boston to DC.

More

“THE SPIRITS WITHIN”: THE COLLABORATIONS OF RED RODNEY AND IRA SULLIVAN (Part 1)

The Red Rodney/Ira Sullivan Quintet was one of the most exciting bands of the early 1980s. Trumpeter Rodney and multi-instrumentalist Sullivan co-lead the house band at Chicago’s Bee Hive in the mid-1950s. They reunited 25 years later and fronted a quintet with a young rhythm section that explored contemporary jazz from a bebop foundation. In this extended Historical Essay, Thomas Cunniffe explores the collaborations of Rodney and Sullivan, encompassing nine LPs and six newly-discovered live recordings.

More

JATP at The Opera House

In 1957, Norman Granz launched the 18th tour of Jazz at the Philharmonic. The concerts yielded 5 separate albums featuring Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Stan Getz, J.J. Johnson, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge and the JATP All-Stars. All of the albums were titled At the Opera House but on four of the five albums, the mono editions were recorded at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles! In this newly revised Historical Essay, Thomas Cunniffe sorts out the discographical maze and discusses all five of the albums in both their mono and stereo editions.

More