Historical Essays

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.

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Mel, Marty & the Dek-tette

The recorded collaborations between vocalist Mel Tormé and arranger Marty Paich were arguably the highlights of each man’s career. The albums they recorded with a 10-piece studio ensemble, the Marty Paich Dek-tette are some of the finest vocal LPs ever made. Thomas Cunniffe’s study of this music was originally part of his Master’s Thesis, and has been published on several websites over the past two decades. This newly-revised edition of the article marks its first appearance on Jazz History Online.

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Sheila Jordan: The Bass/Voice Duets

Sheila Jordan once said, I think I may have been a bass player in a previous life. My favorite way to sing is with the bass. Jordan’s duo recordings with bass accompaniment have been some of her finest work. This month, Jordan’s biographer Ellen Johnson, offers the first part of a two-part Historical Essay on these seminal recordings.

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Shelly Manne and His Men featuring Joe Gordon and Richie Kamuca

One of the most beloved recorded collections in jazz history features extended live performances performed by a band with no major stars except its leader. In this Historical Essay, Thomas Cunniffe reviews the recordings of Shelly Manne and His Men featuring Joe Gordon and Richie Kamuca, including the magical albums recorded over three nights at San Francisco’s Black Hawk.

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48 versions of “St. Louis Blues”

W.C. Handy’s St. Louis Blues was written nearly 100 years ago, and it has inspired thousands of recorded versions. Thomas Cunniffe examines four dozen jazz versions in this month’s Historical Essay. A playlist is available for readers who want to listen along.

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Tommy Flanagan’s Composer Tributes

Between 1975 and 1993, pianist Tommy Flanagan recorded six tribute albums featuring, in turn, the music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn, Bud Powell, Harold Arlen, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Thad Jones. Thomas Cunniffe explores these albums in this month’s Historical Essay.

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