From the Editor 02-14

It’s never fun to be told you’re unpopular. Billboard and Nielsen opened the new year by reporting that  jazz records only amount to 2.3 percent of US music sales in 2013. Yet despite those dismal numbers, there seems to be plenty of jazz festivals, some of which have rather low jazz quotients. I discuss these topics further in this month’s Sidetracks.

Our Book Review features a new volume which tells the fascinating history of jazz discography. Even if you typically pass up discographies in articles and webpages, you might want to read this book. There’s a lot more drama than you might expect!

In Retro Reviews, we pay tribute to Eddie Jefferson, the godfather of vocalese, and his masterpiece, “The Main Man”. The recording was made in 1977, while Jefferson was working regularly with Richie Cole. Cole is now a Colorado resident and engaged to former JHO scribe Janine Santana. At a recent gig in Denver, Cole gave me valuable background information on “The Main Man” and most of those facts appear here for the first time. (We’ll have more vocalese material appearing soon in Sidetracks).

Our CD reviews include several exciting releases. In the vocal section, we feature new albums by Amy Cervini, Kate McGarry and Catherine Russell, while the instrumental section spotlights Matt Wilson, Helen Sung and a collaboration between Nick Phillips and Cava Menzies.

Shortly after February 5, we will post a concert/CD review of Lauren Kinhan’s new solo album. I’ve just received a wonderful Sonny Rollins reissue that will be reviewed next month. We hope to have new DVDs to review soon.

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Thomas Cunniffe

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