Like a jazz piece that starts off in one direction and then takes an unexpected turn, two of this month’s new articles were conceived under one category, but ended up better suited to another area. My discussion of Timme Rosenkrantz’ 1945 Town Hall Concert started out as a Retro Review, but I discovered that all of the releases I owned of this concert had some sort of technical defect, and the only edition I could recommend was one I had never heard. So at the last minute, the Town Hall article became a SIdetracks column. Likewise, the survey of trumpeter Clarence Gene Shaw’s Chicago recordings was originally slated as a Sidetracks column, but due to its moderate length (and the fact that I had heard all of the available issues) it fit well as a Retro Review. Neither the Town Hall concert nor the Gene Shaw LPs have been available for several years, so I hope that some reissue producers will take the hint and reissue these marvelous recordings.
This month’s Book Review deals with Thomas Brothers’ new biography, “Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism“. I love how Brothers has humanized Armstrong by discovering the sources of his greatest solos. Brothers plays the race card a little too much, but his research is thorough and his writing is clear. For our new CD reviews, we feature four international vocalists working in a wide range of genres, and three fine composer-pianists who elicit rich and varied timbres from their small groups.
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