August 2013 was a rough month for the jazz world. We lost several of our finest elders including Cedar Walton, Albert Murray and Sathima Bea Benjamin. However, our greatest loss overall may have been Marian McPartland. She was a tireless spokesperson for jazz, and she spread her love for this music through live performances, television, jazz documentaries and her award-winning NPR series “Piano Jazz”. With the passing of McPartland and Dr. Billy Taylor, we have lost two of the best ambassadors jazz ever had. As a tribute to Ms. McPartland, we are reposting the DVD review of the documentary, “In Good Time.”
The reach of McPartland’s work was very wide, but not entirely inclusive. In my continuing search for a day job, I interviewed with a young man who had never heard of Louis Armstrong. I did my best to educate him, but the end result was this month’s Sidetracks, where I discuss the issues of jazz appreciation and suggest a few ways we can help to remedy the problem.
The future is certainly brighter regarding the jazz scene, and in this month’s vocal reviews, I discuss the latest releases by three promising vocalists: Cyrille Aimee, Gregory Porter and Nicky Schrire. On the instrumental side are discs by Geri Allen, Fred Hersch (with Julian Lage), and Joe Lovano (with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra). This month’s book review features the autobiography of Gary Burton, and the Retro Review spotlights a new CD reissue of Sarah Vaughan’s Duke Ellington Songbooks.
You may have noticed that I have written all of the articles again this month. There are several writers who would love to contribute their services, but I cannot afford to pay anyone while on unemployment. If you would like to sponsor one of these writers, please contact me at the e-mail address below. You may also make a donation through the button on our Front Page. If you would like to receive an e-mail with links to all of our new articles, please send an e-mail to [email protected]. You can use the same address to forward your comments and suggestions to me.