Whenever someone casually refers to Jazz History Online as a blog, I gently remind them that we don’t use “the b-word” around here. Blogs have garnered a bad reputation as unedited, factually-challenged pieces written by unmarried guys who live in the basement of their parent’s house. I’ll admit that I am not married and that I live and work in a basement, but it’s not my parents’ home, and I always edit and fact-check my work. Still, the concept of a blog is attractive: a light, informal article which can be about any of a wide range of topics. We won’t use the b-word in referring to our new feature “Sidetracks“, but we hope it will offer our readers and writers the opportunity to explore smaller-scope topics that wouldn’t fit into our other article categories. And we’ll always be sure to edit and fact-check.
For the first edition of “Sidetracks”, our own Amy Duncan offers an excerpt from her soon-to-be-published autobiography “Getting Down To Brass Tacks”. In the excerpt, she gives a lighthearted first person account of her interview with Miles Davis. Through Duncan’s eyes, we get a different view of Davis than his usual persona: he first appears grumpy and unwilling to participate in a standard interview. But he opens up as he, a PR person and Duncan examine his wardrobe. And when Duncan mentions that she has a 10-piece band inspired by his “Birth of the Cool” band, he realizes that he’s talking to a fellow musician, and he and Duncan swap ideas and music at Davis’ keyboard. We hope you enjoy this unique view of a true jazz legend.
Amy Duncan also writes about two classic Ornette Coleman LPs “The Shape of Jazz to Come” and “Change of the Century” in her Retro Review, while I uncover some of the joys and mysteries in the Stan Getz/Jimmy Rowles collaboration, “The Peacocks”. I also review three new CDs by Elizabeth Shepherd, Diana Krall and Kurt Elling that take dramatic and fresh approaches to the standard repertoire, and Amy and I discuss several new instrumental and vocal CDs from Dena DeRose, the Hot Club of Detroit, Mark Masters, Monday Michiru, Lewis Nash and the Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet.
Due to late mail and package deliveries, we were unable to prepare our review of “Pepper Adams’ Joy Road”, which includes a detailed discography and an accompanying digital box set. All of the elements are now here, so we will include that review next month, along with a new DVD reviiew, concert reviews of the Swingle Singers and Anat Cohen, a new edition of Sidetracks and much more. We also hope to bring you a new writer, who will replace the departing Ellen Johnson.
As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated. Please e-mail your thoughts and suggestions to me at [email protected]