Happy New Year, everyone,
Sorry for another belated issue, but here is the year-end edition of Jazz History Online.  You’ll find our 2023 Summation (including a very complete RIP list–the deaths of Les McCann and Jay Clayton were not announced until January), several Retro Reviews, a Book Review, and a few CD Reviews originally scheduled for publication in our previous issue.  The Summation did dictate a few changes, notably the last-minute addition of the Les McCann reissue, and the substitution of the “St. James Infirmary” book for the new Ella Fitzgerald biography (the latter because I didn’t think that both of the finalists for best book should feature the same subjects.) Some of the reissues I anticipated were either back-ordered or delayed in delivery. At any rate, I fully anticipate having reviews of the Mosaic Don Byas collection and Judith Tick’s book on Ella in the spring issue.

The 2023 Summation includes the usual best-of-year lists and a memorial to those masters who have left us. Unique to this version is a short commentary about the demise of the used CD market.  The Book Review features a book on the classic song “St. James’ Infirmary”. I’ve seen this book advertised on Facebook, and I finally found a way to contact the publishers for a review copy. It is a compelling book with a great story and fascinating details about the growth of the music business in the early 20th century. Speaking of great stories, a new reissue gave me ample reason to sort through the legends and tales regarding the famous Massey Hall concert of 1953. The results of my research are part of the featured Retro Review of “Hot House”. Another five reissues–by Dave Brubeck, Wes Montgomery, Les McCann, and Ahmad  Jamal–are covered in capsule format in “Live Jazz from the 1950s and 1960s”. Since our last issue had an abundance of instrumental reviews (all of which are still present on The Front Page), the only reviews of new CDs are by vocalists Stacey Kent, Vanessa Perea, Audrey Silver, and Luciana Souza. This set of reviews was originally scheduled for the last issue, but some of the discs only arrived in the past two weeks.  The Concert Journal had one holiday addition since the last issue; I have a very special concert to attend in New York next week. Look for details soon in a new edition of the Concert Journal.

As they say in Colorado, “God willing, and the creek don’t rise”, we’ll be back with another issue in the spring. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Tom Cunniffe

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