Welcome to the new and improved Jazz History Online! Consider this a “soft” opening. We planned to launch this new version in mid-May, but a technical issue occurred, which made it impossible for me to edit articles on the old site. Bear with us! We have 7 new articles to share right now in the new format. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be moving over all the old articles to the new format. In the meantime, you will be linked back to an archived version on the old site. We aim to have the entire site completely functional on our new server by our next issue on May 15.
This new site was designed by Polly Washburn of Boxes & Buttons and it has several nifty features. First of all, we have a mobile version which is completely compatible for articles (including audio and video)! I know that many of you have missed our mobile site since it was disabled last autumn. I hope you enjoy the new flexibility of the mobile site. We have a new search function which will help you find articles and reviews by your favorite artists. All of our social media and donation links can be found on The Front Page. You can also share our articles on several social media platforms with a simple click of a button. Our new layout is significantly different and it offers us the opportunity to premiere multiple articles in a single category without losing aesthetic balance in the overall design. If you have any suggestions for other improvements to the site, send me an email at email@example.com.
Many of you may remember Amy Duncan, who wrote reviews for this site back in 2012. She was a dear friend of mine and a wonderful colleague. Amy passed away last summer in Rio de Janeiro, and there were no obituaries or tributes published for her in the mainstream press. With the cooperation of Amy’s friends, family and fellow musicians, we humbly present our memorial as this month’s Sidetracks column. Amy contributed the very first article to Sidetracks; it is sadly appropriate that this posthumous tribute is the first edition of the column to appear on our new site.
We also premiere a new Historical Essay. For many years, I’ve wanted to write a study about Duke Elllington’s Sacred Concerts. With a performance of this music occurring next month in Denver (with my participation) the time seemed right to create it. In my research, I was able to speak with choir members who sang this music with Ellington and his orchestra back in 1969, and will sing it again next month. As with all of our Historical Essays, there are several rare embedded videos for enrich your understanding of this music.
This month’s Book Review covers Equinox’s mammoth “History of European Jazz“, a reference volume with valuable information about jazz on the Continent. The Retro Review highlights two new multi-disc sets by Eric Dolphy and the duo of Ran Blake and Jeanne Lee, both considered avant-garde in the 1960s, but still sounding progressive today. Our instrumental CD Reviews feature four tremendous pianists, all examining parts of the keyboard heritage, while our vocal reviews discuss new and old standards performed by some of today’s finest singers.
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