A WINNING HONESTY: VIENNA CARROLL and THE FOLK: “SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT”
Jazz Lives Blog
by jazzlives
2d ago
The late Sam Parkins used to say of certain powerfully emotional music, “Gets you right in the gizzard, doesn’t it?” We all have our personal collections of Gizzard Music. To them, I would like to add SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT, as performed by singer Vienna Carroll and the Folk. A friend sent me this recording and I was enthralled. So many recordings are over-produced, tinkered with, electronically fussed-over, that their essence is obliterated. Not this utterance — deep, unaltered, aimed directly at the listener. “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” is Vienna Carroll & The Folk’s new single from the ..read more
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MELODY MATTERS: FREDDY COLE, BUCKY PIZZARELLI, RANDY NAPOLEON, FRANK TATE, PAUL KELLER, EDDIE METZ (Atlanta Jazz Party, April 25, 2014)
Jazz Lives Blog
by jazzlives
4d ago
Freddy Cole, 2018 I could write at length about the time when jazz and popular music embraced worldwide, but rather than lament that era’s diminution, I will say only that it was a privilege to witness these four performances: masterful artists at play. The first two songs were performed by Freddy Cole, piano and vocal; Randy Napoleon, guitar; Frank Tate, string bass, and the latter two Had Freddy and Randy joined by Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar; Paul Keller, string bass; Eddie Metz, drums. Melody plus swinging improvisation plus sentiment plus joy. AMONG MY SOUVENIRS: SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY: I ..read more
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A FRESHMAN ON CHRISTMAS BREAK VISITS JIMMY RYAN’S (December 1942)
Jazz Lives Blog
by jazzlives
6d ago
Whitney Balliett (1926 – 2007) the jazz critic for The New Yorker, remains one of my heroes. In music, he shaped my tastes; in writing, he was a lovely idiosyncratic risk-embracing role model. And when I met him in person, he was completely gracious. We corresponded in the old-fashioned way; I sent tapes of our mutual hero Sidney Catlett and he wrote on New Yorker stationery with a fountain pen — casual friendly notes, greeting me as an equal. That’s his whimsical self-portrait above, for sale here. When I began to write for publication about jazz, I copied his poetic style, where metaphor wa ..read more
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“WHAT’S THE HURRY?”: ALLAN VACHÉ, TOM FISCHER, JOHNNY VARRO, PAUL KELLER, DANNY COOTS (Atlanta Jazz Party, April 18, 2015)
Jazz Lives Blog
by jazzlives
1w ago
Slow down. Where’s the fire? Do you have to be somewhere all of a sudden? Take a load off. Make yourself to home. There’s more coffee if you’d like it, and cookies, too. All of the above translates to LINGER AWHILE, a song created in 1923 and still played and recorded a century later. The performance below is a splendidly energized interlude for two friendly clarinets and a swinging rhythm team: Allan Vaché (left) and Tom Fischer (right), supported by Danny Coots, drums; Paul Keller, string bass; Johnny Varro, piano. All of this happened at the much-missed Atlanta Jazz Party, but happily ever ..read more
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BEAU KOO RAY: MUSIC FROM RAY SKJELBRED, SOLO and TRIO (JACOB ZIMMERMAN, MATT WEINER) and SOLO AT THE ROYAL ROOM
Jazz Lives Blog
by jazzlives
1w ago
Yes, it’s true. Two new CDs from pianist Ray Skjelbred — one solo, one solo and trio, with Jacob Zimmerman, alto saxophone and clarinet; Matt Weiner, string bass. The trio recording pictured above is available here in digital and physical form. Both trio and solo recordings are available in digital form from Ray himself (19526 40th Place NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155) — each one for 17.00 USD. The disc pictured above has fifteen selections. The trio selections are marked *. BLUE AIR BLUES* / NOBODY’S SWEETHEART / SOLITUDE* / MEMORIES OF YOU / DINAH* / JACK DAILY BLUES* / RUSSIAN LULLABY* / K ..read more
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CONSULT YOUR OCULIST (1929, 1961)
Jazz Lives Blog
by jazzlives
1w ago
Perhaps because I am both nearsighted and fallible, “I MAY BE WRONG (But I think You’re Wonderful)” is a favorite song of mine — written by Henry Sullivan (music) and Harry Riskin (lyrics) no matter what the cover states. The lyrics only make sense if one realizes that the singer is seriously myopic. Here’s the verse: A delightful November 929 recording (the song was a duet in the original presentation) thanks to the splendidly musical Peter Mintun: and here is my favorite instrumental version, with decades of playing this track on the “Swingville All-Stars” session on the Prestige-Swingvil ..read more
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“MESSIN’ AROUND”: HAL SMITH’S NEW ORLEANS NIGHT OWLS
Jazz Lives Blog
by jazzlives
1w ago
Some new wonderful sounds for you here. You could fall over yourself trying to name the little box this music “should” fit into: contemporary trad? homage to the New Orleans Revival? even the dreaded D-word. I call it sincere hot music with a pulsing heart. I’ve been following drummer-leader Hal Smith for some years now, and I am not alone in thinking that his name on a new issue is a guarantee of solid rhythm, capacious imagination, an attention to the past that links it solidly to the glory of living musicians doing what they do best. A student of jazz percussion could find a lifetime of le ..read more
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“WHERE THE WINTRY WINDS DON’T BLOW”: ALBANIE FALLETTA, EVAN ARNTZEN, JEN HODGE, JON-ERIK KELLSO (Cafe Bohemia, January 30, 2020)
Jazz Lives Blog
by jazzlives
1w ago
Tishomingo, Mississippi, is a tiny town: between 1910 and 2020, the census recorded a population of 423 at its height in 1940. But in 1917, Spencer Williams wrote TISHOMINGO BLUES. My guess is that Williams knew the city only by hearsay, and was entranced by the sound of its name (he was living in New York City). But it’s a delightfully moody jazz classic with evocative lyrics. It’s also a very durable song: musicians love it and it sticks in the memory. Here is a splendid dark yet hopeful rendition from the Thursday-night-pre-pandemic-band-of-heroes who graced Cafe Bohemia, 15 Barrow Street ..read more
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CAIT JONES and MICHAEL KANAN: “WHERE OR WHEN”
Jazz Lives Blog
by jazzlives
2w ago
Michael Kanan, Neal Miner, Cait Jones, November 2022. Please take a few minutes to savor this interlude: I find this performance, in its apparent simplicity — two vocal choruses with an introduction and coda — very impressive in its understated ways. There’s the way that Cait and Michael respond to each other, her conversational phrasing, his intuitive tapestry of shifting harmonies, their reverence for Rodgers’ melody, for Hart’s words. As the song itself describes an experience both new and deeply, mysteriously familiar, so does this performance. We’ve heard WHERE OR WHEN many times, but C ..read more
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“DUETS”: BOB BARNARD and JULIAN LEE (1989)
Jazz Lives Blog
by jazzlives
2w ago
Music first, then a story. Several stories. The composition is Maurice Ravel’s PAVANE FOR A DEAD PRINCESS, transformed into popular song under the title THE LAMP IS LOW, performed by Bob Barnard, cornet; Julian Lee, electric piano here. (A note to pedants: I may be wrong about both identifications: Bob may be playing trumpet; Julian, synthesizer. I will correct them if so.) Years ago, perhaps 1969, John S. Wilson, the New York Times‘ jazz critic had a weekly radio program, and he told this story. Steve Smith, who created the Hot Record Society series of recordings, felt that only Louis Armstr ..read more
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