An Interview withDee Dee Bridgewater October 1997 By Mark Ruffin The first time I had ever heard of D.D. Bridgewater was as a young musician back in the very early 70’s while I was still in high school in suburban Chicago. The word among high school jazz bands was that the University of Illinois had the best jazz band in the state. Even after I chose Southern Illinois University, the legend of that band grew even as the star students D.D. Bridgewater, Cecil Bridgewater and Donald Smith moved onto become red hot professionals with Roy Ayers’ Ubiquity, Horace Silver… Continue reading
Marilyn ScottNightcap(Prana – 2004) by Gene Thompson These are eight of the sweetest melodies I’ve ever heard on one CD. The first song on the CD immediately got my attention and set the tone. I could only think of an intimate setting while listening to “I Wished on A Moon”. The instrumental piece of this song really caught my ear, the soft piano, the guitar solo all made this song very entertaining. I want to be careful and not categorize Marilyn Scott’s music or even compare it, but her sound amazingly resembles that of Diana Krall. For a quick… Continue reading
Tierney Sutton Band On the Other Side (Telarc – 2007) by Matthew Robinson For there to be happiness, there must also be pain. All emotions have two sides. On her latest CD, Berklee-trained vocalist Tierney Sutton explores all of the multiple facets of happiness. In between two very different versions of “Get Happy” (one dark and brooding, the other up and peppy) and a pair of renditions of “Happy Days Are Here Again” (one swings, the other swoops) are a smart selection of songs most of which relate to Man’s ultimate meotional goal. While “You Are My Sunshine” creeps over… Continue reading
This vital collection of musical themes written for Charles Schultz’s animated characters is both entertaining and especially nostalgic for those who grew up with the comic strip and subsequent animated television specials. PEANUTS PORTRAITS features the memorable themes associated with such characters as the inimitable Charlie Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus Van Pelt, Sally, Peppermint Patty, Frieda, Schroeder, Snoopy, and Woodstock! These great themes have become as popular as the characters they were written for and are instantly recognizable by anyone who is a Peanuts fan.
Guaraldi wrote several… Continue reading
Poncho SanchezAfro-Cuban Fantasy From Freddie Hubbard and the Eddie Harris to Tito Puente and Mongo Santamana, Poncho Sanchez’s Concord Picante recordings have employed some major names ~ jazz. But while the high-profile guests on previous Sanchez albums have been instrumentalists,’Afro-Cuban Fantasy’ marks the first time the Latin jam percussionist/band leader has employed a well-known female singer. Uniting Sanchez with the popular jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, Afro-Cuban Fantasy is a definite first for him. “Bringing in Dianne Reeves was the idea of my manager and agent, Jim Cassell,” explains the friendly’ good-natured Sanchez, who turns 47 on October 30. “Jim and… Continue reading
Ralph Ellison’sVisible Century by Eugene Holley, Jr.
In 1952 Ralph Ellison, published his first novel, Invisible Man. The book told the story of a nameless black man’s racist, bewildering and terrifying journey from the south to the north toward self-identity. It moved beyond the black protest fiction of Richard Wright’s 1940 work, Native Son,and it encompassed both the African-American and the overall human experience, and won the National Book Award in 1953. Ellison became one of the celebrated authors of the 20th century. In 1964 and 1988, he published two books of essays, Shadow and Act and… Continue reading
Quincy JonesUltimate Collection(Hip-O – 2002) by Matthew S. Robinson
OK, Q, who are you trying to kid? Where is “Quintessence” or “Soul Bossa Nova” or great themes like “Ironside” and “The Streetbeater” or even “Call Me Mr. Tibbs”? Sure, this might be the best of your post-Soul (and greatly post-soul) Pop years, but those are all available on other collections! If this is your “ultimate” collection, shouldn’t it be the last word on your career? I know that’s a tall order, Quince, but really – A track from Tamia and TWO offerings from Tevin Campbell? With all the great… Continue reading
Guest Editorial: Vocal Jazz by Niranjan Jhaveri Honorary Secretary General Jazz-India/JazzYatra/Jazz-India Vocal Institute
For any art form to evolve, there must be some new outside influences. The old Egyptian art remained static for 500 or more years, you cannot tell if two pieces of art were created in the same decade or 500 years apart. Egypt remained insulated, isolated for centuries. On the other hand, experts can date ancient Greek/Roman art almost to the decade since they were great explorers and travelers so their art constantly evolved. Jazz was not born in Africa nor… Continue reading
Who’s On First ? Bob Dorough/Dave Frishberg (Blue Note – 2000) by Mark Ruffin
The slices of wit served up at L.A.’s Jazz Bakery in November of last year was extremely sharp as two of jazz’ funniest lyricists, to quote the hilarious title track, “were finally booked in tandem.” While both have seriously slick, but distinct piano playing styles, their ultra-cool, very witty writing style is quite similar. They’re so good together that their most famous collaboration could only be called “I’m Hip.” Lately, though, the 73 year-old Dorough has been taking up more serious issues in his new songs,… Continue reading
You and the Night and the Music pays homage to the great American jazz standards. With Leah’s sensuous and playful vocals and Kenny’s polished, fluid jazz saxophone listeners will delight with favorites from: Cole Porter’s immortal classic and breezy “Let’s Fall in Love,” Burt Bacharach’s alluring favorite “The Look of Love,” and the easy going romantic touch of “Dancing In the Dark” by the great songwriting team of Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz.
In addition to the title track, “You and the Night and the Music,” the… Continue reading