When you read enough about the early lives of jazz musicians, you begin to spot a trend. A lot of artists caught the music bug from their parents.
With instruments and musicians around the house, it's easy for kids to grow curious about playing. But that's not nearly the whole story. Sometimes parents are the first teachers. Other times, parental guidance doesn't fully kick in until much later.
Saxophonist Jerry Dodgion has played with just about everyone in the jazz world throughout his long career. In 1955, Dodgion joined Benny Carter in Las Vegas for the opening of the Moulin Rouge, and in the late '50s, he played with both Frank Sinatra and the Red Norvo quintet.
Singer Jimmy Scott died of natural causes Thursday morning at his home in Las Vegas at age 88, according to his booking agent, Jean-Pierre Leduc.
Scott suffered from Kallmann's syndrome, a lifelong affliction that prevented his body from maturing through puberty. The condition slowed his growth, leaving his stature at 4 feet 11 inches until his late 30s. It also affected his vocal cords, giving him a high voice that was often misidentified as a woman's.
Amina Figarova grew up in the former Soviet state of Azerbaijan. Her early musical experiences included plenty of American jazz — both of her parents were music fans — but her mother particularly enjoyed the music of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.
When the spirit of Nirvana surfaces in a song, the artist paying tribute almost always shares style points with that treasured band. The hair is shaggy, the clothes a little ragged; the lineage unfolds, relatively neatly, from punk to the present.
Blue Note Records has been many things over the course of its 75 years: a label responsible for blinding jazz innovations, a home for the titans of hard bop and soul jazz, a place for smart, sly, jazz-inflected pop creations.
One constant running throughout its history is improvisation. Its records have showcased jazz soloing in every possible mood and temperament. Its artists, both the jazz legends and those journeymen who are little regarded today, have helped shape the ever-evolving notion of what a solo is and what it can be.
Blue Note Records is the kind of record label that people like to call "storied" — so celebrated and impactful that no one narrative can capture its essence. From swing to bebop and hard bop, through fusion and the avant-garde, Blue Note has been telling the story of jazz in the grooves of its records since 1939 — and for its 75th anniversary, it's releasing remastered vinyl editions of some gems from its catalog. But the real legacy of the label is too big to capture on disc.
During the 1960s, Wayne Shorter came to the fore not just for his talent on saxophone, but also for the compositions he created. Whether with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers or with Miles Davis' quintet, or on his own string of solo albums, Shorter's harmonic conception, sense of space and bending of music-theory rules destined many of his tunes to become jazz standards.
Norah Jones fans likely remember Come Away With Me — the 2002 recording which introduced her smoke-infused twang to the world. That album, like all of hers since, came out on Blue Note Records, merging her voice with those of major jazz artists of yesterday and the present.