The great bebop pianist Bud Powell played several engagements at the New York jazz club Birdland in 1953. Parts of his shows were broadcast on the radio, and one listener recorded some onto acetate discs. A new collection of those recordings is out now: Birdland 1953 on three CDs from ESP-Disk'. The sound quality isn't much, but the music is terrific.
Pianist and horn player Nadine Jansen got her start as a part of Horace Heidt's amateur show. Performing alongside The Clooney Sisters, Skitch Henderson and Tony Pastor, Jansen learned show business from the best entertainers around. She quickly made a name for herself on the nightclub circuit, particularly in clubs like New York's Capital Theatre and the Blue Note in Chicago.
Fifty years ago today, Andrew Hill recorded what would become his signature album: Point of Departure. Fifty years later, it still sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. Assembling a murderer's row of horn players (Eric Dolphy, Kenny Dorham, Joe Henderson) with a rhythm section for the ages (Hill, Richard Davis, Tony Williams), Hill juxtaposed complex, layered harmonies with charged grooves. The result occupies that rare territory between the comfort of the familiar and the allure of the perceptibly unique.
Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:40 am
This is a recording of a jazz trio playing the score to a 101-year-old ballet. It is not a "jazzing the classics" record or a "fantasia on the themes of" sort of project. It is a band translating one of the landmark works in music history to piano, bass and drum set, and doing it as literally as possible.
For a jazz trumpet player, you couldn't be more on top of the world than Ambrose Akinmusire. The 32-year-old is looking good on the cover of this month's DownBeat, and he's managed to please the jazz critics and connect with audiences.
Jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton has headlined national venues, from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, and has earned five Grammy nominations. With her latest project, After Blue, Sutton takes on the genius of singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.
Mary Lou Williams was the guest on the the very first Piano Jazz session ever, recorded in 1978 with Williams and bassist Ronnie Boykins. Host Marian McPartland is initially nervous interviewing her longtime friend and idol, and the cagey Williams still stands as a tough nut to crack.
Jazz violinist Regina Carter grew up in Detroit, but as a child she spent summers in Alabama, where her paternal grandmother lived. Her grandfather died before she was born, and recently she began researching his side of the family. One revelation that sparked her interest: Her dad's dad had been a coal miner.