Eli Newberger interview

Eli & the Hot Six is led by the tuba player and pianist Eli Newberger, a legendary figure in traditional jazz circles. Newberger, a world-renowned pediatrician and Harvard Medical School professor, was a co-founder of the New Black Eagle Jazz Band in 1971. On Monday, June 22, Eli & the Hot Six will perform Swingin’ Gershwin at…

Ornette Coleman, 1930-2015

I didn’t see Ornette Coleman until 1971 when he headlined the Saturday afternoon program of the Newport Jazz Festival with a quartet that included his old friends Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, and Ed Blackwell. It was fortuitous that he was on the afternoon bill…

Bill Frisell – Interview with Tom Reney

Bill Frisell, the musical polymath whose wide-ranging soundscape readily qualifies him for membership in my personal pantheon of artists who are, to borrow Duke Ellington’s encomium, “beyond category,” will be at MASS MoCA later this month for Solid Sound: Wilco’s Music and Arts Festival.

Bob Belden and Gary Smulyan

Bob Belden, who died on May 20 (click here for the New York Times obituary), worked in a wide variety of settings as a saxophonist, arranger, producer, and a&r executive over the course of his 35 year-long career. His orchestral work, Black Dahlia, earned him a Grammy, and as a producer he oversaw the reissue of many of Miles Davis’s recordings of the ’60s and ’70s.

Clark Terry: Jazz Postmodernist

When Dizzy Gillespie said, “The professional is the guy who can do it twice,” he might have been thinking of Clark Terry, whom he once referred to as “the quintessential trumpet player.” Clark had a long and ceaselessly productive life. He was a star sideman in the big band era, a civil-rights pioneer in recording studios, an educator and mentor to generations of musicians, and…

Miles Davis on Steve Allen

No Blues

A week ago I wrote about a pair of concert performances by the Miles Davis Quintet that were filmed during its 1967 tour with the […]

Dave McKenna & Tony Bennett

A Mutual Admiration Society On View at the Copley Plaza in 1982

Dave McKenna was born 85 years ago, May 30, 1930. The Woonsocket, RI, native died on October 18, 2008. The Dave McKenna Appreciation Society recently […]

Miles Davis in Germany and Sweden

See It Now! European Concerts by Miles, Wayne, Herbie, Tony, and Ron

In 2011, Sony released the first volume in its Bootleg Series, Miles Davis, Live in Europe. The four-disc collection documents the trumpeter’s 1967 tour that included concerts in Antwerp, Belgium; Copenhagen; Paris; Karlsruhe, Germany; and Stockholm.

Preston Lauterbach on Memphis and B.B. King

A Conversation With the Author of a Ground-Breaking Work on a Neglected Period of Music History

I spoke this week with Preston Lauterbach, who’s the author of The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock’n’Roll.  The critically-acclaimed book was published by Norton in 2011. The Chitlin’ Circuit combines original reporting and historical research…

B.B. King, R.I.P.

I’ve had little but B.B. King on my mind or home stereo since he entered hospice two weeks ago. The great bluesman has been a constant in my life for the better part of five decades, and while I’ve been profoundly touched by musicians across a wide range of styles, BB’s unique among them, a player who overwhelms me with emotion almost every time I hear him.