Ellington Forever

Some Carp, But 40 Years After His Death, Duke's Legacy Endures

Duke Ellington died forty years ago on May 24, 1974. He’d turned 75 a month earlier. I was twenty, I’d seen him six times, and I felt like I’d lost my guiding light. He was a shepherd to countless thousands over three generations…

New Orleans Journal 2014

When my wife Meg and I visited New Orleans a year ago, we heard Aurora Nealand in person for the first time, and I wrote […]

A Mike Bloomfield alt-Anthology

In my recent review of the Mike Bloomfield anthology, From His Head to His Heart to His Hands, I mentioned some of the artists he recorded with who are missing from the Al Kooper-produced, 3-disc set.

A Michael Bloomfield Retrospective

From His Head to His Heart to His Hands

The blues-rock icon Michael Bloomfield is the subject of a new 3-CD retrospective produced and “curated” by Al Kooper for Columbia/Legacy.  From His Head to His Heart to His Hands includes a smattering of….

Softly, With Feeling: Joe Wilder

Joe Wilder, who died on Friday at 92, was among the accomplished group of players who made the transition from road musician to studio player after the swing era to become part of the most-recorded generation of musicians in history.

Big Joe’s Proteges: Bob Dylan and Mike Bloomfield

Two Degrees of Separation

I blogged about Mike Bloomfield and Bob Dylan in December, writing here about their first encounter in Chicago in 1963, the crucial role that Bloomfield played backing Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival, the beautiful licks he laid down on Highway 61 Revisited…

Duke Ellington’s Boston

Boston was second only to New York as an important location for Ellington in his early years as a bandleader, and it remained a favored destination till the end.

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass

Hand in Glove Duets

How’s this for perfect pitch?  Jim Hall said he tuned his guitar to Ella Fitzgerald’s voice. “If it was a choice between her and the piano, I would go for her!” Hall’s tenure with Ella was fairly brief, but it included the European tour that yielded one of her most celebrated concert recordings, Ella in Berlin.