Nat Hentoff

A Documentary on the Jazz Advocate and Candid Records Producer

I asked the 57-year-old spouse of an in-law who was visiting over Easter weekend if Nat Hentoff’s name rang a bell? “Sure,” she replied, “I learned about jazz reading his liner notes.”  I could have answered the same if asked that question at any time in the past 45 years.

Billie Holiday

Lady Day's Centennial

Today is Billie Holiday’s 100th birthday anniversary. Billie was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia. She died at Metropolitan Hospital in New York on July 17, 1959, chained to a hospital bed under police guard charged with possession of heroin.

Duke Jordan

The piano favorite of Bird and Max

With all due respect to the great records he made as a leader, whenever Duke Jordan comes to mind, I think first of the intro he played on Charlie Parker’s “Embraceable You.” The Gershwin standard was all but reinvented by…

Billie and Ben

Lady Day and the Brute

Billie Holiday and Ben Webster were lovers for a brief stretch in the mid-’30s. A classic photograph taken by the Danish jazz fan Timme Rosenkrantz behind the Apollo in 1935 captures them together, but in between the playful pettin’ and pokin’, there was…

Mary Mardirosian, R.I.P.

Worcester's First Lady of Jazz Radio

Mary Mardirosian came to WCUW on a Tuesday morning in 1979 after hearing me make a plug for volunteers at the station. She called and spoke with the station’s General Manager, Alan West, who invited her to come over to the station, which was then in a dormitory basement at Clark University.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015

Whether or not you’re wearin’ the green today, here’s a group of “Danny Boy’s” that’ll make you feel as Irish-born as my ancestors. With arpeggios rippling “from glen to glen,” here’s Art Tatum in 1944 playing the tune…

Tommy Flanagan

I had the pleasure of seeing Tommy Flanagan several times in the 1980s and ’90s at clubs in Hartford, Cambridge, and at the Village Vanguard, […]

Roy Haynes’s 90th!

It was a big deal at 75, 80, and 85, but now that Roy Haynes’s 90th birthday is here, it feels routine. Roy’s tapped skins and cymbals for over 70 years, and the fashion plate from Roxbury has a franchise of his own on fountains of youth.

Bill Evans Trio Concerts

Sweden, Belgium, Denmark

Tonight’s Jazz à la Mode album feature is the Bill Evans Trio recording, Portrait in Jazz. The 1959 Riverside session was the first by the legendary Evans trio with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian.

Phil Woods, Alas / Orrin Keepnews, R.I.P.

Phil Woods writes a regular column in The Note, the semi-annual publication of the Al Cohn Memorial Collection at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. In the Winter 2015 edition, I was saddened to read him frankly stating, “Gradually my improv powers are declining along with my breathing.”