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.”

Dexter Gordon Plays Bebop and Ballads

Dexter Gordon vies with Duke Ellington as the most charismatic jazz artist I’ve ever seen in person. His horn shook with the same swagger as the Los Angeles native’s 6’5″ gait, and good looks landed him occasional acting roles that culminated in his portrayal of Dale Turner in the movie ‘Round Midnight.

Clark Terry, R.I.P.

Farewell to a Paragon of Positivity

Clark Terry died on Saturday, February 21. The trumpet great was 94, and had been in declining health for several years. Clark was a genuinely beloved figure who won hearts and minds not so much as an icon but through his artistry and the wisdom, encouragement, and patient direction he imparted to countless aspiring musicians, including Miles Davis and Quincy Jones.

David Maxwell, R.I.P.

In Memory of Boston's Blues Piano Legend

Peter Wolf is a driven verbalist. The former frontman of the J. Geils Band and WBCN deejay of “Woofer Goofer” legend had a memorable way of describing the easy access that he and his peers enjoyed with the great bluesmen who began playing clubs and coffeehouses around Boston in the mid-60s.