The birthdays of two of the most soulful alto saxophonists of all time bookend the weekend. Friday was Houston native Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s 98th; Monday is the 81st of Memphis-born Hank Crawford.
I was moved the other night listening to Frank Sinatra’s performance of “Ol’ Man River” at his 1962 concert in Paris. He first sang the […]
When it came time to record it, he called on the redoubtable team of Ernie Freeman and Jimmy Bowen for an arrangement with a contemporary feel, one that his drummer Irv Cottler called “ballad rock.”
It’s Billy Strayhorn’s centennial today. The great composer was born in Dayton, Ohio, on November 29, 1915. He grew up in Pittsburgh, where he attended […]
Thank God, and Mr. and Mrs. David Cohn, for bringing Alvin Gilbert Cohn into the world 90 years ago today. It’s hard to measure the value of swing and soul, but I’m certain that jazz would feel considerably less buoyant and exciting if Al had never graced it with his musical ingenuity.
Today is Roswell Rudd’s 80th birthday. From Hotchkiss to Yale, Eli’s Chosen Six to the New York Art Quartet, Herbie Nichols to Archie Shepp, Steve […]
In tonight’s Jazz à la Mode, we’ll mourn the November 13 terrorist attacks against Paris and celebrate the special relationship that’s existed between American jazz musicians and the people of France since World War I.
Toussaint was magisterial and confidently soft-spoken, and he possessed a piano lyricism of great depth and beauty. But he was unduly modest about his vocal abilities.
“My friends in Worcester said you could make twenty bucks a night there, so I’d go there on the Trailways bus with my dog…and I’d go hang out on the Clark University campus with my friend Paul Pena and play any number of seven or eight coffeehouses there every other weekend while I was in school.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Lou Donaldson performance I didn’t like. On record, in person, as a leader or sideman, Donaldson never fails to swing soulfully. Among the alto saxophonists who emerged after Charlie Parker had defined the new way…