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…
Benny Golson composed “I Remember Clifford” in memory of his “friend forever,” Clifford Brown. They’d been colleagues in Tadd Dameron’s orchestra in 1953 and had played together on Philadelphia’s thriving jazz scene in the early fifties. This best known of jazz elegies was premiered in January 1957
How’s this for a “What are the odds?” moment with Mark Murphy? On a very hot Sunday afternoon in July 2004, my friend Steven Sussman and I were driving to New York to hear Lee Konitz. In addition to his career as a radiologist at Hartford Hospital and his work as a photographer…
I awoke the other morning out of a Zoot Sims dream. The tenor saxophonist was sitting in with a group of friends who were playing […]
Word has arrived of the passing of Phil Woods. The great saxophonist wrote earlier this year that “my improv powers are declining along with my breathing,” and he announced that a concert he played a few weeks ago in Pittsburgh would be his last. Alas, he died today at the age of 83.
I remember just where I was when I first heard Swiss Movement, the concert album by Les McCann and Eddie Harris recorded at the 1969 Montreux Jazz Festival. I was with a group of friends, mostly high school classmates, and we were skipping school.
Joe Albany wasn’t the first seeker to find his true voice in jazz, but he was among the more forthright about what the music meant to him. In the 1980 documentary, Joe Albany: A Jazz Life, he puts it in both spiritual and psychological terms.
I remember the exact moment during my junior year in high school when I first heard Muddy Waters, but I’ve forgotten just when I got my first taste of Muddy’s main man, Son House. Muddy’s great band with Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers floored me right away.