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.

NOLA on My Mind

I’ve never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras proper, but my wife and I were in the Crescent City a few years ago on the Feast of the Epiphany, better known as Twelth Night, the traditional start of the Mardi Gras season…

Clark Terry with Oscar Peterson

Clark Terry’s family announced this week that the 94-year-old trumpeter has entered Hospice care. Clark’s health challenges, some of which I’ve documented in previous blogs, have continually widened the circle of love that surrounds him. At this count, his website guestbook is brimming with over 1500 messages, two of which are below. Click here to leave one of your own.

Billie Holiday sings “My Man”

So much of Billie Holiday’s art, including her fondness for the French ballad “My Man,” underscores the pathos of her life and the masochistic tendencies […]

Miles Davis and the Young Philadelphians

An Audience with Miles

Last year, as I was watching an appearance by Miles Davis on Time Out, a Philadelphia talk show hosted by Bill Boggs, I was surprised to see John Swana, Christian McBride, and Joey DeFrancesco among the young players whom Boggs thought to include in the show.

Lester Young Plays and Talks

Polka Dots and a Blindfold Test

Here’s some choice Lester Young material to complement the feature I’m presenting on him this week in Jazz à la Mode. My focus is Lester’s […]

Warren Wolf in Concert

There’ll be good vibes in the Valley next week. Warren Wolf is this year’s Billy Taylor Artist-in-Residence at the University of Massachusetts. He’ll perform at […]