This episode of Jazz Beat focuses on the one and only album that Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington made together. Tom Reney reviews the run-up to the Great Summit, highlights of the album, and thoughts on the legacies of these two jazz giants.
Tom Reney offers an appreciation of piano legend Jaki Byard in this edition of Jazz Beat. Byard’s 95th birthday anniversary was June 22, and his legacy thrives both on records and through his well-known protégés Jason Moran, Larry Goldings, Marty Ehrlich, and Fred Hersch. Tom’s tribute includes personal recollections, details of Byard’s background in Worcester and Boston, and several musical samples.
Tom Reney looks back at Duke Ellington’s “New Orleans Suite,” and the crucial role that Duke and festival producer George Wein played in the establishment of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which just completed its 49th annual presentation in the Crescent City. Wein’s insistence that any festival he produced would include Ellington, who “stayed only in the finest hotels,” and feature integrated ensembles was a spur to ending rigid segregation practices in New Orleans.
In the latest edition of Jazz Beat, Tom Reney explores the legacy of the bassist Scott LaFaro, who was a leading innovator in modern jazz and a member of the Bill Evans Trio. LaFaro was tragically killed in an auto accident in 1961 at age 25, and he’s the subject of an outstanding biography by his sister Helene LaFaro-Fernandez. Tom’s appreciation of LaFaro includes numerous samples of his music.