Jazz

Jazz Beat - Fats Domino

Nov 14, 2017

Tom Reney's memorial tribute to Fats Domino credits the great pianist as a founder of rock 'n' roll and an exemplar of New Orleans rhythm and blues, and addresses a schism between jazz and r&b.

Fats Domino
PBS

There's no doubt in my mind that the first music I heard from New Orleans was by Fats Domino, and that he was in my head for well over a decade before the city's music became a passion of mine. That didn't take place until I saw Professor Longhair performing in Central Park in 1973, but I would have heard Fats as early as the late fifties, and there the seed was planted. His hit tunes "Blueberry Hill,"  "Ain't That a Shame," and "Walkin' to New Orleans," were part of the aural wallpaper of my youth, and the intriguingly named Antoine Dominique Domino was no stranger to television either. (Since his recent death, I've been surprised by the number of people who've told me they thought Domino was a nickname that went along with Fats.)

Miguel Zenón was 12 when he first experienced the devastation of a major hurricane in his homeland, Puerto Rico. That was Hugo, which hit as a Category 3 in 1989, and drove nearly 30,000 residents from their homes.

Andy McGhee
Berklee College of Music

Andy McGhee was a household name in the world of jazz education, but Berklee's gain meant that Andy remained one of the least-known and most under-recorded tenor masters of the past half-century. Why, even his name is subsumed under a colleague's in this 2006 performance of "Body and Soul."

During his 1985 appearance on the NPR program, Piano Jazz, Dizzy Gillespie was asked by host Marian McPartland about the month he spent playing with Duke Ellington in 1945. 

October’s quite a month for big-time jazz birthdays, and this year it’s ringing with major milestones, including the centennials of Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, the 95th of Illinois Jacquet, and the 90th of the ever-ready Lee Konitz, who's still touring and making records.

Tom Reney looked into the legends of the two bluesmen known as Sonny Boy Williamson for this Jazz Beat podcast refuting some of what Randy Newman asserts in his new song, "Sonny Boy." Hear deep background on these blues greats, as well as Newman's tune, and blues classics by Sonny Boy I and II, and Billy Boy Arnold and Mose Allison.

Thelonious Monk
Jean-Pierre Leloir

It's now 35 years since his death in 1982, and over 45 since his last significant recordings were made. The pianist was 30 by the time he made his first session as a leader for Blue Note, and it took another decade before he began to develop a dedicated following and the respect of critics. 

It's been over twenty years since the late Steve Lacy last came to town, but the memory remains vivid of his annual visits to the Iron Horse in Northampton. 

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