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Today is Ruby Braff’s 90th birthday anniversary. The cornetist was born in Boston in 1927. Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Lester Young were his heroes. By most accounts Ruby was a prickly personality, but on all accounts he was a player dedicated to beauty. Great songs never failed him. He called his aesthetic, “adoration of the melody.” Ruby made a ton of records, not a throwaway in the bunch.

LADY DAY IN NEWARK, 1957
Jerry Dantzic

The New York Times last week posted an album of rarely seen photos of Billie Holiday. The pictures were taken by Jerry Dantzic in 1957 during her engagement at Sugar Hill on Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey. As the Times blog by John Leland notes, Billie had been denied a cabaret card for nearly a decade at that point, and without it she was unable to work in New York establishments that served alcohol, i.e., nightclubs.

T Charles Erickson© / T Charles Erickson Photography

On our way home from Boston Sunday we listened to American Routes on New England Public Radio. Host Nick Spitzer asked Blues musician Jimmy Duck Holmes why so many of his songs were along the lines of "the devil must have been in you to make you leave me." Holmes said that despite such lyrics no one is really led astray by diabolic forces; they were following their own desires.

Andy Jaffe Octet

Mar 6, 2017

Illness notwithstanding, I ventured out into the bitter cold of Saturday night for the second half of the Easthampton Jazz Festival’s nighttime lineup with the Andy Jaffe Octet; it was well worth it and apparently restorative. Andy’s group featured eight of the nine members of the nonet that he leads on his 2016 Playscape recording, Arc. The woodwind player Tom Olin has passed on since its release, but the rest of the group is intact.

Elizabeth Cardona
Raquel Obregon / NEPR

Elizabeth Cardona, Executive Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, International Student Life and Assistant to the Provost for Diversity at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA was Tertulia’s guest on February 26, 2017.

February 22 was Rex Stewart's 110th birthday anniversary. The Philadelphia-born cornetist was a remarkably complete stylist whose features ranged from a 1931 assignment with Fletcher Henderson playing the lyrical solo that Bix Beiderbecke essayed on "Singin' the Blues," to portraying "Menelik, the Lion of Judah," in the "stylized jungle" manner that was synonymous with Duke Ellington. "Singin' the Blues," recorded as a memorial to Bix, dates from October 4, 1931, two months after his death on August 6.

Ginetta Candelario
Raquel Obregon / NEPR

Tertulia’s guest on February 19, 2017 was Ginetta Candelario, Associate Processor of Sociology and of Latin American and Latino/a Studies at Smith College in Northampton, MA. She spoke about the book “Cien Años de Feminismos Dominicanos”, a collection of documents related to the birth and development of feminism in the Dominican Republic collected from archives that date from 1865 and compiled by the authors Elizabeth Manley, April Mayes and Ginetta Candelario.

Ilan Stavans
Raquel Obregon / NEPR

Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Cultures at Amherst College, was Tertulia’s guest on November 20, 2016. He spoke about the stories of immigrants presented in the book “Words in Transit” a project with New England Public Radio.

Eileen Crosby
Raquel Obregon / NEPR

Tertulia’s guest on September 18, 2016 was Eileen Crosby, Archivist of Local History Collection at Holyoke Public Library. She spoke about the project Nuestros Senderos y Nuestras Vidas en Holyoke, Our Journeys and Our Lives in Holyoke, a Community Digitization Day on September 24 at Enlace de Familias, Holyoke. The aim of the event is to begin to build a community archives documenting the origins and history of Puerto Rican life in Holyoke, and more broadly, the development of local Latino Culture.

Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra
Ryan Donnell

I dare say that, with the state of classical music in this country, ie: seemingly on a steady decline, no matter how much we’d like to believe otherwise, it doesn’t help matters when it comes to disagreements between musicians and symphony orchestra management when it comes to pay.

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