The art of the jazz song: Tadd Dameron for Sarah Vaughan 2

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Ed. note: Guest writer Mark Miller deconstructs a jazz standard, “If You Could See Me Now,” for our appreciation. Music: Tadd Dameron Lyrics: Carl Sigman Jazz panist Tadd Dameron was known for his lyricism, an ironic attribute for an important bebop musician. Widely recognized as the bop era’s definitive arranger/composer, Dameron concocted this distinctive ballad ...

The look of jazz: Warhol-designed album covers

Architecture & Design · Music · Visual arts
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Before he became the king of pop art, Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol moved to New York to make it. Warhol wanted to be part of the elite strata inhabited by Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and other sanctioned artists. He didn’t have what it took to be admitted to those circles but he did ...

Our pick: Daryl Sherman swinging at the Gardenia 1

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Though she writes original songs, few contemporary artists have scoured the hidden corners of the Great American Songbook like singer-pianist Daryl Sherman. She’s a regular at New York’s Algonquin Hotel who gracefully straddles jazz and cabaret singing, essaying songs from both renowned and neglected tunesmiths like Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Walter Donaldson, Jimmy McHugh, ...

Terence Blanchard’s jazz message, in cabaret seating, at The Soraya

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Trumpeter Terence Blanchard has been visiting this part of the country for years. Starting in the ’80s, he shared the valedictory frontline of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers with alto saxophonist Donald Harrison. Leaving the venerable drummer (“Our father, who art Blakey” quipped trumpeter Valery Ponomarev), Blanchard and Harrison co-led a good mainstream jazz band. They ...

Delicious, de-lovely, demonstrative Lena Horne, in centenary tribute 1

Dance · Music
Vocalist Candice Hoyes, draws from rare cinema, musical theater, jazz and soul music to debut a night of music inspired by the life of Lena Horne.  One of the most iconic jazz vocalists, Horne blazed a trail of remarkable song discography and bravery as one of the leading American civil rights activists across a sixty ...

Juan de Marcos’s Afro-Cuban beat to pulsate The Soraya

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Cuban music has tantalized and insinuated itself into the United States since the 19th Century. New Orleans-born composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) was smitten with the Cuban tresillo, cinquillo and habanera, and incorporated those elements into his compositions. Ragtime pianists were subsequently taken with what Jelly Roll Morton called “the Spanish tinge.” Then came the ...

Low-key & tasty: Kenny Burrell’s swinging guitar a generation ago today

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Ed. note: Universal Music continues to mine the Verve catalog for jazz treasures. arts·meme jazz writer Kirk Silsbee shares his liner notes for‘’A Generation Ago Today.’ When Kenny Burrell’s A Generation Ago Today was released in the spring of 1967, a debate was raging in jazz. It was the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, ...

At Zardi’s in Hollywood … with Ella Fitzgerald 1

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Ed. note: Universal Music continues to mine the Verve catalog for Ella Fitzgerald material. arts·meme jazz writer Kirk Silsbee excerpts his liner notes to ‘Ella at Zardi’s.’ ♣               ♣               ♣               ♣ In his enviable career as a jazz entrepreneur, Norman Granz (1918-2001) balanced far-reaching vision and a social change agenda with shrewd business acumen. His ...

Jason Moran, in a Monkish mood @ CAP UCLA

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“The horn is blowing according to what the drummer is playing, you know?” –Thelonious Monk to Hall Overton, 1959 Thelonious Monk’s 1959 Town Hall concert was an artistic landmark and a personal triumph for the iconoclastic pianist and composer. His pieces, conceived for the small ensemble format, had been orchestrated for the evening by the ...

Ella at 100: virtuosity, joy and swing 4

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arts·meme jazz critic Kirk Silsbee excerpts his liner notes to the new four-CD set, Ella Fitzgerald: 100 Songs For a Centennial (Verve 2016-00957) At first blush, one hundred songs from any artist seem like overkill. In the case of Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996), whose recordings number in the thousands, one hundred is just about enough to ...