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James Harrod: Stars of Jazz

James Harrod: Stars of Jazz

For those who regularly roam YouTube, you've probably come across audio and video clips of a 1950s TV show called Stars of Jazz. Of all the TV jazz show, it was easily the most relaxed and hippest. Beyond the title, you probably know that singer-songwriter and composer Bobby Troup was the show's host. And that's likely all you know. Fortunately, James Harrod, a writer and researcher who specializes in West Coast jazz, has just published Stars of Jazz: A Complete ...

John Koenig on Art Pepper

John Koenig on Art Pepper

Last week, I caught up with John Koenig, son of Lester Koenig, who founded Contemporary Records in Los Angeles in 1951. Lester and Contemporary were instrumental in preserving some of the finest music recorded on the West Coast in the 1950s and beyond. John is a cellist, attorney and Grammy-nominated producer. When I spoke with John, we talked about Art Pepper. John mentioned he had written an essay for Art Pepper's Live at Fat Tuesday's, an album featuring Pepper at ...

Gary Burton on Larry Bunker

Gary Burton on Larry Bunker

As one of Hollywood's most in-demand percussionists, Larry Bunker recorded hundreds of jazz and soundtrack albums. But always as a sideman. Remarkably, Bunker recorded just one album as a leader: Larry Bunker Quartette: Live at Shelly's Manne-Hole, in December 1963. Recorded first and then picked up by the Vault label in Los Angeles in 1965, the album featured Gary Burton (vib), Mike Wofford (p), Bob West (b) and Larry Bunker (d). The sound of these four musicians playing together is ...

Interview: Stephanie Nakasian

Interview: Stephanie Nakasian

I came upon Stephanie Nakasian in 2009, shortly after the released of Stephanie Nakasian: Lullaby in Rhythm, A Tribute to June Christy (V.S.O.P.). Few singers were paying much attention to Christy then, and Stephanie did a wonderful job. While she didn't try to channel Christy, she did have a fine sense of Christy's dry exuberance and hip phrasing. Stephanie's rendition of Interlude still knocks me out. If you're in New York on June 5, Stephanie will be appearing at Birdland ...

Anthony Weller + Herb Pomeroy

Anthony Weller + Herb Pomeroy

Boston trumpeter and educator Herb Pomeroy was known largely for his big band work as a leader and sideman. But in the early 2000s, Pomeroy led a gorgeous, romantic working trio consisting of Pomeroy on trumpet, Anthony Weller on guitar and David Landoni on bass. The group recorded three albums—two live and one in the studio. Live At Cafe Beaujolais in Gloucester, Mass., was their first in 1999, followed by Aluminum Baby recorded in Boston in 2003 and then Live ...

Interview: Chuck Israels

Interview: Chuck Israels

Bassist Chuck Israels is probably best known for his work in the Bill Evans Trio between 1961 and 1966—a golden, delicate period for Evans. But Chuck also played with Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, Gary Burton, Hampton, Hawes, Dave Pike, Gerry Mulligan and many other jazz greats. Chuck also has had a vast playing and recording career as a leader of his own groups. On March 6, Chuck will be in New York for a rare performance at Dizzy's Coca-Cola (go ...

Jane Hall: Song in My Heart

Jane Hall: Song in My Heart

Jane Hall's first and only album, With a Song in My Heart, was released in 2017. The album was recorded in the 1980s as a gift to her husband, the great jazz guitarist Jim Hall. I first heard about the recording a couple of weeks ago, when Devra Hall Levy, Jim and Jane's daughter, told me about it. It's gorgeous—with Jane's breathy, child-like Blossom Dearie phrasing and Ed Bickert's sublime framing and chord voicings. The album is wonderful on several ...


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