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Erroll Garner: Nightconcert

Erroll Garner: Nightconcert

When Erroll Garner died in 1977, his business partner and manager Martha Glaser became executor of his estate. The position gave her full control over Garner's unissued recordings, which she kept under lock and key. When Glaser died in December 2014, the Garner estate passed to the University of Pittsburgh, and material once salted away began ...

Johnny "H" Smith: Open House

Johnny "H" Smith: Open House

Organist Johnny “Hammond" Smith was relentlessly tasty. Whenever I dig into one of his albums, my feet can't stop moving. Hi grooves and chord voicings were intoxicating. One of his finest albums from the first track to the last was Open House. Recorded for Riverside in 1963, the album featured Thad Jones (cnt,tp); Seldon Powell (ts,fl); ...

Billy Taylor: Brazilian Beat

Billy Taylor: Brazilian Beat

Another rare and stunning Billy Taylor album is Brazilian Beat. It was recorded in 1963 for Sesac Records. Originally known as the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, Sesac is the third largest performance-rights organization, behind ASCAP and BMI. Founded in 1930, Sesac's mission was to support European stage authors and composers in seeking American ...

Dionne, Tomasz and Buddy

Dionne, Tomasz and Buddy

This week in The Wall Street Journal, I interviewed Dionne Warwick for my “House Call" column in the Mansion section. There's nothing like picking up the ringing phone and hearing, “Mr. Myers? Dionne Warwick." Dionne's voice is unmistakable—like a long wooden match being drawn slowly and seductively across a flint. We talked about childhood and growing ...

Electrifying Track: Heavy Dipper

Electrifying Track: Heavy Dipper

In September 1957, trumpeter Lee Morgan recorded his album The Cooker with baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, pianist Bobby Timmons, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Heavy Dipper is a Morgan original. It's a light, high-stepping tune that alternates between minor and major keys and has plenty of snap. Everyone in the quintet gets a ...

Freddie Slack in the '40s

Freddie Slack in the '40s

Pianist Freddie Slack led smart bands between 1942 and 1949. Many of them featured crafty arrangements that delivered a spectacular snap. They also had marvelous sidemen. Players at different points in time included guitarist T. Bone Walker, trumpeters Mannie Klein and Ray Linn, reed players Barney Bigard and Les Baxter, bassist Howard Rumsey and Harry Babison, ...

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: 50 years of Tower of Power

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: 50 years of Tower of Power

This week, our video spotlight is focused on Tower of Power, who will be coming to St. Louis to perform next Saturday, August 11 at River City Casino. Touring this summer to celebrate 50 years as a band and to support a newly released album called Soul Side of Town, TOP under the direction of co-founder ...

Electrifying Track: Miss Fine

Electrifying Track: Miss Fine

Let's stick with Oliver Nelson today. In addition to being a high-impact modernist jazz arranger, Nelson was a sensational composer. Miss Fine is from Full Nelson, Nelson's second album as the leader of a big band. The album was recorded for Verve in 1962 and '63, and produced by Creed Taylor. The song, which has a ...

Steven Allen and Oliver Nelson

Steven Allen and Oliver Nelson

Let's downshift slightly today during this week of little-known jazz albums with big-name arrangers conducting supersized orchestras. On Monday, I told you about Jimmy Smith's Portuguese Eyes (with Thad Jones) and yesterday I showcased Billy Taylor's Right Here, Right Now! (with Oliver Nelson). Today, let's look at two albums that Oliver Nelson recorded with TV host, ...

Jimmy Smith: Portuguese Soul

Jimmy Smith: Portuguese Soul

One of organist Jimmy Smith's most interesting albums is Portuguese Soul. Recorded for Verve in February 1973, the album remains unknown by many, largely because it was out of print for years. The album wasn't helped by the cover, which has a horror film poster thing going on in the design. Those who do know the ...