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Bill Evans: Munch Museum, 1966

Bill Evans: Munch Museum, 1966

I'm convinced that if we're going to get through the coronavirus pandemic together, it will be because of Bill Evans. The hope and humanity in his playing instills a sense that one day this will be over and we will resume our lives as they were meant to be lived, enjoying each other up close, food, travel, live performances and all of the things that make life special. Today, a video of Bill Evans performing in Oslo, Norway, at the ...

10 Latin Albums for the Heat

10 Latin Albums for the Heat

When the temperature closes in on 95, as it did yesterday in New York, I put on Latin music. Growing up without air conditioning in Manhattan's Washington Heights in the 1960s, heat meant the thumping beat of a big square electric fan, a wash cloth, and boogaloo and early salsa. You could hear the music walking down Broadway, especially from 158th to 175th streets. Over the years, I've collected quite a bit of Latin music with the guidance of friends ...

Johnny Mandel in 20 Tracks

Johnny Mandel in 20 Tracks

Yesterday, I posted my complete 2008 interview with Johnny Mandel. But what did his music sound like over the decades and what made him so special? Here are my 20 favorite arrangements by Johnny, starting in 1944: Here's Johnny's arrangement of Magic Is the Moonlight for Boyd Raeburn in 1944... Here's Johnny's arrangement of his Krazy Kat for Artie Shaw in 1949... Here's Johnny's arrangement of his Innuendo for Shaw in '49... Here's Johnny's arrangement of Not Really the Blues ...

Ray Crawford: Smooth Groove

Ray Crawford: Smooth Groove

In October 1960, Gil Evans took a large band into the Jazz Gallery, a New York club that had opened earlier in the year at 80 St. Marks Place. It would be a six-week run, culminating in Evans's November recording of Out of the Cool, one of the first four albums released by Creed Taylor for his new Impulse! Records. Playing guitar in the Evans band at the club and on the album was Ray Crawford. Crawford had played in ...

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: We Insist! - Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: We Insist! - Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite

This week, let's take a look back at an extended jazz composition of historical importance that, unfortunately, remains topical 60 years after its premiere. We Insist: Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite is the title of a 1960 album by drummer Max Roach, featuring a five-part work composed by Roach with singer and lyricist Oscar Brown Jr. Considered a significant work of protest during the Civil Rights era, the “Freedom Now Suite" reflects two important trends of its time: the continuing ...

YouTubers Dig Wes Montgomery

YouTubers Dig Wes Montgomery

In 2019, I posted on YouTube clips of students working out on transcriptions by guitarist Barry Galbraith. In 2018, I did the same with piano students playing Red Garland. Yesterday, I stumbled onto videos of guitar students playing Wes Montgomery. Here are eight videos plus a cover by a professional trio: Here's Audrey playing Four on Six... Here's Dearly Beloved... Here's Mr. Walker... Here's Alex Baird signing a vocalese on Montgomery's recording of The Days of Wine and Roses... Here's ...

Bill Evans: Stuttgart, 1979

Bill Evans: Stuttgart, 1979

The last two months of 1979 were murder on pianist Bill Evans. He was on tour in Europe with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe LaBarbera, booked into a different city each night. He also had a cold and looked haggard. Nevertheless, on November 26, he performed a spectacular concert at Espace Pierre Cardin in Paris. The results would appear on the two Paris Concert albums. Four days later, the trio was at Casale Monferratoin in Piedmont, Italy. Some nights ...

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Seven more views of "St. Louis Blues"

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Seven more views of "St. Louis Blues"

This week, it's part two of our look at “St. Louis Blues," featuring some contemporary versions of W.C. Handy's most famous composition. The first video actually combines aspects of both vintage and contemporary, since it features New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band performing a traditional arrangement of “St. Louis Blues," but was recorded in July 1996 at a festival gig in Mountain View, CA. Veteran pianist Eddie Higgins, who was a mainstay of the Chicago scene and recorded with a ...


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