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Billy May: The Transcriptions

Billy May: The Transcriptions

Something happened in the 1950s. Actually two things did. The generation that grew up during the Depression and fought in World War II turned 40 in 1955. Just as they blew out the candles, the long-playing album expanded from 10 inches to 12. Both trends set the table neatly for Frank Sinatra's recording comeback. By the ...

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Bonerama puts low brass on top

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Bonerama puts low brass on top

This week, StLJN's video spotlight shines on Bonerama, who will be back in St. Louis to perform on Saturday, December 16 at The Bootleg at Atomic Cowboy. The New Orleans-based band puts the low brass on top, thanks to a three-trombone front line plus a sousaphone standing in for electric bass. Formed in 1998 by trombonists ...

John Plonsky: Cool Man Cool

John Plonsky: Cool Man Cool

The 1950s are a gold mine of lost trumpeters. No matter how many times I comb discographies, I come across another solid horn player whose name is likely unfamiliar to many jazz fans. On Monday I posted about Johnny Glasel and his Brasstet. Today, I'm looking at John Plonsky and his sole leadership album, Cool Man ...

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Meet the Spanish Harlem Orchestra

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Meet the Spanish Harlem Orchestra

This week, StLJN's video spotlight shines on the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, an NYC-based ensemble that will bring their show “Salsa Navidad" to St. Louis next Friday, December 8 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Bandleader Oscar Hernández is well known in New York City Latin music circles, with a long list of credits including performing with salsa ...

Video: Woody Herman, 1964

Video: Woody Herman, 1964

In July 1964, the Woody Herman Orchestra appeared on the BBC2's Jazz 625 TV show. The show's title referred to the number of lines it used on the UHF frequency. The band put on a sterling performance, showcasing punchy trumpets, swinging trombones and swaying reeds. There also was was plenty of solo heat. The band included ...

Video: Bill Evans in Umbria

Video: Bill Evans in Umbria

On July 19, 1978, pianist Bill Evans was at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Terni, Italy. He was accompanied by bassist Mark Johnson and drummer Philly Joe Jones. A few weeks ago, 28 minutes of the trio playing that night was uploaded to YouTube. The songs are “The Peacocks," “Theme From M*A*S*H," “Midnight Mood," “Nardis" and ...

Tubby Hayes: Back in Town

Tubby Hayes: Back in Town

While performing in New York in June 1962, British tenor saxophonist Tubby Hayes had an opportunity to record for Smash, Mercury's newly formed jazz subsidiary. Smash was run by Shelby Singleton, a Mercury executive with pop sensibilities. What was remarkable about the resulting album, Tubby's Back in Town, are the musicians selected for the recording session. ...

Jones & Lewis In Concert

Jones & Lewis In Concert

It occurred to me around mid-afternoon that it would have been a good idea to use the band’s music as a supplement to the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis-Vanguard Orchestra Monday Recommendation. But, from the treasury of Thad & Mel performances on record and video, what to choose? The staff agreed unanimously; the band’s 1969 performance of Thad’s ...

Chris Connor: Atlantic Singles

Chris Connor: Atlantic Singles

Scrambling to avoid being caught short when the pop album format expanded in 1955 from 10 to 12 inches, Atlantic rapidly began adding singers to its artists rostet. In '56, the label signed Chris Connor after she left Bethlehem Records. She would go on to record 15 superb albums for Atlantic, including the remarkable Sings the ...

Bobby Darin: In a Broadway Bag

Bobby Darin: In a Broadway Bag

We tend to think of Bobby Darin as the last old-school pop singer before the American songbook was submerged by the rock-and-soul surge of the 1960s. And in many respects he was. But just as Darin was rising as the heir to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett, he became meaningless almost overnight. One ...


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