Friday, April 29, 2005

Bassist Percy Heath Dies

Percy HeathBassist Percy Heath died yesterday morning in Southampton, N.Y. from bone cancer at age 81.
Heath was best known for his work with the Modern Jazz Quartet. He played with the quartet for its four-decade existence, along with leader and pianist John Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson and drummer Kenny Clarke (later succeeded by Connie Kay). Heath also recorded with musicians including Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk.

Heath was born on April 30, 1923 in Wilmington, N.C. and grew up in Philadelphia. His family was a musical one: his father was a clarinetist, his mother a singer in a church choir and his two younger brothers also went on to become professional musicians. After studying violin as a child, Heath took up bass as a student at the Granoff School of Music in Philadelphia in 1946 and was performing in local jazz clubs within a couple months.

In 1947, he and his brother Jimmy moved to New York and in 1950, both joined Dizzy Gillespie’s group. In 1952, Heath formed the Modern Jazz Quartet with three other Gillespie alumni, Lewis, Jackson and Clarke.

After the Modern Jazz Quartet broke up in 1974, Heath and brothers Jimmy and Albert started the Heath Brothers, a group that specialized in free jazz, a stark contrast to the traditional Modern Jazz Quartet. The Heath Brothers continued until the Modern Jazz Quartet reunited in the early ‘80s.

Heath is survived by his wife, June; his sons Percy III, Jason and Stuart; and his two brothers.

Katherine Silkaitis -

Cheryl Bentyne - 'Let Me Off Uptown'

Cheryl BentyneSome listeners will be completely satisfied with transparent pop vocalists like Mariah Carey. Others can only be satisfied with densely difficult jazz vocalists, like Lisa Sokolov or Betty Carter. But, as in politics, there also exists an enormous moderate middle ground, a population which craves musical excellence but may not crave the experimental edge. Cheryl Bentyne’s new recording is perfect for the latter group.....
[C. MIchael Bailey -]

Monday, April 25, 2005

Shout! Factory Begins New Career Jazz Series

Dizzy GillespieTo celebrate those artists that can make their careers last more than a decade or two (don’t hold your breath, Britney Spears), Shout! Factory is launching a new series, “Career,” that will present anthologies that reflect their entire career. The first releases in the series, which comes out on April 26, will be of Dizzy Gillespie and Chet Baker, whose careers each spanned over 30 years.
Shout! Factory’s intention behind yet another compilation series is that most artist compilations are limited to a specific era or set of
recordings done under a specific record company. The “Career” series “deviates from the norm by creating fully comprehensive anthologies from cultural icons that compile recordings from all eras of their careers,” according to a press release.

On the double-disc Dizzy Gillespie: Career 1937-1992, Shout! Factory chose 33 songs, including his very first recording, 1937’s “King Porter Stomp,” “Salt Peanuts,” “Perdido” and “A Night in Tunisia.” Baker’s double disc release, Chet Baker: Career 1952-1988, includes “Let’s Get Lost,” “Chetty’s Lullaby,” “Almost Blue” and both the vocal and instrumental versions of “My Funny Valentine.”

Katherine Silkaitis:

Coming soon? MP3 and satellite radio

"The iPod is the biggest, baddest thing around and satellite radio is this small, cool device," said Steve Mather, an analyst with Sander Morris Harris. "Put them together and it's the ultimate."

A Jazz Discovery Adds a New Note to the Historical Record

Larry Appelbaum, a studio engineer at the Library of Congress, with a recently discovered Voice of America tape of a 1957 concert featuring Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane.But now this: tapes bearing nearly a full hour of the Thelonious Monk quartet with John Coltrane, found at the Library of Congress in January. The library made the announcement this month.
The tapes come from a concert at Carnegie Hall on Nov. 29, 1957, a benefit for a community center. The concert was recorded by the Voice of America, the international broadcasting service, and the tapes also include sets by the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, Ray Charles with a backing sextet, the Zoot Sims Quartet with Chet Baker, and the Sonny Rollins Trio. (Newspaper accounts of the concert indicate that Billie Holiday appeared as well, though she is not on the Voice of America tapes.)
[NY Times...]

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Upcoming Jazz Releases: 4/26/05

Aisha Duo - Quiet Songs (Obliqsound)
Ann Burton - Blue Burton (Epic)
Audio Caviar - Transoceanic (Thump)
Bob James - Explosions (Calibre) - Reissue
Bobby Short - Celebrating 30 Years At The Cafe Carlyle (Telarc) - Reissue
Brian Haas - Truth About Hollywood (Sin-Drome)
Brian Lynch - 24-7 (Nagel Heyer)
Buddy Rich - Blues Caravan (Verve) - Reissue
Cheryl Bentyne - Let Me Off Uptown (Telarc)
Chet Baker - Career: 1952-1988 (Smd) - Reissue - 2+ CDs
Debby Boone - Reflections of Rosemary (Concord)
Dena DeRose - A Walk in the Park (MaxJazz)
Dizzy Gillespie - Career: 1937-1992 (Smd) - Reissue - 2+ CDs
Dr John - Best of the Parlophone Years (Blue Note) - Reissue
Duke Ellington - Afro Bossa (Collectables) - Reissue
Duke Ellington - Classic Hollywood Years (Collectables) - Reissue
Eliminators - Loving Explosion (Circul8tion)
Enrico Pieranunzi - Special Encounter (Cam Jazz)
Full House - Champagne Taste (Nagel Heyer)
Gambarini / Pratt Brothers Big Band - 16 Men & A Chick Singer Swingin (Cap) - Reissue
Gene Krupa - Plays Gerry Mulligan (Verve) - Reissue
Gerald Smith - You Play Like Chet (Hit Happens)
Greg Perry - One for the Road (Circul8tion)
Guachos - Live in Barcelona (Rock Bottom) - Reissue
Helen Humes - Knockin' Myself (Winter & Winter) - Reissue
Hiroshima - Obon (Heads Up)
Jack DeJohnette - Music in the Key of Ohm (Kindred Rhythm)
Jack Teagraden - Master of the Jazz Trombone: 1928-40 (Jazz Legends) - Reissue
Jacques Coursil - Minimal Brass (Tzadik)
James Mason - Rhythm of Life (Circul8tion)
Jerry Moore - Life is a Constant Journey Home (ESP)
Jimmy Rosenberg - Jimmy Rosenberg & Stian Carstensen (Hot Club/Norway)
Jimmy Smith - The Fantastic (Universal) - Reissue
Jimmy Thackery - Healin' Ground (Telarc)
John Abercrombie/Badi Assad/Larry Coryell - Three Guitars (Chesky)
Johnny Hammond - Gambler's Life (Circul8tion)
Julie Hardy - Moment's Glance (Rock Bottom) - Reissue
Kenny G - At Last: The Duet Album (+ 4 Bonus Tracls) (Arista)
Kenny Wheeler/John Taylor/Dave Holland/Chris Potter - What Now? (Cam Jazz)
Klaus Schulze - Dig It (Inside Out) - Reissue - Book
Krook / Orphei Drangar / Sund / Thielemans - Caprices with OD5 (Northern Lights)
Lightnin' Hopkins - Lightnin' Strikes Twice (Koch) - Reissue
Little Charlie & The Nightcats - Nine Lives (Alligator)
Louis Prima - Live from Las Vegas (Capital)
Marcia Ball - Live: Down the Road (Alligator)
Masada/John Zorn - Sanhedrin (Tzadik) - 2+ CDs
Max Roach - Jazz in 3/4 Time (Verve) - Reissue
Nancy Wilson - Live From Vegas (Capitol) - Reissue
OB Buchana - I Can't Stop Drinkin' (Ecko)
Oz Noy - Ha! (Magnatude)
Pamela Williams - Saxtress (Heads Up) - Reissue
Peter Martin - In the P.M. (MaxJazz)
Sandro Albert - Color of Things (215 Entertainment)
SF Spanish Fly - Anything You Want (Upstairs) - Reissue
Sonny Stitt - Work Done (High Note) - Reissue
Soul Ballet - All the Pretty Lights (Twfi)
Stereolab - Oscillations From... (Too Pure / Beggars Banquet) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Steve Cole - Spin (Narada)
Tarika Blue - Best Of (Circul8tion) - Reissue
Teruo Nakamura - Unicorn (Circul8tion)
Ultralyd - Chromosome Gun (Load)
Various - Rockin' The Spirit: Piano Blues, Boogie And Spirituals (Chesky) - Reissue
Various - Celtic Pride (St Clair) - Reissue - Book
Various - Groovy Hits of the 1960's (St Clair) - Reissue - Book
Various - Soul Love Ballads (St Clair) - Reissue - Book
Various - The Best of the 60s 70s 80s (St Clair) - Reissue - Book
Various - Wedding Music: The Ultimate Collection (St Clair) - Reissue - Book
Various - Cool Gabriels (Rock Bottom) - Reissue
Various - East Side Other (ESP) - Reissue
Various - High Rollers from Las Vegas (Capitol) - Reissue
Various - Live from Las Vegas (Capitol) - Reissue
Various - Rockin' The Spirit: Piano Blues, Boogie And Spirituals (Chesky) - Reissue - SACD
Walter Beasley - Greatest Hits (Shanachie) - Reissue
Woody Herman - 20th Century Masters (Jazz Masters) - Reissue
Woody Shaw - Live 4 (High Note) - Reissue
Xavier Cugat - Cugi's Cocktails (Verve) - Reissue

Information provided by

Monday, April 18, 2005

Basia Returns With Matt Bianco

Basia - Matt BiancoWhy did the singer Basia spend 10 years away from the recording studio?

When considering the 2005 comeback of the smooth jazz singer known as Basia, it’s difficult not to consider the similar re-emergence of Anita Baker. Like Baker, Basia was extremely popular on the smooth jazz airwaves more than 10 years ago thanks to sophisticated, hummable tunes like “New Day for You” and “Cruising for Bruising.” Like Baker, also, Basia disappeared after 1994 to take a break from the rigors of recording and touring and to tend to family matters.....
Read the rest of this very interesting article on Basia by Brian Soergel at

Victor Wooten - Soul Circus

Victor Wooten"While listening to it, I expected to hear a lot more lead bass work. What I wanted to hear was this bass virtuoso doing his thing front and center. I expected more bass jamming, I expected to hear some of the most unique bass playing ever recorded, well maybe not that extreme, but you get my meaning. If that is what you want to get from this album, you are sure to be disappointed. This is not to say this is a bad album, it is just not what I expected."
Chris Beaumont []...

Friday, April 15, 2005

RIAA Target Fights Back Against ISP

A mother of two teenagers who was told to pay $4,500 or face a lawsuit from the Recording Industry Association of America is fighting back. Dawnell Leadbetter has filed a lawsuit of her own against Comcast, who provided the names and addresses of alleged file swappers to the RIAA.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

RIAA cracks down on Internet2 file-swapping

The Recording Industry Association of America said Tuesday it would file suit against students at 18 universities accused of trading files on the supercharged Internet2 network.

The suits, to be filed Wednesday, are the first to focus on the next-generation research network operated by universities. The i2Hub file-swapping service has operated for a year on campuses that are connected to Internet2.

Bush bares soul with 'iPod One'

Bush uses the iPod while he cycles around his ranch in Crawford, Texas.The portable digital device, given to Bush by his daughters Jenna and Barbara last July, contains much country music, but also songs by Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison and the Knack.
The MP3 player, which can store up to 10,000 songs, only contains about 250, according to the New York Times, which first reported the story.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Krall, Benson win first Smooth Jazz Awards

Diana Krall and George Benson were among those celebrated this weekend at an inaugural smooth jazz awards gala.

The Nanaimo, B.C.-born Krall was a three-time winner at the inaugural Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards Sunday night. The singer won trophies for best album (The Girl in the Other Room), best female vocalist and songwriter of the year (Narrow Daylight), which she shared with her husband Elvis Costello for writing the tune. She also won a Juno Award earlier this month for best jazz vocal album.

Other winners included singer Marc Jordan, guitarist Rik Emmett and the Clayton-Scott Group.

Organizers presented the George Benson Lifetime Achievement Award to its namesake, the Grammy-winning American singer and guitarist. In the future, the honour will be presented "to musical pioneers in the smooth jazz format."

Hosted by jazz flutist Alexander Zonjic – who was also nominated for three awards – the ceremony took place in Oakville, located 35 km southwest of Toronto. The awards, spearheaded by Hamilton radio station Wave FM and the website, will be an annual event, with winners chosen by the public via online voting.

Smooth jazz is considered a sub-genre of jazz that denotes a fusion with pop or R&B music.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

New Orleans Jazz Festival

Map of New Orleans. Numbers on the map correspond to numbers in the article. New Orleans routinely makes the travel headlines twice every spring: once for the city's bacchanalian Mardi Gras celebration and once for its hard-boogie New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival at the cusp of summertime. During these peak times, the Crescent City plays host to throngs of enthusiastic travelers who hope to shake off winter, soak up the charms of the city and explore its legendary food and music scenes. [NYTimes...]

Friday, April 08, 2005


Just Walking

There is obviously no reason for this to be here, except that it caught my eye and I don't have an editor to keep happy. It also seems to go nicely with the music, if you have it turned on.

Monday, April 04, 2005

April is Jazz Appreciation Month

Jazz Appreciation MonthThe Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History launched the fourth annual international Jazz Appreciation Month at a press ceremony on March 28 featuring Paquito D’Rivera, and the families of Mongo Santamaria, Chico O’Farrill, and Tito Puente. D’Rivera donated his first clarinet, his famous Panama hat, his white tuxedo, three music manuscripts, and a photograph taken with Dizzy Gillespie. Lupe O’Farrill donated the manuscripts to three of her late husband Chico O’Farrill’s most important compositions: The Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite, a milestone in Latin jazz, Aztec Suite, and Six Jazz Moods, along with the title page of Igor Stravinsky’s “Chant du Rossignol,” inscribed by Stravinsky to O’Farrill, and a photograph taken with Dizzy Gillespie. Nancy Anderson, daughter of Mongo Santamaria, donated his 1945 Cuban passport, a Grammy Award, a Gold Record, two pages of the score for his composition Afro Blue, his walking stick, two dashiki style shirts, several percussion instruments and one hundred-some photographs documenting his musical career. Tito Puente’s family donated a white sequined jacket, a passport, and several photographs, which will supplement earlier donations of Puente’s custom-made vibraphone and the timbales he played at the 1996 Olympics closing ceremonies.