Archive | July, 2009

Random Flip Through the Quincy Jones “Quictionary” #2

31 Jul

quincy jonesOn quincyjones.com, Quincy has what he calls a Quictionary – described as “a glossary of people, places and things associated with Quincy.” We all know that Q has had a busy career, but there are a variety of things that you may have never known about him, or projects he was related to until you saw it on the Quictionary. Periodically I will pull a random entry from the Quictionary and post it. Here are a few randomly pulled entries:

B

Bremerton, Washington – The Seattle suburb that Quincy moved to at the age of 10 with his father, brother and step-mother. It was there he discovered his love of music.

I

Institute for Black American Music (IBAM) – An institution that Quincy helped found to aid in the creation of a national library of African-American art and music.

P

Peggy Lipton – Quincy’s third wife and the mother of Kidada and Rashida Jones. Lipton, an actress best known of her role on the Mod Squad and later Twin Peaks, was married to Quincy from 1974 to 1990. Peggy first met Quincy in 1968 on a trip on Sidney Poitier’s yacht to the Bahamas.

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (21-40)

30 Jul

Here are the next twenty.

Try to remember that there is no ranking system here, and just because you might not see your favorite jazz album yet, doesn’t mean it won’t show up.

Every week I will offer up twenty more, in no particular order and with no ranking system or common theme (other than jazz of course).

Hopefully these lists will inspire you to seek some of these albums out that perhaps you haven’t heard before, or revisit an old favorite that the list might remind you of that is collecting dust on your shelf. And as always, we want your thoughts on any or all of these albums. Either way, let’s get started with week one, and in no particular order, albums 21 through 40.

21. consummationConsummation – Thad Jones-Mel Lewis (Blue Note, 1970)

22. dr. john plays mac rebennackDr. John Plays Mac Rebennack – Dr. John (Clean Cuts, 1981)

23. earfoodEarfood – Roy Hargrove (Universal Jazz, 2008)

24. saxophone colossusSaxophone Colossus – Sonny Rollins (Prestige/OJC, 1956)

25. time outTime Out – The Dave Brubeck Quartet (Columbia/Legacy, 1959)

26. an evening with herbie hancock and chick corea in concertAn Evening with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea: In Concert – Herbie Hancock/Chick Corea (Columbia, 1992, 1978 recording)

27. mingusMingus – Joni Mitchell (Asylum, 1979)

28. lady sings the bluesLady Sings the Blues – Billie Holiday (Verve, 1956)

29. ellington at newportEllington at Newport – Duke Ellington (Columbia, 1956)

30. sketches of spainSketches of Spain – Miles Davis (Columbia, 1959)

31. freedom in the grooveFreedom in the Groove – Joshua Redman (Warner Bros., 1996)

32. water from an ancient wellWater From an Ancient Well – Abdullah Ibrahim (Tiptoe, 1985)

33. live at carnegie hallLive at Carnegie Hall (1938) – Benny Goodman (Columbia, 1938)

34. mercy, mercy, mercyMercy, Mercy, Mercy Live at “The Club” – Cannonball Adderley Quintet (EMI, 1966)

35. big trainBig Train – Wynton Marsalis (Columbia, 1999)

36. gettin' to itGettin’ To It – Christian McBride (Verve, 1994)

37. the inflated tearThe Inflated Tear – Rahsaan Roland Kirk (Atlantic, 1967)

38. john coltrane and johnny hartmanJohn Coltrane and Johnny Hartman – John Coltrane with Johnny Hartman (Impulse!, 1963)

39. flowFlow – Terrance Blanchard (Blue Note, 2005)

40. the gene harris trio plus oneThe Gene Harris Trio Plus One – Gene Harris (Concord Jazz, 1985)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (1-20)

Album Review: Double-Booked by Robert Glasper

29 Jul

Double-Booked by Robert Glasper

Release Date: August 25, 2009, Blue Note

robert glasperThe title of pianist Robert Glasper’s new album is a play on words in a couple of ways. The first is a reference to the album splitting time between Glasper’s two bands: his trio and The Robert Glasper Experiment. The second reference to the title, whether it be true or not, is revealed in the opening seconds of the first track. Trumpeter Terrance Blanchard is heard leaving Glasper a voicemail, suggesting that there is a rumor going around that Glaspar booked his “Experiment” band to play at one club, while his trio was scheduled to play at Blanchard’s new club on the exact same night.

Admittedly, Glasper’s previous release In My Element, while demonstrating a wonderful talent, did not personally leave me waiting in great anticipation for this new release. Double-Booked, however, is ultimately enjoyable from the opening track to the final note.

With Double-Booked, Robert Glasper is destined to put himself on the top of the list of young, hip jazz pianists (alongside Eldar and Taylor Eigsti). What gets him to be a part of this list is not simply talent, but the ability to demonstrate a wonderful creativity in different settings. Double-Booked not only shows versatility, but the ability to have a well-rounded understanding of what sounds will be leading edge, in either a acoustic trio or a more intense, hip sounding edgy “Experiment”.

The first six tracks are from the Robert Glasper Trio. I will say that if you like the opening track, No Worries, then you will like the rest of the acoustic set. I don’t say that because they all sound the same, because they don’t. I say that because the set list was well thought out with seamless transitions. The Thelonious Monk tune, Think of One, is also a highlight of the acoustic set, closing it out. It has become popular as of late for musicians to make their own recording of this tune, but Glasper makes it his own without sounding like he is trying too hard to recreate it.

The second half of the album begins with a second voicemail left by ?uestlove, the drummer for The Roots (and no, that is not a misspelling, his professional name is spelled ?-u-e-s-t-l-o-v-e, sometimes spelled Questlove). The message suggest the reverse of Blanchard’s message, suggesting that he heard the trio was already booked, but that Glasper should bring The Experiment for a jam session with Mos Def and company.

This is a lead in to The Experiment’s half of the album, which takes an edgier look at things, mixing jazz with a hip-hop attitude. Rapper Mos Def is immediately heard rapping on the second half, almost as a suggestion to the listener that this kind of hip attitude is exactly what the listener would be getting into for the next six tracks.

Sax, vocoder, turntables, electric bass, and Rhodes all make themselves entirely audible during The Experiment’s portion of the album, which is just as entertaining, well produced and performed as the first half. Vocalist Bilal adds a nice touch to the final two tracks, All Matter and Open Mind.

Double-Booked should dwarf the success that In My Element had. For those who still fear the mixing of hip-hop sounds with jazz – give it a good listen. This is how it is done right. And if that combination still scares you, stick to the first half of the album. Double-Booked, in one way or another, takes care of every listener.

Anita O'Day: Life of a Jazz Singer

24 Jul

When you talk about the greatest jazz singers ever, you always mention the Big Three: Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. No surprises. From there, though, where do you go? Let me suggest Anita O’Day.

Her first appearances with the bands of Gene Krupa, Woody Herman & Stan Kenton shattered the standard image of a female jazz singer as demure and beautiful. Though she was a knockout, she was “one of the guys” – a musician’s singer – able to scat incredibly fast lines as well as break down ballad standards like Charlie Parker. Her time with drummer Krupa, especially, developed her rhythmic and melodic improvising abilities to the point where she was bored with these bands and struck out to sing with small groups who could keep up with her.

Unlike many jazz singers, she found more success with jazz audiences than popular music fans, releasing almost 20 records for Verve in the 50’s & 60’s that established Anita as one of the most talented singers of the day. Sadly, Anita O’Day wouldn’t be scared away from another jazz staple, heroin addiction. Amazingly, after 15 years she managed to kick and had a successful comeback, mostly appearing in Japan. At age 86, Anita recorded one last album, appropriately titled Indestructable, and was earning a new audience rightfully impressed by the amazing stories of her life.

Now, the documentary finished just before her death – Anita O’Day: Life of a Jazz Singer – is out on DVD. I caught this film in the theater last Spring with a very small crowd, and I hope more people will see this movie and get a better idea of the amazing talents of this often overlooked jazz superstar. For me, this is how jazz movies should be made – it focuses on her developing skills as a singer, her love of jazz rhythms and improvisation, and her personality – surely one of the most interesting characters in a world full of them.

I just watched the DVD again this week and I’ll probably buy my own copy soon, and I highly recommend it to all fans of jazz, singers, and musicians of all stripes. Terry Gross’ interview with Anita from 1987 can be heard here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106968810

and here’s the documentary trailer:

Anita O’Day: Life of a Jazz Singer

24 Jul

When you talk about the greatest jazz singers ever, you always mention the Big Three: Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. No surprises. From there, though, where do you go? Let me suggest Anita O’Day.

Her first appearances with the bands of Gene Krupa, Woody Herman & Stan Kenton shattered the standard image of a female jazz singer as demure and beautiful. Though she was a knockout, she was “one of the guys” – a musician’s singer – able to scat incredibly fast lines as well as break down ballad standards like Charlie Parker. Her time with drummer Krupa, especially, developed her rhythmic and melodic improvising abilities to the point where she was bored with these bands and struck out to sing with small groups who could keep up with her.

Unlike many jazz singers, she found more success with jazz audiences than popular music fans, releasing almost 20 records for Verve in the 50’s & 60’s that established Anita as one of the most talented singers of the day. Sadly, Anita O’Day wouldn’t be scared away from another jazz staple, heroin addiction. Amazingly, after 15 years she managed to kick and had a successful comeback, mostly appearing in Japan. At age 86, Anita recorded one last album, appropriately titled Indestructable, and was earning a new audience rightfully impressed by the amazing stories of her life.

Now, the documentary finished just before her death – Anita O’Day: Life of a Jazz Singer – is out on DVD. I caught this film in the theater last Spring with a very small crowd, and I hope more people will see this movie and get a better idea of the amazing talents of this often overlooked jazz superstar. For me, this is how jazz movies should be made – it focuses on her developing skills as a singer, her love of jazz rhythms and improvisation, and her personality – surely one of the most interesting characters in a world full of them.

I just watched the DVD again this week and I’ll probably buy my own copy soon, and I highly recommend it to all fans of jazz, singers, and musicians of all stripes. Terry Gross’ interview with Anita from 1987 can be heard here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106968810

and here’s the documentary trailer:

Random Flip Through the Quincy Jones "Quictionary" #1

22 Jul

quincy jonesOn quincyjones.com, Quincy has what he calls a Quictionary – described as “a glossary of people, places and things associated with Quincy.”

We all know that Q has had a busy career, but there are a variety of things that you may have never known about him, or projects he was related to until you saw it on the Quictionary.

Periodically I will pull a random entry from the Quictionary and post it. Here are a few randomly pulled entries:

O

Olympics – The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad appointed Quincy Jones as an Artistic Adviser for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

R

Ray Charles – Quincy’s boyhood friend from Seattle.  The pair met when Quincy was 14 and Ray was 16.  Their relationship was featured in the 2004 Charles bio pic Ray, with Larenz Tate taking on the role as Quincy.  Quincy arranged and conducted on four Charles’ albums, 1956’s The Great Ray Charles, 1959’s The Genius of Ray Charles, 1960’s Genius + Soul = Jazz, and 1972’s A Message from the People. Charles was also featured on “We Are the World.”

I

In Cold Blood – Quincy received a nomination for Best Original Score for his music in this movie in 1968.  This was his second nomination for an Academy Award that year.

Random Flip Through the Quincy Jones “Quictionary” #1

22 Jul

quincy jonesOn quincyjones.com, Quincy has what he calls a Quictionary – described as “a glossary of people, places and things associated with Quincy.”

We all know that Q has had a busy career, but there are a variety of things that you may have never known about him, or projects he was related to until you saw it on the Quictionary.

Periodically I will pull a random entry from the Quictionary and post it. Here are a few randomly pulled entries:

O

Olympics – The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad appointed Quincy Jones as an Artistic Adviser for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

R

Ray Charles – Quincy’s boyhood friend from Seattle.  The pair met when Quincy was 14 and Ray was 16.  Their relationship was featured in the 2004 Charles bio pic Ray, with Larenz Tate taking on the role as Quincy.  Quincy arranged and conducted on four Charles’ albums, 1956’s The Great Ray Charles, 1959’s The Genius of Ray Charles, 1960’s Genius + Soul = Jazz, and 1972’s A Message from the People. Charles was also featured on “We Are the World.”

I

In Cold Blood – Quincy received a nomination for Best Original Score for his music in this movie in 1968.  This was his second nomination for an Academy Award that year.

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