Archive | November, 2010

The Mysterious Death of a Tenor Man – Wardell Gray and the Moulin Rouge

28 Nov

Here is an interesting look at the death of Wardell Gray from

On May 25, 1955, the body of a 34 year-old black man was found in the desert outside of Las Vegas. The man’s neck had been broken, and the body had apprently been dumped from a car. Even though this scenario may sound like it would warrant an autopsy, none was performed. The local coroner and law enforcement officials ruled that the man had died of a drug overdose and the case was closed. It has never been explained how the body came to be in the desert nor how or why its neck was broken. That the body belonged to Wardell Gray, one of jazz’s best West Coast bop tenor players and heir apparent to the legacy of Lester Young, was of no consequence to the authorities.

Gray was born in Oklahoma, making him one of a handful of “western swing” players whose style was characterized by a full and open tone as well as a relaxed but fiercely swinging improvisational style. Though Gray’s folks moved from Oklahoma City to Detroit before he took up the saxophone, he is still identified, along with Don Byas, as a great “western-style” bop tenor player. Wardell played with Earl “Fatha” Hines’ group from 1943 to 1945, and during this stint he recorded with Hines and began to receive recognition as a solid tenor soloist. Coincidentally, Gray joined the band as an alto sax and clarinet player before switching to tenor, just as his predecessor in the band, one Charlie Parker, had done. Following his stint with the Hines band, Gray moved to California, living in Los Angeles, which was fast attracting a large number of musicians inspired by the bebop movement spearheaded on the other coast by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. It was during this time that he met Dexter Gordon and began to play club dates with Gordon during which the two would engage in musical “battles of the tenors”. It was only natural that the two should record together, the most notable example being the popular Dial Records recording “The Chase”.

In 1945, Central Avenue was Los Angeles’ version of 52nd Street, and there were plenty of musicians and plenty of clubs for them to play in. Some of the notables hanging our in L.A. at the time included Sonny Criss, Charles Mingus, Hampton Hawes, excellent bop pianist Dodo Marmarosa, and Art Farmer. This was the same year that Parker & Gillespie brought their bop group to Billy Berg’s club. The first week the club was packed with musicians who responded enthusiastically to the music, but the general public did not understand or care for the music being played by these East Coast musicians, and the group got the cold shoulder. They left to go back to New York, but Parker, deep in the grip of his drug habit, stayed on in L.A. The young musicians in town idolized Bird, and unfortunately many of them felt they could be better players by studying not only his recordings and improvisational style, but also by becoming heroin addicts. Gray, who was looked up to almost as much as Parker, acted as a role model for younger musicians by not using heroin and telling anyone who would listen that drug use was not the way to become a better player. As Doug Ramsey notes in his piece on Wardell Gray:

“After Bird, the skinny tenor man from the Billy Eckstine band was the musician most admired and respected by the younger players. He spoke quietly and articulately, admired the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre and the politics of Henry Wallace, boosted the NAACP and advised fledgling jazzmen on music and life, particularly in regard to the futility of messing with drugs.”

But Parker’s playing did influence Gray, a fact that can be heard on the recordings he did with Benny Goodman’s group in 1948 after moving to New York. Goodman had lost his place as a foremost jazz musician with the advent of bebop, as swing music became seen as passe and overly commercial. Goodman decided to put together a band that would play bebop, and he brought in musicians familiar with the idiom, including Gray, Doug Mettome, and Sonny Iggoe. Fats Navarro also participated in one session. On most of these recordings all of the soloists play in the bebop style, but Goodman’s solos are relatively unaffected by the new stylistic considerations, sounding somewhat out of date. While Goodman did admire players like Gray and Navarro, he found the harmonic ideas of bebop much more interesting than the rhythmic concepts the music introduced. Realizing it was something of an all-or-nothing proposition, Goodman abandoned the bebop style a year later. Wardell Gray was a hit with the group; more than one reviewer commented on his playing as the focal point of the group. The group did some recording for Capitol as well as some air checks during a stint at a resort, and the record Benny Goodman Rides Again provides a good sampling of what this Goodman group sounded like. Goodman was unbridled in his enthusiasm for Gray: “If Wardell Gray plays bop, it’s great” intoned the King of Swing, “because he’s wonderful.”

In 1949, Gray recorded a session with a rhythm section comprised of pianist Al Haig, Tommy Potter on bass, and drummer Roy Haynes. The group cut a B-flat blues entitled “Twisted” that had all the elements of a bebop standard–a latinesque opening, a concise and melodic head, and a great, lyrical solo by Gray that includes a lengthy quote from “Would You Like to Swing On a Star”. A few years later vocalist Annie Ross recorded lyrics set to Gray’s solo, and her version became a popular hit, exposing a huge array of music fans, most of whom had never heard of Wardell Gray, to his solo.

Following his stint with Goodman, Gray joined the Count Basie Orchestra in 1950, also working with the Basie Septet and recording with Tadd Dameron. From ’51 on, Gray worked mostly freelance, often forming his own groups for recording sessions in L.A. and accepting gigs that took him out of town. It was in 1955 that Gray was called to Las Vegas for a gig with Benny Carter, with whom he had previously worked. The gig was at the newly-opened Moulin Rouge, Vegas’ first integrated casino. Sadly, both Gray and the Moulin Rouge would be gone before the end of the year.

Las Vegas is usually thought of as a wild kind of place where “anything goes.” Most people are surprised to learn that, in terms of race relations, the city has a history much like any Southern town; in fact, Vegas was known as the “Missisipi of the West”. Segregation was widespread and enforced by laws that cut blacks out of any reasonable representation. Blacks were not allowed to use city swimming pools and could only purchase cemetary plots in carefully delineated “black” burial areas. Interracial marriage licenses were not granted, and any black citizen requesting such a license with the intention of marrying a white was arrested. The first marriage license granted to an interracial couple in Las Vegas was not issued until 1959.

The same was true of the downtown casinos and the Strip. Blacks were not allowed in the casinos to gamble and were usually not allowed to stay at the hotels and establishments on the Strip where they performed. Bugsy Siegel was the first to hire black performers to entertain at his establishment, the Flamingo, because he wanted the best performers regardless of their race. Lena Horne performed there shortly after the Flamingo opened, but she was not allowed to enter the casino. While she was able to stay at the Flamingo during her tenure there, many performers were not so lucky. Generally the black bands, singers, and comedians who performed downtown had to stay in the area known as the Westside, an area on the west side of the railroad tracks where blacks and their businesses were pretty much kept “hidden” from the rest of the town. Any establishment that would attract a “mixed clientele” (a euphemism for having black customers) was denied a business license unless it was located on the Westside.

In 1955, the Moulin Rouge casino opened at 900 West Bonanza Road. The casino had a clear policy of serving any and all patrons, regardless of race. Because of its open policy, it was able to draw many of the top black entertainers in the country. Black entertainers who performed on the Strip would stay at the Moulin Rouge, and many white entertainers came there to relax and have a good time after their shows. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Ed Sullivan were all frequent visitors to the Moulin Rouge’s gaming floor. The Moulin Rouge had a “third show”, unlike the Strip casinos which only had a dinner show and a midnight show. This led to an “after-hours” atmosphere at the Moulin Rouge, similar to the jam session atmosphere at integrated jazz clubs in New York or Los Angeles. Nor was the casino merely a front for white businessmen–the management, dealers, and other workers at the Moulin Rouge were all black, a very radical concept a that time not only for Las Vegas, but large parts of the United States.

Benny Carter’s band played at the Moulin Rouge’s opening, and two days later Wardell Gray was dead. What happened? There have been several theories advanced over the years. The commonly accepted story, boosted by the official cause of death report, is that Gray had succumbed to the lure of heroin and either overdosed, resulting in his body being dumped in the desert to keep the Moulin Rouge from being implicated, or that he had been involved in a drug deal that went bad. While Gray’s sermons against drug use to younger musicians and the testimony of many collegues that Gray was a lifelong non-user don’t disprove this, they certainly make it seem somewhat unlikely. So does the apparent unwillingness of Las Vegas law enforcement at the time to entertain any other theories.

Other people who knew Wardell swear that he was murdered because of a gambling debt. Given the nature of Las Vegas and its business, this not outside the realm of possibility. Still another possibility is that Wardell Gray was the victim of a racially motivated murder. Remember that an interracial marriage license wasn’t granted in Vegas for four years after this incident. Despite the success of the Moulin Rouge, black citizens of Las Vegas were still mostly confined to the Westside and there were sometimes eruptions of civil unrest. Whether Gray somehow provoked a racist individual or group by his mere presence or was in the wrong place at the wrong time, it does not stretch the imagination too much to see how something like this could have happened.

Another fact that lends an air of suspicion to events surrounding Gray’s death is the fact that the Moulin Rouge closed after only six months of operation, despite great popularity. Again, there are many theories as to why, ranging from poor business management to pressure from the casinos on the Strip, who felt that the Moulin Rouge was too popular and was competing with their business. Whatever the reason, it seems clear that there were events in both the closing of the Moulin Rouge and the death of Wardell Gray that have not, and may never, come to light.

Jack Teagarden, The Flood And The Riverwalk

27 Nov

I recently came across a handful of stories written by cornetist and radio host Jim Cullum Jr. I found this story particularly interesting. Enjoy!

Jack Teagarden, The Flood And The Riverwalk

By Jim Cullum Jr.

In 1921, jazz was so new. Unknowns Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong were still in New Orleans. King Oliver was still in the process of forming his great Creole Jazz Band. Bix Beiderbecke had dropped out of school and was struggling to master the cornet and become a professional. Duke Ellington, still living in Washington, DC, was working mostly as a sign painter and was beginning to experiment with the professional music business.

These jazz giants had barely begun to discover the powerful artistic potential each of them possessed, and none of them had yet been recorded.

In 1921, trombonist Jack Teagarden, age 16 and on fire with a passion to play jazz, left his native Vernon, Texas and headed for San Antonio. He joined the musician’s union, began his brilliant career, and found work and kindred spirits in a San Antonio jazz band. Members of the group included clarinetist Sidney Arodin and pianist Terry Shand. This amazing pioneering group began playing at a local southside bistro, The Horn Palace.

San Antonio in 1921 was a fascinating city where many cultures co-existed. It still retained the flavor of a Spanish colonial outpost and was full of adobe. Not many years had passed since herds of cattle had been driven through its streets by cowboys.

But the city had a modern side, too. It was a commercial and banking center that was by far the largest in Texas. In fact, it was the oasis between New Orleans and California.

San Antonio was growing some tall buildings and boasted many miles of paved streets. Automobiles were now all the rage and young Jack Teagarden was soon to purchase a used Stanley Steamer. For the rest of his life, Jack was fascinated by steam-driven cars.

The sweet life in San Antonio and the idyllic job at the Horn Palace went along beautifully until one night. While the band was in the middle of a hot set, a gangland-style shooting occurred directly in front of the bandstand. The musicians dove out of a close-by window and under the piano as the bullets flew. But Jack, shocked and momentarily frozen in place, stood on the front of the bandstand, taking in the entire scene. He subsequently became the prosecution’s star witness.

The case was prepared for trial. Jack was subpoenaed to appear, and then he received an extremely poignant tip: “Don’t talk or we’ll be forced to silence you, rub you out, you’ll sleep with the fishes, etc.”

What was he to do? If he didn’t show up in court, he would be held in contempt of court. If he did show up he really would be dodging bullets.

Just before the trial, the great flood of 1921 occurred. It was an unprecedented disaster. Parts of downtown San Antonio were under 15 feet of water.

For reasons never completely clear but caused by the flood, the Horn Palace shooting case was dismissed. Jack sighed with relief and very quickly and nervously loaded up his Stanley Steamer and chugged away for Houston and Galveston, where he began a long association with the legendary pianist Peck Kelly.

Jack Teagarden was to become the greatest of all Texas jazzmen. He revolutionized the role of trombone and is still thought of as its greatest exponent. In addition to his virtuosity, he brought a depth of feeling or “soul” which has seldom been equaled.

The San Antonio he left behind was forever changed by the great flood, which was reported by the press as follows:

A cloudburst in the valley of the Olmos Creek and other territory north of the city is held responsible for the flood which literally engulfed San Antonio early Saturday morning. Although the rainfall Friday night and up to early Saturday afternoon was the heaviest in six years for the same length of time, fear of a flood was not general. Even as late as 9:30 o’clock Saturday night, indications were that the river would be able to carry its burden of water.

Then the deluge from the north…the Alazan and San Pedro creeks, as well as the San Antonio River became raging torrents…The water rose almost to the mezzanine floor of the Gunter Hotel…a wall of water, variously described as 10-30 feet high, struck with a rush…Large houses were swept about on the flood’s crest as though they were paper boxes.

San Antonio Light, September, 1921

Fifty people perished as the “wall of water” descended upon downtown in the fall of 1921. Property damage was extensive.

Expedient remedies were called for by many of the frightened residents and businessmen, who wanted to ensure that such a disaster would never recur. Studies recommended taking drastic measures, including filling in the river’s picturesque horseshoe bend with dirt for use as a thoroughfare.

Fortunately, there was a group who could not bear the thought of losing the old river, and the San Antonio Conservation Society was born. Battle lines were drawn. Eventually, the conservationists prevailed, the riverbend was saved, and flood-control features were added.

Now entered Robert Hugman, a San Antonio architect, who had fished along the banks of the river as a young boy. He approached the leaders of the battle to save the bend with his ideas for the river. Hugman envisioned the river’s banks as a world apart from the city’s streets–a balance between a commercial and a park-like atmosphere. He entitled his plan, which was presented to the city leaders in 1929, “The Shops of Aragon and Romula.”

Gondolas were a part of Hugman’s presentation…and he told an amusing story about them:

I called on a public official in 1929 who was a very smart businessman, but had little formal education. I told him of my dreams for developing the river, and I mentioned gondolas quietly gliding on the water as a part of an imaginary setting. He thought the entire idea was fine, but then he said, “Oh, we won’t need to buy many gondolas, we can get a pair and raise our own.”

Works Progress Administration funds were employed in 1938, and the river’s banks gained the gracefully arched footbridges and staircases created by Hugman. Hugman was a man whose attention to detail helped to make the Riverwalk unique. Some thirty-one stairways to the Riverwalk were designed by Hugman, and no two are alike.

The pebbled walkways with inlaid designs must have tested the patience of those who built them, and one is reminded that they were designed by Hugman. During their construction, he often had some of his female acquaintances test these walkways with different styled high-heeled shoes.

An outdoor theater was planned by Hugman for live radio broadcasts of musical and dancing programs. The stage was built on one side of the river and the grass-covered seating on the other.

Even after this extensive beautification of the river’s banks, most businesses still treated the river as their back door. The area was perceived as being so unsavory that it was off-limits to armed forces personnel.

But in 1963, all this began to change. A unique new venture, The Landing, began in an old basement on the north bank of the riverbend. It was a tremendous success and drew big crowds. On Saturday evenings, patrons stood in line to get in. Most importantly, The Landing was a tremendous lot of fun! And it had a special integrity that continued the river’s legacy. The Landing had no street entrance, and part of its mystique was the difficulty strangers often had locating it.

At about the same time, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce set up a river development department and things began to roll. New clubs and shops followed The Landing. Then in 1968, San Antonio hosted a world’s fair and two major hotels were built on the river’s edge.

Today, 74 years after the great flood, the Riverwalk is a city park and botanical garden. Brightly colored river taxis now travel under the shade of its trees, and those along the banks enjoy its peaceful places, its shops, restaurants, and night clubs.

The Landing, now at its third river location is, with the exception of restaurant Casa Rio, the river’s oldest business. During its 36 years, an incredible number of jazz greats have played there.

Unfortunately, Jack Teagarden was not among them, for he died shortly after The Landing opened. Jack did employ Jim Cullum Sr. in his big band during the 1940’s. They became great friends. The present Landing displays, along with some great Teagarden photos, a telegram of congratulations which Jack sent on opening day in 1963.

Terry Shand (the pianist from the 1921 Horn Palace band) did visit and sit in at The Landing several times. On a couple of occasions he got up and made a speech about how the city had hosted one of America’s earliest jazz bands in 1921 and how it was strangely wonderful that the the flood which caused such damage had resulted in the present-day river, which again hosted a jazz club, The Landing, and its band in residence.

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die – The First 750

15 Nov

We have reached the 75% mark of our list of 1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die, and many of you have emailed asking for a complete list of all of the albums on one page. While I will continue to add several new albums each week, here is a complete list of the first 750 albums.

Remember, there is no ranking system here, and they are in no particular order.

1. standard time vol. 1Standard Time Volume 1 – Wynton Marsalis (Columbia, 1986)

2. moaninMoanin’ – Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (Blue Note, 1958)

3. live in parisLive in Paris – Diana Krall (Verve, 2002)

4. heavy weatherHeavy Weather – Weather Report (Columbia/Legacy, 1977)

5. prime timePrime Time – Count Basie and His Orchestra (Pablo, 1977)

Continue reading

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (741-750)

14 Nov

Here is another 10 to add to the list.

Remember that there is no ranking system here, and if you don’t see your favorite jazz album yet, it doesn’t mean it won’t show up.

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. And as always, we want your thoughts on any or all of these albums. Either way, let’s get started with this week, and in no particular order, albums 741 through 750.

741. 1942 (compilation) – Charlie Barnet (Circle, 1942 recording dates, 1994 compilation date) CLICK HERE TO BUY

742. An Evening with Lena Horne – Lena Horne (Blue Note, 1994) CLICK HERE TO BUY

743. The Undiscovered Few – Rodney Jones (Blue Note, 1999) CLICK HERE TO BUY

744. Long Ago and Far Away – Erroll Garner (Columbia, 1951) CLICK HERE TO BUY

745. Piano Starts Here (compilation) – Art Tatum (Sony Music Distribution, 1933-49 recording dates, 1968 compilation date) CLICK HERE TO BUY

746. What a Diff’rence a Day Makes! – Dinah Washington (Mercury, 1959) CLICK HERE TO BUY

747. Sing a Song of Basie – Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross (Verve, 1957) CLICK HERE TO BUY

748. Seven Steps to Heaven – Miles Davis (Sony Music Distribution, 1963) CLICK HERE TO BUY

749. Moten Swing (compilation) – Bennie Moten (ASV/Living Era, 1920’s & 30’s recording dates, 2005 compilation date) CLICK HERE TO BUY

750. Uptown Conversation – Ron Carter (Atlantic, 1969) CLICK HERE TO BUY

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (731-740)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (721-730)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (711-720)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (701-710)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die – The First 500

In Studio with Bethany and Rufus

13 Nov

Vocalist, Bethany Yarrow, and cellist, Rufus Cappadocia make an incredible amount of music for just two people. Bethany, daughter of Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul & Mary), first met Rufus at The Knitting Factory in Manhattan. They have been reinventing traditional music and transforming it into something that defies genre classification ever since.

For this performance, Bethany and Rufus presented their versions of 900 Miles, If I Had My Way and House Of The Rising Sun. If you lived through the ‘folk scare’ of the 1960s, you might think you’ve heard these songs, but you’ve never heard them done like this.

Listen to the entire performance

Irma Thomas in Studio

In Studio with Manhattan Transfer

An Interview In Studio with Vocalist Nikki Yanofsky

An Interview With Doc Severinsen

In Studio With Kyle Eastwood

An Interview With Dr. John

KPLU Studio Sessions

Celebrating Sax Man Phil Woods

8 Nov

I’ve featured a variety of great conversations between KPLU’s Nick Morrison and Kirsten Kendrick in the past, and their recent chat about Phil Woods is no exception. Here is their discussion, as part of KPLU’s Artscape series.

—     —     —     —     —     —     —     —     —     —     —     —     —     —    —     —     —

Kirsten: Nick, some people may not know Phil Woods’ name, but chances are they’ve heard him play before.

Nick: Well, yes. Phil Woods, like many jazz musicians, throughout his career did a lot of film work. He did a lot of studio work. He performed with Paul Simon on the song “Have a Good Time.” He did the wonderful sax solo on Steely Dan’s “Dr. Wu.” And, of course, his SOLO shot heard round the world was the saxophone solo on Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.”

Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel featuring Phil Woods – The Stranger

Kirsten: But Phil Woods has been around for a while. He was one of the early Bebop saxophonists. And, at the time, Charlie Parker was still very much on the scene. How did this factor into his career path?

What is Bebop?

Wikipedia | Hypermusic

Nick: Well, like all alto saxophone players of that time and afterwards, comparisons with Charlie Parker were inevitable because Charlie Parker, if he didn’t write book on Bebop, certainly wrote the glossary for alto saxophone. So, you know, all alto saxophonists who came after Charlie Parker and wanted to play Bebop were influenced by him and had to develop their own voice to kind of move out of Charlie Parker’s shadow. And the first song in the list that we have is an early one by Phil Woods. It was from his second release in 1955 and it’s a version of “Get Happy.” And you’ll hear, certainly, the influence of Charlie Parker but you’re also hearing Phil Woods making his own statement. And I think it’s pretty clear – he’s having a great time.

Get Happy – Phil Woods Quartet – Woodlore

Kirsten: Wow! He just takes off there! And that could pretty much be said for his career. He just took off!

Nick: Yeah. And, I think he pulled off a pretty neat trick because, throughout his career right up till now – he’s still playing great – he’s always been this major force in Bebop but it never feels like he’s stuck in the past. It always seems like he’s moving forward. And I think one of the styles of music in which you can best hear that is when he plays a ballad. I think that he is one of the very best ballad players in jazz. There’s nobody who gets a more beautiful tone on the alto and is more expressive in a ballad than Phil Woods. And in 1973, he started a quintet that still goes to this day. It has some revolving members in the front line but it’s basically Phil Woods with bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin. And they’ve had a variety of trumpet players and piano players but this piece that we’re going to hear now features trumpeter Tom Harrell and pianist Hal Galper, who played with another great alto saxophone player during those times, Cannonball Adderley. This is from a CD called “Gratitude” and it’s called “Time’s Mirror” and Woods just soars on this one.

Time’s Mirror – Phil Woods Quintet – Gratitude

Kirsten: In addition to his quintet, Phil Woods is also known for his Little Big Band.

Nick: Yeah. And we have an example of that on our list as well. Back in 1957, Quincy Jones put out an album called “This Is How I Feel About Jazz.” Phil Woods was on that release. And later on, in 2004, he kind of returned the favor to Quincy by doing a CD of Quincy Jones compositions called “This Is How I Feel About Quincy.” And it was basically his quintet again with Brian Lynch on trumpet this time and Bill Charlap on piano rounded out with more horns. And this is the L ittle Big Band doing Quincy’s “Stockholm Sweetnin.'”

Stockholm Sweetnin’ – Phil Woods – This Is How I Feel About Quincy

Kirsten: Nick, let’s end this tribute to Phil Woods in his birthday month with what you like about him.

Nick: Well, I guess you could just say I love his sound. It seems a little bit weird but in all the time that I have been listening to jazz, there are really only four alto saxophonists that I can tell that I am listening to when I am listening to them. You know what I mean? I can identify their sound without knowing that it’s them: Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges, Paul Desmond and Phil Woods.

Kirsten: Nick, thanks again for coming in and giving us a little bit more music history!

Nick: You bet!

…Featuring Norah Jones

7 Nov

I have often said that Norah Jones is the most versatile vocalist since Ray Charles. There are many that disagree with me, for a variety of reasons, but very few of their arguments actually have to do with her versatility. Some will say she isn’t a true (insert genre here) singer, but that argument to me just goes to show that she can succeed at a variety of styles and sounds without having to be a jazz, folk, rock, country, or blues singer…thus making her very versatile. Was Ray a true country singer? Maybe not, but he did it, and people seemed to like it. And in the case of Norah Jones, you don’t sell nine million copies of your debut album without being able to appeal to a variety of audiences.

That versatility is on display in a new release that is due out November 16th called …Featuring Norah Jones.

This CD features 18 tracks of collaborations Norah Jones took part in between 2001-2010, and it couldn’t be with a more diverse lineup.

Country fans might enjoy her tracks with Dolly Parton or Willie Nelson. Jazz fans will like her work with Herbie Hancock, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Ray Charles, and Charlie Hunter. Pop/Rock fans will embrace songs with the Foo Fighters and Ryan Adams, and even rap and hip-hop fans will be surprised to hear her work with Outkast, Talib Kweli, and Q-Tip.

For the open-minded music fan, this album is absolutely wonderful. For the hardcore Norah Jones fan, this is a must-have. Not only does she cross over into a variety of different musical worlds, but she does it well. There are no second rate performances here. By my count, three of the pairings on this album resulted in Grammy Awards (Outkast, Herbie Hancock, and Ray Charles).

There are plenty who will not enjoy this album, and those who don’t are likely the same group that has a problem with Norah not being a specific genre purist. But for the rest of us, this album is highly recommended.

CLICK HERE to buy …Featuring Norah Jones

James Moody Battling Pancreatic Cancer

6 Nov

An unfortunate story from Jazz Times, originally reported by San Diego Union-Tribune staff writer George Varga. It appears that the legendary saxophonist is choosing to decline chemotherapy or radiation treatment. The article reports that he has been battling it since February.

CLICK HERE to read the Jazz Times article.

To send well wishes to James Moody, you can email at

%d bloggers like this: