Tag: Duke Ellington

A Child’s Introduction to Jazz, Narrated by Cannonball Adderley

A Child’s Introduction to Jazz, Narrated by Cannonball Adderley

Music, Sunday Jazz
School is almost out for the summer for a lot of kids in the U.S., but they can still learn! And what better topic to learn about than jazz? That's what Julian "Cannonball" Adderley must've thought, as he narrated a 1961 album called A Child's Introduction to Jazz. It was released on Riverside Records (RLP 1435) as part of their "Wonderland" series, designed to teach kids about a variety of topics in an entertaining way. Throughout, Adderley narrates the history of jazz and talks about the genre's roots in work songs, blues, and ragtime, and brings the listener through Dixieland, Swing, and Bebop. He also explains the instrumental makeup and musical structure of jazz. Numerous songs and clips back up his lessons, which makes the whole experience rather rich and informative. Some of t
Sunday Jazz: Duke Ellington at the Newport Jazz Festival, 1956

Sunday Jazz: Duke Ellington at the Newport Jazz Festival, 1956

Music, Sunday Jazz
This weekend sees the continuation of one of the greatest musical celebrations around -- the Newport Jazz Festival. It was founded by George Wein in 1954 and in its half-century-plus history has showcased some of the greatest talent in jazz, as well as other genres. But in just its third year, 1956, the Newport Jazz Festival was the setting for a truly legendary performance. For it was that year that Duke Ellington and his band took the stage and delivered a show for the ages. I'll let this clip from Ken Burns' Jazz documentary miniseries tell the story... The band's performance of "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" -- punctuated by tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves' famous solo -- became the defining moment of Ellington's late career, and led to a creative and commercial resu...
Sunday Jazz: Star-Spangled Jazz

Sunday Jazz: Star-Spangled Jazz

Music, Sunday Jazz
Tomorrow is of course July 4th, Independence Day here in these United States of America. So I'd be remiss if I didn't dedicate this week's Sunday Jazz to the birth of my country. She turns 235 years old this year, but if you ask me she doesn't look a day over 178. So here's a handful of jazz songs (if not necessarily jazz compositions) to get your flags waving and your fireworks exploding (legally, of course). "America the Beautiful," Ray Charles (live performance on The Dick Cavett Show, 1972) "The Star-Spangled Banner," Duke Ellington (from Ellington at Newport) "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," Red Nichols and His Five Pennies "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," Jimmy Smith (from Crazy! Baby)
So fresh — 10 Steely Dan songs that will never get old

So fresh — 10 Steely Dan songs that will never get old

Music
Steely Dan is one of those bands that evokes an instant response from people -- usually a big, goofy grin or wretching noises of some sort. There really seems to be no middle ground for people once they've been exposed to the unique and acerbic brand of jazz-rock practiced by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. Like a lot of others, I figured that the Dan was all about "Reelin' in the Years" and "Black Cow," and not much else. Boy how wrong was I! Here's ten shining examples of what this great band has to offer beyond the classic rock radio staples, if only you'll come along for the ride. 1 -- "Fire in the Hole" (from Can't Buy a Thrill, 1972) No need to go any further than the band's debut LP to find evidence of their greatness. And if you're ever going to appreciate Fagen's earnes...