Tag: Art Tatum

Sunday Jazz: Got them ol’ St. Louis Blues

Sunday Jazz: Got them ol’ St. Louis Blues

Music, Sunday Jazz
Years ago I picked up a budget jazz CD set called Jazz Master Files. I figured I'd find three of four songs I liked on it -- instead it turned out to be a treasure trove of excellent jazz covering most of the genre's golden years. One of the tracks on it is a sizzling live performance of "St. Louis Blues" by Louis Armstrong and his band. I had never heard the song before, but instantly fell in love with it thanks to this version (sadly, the CD contained no information on the performance itself so I can't place a date or venue). Published in 1914 by W.C. Handy, "St. Louis Blues" remains one of the most popular and enduring songs in jazz history for good reason. It's energetic and simple, yet has melody that just won't quit. The most famous take of the song is probably the 1925 rendition ...
Get to Know…Vince Guaraldi

Get to Know…Vince Guaraldi

Music
Had he never recorded a note for any of Charles Schulz's Peanuts specials, Vincent Anthony Guaraldi's legacy as a brilliant composer and pianist would still be secure.  His joyful and supremely melodic style is as immediately recognizable as any in music, and more than thirty years after his death his admirers encompass a wide range of musicians and music lovers; from casual jazz fans to purists, and even to outright jazz haters who proclaim, "I don't really like jazz, but I love his stuff." For this primer of Guaraldi's recorded output, I've categorized his music into three main areas rather than go with a strictly chronological approach.  These categories are not meant to be rigidly applied, but for the novice I think it makes more sense this way.  There's great music to be found
Thank you Hank

Thank you Hank

Music, People
Although I knew this day would come, it doesn't make it any easier to handle.  Hank Jones, the man most responsible for sparking my love of jazz, has died at age 91.  Jones' always tasteful and elegant brand of swing may not have blazed any musical trails, but it always made for good listening. The music was a reflection of the man - gentle, thoughtful with a touch of humor, and never self-important. Jones was the last surviving member of an immensely gifted trio of brothers - Thad (1923-1986) made a name for himself as much for his trumpeting acumen as for his compositional skills, and Elvin (1927-2004) was one of the most respected drummers in the genre.  Hank's understated style made him the least flashy or famous of his brothers, but he was always my favorite. You can find an