Tag: bop

Sunday Jazz: Jazz at the Philharmonic, July 1944

Sunday Jazz: Jazz at the Philharmonic, July 1944

Music, Sunday Jazz
The historic Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) concert series started by Verve impresario Norman Granz debuted at the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on July 2, 1944.  It was a star-studded affair, featuring legends such as Buddy Rich, Lester Young, Nat King Cole, Illinois Jacquet, Les Paul, J.J. Johnson, and others. The fascinating thing about the recordings from this show is they serve as an excellent document of the bridge period between the late Swing era and the dawn of Bebop. I've updated by Spotify Sunday Jazz playlist with some choice cuts from the excellent compilation album The Complete Jazz at the Philharmonic on Verve, 1944-1949. Additionally I'd like to share some photos of that first JATP show, taken by Life magazine photographer Gjon Mili.
Sunday Jazz: “All the Things You Are” (feat. Slam Stewart)

Sunday Jazz: “All the Things You Are” (feat. Slam Stewart)

Music, Sunday Jazz
I first encountered the unique stylings of bassist Slam Stewart on the excellent Dizzy Gillespie album Groovin' High, which captures some of the earliest recordings of bebop ever heard. Stewart's solo, which combined his arco (bow) bass playing and singing, grabbed my attention right away. He typically sung his vocals an octave above his bass part, to great effect. Stewart was born in my home state of New Jersey -- Englewood to be precise -- 97 years ago this Wednesday, and died at the age of 73 in Binghamton, New York. He was never the most celebrated of bassists, although he did enjoy commercial success as one half -- along with Slim Gaillard -- of the Slim and Slam duo. The pair notched their biggest hit in 1938 with Gaillard's humorous "Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)." Toda...
Album cover of the week: The Birth of Bebop and Blues

Album cover of the week: The Birth of Bebop and Blues

Album Cover of the Week, Music
While digging up information for yesterday's edition of Sunday Jazz, I came across this old jazz compilation from Remington Records called The Birth of Bebop and Blues (RLP 1031). This 10" LP contains seven songs, many of which feature legendary saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker playing with Clyde Hart's All Stars. They were originally recorded for the Continental Records label, and later transferred in various combinations to Remington in the early '50s. I don't have any info on the graphic design or illustration, but I can say that I've seen quite a few Continental/Remington covers and they are very cool indeed.
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 ...