Monday, May 25
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Tag: cool jazz

Album Cover of the Week: Miles Davis — Porgy and Bess

Album Cover of the Week: Miles Davis — Porgy and Bess

Album Cover of the Week, Music
I know for a fact that I'm not alone in my love of Miles Davis's seminal 1958 album, Porgy and Bess, or of its cover. In addition to being one of the landmark albums of Cool Jazz, it boasts a cover image that is every bit as alluring as the music within. It could just be my imagination, but what we have here is a rather suggestive image, but perhaps I'm reading into things. You may be wondering -- that's probably Miles on the cover, but who's the woman? And what does this have to do with Porgy and Bess? Well first, that is Miles Davis, and the lady holding his trumpet is Frances Taylor, his first wife. The cover was shot by famed photographer Roy DeCarava, who apparently had some trouble getting it taken in the first place. According to a poster on the All About Jazz message boar...
Sunday Jazz: Happy birthday Lester Young

Sunday Jazz: Happy birthday Lester Young

Music, Sunday Jazz
Yesterday was the 102nd birthday of saxophone immortal Lester "Pres/Prez" Young who was born in 1909 in Woodville, Mississippi. His contributions to jazz are immeasurable, and his story is typically tragic. Young was in the grip of alcoholism for the last years of his relatively brief life, and he died at the age of 49 on March 15, 1959. Prez's lyrical and relatively subdued sound is cited as a major influence of not only later players like Charlie Parker and Stan Getz, but of the entire Cool/West Coast Jazz sound. His pre-World War II recordings tend to have a little more fire in them, but there is plenty worth hearing from his late '40/early '50s period as well. The notion that Young's experience in the U.S. Army robbed him of his ability has by now been thoroughly debunked. The fi...