Tag: Dizzy Gillespie

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...
Sunday Jazz: Vintage Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie for Memorial Day

Sunday Jazz: Vintage Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie for Memorial Day

Music, Sunday Jazz
Memorial Day is upon is once again, and so for this edition of Sunday Jazz I'm offering up a pair of wartime-related jazz numbers. They're billed to Clyde Hart's All Stars and feature Hart on piano, but the true attractions were jazz immortals Charlie Parker on alto sax and Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet. Information on the recording sessions varies, but it seems that these tracks were laid down in New York City on January 4, 1945 -- just a few months before Hart's death from tuberculosis. They also feature Rubberlegs Williams on vocals. Listen carefully to his rather loopy performance, which sounds that way for a very strange reason. Seems Rubberlegs helped himself to some of Bird's coffee, which happened to be laced with Benzedrine. Yup, that explains a few things. So what's the Memori...
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 ...
Sunday Jazz: Happy birthday to Sarah Vaughan

Sunday Jazz: Happy birthday to Sarah Vaughan

Music, Sunday Jazz
Today would have been the 87th birthday of legendary jazz vocalist Sarah Vaughan, born on this day in 1924 in Newark, New Jersey. Known alternately as Sailor, Sassy, and The Divine One, Vaughan got her start in music by playing piano and singing in her church choir. She dropped out of high school in her junior year to concentrate on her musical career, and in 1942/43 she won first prize during an Amateur Night performance at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater. Sarah Vaughan's career remained active, if not always commercially successful, throughout most of her life. Even when she was not recording she was touring extensively. She won the Grammy for Best Female Jazz Vocal Performance in 1983. In 1989 she was diagnosed with lung cancer, and she died on April 3, 1990, a week after her 66th ...
The best (at least in terms of my iPod)

The best (at least in terms of my iPod)

Music
Creating and maintaining an iPod playlist with my favorite songs has been an interesting experience for me. I call the playlist "The Best" not because I really think these are the best songs ever, but because they are the ones that resonate the most with me. As the playlist has grown (it's now at 46 songs) some items of note have emerged. The first is that two of my all-time favorite bands, Kiss and Rush, are not represented once on the list. The second is that although I'm a pretty upbeat guy most of the time, I seem to respond the most to songs that are more subdued or melancholy. The third is that if a song has strong vocal harmonies it automatically wins points with me.So with that, here is the current list of The Best, with some commentary. As a side note, at least a few of these c...