Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans...what was in the air in 1959? The story of the Year of the Masterpiece.
Bruce Lundvall, president of the Blue Note Label Group, and Michael Cuscuna, co-founder of reissue label Mosaic Records, were both on NPR’s Talk of the Nation today, discussing the history, present, and future of the iconic Blue Note Records imprint. They also took some phone calls from jazz fans who reminisced about the musical and cultural impact of their favorite “Blue Note moments.”
2008: not a good year for the economy, certain politicians, or the Detroit Lions. In the realm of reissues and historical releases, however, it was a surprisingly good year. A highly subjective and belated list follows, presented in alphabetical order:
Jazz historian Richard Sudhalter passed away last year at the age of 69, having spent the last several years of his life fighting significant health challenges. This Monday evening there will be a memorial concert in his honor at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City, with an all-star lineup of musicians and spoken tributes from jazz writers Dan Morgenstern, Terry Teachout, and others. Sudhalter left behind three important biographies and studies: Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contributions to Jazz, 1915-1945, Stardust Melody: the Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael, and Bix, Man and Legend (co-author with Phil Evans).
It marries the Who's song to a quick-moving series of 20th-century generational/liberational celebratory motifs cleverly strung together.
Saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman passed away from pancreatic cancer yesterday at the age of 75.
Concord engineer Joe Tarantino reportedly says that the label’s “Keepnews Collection” reissue series is being cancelled, due to poor sales. The series featured new editions of classic jazz albums such as Sonny Rollins’ Freedom Suite, Wes Montgomery’s Incredible Jazz Guitar, and Thelonious Monk’s Brilliant Corners, all remastered by Tarantino, with updated liner notes by longtime, legendary jazz producer Orrin Keepnews. I’ve picked up only a couple of the titles–George Russell’s Ezz-thetics (comes with extra tracks, plus it’s one of the best records from the Russell-David Baker collaborations), Bill Evans’ Portrait in Jazz (I love this one so much that I felt compelled to “upgrade” from my old OJC copy)–partly because I already have just about everything Concord has reissued in the series.