Trumpeter Sonny Berman died at the age of 21 in 1947, leaving behind only a few brilliant solos, most of them recorded with Woody Herman's big band.
Let us now praise famous avises: Charlie Parker, born August 29, 1920. Parker’s been in the air a lot lately, what with the death of his bebop compatriot Max Roach. Like Billie Holiday, his art is still somehow strong enough to defy all of the categorization and commodification that’s been heaped onto it. A hipster saint he may be, but burn your candles for the hard grace of his music. Suggested Night Lights listening: our August 2005 At the Birth of Bop program…
Alto saxophonist Frank Morgan, born in 1933, is one of the last great bop storytellers and living connections to that age of music. He’s also one of the last musicians left from the glory days of Los Angeles’ Central Avenue scene, a school-of-the-streets from which Dexter Gordon, Charles Mingus, Art Farmer, and many others graduated…
My jazz-DJ colleague Joe Bourne noted yesterday that it was the 65th anniversary of the American Federation of Musicians recording ban, which began on Aug. 1, 1942 and didn’t completely end until major labels Columbia and Victor came to terms with the union in late 1944. (Decca, the other of the “Big Three” during…
Compilations are usually anathema to jazz aficionados, but Allen Lowe's Devilin' Tune project offers a highly compelling tour of music history.
Jazz greats such as Dexter Gordon, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke, and Don Byas spent long periods of time on the European continent and made many recordings there.
In the 1940s and 50s the colorful, laidback radio personalities who helped introduce bebop and other new music to audiences inspired tributes from musicians.
As the swing era gave way to new and challenging sounds, a generation of bandleaders was forced to take notice.
Jam sessions, bebop, r and b, big bands, visits from Hollywood celebrities--as the center of African-American culture in L.A., Central Avenue had it all.
The best pianist you never heard: the story and posthumous musical legacy of Frank Hewitt.