Night Lights Classic Jazz

Posts tagged jazz piano

October 6, 2007

 

Side Monk: Thelonious Monk As Sideman

Thelonious Monk must have provided easy inspiration for the title-namer of his 1956 Riverside album, The Unique Thelonious Monk.

June 9, 2007

 

Andrew!

Andrew HillAndrew Hill, who died at the age of 75 on April 20, 2007, was a highly original pianist and composer who recorded a string of stunning albums for Blue Note in the short span of eight months, constructing his own musical universe, much like Blue Note predecessors Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols. His compositions, which employed…

February 24, 2007

 

One More You Wrote Through Us: Horace Tapscott

In 1961 pianist Horace Tapscott turned his back on a high-profile jazz gig and began to help build a vibrant, multicultural underground Los Angeles jazz scene.

November 25, 2006

 

Mary Lou Williams’ Zodiac Suite

Mary LouIn 1945 pianist, composer and arranger Mary Lou Williams debuted her first extended work, The Zodiac Suite, with musical movements for each sign of the zodiac. Williams was 35 years old, already a veteran of the swing era; she was playing regularly at New York City’s Café Society, hosting a weekly radio program, and had begun…

July 29, 2006

 

Jazz Advance: Early Cecil Taylor

Cecil TaylorPianist Cecil Taylor is one of the most influential pioneers of late-20th-century improvised music; as author John Litweiler says in his book The Freedom Principle, “One of the running threads in the story of today’s jazz is that so many of the advances first appeared in Cecil Taylor’s music.” Taylor’s musical universe, often perceived…

January 28, 2006

 

Piano Noir: Ran Blake

This week on Night Lights it’s “Piano Noir: Ran Blake”. Pianist and composer Ran Blake has earned an international reputation with his recordings and with his work as a Third Stream educator at the New England Conservatory of Music. His music has been strongly influenced by the genre of film noir; in this…

December 17, 2005

 

Not Afraid to Live: Frank Hewitt

Frank HewittFrank Hewitt, a New York City underground bop-piano legend, played with Cecil Payne, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, and many other jazz greats in the 1950s and 60s and had a role in the storied play The Connection. In the 1990s he was a mainstay at Smalls, a hip Greenwich Village nightclub…

October 8, 2005

 

Duke Ellington: Money Jungle

Money JungleIn the autumn of 1962 three jazz giants–Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach–met for an album session that has become legendary. (So legendary, in fact, that it’s inspired an audio storyboard). Years later, Roach observed…

May 14, 2005

 

Fragments: The Late 1960s Blue Note Recordings of Andrew Hill

Andrew HillPianist and composer Andrew Hill burst onto the jazz scene in the early 1960s with classic albums such as Black Fire and Point of Departure on the Blue Note label. Hill continued recording for the label throughout the 1960s, but many of the sessions went unreleased. After listening to the tapes last year with Mosaic producer Michael Cuscuna, Hill…

October 9, 2004

 

Inception: McCoy Tyner On Impulse

McCoy TynerPianist McCoy Tyner joined John Coltrane’s group at the age of 22 in 1960 and signed with Impulse not long after Coltrane moved to the label in 1961. Over the next four years Tyner would record seven albums as a leader for Impulse, most often in the trio format that was seen as being both commercially favorable and a chance to showcase him in a setting different from the Coltrane quartet. Though Tyner’s playing on these records is considered…

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