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Branford Marsalis – Bloomington (1992)

The jazz ideal is this: a hard-blowing, maybe bluesy horn player, sweat drops dripping down his nose, fronting a filterless rhythm section. And the scene, no doubt, is this: Dim and sticky room in the middle a bustling mileau, with taxis and tourists groaning outside, businessmen passing vagrants near the front door, steam rising from the sewer grates. Well, onRead More

Half Notes: The Beatles, "Why Don't We Do It In the Road?" (1968)

by Nick DeRiso Almost certainly written by Paul McCartney in an attempt to mirror some of the heavier, more intellectually raw pieces that John Lennon had begun to craft. Lennon was not outwardly impressed — famously sniffing that it was “the best song Paul ever wrote” — but there are some who think “Why Don’t We Do It?” actually pushedRead More

Gatemouth Brown, delightfully cantankerous bluesman: Something Else! Interview

Gatemouth Brown, delightfully cantankerous bluesman: Something Else! Interview

The late Louisiana blues legend Gatemouth Brown could be a grouchy man. How grouchy? Let’s find out.

Fleetwood Mac – Say You Will (2003)

by Nick DeRiso They were the Chanteuse, the Wild Hair (in more ways than one) and the Songstress. And now Fleetwood Mac has had a hit album in every decade since the 1970s.

The Crusaders – Rural Renewal (2003)

by S. Victor Aaron Soul-jazz was never a major genre, even in its seventies heyday, but the boys from Houston who called themselves The Crusaders were doing it better than just about anyone else then…and now.

Something Else! Featured Artist: Charlie Parker

by Nick DeRiso Spring time. That means sudden storms, stingingly bright flowers — and birds. Or, for me, Bird. Here are a few recommended Charlie Parker sides to while away the sunshine and showers … “The Legendary Dial Masters, Vols. 1 & 2,” from 1996 on Jazz Classics For beginning listeners, start here instead of Rhino’s two-CD “Yardbird Suite: TheRead More

Lists: Underrated jazz pianists Michael Wolff, Hampton Hawes, Monty Alexander, Sonny Clark, Joe Sample

by S. Victor Aaron Piano records are tough to pick, because there’s always the temptation to include records by Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Bill Evans: 1) The Michael Wolff Trio; Jumpstart (1995)Before this guy was twenty, he was already good enough to be playing in Julian “Cannonball” Adderley’s band. For this session, he employs Christian McBride and Tony WilliamsRead More

Gimme Five: More overlooked Miles Davis recordings

Here’s my handful of Miles Davis recordings, following Victor’s terrific list, that you might not have already grown dead-dog sick and tired of: 1. “Amandla,” from 1989.The old man still had it. Don’t believe me? The band (as always) says it all: new altoist Kenny Garrett, pianist Marcus Miller, keyboardist Joey DeFrancesco, tenor Rick Margitza, pianist Joe Sample. “Mr. Pastorius”Read More

Sunnyland Slim, Shakey Horton, Little Brother Montgomery, Memphis Slim – Chicago Piano, 1951-58 (1993)

By Nick DeRiso It you’re interested in Delta piano stylings, as seen through the sieve of Chicago’s mean streets, here’s a great place to begin your journey. Issued by Stan Lewis’s hip-shaking local indie label, “Chicago Piano, 1951-58” features Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Memphis Slim and others.

Steely Dan – Everything Must Go (2003)

by S. Victor Aaron After pulling off what could pass as one of the most improbable comebacks in rock history, Steely Dan re-emerges a mere three years later with another serious effort, Everything Must Go. SD modified its approach to this album somewhat to set it apart from the prior, Grammy-winning Two Against Nature, by going back to analog recordingRead More