All that Jazz

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All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:29 am

Another of the key musical styles exemplified in the USA in the mid-20th century, before & after. My feeling is that an understanding is innate, but even without that, it's still great stuff at its best. Here are a few examples:

John Coltrane Quartet - My Favourite Things

Leonard Bernstein & the New York Phil - Rhapsody In Blue

Dave Brubeck - Take Five

Louis Armstrong - Mack The Knife

Billie Holiday - Fine And Mellow

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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:44 am

Louis Armstrong - 100th Anniversary 1901-2001
Although I think his DoB is almost as mysterious as Barack Obama, not that it matters. Here were some familiar songs (Hello Dolly, Mack the Knife), and less familiar performances alongside fellow greats like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. He seems well remembered in New Orleans, and deservedly for he was a fine all-rounder.

Arena: Dave Brubeck - In His Own Sweet Way
In commemoration of his life & recent death, this 2010 film Exec Produced by Clint Eastwood featured a plethora of fans and fellow musicians telling Dave's story and singing his praises. So, besides Clint, we heard from George Lucas, Jamie Cullum, Bill Cosby, Sting, Keith Emerson, as well as clips from Bill Clinton and Duke Ellington. Dave was obviously central, both in performance footage, and chitchats both for this, and from previous chats. His wife and children seem as important as any legacy of position in the history of jazz, and that's probably fair enough.

1959: The Year That Changed Jazz
In one calendar year, four albums were released in the same genre that moved things on massively. They were Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (the best-selling jazz album ever), Dave Brubeck Quartet's Time Out (containing Take Five, the best-selling jazz single ever), Charles Mingus' Mingus Ah Um, and Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come. Again, assorted names paid homage (such as Lou Reed and Herbie Hancock), whilst Brubeck again recounted what prompted an album composed of tunes with unusual time signatures. It was also interesting that Coleman was picked out as probably the most influential of the four.

Omnibus: Ronnie Scott and All That Jazz
Rounding off the repeats, a show from 1989 which celebrated the then-30th anniversary of the legendary London nightspot where Scott, together with Pete King, and others, helped turn an economic pipe dream into an epitome of cool. Here, the talking heads were a mix of jazz legends (John Dankworth, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Green, Stan Tracey) and the more mortal fans (Mel Brooks, Alan Plater, Ken Clarke & John Prescott). There was also performance footage from visiting legends such as Ella Fitzgerald (charmingly introducing one number by saying she only ever sings it in the UK because it wasn't a hit for her anywhere else). Overall, another fascinating snapshot of a time, as well as a showcase of modest greatness.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:47 am

Trad Jazz Britannia
Made in conjunction with the above R&R one, this focussed instead on the growth of the British jazz scene, a reflection of the American originals, and the split with modern jazz. Many great names had plenty to say, sadly in many cases in footage shot before their deaths. The heavy left-wing tendencies was something I took from amongst the general message.

Smokey Dives: Jazz Faces and Places
Repeated in showing with the above, this 2001 doc presented by George Melly focussed more on the social aspects of the nascent/booming jazz scene, and the Trad v Modern split once again. Certainly, it was made clear that hell-raising and bad behaviour was not the exclusive preserve of the rock n rollers.

Jazz 625
Again in connection with the above, this was a repeat from 1965, hosted by Humphrey Lyttelton, and featuring Acker Bilk's Paramount Jazz Band, the vocal stylings of Beryl Bryden, and star guest George Lewis (also on the clarinet, like Acker). Apart from just being generally an entertaining musical showcase, the programme-making was more satisfying, too, just straightforward introductions of great acts.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:52 am

Artie Shaw - Quest For Perfection
Indomitable clarinettist, composer, bandleader. From a tough start, he learned his musical craft and went on to form several line-ups of his band, some with more success than others. He broke through by popularising 'Begin the Beguine'. He had many marriages, an off-shoot of his perfectionism. He had hassles from Richard Nixon and the IRS. He spent time in Australia and Spain, before returning home. He allowed a new band to use his name, and then wrote books. My favourite moment was sparring with Benny Goodman, who he didn't like being compared with:
GOODMAN: That last record... it wasn't bad.
SHAW: It wasn't supposed to be bad!


Le Grand Jazz: Michel Legrand back in Paris
An hour & 2/3 concert with the 'London Big Bang Orchestra' (?) & Michel on piano, with some guest solo work from Sylvain Luc on guitar, and Alison Moyet on vocals. They played many tunes I didn't know but which were thankfully titled on-screen, and Alison and Michel duetted on a version of 'Windmills of Your Mind'. A good show, all the same.

Masters of American Music: Satchmo
An enthralling hour & half from 1989, recounting the story of how someone at the bottom of the heap rose to success through talent and charm. Here was a man with the depth to extend the repertoire of the trumpeter, to promote laxatives, to use pot without preaching, to bring smiles to many faces. aA true American legend, even if the "July 4, 1900" birthdate was just a myth.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:56 am

Masters of American Music: The World According to John Coltrane
From 1990, an hour on the jazz pioneer, mixing chat from those who knew and worked with him, with performance footage. Sadly, he died in his 40's, but at least made a big difference.

Masters of American Music - Thelonious Monk: American Composer
An hour from 1991 on the bebop boffin, with friends and colleagues singing his praises. He made the cover of 'Time' magazine in 1964, and was apparently a whizz at pool and Ping-Pong, too.

Jazz Icons: Sarah Vaughan - Live in '58 & '64
Footage from 3 concerts (Jul 9, 58, in Sweden; Jul 6, 58, in Holland; Jan 10, 67 (?) in Sweden again). I particularly liked the way she introduced each song in the early footage, though the closing credits listed them all anyway. She was obviously a great singer, with a wide choice of material.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:58 am

Jazz Icons: Thelonious Monk - Live in '66
From Oslo, on Apr 15, and somewhere in Denmark on Apr 17, in fact. This 2006 show did at least name the tunes in the closing credits. Pleasant sounding stuff all the same.

Jazz Icons: Chet Baker - Live in '64 & '79
A show in Belgium, and then 15 years later in Norway, put together for this show in 2006. The material was impressive, though it all merged for me without proper identification until the end.

Jazz Icons: Count Basie - Live in '62
From Sweden, Apr 24, 1962. Irene Reid contributed vocals, as the band ranged from favourites like I Got Rhythm or Alexander's Rag-Time Band, to One O'clock Jump and Corner Pocket. I've enjoyed this series so far.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:00 am

Masters of American Music: Count Basie - Swingin' The Blues
Band members and other associates sing his praises amidst some concert footage, and even some archive of Basie himself, from 1992. All were in awe of his ability, and agreed that he was one of the few bandleaders to also be a "nice guy".

Jazz Icons: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - Live in '58
A legendary, if short-lived, group recorded in Belgium, Nov 30, 1958. They ran through several numbers, charmingly introduced by drummer Blakey to an appreciative audience.

Jazz Icons: Ella Fitzgerald - Live in '57 & '63
Belgium & Sweden, in fact. She ran through many of the classics of the Great American Songbook, whether Just One of Those Things, Desfinado, Mack the Knife or Georgia On My Mind. A fine example of a truly great singer.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:01 am

Jazz Icons: Dave Brubeck Quartet - Live in '64 & '66
Belgium, Oct 10, 64, and Germany, Nov 6, 66, in fact. Two shows, so you get 'Take Five' twice. Suits me.

Jazz Icons: Dexter Gordon - Live in '63 & '64
Gordon's sax god status was well shown here, from shows in Holland, Switzerland and Belgium. There was some introductions in the first gig, but alas not thereafter. Sounded OK, though.

Jazz Icons: Quincy Jones - Live in '60
Two gigs, in fact, one from Belgium, and one from Switzerland, but only the former made any efforts to introduce its numbers, alas. Still, good to look at a time when Quincy was just a bandleader rather than his latter status as a record producer.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:02 am

Jazz Divas Gold
A happy compilation of various greats, from Ella Fitzgerald to Cleo Laine, Blossom Dearie to Diana Krall, Nina Simone to Amy Winehouse (eh?)

Jazz Horns Gold
As above, but blokes, so Acker Bilk, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Courtney Pine and Wynton Marsalis, amongst others.

Jazz Icons: Dizzy Gillespie - Live in '58 & '70
The man sure could blow. Here with a band in Belgium, 1958, for the first 1/3 of the show, then from Denmark, Nov 4, 1970 for the rest, including some amusing audience interaction, such as gently scolding a noisy young boy.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:03 am

Queens of Jazz: The Joy and Pain of the Jazz Divas
An impressive if slightly askew look at some of the usual suspects - Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Peggy Lee and Billie Holliday. There were some impressive talking heads here - Melody Gardot, Madeline Peyroux, Alvin Hall, Carleen Anderson, Gregory Porter, Annie Ross and Lisa Stansfield, amongst others. There was some sense that with a happier home life, they would have been less successful, which is a shame. I also felt Nina deserved the top nod for her civil rights efforts and her indomitable persistence.

Jazz Icons: Buddy Rich - Live in '78
From the Northsea Jazz Festival, at the Hague, Holland, no less, on July 14, 1978, for over an hour. Rich's enthusiastic drumming was the heart of a fine band performance. His crowd banter before the encore was neat, too.

Jazz Legends - In Their Own Words
Despite covering several big names (L Armstrong, D Ellington, C Basie, D Gillespie, O Peterson & E Fitzgerald), the amount of their talking wouldn't have filled an ad break. Instead, we got the usual plethora of worthy talking heads singing their praises instead. Fair enough.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:04 am

Jazz 625 at the BBC
Another compilation of great performers from the BBC archives. This included Ellington, Brubeck, Gillespie, Bilk, Peterson and many more. A pleasant hour.

Jazz Icons: Wes Montgomery - Live in '65
Three shows, the third of which included kind approval words from the great Ronnie Scott. With assorted accompaniment, the guitar whizz appeared in Holland (Apr 2), Belgium (Apr 4) and England (May 7).

Jazz Icons: Duke Ellington - Live in '58
The legendary bandleader filmed with his band at the prestigious Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Nov 2, 1958; apparently the earliest-filmed full-length concert of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and very enjoyable it was, too.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:06 am

Jazz Icons: John Coltrane - Live in '60, '61 & '65
Germany on Mar 28, 1960 and Dec 4, 1961, and then Belgium on Aug 1, 1965. The three gigs included special appearances from Stan Getz, Eric Dolphy and Oscar Peterson, and footage from 3 gigs meant 2 epic performances of 'My Favourite Things', much the best thing on show.

Masters of American Music: Celebrating Bird - The Triumph of Charlie Parker
The sax genius who helped popularise modern jazz with Dizzy Gillespie, but whose heroin use probably had a lot to do with his death at just 34. Though both his 1st & 2nd wives were interviewed, the highlight was his fellow pioneer Dizzy Gillespie (this show being made back in 1987).

Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus - Live in '64
Apr 19 in Belgium, plus Apr 12 & 13 in Norway. This gig series must have been astonishing for its breadth and variety and star power.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:10 am

Omnibus: Leonard Bernstein - The World of Jazz
Alistair Cooke again introduced this edition, as Lenny got as close as anyone ever has to explaining jazz in a way I could pick up. He analysed the form, the melody, the rhythm, the tone, he explained syncopation, improvisation and arrangements. Maybe the best way is to try playing it.

Nina Simone: Live at Montreux 1976
The infamous jazz festival was graced by the "high priestess of soul", who duly gave her best on Jul 3. She sometimes rambled to the crowd, but her voice and playing were top class as you'd expect. Not someone to underestimate.

Jazz Icons: Anita O'Day - Live in '63 and '70
Likeable singer who did Sweet Georgia Brown, Yesterday, A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square and a nifty version of Tea For Two. From Sweden, Nov 1, 1963 and Norway, Oct 21, 1970.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:11 am

Jazz Icons: Coleman Hawkins - Live in '62
Described as "the Father of Jazz Saxophone", this seemed to cut off early, which was a shame.

Jazz Icons: Jimmy Smith - Live in '69
The "King of the jazz organ", joined by Eddie McFadden on guitar and Charlie Crosby on drums, from France, on Dec 1, 1969. Amiable enough.

Jazz Icons: Sonny Rollins - Live in '65 & '68
Tenor sax superstar filmed at gigs in Denmark on Nov 1, 1965, and Sep 20, 1968. A nice show.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:20 am

Jazz Icons: Bill Evans - Live in '64-'75
The title refers to this compilation of 5 gigs in Sweden, France and Denmark, from 64, 65, 70 and 75. Pleasant enough stuff.

Jazz 625
An edition with the Dave Brubeck Quartet who ran through half a dozen numbers including, inevitably Take Five. So much material lives in archives that barely 1% ever sees the light of day, so this was a welcome change.

Wynton Marsalis Plays The Blue Note Jazz at Lincoln Carter Orchestra - Live at Harrogate International Festival
The shorter the title, the better. This was from June 2014 at the Royal Hall, where Wynton & pals ran through half a dozen numbers, which were of course fine, and he did at least introduce them, which I'm always glad of.

Blue Note: A Story of Modern Jazz
How two Germans, Alf Lion and Francis Wolff started a record label that cemented the growth in jazz and ensured some of the greatest jazz albums ever were recorded. Their artwork was impressive, too. Many, many folk stood up to be counted here in this 1997 effort.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  Adric on Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:44 am

I guess being a Top 40 geek, I'm not much for jazz. All the same, I can relay a few life experiences concerning jazz. I played pool with Lenny Kravitz at The Pub Down Under in French Quarter, New Orleans. I smoked a joint with Stevie Nicks. Though I've never met him, Rod Stewart rented a house from us for a week in Mississippi. Again, a joint was involved, yet I'm envious of not being there. Rod loves to spark as J and sit by a campfire. My sister got stoned and I still have the email lol. (I would share it now but ... spoilers). I will say Rod played harmonica for a good half hour.


This is totally irrelevant, but will share regardless. This is me and my partner in a vid I made on our trip to Mississippi last year. walkthruwoods. Rod sat by this pond.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:58 am

Yeah, now I think about it Jazz is probably on the fringes of Top 40 world. But hey, it deserves its place Cool
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  Adric on Sat Sep 05, 2015 2:37 am

A few jazzy songs that come to mind that I adored....

US3 - Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)

Jive Bunny And The MasterMixers - Swing The Mood (12" Version)

UB40 Higher Ground 1993

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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:42 am

Adric wrote:A few jazzy songs that come to mind that I adored....

US3 - Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)
Good call. So there ARE some jazz hits now and then Surprised

Story of: Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton
Billed as a narrative account, in fact it was just a collection of performances, which in itself is no bad thing. Ellington had the first half, then Hampton in the rest. Good stuff, really.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:57 am

Sarah Vaughn: The Divine One
From the "Masters of American Music" series, though oddly not pushed as such. Both her daughter and her mother were interviewed for this 1991 effort (Sarah having died in 1990, alas). She was another of the many musical giants to hail from New Jersey.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:49 am

Jazz Piano Gold
Thought I might have seen this before, but apparently not. Familiar format, though, with Brubeck, Basie, Peterson, Hancock, Ellington, Monk and, er, Krall. Well, quite.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:48 am

All-Star Swing Festival
From 1972, a tribute concert in part for Louis Armstrong, and bringing together Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, and a few others, all MC'd by someone called Doc Severenson (?). Not just as a tribute, as a testament and showcase of several of the very all-time-greats, this was a worthwhile hour show.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:51 am

All You Need Is Love: Jungle Music (Jazz)
The next episode of this series concentrated on the development of jazz. It didn't originate in New Orleans brothels. It was a Southern Outdoors Music, and not Dixieland. It developed in Chicago. Bebop was a term coined by the Media. Jazz became marred by virtuosity. The name Boogie-Woogie was copyrighted by two blokes who effectively screwed the actual originator out of his right. Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Hoagy Carmichael and Chick Corea were among the THs, impressive enough in itself.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:48 am

The South Bank Show Originals: Wynton Marsalis
Recalling a 1995 edition with the prodigious trumpeter who moved from New Orleans to New York, and who can dabble in blues and classical music as well as jazz.

The South Bank Show Originals: Herbie Hancock
This time spinning back to 2003, when Herb was already in his 60s. Another one who moved to New York, he developed well as a pianist, and had his first hit with "Watermelon Man". He was advised to keep his own publishing, which paid off well for him. Was supportive of synthesizers and had a bit hit with "Rockit". Has been a practising Buddhist for decades. Benefitted from classical piano lessons and studying music at college.
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Re: All that Jazz

Post  misery guts on Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:25 am

The South Bank Show Originals: Humphrey Lyttelton
The noted trumpeter, bandleader and comedian was profiled on the show in 2007, a year before his death. He was still as charming, avuncular, passionate and easy-going as ever. He was inspired by Nat Gonella, and then Louis Armstrong. He later received praise from Armstrong, which he was proud of. He famously got broadcast during a VE Day celebration in London, playing "Roll Out the Barrel". He started his own band in 1948, and helped big American jazz stars when they came to the UK in the 1950's.
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