As we turn to the new year, what will be different? Look to jazz for the innovation and inspiration, for discovery and improvisation. It’s the core of what jazz represents. It can also be applied to the lives that we live and the dreams that we have in order to make things matter.
Tradition compresses time and brings us into the moment of timelessness when things are safe. In jazz, the art of tradition is to recreate sounds and lives, to bring the listener back home, especially during the holidays. The tradition of jazz is the expectation of improvisation and requiring the artist to be on top of…
American jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker crafted the sound that was eventually called bebop. This deeply soulful music gave him and other musicians a way to express themselves in original ways. Parker’s addiction to heroine unfortunately cut his life short at just 34 years old. He died in the hotel room of his friend…
Drummer Chico Hamilton is considered a voice of West Coast Jazz. He found success in movie soundtracks and eventually formed his own ensemble. In the late ’50s and into the 1960s he performed with many jazz greats like Lena Horne, Nat King Cole, Charles Mingus and others.
Composer, conductor and pianist Leonard Bernstein had a lengthy storied career. His music speaks of the “can-do-ism” of Americans. It crossed through jazz, classical, musicals, television and movies. Bernstein is an iconic figure in our musical heritage.
Kathleen Annie Pannonica Rothschild, nicknamed Nica, was referred to as the jazz baroness. She was more than just a patron of jazz. She provided support and encouragement to many of the great artists during the ’40s and ’50s. In the early sixties she compiled a book called “The jazz musicians and their three wishes” which…
Recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder helped shape the sound of jazz for Blue Note Records. It became known as the Van Gelder sound, but like it or not, it left an enduring impression on jazz for years.
The collaboration of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn led to a collection of music that has spanned generations. Their music and compositions are seemingly effortlessly entwined.
Jelly Roll Morton, born Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, claimed to be a founder of what became known jazz as both a musician and composer.
Coleman Hawkins was at the head of the line in forging a path for the saxophone as an instrument and for the countless saxophonists that would follow him. Hawkins began his successful career in the early 1920s.
Who was Frank Sinatra? What can his legacy teach us? Did he get his wish?
Sinatra was responsible for the popularity of the male singer in big band movement. He was able to merge his arts of music and acting. Sinatra has one of the most enduring voices in music, jazz or otherwise.
Hard bop was popularized by Cannonball Adderely in the 1950s and 1960s. Adderely reinvigorated jazz in the 1970s after a successful career playing with many of the jazz greats.
Sonny Rollins pioneered a bass drum rhythm section with no piano so his saxophone playing would stand out as well as be a rhythm instrument itself. Rollins joined the Miles Davis Quintet in 1955.
Alto saxophone player Art Pepper redefined himself repeatedly, and each time gained greater respect and popularity.
A pioneer of the drums, Max Roach revolutionized the concept of musical time. Max’s playing and interpretation of time inspired generations of jazz musicians and drummers.
Herb Ellis gave us a different way of looking at the different ways of coping with the events of the 1950s and 1960s. He incorporated the blues and twang into a bee bop sound with his jazz guitar playing. He’s most well-known for joining the Oscar Peterson Trio in the 1950s.