February 29, 1992 |
In the early '50s, a small club on a pier in Hermosa Beach was the center of a musical scene that gave birth to the sound that came to be called West Coast Jazz. The West Coast sound, variously described as cool, sophisticated and soft but also known for its harmonic strength and often eclectic orchestration, was championed by various groups that assembled at the surf-side nightspot from which they took their name, the Lighthouse All Stars.
March 30, 1986 |
Eleanora Fagan McKay, whom the world remembers best as Billy Holiday and whom Lester Young nicknamed "Lady Day", would have been 71 April 7. There will, of course, be no national commemoration of her birthday; nothing like the big plans for April 29 when, on the 87th anniversary of his birth, Duke Ellington will be honored by the issuance of a 22-cent postage stamp with his likeness.
November 20, 1988 |
The world of jazz on land today is sadly circumscribed. There is no longer a 52nd Street where clubs were nestled so close together that the musicians could sit in with each other's bands between sets. Concerts are even more firmly structured; after two hourlong sets, it's all over at 11 p.m. For this reason, among others, the floating jazz festival has certain advantages over any other form of presentation.
August 3, 1986 |
Napoleon declared that history is a fable agreed upon. Henry Ford said history is bunk. The world of jazz, no more or less than other areas in the documentation of the arts, has been subjected to certain persistent myths, agreed upon in some instances or argued about in others. In any event, it seems appropriate to deal with several of the more widely circulated misapprehensions, some of them due to critical errors, others corrected by the critics but still misunderstood by the public.
June 12, 1988 |
We music lovers live in exciting times. The establishment of the compact disc has been more than a technological revolution. From the standpoint of many jazz students it has become an incentive to start a serious, comprehensive library. It's sad to reflect that most of today's jazz fans are too young ever to have heard in person the majority of giants created by this art form.