Posts Tagged: jazz

Song of the Day: “Me and My Gin”

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Though the British blues-rockers The Animals recorded a gritty version of a song called “Gin House Blues” in 1966, the tune was originally released by Bessie Smith in 1928 under the name “Me and My Gin.” Smith, the storied blues singer of the Prohibition and Great Depression, did record another song a few years earlier that may have confused other artists over the years who attempted to cover Smith’s version.

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Visible: Women Writers of Color #5: Tara Betts

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Tara Betts discusses her newest collection, Break the Habit, the burden placed on black women artists to be both artist and activist, and why writing is rooted in identity. ...more

The Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat with Chris Santiago

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Chris Santigo on his new collection Tula, writing a multilingual text, and the connections between music and writing poetry. ...more

Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas | Rumpus Music

Sound Takes: A Charlie Brown Christmas

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But what distinguishes Guaraldi from his superiors is his respect for the tried and true. If “O Tannenbaum” has worked for a few hundred years, maybe it’s worth kicking around the block a time or two. ...more

Song of the Day: “The Frim Fram Sauce”

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One of the most entertaining things about the early days of recorded jazz music is the clever way musicians worked around the conservative mores of the time. The well-loved etymologist William Safire, in a 2002 article, diligently attempts to decode the playful gibberish sung so beautifully by Nat King Cole in his suggestive tune, “The Frim Fram Sauce,” only to shrug, in the end, and concede that it’s probably “about sex.” You can almost hear the smirk in Cole’s silky smooth voice as he sings:

I don’t want French fried potatoes, red ripe tomatoes
I’m never satisfied.

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Album of the Week: Jay Daniel’s Broken Knowz

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broken-knowzWhen it comes to musical legacies, Detroit’s is singular: talking about “Detroit sound” can refer to a jump into Motown’s soul vibes or a dive into the roots of techno’s hammering basses, two apparently distant and antipodal hearts that have more in common than we might think.

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America Again

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I felt urgently that it was the moment to tell the story of what I’ve learned about American music—or maybe about being an American. ...more

Paris and All That Jazz

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While Fitzgerald’s haunts have certainly evolved over the years, and some have disappeared altogether, visitors to Paris can still relive the old-fashioned glamor of Fitzgerald’s Paris. It requires imagination, champagne, and a touch of despair. 

In an article for Travel + Leisure, Jess McHugh writes about the Paris of F.

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Mythic Betty Davis Sessions Released

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For years, people have been referring to lost sessions featuring Betty Davis and her former husband Miles Davis playing with bending genres, with Betty Davis introducing the jazz giant to Jimi Hendrix and the sounds of psychedelic rock. Recorded from 1968-1969 at Columbia’s 52nd Street studios, the mythic sessions laid the groundwork for the mix of jazz and psychedelia that later coalesced in Miles Davis’s radically innovative Bitches Brew.

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Discovering Septimania

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I set off for Rome with my fiddle and a backpack, planning to busk as long as the tourists could stand it. ...more

Swinging Modern Sounds #72: Urban Pastoral

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It’s like a landscape that you can’t know until you’ve seen it through four seasons, until you’ve seen it on days gray and bright. ...more

President Obama’s Favorite Musicians Play His Backyard

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The fifth International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert took place on the White House’s South Lawn on Friday, featuring performances from giants Herbie Hancock and Aretha Franklin alongside an all-star band made up of musicians from around the world.

President Obama gave a speech welcoming the UNESCO concert back to the US.

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Swinging Modern Sounds #69: Meaning Yes

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When in need of comfort, it’s always worth trying close reading. ...more

Sound & Vision #18: Tony Visconti

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Legendary producer Tony Visconti talks to Allyson McCabe about working with David Bowie, his own touring musical super-group Holy Holy, and his thoughts on the music industry today. ...more

Another Lost Work by a Dead Writer

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If it seems that “lost” books, short stories, and everything else are coming out of the woodwork, well, they are. The Strand magazine has just published Twixt Cup and Lip, an early play by William Faulkner written in the 1920s:

The Strand describes the play as “a light-hearted jazz age story.” Prohibition is under way, and the friends are enjoying an illicit drink.

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The Saturday Rumpus Essay: Bill Cosby’s Faux Legacy

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Bill Cosby was never the man, the icon, the protector and illustrator of black culture, the guide, the genius we have created in our minds. ...more

Vault Release: Davis, Montgomery, and Ellington

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Aquarium Drunkard has highlighted some incredible recent vault releases from the jazz masters, including archival footage that definitely merits a listen. From Miles Davis there’s a Bootleg Series spanning live performances from 1955–1975: four CDs of unreleased material of Davis at Newport Jazz Festivals over the years.

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Sound & Vision #16: Dana Nielsen

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GRAMMY-nominated mixer, engineer, producer, and musician Dana Nielsen talks about his career, his music, and his new collaboration with Crown and the M.O.B., All Rise, which he co-produced. ...more

Remembering Ornette Coleman

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Jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman passed away last week at age 85, and the intervening days have yielded some truly beautiful pieces on the Pulitzer Prize-winning musician. The New Yorker published a comprehensive article on Coleman’s career and revolutionary approach to improvisation, following his influence on jazz as it bled into literature, citing a reference to Coleman in Thomas Pynchon’s V; MOJO traced the artist’s innovation through some thoroughly memorable quotes given by Coleman’s peers (Thelonious Monk’s “that cat is nuts” being one); okayplayer.

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Sound & Vision #11: Nathan East

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Legendary bassist Nathan East talks about playing with the pros, from Barry White to Daft Punk, about his new solo album and documentary, and about teaching musicians to play the instrument he loves. ...more