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News of Note

Variety: Jazz and Blues Musician Mose Allison Dies at 89

Mose Allison

Renowned jazz blues pianist, singer and songwriter Mose Allison died Tuesday at his home in Hilton Head, S.C. He was 89.

A native of Mississippi, Allison grew up on his grandfather’s farm, where he started taking piano lessons at age 5 and shortly after began writing his own songs. His musical career took off in 1956, when he joined a quintet with the prominent saxophonist Al Cohn. By 1957, Allison produced his first album “Back Country Suite,” which combined sounds evocative of his southern background combined with a blues emphasis.

Source: Variety

Leonard Cohen, legendary singer-songwriter, dies aged 82

leonard_cohen

Leonard Cohen, the legendary singer-songwriter whose work inspired generations, has died at the age of 82.

A post to his official Facebook page on Thursday 10 November announced the musician’s passing in Los Angeles.

“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries,” the post said.

Source: The Guardian

NYT: Toots Thielemans, Harmonica, Dies at 94

Toots Thielemans
Toots Thielemans, one of the only musicians to have a successful career as a jazz harmonica player, died on Monday in Brussels. He was 94.

The death was confirmed by Mr. Thielemans’s agency, which did not specify a cause. Mr. Thielemans, who retired in 2014 for health reasons, had been hospitalized recently with a broken arm.

That Mr. Thielemans played jazz on the harmonica was unusual enough. Even more unusual was how he first gained international attention: by playing guitar and whistling in unison.

Source: New York Times

Thirty years later, Green Mill owner Dave Jemilo thrives at his jazz club

(Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
(Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)

By Howard Reich

When Dave Jemilo walked into the Green Mill in the 1980s, he was struck by what he saw.

“On some of the light fixtures, the plaster was falling apart,” he says of the then-battered lounge at Lawrence Avenue and Broadway in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.

“It was dirty, filthy. The bathrooms were just a mess. Everything was torn apart.

“So I come in here and I think: Holy crap, is this place beautiful!”

Source: Chicago Tribune

The Atlantic: Without Jazz and Blues, There’s No Americana

jazz_no_americana
Blues history celebrates mythical turning points. Robert Johnson going to the crossroads to sell his soul. Leadbelly being discovered in—and sprung from—prison by John and Alan Lomax. The 1913 arrest that set 12-year-old Louis Armstrong on his musical career.

J.D. Allen’s moment was less dramatic: It came in a classroom in Seattle, where he asked a student to play a blues pattern.

“He did a 12-bar form, but he did everything but the blues scale. He said, ‘That’s for kids. That’s for third graders,’” the 43-year-old tenor saxophonist recalls. “ I understood where he was coming from. When I was his age, I thought that type of music wasn’t sophisticated enough for a jazz musician. I had to do some investigation.”
Source: The Atlantic

Newport Jazz Festival gets new leader, $10M promise

mcbride-newportPROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Jazz impresario George Wein took another step to secure the future of his 62-year-old Newport Jazz Festival on Thursday, as the nonprofit foundation that runs it named Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride as artistic director.

Wein, who is 90, also told The Associated Press that he planned to donate the bulk of his estate, around $10 million, to the foundation upon his death so that the jazz festival and its sister Newport Folk Festival can continue for years to come. Wein produced this year’s festival completely, but recognizes he’s old and his hearing and health have started to diminish even as he remains mentally sharp.

“Not many people can engineer their own demise,” Wein said. “I’ve been working on this a few months with Christian. Nobody knew about it. I wanted to make sure Christian was the right person.”

Source: Bismarck Tribune

Nielsen: Brands That Engage Jazz Fans Won’t Be Left Singing The Blues

jazz_nielsenThink jazz is just a genre featured in movies from the 1960s? Think again. Take artist Kamasi Washington, for example. Last week, the Millennial jazz artist won the inaugural American Music Prize. He was also featured on Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed To Pimp A Butterfly. And then there’s the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who teamed up with Trombone Shorty to perform at the 58th GRAMMY Awards this year.

So with so much jazz in the air, we set out to learn more about jazz fans, particularly listeners aged 25-48, since they’re the ones driving the renewed interest in the genre. Our recent analysis found that while the jazz genre represents a small percentage of overall music consumption, jazz fans are digitally savvy consumers who are drawn to high-end brands and services.

Source: Nielsen.com

The Art of Cool announces its 2016 lineup, gets back to jazz

the art of coolby Eric Tullis

Tonight, before Los Angeles jazz adventurer Terrace Martin hit The Pour House stage in Raleigh for The Art of Cool Project and 9th Wonder’s monthly soul series Caramel City, Art of Cool president Cicely Mitchell announced the full lineup for next year’s third annual Art of Cool Music Festival, scheduled May 6–8, 2016, in Durham.

Source: Indy Week

Variety: Film Review: ‘Miles Ahead’

miles-ahead-nyffSource: Variety
Don Cheadle flails about trying to channel the spirit of late jazz-trumpeting legend Miles Davis in “Miles Ahead,” a biopic that rejects typical genre conventions to the point of chasing itself down lame, tangential paths. A passion project for its star, who also directed, co-wrote and co-produced the feature, this portrait aims for insight by striving to match its own form to that of its subject’s music, whose inspired improvisational tunes repeatedly defined the course of modern jazz. A wild, and wildly uneven, free-form investigation of Davis’ turbulent personal and professional life that’s bolstered by an outsized lead performance, the film — premiering as the closing-night selection of this year’s New York Film Festival — is set to open next year through Sony Classics, though its all-over-the-place style will temper mainstream theatrical interest.

Willis Conover, The Voice Of Jazz Behind The Iron Curtain

Willis Conover, an expert on jazz, broadcasts "Music USA" from his Voice of America studio in Washington in March 1959.
Willis Conover, an expert on jazz, broadcasts “Music USA” from his Voice of America studio in Washington in March 1959.

Willis Conover was known around the world, but not so much at home. He was the voice of jazz over the Voice of America for more than 40 years, most of it during the Cold War.

Imagine what it was like to sit in the dark of a hushed room in Prague, Moscow or Warsaw in the 1960s, fiddle with the dial of a shortwave radio, slide over crackles, pops, and jamming, to finally find the opening notes of “The A Train” and a rich baritone intoning slowly through the static, “Good evening. Willis Conover with Music USA … ”

He played the Count, the Duke, and Satchmo, Dizzy, Miss Sarah Vaughan and Charlie Parker.

Source: South Dakota Public Radio

Luc Burgelman: How Jazz Music Prepared Me for Life as a CEO

Luc BurgelmanLast week, I found myself in an Italian restaurant playing improvised jazz music with a few other musicians. Despite what it might sound like, I’m not a full-time musician. I’m actually CEO of a big data startup, a far cry from my musical moonlighting gig.

But as I played, I couldn’t help but connect the dots between the two roles. On paper, CEOs and jazz musicians may seem like they are on opposite ends of the spectrum and appear to have very little in common. We think of executives as rigid, driven, and all business, while musicians appear to be casual and more free spirited.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

UK Telegraph: Blue Note to open jazz club in China

Blue Note to open in China
Blue Note to 0pen in China

The great jazz trumpeter Buck Clayton would fondly recall his time in China in the 1930s, when jazz was the soundtrack to Shanghai.

Although jazz was massively popular in China during the 1920s and 1930s, it suffered greatly under Chairman Mao, who banned it out-right during the Cultural Revolution of the Sixties, decrying it as “capitalist, bourgeois decadence”.

A thaw began in the 1980s (when even George Melly played in Beijing) and has really taken hold in recent years, with a revival in many cities and the return of jazz festivals to places such as Changsha.

The groundswell is such that Blue Note, one of the world’s best-known jazz franchises, has announced an expansion to China as it banks on a growing appetite for live performances among moneyed consumers.

Source: The Telegraph