“The history of jazz tells of the power of music to bring together artists from different cultures and backgrounds, as a driver of integration and mutual respect. […] Through jazz, millions of people have sung and still sing today their desire for freedom, tolerance and human dignity. ”
Irina Bokova, Director General UNESCO
Message for International Jazz Day 2014
We have put together a brand new playlist, It’s OK To Like Jazz… you bet it is…
Duke Ellington was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. He wrote wonderful, popular, music and songs, extended jazz works, suites as well as sacred music. Versatility was what the Duke was all about – he was the Renaissance man of jazz. Acknowledged as one of the greatest composers in jazz his innovative arrangements featured his piano playing against a rich, deep sound played by the brilliant musicians of his orchestra. Over five hundred of the best jazz players in the world passed through his ranks. We have put together a gallery of photos and why not check out our playlist…
Hear Duke here…
We’ve just had a very long and illuminating chat with Paul Bacon, the first designer with Blue Note Records, who subsequently worked with Riverside and did a great many album sleeve designs for Bill Grauer and Orin Keepnews. Bacon was good friends with Monk, met him the first time he visited Blue Note’s offices and when Bacon went to work for Riverside he did almost all of Monk’s album covers, including the one where he’s sitting in the little red cart. Paul told us how it happened.
“Harris Levine, my friend, who worked in Riverside’s design department, photographer Paul Weller and I were with Monk trying to get him to go along with our idea for shooting the cover for the album, ‘Monk’s Music.’ Monk was having none of it, he hated our ideas and we were going nowhere. Monk got really upset and walked over to the other part of the studio and sat in the little red delivery cart. I saw this out the corner of my eye and kept Harris talking and then quietly indicated to Paul to get a camera. Paul walked on over to Monk and Monk looked up from the score he was studying, nodded, and Paul took the shot. It worked out pretty good.”
Paul kindly shared some other stories with us and we’ll be featuring them regularly here on the Jazz Word.
Hear Monk’s Music here…
It was 30 years ago today, 26 April 1984 that Count Bill Basie passed. Here’s some great photos of one of the great band leaders.
Hear our Count Basie playlist here
After Alfred Lion quit Blue Note Records in 1967, following the purchase of the label he founded by Liberty Records, there was a period of rapid change for the company; a period that some continue to feel was not a good one for Blue Note. Yet it was the music from this era of flux that hip-hop artists would rediscover towards the end of the 20th century. Lou Donaldson’s ‘It’s Your Thing’ and Jack McDuff’s ‘Oblighetto’, (both recorded in 1969), along with Grant Green’s ‘Down Here on the Ground’ (recorded in 1970), are from albums that, as a body of work, have not held up, but which have nevertheless proved influential. The most sampled Blue Note recording is Lou Donaldson’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’, recorded in October 1967, in the month after Lion’s retirement, and released the following year on the album Mr Shing-A-Ling.
Hear Ode To Billie Joe here