Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Relaxin' at Rifftides

Our little radio station got a nice mention in Rifftides, a blog that's primarily (though not exclusively) about jazz. Rifftides' proprietor is Doug Ramsey, a longtime Jazz Times contributor and author whose latest oeuvre, Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond, recently won the Jazz Journalists Association's Best Book About Jazz award. After soaking up Doug's writing, check out the site's "Other Places" blogroll for additional sources of terrific jazz writing on the Web.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hoppin' horns, groovin' guitars

Recent additions to the Poolside Jazz playlist include:

Bix Beiderbecke/Frankie Trumbauer
"Bix & Tram" (2002, box set)

An all-encompassing collection of their work together from 1924-1934. Wide-ranging and even occasionally off-color--but interesting, if not essential, listening nevertheless.

Grant Green
"Idle Moments" (1964)

Backed by a star-studded sextet (including Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, Joe Henderson on tenor sax, and Duke Pearson on piano), this rich, warm collection is considered one of Green's best bop sets.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Check out "Trumpet Kings"

A friend sent me this site, which features some great video clips of trumpet players in action. There's plenty of jazz in the mix, so scroll through the site to see Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and others:

Trumpet Kings

Friday, March 10, 2006

West Coast cool

New additions to the PJ library:

Hampton Hawes
"Four! Hampton Hawes!!!!" (1958)

A who's who of West Coast musicians come together for a set that encapsulates the era and scene in which they played. Barney Kessel, Red Mitchell and the great Shelly Manne back up Hawes on this formidable album, which loves.

Various Artists
"Fantasy Original Jazz Classics Sampler"

Fantasy has put out some terrific samplers over the years, many of which I've found for a few bucks apiece at the local used CD shop. Fantasy is based in Berkeley, Calif., and included plenty of local talent on this disc: Bay Area natives Vince Guaraldi, Dave Brubeck and Cal Tjader are all represented here.

Art Pepper + Eleven
"Modern Jazz Classics" (1959)

Pepper and an 11-piece band plow through Marty Paich arrangements of bop standards. Highlights include Gerry Mulligan's "Walkin' Shoes," the Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker tune "Anthropology" and the ubiquitous "'Round Midnight."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"Blue," bop, B.G., and Big Tea

Paul Desmond
"Desmond Blue" (1961)

A romance-tinged set featuring Desmond's breathy sax, the languid guitar work of Jim Hall, and a full orchestra.

Read the review here.

Herbie Hancock
"Empyrean Isles" (1964)

"Cantaloupe Island" only scratches the surface on this classic set, which boasts an all-star lineup of Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Ron Carter on bass, and Anthony Williams on drums.

Read the review here.

Benny Goodman with Jack Teagarden
"B.G. & Big Tea In NYC" (1992)

Jumpin' tunes from the early to mid-'30s, featuring Goodman and Teagarden taking turns in the spotlight as soloists.

Read the review here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Coalition of the Swinging

Every now and then I'll use this site to get a sense of where Poolside Jazz's listeners are geographically, based on their IP address. It warms my heart to know that listeners in these disparate locales have tuned in:

United Kingdom
United States

If your country isn't on the list, or if you feel like introducing yourself, drop me a line and I'll make note of it here. And thanks again for listening.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A bit of jazz history in Amsterdam

During my recent visit to the beautiful city of Amsterdam, I made a special trip to the Prins Hendrik Hotel, where in 1988 Chet Baker fell out of a window (or was he pushed?) and died. Grim, yes, but they have a nice memorial to him on the hotel's facade.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Additions to the PJ playlist

Newly featured in the Poolside Jazz radio playlist:

Art Blakey / "A Night At Birdland, Vol. 1" (1954)

Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, Lou Donaldson and Curly Russell join Blakey in a classic pre-Jazz Messengers set. Highlights include "A Night In Tunisia" and the Silver-penned "Quicksilver."

Clifford Brown / "Clifford Brown Memorial Album" (1953)

A combination of two different sets from a rising star, recorded just a few years before Brown's death in 1956 at age 25. Sidemen include Gigi Gryce, John Lewis, Percy Heath, Art Blakey, and Lou Donaldson.

Dinah Washington / "Unforgettable" (1991)

Another compilation from an artist who died too soon, this 18-song set includes "This Bitter Earth," "The Song Is Ended" and "A Bad Case of the Blues," among others.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Save New Orleans and the Gulf Coast

New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, has given us so much. Now it's time to give something back.

Visit this page for a list of organizations accepting donations for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Please give whatever you can, and help the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast get back on their feet.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Off on vacation

On vacation until August 27. Back soon!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Samba, soul and swing

New additions to the PJ library; we're all over the map this week:

Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd
"Jazz Samba" (1962)

Why it took me so long to track down this landmark collection is anybody's guess, though I did have "Desafinado" on a compilation CD. Stan Getz really hit the ball out of the park when he ventured into bossa nova territory. And note to self: Find more Charlie Byrd albums.

Nina Simone
"The Colpix Years" (1959)

I'd been circling around Nina Simone for a while, and then I found this compilation. Is it jazz? R&B? Pop? I vote for all of the above. "Children Go Where I Send You" and "Willow Weep For Me" are personal favorites. Hmm, I wonder if she ever recorded with the similarly deep-voiced Johnny Hartman?

Artie Shaw
"The Great Artie Shaw" (1987) writes: "Tremendous cuts, though issued in this label's typically feeble sound quality." Maybe so, but the guitar/clarinet doubled melody line on "Scuttlebutt" sounds anything but feeble to me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blue Note specials

New additions to the PJ library; Blue Note issued all three of these albums in 1958:

Jimmy Smith
"The Sermon!" (1958)

The 20-minute title track is a tribute to the great Horace Silver, and the two other tracks groove along in classic Smith style. The Hammond B3 never sounded so good.

Sonny Clark
Cool Struttin' (1958)

Saxman Jackie McLean serves as a perfect foil to Clark's often understated playing style, with Art Farmer and Philly Joe Jones holding their own. Highlight: the Latin-tinged "Sippin' At Bells," a Miles Davis composition.

Lou Donaldson
Blues Walk (1958)

All Music Guide calls this Donaldson's "undisputed masterpiece," showcasing Donaldson's Bird-like ferocity while remaining accessible, in part through the subtle use of the added percussion provided by the congas of Ray Barretto.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

You're a good man, Vince Guaraldi

Vince Guaraldi
"Jazz Impressions" (1965)

A largely mellow set from the San Franciscan best known for his lively scores for the animated "Peanuts" television specials. Vince is backed here by just a piano and bass -- and I'm a sucker for the flowing, drum-less trio sound.

John Coltrane
"Blue Train" (1957)

A legendary record, mixing driving tunes with ballads. Lee Morgan offers up some nice trumpet solos to complement Coltrane's always evocative tenor sax.

Kenny Burrell
"The Best Of Kenny Burrell" (1995)

Fluid guitar lines from the man Duke Ellington called his favorite guitarist. A few tracks from Burrell's best-known album, "Midnight Blue," stand out in this collection.

Got a suggestion for the playlist? Send me an email (the address is over in the left-hand column of this page).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New to the playlist

Tony Bennett/Bill Evans
"The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album" (1975)

That voice, that piano, and nothing else. The lyricized version of Evans' "Waltz For Debby" is new to me. As the father of a little girl, I like it a lot.

Stan Getz/J.J. Johnstone
"Stan Getz and J.J. Johnson at the Opera House" (1957)

The Oscar Peterson Trio is among the backing musicians, but the Getz and Johnstone back-and-forth remains in the spotlight here. Two versions of just about every track are presented -- one from a concert in New York, the other from an L.A. show about a week later.

Miles Davis
"Nefertiti" (1968)

One of the books I read called this the last good album that Davis recorded with his second quintet. Largely mellow, but with the occasional dissonant outburst.

The Quintet
"Jazz at Massey Hall" (1953)

Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach, together for one night. Legend has it that Parker showed up for the gig without his sax and wound up playing a plastic alto horn for the show. You'd never know
it from how good he sounds.