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Chet Baker, 1945. Photo by Bobby Willoughby

Chet Baker in New York

BY ARMAND LEWIS IN THE LATE 1950S, THERE were three major jazz record labels in New York. Blue Note, Prestige and Riverside all churned out records as fast as their musicians could rehearse and record new material. With the ma...
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MilesDavis_EsmondEdwards_CTSimages

Miles Davis and the First Quintet

BY ARMAND LEWIS ON THE EVENING OF July 17th, 1955, Columbia Records producer George Avakian realized that he had a problem. He had just witnessed Miles Davis’ stellar performance at the Newport Jazz Festival and knew that if...
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Sonny Sitt

Sonny Sitt — Lone Wolf Alternate

BY ARMAND LEWIS IT’S WIDELY RECOGNIZED that in the 1940s, Charlie Parker revolutionized both jazz and popular music with his lighting fast, ultra-precise style of playing that came to be known as “Be-Bop.” Not as widely ...
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Bobby Hutcherson and Harold Land

BY ARMAND LEWIS IN 1975, DUTCH JAZZ CONCERT promoter Wim Wigt decided it was time to start his own record label. Wigt had built up a strong business as a concert promoter and artist manager for a large number of well-known ja...
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The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon

BY ARMAND LEWIS FOR A MUSICIAN WHO passed away in 1990, Dexter Gordon has been extremely busy lately. 2018 saw the release of not only a new biography, but multiple LPs and CDs of previously unreleased material – a series of...
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Wynton Kelly Lost in Boston

BY ARMAND LEWIS In the 1950s and early ‘60s, Miles Davis had the band in modern jazz. If a musician played with Miles, it was practically automatic that record contracts would follow almost immediately. John Coltrane, Bill Ev...
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John Coltrane

John Coltrane’s Pivotal Year

BY ARMAND LEWIS AT THE END OF 1957, JOHN Coltrane had gotten his act together. Having lost his position with Miles Davis’ quintet in early 1957 due to a debilitating narcotics addiction, a newly clean and sober Coltrane woul...
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Moondog — On the Sidewalks of New York

BY ARMAND LEWIS LOUIS HARDIN WORE MANY hats: composer, poet, street musician and in the words of composers Phillip Glass and Steve Reich, “the founder of minimalism.” But Hardin’s favorite hat was a leather Viking helmet...
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Stan Getz, tenor saxophonist at Kastrup Airport CPH, Copenhagen 1958-09-10. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Stan Getz at Cafe Montmartre

By Armand Lewis The 1950s and early ‘60s may have been the greatest era of jazz, but it was not that great for many of the American musicians who played it. The difficulties the working jazz musician faced included the preval...
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