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dizzy-gillespie

Jazz Ambassador

Dizzy Gillespie by Armand Lewis In the early 1950s, with the Cold War heating up to a fevered pitch, rhetoric on both the U.S. and Soviet sides ratcheted up the propaganda as well as the weaponry, with literally every aspect of...
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Kessel Jazz Mill_k

Kessel, The Original Wrecking Crew

The recent documentary film The Wrecking Crew chronicles the musicians of the 1960s and ’70s who appeared on literally thousands of pop and rock recordings, contributing not only the musical backing, but also countless mu...
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coltrane-featured

Coltrane’s Latest Offering

BEBOP AND BEYOND by Armand Lewis~ In what turned out to be the last years before John Coltrane’s untimely death in 1967, the tenor saxophonist discarded the bebop and modal styles that defined such classic albums such as Blue...
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Chet Baker, 1983. Wikimedia Commons, Michiel Hendryckx

Chet Baker in Germany, 1979

By Armand Lewis There have been few lives as tortured, yet so prolific as Chet Baker’s. The lyrical trumpeter with the choirboy voice would record literally hundreds of albums while spending much of his life dealing with the ...
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thelonius

Thelonious Monk and the Dawn of the LP

By Armand Lewis In 1948, two major forces in recorded music were unleashed on the record buying public. Columbia Records had finally perfected the Long Playing (LP) vinyl record — a technological breakthrough which would libe...
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Howard McGhee

Howard McGhee West Coast

By Armand Lewis Historians have dated the dawn of modern jazz in Los Angeles to December 10, 1945: The opening night of the Charlie Parker / Dizzy Gillespie Quintet at Billy Berg’s nightclub in Hollywood. While this date mark...
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charlie parker strings

Charlie Parker and Strings

Bebop and Beyond By Armand Lewis Several generations of musicians did not regard themselves as having “made it” until they recorded an album with a string orchestra. In the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, this symbolized not only...
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art blakey

Art Blakely in England 1961

By Armand Lewis Jazz has a rich history of mentoring — notably King Oliver’s mentoring of a young Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker’s mentoring of a teenaged Miles Davis. Davis himself subsequently mentored a number of j...
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oscar-ben

Ben Webser and Oscar Peterson

Ben Webser and Oscar Peterson — One More Time By Armand Lewis The nature of musical partnerships is not a permanent one. Musicians will work together until a better gig comes along or contractual (or geographic) differences r...
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