By Devon Wendell I’ve had this deep, lifelong obsession with the trumpet. I’ve written about some of the greatest musicians to ever pick up the instrument like Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Dorham, Art Farmer, Clifford Brown, and Wild Bill Davison, to name a few. I’d trade my right foot and… Read More Doc Wendell’s Prescription For Hard-Bop Trumpet: Donald Byrd’s ”Byrd In Hand” (Blue Note)
By Devon Wendell When I think of Jackie McLean; the word modern comes to mind. Jackie was always beyond hip. His slightly pitchy alto sax tone, daring compositions, and that unrelenting energy (quite often driven by the blues) made him one of the most original artists to stem from the bebop era. His earliest recordings… Read More Doc Wendell’s Prescription For Hard-Bop: Jackie McLean — “Jackie’s Bag” (Blue Note)
By Devon Wendell For many occasional jazz listeners there are only 3 great trumpeters that come across their minds and lips, and they are of course Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and occasionally Louis Armstrong. For those of us obsessed with the music’s many genres and glorious history (like myself) the list is much longer and… Read More Doc Wendell’s Prescription For Fat Girl: Fats Navarro Memorial No. 2: Nostalgia (Savoy)
By Devon Wendell By 1958, Johnny Griffin was known as the fastest tenor saxophonist to emerge from the hard-bop era. Griffin’s dexterity combined with his ability to make you feel every soulful note that he played made him one of the most spectacularly brilliant and original musicians in the world. Griffin had replaced John Coltrane… Read More Doc Wendell’s Prescription For Saxophone Bop: “The Johnny Griffin Sextet” (Riverside)
By Devon Wendell For tenor sax players, the late ‘50s and early ‘60s were a time for hard blowing, fitting in as many notes as possible within a few bars, and trying to break free from familiar patterns. Sonny Rollins was the reigning king of articulation and might on tenor sax until Coltrane’s second stay… Read More A Twist Of Doc: Hank Mobley – The Unsung Hero Of Bop.
By Tony Gieske You wouldn’t figure that an event honoring the late Billy Higgins would have drawn a full house to Catalina’s on a Sunday night. We here in musician-creamy Los Angeles understand that Higgins — always smiling! — was the go-to guy if you wanted to record with a cat who was there mainly… Read More Live Jazz: KPFK 90.7’s First Annual Hero Award Tribute to Billy Higgins at Catalina Bar & Grill