By Devon “Doc” Wendell On March 6, 1960, Art Blakey and his most recent incarnation of his ever- changing Jazz Messengers were on fire. The Messengers consisted of the young trumpet wizard Lee Morgan, who emerged from Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band in 1957 and had made two previous recordings with Blakey & The Messengers: The… Read More Doc’s Prescription For Hard-Bop: Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers-The Big Beat (Blue Note)
By Devon Wendell It’s no news that Hank Mobley was one of the most under appreciated tenor saxophonists and composers to emerge from the post bop revolution in terms of press coverage. But Mobley didn’t need the assistance of the often obtuse jazz journalism world to be heralded as one of the prime innovators of… Read More Doc Wendell’s Prescription for Hard-Bop: Hank Mobley’s “No Room For Squares” (Blue Note)
By Devon Wendell When it comes to purchasing an essential jazz recording, one often only has to look at the group of musicians listed on that specific record sleeve to know that the music is going to be incredible. That’s one of the great joys of being obsessed with this music; looking for that perfect… Read More Doc Wendell’s Prescription For Bop Bone: The Curtis Fuller Sextette’s “Imagination” (Savoy)
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 It’s still hard to believe that Kenny Dorham is not mentioned alongside such fellow trumpet masters as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, and Freddie Hubbard. Dorham was one of the most extraordinarily unique musical thinkers to pick up the trumpet in the entire history of jazz. He… Read More Doc Wendell’s Prescription For Trumpet Bop: Kenny Dorham’s “Whistle Stop” (Blue Note)
By Norton Wright Santa Monica, CA. One of the unique experiences on today’s jazz scene is “Big Band Night” at Typhoon Restaurant at Santa Monica Airport in Los Angeles. On Memorial Day evening listeners are ready to experience a veritable bacchanal as the band on stage is Paul McDonald’s big, powerhouse, 17-piece orchestra. The band… Read More Live Music: The Best Memorial Day Party Ever! Paul McDonald’s Big band at the Typhoon Jazz Restaurant.
By Don Heckman Los Angeles – Feb. 20 (Wed.) The Ron Kobayashi Trio. Versatile pianist Kobayashi’s resume reaches from Mel Torme and Margaret Whiting to Teddy Edwards and Kenny Burrell. Here he’s on his own and in the spotlight. Steamers. – Feb. 20. (Wed.) Monk’estra. A Big Modern Jazz Band. John Beasley. Pianist/composer/arranger Beasley displays… Read More Picks of the Week: Feb. 19 – 24.
By Don Heckman I pushed aside one of my rules Saturday night – the rule that says once a year is enough to review most artists. When I saw that Jane Monheit and John Pizzarelli were performing together at the shiny new Valley Performing Arts Center, I decided to make an exception to the fact… Read More Live Jazz: Jane Monheit and John Pizzarelli at the Valley Performing Arts Center
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
By Don Heckman Fine art painter and television producer aren’t exactly career terms that are often heard in the same sentence. Not even in the wildly multi-hyphenate world of Los Angeles. Add to that the description “life long jazz fan” and the combination becomes even more unlikely. But not completely. Because all those labels –… Read More Q & A: Norton Wright, Fine Art Painter, Television Producer and Lover of Jazz