Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Duke Ellington among greatest composers, musicians

Edward Kennedy Ellington, Born on April 29, 1899 in Washington, D.C., by the time of his passing in 1974 he was considered amongst the world’s greatest composers and musicians.

The French government honored him with their highest award, the Legion of Honor, while the government of the United States bestowed upon him the highest civil honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He played for the royalty and for the common people and by the end of his 50-year career, he had played over 20,000 performances worldwide.

He was The Duke, Duke Ellington.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Diana Krall's Bossa 'n' Quiet Night

Bossa Nova versus jazz reaches another critical mass with Diana Krall's Quiet Nights. And what a long way Krall has come since "Peel Me a Grape." Couched in pop literary terms, there is nothing coy about Quiet Nights.

This is Krall in full maturity sending husband Elvis Costello an audio love note... and what a love note it is. If music were a season, then Bossa Nova would be late summer—warm and humid; languid and lazy.

Krall's Bossa recital contains both Bossa classics ("The Boy from Ipanema," "Este Seu Olhar" and the Bacharach/David classic "Walk on By") and jazz classics cast in Bossa bronze ("Too Marvelous For Words," "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face," "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry" and "Everytime We Say Goodbye"). All are given a breezy treatment by Krall's quintet with strings.

Krall, as a vocal performer, is placed front and center with little to draw one's attention from her. Krall's voice is breathy and spare, as is her piano playing. Sexy is not the adjective to describe this recording. A word deeper and more dense, where the physical and spiritual mingle, is necessary; a word not yet invented

Track listing: Where Or When; Too Marvelous For Words; I've Grown Accustomed To His Face; The Boy From Ipanema; Walk On By; You're My Thrill; Este Seu Olhar; So Nice; Quiet Nights; Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry; How Can You Mend A Broken Heart; Everytime We Say Goodbye.

Personnel: Diana Krall: piano, vocals; Anthony Wilson: guitar; John Clayton: bass; Jeff Hamilton: drums; Paulinho Da Costa: percussion.

Adapted from All About Jazz

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Myrna Hague's authoritative display of beat and swing

by Herbie Miller

How distinctive her voice. Reigning jazz diva, Myrna Hague, has always stayed in touch with her roots. She performed recently at the Jamaica Pegasus Jazz in the Garden series as the featured vocalist with the Jamaica All Star Big Band.

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