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Author: Doug Hall

The circle of jazz drummers that emerged in the 1950s set a new high for talent. Certain names repeat themselves as they joined seminal jazz trios, quartets, and quintets led by legendary bandleaders. Philly Joe Jones (aka Joseph Rudolph Jones) would establish his own fiery, volatile style – often referred to as “like a machine […]

In the jazz community, innumerable legendary bandleaders are familiar to jazz fans, yet often, it’s the sidemen at the core of that bandleader’s trio, quartet, or orchestra. At 83, Kenny Barron, pianist, composer, educator, and NEA jazz master, is the current statesman of piano accompaniment in jazz and a bandleader in his own right.  As […]

Miles Davis stands, to many jazz scholars, jazz historians, and critics, as arguably the most influential jazz musician and composer in the post-World War II modern period. Jazz as a genre is a mélange of subcategories developed over 100-plus years of evolution, with a variety of essential musical contributors. However, some singular artists effect cataclysmic […]

By Doug Hall, WICN Contributing Writer As with standard jazz instruments, many players are responsible for popularizing them during different genre periods. For the vibraphone, there is no greater originator and virtuoso than Lionel Hampton. Hampton would become a pioneer in the use of the vibraphone as a soloist and later enjoy international fame as a […]

by Doug Hall, Contributing Writer During the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, many Black musicians participated in the marches, demonstrations, and political activities of the times, lending their voices and stature to this seminal era in America. In particular, Black female vocalists Billie Holiday and Nina Simone were […]

By Doug Hall, WICN Contributing Writer In the music world, particularly in the R&B and Soul genres, the foundation of church gospel in the early lives of African-American vocalists is widespread. Aretha Franklin, Toni Braxton, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and Sam Cooke all had their musical beginnings in local neighborhood churches that served their communities, […]

By Doug Hall   Often in jazz, when identifying the soaring range or virtuosity or power of a vocalist, these gifts are accepted as a skill set that is necessary to impart the depth and complication of song material. Through 1930s to her death in 1959, Billie Holiday, singing within a vocal range of barely […]

Common in the jazz world–and the wider music industry, to be sure–there are personal story arcs that are dramatically tragic, until the musician manages to rebound and reestablish their career. But if any one musician could carry a legacy that contradicted his early youthful Hollywood-handsome visage that hid a host of darker emotions, Chet Baker […]

“Swing” in jazz, for the audience on a dance floor, is often described as an emotional response, with foot-tapping, dancing to a rhythm and a propulsive “feel” to the beat. There is no greater contributor or bandleader for this big-band sound than the legendary Count Basie – jazz pianist, arranger and major influencer of this […]

The evolution of spiritual jazz began with elements of free jazz, avant-garde jazz, and modal jazz, cited by jazz critics to have been heavily influenced by John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme (1965). The range of musicians reimagining their interpretations of jazz music following this seminal release stretches across generations of players. There are a number […]