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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   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 […]

“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 […]

By Doug Hall, WICN Contributing Writer     Julian Lage – Love Hurts (Official Video) – YouTube     When a younger, established guitar phenomenon has a wide band of inclusion with other varied guitarists, including Jim Hall, Nels Cline, and Leo Kottke, it is a recognition that their ear has an expansive and deep […]

There are many Black female jazz vocalists held in special regard for their commitment to civil rights and activism, including the support expressed through their songs and lyrics that directly address racism. Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit, Lena Horne’s Stormy Weather, and numerous songs by Nina Simone, most notably Mississippi Goddam, Backlash Blues, Four Women and […]

In the 1960s, the word “songsmith” was a definition often given to folk music artists such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, or Neil Young, tied with their overt political and social critiques. Burt Bacharach would easily capture that title in the era of pop songs made famous for their beautiful melodies and romantic lyrics; songs […]

The limelight for the Big Band Era of Swing is often dominated by the familiarity of names such as Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Artie Shaw. Yet Fletcher Henderson was a pivotal bandleader, leading possibly the most dynamic early big band of the ‘20s and ‘30s and having been an enormous draw and popularity both […]

Opened in 1988, the Blue Note Tokyo nightclub has a long-established history of providing top-tier jazz performances and holds a special place in the veins of many renowned jazz artists. Over several decades, A-list performers including Sarah Vaughan, Oscar Peterson, Tony Bennett, Chick Corea, Stan Getz, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Pass, The Milt Jackson […]

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