1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (921-930)

Here is another 10 to add to the list.

Remember that there is no ranking system here, and if you don’t see your favorite jazz album yet, it doesn’t mean it won’t show up.

Hopefully these lists will inspire you to seek some of these albums out that perhaps you haven’t heard before, or revisit an old favorite. And as always, we want your thoughts on any or all of these albums. Let’s get started with this week, and in no particular order, albums 921 through 930.

921. A Tribute to Cannonball – Don Byas/Bud Powell (Sony, 1961) CLICK HERE TO BUY

922. World Statesman – Dizzy Gillespie (Verve, 1956) CLICK HERE TO BUY

923. This is Criss! – Sonny Criss (OJC, 1966) CLICK HERE TO BUY

924. Town Hall Concert Featuring Clark Terry – Charlie Barnet (Hep, 1955) CLICK HERE TO BUY

925. Carambola – Chico O’Farrill (Milestone Records, 2000) CLICK HERE TO BUY

926. 1926-1929 (compilation) – Ethel Waters (Melodie Jazz Classics, 1926-1929 recording dates, 1993 compilation date) CLICK HERE TO BUY

927. Lou Takes Off – Lou Donaldson (Blue Note, 1957) CLICK HERE TO BUY

928. I Don’t Worry About a Thing – Mose Allison (Atlantic, 1962) CLICK HERE TO BUY

929. Art Hodes All-Star Stompers – Art Hodes (Jazzology, 1965) CLICK HERE TO BUY

930. W.C. Handy’s Memphis Blues Band – W.C. Handy (Memphis Archives, 1917-1923 recording dates, 1994 compilation date) CLICK HERE TO BUY

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (911-920)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (901-910)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die – The First 750

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die – The First 500

Humor in jazz: puttin’ on the wits

Another great conversation between KPLU’s Nick Morrison and Kirsten Kendrick. Enjoy!

Humor in jazz: puttin’ on the wits

Jazz great Mose Allison, one of the artists in this survey of humorous jazz songs. AP
April is National Humor Month. So, Nick and I thought we’d explore the funny side of jazz.Here are  five jazz artists known for their wit as well as their jazz chops.

Humor is subjective, though, so to make this list as much fun as possible, be sure to go to the ‘Comments’ section below and recommend some jazz songs that make you laugh. Share a smile.

1: Your Feet’s Too Big—Fats Waller—The Very Best Of Fats Waller—RCA


Just mention Fats Waller’s name to a jazz fan and the reaction will be a smile.  At least.  Not only was Waller a hugely influential jazz pianist, he could pack more joy into a song than anyone.  In lesser hands, Your Feet’s Too Big (1936) probably would have been just another novelty song that would eventually disappear, but Fats made it a classic.

2: I’m Hip—Dave Frishberg—Classics—Concord


Dave Frishberg began his career as a pianist, working with artists including Zoot Sims, Carmen McRae and Ben Webster, but he’s become best-known for his songwriting, which is often quite humorous.  For I’m Hip, Dave collaborated with another very witty singer/pianist/songwriter, Bob Dorough.  The song is a delightful skewering of people (and you’ve met ‘em) who are trying so hard to be hip, they have to tell you how hip they are…which, as we all know, is decidedly un-hip.

3: The Shape Of Things—Blossom Dearie—Blossom Time At Ronnie Scott’s—Universal


Although Blossom Dearie was an accomplished jazz pianist, it is her voice that immortalizes her.  Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote this about Dearie’s vocal style: “Rarely raising her sly, kittenish voice, Ms. Dearie confided song lyrics in a playful style below whose surface layers of insinuation lurked. ”  Insinuation lurks like crazy in The ShapeOf Things, written by Fiddler On The Roof lyricist, Sheldon Harnick.  If you just listen to the melody, the song sounds like an old English folk song about true love; but when you listen to the words, you find that it’s something quite different.  And quite funny, in a rather bizarre sort of way.

4: Certified Senior Citizen—Mose Allison—The Earth Wants You—Blue Note


Over the past 50 years, singer/pianist, Mose Allison, has commented on the human condition in a number of great songs, many of which are also quite humorous.

In Certified Senior Citizen, released in 1993, Mose gives notice to the world that, even though he’s getting older, he’s not getting out of the way. As time goes along, this could become a ‘boomer’ anthem.

5: You’re Outta Here (Minor Drag)—Lorraine Feather—New York City Drag—Rhombus Records


Lorraine Feather was born into jazz.  Her father was a famous jazz writer (Leonard Feather), her mother was a big-band singer and her godmother was Billie Holiday. Combining those genes and influences, Lorraine has become one of today’s wittiest jazz singer/songwriters. You’re Outta Here comes from her 2001 CD, New York City Drag.

For this CD, Lorraine took instrumental songs by Fats Waller (yes, here comes Fats, again) and put lyrics to them.  You’re Outta Here is based on Waller’s composition, The Minor Drag.

A Preview of the Bellevue Jazz Festival May 22-24

bjf_logoOne of the things that you can often run into at jazz festivals is being drawn in by the one or two big name headliners that the festival boasts, only to be let down by the rest of the lineup. So much focus and money gets put towards the main stage shows, that it doesn’t leave much else to look forward to or listen to.

Fortunately, living in the Pacific Northwest allows for wonderful performances that don’t make the main stage, as we are blessed with a bounty of fantastic local musicians and groups.

The 2009 Bellevue Jazz Festival has pieced together a great three-day lineup that can and will peak the interest of a listener no matter what his or her taste.

The featured artist lineup alone suggest a program that is diverse and artistic. Dianne Reeves continues her Strings Attached tour, and will be singing Friday night at 9 PM, joined by guitar masters Russell Malone and Romero Lubambo. The festival is not limited to one first-tier vocalist. Other vocal headliners include Kurt Elling, Patricia Barber, and Mose Allison with his trio.

Fans of instrumentalists are not to be disappointed by the list of headliners. One of the biggest names in jazz piano, Panimanian born Danilo Perez brings his wonderful blend of Pan-American jazz to the Theatre at Meydenbauer Center Saturday afternoon. Two big bands are highlights as well. The high energy Mingus Big Band (featuring the likes of Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff, Ronnie Cuber, and James Carter) is a highlight on Saturday night, while the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra performs Sunday evening, boasting some of the best soloists in the region.

Looking deeper into the schedule, the festival showcases some of the best high school combos in the country. Friday combos from Sammamish, Newport, and Edmonds-Woodway high schools perform, while Saturday combos from Bellevue, Shorewood, and Ingraham high schools take the stage.

Local favorites loaded with talent are also slated for the festival, free of charge. The Trish Hatley Trio performs at El Gaucho on Friday night, while Saturday features The Greta Matassa Quartet, The Bill Anschell Trio, and The Thomas Marriott Trio. The festival closes out Sunday night at 10 PM with the Hadley Caliman at the Twisted Cork Wine Bar.

With most concerts free (and certainly worthy of a cover charge), this lineup should make for an increadibly enjoyable three days worth of jazz.

For complete details, visit www.bellevuejazz.com.