This Week on Jazz Spectrum – October 21

By Fritz ByersEach of the first four sets of the show this week celebrates a jazz birthday. 

We begin with Dizzy Gillespie (Oct. 21, 1917 – Jan. 6, 1993), the trumpet virtuoso whose showy personality and inveterate hijinks masked, or at least diverted attention from, one of the most penetrating minds and profound imaginations in the history of the music. Read More

The Face of Bass

By Fritz ByersTwenty-five or so years ago, I spent several hours across several days talking with the bassist Clifford Murphy, a revered and much-missed Toledo treasure. At the time, I was writing a regular jazz column for The City Paper; that month I’d set out to write about another local legend, the pianist Claude Black. For characteristically odd and hilarious reasons, Claude eventually asked that I not publish my piece on him, leaving me scrambling with a deadline approaching. Read More

This Week on Jazz Spectrum - 10/14

By Fritz Byers

A couple of days ago, I posted a few thoughts about the drummer Ed Blackwell. You can find that post immediately below. This week, Jazz Spectrum begins with “Nebula,” the track that opens What It Be Like?, the posthumous release of the Ed Blackwell Project, recorded in performance in August 1992, two months before his passing. Read More

Drumming Out of Time

By Fritz ByersYesterday was the birthday of the drummer (and ceaseless innovator) Ed Blackwell (1929). Today is the birthday of both the drummer (and ceaseless incubator) Art Blakey (1919) and the drummer (and ceaseless multi-genre master) Billy Higgins (1936). What a trio!

Let me share a few things you should know about Ed. We can get to Art and Billy next week. Read More

This Week on Jazz Spectrum – October 7 Larry Young’s master work, Unity (1965)

By Fritz ByersSaturday is the birthday of the organist Larry Young (Oct. 7, 1940-March 30, 1978). He was central to two authentic masterpieces -- the latter is Emergency!, recorded in 1969 by The Tony Williams Lifetime. Read More

Coltrane on Film

By Fritz Byers

The recent release of Evenings at the Village Gate, a 1961 recording of John Coltrane in performance with Eric Dolphy, propelled both Kim Kleinman and me to share a few thoughts online about ‘Trane and his impact, on us and on the music. (They are below, mine in a Sept. 13 post and Kim’s in a Sept. Read More

This Week on Jazz Spectrum – September 30, 2023

By Fritz ByersSaturday is the birthday (September 30, 1922) of the pathbreaking bassist, Oscar Pettiford, son of a half-Cherokee-half-African-American father and a mother of Choctaw descent. Oscar was not exactly a prodigy, but by his teens he’d shown both his proclivity for music and his desire to innovate.  His timing was excellent. Read More

Discovering John Coltrane Again

By Kim Kleinman, Contributing WriterIn his Sept. 13 blog post, titled “An Apex of Innovation,” Fritz shared a few of his thoughts about the recent release of “Evenings at the Village Gate,” a live 1961 recording of John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy, along with the pianist McCoy Tyner, the bassists Reggie Workman and Art Davis, and the drummer Elvin Jones. Read More

This week’s Song of the Week: “Dedicated to You” Notes on the Eight Versions

By Kim Kleinman, Contributing WriterThat descending figure and resolution over a I-IV chord pattern is what grabbed me when pianist Randy Ingram played “Dedicated to You” on a Small’s Live Stream from Mezzrow’s recently. I played Name That Tune with my usual level of success until Ingram announced it afterwards. 

Fritz offered me the chance to pick this week’s song; the choice was easy. Read More