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This Week on Jazz Spectrum – A Garland of Thanks

By Fritz Byers As a way of doing my share to promote the spirit of the week, I’ve organized this week’s show around the theme of thanks. You can check the titles of the tunes if you wonder what that means. Read More

This Week on Jazz Spectrum – Sonny Rollins’s “The Freedom Suite”

By Fritz ByersBy 1958, the tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins had established himself firmly at the apex of jazz, sitting alongside John Coltrane as heirs of their instrument’s tradition, founded on the triumvirate of Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and Ben Websters, and as the progenitors of the tenor’s next great era. Read More

This Week on Jazz Spectrum – Gil Evans’s “La Nevada”

By Fritz ByersThe first hour of this week’s show is given over to Kim Kleinman’s artfully designed compare-and-contrast exercise, placing the orchestras of Duke Ellington and Count Basie side-by-side. Big bands were everywhere, certainly by the 1930s, and there were dozens of great ones. But the common wisdom, which just this once is correct, is that Duke’s and Count’s ensembles rose above the rest. Explicating that truth would be worthwhile, and fun, but it is beyond my ambition for this post. Read More

The Duke Ellington and Count Basie Orchestras in the 1950s and 1960s

By Kim Kleinman, Jazz Spectrum Contributing Writer  Read More

This Week on Jazz Spectrum – Celebrating Carla Bley

By Fritz Byers(A few of my thoughts on Carla are in my post from two days ago.) Carla’s music, spanning more than fifty years, was vast and vibrant. From her early years with Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra; through her shifting mid-size bands (usually about octet-ish), which were always staffed by protean instrumentalists at home in the avant-garde and also lured by Carla’s sly wit; to her late sumptuous, richly colored recordings with the saxophonist Andy Sheppard and long-time bassist Steve Swallow – Carla never failed to be interesting. Read More

A Few Thoughts on Carla Bley

By Fritz ByersLast weekend I watched the noir-adjacent movie, On Dangerous Ground, directed by Nicholas Ray and released in 1951. Read More

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