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Tad Richards
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Listening to Prestige 263: John Coltrane
T his became a chop shop Prestige session, dismantled and used for parts. The five tunes recorded on this date eventually found their way onto three different albums. Both John Coltrane and Donald Byrd would go on to stratospheric careers--Coltrane as avant...

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Listening to Prestige 262: Gene Ammons
T he question of jazz's popularity, or lack of it, comes up about as often in music discussions as the "death of poetry" does in literary discussions, which is to say, you can't get away from it, and no one really has anything new to add to it. Including me...

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Wrapping up 1957, just one more once
I can’t quite seem to let 1957 go, so here, thanks to the
music division of the New York Public Library, still the researcher’s best
friend ever, is the Down Beat reader’s
poll for 1957, with some thoughts. Personalities 1 Duke Ellington 2 Modern Jazz Quart...

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Wrapping up 1957, continued
How popular was jazz in 1957? By some standards, very. Norman Granz announced that Verve had grossed $7 million in sales for the first time, and probably the compilation issues of early 78s had something to do with that. So did his more than 100 releases in...

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Wrapping up 1957
It can be said that the seed for this whole project was planted in 1957, when I heard John Coltrane with the Red Garland trio through the AM radio in my dorm room at Bard College at 2 a.m. So that's why 1957 is particularly important for me. I could finally...

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Listening to Prestige 261: Hal McKusick
H al McKusick wasn't ignored by the jazz record labels during the fifties. He recorded as a leader on Bethlehem and Jubilee, two labels on the periphery, but doing good stuff. He even led a few sessions on majors -- RCA Victor and Decca. And he played with ...

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Listening to Prestige 260: Ray Draper - John Coltrane
Bob Weinstock must have had a lot of confidence in his barely 17-year-old prodigy Ray Draper, giving him John Coltrane as a bandmate. It's tough enough playing bebop on a tuba, without being asked to play it off against one of the most advanced improvisers ...

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Listening to Prestige 259: Red Garland
Not much more to say about this amazing collection of musicians, except to wonder if this is Donald Byrd's first pairing with John Coltrane. Well, not quite. And once again the story goes back to Detroit, and Cass Technical High School. As Byrd remembered i...

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Listening to Prestige 258: Mose Allison
A ll it took was Back Country Suite to get me hooked on Mose Allison. I bought all his subsequent Prestige albums as soon as they were released, and most of his later albums, on Columbia, Atlantic and Blue Note. So many jazz greats got their first break wit...

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Listening to Prestige 257: Steve Lacy
In my last post, Paul Quinichette's Basie tribute, I talked about the 1950s in jazz as an era where the entire history of jazz coexisted, styles and eras side by side: New Orleans traditional, Kansas City blues, swing (both white and black), bebop, rhythm a...
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