February 26, 2016 |
Today, John Pizzarelli is well-known as a sophisticated singer and guitarist, able to bridge the worlds of jazz and pop in elegant and witty ways. But in 1980, he was still a relatively shallow 20-year-old struggling to connect with the richness of experience represented by many classic jazz lyrics. That made his discovery of Nat King Cole particularly momentous. "The Nat King Cole Trio's material was an introduction to everything that was great about music," Pizzarelli recalls. "They could sound like a big band or they could sound intimate, you could play jazz on it, and the songs had a sense of humor.
December 29, 2015 |
Samuel "Sam" Dockery, a pianist whose performances and recordings with prominent musicians made him an icon of Philadelphia's jazz scene, died Dec. 23 at the Burlington Woods health-care facility in Burlington, N.J., from Alzheimer's disease. He was 86. Mr. Dockery, who spent most of his life in and around Philadelphia, worked steadily from the 1950s through the 1990s, playing on dozens of albums and touring with such nationally recognized artists as Buddy Rich and Betty Carter. He played hard bop, a subgenre of jazz that incorporates influences from rhythm and blues as well as gospel music.
June 17, 2015 |
Mayor Nutter announced Monday that Wynton Marsalis, the jazz and classical musician, composer, and arts advocate, is the recipient of the 2015 Marian Anderson Award. Marsalis, winner of a Grammy Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and honored with the National Medal of Arts, joins other recipients of the medal, including Sidney Poitier, Maya Angelou, Mia Farrow, James Earl Jones, Berry Gordy Jr., and 2014 winner Jon Bon Jovi. He will accept the award at a gala concert Nov. 10 at the Kimmel Center.
November 15, 2014 |
"LOW DOWN" is one from the heart. It's a melancholy, evocative, beautifully made memory piece, unblinking and unromanticized, a lovely film that brings great emotion and a dead-on feeling for time, place and recaptured mood to a story that is as universal as it is personal. Starring the letter-perfect duo of John Hawkes and Elle Fanning, "Low Down" is based on Amy-Jo Albany's finely written memoir of growing up with her father, famed jazz pianist Joe Albany, a heroin addict living in the on-the-skids Hollywood of the 1970s.
April 16, 2014 |
Jose James mixes it up. And he's bringing that great mix to World Cafe Live Tuesday evening. His first independent release, 2008's The Dreamer , was filled with sauntering originals and Rahsaan Roland Kirk covers. James also has done collaborations with jazz pianist Junior Mance and drummer Chico Hamilton. In his work, the 33-year-old singer summons the earthiness of hip-hop, the lofty swing of jazz, and contemporary recording techniques for a bold, individual sound. And he will not be pigeonholed.
December 19, 2013 |
MANY OF the hundreds of fans who swarmed into the Art Museum on the night of Oct. 14, 2011, knew at least something of pianist Jimmy Amadie's amazing story. They knew he had fought for years to overcome debilitating and painful tendinitis in his hands to become one of the greatest jazz artists ever to caress the ivories. They knew that the crippling condition had stopped his playing altogether in the early '60s, and that he wouldn't quit. He fought hard against the paralysis and pain to produce eight albums over the years, and to give ever-rarer public performances.
July 8, 2013
Paul Smith, 91, a jazz pianist who accompanied many top singers and who provided the sensitive touch and rhythmic spark behind many of Ella Fitzgerald's most acclaimed performances, died June 29 at a hospital in Torrance, Calif., of heart ailments, said his publicist, Alan Eichler. Mr. Smith, whose career lasted more than 70 years, worked with two of the biggest musical acts of the 1940s, the Andrews Sisters and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, before settling in Hollywood, where he performed on the sound tracks of hundreds of films and television shows.
May 5, 2013 |
It is entirely possible that somewhere, somehow, there is a jazz joint Peter Nero never played, a TV show or variety hour on which he did not banter, a belter or hoofer with whom he never shared the stage, or a pops orchestra he failed to lead. Possible, but not likely. In Philadelphia, he has been known as the suave personification of the Philly Pops, and if Philadelphia is a town that likes its maestros long-lived, Nero's local popularity is easily explained. He has been artistic chief of the Philly Pops for nearly 31/2 decades - since its start.
April 16, 2013 |
As a jazz pianist influenced by Herbie Hancock's adventurous nature and enveloped by the sultriness of all that soul music holds dear, Robert Glasper has succeeded on his own terms. He's played diverse sessions for rapper Mos Def, singer-songwriter Carly Simon and jazz bassist Christian McBride, and is signed to Blue Note - not to release albums existing solely as jazz, but to blur the lines between his obsessions. The first fruit of that signing, 2012's genre-bending Black Radio , won best R&B album at the Grammys in February.
January 4, 2013 |
Dottie Smith, 87, of Strawberry Mansion, a jazz singer who recorded and toured with the bandleader Louis Jordan in the 1950s and '60s and later owned a nightclub in North Philadelphia, died Thursday, Dec. 27, of cancer at her home. Mrs. Smith grew up singing in a church choir, but began performing secular music after striking up a friendship with Beryl Booker, a jazz pianist. During a club performance in Philadelphia in the 1940s, Booker called on Mrs. Smith to sing. Her rich vocals and stunning looks wowed the audience, which included Percy Joel, bassist with the Harlemaires, a vocal and instrumental group.