Tag Archives: Jazz

Jack Hues and the Muse: The First Thing You Need is Music

In the world of rock and pop music, the most successful musicians and groups tend to emerge in their early 20s with a burst of creativity that few can sustain past a handful of recordings. Unlike in classical music and jazz, where musicians and composers continually develop and evolve well into old age, rock musicians generally […]

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The Touch of Your Lips, Part III: The Essential Touch in Jazz Piano

It would be nice and tidy if the development of tone color as a primary in jazz piano matched its development in the other instruments, but that is not the case. From early on in jazz’s history, composers and bandleaders like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, and others were focused on the different tone […]

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The Touch of Your Lips, Part II: Touch and Tone Color in Jazz Piano

  As mentioned in Part I, tone color took on a prominent role in classical music in the 19C. The Romantic composers like Wagner, Strauss, Berlioz, Chopin and many others were, I think it is fair to say, somewhat obsessed with it. The composers before them were certainly aware of tone color, but it was […]

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The Touch of Your Lips: The Colors of Jazz Piano

  “Technique is a matter of training the fingertips to attack and leave the keys under the absolute discipline of the brain. Touch has a much broader and wider significance. It is touch that reveals the soul of the player.”1 [italics added]    Ossip Gabrilowitsch, concert pianist/conductor (and Mark Twain’s son-in-law) The idea that pianists are able […]

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Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn

Part I: A Brief Stylistic History The fusion of different styles of music has been an explicit goal of many musicians in the 20C. In the early part of the 20C, many classical composers like Bela Bartok, Aaron Copland, Maurice Ravel, and Claude Debussy were interested in incorporating early jazz and ethnic folk music into […]

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Ghosts in the Machine, Part IV: Jazz in the Trenches

This is the fourth in a series of articles on jazz musicians in popular music and jazz and popular music as fields of study in higher education. In my previous articles, I detailed the enormous influence that jazz musicians have had on popular music since the 1960s. This may, early on, have been a matter […]

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The Answer is Blowing in the BrassWind

The New York Times CityRoom Blog reported that New York City’s iconic percussion store Drummers World is closing as of Dec. 28, 2011. For drummers, this store was indeed a “mecca”–every visit to New York required a stop at Drummers World, if not always to purchase something, then just to commune with fellow enthusiasts and […]

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Brokeback Motown

Part I: The Music I’ve played hundreds, if not thousands, of weddings, holiday get-togethers, corporate parties and other similar events. And I’ve done these types of “gigs” all over North America–Toronto, London, Windsor, New York, Baltimore, Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Toledo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Denver, Boulder, Vail, Aspen, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Calgary, Edmonton, and probably another […]

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Metal and All That Jazz

A friend of mine sent me a New York Times article by Ben Ratliff from 2009 entitled Jazz and Metal, Riffs in Arms. I read it, and told my friend that I found it “strange” to which he responded “what’s strange about this?” Ratliff is a noted jazz writer, critic, and historian, so I was […]

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Can You Tell Me What a Wang Chung is?

Recently, I ran across a British jazz group online called The Quartet and was surprised to find that the guitar player in the ensemble was Jack Hues, lead singer/guitarist from the iconic ’80s band, Wang Chung. Their big hits, Dance Hall Days and Everybody Have Fun Tonight (Everybody Wang Chung Tonight), were great dance tunes, a bit fluffy […]

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