W. Royal Stokes’ Roundup of 90 or So Jazz, Blues, Beyond, and Other Books Published in the Past Year or So (2014)

December 29th 2014



The Ivory Men: Black Bob & Blind John 1932-1942: A Discography (Chris Hillman Books), by Christopher Hillman and Daniel Gugolz with Paolo Fornara, presents pianists Black Bob and Blind John Davis in a variety of combos recorded by Vocalion, Bluebird, and other labels during the period cited. This 78-page thoroughly documented discography can — as do the earlier monographs by former publisher Cygnet — serve as a model for discographical research. Acting as musical archaeologists, the authors have unearthed all available information about the two musicians and their recordings. Highly recommended for both its text and the accompanying CD that repeated listening well rewards. (Order from gooferdust@hotmail.com) Photographs, illustrations of record labels, bibliography, index, and a CD of 26 tracks.

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W. Royal Stokes’ Roundup of 85 or So Jazz, Blues, Beyond, and Other Books Published in the Past Year or So (2013)

April 23rd 2014



I chose Terry Teachout’s Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington (Gotham Books) as 2013’s Best Jazz Book in my “BEST AND NOTABLE RELEASES OF 2013” on my blog and I stand wholeheartedly behind that judgment despite the carping here and there among the jazz punditry. Teachout delves more deeply into the life, career, and music of Ellington than previous biographers and, yes, he does find flaws of character, some deficiencies in Duke’s composing ability, and sloppy working habits that others have neglected to point out. That is what makes his book so absorbing, rewarding, and honest. Teachout’s biography of this preeminent artist and jazz icon is, in fact, an homage to Ellington. In Duke, Teachout has another winner to place alongside his 2010 Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong and 2003 The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken. All three are page-turners. Photos, an appendix of “Fifty Key Recordings by Duke Ellington,” bibliography, notes, index.’

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2013 Jazz Awards

April 2nd 2013

To: Listings/Critics/Features
From: Jazz Promo Services
Press Contact: Jim Eigo, jim@jazzpromoservices.com

The Jazz Journalists Association has announced nominees in 37 categories for
the 2013 JJA Jazz Awards, the non-profit professional organization’s 17th
annual celebration of excellence in musicianship and journalism. The nominees
and other information about the 2013 JJA Jazz Awards may be viewed at
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W. Royal Stokes’ Roundup of 135 Jazz, Blues, and Beyond Books Published in the Past Year or So (2012)

March 4th 2013

1) Locale-based histories of jazz
2) Collections of jazz, blues, and popular music photographs
3) Essay collections
4) Reference books
5) Biographies
6) Fiction
7) Social histories and interpretations
8) Coffee-table books
9) Scarecrow Press
10) Blues, Gospel, etc.
11) Folk music, etc.
12) Biographies and autobiographies of pop musicians

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Brought to You, Personally, from My Blog

May 15th 2012

Before The Storm Irene, August, 2011 copyright 2011-2 Lyn Horton

For a long time, I have, in the back of mind, been considering writing exclusively for my blog and that time has come. It behooves me to share the reasons for withdrawing from the online publications and one print publication to which I have been contributing over a span of nearly twenty years.

The first to go was Jazzreview.com. I started writing scattered articles for Morrice Blackwell in 1996 and began to turn it on approaching the year 2000. In that year, my now ex-husband decided to go in a direction other than the one I thought I was traveling. Devastated and reeling with emptiness, urged by my son and Morrice and Joe McPhee, I immersed myself in music. I listened; I wrote. Not that how I wrote then was perfect-far from it. The performance reviews were extremely lengthy, to the point of exhaustion. The record reviews were better because I did not have much visual information to absorb and translate.

The more I attended concerts of creative improvised music, the more I learned to hear. I could detect the way instruments layered their sonic planes. The lines became clearer and clearer. The intention of my writing was and still is to describe…to filter for the reader the experience of listening and in some cases observing and becoming a witness to a series of artistic conversations whose vagaries were indeterminate, whose conclusions were complete surprises. I began to correlate my own visual creative instincts with that of musicians. The further I delved into “the music,” the more of an advocate I became for this rarely instituted activity.

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One of Google’s favorite photos

October 24th 2010

For Gillespie’s birthday Thursday, October 21, Google’s main page featured a “doodle” that linked to a page of Dizzy links. High on that page were five photos, one linked from Jazzhouse.org, by JJA member Gene Martin, on display here. (Google noted something to the effect that copyrights may apply.) Sadly, we were so overwhelmed by requests for that photo that we had to shut Jazzhouse.org down for the day – the first time we’ve ever been beyond our capacity.

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JJA Jazz Awards: 2010 Winners

June 15th 2010

Lifetime Achievement in Jazz
James Moody

Musician of the Year
Vijay Iyer

Composer of the Year
Maria Schneider

Up & Coming Artist of the Year
Darcy James Argue

Events Producer of the Year
George Wein

Record of the Year
Folk Art, Joe Lovano, Blue Note Records

Historical Recording, Boxed Set, or Single CD Reissue of the Year
Twelve Nights in Hollywood, Ella Fitzgerald, Verve Music Group

DVD of the Year
Anita O’ Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer, AOD Productions/Elan Entertainment

Record Label of the Year
Pi Recordings

Female Singer of the Year
Roberta Gambarini

Male Singer of the Year
Kurt Elling

Player of Instruments Rare in Jazz
Edmar Castaneda, harp

Large Ensemble of the Year
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society

Arranger of the Year
Maria Schneider

Small Ensemble Group of the Year
Joe Lovano Us Five

Trumpeter of the Year
Terence Blanchard

Trombonist of the Year
Roswell Rudd

Tenor Saxophonist of the Year
Joe Lovano

Alto Saxophonist of the Year
Rudresh Mahanthappa

Flutist of the Year
Nicole Mitchell

Baritone Saxophonist of the Year
Gary Smulyan

Soprano Saxophonist of the Year
Evan Parker

Clarinetist of the Year
Anat Cohen

Guitarist of the Year
Jim Hall

Pianist of the Year
Kenny Barron

Organist of the Year
Dr. Lonnie Smith

Violinist of the Year
Regina Carter

Bassist of the Year
Dave Holland

Mallet Instrumentalist of the Year
Stefon Harris

Percussionist of the Year
Cyro Baptista

Drummer of the Year
Paul Motian

Periodical of the year
Jazz Times

Website of the Year

Blog of the Year
Rifftides, Doug Ramsey

Best Book about Jazz
Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, Robin D.G. Kelley, Free Press

Best Liner Notes
The Complete Louis Armstrong Decca Sessions (1935-1946), by Dan Morgenstern

The Helen Dance–Robert Palmer Award for Review and Feature Writing
Nate Chinen: The New York Times; JazzTimes

The Willis Conover–Marian McPartland Award for Broadcasting
Josh Jackson, Host of “The Checkout,” “Live at the Village Vanguard,” WBGO.org, Newark

The Lona Foote–Bob Parent Award for Photography
Mitchell Seidel

Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism
Don Heckman

Photograph of the Year
Tom Harrell at Moscow Performance Arts Center by Lena Adasheva

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Lloyd Peterson: Perspectives on Music and Race

May 29th 2010

Amiri Baraka is the author of the insightful and comprehensive book, Blue’s People. It is a book that has opened many minds and readers to the African American Diaspora along with the history and roots of African American music. Baraka has now published a new book of essays titled, Digging (The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music). He is the author of over 40 books on poems, plays, essays, drama and importantly, the founder of the Black Arts Movement of Harlem in 1960, which became the blueprint for new American Theater aesthetics. He has taught at Columbia, Yale and the State University of New York and is the State Poet Laureate of New Jersey.

Amiri Baraka has a unique and remarkable understanding of African American culture and history, but with his new book, Digging, he has written a book where his inability to overcome a racial bitterness, clouds his capacity to exercise his wisdom in support of the very culture he is trying to honor. What’s more, race is the one issue that needs to be discussed in America but clearly people are afraid of being misunderstood, afraid of being mistaken as racist, or even accused of reverse racism. But let us first identify the definition of racism, which is; “Hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.” Further more, we also need to understand that the term “reverse racism” has an inherent racist disposition. Racism has its own identity and needs no further discerning explanation.

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W. Royal Stokes Interviews Guitarist Sheryl Bailey

April 25th 2010

I first met guitarist Sheryl Bailey in 1994 at Twins, a restaurant in Washington, D.C., founded in 1986 by jazz- loving Ethiopian twin sisters Kelly and Maze Tesfaye. This was when the restaurant was still on Colorado Avenue, a block east of 16th Street. A few years later the club moved downtown to a U Street location and has for more than a decade thrived as a major venue, serving Ethiopian and Caribbean cuisine and featuring a wide spectrum of jazz styles. Continue Reading »

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Marcela Breton: Top 10 List

February 9th 2010

1. Orbert Davis: Collective Creativity (3Sixteen)
2. Buika & Chucho Valdes: El Ultimo Trago (WEA International)
3. Paquito Hechavarria: Frankly (Callé 54)
4. Hilton Ruiz: Hilton’s Last Note (Hilton Ruiz Music)
5. Lynne Arriale: Nuance (Motema)
6. Bobby Sanabria: Kenya Revisited Live!!! (Jazzheads)
7. Teddy Charles: Dances With Bulls (Smalls)
8. Sophie Milman: Take Love Easy (Koch)
9. Pedro Giraudo: El Viaje (PGM)
10. Azar Lawrence: Prayer for My Ancestors (Furthermore)


1. Tito Puente: Dance Mania (RCA/Legacy)
2. Gato Barbieri: Viva Emiliano Zapata (Verve)
3. John Coltrane: Side Steps (Prestige)

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