As a fan of 1950s American television, I was intrigued by this record, from a show I had never heard of, M Squad (RCA LPM 2062, mono). The cover told me all I needed to know about it, however. A hard boiled Lee Marvin, with pistol in hand, blasting away at some unseen criminal. Marvin, a terrific actor, could play a role like this easily, so I bought the LP and hoped for the best. The music, like Marvin, was excellent.
It reminded me of a more famous TV show from the same time period, Peter Gunn. Dark, smoky jazz, set in a simpler time. There were criminals, sure, but most of them were small time hoods, looking for a quick buck. Continue reading
Awhile back I was at the radio station KCSM vinyl record swap and came across an oddity. A Hank Mobley LP, Thinking Of Home (Blue Note LT 1045, stereo, 1970) in a hand made cover. Well, hand made is putting it nicely. The original cover must have been lost and someone took a Milt Jackson cover, turned it inside-out and hand wrote the LP title and song list on the ‘new’ outside cover. I had not heard of this LP, but what intrigued me was a note on the cover, “Perfect Blue Note with ears.” Continue reading
You can buy records online, or at a local store, or you could try the KCSM Record Swap! KCSM is the College of San Mateo’s 24-7, commercial free jazz FM radio station (91.1) and they might be the last all jazz all the time station in the USA. Saturday they held a record swap on the campus where they broadcast from, which is about 30 minutes south of San Francisco.
This was not a gigantic flea market sized extravaganza. I estimated 19 vendors, each with a table or two, selling mostly jazz vinyl. There were a few selling CDs, another selling old posters. But the emphasis was on j-LPs. Continue reading
Charlie Parker. Dizzy Gillespie. Art Blakey. If you’re a fan of bebop jazz, you know those names. I’m way too young to have heard beboppers play live back in the late 40s and into the 50s, but several nights ago, I came awfully close at the Cafe Stritch in San Jose, California.
That’s exactly what drummer Akira Tana’s quintet did for me. Tana’s band freakin’ bbq’d the joint, practically burning it down to the ground. Reminded me of why I listen to jazz in the first place. Continue reading
Always cool to find a local venue to hear live jazz and in this case, it was the Kevan Smedt Quartet at Dio Deka restaurant in Los Gatos, California. Right off, this is a straight jazz band playing standards, led by guitarist Smedt. I love this kind of band. The weather was perfect but the band was playing in front of a loudly flowing water fountain, which is not where they are normally located (they’re inside the restaurant). Nonetheless, they were terrific.
I sat with jazz aficionado & friend Darryl Noda, who pointed out that Smedt, left handed, tends to play the top four strings of his Eastman f-hole archtop guitar. Continue reading
Ah, Japan. Being Japanese, I’m a bit prejudiced…but Japan has the best food in the world, in my opinion. What they also have are unique jazz bars. Places where you go to relax, drink and listen to jazz, often from vinyl records.
That’s what I did on a recent visit to Tokyo, specifically the Shibuya area, where I managed to find JBS (Jazz, Blues, Soul) Jazz Bar, operated by the singular Kobayashi-san (no first name will he reveal). Recently written up in Bon Appetit Magazine, JBS is dark, tiny, narrow and somewhat smoky. A freakin’ great place! Continue reading
This is the Compared! I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Dexter Gordon’s GO! (Blue Note, BST 84112, stereo, 1962) is one of the greatest jazz records ever made. Every tune is terrific. I’d take it with me if I were marooned on a desert island. We’re gonna compare five (5!) versions of GO! Four LPs and one CD. You’ll hear excerpts from two tunes, Cheese Cake and Second Balcony Jump. So just who are the combatants today?
First up to bat is a Liberty Blue Note. Not much competition here. Continue reading