15 August 2010

Herman Leonard

Another member of the family has left us this weekend. Photographer Herman Leonard, whose work you have seen many times possible without even knowing it, has passed away. Read the New Orleans Times-Picayune obituary here. The photo of Dizzy Gillespie on the right side of the page is hanging in my apartment, and is one of my favorite works of jazz photography. Leonard's photos had wonderful depth and texture, you can practically feel the smoke in Royal Roost while looking at the photo.

Mark Myers interviewed Leonard last year, and Leonard said of his photos, "I wanted to preserve the mood and atmosphere as much as possible. My goal was to capture these artists at the height of their finest creative moments." He did just that, and those of us too young to have seen Parker and Gillespie and Ellington and Fitzgerald at the time will be forever indebted to Herman Leonard.

Image via AllPosters.com

14 August 2010

Abbey Lincoln

Today we lost one of the true originals. Abbey Lincoln passed away today in New York. Read Nate Chinen's obituary here. I will let others eulogize her, since I am not terribly well-versed in her work. Still, her early-1960s output included some real gems, beginning with the classic Straight Ahead, but also including her contributions to (then-husband) Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite and Percussion Bitter Sweet. She sang with a fire and passion befitting her era, and was unafraid to assert herself, both as an African American in a country where she did not yet enjoy equal rights and as a woman in a male-dominated jazz world. The world is worse off without her voice, but at least she left us with some brilliant recordings.

Image via Pieter Boersma

12 August 2010

This and That

Nextbop posted this promo clip of ERIMAJ, Jamire Williams' band. It sounds great, and I for one will be anxiously awaiting the EP due out soon.

Kottke posted this Betty Boop cartoon featuring Cab Calloway singing St. James Infirmary today:

I also really dug Antoine Batiste's improptu a capella version on Treme earlier this year (sung impeccably by Wendell Pierce). Unfortunately, I couldn't find it on YouTube, so here's fellow Treme star Kermit Ruffins, in which he works in Calloway's Minnie the Moocher before the clip fades out:

08 August 2010

Programming Note and Links

Posting will be light in August. I've got a few extra things on my plate at the moment that require most of my time, but I'll pop in from time to time and get back up to speed in September. Here are a few things to check out today while you're trying to escape the heat.

Photo: JD Allen at Newport via NPR