Jazz Online – Listen While You Work

There are a number of excellent online, or web-radio, sources of good Jazz. What better way to work, blog, email or whatever, than to have some good jazz bangin’ in your ear? get yourself a nice set of sound isolating earplugs or, even better, headphones and let the cool notes flow over you.

I have all but quit carrying around CDs of my favorite compilations, and shoving them in-and-out of the DVD drive. Why bother, when you can find all the best waiting for you in streaming broadcasts over the web? Some broadcasts feature excellent dj input, with solid background and commentary to supplement the music. Others are solid music, one track after another. It seems that you can have your internet radio any way you want it.

Everyone who reads thejazzmonger already knows I am a big fan of Kevin Kneistedt’s Groove Notes blog. His page is always worth reading and ought to be in your bookmarks. Kevin also hosts a live streaming broadcast on Jazz24. I recommend it.

Of course, the queen of all jazz broadcasters, the incomparable Marian McPartland, has been holding forth on NPR for many years. You can find her excellent show, with a collection of podcasts at Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. This incredible talent knows everybody who has ever been in the music business, every song that has ever been recorded. Her insights, stories, and love of music make every moment a delight. Down through the years, McPartland has hosted the both famous and the obscure of jazz with equal joy. And she can hit the keys and play a duet of any song, on a moment’s notice. Startling. the show is fun, and educational and not to be missed.

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Jazz performer John Pizzarelli

I have written, in the past, about John Pizzarelli. I am a fan, particularly of his work keeping the Great American Songbook alive and active. I saw John and his wife, the talented Jessica Molaskey, perform live earlier this year (see original post) and was thoroughly entertained. John and Jessica produce Radio DeLuxe from their “deluxe living room.” They host guest and friends from the music business, chat, reminisce and play excellent music, introduced with the performer’s special insight.

Southern California‘s KTWV-FM radio aka 94.7 The Wave broadcasts Smooth Jazz over one of the cleanest, clearest signals on the web. you can crank this up to drown out a noisy Starbuck’s and get nothing but crystal clear notes.

My newest favorite is AccuJazz.com. This incredible site features 45 channels (at my last count. Forty-five! And they have them organized all kinds of great ways. You can go for genre (Cool, BeBop, Modern Mainstream, Fusion, Old School, New School, Latin, Avant-Garde, New Stream, you get the idea). They have channels that bracket eras (pre-1940, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s). You can go for featured instrument (trumpet, sax, guitar, piano, organ, bass, trombone, drum, vocal).  They even have a set of channels organized around regional specialties (Chicago, New Orleans, Europe, New York, Modern West Coast). Are you getting the idea that this site is a terrific resource? This is not juts an entertainment site, it is marvellously educational. Check it out and enjoy. Tell them thejazzmonger sent you!

This is far from a comprehensive sample of all the streaming jazz available on the net. These are just my current favorites. Check the most popular jazz links on Delicious.com and find your own.

To make it easy, here is a list of all the links buried within this post:

Jazz24 Live

Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz

John Pizzarelli’s Radio DeLuxe

94.7 The Wave FM

AccuJazz.com

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Inside a recording session

Singer Denise Brigham recently released her major album, Hotel Lafayette. A collection of standards from the Great American Songbook, the album is excellent. Brigham’s deeply smokey voice gives a new twist to classic standards like At Last, Fly Me to the Moon and In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. I particularly enjoyed the second track, The Cincinnati Kid, the title song from the Steve McQueen movie about a young, hotshot, poker player in New Orleans, out to challenge “the Man” played by Edward G. Robinson. The theme song in the movie was performed by [ta-dum] Ray Charles. Normally I am not in favor of newer singers taking on an iconic performance. But Denise does a great job of making the song her own, and it is a treat to hear this gritty tune updated.

The album is available from cdbaby.com which we always recommend as a great source of music, especially new talent.

Recorded  at Tone Zone Studio of the Chicago Recording Company, Hotel Lafayette features terrific production values, and you can get an insider’s look at how the producer, singer, musicians and sound engineers collaborated to create this very enjoyable album. Carey Deadman, a highly acclaimed record producer, arranger and musician produced all the tracks. the video of the recording session, broken into three parts, shows instrumental tracks being laid down, Deadman’s coaching of Brigham on the mood and feel of a song and other aspects of a modern, mutli-tracked recording session. There are informative text overlays to explain what is happening and how pieces are eventually integrated into the final cut. Listen for the electronic metronome.

Take a look at how recorded music really happens:

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“Soundies” – the Hollywood film shorts of Jazz & Big Band performers

I was asked recently about where someone could purchase “Soundies,” the short-subject films that Hollywood studios produced in the 1930’s, 1940’s and the early 50’s. Often, a Soundie would be produced and released as a promotional piece in advance of the release of a major film. Sometimes, a Soundie would be a stand-alone “short-subject” production. Or, it might be a musical number that was filmed to be part of a motion picture but edited out of the final print.

Short subjects, for those younger than 50, were the items like cartoons, documentaries, Movietone News, etc. that played in movie theaters before the first feature and between films at a double-feature. For you youngsters, it was common in the 1950’s to get TWO full-length movies and numerous short-subjects for your fifty-cent admission. I can’t explain it any better than you can see in this clip promoting a PBS documentary on Soundies that originally aired in February of 2007 and has re-run periodically since:

A DVD of this program is available on Amazon.com for $17.99:  Soundies: A Musical History

Big name orchestras led by the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Jack Teagarden and Tommy Dorsey appeared regularly in musical shorts like this Count Basie clip:

The first source I want to recommend is The Jazz Store. These guys put out a nice catalog and have a big, searchable website. They offer some really stunning boxed collections like the Ultimate Jazz Archive, a 168-CD compendium of more than 3,000 tracks. They have artwork, T-shirts and caps, concert posters and some really hard-to-find recordings. On the subject at hand, they have  compilation DVD’s recapping highlights from some great careers. My favorite is “The Incomparable Lena Horne.” In this career retrospective, we are treated to literally all of Lena’s movie scenes, some of which were never shown in the southern states. Regrettably, Lena’s scenes, even the musical performances, were always structured and filmed so that they could be excised from the final cut and a different version was distributed in about fifteen states. If all you have ever seen of the younger Lena is the famous clip of her singing Stormy Weather, you might want to check this out. It is also available for rent from NetFlix.

Another good source is Movies Unlimited. Scroll down and look on the left for “browse top genres” and select “Musicals.” It is worth it to get one of their giant catalogs. You will not believe all the stuff the offer, and they have some great specials and sales.

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