Billie Holiday was born in Philadelphia in 1915, grew up in Baltimore, moved to New York, started to sing while still in her teens and soon changed music history as the inimitable Lady Day.
She knew the limitations of her voice, but made the most of her contralto range, from reedy top notes to growling vocal crashes. She told stories with her vocalese. Like Thelonious Monk, her chromatically, exploratory style, could connect everything musically.
Saxophonist Michael (not Mike) Blake is one of those artists who have a sustained appreciation of the tradition and for those who have come before him.
Perhaps the most complimentary remark to be made about Audra McDonald in Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill is that in 90 minutes and under Lonny Price's fully empathetic direction, she nails that voice and she gets that whole life.
On a Thursday night at the elegant Kitano Jazz club in Manhattan the saxophonist Michael Blake premiered his latest work Contrasts in Individualism, a series of compositions inspired by two of the twentieth century's most influential pre-bop tenor men, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young.
In Kansas City Lightning, the first volume of his biography The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker, the soul of Stanley Crouch joins the soul of the legendary jazz legend, with James Joyce giving his blessings from beyond the grave.
This week, we feature music from Elvis Costello, Ed Harcourt, Lou Reed, and Steely Dan among others.
No disrespect to Ms. Cathie Black, but just as I would not want a sociology student to examine my prostate, I feel that there is a minimal level of knowledge necessary to run the New York Public School system.
But cool as an outer pose, as an attitude you can cop, is dead. When the truly cool people show up in your life, you won't recognize them -- they'll be too cool for that.