Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman continues to enjoy many honors. It's all well deserved and overdue, especially considering all the scorn he suffered during the early years of his career. Who would have thought the he would have recieved a lifetime achievement award from the Grammys?
A friend of ours, Leroy Downs (aka The Jazz Cat), was able to hang out with Ornette at his New York loft and conduct an interview. When he told me about his afternoon with Ornette Coleman, I became extremely envious....

March 9th is Ornette's 77th birthday. WGBH 89.7 FM's Jazz from Studio Four host Steve Schwartz will pay tribute to jazz visionary Ornette Coleman. Ornette-ology, a career retrospective of the legendary alto-saxophonist, will air Friday, March 9th at 8pm in New England on WGBH 89.7 and will stream worldwide at Listen!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Soundies, a new PBS special

I didn't get a chance to post a notice about the Billy Strayhorn special before it aired, so I hope all those interested in Ellingtonia got a chance to see it. It was nice to see anything about jazz on television. My complaint, (and it's one I always seem to have to state ) is that Strayhorn is always built up at the expense of Ellington. Somehow, it doesn't matter that Ellington was able to build and lead a group into international prominence and that this organization existed a dozen years before Strayhorn joined.

But here's an advance notice of another PBS special that will be of interest to us: a fun documentary called Soundies: A Musical History. Before MTV and YouTube, there were Soundies. They were short (3-5 minute) music videos that were viewed on video-jukeboxes called "Panoram" (see picture of Nat "King" Cole).

It's airing here in Los Angeles in the evening on Saturday, March 3rd. As they say, check your local listings or go to

And, just like today, they featured dancers to add to the experience.