William Ruhlmann

William’s Contributions


October 2008    Albums

Gentle Storm
Don Braden

If tenor saxophonist Don Braden can be called a neo-traditionalist, it isn’t only because he is one of the recognized team members in the retro movement led by Wynton Marsalis since the 1980s (having replaced Branford Marsalis in Wynton’s band). Braden’s...


October 2008    Albums

Love, Peace and Jazz!
Al Foster Quartet

Every veteran sideman deserves to get a turn as a leader now and then, and drummer Al Foster certainly qualifies as a veteran, with a career dating back to the ’60s and including two lengthy stints with Miles Davis (early ’70s, early ’80s). Foster began...


October 2008    Albums

Grace Kelly/Lee Konitz

In January 2008, when the alto saxophonists Grace Kelly and Lee Konitz got together to cut a couple of tracks and ended up recording this entire album together, Kelly was 15 years old and Konitz was 80. It is some measure of the effectiveness of both performers...


October 2008    Albums

Joe Lovano

Although he has peppered his lengthy catalog with the occasional tribute album (Celebrating Sinatra, Viva Caruso), prolific tenorist Joe Lovano has not taken much time to look back and reconsider his own efforts. But it is hard for any composer to resist...


October 2008    Albums

Swing Out
Bob Mintzer Big Band

The Bob Mintzer Big Band, a part-time and largely studio-based ensemble dating back more than 20 years, has made thematic albums devoted to a particular style of jazz (1998’s Latin from Manhattan) or in tribute to a particular musician (1995’s Big Band Trane...


September 2008    Albums

Blue Crescent
Dr. Michael White

New Orleans clarinetist Dr. Michael White got his Ph.D. in foreign languages, not music, but he is nevertheless a scholar, and his approach to his first album since Hurricane Katrina was carefully thought out. “Blue Crescent is not intended to be another...


June 2008    Albums

Crazy Rhythm
Mike Walbridge’s Chicago Footwarmers featuring Kim Cusack

Tuba player Mike Walbridge is the epitome of both a regional musician and a period musician. The latter is suggested by his choice of instrument; the most percussive of horns, the tuba has not been in the forefront of music since the onset of electrical...


May 2008    Albums

Can't Stop Now (European Tour 2007)
Chris Barber

Notwithstanding the parenthetical subtitle and the boldface claim in the press release that this album was “recorded live during his European Tour in 2007,” Can’t Stop Now is a grab-bag of Chris Barber recordings, the bulk of which were recorded at British...


May 2008    Albums

Bobby Gordon Plays Joe Marsala: Lower Register
Bobby Gordon

There are myriad reasons why clarinetist Joe Marsala languishes underrated: his insistence on playing small-band swing music during the 1930s and ’40s for aficionados on 52nd Street while his peers were touring in big bands or turning to bebop; his abandonment...


May 2008    Albums

Sammy Rimington Visits New Orleans
Sammy Rimington

Title aside, British clarinetist Sammy Rimington has done much more than just visit New Orleans over the years: He has based his entire career on playing traditional New Orleans jazz, both with fellow Britons like Chris Barber and Ken Colyer, and with actual...


May 2008    Albums

Simone on Simone

“I would like to introduce my daughter,” says Nina Simone on the opening cut of this album, bringing on a young woman born Lisa Celeste Stroud and then playing piano behind her on “Music for Lovers.” Stroud took the single stage name Simone in tribute to...


April 2008    Albums

Nature Boy
Brad Goode

Trumpeter Brad Goode is also a professor of jazz studies, and for his new Nature Boy album, he wrote his own liner notes to explain the methods of interpretation used to perform the pop standards covered on the disc. His preparation emphasizes an analysis...


April 2008    Albums

Thinking of You
Houston Person

With Houston Person, it’s all about tone. The tenor saxophonist, who was 72 years old when he recorded this session at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Englewood, N.J., has never been known as a flashy player or an innovator, but instead has relied on the authority...


January/February 2008    Albums

Business Man’s Bounce
Bill Easley

Bill Easley is a bunch of great reed players. Although he restricts himself to the tenor saxophone (except for a clarinet solo on “Memphis Blues”), the journeyman musician can play any reed instrument and, as he demonstrates here, he can play them in a variety...


January/February 2008    Albums

Thinking of You
Houston Person

With Houston Person, it’s all about tone. The tenor saxophonist, who was 72 years old when he recorded this session at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Englewood, N.J., has never been known as a flashy player or an innovator, but instead has relied on the authority...

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About William Ruhlmann

William Ruhlmann was the popular music critic for The New York City Tribune from 1983 to 1991 and the newspaper's theater critic from 1989 to 1991. He has been a contributor to Goldmine magazine since 1984, and his work for the magazine has been anthologized in such books as "The Frank Zappa Companion" (1997), "Classic Rock Digest" (1998), "The Joni Mitchell Companion" (2000), and "The Beatles Digest" (2000). He was the associate editor of Relix magazine from 1987 to 1991, and he has written for various other periodicals. He has contributed liner notes to numerous albums, including the multi-disc box sets "Group Portrait" (1991) by Chicago, "White Sox, Pink Lipstick … and Stupid Cupid" (1993) by Connie Francis, "The Song Is You" (1994) by Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra, and "The Complete Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong on Verve" (1997). He wrote the illustrated biographies "The History of the Grateful Dead" (1990), "The Doors" (1991), "Led Zeppelin" (1992), "John Lennon" (1993), "Pink Floyd" (1993), "The Rolling Stones" (1993), and "Barbra Streisand" (1995). He is a contributor to "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives" and "The Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound," and was the pop editor of the centennial edition of "Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians" (2001). His history of the American music business in the 20th century, "Breaking Records," was published in 2004. He has been a regular contributor to the All Music Guide since its inception in 1991. He is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

William Ruhlmann joined the JazzTimes community on Jun 13, 2008