Doug Ramsey

Doug’s Contributions

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September 2008    Albums

The Complete Lionel Hampton Victor Sessions 1937-1941
Lionel Hampton

RCA Victor’s formula was simple: put the exciting young vibraphonist, drummer and two-finger piano player Lionel Hampton in a studio with various combinations of his peers and see what happens. With a few exceptions, these were lightly organized jam sessions...

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April 2008    Albums

Something for You: Eliane Elias Sings and Plays Bill Evans
Eliane Elias

Like so many jazz pianists of her generation, Eliane Elias formed her musical sensibility under the spell of Bill Evans. In this collection, she makes plain the extent and depth of his influence as well as her own expressive growth in the three decades since...

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02/19/08    Concerts

Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival

Celebrating the 100th birthday of Lionel Hampton (born April 20, 1908), this huge educational and artistic event hosted 10,500 student musicians and their band directors, 28,000 concertgoers and 102 professional musicians. The crowds were beyond the capacity...

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November 2007    Books

Lee Konitz: Conversations on the Improviser’s Art
Andy Hamilton

In jazz circles there is always talk about the importance of individuality, and there are always legions of musicians striving to play like someone else. A journeyman striver who patterns himself on one of the music’s geniuses may practice hard, embed in...

07/23/07    Concerts

Ingrid Jensen and Benny Green

Arriving home from this concert, I found an e-mail message from a musician friend: “Has there ever been a better concert at the Seasons than the Ingrid Jensen one this evening?” No. I have attended most of the jazz and classical events at the Seasons in...

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July/August 2007    Albums

Dear Miles
Ron Carter

The press release accompanying the advance copy of this recording contains a quote from Ron Carter: “I wasn’t ready to do an album like this before, for fear of getting swallowed up by the Miles tribute aura.” There was little chance of that. A musician...

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June 2007    Albums

How About You?
Andy Martin/Jan Lundgren Quartet

The collaboration of American trombonist Andy Martin and Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren is a triumph of musicality over virtuosic display. Each has technical ability to burn; they set a North American land speed record in “Yesterdays.” Still, throughout this...

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May 2007    Albums

Strange Feeling
John Gross/Dave Frishberg/Charlie Doggett

John Gross’ penchant for intimacy and wit by way of the trio format surfaces in a new group with pianist Dave Frishberg and drummer Charlie Doggett. The tenor saxophonist who startled people with his audacious avant-garde playing in Shelly Manne’s Outside...

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May 2007    Albums

Why Can’t You Behave
Kristin Korb

On her fourth CD, Korb dresses Cole Porter’s title tune in the blues and colors the word “baby” with insinuation worthy of Lil Green or Peggy Lee. She makes “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” a minor-key lament, “Estate” a langourous journey through summer...

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April 2007    Albums

Plays Well With Others
Wayne Bergeron

Bergeron’s high-note trumpet work is astonishing, as always, but that is only one element of this big-band CD’s appeal, and he keeps it in proportion. His exchanges with his old boss Maynard Ferguson on the F blues called “Maynard & Waynard” have the inevitable...

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02/26/07    Concerts

Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival

A few dozen professional musicians, thousands of fans and more than 10,000 students from seven states and three Canadian provinces jammed onto the University of Idaho campus for the 40th annual Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival. It was the fourth...

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March 2006    Brass Tracks

Blues & Other Happy Moments
Mike Barone and Gary Barone

"Happy" is the key word for this CD reissue of a session that appeared as an LP on the Palo Alto label 25 years ago, then sank out of sight. The playing and writing by the Barone brothers and their colleagues has the buoyancy and radiance of eight people...

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March 2006    Brass Tracks

Controlled Nonchalance, Vol. 2
Ruby Braff and His Buddies

Sixteen Ruby Braff Arbors CDs ago, we got the first volume of Controlled Nonchalance. That was in 1995. Now comes a second installment from the same gig at the Regattabar in Cambridge, Mass. It is tempting to say that this is one of Braff's best recordings...

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March 2006    Brass Tracks

Matters of Time
Clay Jenkins

Jenkins left Los Angeles five years ago to teach at the Eastman School in Rochester, N.Y., but maintains his West Coast ties. He records for Jazz Compass, the L.A. label he formed with Joe LaBarbera, Larry Koonse and Tom Warrington, but his band on Matters...

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March 2006    Brass Tracks

Just Like Me
Jeff Kaye

Kaye's trumpet and his quintet are in the spirit of the Lee Morgan, Blue Mitchell and Freddie Hubbard Blue Note sessions of the 1960s. If not innovative, the veteran of Ray Charles' big band is fleet in his uptempo soloing, capable of blistering passages...

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March 2006    Brass Tracks

This Is Ryan
Ryan Kisor Quintet

Ryan Kisor still lives in New York but has migrated from a Dutch label to a Japanese company. Since The Awakening, his last album for Criss Cross in 2003, he has made six for Videoarts. His Videoarts CDs are hard to find in the U.S., pricey at $29 and, if...

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About Doug Ramsey

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Doug began contributing to JT in 1975. He is the 2008 winner of the Jazz Journalists Association Lifetime Achievement Award. His most recent ASCAP Deems Taylor Award is for Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond. He won an earlier Deems Taylor Award for his essay accompanying the CD box Bill Evans: The Secret Sessions. Doug is the author of Jazz Matters: Reflections on the Music and Some of Its Makers (University of Arkansas Press) and the novel Poodie James. He blogs about jazz and other matters on Rifftides at www.dougramsey.com