Ira Gitler

Ira’s Contributions


December 2004    News

Burt Bacharach: Blue Bacharach

I knew I would be hearing Burt Bacharach at the Pescara Jazz Festival in Italy, but a CD arrived before I could scratch my head for too long about such a booking: Blue Note Plays Burt Bacharach is part of a series that includes jazz interpretations of the...


11/06/04    Concerts

Paula West Swings the Algonquin

In an overcrowded, overrecorded field of jazz singer wannabes Paula West stands out like a beacon. But she would standout in any field. She is one of the very few who summon up the names of Ella, Sarah and Carmen and not by aping. I’m not elevating her to...


03/01/04    Concerts

It was not exactly what I’d expected. I was primed to hear Chucho Valdes play, among other things, a piece with the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Band, newly written for him by the band’s leader, pianist Arturo O’Farrill. Valdes, however, was in Cuba...

02/22/04    Concerts

George Shearing Trio in New York

There is a new jazz club in New York City. That’s not such a startling revelation. Clubs of all sizes and denominations are always opening and closing in NYC, but this Manhattan cellar is a bit different. Le Jazz Au Bar (41 East 58th Street) is really about...

12/05/03    Concerts

Elvin Jones Jazz Machine at the Blue Note

Elvin Jones’ drums are the engine that drive his Jazz Machine. He sits behind his set and the power flows. It’s not as if he makes everything seem effortless (as is sometimes said about drummers). You are aware of his ministrations because of the obvious...


December 2003    Books

A Life in the Golden Age of Jazz: A Biography of Buddy DeFranco
Fabrice Zammarchi & Sylvie Mas

Great jazz musicians have always attracted avid fans who are sometimes moved to going beyond forming fan clubs. Some have backed the idol's band and/or subsidized recordings through their own independent labels; others have written biographies. Professional...


December 2003    Books

Low Down: Junk, Jazz And Other Fairy Tales From Childhood
A.J. Albany

The afterword to Low Down states: "A.J. Albany lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two children, Charlie and Dylan." Coming behind Albany's recounting of a bizarre, psyche-threatening childhood makes this ordinarily pedestrian information somewhat...


December 2003    Albums

New York, New Sound
Gerald Wilson Orchestra

For New York, New Sound the legendary bandleader/conductor composer/arranger Gerald Wilson traveled to the Apple from California and surrounded himself with fellow octogenarians Clark Terry and Frank Wess, septuagenarian Jimmy Heath, young-blood trumpeter...

10/29/03    Concerts

Gerald Wilson Orchestra Live at Birdland

In celebration of his New York, New Sound CD for the Mack Avenue label, Gerald Wilson did a Monday night at Birdland surrounded by many of the New York old pros who made the recording with him earlier this year. There were some changes, however. Renee Rosnes...


10/26/03    Concerts

Toshiko Akiyoshi at Carnegie Hall

As they say, all good things come to an end but in this case another good thing will replace it. Thirty years after forming her orchestra in Los Angeles—an organization that was reconstituted when Toshiko Akiyoshi and husband, Lew Tabackin, moved back to...

07/30/03    Concerts

My Summer in Italy

Italy is a country of diverse regions. You would think this is because of its length, and you would be right, but you only need to traverse its width for three different venues (two in the same province) to find variety not only in regional landscapes, food...


06/21/03    Concerts

Buddy DeFranco Live in New York

"Legends of the Clarinet" was the overall billing for a week at the Iridium by Buddy DeFranco, 80, and Tony Scott, 82. Conceived by publicist Jim Eigo, the event was booked into the establishment on Broadway and 51st Street and eventually became part of...


03/23/03    Concerts

Marian McPartland's 85th Birthday Celebration

James Brown may be referred to as "the hardest working man in show business" but at her 85th birthday celebration Marian McPartland was the hardest working person in jazz. Not that she isn't usually very active in many areas of the music but Marian wasn...


10/12/02    Concerts

Dave Holland Big Band at Birdland

Being out front when a big band is functioning on all cylinders, getting hit in the solar plexus by that combination of reeds, brass and rhythm section is to experience euphoria. When that force and/or enveloping presence also carries feelings for the heart...


09/26/02    Concerts

Fats Navarro Headstone Dedication and Tribute

Fifty-two years ago Theodore "Fats" Navarro died in New York at the age of 26 of tuberculosis and heroin addiction. Andy Kirk, in whose the Clouds of Joy Orchestra Navarro had played in 1943, paid for the funeral expenses and asked the funeral director to...

06/27/02    Concerts

"Happy Birthday, Gentleman John" - A Birthday Salute to John Bunch

Tribute concerts are often laden with rosters of talented musicians yet turn into all-star clambakes due to any number of glitches from poor pacing to incompatible groupings. Thanks to intelligent planning by producer/bassist Jay Leonhart, this tribute to...

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