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Michael Bocian/Bill Dearango/Tom Rainey: I Am the Blues

A fixture on 52nd Street during its heyday, the late guitarist and quintessential bebopper Bill DeArango gigged regularly with Ben Webster and recorded from 1945-47 with the likes of Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Slam Stewart, Red Norvo and Ike Quebec. At the peak of his powers, he dropped off the scene and returned to his hometown of Cleveland, where he opened a music store, taught guitar and mentored a generation of promising young jazz musicians in town, including saxophonists Joe Lovano and Ernie Krivda, percussionist Jamey Haddad, and guitarists James Emery and Michael Bocian. In later years, DeArango went through a startling transformation from blazing bebop stylist to wide-open free-jazz player, as evidenced by his radically skronking, distortion-laced 1993 recording on GM Records, Anything Went (with Lovano, bassist Ed Schuller and drummer George Schuller).

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