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Chronology: Don Cherry’s Reunion Blues

In the late 1980s, the members of the first Ornette Coleman quartet—including Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Billy Higgins—were busy remembering their early years in Los Angeles. Haden’s California-themed Quartet West, with Higgins, was recorded in 1986, Coleman’s reunion project In All Languages in 1987, and Cherry’s Art Deco, with Haden, Higgins, and lesser-known confrère James Clay, in 1988. Producer John … Read More “Chronology: Don Cherry’s Reunion Blues”

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Chronology: Mary Lou Williams and the Spirits of ’76

Nobody embodied the jazz tradition quite like Mary Lou Williams. She was born in 1910 and helped define stride piano, big-band, and boogie-woogie when those genres were at their peak. When modernism came in, she befriended Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols. As early as the 1950s, she programmed concerts and recordings that sought to celebrate … Read More “Chronology: Mary Lou Williams and the Spirits of ’76″

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Chronology: Three Munich Nights with John Scofield

Although the Enja label had more room for hard-swinging jazz of the old school than ECM did, producers Matthias Winckelmann and Horst Weber were undoubtedly inspired by the success of Manfred Eicher’s label. Both Enja and ECM were German record companies documenting ’70s innovation under a mysterious acronym; both began their catalog with a release … Read More “Chronology: Three Munich Nights with John Scofield”

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Chronology: James Newton’s Lonely Path

James Newton is still best-known for a remarkable series of jazz albums recorded in the 1970s and 1980s, when the flutist was aligned with fearlessly creative musicians like Arthur Blythe, Henry Threadgill, David Murray, Amina Claudine Myers, Anthony Davis, and Abdul Wadud. In order to forge a unique voice on his instrument, Newton drew inspiration … Read More “Chronology: James Newton’s Lonely Path”

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