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Singing for Our Supper

Marketing instrumental jazz has never been easy. It’s a niche market, and one that requires a certain amount of intelligence, dedication and patience on the part of its customers. With attention spans flagging, the economy ailing and the music industry in the throes of a paradigm shift, many record labels are slowly but surely shifting away from risky releases like instrumental jazz and choosing to focus more on singers, who have the ability to appeal to a wider audience. Lara Pellegrinelli reports on how vocalists might be saving the jazz industry.

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Ernie Andrews: Girl Talk

I once asked Jon Hendricks, the Godfather of vocalese, if he had a favorite singer. His immediate answer? Ernie Andrews, who, he informed me, is a singer in the same class as Joe Williams, Jimmy Rushing, Al Hibbler and Billy Eckstine. Having made a couple of early hits with the Red Callender’s band when he … Read More “Ernie Andrews: Girl Talk”

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Billie Holiday: Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933-1944

“This month there has been a real find in the person of a singer named Billie Halliday [sic],” wrote John Hammond in the British monthly Melody Maker in April 1933. The fledgling columnist had stopped by a small Harlem nightspot named Monette’s, expecting to find Monette Moore in front of the piano; the busy proprietress, … Read More “Billie Holiday: Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933-1944”

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Jane Monheit: Come Dream With Me

Since the release of her debut recording, Never Never Land, a mere year and a half ago, 23-year-old vocalist Jane Monheit has been hailed as a sultry, young, white reincarnation of Ella Fitzgerald. With due respect to Monheit, the comparison is neither fair nor accurate. Anyone claiming more than a superficial resemblance between the two … Read More “Jane Monheit: Come Dream With Me”

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Mildred Bailey: The Complete Columbia Recordings of Mildred Bailey

A total of 214 tracks over 10 discs of Mildred who? Although her name is less familiar to today’s audiences than Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald or Anita O’Day, Mildred Bailey (1903-51) was perhaps the most influential female singer at a critical moment in history: when jazz emerged as America’ s popular music in the swing … Read More “Mildred Bailey: The Complete Columbia Recordings of Mildred Bailey”

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Dave Berger and The Sultans of Swing: Doin’ the Do!

The swing revival may have peaked a couple of years ago in terms of being a fashionable retro movement, nonetheless, the bands keep playing and the music keeps coming. Why, casual listeners may wonder? Simply put, genuine devotion outlives popular fads. The music’s strongest proponents-David Berger among them-took to swing music decades before Brian Setzer … Read More “Dave Berger and The Sultans of Swing: Doin’ the Do!”

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