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September 2022


A true prose virtuoso, Whitney Balliett covered jazz for The New Yorker for more than 40 years and achieved a literary stature rare among music critics. But he had his limits. Tony Scherman examines Balliett’s life and work through the lenses of then and now, celebrating the master’s achievements while making no bones about his blind spots.

He played with Miles Davis in the ’60s, essentially created the New York loft-jazz scene in the ’70s, and made compelling music for 30 more years. Will new books and archival albums finally give fearless multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers the respect he deserves? Geoffrey Himes looks back at the scope and influence of Rivers’ legacy and hopes so.

Organized crime and jazz grew up together in New Orleans, Chicago, New York, and elsewhere. And though some believe their relationship petered out after Prohibition, the evidence strongly suggests otherwise. T.J. English contends that the music’s long history of entanglement with the mob isn’t a sidebar; it’s the main story.

From fusion stardom to drug conviction, from Brazil to America and back again, and from her days with Stan Getz and Chick Corea to her first studio album in 17 years, vocal icon Flora Purim sure has stories to tell. James Gavin listens intently to her tales and turns them into an extraordinary profile of an extraordinary singer.

JT Notes
Opening Chorus: Sharonne Cohen reports on the 42nd Montreal Jazz Festival; producer Gregg Field gives Ella Fitzgerald more air; Josh Sinton gets prolific; and farewells to Adelhard Roidinger, Paul Plimley, Bernard Wright, Ellyn Rucker, Jean-Louis Chautemps, Leroy Williams, Charles Eubanks, Grachan Moncur III, Gabe Baltazar, Henryk Górski, Meghan Stabile, and Matthias Winckelmann
Chronology: Coleman Hawkins in the late 1950s and early ’60s
Before & After: Joanne Brackeen
Overdue Ovation: Alex Acuña

The Scene: Cleveland’s New Ghosts
Coda: How Thelonious Monk’s 1947 sessions for Blue Note reset 20th-century music
Gearhead: The NAMM show returns, as does Oberheim Electronics
Chops: Getting music for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Audio Files: Brent Butterworth on recording gear for musicians 

Reviews: Yellowjackets, DOMi & JD Beck, Sasha Berliner, Nduduzo Makhathini, Tom Harrell, Allison Miller & Carmen Staaf, Al Foster, Nabil Ayers’ memoir, and many more

Cover image by Mel Gabardo; inset image of Earl Hines in 1947 by William P. Gottlieb/courtesy of the Library of Congress