CD Review: ‘Windmills,’ Monika Ryan

Monika Ryan, Vocalist
This CD is a product by busy and talented vocalist Monika Ryan. She chose the songs as a tribute to the talented songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman. She is accompanied by Aretha Franklin keyboardist Nick Rolfe; David O’Rourke, guitar; Rene Hart, bass; Alvester Garnett, drums. There are also incidental performances by Brad Goode, trumpet; Clark Gayton, trombone; and Keith Loftis, soprano and tenor saxophone.

A confession: This writer was previously unaware of Ms. Ryan and her talent. She’s a busy vocalist whose work has taken her throughout the US and Europe. She’s recorded multiple CDs. See her website for details. Also, although familiar with the songs, this writer wasn’t aware of the prolific career as songwriters of the husband/wife combo of Alan and Marilyn Bergman.

A sampling of songs on this album include: Windmills of Your Mind, Cinnamon and Clove, What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life, and A Love Like Ours.

Recommended for your listening pleasure. For a sampling of Ms. Ryan’s work, a quick internet search will be most satisfying.

Vendor applications for 2018 JazzFest now available

vendorApplications for food vendors and arts & crafts exhibitors for JazzFest 2018 are now available for download from the website. JazzFest 2018 will be Saturday and Sunday, April 7-8, in historic Seville Square in downtown Pensacola.

Note to Food Vendors: A limited number of food vendor spots are available for this popular spring event, and selection is competitive. We strive to avoid duplication of menu items and to offer a variety of food choices for festival attendees, so it is critical that your application is complete, accurate and the best representation of your business. Vendors cannot sell alcohol. It is your sole responsibility to have all necessary licenses and permits and to comply with the accompanying regulations. Questions? Call Ed Morrison at (850) 324-0120 or email him at [email protected] To download complete information on food-vending possibilities and an application form: click here (PDF download, 175KB).

Note to Arts & Crafts Exhibitors: To apply for a spot at JazzFest 2018, download complete information and application form: click here (PDF download, 82K).

Book Review: ‘Girl Singer,’ Mick Carlon

Girl Singer
By Mick Carlon
Leapfrog Press © 2015
pp. 164 paperback

girlsingerThis is the third novel in the jazzseries for juveniles. The reader follows a 19 year old African-American girl singer.In this fictional account, she meets real-life characters such as bandleader William “Count” Basie, Lester ” Pres” Young, drummer Jo Jones vocalists Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison and saxophonist Buddy Tate.

In the course of the book, she encounters some racial prejudice herself. And she meets a friend, who as a Jew in Nazi Germany, had experienced that brand of hatred and oppression.

It is well-written and appropriate for middle and early high school students. As with Carlon’s previous books, it conveys the author’s enthusiasm for the music and its players.

Carlon’s previous novels for juveniles were Riding Duke’s Train and Travels With Louis, also published by Leapfrog Press. Carlon is ahigh school and middle school English teacher who lives on Cape Cod.

This novel will be available for check-out in the Jazz Room of Pensacola’s West Florida Public Library.

CD Review: ‘Soulfully Yours,’ Anders Bergcrantz

Anders Bergcrantz:
Soulfully Yours
Vanguard Music Boulevard
Malmo, Sweden

bergcrantzAnders Bergcrantz is a prize-winning Swedishtrumpeter/composer. He has just released this recording of seven compositions, six of which are his originals and the seventh is composition of his wife, an internationally acclaimed composer, Anna-Lena Laurin.

There are varying personnel on these seven numbers, some with accompanying vocal group which include the composers’ two daughters. The only person which I recognize on the list is veteran American drummer Victor Lewis on It Freezes Now, composition by Mrs. Bergcrantz—Anna-Lena Laurin.

This recording is a challenge for this reviewer, as all songs are new. “Idon’t know how the song is supposed to go!” And it will be a challenging– rewarding for some, especially trumpet enthusiasts—exercise for the eclectic listener.

This recording will be in the Jazz Room of the West Florida Public Library for check-out by the adventurous listener.

CD Review: ‘This and That,’ Rebecca Kilgore and Bernd Lhotzky

Rebecca Kilgore and Bernd Lhotzky:
This and That
Arbors Records: ARCD 19455
Recorded April 25-27, 2016
Munich, Germany

kilgoreHere’s a professionally performed CD—just vocal and piano with 15 tunes by Gershwin, Ellington, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and others. What makes it special is the pairing of Rebecca Kilgore with German pianist Bernd Lhotzky. Many readers will, no doubt, be familiar with Becky Kilgore as she’s a regular on the recording and jazz party circuit. In fact, Pensacola fans will remember her appearance at Pensacola JazzFest in 1999 when she came with a group that included drummer Hal Smith.

Lhotzky, age 46, is famous in US as well as in Europe. He has performed at the Jazz in July Festival in New York and at the Arbors Records Jazz Party in Clearwater. He has recorded with jazz pianist Dick Hyman on the highly acclaimed album Stridin’ the Classics. He also performs with Echoes of Swing group in Germany and performs with Chris Hopkins in piano duo.

I’m a fan of both, having heard each of them perform on several occasions. Becky is not only a vocalist but an excellent guitarist who knows how to deliver a tune. But she only vocalizes on this recording.

When is the last time you heard Hoagy Carmichael’s Baltimore Oriole? If not lately, this is your chance.

I’ll name a few others I loved, in order to intrigue you! Strayhorn’s: Lotus Blossom and A Flower is a Lovesome Thing; Ellington/Strayhorn’s Grievin’ and Star Crossed Lovers and the Gershwin brothers’ Do-do-do.

This CD will be in the Jazz Room at downtown West Florida Public Library for check-out. Highly recommended.

Book Review: ‘Pressed for All Time’ by Michael Jarrett

Producing the Great Jazz Albums From Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday To Miles Davis and Diana Krall
©Michael Jarrett, 2016
University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill
pp. 303 with index

pressedforalltimeMichael Jarrett is a published author and jazz authority as well as an English professor at Pennsylvania State University at York, Pa. He looks at the way certain jazz recordings were made through interviews with their producers. He writes about his conversations about these recordings with some of the giants in the business—George Avakian, Milt Gabler, Orrin Keepnews, Michael Cuscana and Neshui Ertrgun, for example, and also many with which most are unfamiliar.

Jarrett recounts his conversation with Gabler about how Billie Holiday wanted to record “Strange Fruit,” which was popular with her multi-racial audience at NYC’s Café Society. She was under contract with Columbia which would not record it for fear of offending a portion of their customers. Gabler was able to get an exception from Columbia and recorded it on his own Commodore label. Ironically, it was pressed by Vocalion, which was owned by CBS, which also owned Columbia. The book covers recordings current to 2013. Some examples of recordings in the 2000s include Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Abbey Lincoln and Gregory Porter in 2013.

When recording tape came available, producers were then able to edit and splice, thereby saving time in the recording studio. One producer reported that he learned to edit by watching Rudy Van Gelder do it.

The format of the book is necessarily conversational. A subject heading might be the title of a recording and then conversation with one or more producers about that recording. There is usually a small photograph of the album cover. So that the reader of this review may conceptualize the format of this book, the titles of the four chapters are as follows:
Cutting Sides: Producing 78 RPM Discs, 1936-1949
Rolling Tape: Producing Jazz LPs, 1950-1966
Laying Down Tracks: Producing Multitrack Recordings, 1967-1990
Recording to Hard Drive: Producing Digitally, 1991-2013

There are also brief biographical sketches of the interviewee/ commentators since some may not generally be known by the average reader.

Mr. Jarrett kindly allowed me a telephone interview. Although he covered this in his book, he has interviewed record producers for jazz publications including Jazziz and Pulse, published by Tower Records. I asked how he reconstructed those interviews. He explained that he taped all the interviews then transcribed them. Hence, it was then just a matter of searching to find the ones desired.

This book is a valuable contribution to our greater appreciation of the artists themselves. If not for the producers the music would be only ephemeral. If one wishes to verify, the Jarrett’s interview recordings are on file at the library at University of North Carolina.