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Articles | Featured | Future

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Chet Baker’s Singing: A Cultural Shift

Read "Chet Baker’s Singing: A Cultural Shift" reviewed by Steve Provizer

We think of the 1950's as a time of relative social conformity, but in fact, there were significant cultural shifts happening. For one, male stereotypes were being unpacked and to some degree, unfrozen. Where once films and music gave us male characters that were either hyper-macho or limp-wristedly homosexual, male characters and performers who showed emotional vulnerability began to emerge from the underground. Two musicians who were exemplars of this change were Frank Sinatra and Chet Baker. The ...

IN PICTURES
IN PICTURES
RADIO

Jazz at 100 Hour 20: Small Groups of the 1930s – Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt, and John Kirby

Read "Jazz at 100 Hour 20: Small Groups of the 1930s – Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt, and John Kirby" reviewed by Russell Perry

In the last hour we heard from prominent Swing Era soloists Chu Berry, Roy Eldridge, Johnny Hodges and Lester Young, featured in small group settings. Continuing in the small group vein, in this hour we'll hear from the Benny Goodman Trio, Quartet and sextet, Django Reinhardt and le Quintette Du Hot Club de France avec Stéphane Grappelli and the influential, but less well-known sextet led by bassist John Kirby. For U.S. readers, listen here:

ALBUM REVIEWS

Danielle Friedman Trio: School of Fish

Read "School of Fish" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Danielle Friedman is an Israeli-born, Germany-based pianist who offers up her debut recording with School Of Fish. Some musicians take a handful of recordings to find their voice. Friedman and her trio--with bassist Aron Caceres and drummer David Jimenez--have done it coming out of the gate. The album kicks off with “Shalom Ani Danielle," an achingly beautiful ballad that exploits repetition and a dynamic group interplay. “5 Trolls," the second tune of this all-Friedman-originals set, opens with a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jason Kao Hwang & Burning Bridge: Blood

Read "Blood" reviewed by John Sharpe

As the follow-up to his Burning Bridge octet's eponymous debut (Innova, 2012), violinist Jason Kao Hwang has created another ambitious and wide-ranging work. As befits the title Blood, it constitutes a personal meditation on weighty subject matter, precipitated by a narrowly-avoided car accident which caused Hwang to consider the wartime experiences of his mother in China. The result is a complex, but gripping, continuous ensemble performance of what the liner notes call “28 staged scenes," tracked in ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Iro Haarla, Ulf Krokfors & Barry Altschul: Around Again: The Music Of Carla Bley

Read "Around Again: The Music Of Carla Bley" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Although much of her music is imbued with subtle humor, Carla Bley's compositions are serious music. Finnish pianist Iro Haarla is a long-time admirer of the Bley, and on this CD she gives her music an appropriate gravity, while retaining its spirited nature. Haarla is accompanied by her musical partner, Ulf Krokfors, on bass and Barry Altschul on drums. They play Bley tunes that were mostly introduced on record by Paul Bley back in the 60s and 70s, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Liudas Mockūnas: Hydro 2

Read "Hydro 2" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Hydro 2 is water music, but it's not to be confused with the orchestral pieces composed by George Frideric Handel back in the early 18th century. Lithuanian saxophonist Liudas Mockūnas is headed even further back in time, back to some Darwinian vision of evolution from the murky primordial seas, forward to our bipedal momentum. Note: If you happen to be a follower of creationism, you might want to skip forward a bit here. Mockūnas, who might be best known as ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Hip Spanic All-Stars: Old School Revolution

Read "Old School Revolution" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

If you think that Old School Revolution sounds both familiar and new, you're right. In the late 2000s, bassist and singer Happy Sanchez, saxophonist Norbert Stachel (Tower of Power), percussionist Karl Perazzo (a longstanding member of Santana), and drummer Jay Lane (Primus) hooked up, during timeouts from their more regular gigs, in the Mission District surrounding San Francisco with vocalists Shorty Ramos and Vic Castro, and the Hip Spanic All-Stars were born. “We grew up in ...

CATCHING UP WITH

David Helbock: Inside & Outside the Piano

Read "David Helbock: Inside & Outside the Piano" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Austrian pianist/composer David Helbock was born in 1984, and began playing the piano at the age of six. He studied at the Feldkirch Conservatory with Prof. Ferenc Bognar, where he finished in 2005 with an “excellent" degree in performance and since 2000 took lessons with the New York jazz pianist Peter Madsen, who became his teacher, mentor and friend. Awards include the audience prize at the world's biggest jazz-piano-solo competition of the Jazzfestival Montreux, and the most important prize in ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Elia / Dominguez /Verdinelli: Cuando Sea Necesario

Read "Cuando Sea Necesario" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Argentine pianist Eduardo Elia explored the classic jazz tunes on his 2015 release, Solo (Blue Art Records), making the familiar distinctively his own. He shifts gears for Cuando Sea Necesario, bringing on board saxophonist Rodrigo Dominguez and drummer Sergio Verdinelli, for what sounds like a set of loosely-constructed compositions which leave plenty of room for inspired group improvisations that dig deep into making in-the-moment sounds of the highest order. Two thoughts come to mind on an initial spin ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Greg Reitan: West 60th

Read "West 60th" reviewed by Peter Hoetjes

The collaboration of musicians unaccustomed to each other often yields unexpected and occasionally brilliant results. There is no substitute however, for familiarity. Greg Reitan has played with the same trio consisting of bassist Jack Daro and drummer Dean Koba for over two decades, and their resulting musicianship is versatile yet comfortable. It may have been recorded in Reitan's native Los Angeles, but West 60th began its conception in Manhattan, as the pianist gazed out at the city through the panoramic ...