Archives for July 2013

Norman Granz (Sunday 7.28.13)

Jazz producer and music impresario Norman Granz was born to Jewish immigrants in Los Angeles and came of age in pre-WWII America. During a time of segregation, fear and war Granz wanted to unite, desegregate and entertain. He arranged desegregated jam sessions in LA that later turned into Jazz at The Philharmonic. He started various record labels including Verve and Clef, and produced albums with many jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. In this feature Rabbi Neil Blumofe highlights the important role Granz played in moving jazz forward and elevating its status as a seminal American art form.

Texas-Sized Heartbreak

There are plenty of wonderful songs about falling in love. And at least an equal number about falling out of love. But a few weeks ago it occurred to us that, for some reason, the breakup song doesn’t get the sort of attention it deserves. In any event, nobody does a breakup song like a Texan, and we’re about to prove it. Grab a gallon of ice cream and breakout those sweatpants – it’s heartbreak Texas style on this edition of Texas Music Matters. Friday at noon and again Friday night at 11 on KUTX 98-9.


The List (in no particular order): 

1. Cry Baby – Janis Joplin

2. For The Good Times – Ray Price

3. Changed The Locks – Lucinda Williams

4. Bloody Mary Morning – Willie Nelson

5. Irreplaceable – Beyonce

6. Wasted Days and Wasted Nights – Freddy Fender

7. Goodbye Earl – Dixie Chicks

8. Who Will The Next Fool Be – Bobby Bland

9. She Left Me For Jesus – Hayes Carll

10. Boys of the Summer – Don Henly

11. Give Back The Key To My Heart – Uncle Tupelo ft. Doug Sahm

12. It’s Over – Roy Orbison 

Tadd Dameron (Sunday 7.21.13)

Rabbi Neil Blumofe examines American jazz musician in this week’s Liner Notes short. The composer, arranger and pianist is most well known for his involvement in the bebop era, but also in the swing and hard bop genres. The Cleveland native collaborated with other Liner Notes artists such as Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Golson. He is described as the “romanticist” of he bepop era, as said by saxophonist Dexter Gordon and elaborated upon by Blumofe.

Sarah Vaughan (Sunday 7.14.13)

With her ability to banter with the audience and outspoken sense of humor Sarah Vaughn was best described as “sassy.” Her first big break came after she won an amateur night at the famous Apollo Theatre.  She would go on to work with such great jazz musicians as Louie Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Count Basie, and create such hits as “Broken Hearted Melody” and “Lover Man.” Though she mostly sang the songs given to her by commercial labels, she showed off her impressive three octave range and brought a flare to the stage filled with laughter, poise, and her own personal kind of charm. Join Rabbi Neil as he discusses the music and life of jazz icon, Sarah Vaughan.

Hank Mobley (Sunday 7.7.13)

Hank Mobley was a self-taught hard bop and soul jazz tenor saxophone player whose sound was situated between that of John Coltrane and Stan Getz. As a bandleader he worked to encourage musicians to develop their concepts and skills past what they may have thought possible, as he created a space for performers to work out their own vision within his compositions. In this short feature Rabbi Neil Blumofe illuminates the importance of those who will not settle for a glory in mediocrity, but who urge others to reach further and extend their concept of what is possible.

Ella Fitzgerald (Sunday 4.28.13)

Coming from a troubled childhood, Ella Fitzgerald found solace in music and song. Discovered at age 17, after singing in the style of the Boswell sisters in a talent competition, she would become the top female jazz singer for 50 years. Her distinctive vocals and her ability to personally hear and feel the emotion in her songs, would lead her to be an inspiration for female vocalists such as Aretha Franklin, Vannesa Williams, and Janis Ian. Though critics complained that her voice lacked the depth and blues of other singers, it was that voice and her style that set her apart from other female vocalists of her time. Join us for this segment of Liner Notes where we’ll be discussing the impact of Ella Fitzgerald’s life and music.

Dizzy Gillespie (Sunday 4.21.13)

With his conception of harmonics and driving tempos, Dizzy Gillespie was an architect of the modern sound (bebop), daring others to reach for the stars, alongside him. His virtuosity and creativity helped to define a whole new approach to improvisation and self-expression, as his career spanned more than 50 years. An entertainer as well as an accomplished artist, Dizzy brought intelligence and wit to his playing – an example of confidently showcasing what is possible. In this short feature Rabbi Neil Blumofe explores what Gillespie’s legacy can teach us about the revolutionary aspect of humor, and how we can live in accordance with an authentic self, while understanding what masks we wear and what they may represent.

Clifford Brown (Sunday 4.14.13)

Jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown is known for his precise and captivatingly smooth technique, and as a musician who died before his time in a tragic car crash at the age of 25. He recorded most notably with drummer Max Roach and saxophonist Sonny Rollins, and his compositions Joy Spring and Daahoudare jazz standards to this day. His lasting impact on the jazz cannon is profound. In this short feature Rabbi Neil Blumofe discusses what Brown’s legacy teaches us about the strength and importance of following ones own path in spite of contradictory expectations.

Billie Holiday (Sunday 4.7.13)

Billie Holiday once said, “No two people on earth are alike, and it’s got to be that way in music or it isn’t music.” As we look back on her life and legacy we gain a deep appreciation for her unique voice, and the authenticity and openness of her approach to music. Even as she struggled with drugs, alcohol, abusive relationships and racism she maintained a raw understanding of her perspective. When she is judged by everything but the genius of her body of work, we recognize and fear that it might happen to us as well. However, as we listen and connect with her through her music we gain a deeper understanding of both the vulnerability and strength in our passions.

Bud Powell (Sunday 3.31.13)

As we recognize Bud Powell as one of the most influential jazz pianists of the 20th century, we must also acknowledge how much of his greatness and potential was muted beneath the cruelty and inhumane treatment that marked so much of mid 20th century America. Yet, even through the pain he suffered, when he sat down to perform at the piano he would continue to amaze audiences and musicians alike with his remarkable dexterity, speed and timing.His legacy reminds us of the tightrope we walk each day as we try to remain close to those things we need to sustain our souls in a time when exterior elements beyond our control are battling for our attentions, our bodies, our minds and our spirits. When listening to the genius of Bud Powell we can hear and feel the sheer force of human will, and the power one exudes when fully present amidst the chaos both inside and out.

Benny Goodman (Sunday 3.24.13)

In the 1930’s, the clarinetist and bandleader, Benny Goodman, brought jazz stylings to mainstream America. With this short feature jazz historian and Rabbi Neil Blumofe muses on how Goodman offered a space for freedom and expression which combated early 20th century ideologies based on fear and tyranny. In an age of segregation, creeping fear, and xenophobia, Goodman boldly set forth a new agenda for American music, integrating his band and exasperating the assumptions of culture, sophistication, and assumed ways of life. His legacy reminds us to reconsider regimented ideas of identity and forge our own paths against repression.