Tag Archives: Jazz

The Little-Known Recording of Louis Armstrong Reciting ‘The Night Before Christmas’

“This is Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong,” the voice resounds, “talking to all the kids from all over the world at Christmastime.” With that, the trumpeter and singer tucks into a lyrical, buoyant reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” He hews to the words but makes them his own in a voice that glitters with joy. When the 69-year-old describes Santa’s “little round belly /that shook when he laughed like a bowl of jelly,” he breaks into a wheezy giggle that sounds like a truck rumbling to life at a green light. 

Dizzy Gillespie and His Bent Trumpet

Dizzy Gillespie was one of the most influential and well-known jazz musicians of all-time. John Birks Gillespie, who passed away 25 years ago this month, he pioneered a number of jazz subgenres and became internationally famous for his legendary ability on the trumpet, his trademark “balloon cheeks,” and his playful stage presence.

Continue reading Dizzy Gillespie and His Bent Trumpet

Bruno Mars Declares American Music Is ‘Black Music’

For someone who’s received as many James Brown comparisons as Bruno Mars has, it makes sense that he’d be very aware of the impact that black artists have had on the American music scene, but in a recent interview with Latina, the “Uptown Funk” star took it a step further, breaking down why American music is black music.

Continue reading Bruno Mars Declares American Music Is ‘Black Music’

These Rarely Seen Images Show Jazz Greats Pouring Out Their Hearts

In the jargon of jazz, a “blue note” is one that deviates from the expected–an improvisational twist, a tickle in the ear. It is fitting that Blue Note Records, founded in New York by German expat Alfred Lion back in 1939, took its name from this artifact of genre, for throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the institution was continually surprising (and delighting) its audience.

From boogie-woogie and bebop to solo stylings and the avant-garde, Lion’s label left no tone unturned. The undisputed quality of Blue Note’s output was the direct result of its creator’s willingness to meet the artists on their level, to embrace the quirks and curveballs that make jazz music what it is. As an early Blue Note brochure put it:

Continue reading These Rarely Seen Images Show Jazz Greats Pouring Out Their Hearts