• Jamin' the Jive

    Mingus Cutting Brubeck

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 25th, 2016

    With great artists gathered for Festivals entrepreneur George Wein liked to match them up for impromptu jam sessions. They didn't always work like when Charles Mingus on bass joined pianist Dave Brubeck for a hilarious cutting contest. Brubeck would lay down a lick which Mingus then took apart and reassembled like a bop crossword puzzle.

  • Buddy Rich

    Marching to a Different Drummer

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 08th, 2016

    It is argued that Buddy Rich was the greatest drummer of his era. His challenger, great album, Max Roach. In the dressing room at Lennie's on the Turnpike between sets Buddy was always good for a quote. Usually about Vegas or stints with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. Lennie discovered a local kid doing standup. Jay Leno became a regular on the Tonight Show and eventually took over from Johnny.

  • Stan Kenton's Progressive Band

    Artistry in Rhythm

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 08th, 2016

    There was an edge to progressive big band leader Stan Kenton when we met in 1970. He had cut loose from 25 years with Capitol Records and bought the catalogue to reissue on his own label Creative World. On the road with Stan it was less a tour than crusade. Those who performed and heard his music were true believers in his Artistry in Rhythm

  • Woody Herman

    Big Band Bop

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 07th, 2016

    Woody Herman fronted one of the most admired and successful groups of the big band era. He commissioned works ranging from Stravinsky's Ebony Concert to the eventual Dizzy Gillespi standard Woody'n You. The gig in Beverly at Sandy's Jazz Revival was more like a family reunion.

  • Count Basie

    Goin' To Kansas City

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 07th, 2016

    In the mobbed up city of politician Tom "Boss" Pendergast the saloons and brothels of Kansas City were wide open during prohibition and the depression years. The best of the thriving Midwest jazz and blues scene was the Count Basie Band.

  • Pianist McCoy Tyner

    Trane and Beyond

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 06th, 2016

    Growing up in Philly the legendary pianist Bod Powell was a neighbor and mentor to pianist McCoy Tyner. He also knew John Coltrane before he joined Miles Davis emerging as a superstar. Tyner was invited to join the classic quartet of Trane, drummer Joe Jones, and bass player Jimmy Garrison. There was an edge when I asked Tyner why he and Jones quit Trane a couple of years before he died.

  • Spirit Boat

    Hatshepsut Pharaoh/ Queen

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 06th, 2016

    Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I and his primary wife Ahmes. Her husband Thutmose II was the son of Thutmose I and a secondary wife named Mutnofret. Married to her half brother they had a daughter Neferure. By another wife Thutmose II fathered Thutmose III. From the age of two Hatshepsut co-ruled as Regent but overshadowed him as Pharaoh. When he came to power Thutmose III did his best to removed her name from prolific monuments.

  • Pianist Chick Corea

    Pushing the Limits

    Chick Corea
    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 05th, 2016

    Miles Davis launched fusion jazz with the seminal double album Bitches Brew in March, 1970. It marked an era of experiment and change. That summer I covered Miles twice in one week at Harvard Stadium then Lennie's on the Turnpike. For both sessions he featured the dual electric pianos of Chick Corea, who had replaced Herbie Hancock, and Keith Jarrett.

  • Janis Joplin's Last Gig

    Harvard Stadium, August 12, 1970

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 05th, 2016

    During the turbulent summer of 1970 Schaefer Beer sponsored a series of concerts at Harvard Stadium. It was just $2 for festival seating. Capacity was topped at 10,000 although there were incident ot vandalism and gate crashing. Janis Joplin performed her last gig there on AUGUST 12. She was dead at just 27 shortly later on October 4.

  • Lin Manuel Miranda

    Hip Hopping Hamilton

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 05th, 2016

    While on vacation Lin Manuel Miranda, an avid reader, took along Ron Chernow's biography of the colorful, brilliant, complex and tragic founding father, Alexander Hamilton.. Blended with rap and hip hop Miranda concocted it into a game changing Broadway musical.

  • Jazz Pianist Bill Evans

    More Classical Than Roots

    Bill Evans
    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 04th, 2016

    Working with composer and theorist George Russell the pianist Bill Evans evolved from bop to modal playing. That was an influence of Miles Davis resulting in the masterpiece Kind of Blue. Snubbed by influential mainstream musicians and critics, Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Crouch, who excluded him from the PBS/ Ken Burns series Jazz, Evans is widely regarded as among the seminal artists of his generation.

  • Pianist Teddy Wilson

    Benny Goodman to Billie Holiday

    Teddy Wilson
    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 04th, 2016

    Initially Teddy Wilson studied music at Tuskegee University. With Lionel Hampton and Charlie Christian they integrated Benny Goodman's big band. Billiw Holiday was invited to join the band but she declined to tour with Ben particularly in the South. Pianist Wilson made classic recordings with Lady Day. We recall his long stints as piano player in the bar of Boston's Copley Square Hotel.

  • African Artist El Anatsui

    Metallic Cloth of Many Colors

    El Anatsui
    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 04th, 2016

    Gallerist Jack Shainman, who grew up in Williamstown, represents major African as well as African American artists. He was instrumental in bringing super star El Anatsui to the Clark Art Institute.

  • Playwright Mark St. Germain

    Mentor and Friend

    St. Germain
    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 04th, 2016

    Playwright Mark St. Germain started as a writer for The Cosby Show. He could have stayed on in TV and its easy money. But Mark took the road less traveled for a challenging career in theatre. We first met for breakfast after the premiere of Freud's Last Session at Barrington Stage. There has been a dialogue ever since as he developed new plays. The insights have been invaluable.

  • Chuck Berry

    Outlaw Rock 'n' Roll

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 03rd, 2016

    In the 1950s, for Chicago's Chess Records, Chuck Berry recorded the national anthems of rock 'n' roll from Maybelline and Roll Over Beethoven to Johnny B. Goode. Busted for armed robbery as a teenager he did three years. Then more time for jail bait and later for tax evasion. It left him with understandable trust issues as a loaner on the road. Amazingly he is now pushing 90.

  • Eubie Blake

    Brought Ragtime to Broadway

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 03rd, 2016

    The team of Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle brought Shuffle Along the first all black musical to Broadway in 1921. Blake's music was the basis for Eubie! another Broadway hit in 1978. Well into his 90's he put on a hell of a show.

  • WGBH DJ Ron Della Chiesa

    Boogie Nights

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 03rd, 2016

    Hanging with WGBH DJ and host of Music America, the impeccable Ron Della Chiesa when jazz was king in Beantown. Recalling the lush life.

  • Storyville Pianists

    Crescent City Professors

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 01st, 2016

    Jazz was born in the cat houses and juke joints of the red light district, Storyville, in New Orleans. The pianists were known as professors starting with Jelly Roll Morton. There have been many since in the Crescent City from Fats Domino and Professor Longhair to Allen Touissant.

  • Britain's T. Rex

    Marc Bolan's American Pratfall

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 08th, 2016

    Big deal that we got to talk with Marc Bolan of British supergroup T. Rex launching their first American tour. Be nice we were warned by the PR folks. That night Bolan skipped on stage and fell flat on his ass. It was a bad omen and the tour bombed. Not long after both the group and Bolan were dead as dinos.

  • Cyndi Lauper

    Beyond Just Having Fun

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 09th, 2016

    Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" was a youthful and fun anthem to a generation. Her ballad "Time After Time," covered by Miles Davis, hinted at what was to come. She won a Tony for the Broadway Musical "Kinky Boots." With more to come.

  • Guggenheim Installs Golden Potty

    All That Glitters Is Not Art

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 22nd, 2016

    In the current art world nothing succeeds like excess. The venerable Guggenheim Museum has installed a golden potty an alleged work of art by Maurizio Cattelan. In the Dada tradition of Duchamp it appeals to New Yorkers sitting on the throne who believe their shit is gold.

  • Royals in the News

    Prince Dead All Hail the Queen

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 21st, 2016

    A bitter sweet day of Royals in the news. Champagne toasts for the Queen now 90. Posed with her brood. While the artist known as Prince pronounced dead at 57.

  • Stonehenge

    Great Circle of Stones

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 21st, 2016

    The great circle of stones vividly evoke pre-Christian Britain when Druids worshiped the gods in harmony with earth and the passage of time.

  • Alpine Hotel

    View of Central Park

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 21st, 2016

    Come Labor Day, back from Boston, gallery gig started. In transition stayed in hot sheet Alpine Hotel at Columbus Circle. From its eventual penthouse awoke to view of Central Park.

  • Royal Flush

    Grouse Hunting at Balmoral

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 21st, 2016

    I was just eight when that other Charles was born. From then on he seemed like a younger brother. Over the years in the darkest hours we have roamed the highlands during holidays at Balmoral Castle. Now seniors we wonder when or if he will be King.

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