Tuesday evening miscellany

-I have finally gotten around to reading Terry Teachout’s biography of Louis Armstrong, Pops. It truly does deserve all the accolades it received when it came out last year. The book is full of fresh insights buttressed by fresh research, all couched in elegant prose.

-Yes, I know the proper way to learn jazz repertoire is by studying the recordings – but for those of us who need a little help, there are transcriptions. I am enjoying reading the Fats Waller transcriptions in Paul Posnak’s collection of piano solo pieces, although enjoyable is not exactly the word for trying to reach some of Waller’s widely spaced left hand voicings. Perhaps I need some help of this kind.

-Dr. Guthrie Ramsey’s blog is now including posts by the professor of MusiQology himself, in addition to an archive of student contributions mentioned here previously. Dig the videos he has posted, including some Cab Calloway. He also found footage of the Nicholas Brothers together with Michael Jackson (I would not have guessed they were alive at the same time.) Congrats, Guy, on co-curating the Apollo Theatre exhibit which recently opened at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

-I have been meaning to write about these discs for a while now, and I do want to post about them in more detail, but let me give a quick mention here of Miranda Cuckson’s superb discs of violin music by Ralph Shapey and Donald Martino. Fascinating repertoire, commanding performances. Much more to say, coming soon.

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