Daily Archives: January 18, 2009

LESLIE JOHNSON, GUIDING SPIRIT

I have just learned that Leslie Johnson, editor and publisher and guiding spirit of The Mississippi Rag, died yesterday.  Funeral arrangements are incomplete as I write this.

Leslie spent her considerable energies taking very good care of the music she and  readers of this blog love. 

She was and is much loved and she will be deeply missed.

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A ROYAL CAT, SHE DIGS THE GROOVES

I caught Minnie analyzing the alternate takes of “Exercise in Swing” (Lester Young and Johnny Guarneri, Savoy, 1944), comparing the solos.  Listening is serious business if you’re a Siamese cat:

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MORE WORDS TO LIVE BY

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The implications are limitless. 

Hookipa Beach Park, Maui, Hawaii, January 2009

SEEING BLANTON PLAIN

The jazz scholar Bob Porter has his own website, www.jazzetc.net., which is well worth looking into.  Bob also has a long-running rhythm ‘n’ blues radio show on WBGO-FM (www.wbgo.org.) , and has produced and annotated many fine records and CDs. 

What caught my eye this time on Bob’s site was his inclusion of three previously unseen photographs of the Ellington band, presumably taken in late 1940 at the Michigan State Fair, sent along by Fred Reif. 

They show Cootie Williams, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Juan Tizol, Otto Hardwicke, and Ellington’s phenomenal bassist Jimmy (or Jimmie) Blanton.  Usually the few shots of Blanton are fuzzy, cropped from larger photos: these are as sharp and arresting as Blanton’s own sound.  Worth inspecting indeed!

Here’s one: for the other two, be sure to visit http://www.jazzetc.net/articles/new-jimmy-blanton-photos-does-anyone-have-any-information-on-these-photos.

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