Diana Krall Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett and Diana Krall Announce Joint Album

Today (Aug 3) marks Tony Bennett’s 92nd birthday, but the icon is turning the table by giving the gifts.

Bennett announced that he will be releasing a collaborative album with Diana Krall called Love Is Here To Stay, out September 14. The project will pay tribute to George and Ira Gershwin, and includes a rework of Tony Bennett’s first single: the jazz standard “Fascinating Rhythm.” Bennett first released the single in 1949, when he still went as his original stage name Joe Bari.

Bennett and Krall are backed by the Bill Charlap Trio.

“When Tony Bennett and Diana Krall sing the music of the Gershwins, it’s truly the consummate artistic pairing of singers and songwriting,” said Danny Bennett, President and CEO of Verve Label Group. “It’s one of those recordings that when you listen to it, you recognize instantly that it had to happen – it was just a matter of getting these two extraordinary performers into a studio and putting the Gershwin songbook in front of them.” (more…)

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Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday: A Complex Woman, A Jazz Legend

Today, “legends” are ten a penny. When Billie Holiday was accorded the accolade it meant something. Lady Day was a brilliant singer, a great lyrical interpreter, she took chances, lived life hard, she could swing, she could swoon, she moaned low, was elegant and she was a soul singer before anyone had coined the phrase. She was one of the greatest jazz vocalists of all time.

We know when Billie was born (7 April 1915), yet that the facts about her childhood are murky, made no clearer by, ‘Lady Sings the Blues’, Billie’s autobiography, which confused things further. Billie’s birth certificate named her father as DeViese whereas she insisted he was Clarence Holiday – Sadie’s childhood sweetheart who later played guitar in Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra.

Abused as a child she had a spell in a Catholic children’s home before cleaning and running errands for a brothel madam. By 1928 Billie’s mother moved to Harlem with her daughter and before long they were both working in a whorehouse; fourteen year old Billie was charged with vagrancy and sent to a workhouse.

On her release, Billie took up with a saxophonist and the pair of them began playing Harlem dives; Billie trying to emulate Bessie Smith whose records she loved. In October 1933 John Hammond, a music critic and record producer heard her singing in a Harlem club and had her to record a couple of sides with Benny Goodman. The first, Your Mother’s son-in-Law gives no hint of her promise.

Billie Holiday, Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948 web optimised 740

Billie Holiday backstage at Carnegie Hall, mid-to-late 40s. Photo: Library Of Congress

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John Coltrane

Lost John Coltrane Album Coming June 29

The discovery of a lost John Coltrane album has sent a wave of shock, surprise, awe and jaw-dropping excitement through the jazz world. It was widely assumed that Coltrane’s record label, Impulse!, had discovered all of the saxophonist’s unheard recordings when they released a raft of posthumous LPs in the wake of his death in 1967. It appears, though, that a complete album – recorded just four years before his passing – slipped through the net, and it only exists thanks to Coltrane’s producer, Bob Thiele, who allowed the saxophonist to take home a ¼” reel-to-reel reference tape of the session, which was recorded on 6 March 1963, and which, on 29 June, will be released as Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album.

The world will finally be able to hear what John Coltrane and his classic quartet – pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones – recorded on 6 March 1963. The lost album comes from a time when Coltrane and his band were experiencing a particularly fertile creative period, exploring and pushing the boundaries of jazz with each new album. They had just finished a two-week engagement playing at New York’s Birdland venue when they went into Van Gelder Studio with Bob Thiele during the week beginning 4 March 1963. The first session, held on Wednesday, 6 March, yielded the seven pieces that make up Both Directions At Once, while, during a session held the following day, Coltrane returned to the studio to record with singer Johnny Hartman. That latter session was released as the Impulse! album John Coltrane And Johnny Hartman, but the previous day’s recording was, for unknown reasons, shelved.

John Coltrane Both Directions At Once Press shot web optimised 1000 - CREDIT - Jim Marshall Photography LLC

Photo: Jim Marshall Photography LLC

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dean martin

On This Day: Dean Martin Was Born

On this day 101 years ago, the incomparable Dean Martin was born.

The Italian-American singer, actor, comedian, and film producer was one of the most inescapable entertainers of the mid-1900s, known for his incredible charisma. It was only befitting Martin was constantly referred to as the “King of Cool.”

He partnered with Jerry Lewis for the comedy team aptly named Martin and Lewis, and joined the “Rat Pack” before hosting the television variety program The Dean Martin Show (1965–1974) and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast (1974–1984).

Martin has scored dozen of hits, some of his most well known being “Memories Are Made of This”, “That’s Amore”, and “Everybody Loves Somebody”.

He was born on June 7, 1917 as Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, to Italian parents. He was bullied as a child for his broken English. In Grade 10, he dropped out of high school because he felt he was smarter than his teachers. He found odd jobs bootlegging liquor, dealing blackjack, and working in a steel mill.

At 15, he started boxing and billed himself “Kid Crochet.” He suffered a broken nose, a scarred lip, and broken knuckles as a result of 12 fights (he says he won eleven.)

He caught his first break in show business working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra and singing in a croon inspired by the styles of Harry Mills. He started singing for bandleader Sammy Watkins, who suggested he change his name to Dean Martin.

Martin married in 1941 to Elizabeth “Betty” Anne McDonald and had four children before divorcing in 1949. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1944 during World War II in Akron, Ohio.

Upon his return, he pursued comedy and made his TV debut on The Ed Sullivan Show with Lewis in 1948. It was here his show business career would take off, with acting ventures (including Ocean’s 11 with the Rat Pack) and recorded more than 100 albums over his carer, even though he could not read music.

Here are 10 of Martin’s most well known songs:

10. “You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You”

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Molly Johnson Meaning To Tell Ya

Five Exciting Takeaways From Molly Johnson’s ‘Meaning To Tell Ya’ Album

Molly Johnson has released her new album, Meaning To Tell Ya.

The Juno-award winning Canadian icon has combined a collection of covers with original tracks for the new project, out today (May 11.)

Here are five things we’re super excited about when it comes to Molly Johnson’s Meaning To Tell Ya:

5. Classic covers with a twist

The first taste of Meaning To Tell Ya comes with “Inner City Blues”, a Marvin Gaye classic that still resonates today with a powerful social commentary message. Leonard Cohen’s “Boogie Street” and Gil-Scott Heron’s “Lady Day and John Coltrane” are also featured. The jazz arrangements bring a new brightness to the records, extracting fresh emotion and soul.

4. Larry Klein’s contributions to the album

“Working with Larry Klein was magic. When it was finally my turn, I jumped at the opportunity. I can’t wait to share it with everyone,” Molly describes making the record with Klein, “It’s funk, it’s soul, it’s groove.” (more…)

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