In 1963, a jazz-obsessed, college-educated black Beat poet in New York wrote a “theoretical endeavor” linking the sociopolitical and the sonic. A half-century later, Amiri Baraka’s book remains the first of its kind — and among the most important — in African-American studies.
In the span of Howlin’ Wolf’s life and career he saw virtually the entire progression of blues from a rural, acoustic music through the birth of modern rock music. As a young man, he learned guitar from Delta master Charley Patton, and as an elder statesman performed with Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones. In […]Blues Time Machine
It’s one of the most widely played songs in the blues, but not much is known about Robert Petway, the man who recorded the definitive early version of “Catfish Blues”. The scant information that exists tells a familiar story of a Delta musician who headed to Chicago to make records. But after recording a mere […]
Bunch learned to arrange for big bands while held captive in a German POW camp during WWII. After returning stateside, he worked with the likes of Woody Herman, Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman, and was Tony Bennett’s pianist for a number of years. Bunch died earlier this year, so Piano Jazz remembers him with this 1991 session.
Skip James was one of the first influential blues players. Although he came from the same Mississippi culture that produced Delta blues, James had a unique sound, built around unusual guitar tunings and his eerie falsetto. Robert Johnson based his song “32-20 Blues” around James’ lesser known “22-20 Blues”, and Cream famously covered his song […]