In The Wall Street Journal this week, I interviewed John Oates of Hall & Oates for my "House Call" column on growing up in New York and North Wales, Pa. (go here). John talked about a medical complication at 13 months that nearly killed him and the steps his parents took to ensure the doctor spared his throat. Hall & Oates are touring this summer beginning in May with Tears for Fears. Here's Hall & Oates' One on One (1982)...
Also in the WSJ, I interviewed chef Michael Symon for my "Playlist" column on Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven and the injury that cut short a career and forced him to explore another—the one that made him a success (go here). [Photo above of Michael Symon courtesy of MichaelSymon.com]
Prez and the gang. In 1944, Life magazine photographer Gjon Mili teamed up with jazz producer Norman Granz to produce a short film called Jammin' the Blues,, featuring jazz greats of the day. The film was nominated for an Oscar in 1945 but failed to win. Mili and Granz decided to take another shot in 1950 by filming leading jazz artists.
Sadly, a lack of funding caused production to halt, and the reels were shelved for 50 years. In past years, they've surfaced on YouTube. I'm not sure if the following clip shows these artists in action or they are merely syncing to prerecorded music. This was common then (and now) to avoid the high expense of re-dos if performances weren't perfect on camera. To view this amazing clip featuring Lester "Prez" Young (ts) with Bill Harris (tb), Hank Jones (p), Ray Brown (b) and Buddy Rich (d), go here. Unfortunately, I'm unable to embed the video.
Ella Fitzgerald at 100. On Sunday, April 23, at 9 a.m. (EDT), Danny O'Bryan, host of "Jazz Insights" on WFPK in Louisville, Ky., will celebrate Ella Fitzgerald's 100th birthday two days early by rebroadcasting his 1978 interview with the singer. You can access the show on your computer or smartphone from anywhere in the world by going here.
More Ella radio. Next Tuesday, April 25, on the centennial of Ella's birth, WKCR-FM in New York will present a special commemorative radio program, playing Ella's music for 24 hours around the clock. This means from Monday night at 11:59 PM to the end of Tuesday at midnight. To listen on your computer or smart phone from anywhere in the world, go here.
Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill (Thames & Hudson) is a handsome and remarkable coffee table-sized book (144 pages) featuring penetrating images of the singer. In April 1957, photojournalist Jerry Dantzic was sent to the Sugar Hill club in Newark, N.J., by Decca Records to document Holiday for a solid week. It was one month after her wedding and a year after her memoir, Lady Sings the Blues, was published. She also was photographed in color by Dantzic at the Second New York Jazz Festival on New York's Randall's Island in August of that year. There are performance images here and candids. Through these photographs we wind up with a new perspective of Holiday—as a warm, lonely artist enjoying babies, families and everyday life. This is Holiday before the great slide, while she was still beautiful, cheerful and full of hope. To buy, go here.
Cuba Gooding Sr. (1944-2017). With the April 20th passing of Cuba Gooding Sr., lead singer of the Main Ingredient and father of the actor, here he is singing Just Don't Want to Be Lonely...
And here's Gooding Sr. singing lead on Everybody Plays the Fool...
Oddball album cover of the week.