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Marc Myers' JazzWax

Gerry Mulligan Plays Mulligan

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Gerry+Mulligan+-+DriggsWhen most jazz fans think about Gerry Mulligan in the early 1950s, two recordings come to mind: his March 1950 session with the Miles Davis Nonet (later coined Birth of the Cool) and his influential August 1952 pianoless quartet date in Los Angeles with Chet Baker, Bob Whitlock and Chico Hamilton, which marked the birth of a more laid-back West Coast sound. But nestled in between the two was an equally important recording session in New York that fused both the cool jazz that had been and the contrapuntal jazz that would soon be.

Buddy DeFranco + Tommy Gumina

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02aAmong the least known but most fascinating jazz recordings of the early 1960s are five albums recorded by a quartet co-led by clarinetist Buddy DeFranco and accordionist Tommy Gumina. The first album was recorded for Decca in 1960 while the balance were done for Mercury through 1964. For some odd reason, none of the albums have been reissued on CD, and mint copies of the LPs go for double-digits at eBay. [Pictured: Buddy DeFranco and Tommy Gumina, courtesy of Tommy Gumina]

Interview: Marcos Valle (Part 3)

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Artworks-000003116913-j9x9u4-originalUpon his return to Rio in 1968 following an extended American tour, Marcos Valle began to record with a new confidence. His music also took on a more percussive and rock feel as Brazilian music changed and developed over the decades. But he also retained his knack for passionate ballads and spirited songs with catchy melodies.

Interview: Marcos Valle (Part 2)

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Marcos+Valle+Foto+ZecacatMarcos Valle has a way with a melody, whether he's singing in Portuguese or English or simply playing the piano. Three albums are perfect evidence of his poetic ability: Braziliance! (1967) Samba '68 (1968) and Viola Enluarada (1968). In each case, you hear how Marcos baits a melody line to seduce the listener. Even songs with titles such as Crickets Sing for Anamaria or Chup Chup, I Got Away remain in your head long after the songs have finished playing.

Interview: Marcos Valle (Part 1)

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Screen shot 2011-05-16 at 6.47.10 PMThe bossa nova was conceived in Rio in the mid-'50s by a generation of highly gifted singer-songwriters who loved West Coast jazz and adapted its lyrical approach to cool off and personalize the samba. Among these Brazilian innovators were Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Luiz Bonfa, Joao Donato and Vinicius de Moraes. By the early '60s, the demand in the U.S. and Europe for new catchy bossa nova melodies began to outstrip the supply, and new Brazilian composers were sought. Enter Marcos Valle [pictured], whom I write about in today's Wall Street Journal (go here) in advance of his Birdland appearance in New York starting tonight (go here). Marcos will be joined by another Brazilian legend, vocalist Wanda Sa.

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