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    Interview: Marcos Valle (Part 1)


    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.

    JazzSnap: Harry James (c. 1943)


    The saxophonist here is Corky Corcoran, lead tenor on Harry James' band recordings from 1941 through the 1970s. That's James on trumpet, of course, and James band stringman John deVoodgt to James' right. I'm guessing this is 1943 based on the cut of their suits and the fabulous 1943 newspaper photo of James on the right.

    Screen shot 2011-05-12 at 1.41.39 PM

    Jazz-Johnny DeVogue-left, Harry James-middle, Corky Corcoran-right


    Interview: Booker T. Jones


    BookertxNot sure who Booker T. Jones is? If I took away "Jones," would that help? Yep, he's that Booker T. In today's Wall Street Journal (go here), I interview Booker T. of Booker T. & the M.G.'s about his new solo album, The Road From Memphis, as well as a range of other topics. [Photo by Jason Thrasher]

    Roy Orbison: Monument Singles


    Roy-orbison-cryingWith images of lower Memphis awash in a swollen Mississippi River, I spent yesterday listening to Roy Orbison: The Monument Singles Collection (1960-1964), a newly remastered, three-disc set from Sony Legacy. As readers know, I love everything about Memphis—the energy, the kindness of strangers, the ribs and pork shoulder, the city's rich blues and rock history, and the humidity. So Orbison's recordings were just right, reminding me how delightfully dark and somewhat misunderstood this early rocker was.

    Chris Byars: Lucky Strikes Again


    Screen shot 2011-05-09 at 8.37.57 PMWhen the names of great tenor saxophonists are tossed around, the chain of succession generally runs like this: Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. All, of course, were reed titans, and Sonny still is. A half-step below this esteemed group is a second tier of greats that includes Don Byas, Wardell Gray, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Frank Wess, Frank Foster, Hank Mobley, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Wayne Shorter. Typically left out is Lucky Thompson [pictured], who was an exceptional musician in every way.

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