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    Robert Johnson: Complete Tracks

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    Images-2There's something haunting about Robert Johnson's voice. The blues singer-guitarist sounds at once cock-sure and frightened, giving his recordings the feel of both perspiration and a cold sweat. As I wrote in Friday's Wall Street Journal review (here), Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings (Sony/Legacy) continues to illustrate that given a chance, simplicity and passion will trump technique and quantity every time. I also spoke with Steven Lasker, the new set's engineer. More with Steven in a moment.

    JazzSnap: Woody Herman ('48)

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    This photo of Woody Herman's band in the summer of 1948 (based on the light jackets) is another one from Betty's collection of snapshots and stills. It was sent to me by her friend Chris. Betty has donated all of her prints, including this one, to Rutgers University's Institute of Jazz Studies. But since she and Chris also are big JazzWax readers, they wanted you to see this one, too.

    Albert King on Stax

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    Albertking580When I was a teenager in the 1970s living with my parents an hour north of New York in Westchester County, I had friends who worked in the record departments of stores that anchored local malls. They knew I loved music and that on my trips to New York I often brought back hip jazz records from stores called Sam Goody and King Karol. One of my cashier friends offered me a deal: He'd buy any three records I wanted in the store with his deep discount if I would buy him one Albert King record in the city. Sounded like a good deal to me.

    Eyewitness: Thumbs Carllile

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    Last week, JazzWax reader Uwe Zänisch in Berlin sent along a note about guitarist Kenneth "Thumbs" Carllile (1931-1987), a country picker with a superb technique. Rather than spoil the story, let me have Uwe pick it up ...

     

    Stan Kenton: Portrait of a Legend

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    Screen shot 2011-04-17 at 8.11.49 PMFor years, if you wanted a documentary on Stan Kenton, you were pretty much out of luck. You either had to find DVDs that included clips of the band over the years or you scrounged around YouTube hoping someone put up something fresh. Now Graham Carter at Jazzed Media has produced and directed Stan Kenton, Artistry in Rhythm: Portrait of a Jazz Legend. The new DVD offers a biographical look at the bandleader and his many orchestras through narration, musician interviews and rare footage, photos and promotional materials.

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