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Mark E. Gallo

Mark E. Gallo

29.01.2011

Jazz Independence

Published in Jazz Viewpoints
Musicians have been struggling with the means to reach a broader audience and supplement incomes since the earliest recordings were made nearly a century ago. Given that roughly 75% of jazz recordings released each year qualify as independently released product, this obviously is the norm rather than the exception. Outside of Blue Note, CBS/Sony, Verve, RCA, WEA, Fantasy, Telarc, etc., just about every jazz player who records does so for a small regional or home-made label and is booking studio …
I’ve been listening to male vocalists lately and wondering if it’s a vanishing breed. Not that the male voice has ever been as prominent as its female counterpart over the past century or so. Consider the greats: Nat Cole, Sinatra, Billy Eckstine, Arthur Prysock, Big Crosby, Tony Bennett, Little Jimmy Scott, Mel Torme, Johnny Hartman

Then look at the list of the gals: Ella, Sarah, Billie, Carmen McRae, Shirley Horn, Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Nancy Wilson, June Christy …

29.01.2011

Jazz Independence

Published in Jazz Viewpoints
There are a lot of jazz fans who refuse to listen to the blues because it’s perceived as "too rowdy," and just as many blues aficionados who are sure that jazz is "too crazy." Talk about some misinformed ears!

There is a disc jockey on the public radio station in Detroit (Gene Elzy, WDET-FM) who plays what he terms "the jazzy side of blues and the bluesy side of jazz." The coexistence of the two has been inextricable forever. The intersection has always been a busy one, with frequent and glee …

A couple of months ago, Wayne Shorter submitted a Desert Island Disc piece to Jazzreview.com. Beside the fact that it was a rare opportunity to read the jazz maestro’s thoughts, it lit a fire. Knowing I’m not in the minority and that there are actually millions of closet list makers among us, it seemed a fine time to lay bare this obsession. I’ve engaged in this exercise many times over the years. My lists don’t vary much. John Coltrane, Muddy Waters, Frank Zappa, Doc Watson, Stevie Wonder and M …
29.01.2011

Boogie Woogie 101

Published in Jazz Viewpoints
Boogie woogie, a piano style that has been in an out of favor with audiences a few times over the past century, is an excruciatingly complex combination of a dancing bass line (it sure isn’t just walking) supplied by the left hand and dazzling runs from the right, and usually played on an upright piano. The ability to combine the two hands in a complimentary and cohesive fashion is what separates masters from pretenders and is why the list of the former remains relatively short.

History trace …

There are those who refer to the Detroit area pianist Bob Seeley as the foremost player in the world, the greatest boogie woogie pianist alive today. There are those, too, who will mistakenly call him low key, in spite of the mighty rumblings that emanate from his supremely talented digits. He doesn’t have a record contract, though he’ll happily sell you any or all of his three self-produced CDs at the gig or by mail. He doesn’t take the show on the road a heck of a lot -- but when he does, he d …
29.01.2011

Blues Heroes

Published in Jazz Viewpoints
The Martin Scorsese-generated blues series, a weeklong extravaganza of blues films presented on PBS stations across the country, was one of the most anticipated events of the past few decades. Given the decline of sales across the board for all genres of music, the folks who make, record and release blues music were hoping for a shot in the arm, akin to the Ken Burns series on jazz and, to a lesser degree, the country/bluegrass film "O Brother". While every label with a stake in the music releas …
Publishing year-end lists serves to spark debate and (ideally) inspire closer inspection of the music that moves us throughout the year. If you’re like me, you probably shake and scratch your head every time you look at these lists, wondering what in the world the list maker could have been thinking. "They thought what was the best album of the year? What, are they kidding!?" There are lists that inspire, too. I often buy music on the basis of year-end lists, but only if at least some of …
29.01.2011

Fantasy Jazz

Published in Jazz Viewpoints
The relationship between record companies and musicians who aspire to be recording artists is a symbiotic one. The levels of success in those affiliations hinge on both the appeal of the artist as well as on the marketing savvy of the label and their pr departments. Giants like Sony/Columbia, BMG, Blue Note, Verve and Telarc are masters of strategy. They know how to entice talented players to their ranks and, more importantly, how to get the word out to print media and radio, and ultimately to t …
One of the more intriguing concepts of music that of an alternate, parallel language more ancient and more starkly emotional than the spoken word apples to those who play avant garde and free forms of music. The musician who plays "free" jazz, music free from, though not especially devoid of, conventional boundaries of harmony, melody and rhythmic form, is perhaps more tuned into the concept of alternate language than others. These are the players who think in terms of growing the music, stretch …