Boing Boing 

Ska is the mother of reggae

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Public Radio International aired this short audio piece on ska, the musical form that took off in the early 1960s, blending Jamaican jazz with American soul and rhythm and blues, and influenced numerous excellent bands, from The Clash and The Specials to No Doubt and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

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Rad jazz cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

The Sunji Lee Quintet plays Nirvana. Far out!

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Amazing photos of jazz legends

LR-METRO-0502 Miles Davis

Photo and print dealer Limited Runs is touring a fantastic collection of jazz photos from the archives of Metronome, an influential music magazine that published from 1881 to 1961.

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Ornette Coleman, avant-garde jazz pioneer, RIP

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Saxophonist Ornette Coleman, whose avant-garde jazz compositions birthed the free jazz movement of the 1960s and beyond, has died. He was 85.

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Night Swimming: swinging new album from Halifax's Gypsophilia

I've loved all three of their previous album, but this one's even better -- listen for yourself!

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Spontaneous jam: USMC & HS marching band, Mardi Gras

Matt sends, "video I caught of a spontaneous jam session that happened in front of me at Mardi Gras 2015: A USMC band and a bunch of high school band members met in the streets and suddenly launched into 'St. James Infirmary.'"

Watch robots generate improvisational jazz music and dance

Robotic musicianship doctoral candidate Mason Bretan at Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology filmed this intriguing robotic jazz performance with three Shimi robots and a larger Shimon robot. It really gets cooking about a minute in and when Shimon gets a marimba solo.

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Electroswing Ella Fitzgerald's "Air Mail Special"

The Club Des Belugas Remix of Ella Fitzgerald's classic Air Mail Special turns one of the greatest scat tunes of all time into an amazing electro-swing song, with an unexpectedly fitting rhumba beat.

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Kickstarting Skyliner; a graphic novel memoir about jazz behind the Iron Curtain


At 81, Polish illustrator Andre Krayewski has adapted his memoir about being a jazz fan in Stalinist Poland into a graphic novel, and his son Ed has translated it to English.

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"In The Mood" for three ukes

Byntje Music's rousing arrangement of Glenn Miller's "In The Mood" for three ukuleles. The YouTube post includes links to tabs so you can play along. (via Laughing Squid)

Oscar Peterson gives a piano lesson (1979)

In 1979, jazz legend Oscar Peterson -- called "the Maharaja of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington -- gave Dick Cavett a lovely TV piano lesson. (Thanks, Gareth Branwyn!)

Jazz: New York in the Roaring Twenties – an illustrated, aural, and written history of Harlem’s early jazz scene

“The Roaring Twenties began with Prohibition and ended with the stock market crash. In the years between, New York experienced an unparalleled revolution in ways of life, language, and music.”

For jazz, the epicenter of the revolution was Harlem.

Created by German illustrator Robert Nippoldt with text by Hans-Jürgen Schaal, Jazz: New York in the Roaring Twenties is a beautifully produced over-sized, cloth-bound walk through the history of Harlem and its transformation from a peaceful village on the outskirts of New York City into “America’s black Paris.” Woven through 144 pages of ogle-worthy, award-winning design, we experience a Harlem alive with inspiration, invention, and unparalleled talent. We meet its key players through 24 extraordinary biographies of Harlem’s jazz luminaries, and learn how the limits of the early recording process shaped the sound of the first jazz records ever pressed; why Louis Armstrong had to record without tuba or percussion in 1925; and why clarinetist Prince Robinson’s legs had to be bound together before he could begin a studio session. We’re introduced to each of the twenty recordings included on an accompanying CD –including the first commercially released jazz recording ever made, 1917’s Livery Stable Blues – by way of histories and narratives connecting the dots between these pivotal pieces and their place in the annals of jazz. The book even maps historic Harlem’s nightclub, theater, and dance hall scene.

Jazz: New York in the Roaring Twenties celebrates time and place without ever sugarcoating the often harsh realities and egregious adversities faced by the legendary community of artists who created a uniquely American genre of music. It’s an adventure in art, words, and sound that successfully manages to blur the line between a ‘Jazz for Dummies’ treatment and a collection for the seasoned aficionado.

Jazz: New York in the Roaring Twenties

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

New Orleans jazz rendition of Game of Thrones

The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys play a rousing old-timey jazz rendition of The Game Of Thrones Theme.

DJs plunder Raymond Scott's archives and remix rarities: Raymond Scott Rewired!


The Raymond Scott estate turned over 50 years' worth of the composer's archives to three DJs -- The Bran Flakes, The Evolution Control Committee, and Go Home Productions. The archives contained "jazz, orchestral, electronic, experimental, studio chatter, never-heard rarities," which the DJs remixed into six tracks each, as well as a collaborative remix of Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse," perhaps his best known work (and much beloved of classic Warner Brothers' cartoons fans).

The Raymond Scott Rewired CD came out on Feb 18, and there's also an MP3 version.

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Electro-swing: glitchy, jazzy, uptempo music

Having belatedly discovered the Electro Swing genre, I'm enjoying the hell out of it. My wife brought home a link to Caravan Palace's "Clash" (from their 2012 album Panic), which is pretty much perfect in its ability to hit all my sweet spots: Django/Grapelli-ish picking, megaphone singing, Andrews Sisters harmonies, Herbie Hancock glitch-tunes, and just enough dubstep to be interesting (but not enough to be annoying).

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Lord Buckley meets Groucho Marx

Nothing says Christmas like jazz poetry, and nothing says jazz poetry like Lord Buckley's appearance on You Bet Your life. If you only watch one 10-minute video of a jazz poet trading quips with Groucho Marx this holiday season, make it this one. Bonus: a totally unsubstantiated comment on the YouTube page says that Buckley's partner is actor Amy Poehler's grandmother.

Lord Buckley / Groucho Marx

Lord Buckley's "Christmas Carol"

Patrick sez, "Lord Buckley was a comedian/storyteller who performed in the '50s. His version of A Christmas Carol is an utter delight."

Damned straight. Lord Buckley's a hero of mine, and this is him at his best. If this has you intrigued, try his version of The Raven, and Dig Infinity!, the indispensable biography of Lord Buckley.