Archive for History

We Want Beer: 80th Anniversary Of The Repeal Of Prohibition

// December 5th, 2013 // No Comments » // Commentary, History, News

A Ford Model-T displays a sign demanding the repeal of Prohibition.

A Ford Model-T sits with a sign demanding the repeal of Prohibition. Photo taken at the August 18, 2013 Jazz-Age Lawn Party on Governors Island.

This day in 1933 brought with it an end to one of the most disastrous social experiments in American history, as the 21st Amendment to the Constitution took effect, repealing the 18th Amendment and effectively ending the period known as Prohibition.

Although today officially marks the 80th anniversary of this historic turning point, the country had been drinking legally for almost 8 months prior, courtesy of President Roosevelt’s signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act into law, which allowed the sale of certain beers and wines before full repeal of the Act took effect.

But what does this have to do with music?


Jazz-Age Lawn Party Is The Cat’s Pajamas

// June 27th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // History, Jazz Events, News, Recaps & Reviews

This past weekend we attended the Jazz-age Lawn Party on Governors Island which, for the last few years, has injected a bit of Roaring 20’s-style class and sophistication into NYC two weekends each summer. As usual, the event is nothing if not a great place to people-watch. It’s striking how over 85% of the revelers (not an official statistic) are decked out in full 1920’s regalia. (more…)

The Queens Jazz Trail Walking Tour

// February 10th, 2011 // No Comments » // History, Jazz Events


Ella Fitzgerald’s home: The current owners still receive mail addressed to “The First Lady of Song.” PHOTO CREDIT: CBS New York

Ever wonder where jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Milt Hinton went after giving incredible performances night after night? Well now you can find out when you sign up for The Queens Jazz Trail Walking Tour.


Celebrating Dizzy Gillespie’s Birthday With A Google Doodle

// October 21st, 2010 // No Comments » // Commentary, History, Jazz Events, News

Google displayed a stylized version of its logo on Thursday, October 21, 2001 in honor of jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's birthday.

Google displayed a stylized version of its logo on Thursday, October 21, 2001, in honor of jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's birthday.

Having been sick for the last few days, I came home from work early today to fight off the last remnants of a nasty cold. At 5pm I downed a dose of NyQuil in an attempt to get some sleep, and boy did it help! I slept almost until midnight, or “Round Midnight” as may be apropos to say at this moment. Upon waking up, I logged on to the computer and was super excited to find that Google decided to honor what would have been Dizzy Gillespie’s 93rd birthday with a stylized Google Doodle.


Memories & Anecdotes Of “A Great Day In Harlem”

// October 3rd, 2010 // No Comments » // History

"A Great Day In Harlem" by Art Kane, 1958

“A Great Day In Harlem” by Art Kane, 1958

I have this strange fascination with delving into things. Be it a song, book, play or even an item in the newspaper – it’s not enough for me to take something at face value. I usually research the back story, look up references and connect dots to appreciate the work on a whole new level.


2011 Newark Songbirds Calendar – Great Gift For A Great Cause

// September 22nd, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Denise Hamilton, History, Jazz Events, Madame Pat Tandy, News, Pam Purvis, Yvette Glover

You’ve heard me say it before – my daily NJ-centric jazz searches typically produce a list of band websites, local shows or other upcoming jazz events. On rare occasion, there’s a jazz club for sale or someone releasing a jazz-infused collection of Michael Jackson tunes. But late last week I had the unique pleasure of discovering a calendar featuring female jazz singers from the Garden State. What a treat! I had to investigate. (more…)

“Lullaby Of Birdland” Lyricist George David Weiss Dead At 89

// August 24th, 2010 // 2 Comments » // History, Jazz Events, News

George David Weiss (L) and Bennie Benjamin (R) in their office, New York, NY, circa April 1947.

George David Weiss (left) and Bennie Benjamin (right) in their office circa April 1947. PHOTO CREDIT: William P. Gottlieb

It’s always amazing how many unknown artists touch my life through their work; artists such as George David Weiss who I only find out about through the obituaries.


Guitar Great Les Paul – Gone But Not Forgotten

// August 13th, 2010 // No Comments » // History, Jazz Events, News


Late guitarist Les Paul forever left his imprint on the music industry with his recording innovations and playing style. PHOTO CREDIT:

“This guy invented fire. What Dante was to literature, Les Paul was to modern recording. There was all this primitive stuff before him, and everything after him owes him a huge debt.”

Wow. How do I follow something like that? Luckily this legendary musician gives me more than enough material.

Les Paul was an amazing jazz and country guitarist, songwriter and inventor. He completely changed the way pop music is produced and helped make the sound of rock and roll possible with the solid-body electric guitar. He also pioneered the use of recording techniques modern artists take for granted such as multitrack recording, delay and echo, among others. His revolutionary guitar skills continue to inspire guitarists to this day and his namesake, the Gibson Les Paul, remains “the world’s most prestigious guitar.”


Newport Jazz Fest 2010 – A Survival Guide For Those Left Behind

// August 1st, 2010 // No Comments » // Commentary, History, Jazz Events, News

The Ben Allison Quartet performs during my fateful 2007 Newport Jazz Festival trip.

The Ben Allison Quartet performing during my fateful 2007 Newport Jazz Festival trip.

In August of 2007, I took a week-long road trip through New England with a friend of mine. The first night’s itinerary called for a stop in my favorite New England town – Newport, Rhode Island.

Since the trip was a spur-of-the-moment event, I was blissfully unaware that we were about to drive into town on one of the most popular summer weekends – that of the Newport Jazz Festival. After driving around to a few bed & breakfasts, we realized finding a room was not going to be easy. But it was only after speaking with the folks at the majestic Hotel Viking and being quoted a rate of $700/night that we found out why we were having such trouble.


The Life And Death (And Life Again) Of Henry Grimes

// July 21st, 2010 // No Comments » // History, News

Bassist, Henry Grimes in 2005

Bassist Henry Grimes in 2005. PHOTO CREDIT: Wikipedia / Seth Tisue

Six days and counting – so much to say, so little time. Where to start? is a website that allows people to post causes and take donations from others who support the same. It’s breathed life into tons of worthy projects that would have never seen the light of day otherwise.

Recently a cause came to my attention that will be of interest to Jazzville, NJ readers. But there are only six days to go before the time allotted for funding runs out.