Not only did Wiley set a trend by recording the first songbook album, she also scored a winner by transforming songs which were familiar only as showtunes into sensitive and dramatic jazz standards.
The album was recorded for Liberty, a high-class music shop with an elite clientele, and they not to mention the messrs Gershwin were so delighted with it that it was quickly succeeded by a Cole Porter equivalent. The combination of voice and musical accompaniment is excellent. Please give my congratulations to Lee Wiley. Wiley was, as her friends have noted, a complex person. One defining characteristic, evident in her music, is her honesty and sense of conviction.
She was also a free spirit, and seems to have been able to blend into any social circle. Just as Katharine Hepburn once said of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers that he lent her class and she lent him sex appeal, the same applies to Wiley and jazz.
She brought sophistication to the music, and it brought out her sexy side. It was the perfect relationship. By the late s, she was working on the nightclub circuit and beginning her slide into obscurity. Thereafter, she only made the occasional appearance on television and radio. She died in December after a long battle against cancer. The tragedy of Lee Wiley is that her legacy of recordings is pretty slight, and there is no film footage of her singing.
Except by those who heard her: at her last public appearance, at the Carnegie Hall, as part of the Newport Jazz Festival, audiences went wild for her — an upbeat note on which to end her career. Filed under Profiles. Filed under Bix. The main event and reason for my being invited was to hear piano wizard Dick Hyman play at the Royal Overseas League that night. But, being a youngster, I had to go wherever my father went — and, of course, he had a full day of jazz planned.
Many of the musicians I heard on my first day were already elder statesmen of jazz when I was born. This Gallic group should be compulsory listening for anyone who thinks jazz is po-faced or inaccessible. Humour, style, joie-de-vivre and terrific musicianship are the hallmarks of an Antics concert. My seven-year-old sons love them too….
One of my abiding memories of my early jazz festival visits is of hot-footing it from venue to venue often across town in order to catch ten minutes of a set and cram as much into the day as possible. Filed under Concert reviews , Uncategorized.
I relived that fateful day in my first-ever bit of a theme emerging here Edinburgh Jazz Festival preview feature which was written, in , while I was still a student and about 20 articles into my journalistic career. And then the main event:. Filed under Uncategorized. Sign me up! RSS - Posts. RSS - Comments. Alison Kerr's Jazz Blog. Skip to content. A shorter version of this was published in The Herald on August Like this: Like Loading Search for:.
Blog at WordPress. Post to Cancel. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Because of this, it has a strong identity and has established a reputation among musicians all over the world as one of the most desirable festivals to visit.
First, there was the Nairn accommodation crisis — caused by double bookings and the fact that since so many jazz fans had booked rooms, there were few left for the performers — which was resolved by putting most of the musicians in Elgin. Then there was the nightmare journeys faced by anyone travelling on public transport at the weekend.
One musician endured a ten-hour train and bus trip from Edinburgh. Despite all this, the festival swung into action as if nothing was wrong. There is a ramshackle, everybody-pitches-in, quality about this festival, but the bottom line is that everything always works out in the end — and that the music always comes first.
Which is presumably why musicians love to come here. One musician who left, yesterday morning, looking as if he had had the time of his life was Bob Wilber, the American clarinettist and saxophonist who was lured out of semi-retirement by two tempting reunions — with the clarinettist Kenny Davern on Monday night, and with the Hot Club de France-style band fronted by Belgian guitar maestro Fapy Lafertin on Tuesday evening. Wilber and Davern gave a sensational concert at the stiflingly hot Universal Hall in Findhorn.
These virtuoso musicians have known each other for decades and they clearly thrive on opportunities to play together.
For the most part they steered clear of standard fare on Monday night, and instead offered such lesser-played numbers a Smiles, Jazz Me Blues and The World is Waiting for the Sunrise. However, it was during an old Fats Waller warhorse, Honeysuckle Rose, that the camaraderie onstage reached its high point, with Wilber on soprano sax and Davern jabbing and jousting to exhilarating effect as they traded breaks.
This was a wonderfully relaxed session featuring the clarinettist in charge — and at his best. And the Lafertin outfit — two guitars, bass and violin played by the fiendishly talented Dutchman Tim Kliphuis — was just as delighted to have the chance to renew its acquaintance with Wilber, with whom they last worked in The results were a knockout, with Wilber absolutely in his element — hunched over his horn and dancing about as if he was in a New Orleans parade — and egged on by the dazzling, though far from flamboyant, virtuosity of Lafertin.
Nairn did it again on Tuesday night: showed up the rest of the country in its commitment to one-off inter-festival jazz concerts. Wilber is a paradoxical figure. His precise, professional appearance, while reflected in the polished nature of his arrangements, is really a foil for the passion and energy of his playing style.
The academic visual image is underlined by one of his instrumental choices — his celebrated curved soprano sax which, at about half the length of the straight soprano sax, looks like an extra-large pipe. As promised, it made an altogether different sound from its wee brother: bolder, more commanding, and more elegantly fluid.
Its lilting performance on What a Difference A Day Makes, however was a contender in the knock-out stakes. The quartet appears to be jinxed, however. Unfortunately, I was too young — but only just!
And none of them has anything but the highest praise for her, both as a singer and as a human being. She is definitely a lady whose life and career are worth celebrating. She began singing as a child and went on to perform regularly in and around Pittsburgh. Loch Lomond was an international hit, and, as she later said, it put Maxine on the map. See clip of Mutiny in the Nursery at the end of this article. In , Maxine appeared in the movie St Louis Blues, singing the title number while Dorothy Lamour got all the new songs.
The show ended in , not long after Kirby and Maxine divorced. During the s, Maxine continued to be a major draw at nightclubs the length of 52nd Street. She came back and toured Scotland in With Hyman, she revisited the sonnets of Shakespeare for the cultish album Sullivan-Shakespeare-Hyman, a lesser-known gem in her recorded output.
Lyricists loved her because she paid such great attention to their words, and usually sang the rarely-performed verses. And musicians loved her too. Because she was so musical. She responded to anything that she heard. She was small-ish and perfectly self-possessed, and could take charge of a musical situation with her delicate way of singing — quite the opposite of someone who shouts the blues or rants and raves.
She was very controlled, very delicate and feminine in what she sang. And she swung. Continuing the one-of-the-boys theme, Warren Vache recently told me that when he was 25, he was drunk under the table by Maxine, who — it seems — was very fond of her whisky. It was all pleasantness.
The idea of a generational divide never occurred to any of us. Down Beat. The Cut. Retrieved June 22, The Independent. Retrieved April 14, Archived from the original on April 14, Retrieved August 24, Retrieved April 15, The Billboard.
February 25, Retrieved January 3, Retrieved October 24, The Billboard Book of Top Hits. Billboard Books. Retrieved July 24, Dance, Little We look forward to more representative names from a long list of announced Piano Portraits to come. Meanwhile, this reviewer Retrieved January 1, Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, doi : Retrieved January 2, Retrieved July 25, The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings 9th ed.
Live at the Kitano". All About Jazz. The Guardian. Namespaces Article Talk. Wilber recorded for Columbia Records , Commodore , and Circle with Bechet and with his own group in the late s. The trio featured traditional New Orleans-style jazz dixieland. Eventually, Wilber expanded the band to a sextet and was booked as the main attraction: Bob Wilber and the Dixieland Band. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American jazz clarinetist, composer and saxophonist.
The Syncopated Times. Retrieved Bob Wilber Papers, — May 11,With Bob Wilber. Soprano Summit (World Jazz, ) Summit Reunion (Chiaroscuro, ) Bufadora Blow-up (Arbors, ) A Perfect Match (Arbors, ) Everywhere You Go There's Jazz (Arbors, ) A Tribute to Kenny Davern and 80th Birthday Salute to Bob Wilber () With others. Howard Alden, Howard Alden Plays the Music of Harry Reser (Stomp.