Frankie Dunlop: Monk’s Drummer – Part 4

Musically, shortly after leaving Monk, Dunlop signed with Atlantic Records. In 1964, Frankie recorded several rather commercial singles under this own leadership, Frankie Dunlop & His Orchestra, including Latin Twist, Lowdown Waltz, and Uptown Downtown.  He freelanced on some small group recordings with Mose Allison, Sonny Rollins, and bassist Richard Davis. The Davis album, The […]

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Frankie Dunlop: Monk’s Drummer – Part 3

The story of Thelonious Monk’s engagement at the Five Spot in the summer of 1957 has entered into jazz lore as possibly the most consequential club engagement in the history of jazz, bringing together Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane and serving to rapidly propel both careers forward. But Frankie Dunlop’s very short role in it […]

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Frankie Dunlop: Monk’s Drummer – Part 2

Buffalo, by virtue of its large and growing Black population as well as its geographic location- about halfway between New York City and Chicago, 200 miles from Cleveland and 90 miles from Toronto, Canada-  was a frequent destination for the nationally known big bands as well as small groups playing “the new thing,” bebop.  Nothing, […]

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Frankie Dunlop: Monk’s Drummer – Part 1

Frankie Dunlop’s parents to be, William (Willie) Dunlop and his wife, a very pregnant Jessie and their two children, Helen and Boyd Lee had arrived in Buffalo, New York from Winston Salem, N.C. sometime in 1928. In Winston Salem, both parents had been working in the burgeoning tobacco industry for R.J. Reynolds. They were part […]

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The Lasting Legacy Of Charlie “Bird” Parker At 100

On Saturday, August 29, the jazz world celebrates the 100th birth date of Charlie “Bird” Parker. The 100th centennial is no ordinary celebration. Parker is a revered figure whose short-lived life carved a lasting stone of innovation in music. His impact continues to influence venerable and budding jazz artists alike more than sixty-five years after […]

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Jazz Legend John “Spider” Martin Honored With Niagara Falls Street Naming

If you travel any time soon to the intersection of Main and Ontario Streets in the city of Niagara Falls, you will find a new street name sign. The new street sign, John “Spider” Martin Way, honors the late jazz musician and legend from Niagara Falls. The intersection is just down the block from where […]

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Bill Crump: A Great Day in Harlem’s “Mystery Man”

The most iconic group photograph in the history of jazz, entitled “A Great Day in Harlem” was taken on August 12, 1958, in front of a brownstone at 17 East 126th St. The photographer was Art Kane who was on assignment from Esquire Magazine. The image was to become the centerpiece of the January 1959 […]

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James Brandon Lewis Voted Rising Star Winner In 2020 Downbeat Critic’s Poll

James Brandon Lewis, since leaving his hometown of Buffalo, has risen in the jazz world as an emerging saxophonist of note. Lewis is usually noted for his ability to reach into the past of influences by Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman while crafting a unique improvisational sound that is modern and futuristic. In […]

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Freddy Cole Was “The Tops” For Many Jazz Fans

“Freddy Cole? He’s the tops, mate! The very tops!” When I first learned of the passing of vocalist/pianist Freddy Cole on Sunday at the age of 88, this quote immediately popped into my head, as it did over the past nearly three decades whenever I saw Freddy’s name or heard him sing.  With Cole’s passing, […]

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Ella Fitzgerald Documentary, “Ella: Just One of Those Things,” Is Worth Watching

The 2019 documentary about the life of the iconic Ella Fitzgerald has made its way to the United States and to the WNY region.  Ella: Just One of Those Things is available virtually through an arrangement with The Screening Room and its virtual cinema. The film is directed by Leslie Woodhead and produced by Reggie […]

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