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Happy Birthday, Newport Jazz Festival

This Day in Jazz History says that today is the 60th anniversary of The Newport Jazz Festival. Here is a history of the event.

Above is Big Maybelle performing “All Night Long” at the 1958 festival. Be sure to listen carefully…she’s a bit hard to hear.

Here is more about Maybelle Louise Smith:

Born in Jackson, Tennessee, United States, Big Maybelle sang gospel as a child and by her teens had switched to rhythm and blues. She began her professional career with Dave Clark’s Memphis Band in 1936, and also toured with the all female International Sweethearts of Rhythm.[3] She then joined Christine Chatman’s Orchestra as pianist, and made her first recordings with Chatman in 1944, and with the Tiny Bradshaw’s Orchestra from 1947 to 1950.[4]

Her debut solo recordings, as Mabel Smith, came for King Records in 1947, backed by Oran “Hot Lips” Page, but she had little initial success. However, in 1952 she was signed by Okeh Records, whose record producer Fred Mendelsohn gave her the stage name Big Maybelle.[5] Her first recording for Okeh, “Gabbin’ Blues”, was a number 3 hit on the Billboard R&B chart, and was followed up by both “Way Back Home” and “My Country Man” in 1953. In 1955 she recorded “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On”, produced by Quincy Jones,[6] two years before Jerry Lee Lewis’s version. More hits followed throughout the 1950s, mainly for Savoy Records, including “Candy” (1956), one of her biggest sellers. (Continue Reading…)

The performance was recorded for the 1960  film “Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” which features fabulous footage of the 1958 festival. Here is Dinah Washington’s performance.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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