Jan 18, 2019
1959 has always been one of my favorite years. It gave us “Ben-Hur”, the Guggenheim Museum, Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Twilight Zone”. John Kennedy started his campaign for President. Heck, I was BORN in 1959.
It was an auspicious year for jazz recordings as well. Before the new decade started, classics such as Kind of Blue, Giant Steps, Time Out, The Shape of Jazz to Come, Mingus Ah Um and Sketches of Spain were all released. So influential are these albums that I truly don’t need to identify the artists who recorded them.
Natalie Weiner is captivated by the year as well. You can follow her ambitious “The 1959 Project” online as she gives us images and words from each day of that auspicious year. She gives us the highlights of course, when these superb albums were recorded and released, but also the club runs of artists, complete with photos of the patrons attending the clubs, and the fashion, styles and panache of the time.
Natalie is best known as a former Associate Editor at Billboard magazine, and now a contributor to that publication as well as writing fro SBNation a top notch on-line sports site. But she played in her high school and college marching band, plays the bass, and covers jazz with great feeling and insight. Her recent written piece on the Roy Hargrove Tribute concert at Lincoln Center was not only insightful, but moving in a way few pieces of its type are. Check her out on Twitter (@NatalieWeiner) for great running commentary on everything from the Seattle Seahawks to Modal Jazz.
The first podcast of 2019, Podcast 654, is my conversation with Natalie as we discuss the 1959 Project, how she feels it is coming along, where she goes from here, and her other jazz related projects. Musical accompaniment includes a 1959 recording of John Coltrane and Milt Jackson's "Three Little Words" from Bags & Trane, and the title track from Roy Hargrove and RH Factor's album Hardgroove.