Jazz

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This Day In 1959

…. the Guggenheim Museum opened. One year later William Claxton took the above photo of jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. A previous Ivy Style tribute to Coltrane (and the Claxton photo shoot) is here, while a post on striped sportcoats is here. As for posts on buttondown-collared shirts, Mr. Erik J. has weighed in on the


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A New Port Of Call

Lately we’ve been talking about the year 1954 as an arbitrary starting point for the Ivy heyday. Both LIFE Magazine and Playboy ran big stories on the look that year, and Miles Davis is believed to have first donned Ivy duds about that time, serving as an example of the many guys who would become


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Must-Have Summer Vacation Item: The Dacron Suit, 1961

Every so often while working the Ivy beat, I come across an historical document so utterly anathema to the world of today that it feels like it’s from another universe. Case in point, this advertisement just dug up by assistant editor Chris Sharp. It ran in a May, 1961 edition of the Brown University school


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Ivy Style Salutes Squaresville Appreciation Month

Now that April’s Jazz Appreciation Month is over, Ivy Style would like to declare the merry month of May Squaresville Appreciation Month. Throughout the month Ivy Style will cater to philistines, dullards and middlebrows with series of posts devoted to repressed WASPs, conservative politicians, the accounting and insurance industries, Internet trads, and the buttoned-down mind


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Lemmony Snippet: Jack’s Jazz Piano At Cafe Carlyle

We close our tribute to Jazz Appreciation Month with the short clip above, in which Jack Lemmon demonstrates his impressive piano chops at Cafe Carlyle with Bobby Short. Not one sour note. Lemmon was born to play the sack-suited, dyspeptic advertising man of the Atomic Age. We’ve previously done posts on his films “Good Neighbor


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Jazz Goes To College

On our recent post in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, someone left a comment saying he was at college in the ’50s and that jazz was only for beatniks. Sure beatniks dug jazz, but so did the guys above, and they’re goatee and sandal-free. The photo is from the 1960 yearbook of Lehigh University, and



It Might As Well Be Spring

Last night on the quiz show “Jeopardy!” there was a jazz category. The contestants left it for last and then failed to answer a single question. America’s classical music, indeed. On New Year’s Eve I made a resolution to work on my jazz piano chops. It’s the only resolution I’ve kept through March. My girlfriend


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Hollywood Style: Before The Golf Swing, The Other Kind Of Swing

Last night I was sitting around with the girlfriend pulling up videos on YouTube and trying to explain the difference between swing, jump blues and rockabilly. I went looking for a band I knew from San Francisco and stumbled across a blast from my past: Two recently uploaded clips about an independent movie called “Swing” I



Brooks Clothes & White Shoes: Harvard Blues, 1941

On our recent white bucks and grey flannels post, Bruce Boyer left a comment mentioning the song “Harvard Blues.” Considering it’s been on our editorial calendar for about four years, I’d say it’s high time we do a post on it. The song, recorded in 1941 by Count Basie, opens with these immortal lines: I


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The Well Edited Wardrobe, Part Two

After the recent closet-purging post, some of you no doubt wondered what was left. Well, after you get rid of the stuff you don’t love and keep only what you do, you end up with a wardrobe that looks something like this: • Herringbone sportcoats, far and above my favorite pattern. • Lots of grey


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An Almost Mystical Presence: Charlie Davidson On Chet Baker

In addition to the profile of Charlie Davidson, for the forthcoming issue of The Rake I also wrote a short piece on Chet Baker, with quotes by his good friend Charlie. Here it is. * * * Passive Form: Don’t be fooled by those pulse-slowing tunes: self-destructive jazz prodigy Chet Baker — the most stylish



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Jazz, Surfing And Poetry On A Summer’s Day

Today is the first day of summer. You probably don’t need a calendar to tell you that, as the entire United States is getting scorched with its first nationwide heat wave. But summer’s aren’t endless, so make hay — or whatever else you like to do from June to August — while the sun shines.


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Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!

Charlie Davidson, the legendary 86-year-old proprietor of The Andover Shop, doesn’t often condescend to pose for the camera, but he acquiesced last week for my long-gestating profile in The Rake. Consider the shot above a sneak peek and expect the story sometime this summer. The headline, for those of you who don’t listen to music


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Miles Away: An Update On Cheadle’s Davis Biopic

Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis film project is apparently climbing slowly but surely through the rings of development hell, though the light of day may be miles away. According to reports, the music rights have been secured and there’s a script that focuses on one 36-hour period of the jazz great’s life. Perhaps befitting a small


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Black History Month: Hampton Hawes

In 1977 Hampton Hawes, a woefully underrated pianist, composer and writer, died at the age of 48 from a brain hemorrhage. Known only to the most astute jazz musician and aficionados, Hawes had accomplished a great deal to be considered a bonafide jazz legend. His brief time here included performances with Dexter Gordon, Teddy Edwards


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Black History Month: Stanley Turrentine

Stanley Turrentine, the Pittsburgh-born tenor saxophonist known for a big soulful sound, lyrical delivery and erudite harmonic sense, was one of the few jazz instrumentalists to have crossover success as a popular artist. Known to play his black-lacquered Selmer tenor saxophone while his R&B star was in the ascendant, Turrentine’s sartorial presentation was always elegant


Season’s Greetings From Chet

To make sure you’re in the proper Christmas spirit, here’s Chet Baker and the Lighthouse All Stars doing “Winter Wonderland” from 1953. Chet cut one Christmas album, “Silent Nights,” in 1986. He declined to include, however, the Christmas tune that would have best suited him: “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.”


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Penthouse Serenade: Hef on Ivy, 1960

If you’re a sucker for the “Mad Men” vibe of cool dudes, sexy chicks and midcentury style, you should really check out “Playboy’s Penthouse,” Hugh Hefner’s variety show from the early days of his budding Playboy empire. Episodes are available on DVD, including through Netflix. The episodes were taped in a party atmosphere that brought


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Farewell, Indian Summer

It’s the end of summer, and time to put away the Indian madras for another year. Hope you had a great three months; mine was certainly a summer to remember: the romance of a lifetime (kindled at J. Press of all places), and a new hobby-obsession I’ll be writing about soon. “Indian summer” refers not


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George Shearing: Introduction and Farewell

I started high school in suburban California riding a skateboard and running a music fanzine for which I scored an interview with Metallica, back when Metallica was still accessible to 15-year-olds with fanzines. But change comes rapidly in those years, and by my senior year I was wearing sportcoats to school and listening to classic