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


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


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.


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


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


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


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.”


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


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


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


Black History Month: Trane Keeps A-Rollin’

For the final of our tributes to Black History Month, first-time contributor Jason Marshall takes a solo. John Coltrane, saxophonist and visionary, set standards in nearly every facet of his short but ultimately fruitful life. While generally associated with Philadelphia, Coltrane is actually from Hamlet, North Carolina, and never tried to hide his Southern roots.


Zoot Suit: Sims, Eugene Smith, and the Jazz Loft Project

The New York Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center currently has a great exhibit for fans of midcentury style. Entitled “The Jazz Loft Project,” it’s based on the work of photographer W. Eugene Smith, who spent years chronicling the goings on in a loft in Manhattan’s wholesale flower district, where jazz musicians would come for


Travel My Way: Jazz-Ivy Icon Bobby Troup

During the heyday of The Ivy League Look, a number of guys from preppy backgrounds wound up working in the field of jazz. Bobby Troup was one of them. Raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Troup prepped at The Hill School, then studied economics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. While an undergraduate, Troup


Brooks Brothers’ Swingin’ Christmas Party

Last night Brooks Brothers held a Christmas bash at its flagship 346 Madison Avenue store. The event drew hundreds, with shopping proceeds benefitting St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. On the third floor, Wynton Marsalis (pictured at left) and members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, who are dressed by Brooks Brothers, played swinging renditions of


Take 50: Dave Brubeck Honored at Kennedy Center

Fifty years after the release of his seminal 1959 album “Time Out” and on the day of his 89th birthday, Dave Brubeck was honored by the Kennedy Center. The gala event, which honors lifetime achievement in the performing arts, will air on CBS December 29. The Washington Post has a Brubeck profile here, while the


Miles Ahead: Chens on Davis for The Rake

Miles Davis began his professional career wearing second-hand Brooks Brothers suits from a pawn shop. A dozen years later, ahead of the curve rather than behind, Miles would be wearing, according to Down Beat, “what the well dressed man will wear next year.” On assignment for issue six of the elegant Singapore-based menswear magazine The


Johnnie Pate Trio, 1957

Before he moved on to soul and R&B, bassist Johnnie Pate was a solid link in the jazz-campus connection. He even used a flute to give the Ivy League a dance beat:

The Cool and the Beautiful

In the arts and culture, generally things are either cool or beautiful. Marcello Mastroianni in “La Dolce Vita” is cool, while beauty is what happens between 1:18 and 2:59 in the third movement of Brahms’ Piano Trio in C Minor. “Cool” didn’t exist before midcentury, while since then the quaint notion that art should be


Warlord of the Weejuns

In 1965, Esquire jazz and style writer George Frazier wrote this essay for the liner notes of the album “Miles Davis’ Greatest Hits.” The Warlord of the Weejuns By George Frazier I don’t mean to be a bastard about this, but, at the same time, I have no intention of being agreeable just for the


Blue and Sentimental

Blue Note Records, a name synonymous with jazz, turns 70 this year. Blue Note has come a long way since its first boogie-woogie piano recording of an after-hours session with Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis. Started by German immigrant and jazz enthusiast Alfred Lion, and aided by photographer Francis Wolfe, the label became the