Rebirth Of The Cool

In 2015, PowerHouse Books, publishers of “Take Ivy,” released another book chronicling midcentury life on the East Coast. “Rebirth of the Cool: Discover the Art of Robert James Campbell” features mostly photos of jazz musicians, along with various shots of life in New York City by a photographer, as the title suggests, in the process

Farewell, Indian Summer

It’s September and time — or almost time — to put away the Indian madras for another year. The term “Indian summer,” incidently, refers not just to a meteorological phenomenon (which actually happens in fall), nor to wearing madras for three or four months of the year. It’s also the name of a haunting tune by

Jazz, Surfing And Poetry On A Summer’s Day

 Going through our archives, I found this post I originally wrote in 2012 and am pleased to update it for summer 2020, which I think we can all agree is the strangest summer in any of our lifetimes. One year ago I’d decided that 10 years in New York were enough and was planning to

Kind Of Blue

The infamous green OCBD donned by Miles Davis with a puzzled expression on the front of the “Milestones” album has eluded clotheshorses for decades. The photo referenced is often of course the album cover. When looking at the photos from the photo shoot, however, we are provided with much greater picture quality. The shirt in these

Miles Ahead: Chens on Davis for The Rake

In 2009, The Rake asked me to write a little tribute to Miles Davis, who got hip to the Ivy League Look in 1954, right when the look was taking off across America. I just found out that the magazine has reprinted the story this month. I’m not sure whether it’s in the print issue,

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

Miles Ago

This week I met with someone close to Charlie Davidson, the founder of The Andover Shop who died recently at the age of 93. While cleaning out his apartment, the person found some 15 printouts of my 2008 article for Ralph Lauren Magazine. And not stashed in the same place, but rather scattered all about

News Roundup: Jazz, Movies, Clothes

We’ve got a handful of news items to get through. Where to start? How about with the 30th anniversary of “Dead Poets Society.” The Guardian has a tribute, writing: Like Weir’s other film based in and around an exclusive private school, the more enigmatic Picnic at Hanging Rock, education is viewed as a pivotal but

A Little Night Music

As a follow-up to our last post, which featured a job opening at The Andover Shop, here’s a little night music for your Saturday evening. The Modern Jazz Quartet was one of the jazz acts Andover Shop founder Charlie Davidson said he sold (or gave) some clothes to back in the Ivy heyday. At least as

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. Exactly which campus is a bit misleading. In the midst of the Ivy heyday, anything collegiate became synonymous with “Ivy League,” hence the above album’s title despite the fact that the photos were taken at the

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

A Day In The Life Of A Fool

In the midst of the heyday of the Ivy League Look came the short-lived music trend known as bossa nova. It hailed from Brazil and was soon picked up by many American musicians, even Frank Sinatra. One of the genre’s biggest hits was “A Day In The Life Of A Fool,” by composer Luis Bonfa,

Ears Wide Open

I was in the middle of a long moving process when I decided to go through some boxes and pull out my favorite albums. I soon realized that I hadn’t sat down and really listened to music in quite some time. When I discovered jazz in college, I would finish my classes, return to my dormitory

Miles Of Buttondowns

We haven’t looked at Miles “Warlord Of The Weejuns” in some time, so here’s a gallery of him during his buttoned-down years. As a finale, there’s a shot of him in a crested blazer I hadn’t seen before. This post was composed to the accompaniment of his 1958 green-oxford album “Milestones.” — CC

The Greatest Album Covers Of Jazz

Here’s a cool short video on the iconic Blue Note jazz album covers, which overlapped with the Ivy heyday. Cats abroad learned about Ivy clothes this way, and even some right here in the States. More on that when I get a big interview posted, hopefully by the end of the month. By the way,

Miles Off

Recently this photo came on my radar. Taken by Jean Pierre Leloir, it was attributed to the year 1946, making it quite surprising indeed. That’s a full eight years before Miles Davis got decked out in Ivy threads at The Andover Shop, yet here he is in a buttondown. I shared it on Twitter, saying

Stay Little Valentine, Stay

“My Funny Valentine” certain has staying power: it was already a classic when it appeared in 1958 in the movie “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” still one of the great jazz-Ivy movies. May cupid bless you on this day. — CC

Black History Month: Lee Morgan

Update: since this post was first written in 2012, a highly praised Lee Morgan documentary has been released. * * * While the perpetually stylish trumpet player Lee Morgan was a consummate musician, bandleader and composer, he was nothing if not a prodigious swordsman. It was, in fact, this libidinous inclination that brought about his

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