This is the english version of the Newsletter.
the original texts have been translated by Sonia B.

To read the French version, click on the following link.

The song of the month

Pharoah SANDERS / Heart Is A Melody Of Time

New Album

Tom IBARRA / Sparkling

Many view in him the rising Star of French jazz and his second album, Sparkling, reveals that he is worth the compliment. Guitarist and composer, Tom Ibarra is only 18 but has already shown an extraordinary musical maturity. But don’t think he got big-headed. In spite of his increasing success, he diligently continues his Music Studies at the “Centre des Musiques Didier Lockwood” in the city of Dammarie les Lys. Tom was of course deeply shaken by the death of Lockwood, a violinist he knew since he was eleven and who was in a way his mentor. This guitar virtuoso and excellent composer offers us a brilliant and inventive Jazz fusion album. Although one will immediately think of Pat Metheny, Tom Ibarra is far from being a pale imitation of his prestigious senior.
By his side, young and talented musicians : Jeff Mercadier (saxophone), Auxane Cartigny (keyboards), Antoine Vidal (bass) and Pierre Lucbert (drums) as well as two guests, sax player Stéphane Guillaume and bass player Michael League.

Let yourself be seduced by this literally « sparkling » album !

Thanks to Michel who first told me about Tom Ibarra.

An album to discover or rediscover

Nina SIMONE / Little Girl Blue

Also known as "Jazz As Played In An Exclusive Side Street Club"Little Girl Blue is the debut album of pianist and singer Nina Simone. As a teenager, Eunice (her real first name) dreams of becoming a classical concert artist. But she was born in a very poor family and, as a victim of racial prejudices, she has to give up on her initial idea. In 1955, she starts performing regularly in a bar of Atlantic City. So as her parents wouldn’t know, she takes the pseudo of “Nina” (“little girl” in Spanish) Simone (like Simone Signoret whom she saw in Jacques Becker’s movie Casque d’or).

She then gains some notoriety that allows her to release Little Girl Blue on Bethlehem label (1958). The album is acclaimed, particularly for the song “I Loves You, Porgy”. But it’s only years later, in 1987, that “her” standard “My Baby Just Cares For Me” will hit the charts, after being used in a TV commercial for a perfume brand. By listening to this album, one is struck by the amazing maturity of her voice and piano technique – influenced by her love for classical music.
Back then, she was only 25.


I would like to linger over the song that gives its title to the album. “Little Girl Blue” was written by Richard Rodgers (music) and Lorentz Hart (lyrics) for the musical Jumbo, created in Broadway in 1935. It is not the duo’s most famous standard (more famous are “Blue Moon”, “My Funny Valentine”, “Falling in Love With Love”, “My Romance”) but it is one of my favorites.

In 1962, the movie Billy Rose’s Jumbo comes out, in which Doris Day is singing this song. The melody’s beauty and the highly poetic lyrics of “Little Girl Blue” have seduced the greatest performers such as Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Coleman Hawkins, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O’Day, Frank Sinatra, Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan, Diana Krall, Stacey Kent, Keith Jarrett and, most recently, Sarah McKenzie. As for folk/rock singers, let’s mention Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon and of course Janis Joplin’s covers of the song.

"Why won't somebody send a tender blue boy to cheer up little girl blue".

Gerry Mulligan / California Concerts (1954)                      Janis Joplin / I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama 1969)


But Nina Simone’s version – with her unique feel and emotion – remains for me the most beautiful of all. It’s also the most original because Richard Rodgers’ melody is combined with “Good King Wenceslas”, a Christmas carol inspired by a 14th century song. This musical form, named “Quodlibet”, has been practiced by classical composers (Bach, Mozart) as well as modern composers (John Cage).

A Song, a Story,

Miriam MAKEBA / Nongqongqo ((To Those Who Love)

Zenzile Makeba Qgwashu Nguvama, better known as Miriam Makeba, is certainly South Africa’s most famous singer. Her notoriety is essentially due to one song : “Pata Pata”. This highly dancy song reveals a carefree love for life that Johannesburg’ Townships didn’t necessarily allow in late fifties. But the career of this artist whose is nickname is “Mama Africa” must not be reduced to this excellent song. As a relentless Anti-Apartheid activist, Miriam Makeba used her music as a weapon against segregation in South Africa. In 1965, she recorded “An Evening With Belafonte / Makeba”, an album that won a Grammy Award. “Nongqongqo” is the album’s hit track. In addition to a tender although powerful melody, the lyrics pay homage to heroes of the Anti-Apartheid Struggle such as Walter Sisulu, Robert Sobukwe, Nelson Mandela or Albert Luthuli (Nobel Peace Prize 1960). While listening to this very moving record, you will notice the “clics”, those tongue clicks typical of some Southern Africa languages. From one exile to another, Miriam Makeba will progressively quit singing even if she was successful again in 1987 with her contribution to Paul Simon’s splendid album “Graceland”. She died on November 9th of 2008 in Castel Volturno (Italy), following a seizure after a concert in support of writer Roberto Saviano hunted by the Mafia.


Double Bass Stories - Philippe VINCENT's Column

If there is one instrument that has flourished thanks to jazz and become one of its emblematic parts, it is double bass. Rarely to the forefront in Classical music and replaced by bass guitar in Rock music – which wanted to spit out its bass lines with ever more powerful sound systems – the double bass has remained a fundamental element in every jazz orchestra, freeing itself from its purely rhythmic function so as to become a solo instrument and making the bass player a leader in his own right. From Ray Brown to Charlie Haden via Charles Mingus and many more, bass players have become composers and conductors, opening others horizons than the “grandmotherish” tempo they used to practice. Three recent publications are evidence of this evolution, initiated a long time ago. Two of them are signed by French musicians settled in New York since many years and demonstrating a remarkable mastery of their subject.


By giving in to the swing of America where he chose to emigrate, Clovis Nicolas may have been a little forgotten by the French audience, although he was one of the best bass players of its generation. With Freedom Suite Ensuite (Sunnyside/Socadisc), he makes a wonderful come-back, as the leader of a bold project tribute to Sonny Rollins and his early 60’ pianoless trio. Beside personal compositions that demonstrate how much he has shaped himself with Rollins’ music, Clovis Nicolas reinterprets the saxophonist’s famous Freedom Suite, keeping the spirit of the master’s version but replacing the original trio by a quartet. By his side : on drums a Kenny Washington in top shape, and a wonderful Brandon lee whose warm tenor shows harmonic and melodic ease. As for trumpet players playing alternatively on the different tracks, Brandon Lee’s restraint competes with Bruce Harris’ ardor. The album is a real success and will fulfill the fans of eternal jazz.


If François Moutin is well known for being sideman in many orchestras, he is rarely the headline except in the ensembles he and his brother are leading. Here, he hasn’t chose facility : with Interplay (Dot Time/Socadisc) he co-signs a duo album with a young Indian-Amercican singer based in New Yorker named Kavita Shah. No better title could have been chosen for a recording where the two voices are intertwined, matching and complementing each other with grace and cleverness. This meeting between an ace of bass (beautiful sound and some astonishing solos) and a young singer is amazing. It must be said that Kavita Shah’s sense for impro wonderfully adapts itself to songs without words. As for their repertoire, it includes standards and compositions by Horace Silver, Bill Evans and Martial Solal. The French pianist is playing on two songs, showing that, at 90, he still has the fingers of a young man! As for Sheila Jordan – guest on two other tracks – her advanced age doesn’t allow us to fully find her back but her singing, filled with emotion, is very moving.

Dieter Ilg is a German bass player that very few people know of, although he has been playing in Charlie Mariano, Randy Brecker and Albert Mangelsdorff’s orchestras. The same could be said about Till Brönner, one of the best trumpet players of its generation on the other side of the Rhine. But Brönner’s identity has sometimes dissolved in too many and various projects. With their first duo album (Nightfall/Okey-Sony), they demonstrate a remarkable complicity – criss-crossed speeches, one’s voice never outshining the other. Ilg’s inspired solos and solid tempo respond to Brönner’s beautiful sound and agility on bugle as well as on trumpet. As for their repertoire : Ornette Coleman, Bach, Leonard Cohen and McCartney happily coexist with a few standards. What a mind-blowing duo!

But jazz isn’t only about bass and I wouln’t want to end this column without mentioning two other new albums. Young pianist Joran Cariou has released his first album The Path Up (Unit Records). Trained in the Centre des Musiques Didier Lockwood, he has invited guitarist Pierre Perchaud to join his trio on a few tracks. On this meticulous and fluid album, the all-original compositions show a constant care for melody.

Opposed to this small and rather intimist ensemble, Laurent Mignard’s Duke Orchestra rings out with its show “Jazzy Poppins” (Juste Une Trace), adapted from Pamela L. Travers’ novel Mary Poppins and the Disney movie. Although we miss watching the images while listening to the album, this fantastic orchestra delights us with its interpretations of Duke Ellington’s 1964 arrangements.
Go see the show if you get the opportunity to : you’ll hear this superb swing machine live !

Director of OMD (1983-1996), a society specialized in the distribution of jazz labels (Enja, Timeless, Muse, Sunnyside, GRP, etc.), founder of the label IDA Records (1984-1998) which recorded Barney Wilen, Louis Sclavis, Laurent de Wilde, Enrico Pieranunzi and many others, Philippe Vincent is a member of the Académie du Jazz and a regular contributor to Jazz Magazine/Jazzman since 2008. 

I'ts not Jazz, but ...

O'CONNOR BAND / Coming Home & Live !


Mark O’Connor is an American virtuoso violonist from Seattle, who expresses his talent in various genres such as Country, Bluegrass and Jazz. Among his major influences are Stéphane Grappelli and Chet Atkins. In 2000, he released Appalachian Journey with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and bassist Edgar Meyer.
In 2015, he founded the “O’Connor Band” together with his wife Maggie (violin), his son Forrest (mandolin), his daughter Kate Lee (violin and vocals), the guitarist Joe Smart and the bassist Geoff Sanders. They have released two fantastic albums : Coming Home (2016, rewarded by a Grammy) and Live! (2017).
Their music is an exceptional Bluegrass inspired by the roots of Appalachian music.


Seen Online

Catherine RUSSELL & John PIZZARELLI / Billie And Blue Eyes

Billie & Blue Eyes is musical journey featuring popular songs of Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. The John Pizzarelli Quartet is joined by vocalist, Catherine Russell, to celebrate the music of these iconic musicians.

A Painter to discover or rediscover

Giovanni BOLDINI (1842 - 1931)

Giovanni Boldini is an Italian painter whose nickname is “The Master of Ferrara”, the city where he was born. He starts painting very young in the workshop of his father who was an art restorer. At the age of 20, he settles in Florence and specializes in the pictorial genre of portrait painting, a genre that made him famous. He then travels a lot and makes friends with Edgar Degas and John Singer Sargent. Settled in Paris, he becomes a popular portraitist in the high society that appreciates his refined style as well as his admirable color technique.

It is worth noting that Boldini hated photography because to him, this art is limited to representing the world as it is, whereas painting is trying to exceed structures and to deconstruct our familiar space.

Giovanni Boldini - La Divina In Blu - Watercolor 50 X 36 (1905)

Giovanni Boldini - Cleo De Merode - (1901)

A Picture,  A Story

Tasmanie - Hobart - January 14, 2013

Tasmania, also known as « Inspiration Island », is located 240 km from the southern coast of Australia, at the level of the dreaded Roaring Forties. On the port of Hobart – the main city of the island – one can admire a set of bronze sculptures.
Australian artist Stephen Walker made them in memory of physician and astronomer Louis Bernacchi who took part in many expeditions in Antarctica, at the end of the 19th century.

Next Month On The Blog

A tribute to Chet Baker who died thirty years ago.


A Picture, A Story on Adobe Spark

Every month where almost, I publish a photo on this Blog, in the heading "A photo, a story". I gathered some (and others) on "Adobe Spark". You can find them by clicking on the link below :

Pictures and Stories of New York on Adobe Spark

"Pictures ans Stories of New York", a second photo album is on line on "Adobe Spark".

Memories of Florence - The city where art is king on Adobe Spark

"Memories of Florence" the third photo album is on line on "Adobe Spark".


Follow Jazznicknames on Twitter : @jazznicknames


Italy - Florence - Museum Of Modern Art - March 4, 2018
Alberto Magnelli - Contadini Col Carro - Oil On Canvas (1914)

"Le Blog de Jazznicknames" is an amateur Blog with no lucrative reasons for being. Some pictures and logos are protected by copyright laws.  If you have the rights to these pictures and / or logos and wish to have them removed from this website, please contact me by E mail.
The musical and video excerpts on this site are only used to quote and illustrade. They have not been included in any way to entice illegal downloading.

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