Rich Kienzle

Rich Kienzle

chilly billy

Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette

The best way to pay homage to a Pittsburgh institution like the late Bill Cardille is watching him in action.

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My review of guitar virtuoso Barney Kessel's recently unearthed live 1954 performance at a Phoenix jazz club, available on vinyl and CD.

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 My podcast review of the upcoming (July 29) Quiero Creedence, a Latino salute to Creedence Clearwater Revival featuring American and Latin American bands playing their favorite CCR numbers.

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Pittsburgh Jazz Legends 20: Billy May

Tuesday, 12 July 2016 09:55

 

sinatrabilly

"Recording with Billy May is like having a bucket of cold water thrown in your face."

--Frank Sinatra.

Billy May's career took him from playing and arranging in Pittsburgh bands to the mainstream after World War II. His virtuosity, vision and buoyant good humor created a vision that enhanced the recordings of Sinatra and other singers. He also left a legacy of first-rate, swinging instrumental albums.

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 Music critic-historian Rich Kienzle reviews a coming vinyl reissue of folk-blues singer/social activist Josh White's 1955 LP Josh At Midnight,  one of Elektra Records' earliest successful LPs.

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joe lawrencemusic2014

Joe at Lawrence Music in 2014  Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette

Joe Negri turned 90 last month (actual date: June 10). Two weeks ago, he returned to the Omni William Penn to an appreciative audience including many in the local jazz scene, some involved with the former WDUQ and myself. Marketing Director Bob Page brought out a birthday cake with one candle for each decade.

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 Scotty Moore and Elvis Presley are names forever joined in history, Scotty, Elvis's first guitarist, died yesterday at 84 in Nashville, where he'd resided for over half a century. From Presley's first Sun recordings in July 1954, until the singer entered the Army in 1958, and for a brief time after his 1960 discharge, Scotty's bopping, snarling and slashing guitar framed Elvis's vocals on everything from "That's All Right (Mama)" to "Hard Headed Woman" (from King Creole).

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Dolly Parton's "Pure And Simple" tour hits Pittsburgh tomorrow at Console Energy Center. One of the selling points is her celebrating her simpler and traditional roots, performing with a bare-bones band, free of the overblown visual light shows, smoke bombs and other BS contemporary "country" acts embrace. 

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Given the choice of having a pig or a banjo, in 1928, 11 years old Ralph Edmund Stanley chose the banjo. American Music was better for it. His passing after a battle with skin cancer wasn't unexpected. His grandson Nathan passed the word on social media some weeks ago. Known for his superb five-string banjo work and eerie, haunting vocals, he was the one of the last major first-generation bluegrass bandleaders still standing. His passing last night at age 89 leaves a permanent void.  The survivors are Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman and Bobby Osborne.

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My review of the new 3-CD, 1 DVD package Highwaymen Live: American Outlaws, live material from 1990 and 1992-93 by the first country "supergroup" (Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson).

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