Author: Gregory Lewis

Book Reviews

Baltimore-Born Drummer Chick Webb: a Retrospective

A new biography by Stephanie Stein Crease Thanks to jazz historian Stephanie Stein Crease, we now have a comprehensive biography of William Henry (“Chick”) Webb (1905-1939), the Baltimore-born musical prodigy whose innovative drumming technique helped to perfect rhythmic “swing,” the defining orchestral aesthetic of the Swing Era:  Rhythm Man: Chick Webb and the Beat That Changed America (2023). | Read more>> Read More
Misc. Jazz Related Topic

Don’t Bogart That Joint

As Maryland voters have recently legalized recreational marijuana, it seems propitious to take a look back at the historical pot prohibition and its impact on the jazz community. While the smoke-filled rooms of nightclubs in 20th century cities like New Orleans, Chicago and New York shaped the contours of  jazz, America’s only indigenous art form, it was the furtive backroom smoke of weed that became a distorting presence. | Read more>> Read More
Concert Reviews

The Paul Carr Quintet with Vanessa Rubin at The Caton Castle

On April 30, 2022, the Caton Castle presented the Paul Carr Quintet, featuring vocalist Vanessa Rubin. The personnel included Paul Carr on tenor and soprano sax, Allyn Johnson on piano, Michael Bowie on acoustic bass, and Chris Latona on drums. Rubin’s reputation as a top-notch jazz vocalist preceded her, and the winsome lady did not disappoint. | Read more>> Read More

Black Arts District in Focus

Near the intersection of Pennsylvania and Lafayette Avenues in West Baltimore, there stands an ornamental replica of the marquee of the storied Royal Theater.  A short distance away stands the statue by Black sculptor James Earl Reid (1942-2021) of Baltimore’s hometown jazz diva  Billie Holiday in a full-throated pose, a half-block away from the Royal Theater’s original location.  | Read more>> Read More