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    Apr 22

    Written by: Michael Dalby 4/22/2009 12:51 PM 

    Herbie NicholsPianist composer Herbie Nichols was born in NYC  in 1919; he worked in late 1940s with Hal Singer, Illinois Jacquet, and John Kirby.  He is best known for his unique compositions which he began writing in 1939.  His writing and playing were influenced by Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell; they feature unusual melodic and rhythmic ideas; his playing mixed swing and bebop with a Caribbean influence.  He recorded two trio albums for Blue Note in 1955 and 1956 and an album for Bethlehem in 1957.

    Other than a little work as a sideman on other Herbie Nicholsleaders' sessions, this is his only legacy.  But his compositions, including "Lady sings the blues" which he wrote for Billie Holiday, and others, were rediscovered in the 1980s with support of Roswell Rudd, Archie Shepp, Buell Neidlinger, and Misha Mengelberg.  In addition unrecorded pieces have surfaced and been recorded posthumously by the Herbie Nichols Project and others.  Nichols died forgotten in 1963, but his work is much better known now than during his lifetime.

    CDs

    The complete Blue Note recordings . Blue Note, 3CD set, 1955-56, c1997.

    Love cash gloom. Bethlehem, 1957.

     

    Recorded Compositions

    Herbie Nichols Project: Strange City . Palmetto, 2001.

     

    Books

    Giddins, Gary. Rhythm-a-ning: jazz tradition and innovation in the ‘80s . Oxford, 1985.

    Litweiler, John. The freedom principle: jazz after 1958 . Da Capo, 1984, 1990.

    Spellman, A.B. Four jazz lives . Univ. of Michigan, 1966, 2004.

     

    Scores

    Hard bop piano: jazz compositions of the 50s and 60s . Gerard and Sarzin, 1992. 

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