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Jazz Music on the Rise

  • Doug Levine

Jazz legend Herbie Hancock of the US performs at the jazz festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, 31 Oct 2010

Jazz legend Herbie Hancock of the US performs at the jazz festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, 31 Oct 2010

Jazz music was flowing in 2010. There was jazz in the studios, jazz on stages, jazz in film, and there was even jazz on the high seas.

Warm tropical breezes greeted 2010 aboard the 7th Annual Smooth Jazz Cruise. The so-called "Greatest Party At Sea" sailed the Caribbean with concerts by dozens of smooth jazz stars. The cruise paid tribute to jazz musician and professional basketball player Wayman Tisdale, who lost his battle with cancer in 2009.

There was plenty of live jazz on land as well. The 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival featured a hip-hop symphony and performances by Chick Corea's Freedom Band and Roy Haynes' Fountain of Youth Band; the 31st Annual Detroit International Jazz Festival honored jazz masters Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Ray Brown, Horace Silver, Betty Carter and Gil Evans; and iconic pianist and composer Dave Brubeck performed at the world-famous Newport Jazz Festival. Brubeck headlined Newport's very first festival in 1954.

Dave Brubeck plays at the CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, 08 Aug 2010

Dave Brubeck plays at the CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, 08 Aug 2010

Dave Brubeck celebrated his 90th birthday in 2010, a milestone that was marked by the release of a 2-disc set called The Definitive Dave Brubeck, and the documentary film In His Own Sweet Way.

Saxophonist Sonny Rollins also proved that age is just a number, touring the world on his 80th birthday. In the meantime, there were plenty of new, and some not so new, jazz releases to keep fans happy throughout the year.

Canadian Singer Michael Buble had the top-selling jazz album of the year with Crazy Love. The album was released in 2009, but Michael's appeal to both jazz and pop audiences secured its spot on the jazz chart for more than 60 weeks.

Other best-sellers included albums by Jamie Cullum, Harry Connick, Jr., Fourplay, and Diana Krall, as well as notable recordings by The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Herbie Hancock, Brian Wilson, and James Moody.

Sadly, Moody, who co-wrote the timeless jazz piece Moody's Mood For Love, died of pancreatic cancer in 2010. The jazz world also bid farewell to singers Lena Horne and Abbey Lincoln, pianist Hank Jones, guitarist Herb Ellis, composer John Dankworth, and jazz photographer Herman Leonard.

One of Leonard's favorite subjects was trumpeter Louis Armstrong, whose music was the inspiration for Louis, a silent movie loosely based on Armstrong's childhood in New Orleans. The film premiered in five cities in the U.S. and featured live accompaniment by Wynton Marsalis and an all-star jazz ensemble.

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