1. In the 1920s, Bessie Smith was a colossus who straddled jazz and blues. For all the acclaim she still gets, over time she’s been marginalized a bit in either field — like she’s too jazzy for blues people and vice versa. But Smith played a decisive role in shaping early jazz: horn players who worked with her learned a lot about bluesy feeling and inflections, a raspy vocalized sound, and the economical statement. She helped brass players in particular to find their own individual styles, as personal as singing voices.

    — via Kevin Whitehead’s review: The Mythic Power of Bessie Smith

  2. Kevin Whitehead

    Bessie Smith

    Fresh Air