Ben Ratliff

Latest Articles


Getting the story

Full-length written histories of jazz can be a slog. Especially since "the story of jazz" (as critic Marshall Stearns titled his 1956 tome) only gets longer and more complicated. Personally, on these prose-narrative trips along the New Orleans–New York
Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux sing jazz's many strains
By JON GARELICK  |  December 04, 2009

Henry Threadgill Zooid | This Brings Us To, Volume 1

Henry Threadgill has been reinventing his language — and by extension the jazz language — for at least 30 years, beginning with the trio Air in the 1970s.
Pi (2009)
By JON GARELICK  |  October 30, 2009

Group efforts

In November 2008, cutting firewood at his home in Brooklyn, Mark Turner, 42, arguably the most influential tenor-saxophonist of his generation, lost control of the power saw he was using.
Fly and the Tiptons
By JON GARELICK  |  April 10, 2009

Close readings

The JCA has been at it since 1985, a collective of musicians who are primarily composers rather than players, in need of an outlet to hear their pieces.
Darrell Katz and the JCA, Ben Ratliff, Jeff Turton
By JON GARELICK  |  November 18, 2008

State of the art

You could find just about any kind of jazz you wanted on the three stages at the JVC Jazz Festival in Newport last weekend.
Newport's Jazz ID check
By JON GARELICK  |  August 12, 2008

Man of the Century

Bo Diddley, a particular favorite of Lupo, was the first “name” performer to play the club.
The late, great Bo Diddley helped put Lupo’s on the map
By PHILLIPE + JORGE  |  June 04, 2008


The cyborg and the sistah

What’s in a fantasy world?
Janet’s Discipline and Badu’s New AmErykah
By CHARLES TAYLOR  |  March 17, 2008

Sweet reads

Here, listed alphabetically by author, are 10 of the best works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry the Phoenix wrote about in 2007.
Books: 2007 in review
By JON GARELICK  |  December 17, 2007

Holy spirit of the saxophone

John Coltrane died 40 years ago this past July at the age of 40 of liver cancer.
The John Coltrane Memorial Concert and Ben Ratliff’s Coltrane: The Story of a Sound
By JON GARELICK  |  September 12, 2007

The tenorist

The scene is typical for a Boston jazz date.
Jerry Bergonzi sets the standard — as player and teacher
By JON GARELICK  |  June 19, 2007

Tales from the ’hood

From the beat of the first hand-slapped tambourine, you know who you’re listening to.
Wynton takes some pot shots at pop culture
By JON GARELICK  |  March 20, 2007


Midwestern master

I was going to say Roscoe Mitchell laughs like Mutley. But that’s not it exactly.
Roscoe Mitchell brings the word from Chicago
By JON GARELICK  |  October 17, 2006

Live, long and uncut

Here’s Miles performing not in the laboratory of the studio but in front of a live audience, unmediated by the mixing board or the razor blade.
Columbia opens Miles Davis’s Cellar Door
By JON GARELICK  |  January 12, 2006