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Emotions Jazz Jazz Magazine France 65 Years of Photos

Emotions Jazz Jazz Magazine France 65 Years of Photos

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https://loeildelaphotographie.com/en/emotions-jazz-bb/


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Emotions Jazz
L’Œil de la Photographie
May 20, 2019
Created in 1954 by Eddy Barclay then developed by Franck Ténot and Daniel Filipacchi with Philippe Carles, Jazz Magazine, the reference magazine of jazz lovers, celebrates its 65th anniversary in 2019. This unpublished exhibition at the Mandarine gallery is a highlight.
“Jazz Magazine, relying today on its formidable historical potential, symbolic and its unique place in the panorama of the French press, is a brand in itself, a vector of jazz as” lifestyle “and an observer privileged of nearly 100 years of music. In collaboration with the Mandarine Gallery, we have drawn from our archive of nearly 17,000 documents to offer the public rare moments, captured by the greatest photographers of the time. You’ll find the unmatched presence of a Miles Davis, the elegance inspired by Bill Evans, one of the finest pianists of the century, the relaxed Parisian Chet Baker, lovers, not forgetting Duke Ellington pursued by his fans, Lionel Hampton preparing to take control of a single-engine or the fantasies of Terry Clark on stage. Moments of emotion, today part of our collective cultural memory. (…)
Édouard Rencker “Director of the publication of Jazz Magazine & Mandarine Gallery.
The Mandarine Gallery & Jazz Magazine, associated with the Saint Germain-Des-Près Jazz Festival, presents a collection of the most beautiful photographs published by the magazine for 65 years. Sale of photographic prints and a catalog of all the images on display.
Photographs: Guiseppe Pino, Herman Leonard, Herve Gloaguen, Paola Benzi, Bernard Leloup, Christina Fauchard, Chuck Stewart, Daniel Filipacchi, Jean-Francois Laberine, Joakim Bertrand, Phil Stern.
The prints of the exhibition are made by the e – Center laboratory.
Emotions Jazz
from May 15 to June 21, 2019
Mandarine Gallery
15 rue de Seine
Paris 75006
www.galerie-mandarine.com
 
 

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Steve’s music teachers (IGaS 5/30/66) – YouTube

Steve’s music teachers (IGaS 5/30/66) – YouTube

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWjSjN7-Fmc

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[jazz-research] Mike Migliore, R.I.P.

[jazz-research] Mike Migliore, R.I.P.

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https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/montrose-ny/michael-migliore-8711597

Saxophonist/woodwind doubler Mike Migliore died this past week. He had colon cancer that had been in remission but ultimately returned and proved fatal. I would estimate his age as being in the mid-60s.
    
    [Born 10/16/54, according to https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/montrose-ny/michael-migliore-8711597 -mf]
    
    “Migs” was best known for his tenure as a featured jazz soloist with Maynard Ferguson’s band in the late 1970s. After he settled in NYC, he had a long and successful career as a woodwind player, often playing for Broadway shows.
    
    Here are samples of his work with Ferguson:
    “Airegin”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4KP2j3dnCg
    July 1977
    “Give It One”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O61a2elzno
    March 1978
    “Stella by Starlight”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrhMT3nBz6w
    Summer 1978
    
    Migs and his pixieish sense of humor will be much missed.
    
    Bill Kirchner
 

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Sol Yaged, New York Clarinetist, has passed at 96 – The Syncopated Times

Sol Yaged, New York Clarinetist, has passed at 96 – The Syncopated Times

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https://syncopatedtimes.com/sol-yaged-new-york-clarinetist-has-passed-at-96/
 
Sol Yaged, New York Clarinetist, has passed at 96
Joe Bebco
Sol Yaged, New York Clarinetist, has passed at 96Sol Yaged, who died May 16th at 96, was inspired to pick up the clarinet at age 12 by a Benny Goodman performance he heard on the radio. After training with the New York Philharmonic he turned down a career in a classical orchestra to play jazz. In the 40s and 50s, he played with Phil Napoleon, Coleman Hawkins, Red Allen, and Jack Teagarden among others.
From the late 50s on he worked primarily as the leader of his own ensembles around the New York City area. He was a fixture at all of the New York jazz clubs, notably the Metropole where he recorded a live album in 1960.
In the early 1970s, he led a quartet with pianist Marty Napoleon. In the 1980s, he was at the Red Blazer Too and at Dino Casini’s. In the ’90s he featured in Felix Endico’s swing band which played society concerts in Westchester County, and in Jack Vartan’s band at The Stony Hill Inn. On occasion, he could still be found sitting in with Vince Giordano at the Iguana, where he was a regular in the 2000s.
Sol Yaged, New York Clarinetist, has passed at 96He maintained a frequent performing schedule over a 70 year period, interrupted only by three years of service in WWII. His wife is quoted as saying, “Musicians are on the road 50 weeks a year to play NYC for two…Sol hits the road for two weeks and plays NYC for 50.”
He is most remembered as the great interpreter of Benny Goodman and was a consultant to Steve Allen on the 1956 film, The Benny Goodman Story.
He was famous everywhere he went, even among people who didn’t know he played jazz. He was known for handing out mints, and they figure in an inordinate number of the personal remembrances his death has sparked.
The 50th anniversary of his first album, “It Might As Well Be Swing” was celebrated with a concert in 2006. The album was reissued on LP and CD last year by Pine Hill Records. Yaged remained active until the end and had a new album planned for this year.
Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of SyncopatedTimes.com. He is available for liner notes and other writing or to give your website an overhaul. Reach him at Joe.syncopatedtimes@gmail.com
 

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OFFICIAL SITE | BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY documentary

OFFICIAL SITE | BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY documentary

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https://www.bathtubsoverbroadway.com

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Facing Homelessness And Crushing Medical Debt, A Renowned Jazz Guitarist Reaches Out : NPR

Facing Homelessness And Crushing Medical Debt, A Renowned Jazz Guitarist Reaches Out : NPR

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https://www.npr.org/2019/05/15/723183103/facing-homelessness-and-crushing-medical-debt-a-renowned-jazz-guitarist-reaches-
 
Facing Homelessness And Crushing Medical Debt, A Renowned Jazz Guitarist Reaches Out
Anastasia TsioulcasMay 15, 201911:42 AM ET

Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell, in an undated photo.
Reed Hutchinson/UCLA
One of the jazz world’s most enduring artists, the influential 87-year-old guitarist and composer Kenny Burrell, is facing financial ruin and homelessness.
His plight became public after his wife, Katherine Burrell, launched a GoFundMe page on May 9, in which she chronicled a number of overwhelming circumstances that the couple is currently navigating. In her telling, the couple has faced a cataclysmic series of misfortunes — including substantial ongoing medical expenses after a 2016 accident, identity theft and ongoing litigation involving the home owners association group in their community — that has brought them to the brink.
“We are facing possible foreclosure and homelessness,” Katherine Burrell wrote, adding: “It saddens and embarrasses me to desperately need and request help, but it is necessary at this point.” The page’s initial fundraising goal was $100,000; as of Tuesday morning, donations totaled almost $145,000.
Burrell, who was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2005, made his first professional recording in 1951 with Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Percy Heath and Milt Jackson. Since then, he has recorded hundreds of albums, including nearly one hundred as a bandleader in a discography that spans across the Blue Note, Prestige, Savoy, Columbia, Verve, Fantasy and Concord labels, among others.
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Burrell first taught at UCLA in 1978 and in 1996, became the first director of the university’s jazz studies program, which he led for 20 years; the program’s graduates include the likes of saxophonist Kamasi Washington (who has since recorded with Burrell) and vocalist Gretchen Parlato. But in 2016, Burrell suffered an accident following a performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall that, according to his wife, necessitated a two-year recovery and partly triggered the couple’s misfortunes.
But as the Burrells’ dire stated needs became public last week, questions quickly arose in the jazz community about the veracity of the GoFundMe effort. On Friday, the Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) — a national nonprofit that exists in part to provide emergency funding to jazz, blues and roots artists struggling with housing or medical care — felt compelled to issue a statementregarding Katherine Burrell’s campaign.
“We would like to assure anyone concerned about Kenny that this campaign was indeed created by Katherine on his behalf,” the JFA wrote. “The Jazz Foundation has been in contact with Katherine for months. … Kenny and Katherine had been dealing with this situation alone for several years, because, as always, musicians are proud and self-reliant and do things on their own. They did not even contact us to ask for help but were referred by friends. The Jazz Foundation assessed the case, conferred with other helping organizations, and reviewed documents attesting to the financial need described in the GoFundMe post. We couldn’t possibly cover the full scope of the need, and other sources of funding were explored, including a GoFundMe campaign, given how successful and lifesaving they have proven for fellow musicians. As we can see in this outpouring of love for Kenny and Katherine, it has worked.”
The JFA also linked the Burrells’ situation to those being faced by other elder artists. “This is a painful but inspiring example of what we see every day at the Jazz Foundation,” the JFA wrote. “Many of our legends do not have a partner at home to help them. … This is why the organization exists, and we handle 30 emergency cases every day.”
Last September, UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music announced that it had received a gift of $1.2 million to create a Kenny Burrell Chair in Jazz Studies, which was funded by a group of over 150 donors. The timing was meant to celebrate Burrell’s 85th birthday, as well as his 20-year tenure as director of UCLA’s jazz studies program.
UCLA has issued a statement to NPR, saying: “UCLA was unaware of Katherine Burrell’s crowdfunding activity on behalf of herself and husband, Kenny. UCLA is concerned and is looking into the circumstances of this matter. Kenny Burrell is a Distinguished Professor of Music and Global Jazz Studies at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music. Professor Burrell is currently on sabbatical, and is scheduled to return to UCLA for the Spring Quarter in March 2020. He remains a full-time faculty member with related compensation and health benefits.”
 
 

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Why Play a Music CD? ‘No Ads, No Privacy Terrors, No Algorithms’ – The New York Times

Why Play a Music CD? ‘No Ads, No Privacy Terrors, No Algorithms’ – The New York Times

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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/technology/personaltech/music-streaming-cd.html?action=click
 
Why Play a Music CD? ‘No Ads, No Privacy Terrors, No Algorithms’
Featuring Ben Sisario
May 15, 2019


Ben Sisario at Academy Records in Manhattan. He scans social media for news, but also sticks with some golden oldies (phone calls, email, printouts) when reporting on the music industry.CreditCreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times
 
How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Ben Sisario, a reporter who covers the music industry, discussed the tech he’s using.
What are your most important tech tools for doing your reporting?
Probably 75 percent of my reporting is done by phone and email, and when I am writing I print out drafts and notes. So that part of it is about as current as 1995. But I also use Signal and ProtonMail for sources who require secure communication.
I constantly scan social media — Twitter, mostly — for news, and in breaking news situations I sometimes find sources to quote there. But I am wary of letting social media itself tell the story.
You need to actually talk to people, check facts, find contrary viewpoints, weed out nonsense.
When it comes to organizing my work, I think cloud computing is the greatest thing since the manila folder. I have 15-plus years of notes instantly searchable through Dropbox and Google Docs. It’s amazing to type in five characters and find that phone number from an obit you wrote a decade ago.
And then there are sites like WhoSampled and Discogs, incredible repositories of information that are deeply addictive for music nerds like me. My time there often starts with legitimate research — say, checking the original writing credit on an old single — but then an hour later I’ve spent $50 on vinyl and reminded myself of the slide whistle sample on “Groove Is in the Heart.”
Information on sites like WhoSampled and Discogs is “deeply addictive for music nerds like me,” said Mr. Sisario, working at Grainne Cafe in Manhattan.Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
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Information on sites like WhoSampled and Discogs is “deeply addictive for music nerds like me,” said Mr. Sisario, working at Grainne Cafe in Manhattan.Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
What does your music setup look like, and how has it evolved over time?
I try to keep an eye on all the major platforms out there, which means regularly poking around on about a dozen apps. My go-to sources are Spotify, SoundCloud, Bandcamp and Mixcloud, which has excellent D.J.-style mixes and to me feels more human than most.
At home I have a Sonos Play:5 speaker, which plays streaming music and podcasts, and is a piece of cake to use. I also have Google Chromecast Audio, a little plug-in device (now discontinued) that allows me to send high-fidelity streams to my stereo. It sounds better that way, but it’s not nearly as easy to use as the Sonos.
To be honest, my preferred way to listen to music is on CD, as unfashionable as that might be. You push a button, the music plays, and then it’s over — no ads, no privacy terrors, no algorithms!
What are the pros and cons of the streaming model for musicians big and small?
The big positive is the vast potential exposure. Streaming eliminated the cost barrier to sampling new music, and playlists constantly put new songs in front of people. Theoretically, at least, there are more chances than ever for a song to be a hit.
But, as they say, you can die of exposure. Megahits still generate millions of dollars in royalties, and Spotify’s official mission statement is “giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art.”
Yet for artists beneath the megahit level — and that is the vast majority of them — the jury is still out. I’ve seen royalty statements for well-known indie acts that suggest they can earn a decent middle-class living from their streams. I’ve also talked to very successful songwriters who say their income has been decimated by streaming and by the new model for pop songwriting, in which five or six — or 30 — people divvy up the same sliver of royalties.
In general, though, I’m optimistic about streaming and its potential. It has reinvigorated the music industry and made listening a lot easier, more fun and more dynamic.
Mr. Sisario doesn’t see the battle between Spotify and Apple as having a big effect on streaming music. Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Mr. Sisario doesn’t see the battle between Spotify and Apple as having a big effect on streaming music. Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Apple and Spotify have been fighting publicly over antitrust issues. Where is this fight going, and what impact might it have on streaming music?
I tend to think of this as mostly a matter of corporate warfare. These companies are in a race for market dominance around the world, and the gloves are off. For Spotify, anything that hinders Apple, even a little, can provide an advantage. On the other hand, Apple’s gigantic size means it will always be on the defensive against regulation.
I don’t see these issues having a big effect on streaming music. Competition in this market has benefited consumers, and as much as Spotify accuses Apple of anticompetitive practices, it has still signed up far more users — both free and paid — than Apple Music.
What emerging tech trends might change the way people listen to music?
A great deal of attention is being paid to smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa. This is something that genuinely feels futuristic: walking into a room and saying, “Play relaxation playlist” or “Play NPR news,” and it just happens. I think we’re still in the early stages of this.
Video sharing apps like TikTok are also having a palpable effect on music, and I think that will only grow. TikTok makes it easy to generate video memes using music, and these are fast moving and viral by nature. The best example is Lil Nas X’s song “Old Town Road,” which was a TikTok sensation well before it hit the pop charts.
Something in the way TikTok spreads music virally, Mr. Sisario said, is proving transformative when songs like “Old Town Road” come together. Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Something in the way TikTok spreads music virally, Mr. Sisario said, is proving transformative when songs like “Old Town Road” come together. Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Outside of work, what tech product are you currently obsessed with? 
Not to be too much of a grouch, but for me it is more about an opposite kind of phenomenon: What formerly hyped, supposedly essential technology has since been exposed for gross privacy violations, or for how easily it has become a tool for predatory disinformation?
Way too many of them, of course, but the really dispiriting thing is realizing that it is nearly impossible to disengage. We have become only more conscious of the risks and dangers surrounding us at all times.
That said, in my house we are really happy with our Instant Pot Duo, a beeping digital pressure cooker that makes perfect biriyani or chicken soup in like five minutes. I really hope it is not collecting any private data.
 
 

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Jazz legend Kenny Burrell’s GoFundMe appeal – The Washington Post

Jazz legend Kenny Burrell’s GoFundMe appeal – The Washington Post

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/to-think-it-has-come-to-this-kenny-burrells-journey-from-jazz-legend-to-gofundme-appeal/2019/05/15/c57fb07e-7701-11e9-b7ae-390de4259661_story.html?noredirect=on
 
‘To think it has come to this’: Kenny Burrell’s journey from jazz legend to GoFundMe appeal
Geoff Edgers
M3QPDLDWLEI6TN5OHEG6IJMWME.jpgJazz guitarist Kenny Burrell is 87 and battling health and financial problems. (William Claxton)
The first question was why Kenny Burrell, the guitar master who recorded with John Coltrane and Aretha Franklin and released many of his own albums during Blue Note’s golden age, found himself in such a crisis that his wife had to start a GoFundMe campaign.
“It saddens and embarrasses me to desperately need and request help, but it is necessary at this point,” Katherine Burrell wrote in launching the crowdfunding effort last week.
And yet there he was, the 87-year-old jazz legend smiling and holding a guitar above a tale of medical and financial disaster. This, in a world where a washed-up first baseman can make $30 million and a Hollywood star twice that for a single movie.
According to his wife, Burrell had an accident two years ago that left him unable to perform. There’s also the identity theft that created a tangle of credit and savings issues.
“It’s so outrageous,” said John McLaughlin, the British guitarist famous for his work with Miles Davis and his own Mahavishnu Orchestra. “What happened to humanity?”
“It’s gut-wrenching,” said Don Was, the bassist, producer and president of Blue Note Records since 2012.
Both Was and McLaughlin have donated to the campaign, as have many other musicians, including guitarist Pat Metheny.
“He’s one of the greatest improvising musicians of the past 100 years or so,” Metheny said before a show in Maine earlier this week. “It’s horrible to think it has come to this.”
The Detroit native has played on at least 100 records, which is probably a conservative estimate. Burrell made his recording debut with Dizzy Gillespie in 1951, teamed up for a record with John Coltrane in 1958 and spent the 1960s doing not only session work — with everyone from Louis Armstrong to James Brown — but also starring on organist Jimmy Smith’s smash Blue Note records, including “The Cat” and “Organ Grinder Swing,” both of which cracked the Billboard Top 20.
HARUX5TWSII6TN5OHEG6IJMWME.jpgThe cover of Burrell’s album “Introducing Kenny Burrell.” (Blue Note/Universal Music)
“He was a killer,” McLaughlin said. “We all imitated Kenny. Who else are you going to imitate? Coltrane never recorded with a guitar and yet he recorded with Kenny.”
“He’s always had this clarity in the way that he plays,” Metheny said. “People talk about blues guitar and you kind of have this image in your mind of B.B. King and Son House, and Kenny is connected to that in a very deep way but in a very different kind of way. The cleaner kind of sound. There’s not really any string bending going on.”
Organist and trumpet player Joey DeFrancesco also contributed to the campaign. “I think the biggest thing to speak to is what a wonderful human being he is,” DeFrancesco said. “He’s always so nice to everybody. A wonderful cat. And as you can see, that’s why everybody jumped on the case.”
By that, he means the 2,831 contributors who responded in the first six days. By Wednesday, the campaign’s goal of $100,000 had been surpassed by $50,000. Donors include former Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger and drummer John Densmore, pianist Ahmad Jamal, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and guitarists Smokey Hormel and Jimmy Vivino, not to mention a slew of fans who have given $10, $15 and $20.
“Fans need to understand it’s only the rare stars that make enough money that they’re set,” said Hormel, who has recorded with the likes of Johnny Cash, Beck, Joe Strummer and Jenny Lewis. “Musicians have to work their whole lives. That’s just how it is. And somebody like Kenny Burrell, I’m sure on a lot of those records it was just a day rate, session fee, and probably didn’t get any residuals.”
Burrell didn’t just play. He’s been a music professor at UCLA, establishing the first college course on Duke Ellington there, and he was named an NEA jazz master in 2005. But last week, his wife revealed that the unresolved mess — and Burrell’s medical bills — made her fearful that they might be left homeless.
Burrell isn’t the first musician to seek help through crowdfunding. Drummer Alphonse Mouzon raised $61,000 after he was diagnosed with cancer. (He died in 2016.) And New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, who has cancer, is in the midst of a campaign.
Was said that what’s happening with Burrell is a larger problem that extends beyond music. He watched it with his own father, who died last year at 93.
“I’m not surprised that anybody who is nearly 90 years old has problems surviving,” he said. “Whether they’re musicians or teachers or flight attendants. So I’m not shocked. Kenny’s had an exceptionally bad series of unpredictable events that no retirement plan could really anticipate.”
Blue Note Records had a special relationship with Burrell, who recorded for the label during his prime (1956-1963) and returned in the 1980s. Even though Burrell is contractually no longer tied to the label, Was said he was working with the family.
And Burrell? He returned a pair of phone calls earlier this week but said he didn’t want to do any interviews.
“I’m doing okay right now,” he said. “Listen, let me just say that.”
Read more by Geoff Edgers:
Meet the new Howard Stern. He’d like to make amends for the old Howard Stern.
Woodstock 50 is canceled — or is it? Mystery surrounds effort to commemorate legendary festival.
Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg waited 25 years to write his Kurt Cobain book. Here’s the Kurt he knew.
 
 

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Verna Hart, Whose Art Expressed the Rhythms of Jazz, Dies at 58 – The New York Times

Verna Hart, Whose Art Expressed the Rhythms of Jazz, Dies at 58 – The New York Times

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Verna Hart, Whose Art Expressed the Rhythms of Jazz, Dies at 58
By Sam Roberts
May 10, 2019
Verna Hart in her studio in an undated photo. One of her early mentors was the collagist Romare Bearden. She would stop by his studio to watch him paint.Romare Hart
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Verna Hart in her studio in an undated photo. One of her early mentors was the collagist Romare Bearden. She would stop by his studio to watch him paint.Romare Hart
Verna Hart knew what she wanted to be when she was only 5. “My creative journey began in my kindergarten class,” she recalled. “I chose the easel as my daily activity, instead of the blocks, dolls and water table options.”
Encouraged by her parents and refusing to be confined by the contours in coloring books, she made the walls of her family’s home in Queens her canvas. She drew cartoons and other scenes on them, delighting her siblings and even her parents. By the time she was 8, her father was already introducing her as a professional artist — the very thing she would remain until her death on April 26 at 58.
Ms. Hart’s jazz-inspired “Jammin’ Under the El” was commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and installed at the Myrtle Avenue-Broadway elevated station in Brooklyn.Rob Wilson/Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts and Design
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Ms. Hart’s jazz-inspired “Jammin’ Under the El” was commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and installed at the Myrtle Avenue-Broadway elevated station in Brooklyn.Rob Wilson/Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts and Design
Ms. Hart’s prismatic and colorfully expressionist paintings, usually inspired by the jazz she heard in New York nightclubs, have been shown in gallery exhibitions, featured on record album covers (including one for Branford Marsalis) and used on the sets of movies and television shows — including Spike Lee’s 1990 film, “Mo’ Better Blues,” for which he commissioned her “Piano Man,” and “The Cosby Mysteries,” the 1990s crime-drama series on NBC starring Bill Cosby.
Her work appeared on a commemorative postal stamp in Anguilla (where her painting “Fresh Catch” won first place in its International Arts Festival in 1998), and in faceted glass murals depicting a fanciful jazz combo that were commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. That work, “Jammin’ Under the El,” was installed at the Myrtle Avenue-Broadway elevated station of the J and M subway lines in Brooklyn in 1999.
Ms. Hart’s paintings, like many of those of Romare BeardenStuart Davis and Jackson Pollock, were inspired by the dynamic improvisation of jazz.
Paintings like “Waiting to Exhale” “are visual evidence of a painter’s deep reflection of the natural rhythms of jazz,” Ms. Hart said.Verna Hart/Just Lookin’ Gallery
Paintings like “Waiting to Exhale” “are visual evidence of a painter’s deep reflection of the natural rhythms of jazz,” Ms. Hart said.Verna Hart/Just Lookin’ Gallery
“Jazz is the medium of my work,” Ms. Hart wrote on her website, adding, “My works are visual evidence of a painter’s deep reflection of the natural rhythms of jazz.”
Verna Regina Hart was born on Jan. 28, 1961, in Harlem to Earl Alphonso Hart, a detective sergeant in the New York City Police, and Pauline (Shomo) Hart, a homemaker who also worked in a restaurant and as a school crossing guard. Verna’s family moved to Middle Village, Queens, when she was 4.
“My father introduced me to a ‘professional artist’ when I was 8 years old,” Ms. Hart wrote. “I can still envision him in his studio wearing painted coveralls surrounded by his vibrant large canvas.
Ms. Hart in an undated photo. At her death she had been planning to open an art gallery in Harlem.Romare Hart
Ms. Hart in an undated photo. At her death she had been planning to open an art gallery in Harlem.Romare Hart
“That encounter was my ‘reality check,’ ” she added. “He was an artist, and I wanted to be one, too.”
The artist was Bearden, the celebrated collagist and author who helped found the Studio Museum in Harlem and was a president of the Harlem Cultural Council. Ms. Hart would stop by his studio to watch him paint, she said. Giving her encouragement, he would later buy her work during her first solo exhibition.
Even before she graduated from Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, Ms. Hart took painting classes at the Cooper Union. After graduating from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan with a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting, she earned a master’s of fine arts in painting from Pratt Institute and a master’s in education supervision and administration from Bank Street College of Education, both in 1991.

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Notable Deaths 2019: Arts and Styles
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She taught art at Springfield Gardens High School in Queens and at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York in Brooklyn. The State Department selected her “Piano Man” for its “Art in Embassies” cultural diplomatic program in 2017, including it an exhibition in Cape Verde.
Ms. Hart moved to Wilmington, Del., nearly 20 years ago so that her daughter Eubie could be treated for cerebral palsy at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Ms. Hart died at her home in Wilmington. Her son, Romare (named after her mentor), said the cause was a seizure while she slept. In addition to him, her survivors include her daughters, Eubie and Zaire Hart, and her brothers, Frederick and Kevin Hart and Raymond Smith.
Ms. Hart had continued to paint in Wilmington and travel back and forth to New York. She had been planning to open an art gallery in Harlem, where she used to visit jazz clubs with her sketch pad and soak up the music.
Jazz, she said, served “as a catalyst to inspire my experimentation with improvisation, form and technique.”
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Give the gift of The Times, starting at $25.
 
 

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Dave Stryker and His Eight Track Band Bring Their Heavy Groove to Morning Jazz | WBGO

Dave Stryker and His Eight Track Band Bring Their Heavy Groove to Morning Jazz | WBGO

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Dave Stryker and His Eight Track Band Bring Their Heavy Groove to Morning Jazz
By Gary Walker  3 hours ago
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When guitarist Dave Stryker visited Morning Jazz to celebrate his new recording, Eight Track III, the nostalgia of musical evergreens of the 1960s and ‘70s was pushed forward with a soulful modern turn.
Dave Stryker performs on Morning Jazz
Featuring organist Jared Gold, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, drummer McClenty Hunter and percussionist Mayra Casales, the Eight Track Band filled the WBGO performance studio with a fresh look back at the music of Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and Roy Ayers, finding new ways of reminding us why we still feel so deeply about this music today.
It was a moving (even danceable) preview of what the band will deliver on Saturday at The Django in New York City, on Sunday at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY, and on May 17 at Trumpets in Montclair, NJ.
Watch the band play their version of The Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” 

 

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Chris Albertson, Biographer of Bessie Smith, Is Dead at 87 – The New York Times

Chris Albertson, Biographer of Bessie Smith, Is Dead at 87 – The New York Times

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Chris Albertson, Biographer of Bessie Smith, Is Dead at 87
By Richard Sandomir
May 9, 2019
Chris Albertson in 1965 at the studios of the New York radio station WBAI, where he was station manager. His lifelong passion for jazz and blues began when he heard Bessie Smith on the radio in Copenhagen.Sam Falk/The New York Times
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Chris Albertson in 1965 at the studios of the New York radio station WBAI, where he was station manager. His lifelong passion for jazz and blues began when he heard Bessie Smith on the radio in Copenhagen.Sam Falk/The New York Times
Chris Albertson, who as a teenager in Denmark became captivated by the blues singer Bessie Smith and decades later produced a widely praised multivolume reissue of her recordings and wrote an equally acclaimed biography, was found dead on April 24 at his home in Manhattan. He was 87.
His death was confirmed by Gary King, a longtime friend, who found Mr. Albertson’s body.
In 1959, Mr. Albertson took what became an inadvertent first step to resurrecting Smith’s recordings, made between 1923 and 1933: He invited John Hammond, the celebrated Columbia Records producer who had supervised her last sessions, to his apartment in Philadelphia.
Mr. Albertson, who was then a disc jockey at a jazz station, wanted Mr. Hammond to listen to two veteran jazz musicians, the guitarist Lonnie Johnson and the banjo player Elmer Snowden, in the hope that he would sign them.
While no deal was made, Mr. Hammond and Mr. Albertson stayed in touch over the next decade and spoke often about Bessie Smith. Mr. Albertson eventually persuaded Mr. Hammond to reissue her recordings, a cache of musical history that includes acknowledged classics like “Downhearted Blues” and “T’ain’t Nobody’s Bizness if I Do.” Her accompanists included Louis Armstrong on cornet and Fletcher Henderson on piano.
In 1968, Mr. Hammond agreed to the project, naming Mr. Albertson its producer and Larry Hiller its engineer. In “Bessie” (1972), his biography, Mr. Albertson described the process of listening to all 159 of Smith’s recorded songs as “a remarkable experience that only the raw power and emotion of an artist like Bessie Smith could keep from becoming mind-numbing.”
In all, 10 LPs of her work were released, in five two-disc sets. The first, “Bessie Smith: The World’s Greatest Blues Singer” (1970), earned Mr. Albertson a Grammy Award for best liner notes. The other four were released gradually through 1972.
Reviewing the first four two-album sets in The New Yorker in 1971, Whitney Balliett called the results “a wonder.”
One of Mr. Albertson’s goals in writing “Bessie,” published in 1972 and revised in 2003, was to debunk the many myths about Bessie Smith.Yale University Press
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One of Mr. Albertson’s goals in writing “Bessie,” published in 1972 and revised in 2003, was to debunk the many myths about Bessie Smith.Yale University Press
“Columbia, with Chris Albertson heading up the project, has done a herculean job on the Bessie Smith reissues,” he wrote, noting that the strong sales for the first four sets had shown that “what started out as sort of a foundation altruistic project, a musical-archaeological dig into the works of a blues singer who died 34 years ago, has become a thriving investment.”
Mr. Albertson’s work on those reissues quickly led to a contract with the publishing house Stein & Day to write Bessie Smith’s biography.
One of his goals in writing “Bessie” was to debunk the many myths about her.
They included the long-held belief — spread early on by Mr. Hammond — that after the auto accident in 1937 in Mississippi that would prove fatal to Smith, a white hospital refused to treat her. Mr. Albertson reconstructed the accident, which took place on a dark road when Smith’s lover, Richard Morgan, driving a Packard, hit the rear end of a truck.
The impact of the crash forced Smith onto the road and nearly severed her right arm.
Dr. Hugh Smith, who was white, told Mr. Albertson in an interview for the book that he had been driving to a fishing trip and stopped to treat her, but that soon after, another car, with a white couple in it, plowed into his. Eventually, two ambulances arrived; one of them took Smith to a black hospital, where she died. No white hospital was involved.
Dr. Smith was at first reluctant to speak to Mr. Albertson, and referred him to some new Columbia LPs of her music, Mr. Albertson recalled in an interview with Terry Gross on the NPR program “Fresh Air” in 2003, when a revised and expanded version of “Bessie” was published. “Read those liner notes and you’ll find the closest thing to the truth,” Dr. Smith said.
Mr. Albertson said that he responded, “I wrote the liner notes,” and the doctor agreed to talk.
“Bessie” was quickly acknowledged as the definitive Bessie Smith biography. Reviewing it in The Los Angeles Times, the jazz critic Leonard Feather called it “the most devastating, provocative and enlightening work of its kind ever contributed to the annals of jazz literature.”
Christiern Gunnar Albertson was born on Oct. 18, 1931, in Reykjavik, Iceland. His father abandoned him and his mother, Yvonne, before his first birthday; she would marry three more times.
He was living in Copenhagen in 1947 when he first heard Bessie Smith on a tiny radio speaker. Impressed by the sincerity of her voice, he borrowed books on African-American music from the United States Information Service library.

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Notable Deaths 2019: Music
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The discoveries transformed him, as they transformed other young Danes who dreamed of going to New Orleans to hear its blues and jazz musicians.
“We found magic in such names as Kid Ory, King Oliver, Johnny Dodds, Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey,” he wrote on his blog, Stomp Off, in 2010.
By 1955 he had moved back to his homeland and was a disc jockey for Armed Forces Radio in Keflavik, Iceland. Two years later he immigrated to the United States, where he found radio work in Philadelphia.
In the 1960s he moved to New York, where, as a producer for Riverside Records, he recorded the final sessions of the blues singer Ida Cox and the pianist Meade Lux Lewis and supervised the label’s “Living Legends” album series, which featured artists like Alberta Hunter, Sweet Emma Barrett and Louis Cottrell Jr.
He returned to radio in 1964, spending about a year as station manager of WBAI, the iconoclastic listener-supported New York FM station.
By then he had begun writing liner notes for jazz albums, and a few years later he started his long associations as a critic for Stereo Review magazine. He also contributed to DownBeat and other publications.
Information on Mr. Albertson’s survivors was not immediately available.
In “Bessie,” Mr. Albertson wrote about Smith’s final Columbia session, in 1933, at which she recorded “Do Your Duty” and “Gimme a Pigfoot (And a Bottle of Beer).”
“Following Bessie’s session, the studio closed for the weekend,” he wrote. “But when it opened again, Monday morning, a nervous 18-year-old Bessie Smith-inspired singer named Billie Holiday made her debut. Fate had neatly arranged a changing of the guard.”
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Music Review: The de-Stones’d New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 50th Anniversary – The Arts Fuse

Music Review: The de-Stones’d New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 50th Anniversary – The Arts Fuse

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Film Review: “Bolden” — Putting Flesh on a Jazz Myth
May 5, 2019 3 Comments
By Steve Provizer
Bolden is an intense film, depicting a life lived in a horrifically racist time and place.
Bolden, directed by Daniel Pritzker. Screening at AMC Liberty Tree Mall 20, Danvers and AMC Methuen 20.
http://artsfuse.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/gary-carr-buddy-bolden-600x338.jpgGary Carr as the eponymous trumpeter in “Bolden” Photo: Fred Norris.
When I mentioned this film to several people, I was greeted with blank expressions — Buddy who? The jazz world, on the other hand, has anticipated this film more avidly than any I can recall — even more than Bird or Round Midnight (very few jazz people had hopes for La La Land). This intense anticipation came about, first, because the subject of the film, cornet player Buddy Bolden, is an important figure in jazz mythology. Second, because trumpet player/impresario/lightning rod Wynton Marsalis was an Executive Producer and was responsible for re-creating the music that Bolden’s band played in the movie. It’s hard to imagine a $30 million film about an obscure jazz musician at the turn-of-the-century New Orleans would be made about without someone with Marsalis’ name recognition, though the wealth and persistence of director Daniel Pritzker no doubt was an assist.
So, how do you approach making a movie about a cornet player who left no recordings, about whom there is a mere handful of facts, including only a few contemporary descriptions of Bolden’s playing. What we do know is that he became “King Bolden” and that he went “insane” (although there’s no diagnosis of what this meant) and was institutionalized for the last 24 years of his life. This is pretty thin beer for a biographical film though, in interviews, the filmmakers insist that the movie is not a “biopic.” However, by making the bold claim that Bolden “Invented Jazz,” the film tries to have it both ways: asserting the weight of Bolden’s contribution while disavowing any need to show us why and how the claim is credible.
In the absence of facts, the filmmakers have generated plenty of atmosphere, which is consistently dark, oppressive, and brutal. Bolden’s dank asylum is a nearly constant presence; from time to time we see the broken Bolden in the ‘present,’ listening to a Louis Armstrong radio broadcast. And we see the musician in “flashback” times, reliving the events of his life and hallucinating various tableaus. The doings and settings outside of the asylum are no less bleak. There are savage scenes of bare-knuckle fights (more on that later) and the apartments where people live smack of squalor.
Scenes of the band playing to black audiences bring some welcome light into the darkness. But those interludes, meant to appear gritty via their décor and lighting, are juxtaposed with episodes of Bolden and other black bands playing at genteel “socials” in white houses. The latter makes the places the band plays in seem even more dissolute. The only parts of the story bathed in light are related to Bolden’s visions of himself as a young boy, seemingly lying on the floor of a large fabric factory with scores of black women at sewing machines. In these moments, Bolden seems fixated on various wheels — turned by belts — performing industrial tasks at the factory. The meaning of this imagery is baffling. His other fixation at the factory is a beautiful woman he encounters at other moments in the film. She is a young woman and he’s a child; in his mind, they walk off hand in hand. It’s unclear whether this is supposed to signify a lost mother-son reunion or given the looks they exchange, if it’s meant to carry a more perverse sexual connotation.
The concept of the “tableau” is very important in Bolden. In fact, there are almost no “scenes” as we usually think of them; that is, extended exchanges of dialogue; “conversations,” per se. Characters interact in brief, highly charged moments of physical and emotional contact and conflict. It’s in this context that the viewer has to judge how well the filmmakers have managed to render the key touchstones of Bolden’s life: his music and his madness.
The cinematography throughout is strong and the visual representation of the increasing fragmentation of Bolden’s mind, the crumbling of his internal state, is credible.
The filmmakers feel the need to “explain” Bolden’s mental dissolution, at least to some degree. Bolden has a manager who is corrupt and all too willing to collaborate with venial and hateful white people. (There is one benign white character, Oscar Zahn, a white-haired man with a foreign accent who, legend — and the film — has it, made the only recordings of Bolden on wax cylinder.) The manager and the white characters stage incredibly brutal fights with groups of black men, who are treated like chattel, with numbers painted on their backs. These scenes are stark and disturbing, as are other episodes involving violence and degradation, including the stated intent of the “Judge” to strip black people of their culture. As Bolden watches all this going on in stony silence we are invited to imagine how deeply he is being harmed. Overall, it is questionable whether his exposure to such craven and sadistic behavior fully explains the musician’s madness.
On the other hand, Bolden is not portrayed as a choirboy. He’s promiscuous and ,it is suggested, though not clearly, that he may be shooting drugs.
Evaluating Wynton Marsalis’ score isn’t easy. For one thing, the trumpeter has tremendous musical technique and a very characteristic sound. It’s hard to listen to him simulate Bolden’s playing and not hear Marsalis’ tone and adept technique at work. Also, there’s the issue of hearing a cornet tone generated on a top-notch instrument. One wonders whether such instruments were available to Bolden, valve trombonist Willie Cornish, and the others in the band. Generally, the performances for the film are inhibited by a patina of smoothness, slickness even, that, to some degree undermines the sense of realism the music should bring to the story. 
Even though there are no recordings of Bolden, we can make a pretty reasonable guess at how he sounded. Marsalis says he created a composite sound, based on three horn players who were influenced by Bolden and were recorded during their lifetimes: Freddie KeppardBunk Johnson  and King Oliver. Fair enough. He also says: “I put those three styles together and I figured, ‘OK, these three musicians were all influenced by Buddy Bolden, so they took an aspect of Bolden’s personality to construct their playing. So, Bolden could play better than all three of them.’” This I find odd, and counter intuitive. Bolden’s playing would most likely have been simpler, not technically superior, to the players who succeeded him. Sometimes the growls and blues inflections Marsalis provided rang true to me and true to the consensual period descriptions of Bolden’s playing as being loud and rough. Generally, though, Marsalis performed at a very technically accomplished level, playing in the upper register of the horn, ripping off fast, deft arpeggios. The public would not notice or care, but aficionados of early jazz may well be irritated at the disjunction.
There are other problems in the film, including its vision of women. In general, there’s an odd blurring of identities, with personality traits seeming to be redolent of  “all women” rather than those of  individuals. And, apart from one woman, who is merely a scold, nearly all females in the film writhe and leer to the musician’s playing as if they are in the throes of an uncontrollable sexual transport. This is well beyond what’s needed to prove to us the extent of Bolden’s sexual charisma.
There are plot premises that one can choose to accept on faith — or not. Historical veracity is not an issue  — there’s not enough history to go on — but whether or not the scenes dramatically serve the film. Several episodes are ambiguous: who is that older man in the bed?; why is Bolden staring at the factory wheels?; why, as a child, is he holding that woman’s hand?; did he shoot drugs?;  is that his son? Some aspects of the plot are acceptable — Bolden starting a riot at a club, improvising on a classical theme with clarinetist George Baquet, recording a cylinder, jumping into a parade and snapping, a female cellist playing outside a whore house.
Bolden is an intense film, depicting a life lived in a horrifically racist time and place. Because Buddy Bolden holds a singular place in jazz mythology, many jazz people would probably prefer a more hagiographic, less violence-ridden approach. I left feeling that Bolden was mostly well crafted, particularly its cinematography, and offered some insight into race relations. Yet there are elements that undermine the film’s potential power: lapses in narrative clarity, a weakness for pastiche over developed scenes, women treated as mere sexual objects, and an approach to Bolden’s music that may be effectively “cinematic,” but which often doesn’t match the ugly and turbulent action it reflected and inspired.


Steve Provizer writes on a range of subject, most often the arts. He is a musician and blogs about jazz here.
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For Mother’s Day: 9 Great Versions Of My Yiddishe Mame – The Forward

For Mother’s Day: 9 Great Versions Of My Yiddishe Mame – The Forward

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For Mother’s Day — 9 Great Versions Of ‘My Yiddishe Mame’
Seth RogovoyMay 8, 2019Getty Images / iStock
What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than to sit back and listen to “My Yiddishe Mame,” which long ago escaped the confines of the Jewish ghetto to become one of the world’s most popular songs about the love of a mother. The proof is in the wide range of singers of all backgrounds and styles who have performed and recorded the song: everyone from Sophie Tucker to Billie Holiday to Ray Charles to Charles Aznavour to Tom Jones.
The song clearly speaks to audiences around the world. There’s a Hungarian version recorded by Vámosi János.Carlos Argentino sings it in Spanish, replete with mariachi horns, and Ivan Rebroff recorded a German version called “Mutters Hände.” In 1932, Pjofr Leschennko recorded a Russian tango version, but my favorite foreign-language version of the tune is probably Annikki Tähti’s 1955 rendition, “On Katseessa Äidin,” in Finnish. The song’s universal appeal is obvious. As Neil Sedaka once said, “Everybody has a mother. And it’s touching, whatever religion you might be.”
The original song, published as “My Yiddishe Momme” (the spelling has widely varied over time), was written by Jack Yellen and Lew Pollack in the early 1920s. Willie Howard (born Wilhelm Levkowitz in Silesia), one half of the vaudeville duo the Howard Brothers, is said to have recorded the first version in 1925. Belle Baker recorded the tune soon after, apparently on the recommendation of her fellow vaudeville singer, Sophie Tucker. It was Tucker, born Sofya Kalish, who made the song a mainstream success – by singing it entirely in English.
There are, however, dozens of other versions of “My Yiddishe Mame” deserving of a listen, either for their virtuosity or for their sheer novelty value. Here are nine of them:
Yossele Rosenblatt
The Ukrainian-born Yossele Rosenblatt, who immigrated to New York City in 1912, is widely regarded as the greatest cantorial soloist of his time. He also recorded some non-religious tunes. This must explain why “My Yiddishe Mame” was the only secular song in the repertoire of my immigrant grandfather, a cantor who, like many, worshipped Rosenblatt.
Billie Holiday
At some point in the 1950s, the great jazz vocalist Billie Holiday added the song to her live repertoire. When she sings the phrase, “I need her more than ever now,” you really believe her.
The Barry Sisters
After Sophie Tucker, the Barry Sisters version remains one of the best-known. Theirs is a savvy production, arranged to squeeze out the maximum sentimentality with syrupy strings and choral sections taken at a snail’s pace. But it also features some of Merna and Claire Barry’s best singing – a little before the halfway mark, they engage in some cantorial-inspired improvisation. Plus their Yiddish is impeccable.
Connie Francis
As I wrote in these pages last December, the Italian-American popular singer Connie Francis recorded an entire album of Jewish material, including “My Yiddishe Mame,” in 1960. The success of her version, sung in both English and Yiddish, has even led one music writer to misidentify the Italian-American Francis as “a Jewish singer from New Jersey.”
Neil Sedaka
Connie Francis’s career is inextricably linked to that of Neil Sedaka, who wrote her second big hit, 1958’s “Stupid Cupid.” (Her first hit was her rendition of “Who’s Sorry Now.”) The one-time pop idol and incredibly successful songwriter has recorded several versions of “My Yiddishe Mame,” including on his 2003 album, “Brighton Beach Memories — Neil Sedaka Sings Yiddish.”
Tom Jones
He sings it, well … Tom Jones-style. My favorite part comes right at the end when the band plays a spaghetti-Western-like outro.
Ray Charles
Ray Charles could sing anything. He started out as a Nat King Cole-style small-band jazz singer before embracing gospel-tinged R&B. He was present at the birth of rock and roll with “What’d I Say?” He practically invented soul music, and then he turned around and recorded “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.” So it comes as no surprise to learn that he also sang Yiddish. When he made a guest appearance as Grandma Yetta’s fiancé on the Fran Drescher TV sitcom, “The Nanny,” he sat at the piano and sang “My Yiddishe Mame.” He punched up the song with a bit of … sass.
Charles Aznavour
Is this why my Yiddishe mama loved to listen to this French crooner all the time?
Eleanor Reissa
The enduring appeal of “My Yiddishe Mame” is clear in this rendition by one of the world’s preeminent contemporary Yiddish vocalists. Eleanor Reissa’s version seems to channel the best of them all – a hint of Sophie Tucker’s nostalgia, Billie Holiday’s jazz, the Barry Sisters’ devotion to Yiddish, Ray Charles’s sass, all tied together and given the unique Eleanor Reissa treatment.
Seth Rogovoy is a contributing editor at the Forward. He is the author of “The Essential Klezmer: A Music Lover’s Guide to Jewish Roots and Soul Music (Algonquin Books, 2000).
This story “For Mother’s Day: 9 Great Versions Of My Yiddishe Mame” was written by Seth Rogovoy.
 
 

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Beth Carvalho, Brazil’s ‘Godmother of Samba,’ Is Dead at 72 – The New York Times

Beth Carvalho, Brazil’s ‘Godmother of Samba,’ Is Dead at 72 – The New York Times

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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/06/obituaries/beth-carvalho-dead.html
 
Beth Carvalho, Brazil’s ‘Godmother of Samba,’ Is Dead at 72
By Jon Pareles
May 6, 2019
The Brazilian singer Beth Carvalho in performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 2005. Her voice was a smoky, rough-edged alto, and her music was exuberantly upbeat.Jean Bernard Sieber/Reuters
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The Brazilian singer Beth Carvalho in performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 2005. Her voice was a smoky, rough-edged alto, and her music was exuberantly upbeat.Jean Bernard Sieber/Reuters
Beth Carvalho, a singer and songwriter known in Brazil as the “godmother of samba,” died on April 30 in Rio de Janeiro. She was 72.
statement from Pró-Cardíaco Hospital, where she had been since early January, said the cause was sepsis.
In a career that lasted more than 50 years and regularly brought her gold and platinum albums in Brazil, Ms. Carvalho championed generations of samba songwriters at crucial stages of their careers. Her voice was a smoky, rough-edged alto, and her music was exuberantly upbeat, drawing on various samba styles and modernizing samba without succumbing to pop trends.
In 2009, she became the first female samba singer to receive a Latin Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. The award cited her “integral role in the history of Brazilian music.”
On her albums, Ms. Carvalho’s voice was usually propelled by percussion and the quick strumming of a cavaquinho, the traditional small samba guitar, joined by a frisky backup chorus singing along like friends at a party. She sang love songs and paeans to the samba itself, while maintaining samba’s role as social commentary in songs about poverty and human rights.
Ms. Carvalho at her home in Rio de Janeiro in 2018. She used a wheelchair in her final years, and last year she performed a concert lying down because of her back pain.Dado Galdieri for The New York Times
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Ms. Carvalho at her home in Rio de Janeiro in 2018. She used a wheelchair in her final years, and last year she performed a concert lying down because of her back pain.Dado Galdieri for The New York Times
“Samba is resistance,” she said in a 2016 interview with Brasil Online. “An artist must be engaged.”
Elizabeth Santos Leal de Carvalho was born on May 5, 1946, in Rio de Janeiro, the daughter of João Francisco Leal de Carvalho, a lawyer, and Maria Nair Santos. She began playing guitar while growing up in the middle-class South Zone of Rio de Janeiro.
Her father took her to the city’s poorer northern neighborhoods to hear practice sessions at samba schools, whose rhythms and spirit would become the heart of her music.
In 1964 her father, a leftist, was arrested by Brazil’s military dictatorship; his politics galvanized her own.
She made her first recordings, on which she sang bossa nova, in the 1960s, and she gained a national audience when she won third prize at Brazil’s International Festival of Song in 1968 with “Andança,” which became the title track of her first solo album, released the next year. But she soon turned from the genteel restraint of bossa nova to the drive of samba.
Her albums in the 1970s drew renewed attention to nearly forgotten older samba songwriters like Nelson Sargento, Cartola and Nelson Cavaquinho. She asked them for new material and turned their unheard songs into hits.
In the late 1970s, Ms. Carvalho was drawn to a new samba style: pagode, which grew out of informal backyard parties in Rio and was often played by musicians sitting around a table, adding instruments like banjo (tuned like a cavaquinho) and a conga-like drum called the tantan to typical samba lineups.
Her albums gave vital exposure to the pagode group Fundo de Quintal, which included the songwriters Jorge Aragão and Almir Guinéto. The group backed her on her 1978 album “De Pé No Chão” (“Standing on the Ground”) and would soon have platinum albums of its own in Brazil.
Ms. Carvalho in concert in Rio de Janeiro in July.Mauro Pimentel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Ms. Carvalho in concert in Rio de Janeiro in July.Mauro Pimentel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
A song from that album, “Vou a Festejar” (“I’m Going to Party”), became an anthem for soccer fans in Brazil. (A memorial for Ms. Carvalho was held on May 1 at the headquarters of her favorite soccer team, Botafogo.) Another 1978 song, “Coisinha do Pai” (“Daddy’s Little Thing”), was programmed by a NASA engineer into a robot on the Mars Pathfinder mission. In 1983, the songwriter Zeca Pagodinho, who would become a major samba hitmaker, made his recording debut as a guest on Ms. Carvalho’s album “Suor No Rosto” (“Sweat on the Face”).
In 1979 Ms. Carvalho married the Brazilian soccer star Edson de Souza Barbosa. He died in 2015. She is survived by their daughter, Luana Carvalho.
Beth Carvalho recorded prolifically from the 1970s into the 2010s, with a long string of hits in Brazil. She collaborated with many of Brazil’s best-known singers and songwriters and toured worldwide. Although she recorded songs from various samba schools, her enduring connection was with Mangueira, Rio’s oldest and most celebrated.
As devoted as Ms. Carvalho was to the music of Rio de Janeiro, she also released an album of sambas from São Paulo in 1993, and in 2007 she released a CD and DVD from a 2006 concert in Salvador, Bahia, where she was joined by Caetano Veloso, Carlinhos Brown, Gilberto Gil, Daniela Mercury and many other Bahian luminaries.
Mr. Gil, who was also Brazil’s minister of culture from 2003 to 2008, called Ms. Carvalho’s death “an irreparable loss” on Twitter.
Ms. Carvalho began experiencing severe spinal problems in 2009, leading to lengthy hospitalizations. But she continued to record and tour when possible. Her 2011 album, “Nosso Samba Tá na Rua” (“Our Samba Is in the Street”), won a Latin Grammy Award as best samba/pagode album. She used a wheelchair in her final years, and last year she performed a concert in Rio de Janeiro lying down because of her back pain.
“Samba is the true voice of the Brazilian people,” she told Brasil Online in 2016. “Samba is life, it is healing. Without samba there is no life.”
A version of this article appears in print on May 7, 2019, on Page B13 of the New York edition with the headline: Beth Carvalho, 72, Singer Who Championed Brazil’s Samba. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
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Wymondham music rarities spanning 140 years to be sold | Latest Norfolk and Suffolk News – Eastern Daily Press

Wymondham music rarities spanning 140 years to be sold | Latest Norfolk and Suffolk News – Eastern Daily Press

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https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/diss-sale-of-music-rarities-spanning-140-years-1-6033665
 
Lifetime collection of music rarities spanning 140 years to be sold
One man’s lifetime collection of mechanical music spanning more than 140 years is set to go under the auction hammer in Norfolk.
Simon Parkin
PUBLISHED: 13:05 05 May 2019
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TW Gaze director Elizabeth Talbot with some of the items in the collection of mechanical music to be sold in Diss. Picture: Simon Parkin
The Richard Bartram mechanical music collection to be auctioned in Diss ranges from music boxes to gramphones. Picture: TW Gaze
Echoes of how recorded music has been listened to down the ages, from music boxes to gramophones, featuring in the collection of Richard Bartram that is to be sold at a sale at TW Gaze auction rooms in Diss on May 17. 
BBC antiques expert and director of the firm Elizabeth Talbot said: “The collection is in the private ownership of a gentleman from Wymondham. It was formed in Norfolk over many years, driven by his personal passion and fascination for the subject.” 
A cylinder disc playing polyphon that is part of the Richard Bartram mechanical music collection to be auctioned in Diss. Picture: TW Gaze
These days when digital music is instantly available on our smartphones it is difficult to forget how the ability to listen to recorded music was once rare and special, with a music player the centrepiece of many 19th century homes. 
The collection includes polyphons, phonographs, early 20th century camera phones including a Mikiphone, gramophones, music boxes, a peraphone, a seraphone, penny-in-the-slot machines, an organette, record players, bygone accessories and subject-related ephemera.
TW Gaze director Elizabeth Talbot with some of the mechanical music spanning more than 140 years to be sold in Diss. Picture: Simon Parkin
Mrs Talbot said: “Some of them are cranked machines, some of them are ratched music boxes with comb and cylinder movements, some are penny-in-the-slots, many of which are polyphons that play discs, some quite tiny and some quite large. There are also a couple of mantle clocks that play discs. 
“He also has a couple of quite exquisite musical snuff boxes and a musical sewing box in the form of a boudoir grand piano that is really rather lovely. 
Items in the Richard Bartram mechanical music collection to be auctioned in Diss as estimated to fetch from £150 up to £15,000. Picture: TW Gaze
“The tiniest item in the collection is a gold musical seal fob that you would wear on your watch chain and that has the most minute barillet movement that plays the most charming, tinkly musical accompaniment.” 
Mr Bartram is selling his huge collection, the newest piece of which is a 1960s Pye model record player, as he is downsizing. Items are estimated to fetch from £150 through to an auto-change penny-in-the-slot machine that re-dates the jukebox estimated at £10,000-£15,000.
The mechanical music collection to be sold in Diss is the lifetime passion of Richard Bartram from Wymondham. Picture: Simon Parkin
“East Anglia has a strong tradition of and appreciation of mechanical music,” said Mrs Talbot. “Locally we have the Grange Musical Collection museum in Palgrave and Diss has hosted organ and music box festival in the last couple of years, so we are very much on the map for collectors.”
• The collection can be viewed at TW Gaze in Diss on May 9 (2–8pm), May 10 (10am–6pm) and May 16 (2–8pm). The auction starts at 1pm on May 17.
A Stella Music Box that will go under the auction hammer in Diss as part of the sale of the Richard Bartram mechanical music collection. Picture: Simon Parkin
A cranked music player with dancing figures, that would be used on the street, that is part of the Richard Bartram mechanical music collection to be auctioned in Diss. Picture: TW Gaze
A cylinder and comb music player that is part of the Richard Bartram collection to be sold in Diss. Picture: Simon Parkin
 
 

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Norma Miller, Lindy-Hopping ‘Queen of Swing,’ Is Dead at 99 – The New York Times

Norma Miller, Lindy-Hopping ‘Queen of Swing,’ Is Dead at 99 – The New York Times

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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/06/obituaries/norma-miller-dead.html?action=click
 
Norma Miller, Lindy-Hopping ‘Queen of Swing,’ Is Dead at 99
By Robert D. McFadden
May 6, 2019
Norma Miller and Billy Ricker, of Norma Miller’s Dancers, in a publicity photo taken in about 1940. With her troupe, she joined early fights to undermine segregation in the nightclubs and casinos of Miami Beach and Las Vegas.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Norma Miller and Billy Ricker, of Norma Miller’s Dancers, in a publicity photo taken in about 1940. With her troupe, she joined early fights to undermine segregation in the nightclubs and casinos of Miami Beach and Las Vegas.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Norma Miller, who danced the Lindy Hop on Harlem sidewalks as a child, and as a teenager dazzled crowds on international tours in the 1930s and early ′40s doing the same kicks, spins and drops that had made it a Jazz Age jitterbug craze, died on Sunday at her home in Fort Myers, Fla. She was 99.
Her longtime manager and caretaker, John Biffar, announced her death.
Among the cultural prodigies who arose after the aviator Charles A. Lindbergh’s “hop” from New York to Paris in 1927 — hence the dance’s name — Ms. Miller, known as the “Queen of Swing,” was the youngest recruit and last survivor of the original Lindy Hoppers, the all-black Herbert White troupe that broke in at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom and popularized the Lindy Hop in Broadway shows, on tours of Europe and Latin America, and in Hollywood films.
In the movies, she danced and sang in memorable black-cast numbers in the Marx Brothers’ “A Day at the Races” (1937) and in the madcap Olsen and Johnson comedy “Hellzapoppin’ ” (1941). She later thrived as a choreographer, comedian, television actor and author, and was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2003 as a conservator of the Lindy Hop.
With her own black companies, the Norma Miller Dancers and Norma Miller and Her Jazzmen, she joined early fights to undermine segregation in the nightclubs and casinos of Miami Beach and Las Vegas, where black entertainers — even stars like Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr. — drew big crowds but afterward had to leave through the kitchen and stay in segregated accommodations.
A child of poverty whose father died before she was born, Ms. Miller lived with her mother and sister in a cramped, noisy Harlem apartment, whose back windows looked out on the ballroom that would be her steppingstone to stardom. On the horizon were professional friendships with Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw and other musical legends.
She was discovered on Easter Sunday 1932 by the great swing dancer Twist Mouth George Ganaway as she flashed her moves on the sidewalk outside the Savoy, a blocklong rhythm factory on Lenox Avenue between West 140th and 141st Streets. She was only 12, too young even to get into the swanky, mirrored emporium of swing that Langston Hughes called “the heartbeat of Harlem.”
“I was a precocious youngster,” Ms. Miller said in “Queen of Swing,” a 2006 documentary about her life. Mr. Ganaway spotted her performance and gave her a Coca-Cola. From inside the Savoy, a swing band’s hard-driving sound beat its way to the sidewalk, and there she and Mr. Ganaway danced.
“He swung me out,” she recalled. “I don’t know if I ever hit the floor. He just flew me all around.”
Norma, wiry and nimble, already knew some Lindy Hop moves: the swing out, the hip-to-hip, the side-flip, the sugar push. Mr. Ganaway was impressed. He took her into the Savoy, ignoring the technicality of her age, and they were soon captivating the regulars with through-the-legs slides, over-the-head flips and acrobatic aerial lifts.
Ms. Miller in 2018. In her later years she traveled widely to appear at swing and jazz festivals and give talks on her dancing days.Erika Gerdemark for The New York Times
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Ms. Miller in 2018. In her later years she traveled widely to appear at swing and jazz festivals and give talks on her dancing days.Erika Gerdemark for The New York Times
Later, they won a Lindy Hop contest at the Savoy.
She continued to improve. After watching her win the Harvest Moon Ball dance contest at the Apollo Theater in 1934, Herbert White invited her to join his new troupe, the Lindy Hoppers. She agreed, and at 15 came under the tutelage of Mr. White’s choreographer, Frankie Manning, the master of swing-era dances, who was the inspirational coach of the Lindy Hoppers.
What followed over the next few years was the professional education of a dancer: the wider world of hard work and the excitement and grind of travel to faraway places, of dancing on Broadway and on a seven-month tour of Paris, London and other European cities, then performances across America with Ethel Waters and a girl’s first adventure in Hollywood.
She was not quite 18 when she met the Marx Brothers, Allan Jones and Maureen O’Sullivan on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot and made her film debut in “A Day at the Races.” She danced and sang with the Lindy Hoppers in the well-known black-cast number “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm,” which featured the singer Ivie Anderson and Duke Ellington’s orchestra. The Lindy Hop sequenceearned an Academy Award nomination for the choreographer, Dave Gould.
Ms. Miller and the Lindy Hoppers were showcased in the hit Broadway musical revue “Hellzapoppin’ ” in 1938 and in 1941 appeared in the Hollywood version, both of which starred Ole Olsen, Chic Johnson and Martha Raye. It was a slashing satire of show business, with slapstick mayhem, horned demons, collapsing staircases and fun-house slides that led straight to hell.
In a sequence widely regarded as the best example of the Lindy Hop on film, four couples in backstage-workers’ get-ups swing out, one after the other, into acrobatic shines at a frenetic tempo. Ms. Miller and Billy Ricker, dancing in chef’s caps like animated rag dolls, execute breathtaking flips, slides, kicks, splits, lifts and lightning moves that seem to defy gravity and human speed limits.
After completing the filming of that sequence, the Lindy Hoppers flew to Brazil and were performing in Rio de Janeiro when the bombing of Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II. Unable to find transportation home, the troupe toured for six months in South America before returning home exhausted and nearly broke.
With the war on, the Lindy Hop began to fade as musical tastes changed. In 1942, Ms. Miller made her last tour with the Lindy Hoppers, appearing in New York, Washington and Baltimore. When her dance partner was drafted into the military, she left the troupe, which disbanded soon after. While her career went on for decades, it never returned to the high notes of her early years.
The Savoy Ballroom, which opened in 1926 and brought blacks and whites together in an era of racial segregation, was torn down in 1958 to make way for a housing project. On any given night, thousands had packed its hardwood floors as swing music by Ellington, Basie or Chick Webb inspired the Norma Millers.
“Black girls didn’t have many outlets,” she told a Florida radio station in 2015, eight decades after her heyday. “You had laundry. You had hairdresser. Or teacher. Now, I didn’t qualify for any of those. I could dance. I could just do it naturally.”
Norma Miller was born in Harlem on Dec. 2, 1919, the second daughter of Norman and Alma Miller, immigrants from Barbados. Her father, a shipyard worker, died of pneumonia a month before her birth, and her mother worked as a charwoman to raise her and her sister, Dot.
Ms. Miller performing with her dance troupe in the New York City Tap Extravaganza in 2004 at the Haft Auditorium at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.Nan Melville for The New York Times
Ms. Miller performing with her dance troupe in the New York City Tap Extravaganza in 2004 at the Haft Auditorium at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.Nan Melville for The New York Times
Norma was fascinated with dance, and her mother, though struggling to pay rent, enrolled her in Saturday dance classes. Norma danced at her mother’s “rent parties,” as friends chipped in.
In the Roaring Twenties, music was everywhere in Harlem. But after 1929, when the Millers moved into a tenement apartment on West 140th Street, music from the Savoy boomed nightly through their back windows. Looking out on the ballroom’s rear windows, Norma saw dancing patrons as shadows moving behind the curtains, doing the Charleston and the Lindy Hop.
She and her friends practiced the dances in the gym at her school, P.S. 136, and after church on the sidewalk outside the Savoy, where Mr. Ganaway discovered her. As her talents grew, she was enrolled at the Manhattan School of the Arts on the Upper West Side.
After her meteoric Lindy Hop career, Ms. Miller reinvented herself in 1952. She founded and choreographed the Norma Miller Dancers, a jazz-dance troupe that toured America and Australia for two years, then joined Count Basie on a national tour. In the pervasive racial segregation of the day, Ms. Miller and her group faced daily reminders of their secondary status in renting rooms, riding in the back of buses, dining in black eateries and sometimes confronting white protests.
In 1957, the Norma Miller Dancers played long-running engagements in Miami Beach and Las Vegas as part of an extravagant production called “The Cotton Club Revue.” The show, starring Cab Calloway and a 48-member all-black cast, drew huge nightly audiences for months. But it also stirred racial unrest, as had been anticipated: Every cast member was given an identity card issued by the police, and after each show had to retreat to a “colored” hotel.
“We were to be the first all-black show to play the Beachcomber in Miami Beach,” Ms. Miller recalled in “Stompin’ at the Savoy: The Memoir of a Jazz Dancer” (2003, with Evette Jensen). “During rehearsal, racial tensions surfaced. The day of our big dress rehearsal, there were headlines in The Miami Sun telling Murray Weinger” — a Miami Beach nightclub owner — “that they didn’t want his colored show on the beach.”
Ms. Miller lived in Las Vegas for much of the 1960s and ′70s. She did comedy routines in clubs with Redd Foxx and taught children’s dance classes. In 1972, she entertained American troops in Vietnam. She had roles in three of Mr. Foxx’s NBC sitcoms: “Sanford and Son” in 1973 and 1974, “Grady” in 1976, and “Sanford Arms” in 1977.
Besides “Queen of Swing,” John Biffar’s documentary, Ms. Miller appeared in at least nine other documentaries on dance, black comedy and other subjects, including Ken Burns’s PBS series “Jazz” (2000). She was the subject of a children’s book by Alan Govenar, “Stompin’ at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller” (2006). Her own books include “Swing Baby Swing” (2010, with Darlene Gist), a chronicle of swing dancing over her century.
Ms. Miller, who never married and left no immediate survivors, had a long-term relationship with her fellow “Hellzapoppin’ ” performer Roy Glenn, who died in 1971. She traveled widely to appear at swing and jazz festivals and give talks on her dancing days.
“The Savoy was our community,” she told an interviewer in 2016, “and the dance floor was the place we found freedom.”
In 2018, Ms. Miller appeared at the Herrang Dance Camp in Sweden, an annual gathering since the 1980s of Lindy Hop lovers from around the world. “A place like this is unbelievable,” she said. “It’s like Brigadoon” — the musical about a Scottish village that magically reappears once every 100 years.
 
 

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Dave Grusin Doc Recaps a Life Spent Juggling Film Scores, Jazz Cats – Variety

Dave Grusin Doc Recaps a Life Spent Juggling Film Scores, Jazz Cats – Variety

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https://variety.com/2019/music/news/dave-grusin-documentary-not-enough-time-1203205292/
 
Dave Grusin Documentary Recounts a Life Spent Juggling Film Scores and Jazz Cats
“Your music will never be more or less than you are as a human being,” said longtime friend Quincy Jones at the “Not Enough Time” screening.
By CHRIS WILLMAN
Chris Willman
Music Writer@chriswillmanFOLLOW
Chris’s Most Recent Stories
·        Dave Grusin Documentary Recounts a Life Spent Juggling Film Scores and Jazz Cats

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The title of the just-completed documentary “Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time” reflects the subject’s lament that there aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the year for all the music that needs to be made. That desire to stretch the clock might seem hyperbolic coming from other musicians, but not for someone whose hats have included film and TV scorer, concert performer, producer and jazz label mogul, often all at once.
At a post-screening Q&A in Santa Monica this week, the great jazz bassist Marcus Millerspoke about being a youthful protege and watching Grusin casually change hats mid-day… and assuming that was normal.
“I started playing with Dave Grusin when I was 17, 18 — I don’t know how old, but I know I had braces,” Marcus laughed. “To see him run a session, and then know that he’s going to score a movie that night after the session… He was always working. Him and Quincy Jones, these guys are doing 14 things at the same time, and I just assumed if you’re a musician, that’s what you do. So I followed in their footsteps, man. You know, sleep – what’s that?… I thought he was from New York, because he was a hustler.”
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Said director Barbara Bentree, “For a long time we had this running joke among the crew that we were going to call this film ‘He Did That?’ It was a constant discovery.” One of the things she was most pleased about getting access to for clips was Andy Williams’ 1960s variety show, which had Grusin as musical director, pianist and occasional on-screen comic foil, before the film runs — sometimes hurriedly, sometimes at leisure — through a resume that includes another youthful stint with Sergio Mendes; the themes for “Maude,” “Good Times” and “St. Elsewhere”; Oscar-nominated scores for “On Golden Pond” and “The Fabulous Baker Boys” (among others); the also Oscar-nominated “Tootsie” hit “It Might Be You”; and the longtime presidency of the GRP label.
After previously showing in incomplete form at jazz festivals, “Not Enough Time” was being screened at Smart Post West for members of the Society of Composers & Lyricists, along with interested distributors. The post-screening panel, moderated by Variety‘s Jon Burlingame, included Bentree and executive music supervisor Joel Sill, along with Miller. Among those in the audience were Bentree’s husband and co-producer, John Rangel, movie-theme king Alan Bergman and Quincy Jones himself, who offered remarks from the audience.
Grusin was decidedly not from New York, as the documentary shows, but Colorado; he now resides on a ranch in Montana, where most of the interviews were filmed, not just of him but of “fishing buddies” like Michael Keaton, Tom Brokaw and author Thomas McGuane.
“I hear nature in his music,” said Bentree, who caught footage of Grusin doing something he proudly hints that he might be even better at than composing: fly-fishing. “I’m someone from rural Minnesota, and I think that’s one of the reasons his music moves me.”
Miller remembered him and some of his fellow players forming an expectation of Grusin based on his folksy appearance. “We were these urban kids from New York, and this cowboy cat comes and sits down at the piano with us, and we’re like ‘Ooh, this isn’t going to go well at all.’” It did.
But the Grammy-winning bassist came to learn that the “cowboy” aspect of Grusin’s demeanor didn’t exactly translate to laid-back. Grusin had “no ego at all,” Miller said, “but he was so concerned about the music that that was like the ego. In other words, he wouldn’t yell at you to make himself bigger. What he would do is yell at you because you played a wrong part. Not that he ever yelled at me! Let’s get that part right.”
https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/group-quincy-2-e1557018798204.jpeg?w=1000&h=667
CREDIT: EDDIE JAG
Miller came to appreciate the sense of wide open spaces that Grusin brought to his scores, when he wasn’t improvising with Manhattan’s finest. “You know who he reminds me of?” asked the bassist. “The classic early American composers — Charles Ives and these guys who, when you heard their music, you really got a sense of America… not the edges, but the center of America. He somehow has figured out how to continue that tradition and update it to include all the other influences that he obviously has, like jazz and urban sounds.”
Humility was frequently mentioned as a quality of Grusin’s, although it wasn’t that that caused him to skip the Oscars when he won best score for “The Milagro Beanfield War” in 1988. As he explains in the film, he simply skipped that night because he figured he had zero chance after showing up and losing for much more popular films, like “Heaven Can Wait” and “The Champ.” Although he never won again, he would be nominated several times more, including for “The Firm,” one of his many collaborations with Sydney Pollack, an all-piano score so innovative that no one but the most attentive musicians noticed it was solely piano.
The apparent humility made the documentary a tough sell for Bentree. “He said, ‘Oh, no one will be interested in that.’ …  It was really his lovely wife Nan (Newton) who said, ‘Dave, if you don’t let these two musicians (Bentree and Rangel) do this movie about you… once you pass on, someone else is going to do that story and you’re not going to have any input.’ We gave him final approval on everything. It was really Nan who ended up being a coproducer on the film and got all these wonderful people to come participate.”
Bentree spoke about what had to be left on the cutting room floor. “When Dave talks about that era of everybody on the street (in Manhattan)… We made a map of all the recording studios in NYC. It was every block.” The audience of veteran musicians groaned at the omission, but she assured them she’d try to get it on the DVD or the movie’s website.
Sill launched his long association with Grusin when he was a studio executive. “I met him on the film ‘Reds.’ Stephen Sondheim was the composer on the film and he couldn’t actually take being tortured that much from (Warren) Beatty, so he left, and Beatty said, ‘Get me Dave Grusin. He did a great job on “Heaven Can Wait”.’ And that was the beginning of a relationship that lasted through seven or eight films,” and into this new one.
“One of the things I’ve noticed is he’s so empathetic, he actually feels the characters in the film, like he feels people in real life,” Sill said. “Like Quincy says in the film, God left his hands on his shoulders, and I think he also slipped one hand down and touched his heart. He’s just got so much soul, and watching him work, he’s so gentle, but he’s so clear about what he wants to get, and he works so hard to get it.” Sill likened Grusin’s output to being “like Christmas morning for a kid. He just gives all these gifts.”
Jones, asked by Burlingame what Grusin’s legacy will be, responded: “Some serious music — in every category. … Your music will never be more or less than you are as a human being. That’s what it’s about. Dave is an incredible human being. Now, I know him backwards. That’s where it starts. A human being.”
 

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Ahmad Jamal 1959- Darn that dream – YouTube

Ahmad Jamal 1959- Darn that dream – YouTube

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Check out who’s in the audience!
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BD8-aYrKew

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CASH MCCALL (JANUARY 28, 1941 – APRIL 20, 2019)

CASH MCCALL (JANUARY 28, 1941 – APRIL 20, 2019)

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CASH MCCALL (JANUARY 28, 1941 – APRIL 20, 2019)

30/4/2019

​Cash McCall
July 1978
Montreux Jazz festival, Switzerland
Photo By Lionel Decoster
​Cash McCall
July 2018
Ecko Studio, Memphis
Photo by Nola Blue Records

​It is with great sadness that we share the news that Cash McCall passed away on April 20, 2019 after a long and courageous battle with lung cancer. His gentle spirit, humble nature and genuine kindness were a joy to behold, and he will be deeply missed.
 
Funeral details for Cash
Saturday, May 4, 2019
Wake: 10:30 am 
Funeral: 12:00 pm
The Healing Center Full Gospel Baptist Church, 3885 Tchulahoma Rd, Memphis, TN 38118
Born Morris Dollison, Jr. in New Madrid, Missouri on January 28, 1941, Cash McCall spent his early years on Chicago’s North Side.  From there, the family moved to Mississippi, where Cash first learned to play guitar—on a piece of baling wire nailed to the side of their home.  As a young man, he served his country in the US Army, where he was seriously injured while training to be a paratrooper. 
 
After completing his military service, Dollison returned to Chicago where he began his gospel career, singing and playing guitar or electric bass with well-regarded quartets including the Jubilee Hummingbirds, the Pilgrim Jubilees, the Gospel Songbirds, and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi.  By 1964, he’d appeared on singles by the Jubilee Hummingbirds and the Gospel Songbirds.  
 
After dabbling in the secular world as a sideman, Dollison recorded his single, “The Earth Worm,” for One-derful’s M-Pac! imprint.  He continued working for One-derful! as a songwriter & session guitarist, writing several songs for Otis Clay including his hit “That’s How It Is (When You’re In Love)”.  By 1966, Dollison had written a new single, “When You Wake Up,” and took it to Thomas Records where he cut it with the house rhythm section.  Later, Monk Higgins added horns and background vocals and Thomas Records issued the single under the fictitious name of Cash McCall. Unbeknownst to Dollison, he learned of his new alias when first hearing his song on WVON radio.  “When You Wake Up” became a national R&B hit.  When Thomas folded in 1967, Higgins convinced McCall to join him at Chess Records. In addition to writing two singles of his own—“S.O.S.” and “It’s Not How Good You Make It”— Cash wrote for many of the label’s major names, including Little Milton (his hits “More And More” and “Let Me Down Easy”), Etta James (“I Prefer You”), and Rotary Connection, as well as Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor and many gospel stars. McCall was also a session guitarist on countless Chess/Checker records.
 
It wasn’t until 1974 that McCall released his first full-length album, “Omega Man,” on Paula Records (where he also did some producing). When Minnie Riperton offered him a gig as guitarist with Los Angeles-based Rotary Connection, McCall and his wife relocated to L.A.  Cash later released albums “No More Doggin’” for L+R in 1983, “Cash Up Front” on Stone in 1988 and “The Vintage Room” in 2007 on Dixon Landing. His strong connection with Willie Dixon brought McCall one of his proudest moments when he played on Dixon’s Grammy-winning 1988 album “Hidden Charms.” He also played on Dixon’s Grammy-nominated soundtrack album “Ginger Ale Afternoon” the next year.
 
In the early 90’s, McCall and his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee.  In 2018, upon reuniting with longtime friend Benny Turner, the two returned to the studio to pay homage to their Windy City Roots on the acclaimed album, “Going Back Home,” released on Nola Blue Records in 2019.  
 
(excerpts from bio by Bill Dahl, Music Journalist, on www.cashmccallmusic.com)

 

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Jazz Drummer Joe Chambers On Blue Note: “The Black Musicians’ Label”

Jazz Drummer Joe Chambers On Blue Note: “The Black Musicians’ Label”

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Jazz Drummer Joe Chambers On Blue Note: “The Black Musicians’ Label”

An in-demand sideman for everyone from Wayne Shorter to Donald Byrd, drummer Joe Chambers recorded some of his greatest work for Blue Note in the 60s.

Charles Waring  April 11, 2019
Mention Joe Chambers’ name to devoted followers of Blue Note Records and it’s likely that their eyes will light up in recognition. That’s because Chambers had the distinction of playing drums on over 20 sessions for Alfred Lion’s iconic New York-based jazz label in the 60s.
During a fertile six-year period between 1964 and 1969, Chambers was very much in demand as a sideman and got to play with some of the biggest names in jazz, appearing on key Blue Note albums by Freddie Hubbard, Donald Byrd, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Sam Rivers, Bobby Hutcherson and Andrew Hill. Away from Blue Note, Chambers – who also plays the vibraphone and is a noteworthy composer in his own right – recorded with Archie Shepp, Miles Davis (albeit briefly, during the trumpeter’s In A Silent Way phase in the late 60s), Chick Corea, Charles Mingus, Chet Baker and Joe Zawinul, and was also a member of fellow drummer Max Roach’s percussion ensemble, M’Boom, with whom he recorded six albums. Chambers began recording albums under his own name from 1974 onwards and even led his own session for Blue Note in 1998.

“I wasn’t nervous… We were very tight”

Now 76, Chambers reminiscences about his Blue Note days in the 60s with a special fondness. In an interview with uDiscover Music, he vividly remembers his first recording session for the label.
It was on Thursday, 7 May 1964. He was a 21-year-old drummer originally from Chester, Pennsylvania, and had been asked by rising trumpet star Freddie Hubbard to play on what would become Breaking Point, the Indianapolis horn blower’s seventh recording date for Blue Note. “I met Freddie in Washington, DC,” recalls Chambers. “I lived there from about 1960 to ’63 and played with a group called The “JFK” Quintet, named by our manager after President John F Kennedy. We had a three-year residency at a club called The Bohemian Caverns. Lots of musicians – like Miles Davis, [John] Coltrane, Cannonball [Adderley], Art Blakey & The [Jazz] Messengers – would go there.”
Hubbard, then 25, had just left The Jazz Messengers and was looking to put a new group of musicians together for live dates and a recording session. He caught Chambers playing drums with The “JFK” Quintet in DC, and afterwards approached him about collaborating together. “He heard me and was impressed,” says Chambers, “so I went to New York in ’63 and we formed a band together consisting of himself, [saxophonist and flautist] James Spalding, [pianist] Ronnie Matthews, [bassist] Eddie Khan, and myself. That’s when we recorded that Breaking Point album.”
Joe Chambers WCHAMJ01 web optimised 740 watermarked
Chambers says that he wasn’t apprehensive about his debut recording session. “It was very exciting,” he laughs, “but I wasn’t nervous because we had played the music live and were familiar with all of the tunes.” He remembers they spent six weeks on the road, which was an opportunity to hone the material and perfect it. “We were very tight, so when it came to recording, it just felt like we were on the stage.”

“There were no other drummers writing music”

But as well as playing drums on the session, which was recorded at the legendary Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Joe Chambers also composed one of the album’s best songs: an elegant slow ballad called ‘Mirrors’. “It was a tune written for a lesson and to demonstrate what was known as ‘mirror writing’, where themes are juxtaposed and reversed,” explains Chambers. “I wrote it while I was studying theory and composition at the American University when I lived in Washington, DC.”
Chambers recalls that he showed Freddie Hubbard the music for ‘Mirrors’ when the trumpeter was involved in rehearsals for Eric Dolphy’s Out To Lunch! album. “I met Eric in DC and played with him for two weeks. Later, back in New York, he assembled a group consisting of himself, Freddie Hubbard, Richard Davis, Bobby Hutcherson and myself, and we did a big concert at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music. Eric called me to the rehearsal for Out To Lunch! even though I wasn’t actually playing on the date [drummer Tony Williams got the gig] and told me to bring music. So I brought ‘Mirrors’ and played it. So that’s how Freddie saw the song. He looked at it and said, ‘Yeah, OK, I’m going to do this.’”
As a drummer who wrote music, Chambers was unique, and he would go on to be a prolific composer, contributing 17 songs that were recorded by Bobby Hutcherson while the vibraphonist was at Blue Note in the 60s. “There were no other drummers writing music, maybe except Max Roach,” says Chambers, who reveals that he learned to play the piano as a youngster. “I was always interested in composing from when I was little. To me, it was no big deal – just a natural thing.”

“We never talked about anything. We just played”

After appearing on Breaking Point, Joe Chambers’ phone didn’t stop ringing. “People started calling me from Blue Note. That’s when I got hooked up with Bobby Hutcherson, because I met him in DC too. He was with [alto saxophonist] Jackie McLean, who came to The Caverns. Then Bobby and I joined a band that Andrew Hill had started.”
With Hill, Chambers recorded his second Blue Note session, on the day of his 22nd birthday, on 25 June 1964, which resulted in the album Andrew!!!. He did two more albums with Hill: One For One (which stayed in the can until 1975) and Compulsion!!!!!, recorded in 1965 but not released until two years later. “Andrew Hill’s music was quite different and unique,” says Chambers, reflecting on one of Blue Note’s most prominent avant-garde figures. “His music was quite modern – very jagged and asymmetrical. He reminded me of [Thelonious] Monk, sometimes, so it required a different way of playing.”
It was while playing together on an Andrew Hill session that Chambers became good friends with vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. They were of a similar age (the vibraphonist was just 18 months older) and, according to Chambers, “We just gravitated to each other. We kind of just fell in and clicked. We never talked about anything, we just played.” But there was a definite sense of musical simpatico between them, evidenced by the fact that, between 1965 and 1969, Joe Chambers played on nine of Hutcherson’s Blue Note albums, including the classic 1965 LP Components, on which four of his tunes – including ‘Juba Dance’ – occupied the whole of the original vinyl’s second side.
Hutcherson’s 1968 album Patterns, recently reissued on audiophile vinyl as part of a subscription-only box set called The Blue Note Review: Spirit & Time,also boasted four Joe Chambers compositions. “I don’t know how that happened,” laughs the drummer/composer, “because I wasn’t that pushy. With Components, where one side of the album was his songs and the other side was mine, I just brought in some tunes and was amazed that Blue Note accepted that and went along with it.”

“I was content as a sideman”

Given Chambers’ growing renown in the mid-to-late 60s, it’s surprising that Blue Note’s bosses, producers Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, didn’t give him a recording date as a leader. But according to Chambers, there was a time when they offered him an opportunity to lead a session, but he was too immersed in his life as a sideman to consider it.
“During the time I was recording a lot – all those sessions with Sam Rivers, Andrew Hill and Joe Henderson – they asked me if I wanted to lead a session but I didn’t even follow up on it. I was not very business-like. I remember they said, ‘Let’s get together, sit down, and you show us some tunes.’ But I never followed up on it. I was content to be a sideman and doing what I was doing. I had no responsibilities other than show up and learn the tunes.”
Unlike other jazz labels of the time, Blue Note paid musicians to rehearse beforehand, usually several days prior to the session date. According to Joe Chambers that was the reason why Blue Note recordings had a sense of focus and cohesion. “We sounded like a working band in the studio because we went and rehearsed for about a week. All of the rehearsals were held at [jazz bandleader] Lynn Oliver’s studios. The music for Blue Note was more complex than just blowing sessions, so you required a little more time. We would put in four to five days for each album and by the time you went in the studio, you sounded real tight, like a working band.”

Joe Chambers WCHAMJ01 web optimised 740 watermarked
I’ve got some things I’m working on.” Joe Chambers in 2019.

When it came to the day of recording, Chambers remembers the drill: “We’d meet at the Empire Hotel and drive up to Jersey around midday. On average, a session would take four hours, maybe five, tops, but you wouldn’t go past that.”
Masterminding the recording sessions was the studio’s owner, sound boffin Rudy Van Gelder, who, Chambers reveals, could be both secretive and protective about his recording methods. “Rudy didn’t allow anybody to go into the control booth,” says the drummer. “He didn’t like people to see what he was doing and how he got the sound he got. And he wore gloves to handle his equipment.” Despite this, Chambers is deeply appreciative of the audio engineer’s role in capturing jazz on record. “He absolutely mastered the art of recording the quintet sound with a couple of horns, bass, piano and drums,” he says. “I wasn’t stuck in a booth like the way they record drums now. We were all there together on the floor facing each other.”

“Wayne Shorter is one of the greatest writers in jazz”

Other high points of Joe Chambers’ time at Blue Note were his sessions with saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter, who returned to the label in 2012 and whose 2018 album, Emanon, won a Grammy award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.
Chambers played on four Shorter albums between 1965 and 1967: EtceteraThe All Seeing EyeAdam’s Apple and Schizophrenia. “At that time, I knew Wayne was a talented writer,” says Chambers, “but now I know that he is one of the greatest writers in jazz. His tunes are like standards. They teach them in schools and all the students are interested in playing them. I remember that when I came on the scene with Freddie Hubbard, Wayne dug me because I was doing something different from what he had been used to doing with Art Blakey.”
Chambers says that Etcetera, just reissued on vinyl as part of Blue Note’s Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Series, is his favourite session with Shorter. “When I listen to it, there are some things that were happening that were very advanced at the time,” he declares. “The arrangements were open for a lot of multilayered polyrhythms.”

“It represents my best playing on record”

Tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson’s Mode For Joe is another classic Blue Note album that Joe Chambers contributed to. The veteran drummer says Henderson was a musician that he regarded highly. “Post-Coltrane and [Sonny] Rollins, I would say Joe and Wayne were the major saxophone players,” he asserts. “People don’t know this, but at one point, Miles [Davis] in ’67 had them both in his band together. Joe and Wayne are equal talents as far as I’m concerned, but Joe played with more soul. When I was coming up as a teenager playing R&B in black bars, saxophone players would either walk around the bar or get up on it, and Joe sounded like he walked the bar. He had that thing in his playing. It’s a soulful sound that the old house-rock tenors like Red Prysock and Illinois Jacquet had.”
Another favourite Blue Note session of Joe Chambers’ was for Contours, a 1965 album by saxophonist/flautist Sam Rivers, which has also been reissued as part of Blue Note’s Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Series.
“I did it very early in my Blue Note days,” Chambers recalls of the session. “I think that it represents some of my best playing on record. I was playing with Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter, and it’s just real crisp and some of the things I was doing were very innovative for quintet playing. I’ve been on a lot of other things but that’s the album I really like because of the whole concept and the way we went about it.”

“I’m back out working in the streets and hustling”

Twenty-nine years after his last session as a sideman for Blue Note, in 1998 the Philly drummer signed to the label as a leader for the first and only time and recorded an album called Mirrors, whose title track was a new interpretation of the song Freddie Hubbard recorded back in 1964. Chambers also played vibes on it.
“I look at that album and think that’s what I should have been doing way back when Blue Note first asked me to record,” he laughs. “[Producer] Michael Cuscuna was instrumental in bringing me to the label. I thought it was a good record but when I think about it, I should have been making albums like that back in ’65 or ’66.”
As well as playing jazz, for many years Joe Chambers has had a parallel academic career. Until recently, he enjoyed a long spell as the Thomas S Kenan Distinguished Professor Of Jazz at the University Of North Carolina in Wilmington, but he reveals he’s now fully committed to playing music again. “I’m not teaching there anymore,” he discloses. “Now, I’m back out working in the streets hustling. I’ve got some things I’m working on, which includes trying to revive the M’Boom percussion group.”
Reflecting on Blue Note’s achievements and musical legacy, Joe Chambers believes that it was an important record label not just for jazz in general but also African-American musicians in particular. “Given the social and political strata of the United States back in those times, the black musicians were really glad that people were interested in recording them,” says the veteran drummer/composer. “And Blue Note recorded almost every major African-American musician from the late 40s to the 60s. It was, above all else, the black American jazz musicians’ label.”
Listen to the best of Blue Note on Apple Music and Spotify.
 
 

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Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Charlie Parker Jazz Festival 2019: SummerStage-2019-Season-Announce-Press-Release.pdf

Charlie Parker Jazz Festival 2019: SummerStage-2019-Season-Announce-Press-Release.pdf

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https://cityparksfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/SummerStage-2019-Season-Announce-Press-Release.pdf

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Dave Samuels R.I.P.

Dave Samuels R.I.P.

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https://www.facebook.com/Spyro-Gyra-191795950861446/
 
Today the world said goodbye to Dave Samuels, a man of great talent, intelligence and wit. He has not been well for quite a while, but the pain of his passing is as acute as it would be even if it had not been long expected. Farewell, brother.

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Strange Fruit: The most shocking song of all time?: bbc.com

Strange Fruit: The most shocking song of all time?: bbc.com

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http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20190415-strange-fruit-the-most-shocking-song-of-all-time
 
bbc.com
Strange Fruit: The most shocking song of all time?
Aida Amoako
9-12 minutes


“Can you imagine never having heard this song before and realising what the strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees is? That’s something that unfolds in the time of listening, so that image of bulging eyes and twisted mouth jumps out at the listener.” Cultural critic Emily J Lordi is describing the particular power of a song that still shocks 80 years after it was first performed.
On 20 April 1939, the jazz singer Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan in 1915) stepped into a studio with an eight-piece band to record Strange Fruit. This jarring song about the horrors of lynching was not only Holiday’s biggest hit, but it would become one of the most influential protest songs of the 20th Century – continuing to speak to us about racial violence today.
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It was named the song of the century by Time magazine in 1999, and the story of Strange Fruit’s conception has entered legend. Originally a poem called Bitter Fruit, it was written by the Jewish school teacher Abel Meeropol under the pseudonym Lewis Allen in response to lynching in US southern states. “I wrote Strange Fruit because I hate lynching, and I hate injustice, and I hate the people who perpetuate it,” Meeropol said in 1971. He never witnessed a lynching but it is suggested he wrote Strange Fruit after seeing Lawrence Beitler’s distressing photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Indiana. Lynching had begun to subside by the time the poem was published – but photographs like Beitler’s seared these graphic images into public consciousness.
Soon after publication, Meeropol set the song to music. It was performed at union meetings and even at Madison Square Garden by the jazz singer Laura Duncan. It was there that Robert Gordon, the new floor manager at the jazz club Café Society, supposedly first heard Strange Fruit in 1938. He mentioned it to Barney Josephson, the club’s founder, and Meeropol was invited to play it for Holiday.
In the spotlight
William Dufty, who co-wrote Holiday’s autobiography Lady Sings the Blues, once said: “Holiday doesn’t sing songs; she transforms them.” Holiday, her accompanist Sonny White and arranger Danny Mendelsohn, worked solidly for three weeks before debuting the revamped Strange Fruit at Café Society. In his 2001 book Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song, the writer David Margolick suggests the club, with its policy of complete integration, was “probably the only place in America where Strange Fruit could have been sung and savoured”. To ensure that it was indeed savoured, Holiday and Josephson created specific conditions for the performances. It would be the last song in the set, there would be absolute silence, no bar service and the lights would be dimmed save for a single spotlight on Holiday’s face. As Josephson said, “People had to remember Strange Fruit, get their insides burned with it.”
What happened on the first night Holiday performed Strange Fruit at Café Society foreshadowed the response it would get when released as a record. “The first time I sang it I thought it was a mistake … there wasn’t even a patter of applause when I finished. Then a lone person began to clap nervously. Then suddenly everyone was clapping,” said Holiday in her autobiography. To hear Holiday sing of “the sudden smell of burning flesh” minutes after her jazz ballads was disquieting. Meeropol wrote: “She gave a startling, most dramatic and effective interpretation, which could jolt an audience out of its complacency anywheres [sic].”
As the song became a feature of her sets, Holiday witnessed a range of reactions, from tears to walkouts and racist hecklers. Radio stations in the US and abroad blacklisted it and Holiday’s label, Columbia Records, refused to record it. When she toured the song, some proprietors tried discouraging her from singing it for fear of alienating or angering their patrons.
There is simmering rage in the way she clips the syllables… but there’s also a deep mournful quality to Holiday’s performance – Emily J Lordi
It wasn’t just the song’s political nature that startled and moved listeners but the way Holiday performed it, a manner often described as haunting. Lordi argues in her book Black Resonance: Iconic Women Singers and African American Literature that this was the result of deliberate choices Holiday made. She tells BBC Culture: “There’s a real minimalist aesthetic to her recording that calls attention to just how striking the lyric is… There is simmering rage in the way she clips the syllables and that ‘drop’. But there’s also a deep mournful quality to Holiday’s performance.”
What is so remarkable about Strange Fruit is how indelible a mark it made on American society so soon after its release. Samuel Grafton, a columnist for the New York Post, wrote of the song: “It will, even after the tenth hearing, make you blink and hold onto your chair. Even now, as I think of it, the short hair on the back of my neck tightens and I want to hit somebody. And I think I know who.”
It was such an in-your-face type of protest song… it did really leave both the singer and the audience no place to hide – Tad Hershorn
Strange Fruit was not the first popular song to deal with race. Fats Waller’s Black and Blue had come out 10 years earlier, and Lead Belly recorded The Bourgeois Blues in the same month Holiday recorded Strange Fruit. But Strange Fruit stands out among protest songs for its graphic content and subsequent commercial success. Tad Hershorn, an archivist at the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies, tells BBC Culture: “It was such an in-your-face type of protest song [that it] really gained her fame outside of Harlem … it did really leave both the singer and the audience no place to hide.”
A call to arms
This bold confrontation helped galvanise a movement that would eventually alter the course of US history. Anti-lynching campaigners sent Strange Fruit to congressmen to encourage them to propose a viable anti-lynching bill. A review in Time Magazine referred to the song as “a prime piece of musical propaganda for the NAACP”. Ahmet Ertegun, who later co-founded Atlantic Records, called it “a declaration of war … the beginning of the civil rights movement”. Strange Fruit also brought its creators unwanted attention. In 1940 Meeropol, a socialist, was called to testify before a committee investigating communism and asked whether the US Communist Party had paid him to write Strange Fruit. Journalist Johann Hari suggests that while stories of Holiday’s drug use had already been circling, her first performance of Strange Fruit put her firmly on the radar of Harry Anslinger, the notorious head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
For some, Strange Fruit and Holiday’s personal life are inextricable: the aspects of her biography that made her the embodiment of a tragic jazz heroine are the source of the haunting quality of her voice. Despite the fact that Holiday never witnessed a lynching (contrary to what the 1972 Diana Ross film Lady Sings the Blues shows), Strange Fruit still evoked the racial injustice that she felt killed her father, Clarence, who was refused medical treatment at a Texas hospital. 
But as Strange Fruit has become separated from Holiday’s personal life over the decades, it has also become distanced from the specific horror of lynching. “It’s come to sort of represent racism generally,” Margolick tells BBC Culture. “Every once in a while there’s some horrific moment but lynching has become kind of a metaphor and, in that sense, the song has become more metaphorical than literal over the decades.”
Perhaps this is why in later years, according to Margolick, Meeropol suggested Strange Fruit “belonged to the Thirties”. But its influence has spanned decades. The songs associated with the civil rights movement of the 1960s are less explicit than Strange Fruit – but Margolick argues that it “conditioned the kinds of people who later sang protest music in the 1960s and taught them the impact that a strong song can have”.
Many musicians have covered, sampled, adapted Strange Fruit, the most famous being Nina Simone in 1965, while Kanye West sampled Simone’s cover for his 2013 track Blood on the Leaves. In 2017, British singer Rebecca Ferguson announced she would only accept the invitation to sing at then President-elect Trump’s inauguration if she could sing Strange Fruit. For Lordi, its unending power lies in the way it “distills the fact of racial violence so unmistakably. It’s shorthand for ‘What is a song I can think of that most powerfully indicts the ongoing legacy of racial violence in this country and across the world?’”
In 2002, Strange Fruit was added to the National Registry of the Library of Congress, immortalising it as a song of great significance to the musical heritage of the US. Holiday died in 1959 and Meeropol in 1986 – but their collaboration has endured, its capacity to shock never waning. It has inspired musicians since to sing about injustice with candour and the awareness that a song can be a timeless impetus for social change.
“There’s something that’s still very radioactive about the song.” says Margolick. “It’s still relevant because race is still relevant. It’s on the front pages of our newspapers every day. The impulses that [Meeropol] was talking about are still very much with us.”
If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.
And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Capital and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.
 

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The Jewish Trumpeter Who Entertained Nazis to Survive the Holocaust | The New Yorker

The Jewish Trumpeter Who Entertained Nazis to Survive the Holocaust | The New Yorker

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https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-jewish-trumpeter-who-entertained-nazis-to-survive-the-holocaust

The Jewish Trumpeter Who Entertained Nazis to Survive the Holocaust

Amanda Petrusich
In 1961, sixteen years after Eric Vogel leaped from a transport train headed toward the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, he recounted his escape for Downbeat, an American jazz magazine: “This is a story of horror, terror, and death but also of joy and pleasure, the history of a jazz band whose members were doomed to die.” English wasn’t Vogel’s first language—he was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1896—but it’s hard to imagine a more gripping opening line. Downbeat ran his story in three parts, each with the title “Jazz in a Nazi Concentration Camp.”
While Vogel was imprisoned by the Nazis—first in the so-called model camp, Theresienstadt, and then later at the Auschwitz death camp—he and a dozen or so others played in a jazz band called the Ghetto Swingers. There were similar groups at many camps throughout Nazi-controlled Europe: musicians who were forced to perform, on command and under inconceivable duress, for the S.S. The particular cruelty of this—desecrating and corrupting the creative impulse that fuels and sustains art—remains wildly perverse, though Vogel was nonetheless grateful for any chance, however grim, to make the music that he loved.
The Nazis officially condemned jazz as “jungle music,” identifying it with blacks and Jews, but a hunger for it remained, both in the camps and elsewhere in Europe. A widely distributed Nazi poster denouncing entartete (or “decadent”) music featured a man with exaggerated features playing a saxophone and wearing a top hat, tails, and a six-pointed gold star. The journalist Mike Zwerin, a trombonist from Queens who covered jazz for the International Herald Tribune, later wrote about the Luftwaffe officer Dietrich Schulz-Köhn, who published a secret newsletter about jazz in occupied Europe, using the pen name Dr. Jazz. “If anybody who loved jazz could not be a Nazi, there seem to have been quite a few close calls,” Zwerin noted. For a while, jazz kept Vogel useful to the Nazis—and therefore alive. According to Vogel, the Ghetto Swingers did very good arrangements of George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” (“I got rhythm / I got music / I got my man / who could ask for anything more?”) and, incredibly, Georges Boulanger’s “Avant de Mourir,” or “Before Dying.”
Still, by the time an emaciated Vogel jumped from the train, in 1945—evading machine-gun fire, lunging toward a dark forest, his bones surely rattling against one another—many of his bandmates had been murdered. Vogel, who played trumpet, the pianist Martin Roman, and the guitarist Coco Schumann were the only survivors. “Being a member of The Ghetto Swingers was an iffy business,” Schumann wrote later. “It did not guarantee survival.”
When I first heard about the Ghetto Swingers, I had a difficult time processing the story. I’d received a letter from a man named Todd Allen, of Chatham, New Jersey; he had read a story I’d written about the lost Yiddish folk songs of the Second World War, and knew I had an ongoing interest in obscure musical artifacts. Allen had recently discovered a few boxes of Vogel’s things, languishing in a closet in Las Vegas. Felicita Danola, his wife’s grandmother, had been hired in Vogel’s old age as his live-in caretaker. When Vogel died, in 1980, Danola acquired some of his belongings. Vogel had thought to organize them, and Danola had thought to keep them, but the material had gone untouched for several decades. Allen had it now. Did I want to come see it? There were photos, letters, magazine articles. The improbability of the entire enterprise—musicians creating art under the most odious and debilitating conditions imaginable—made the fact of the Ghetto Swingers seem miraculous to me, if not incomprehensible. I went to New Jersey.
Allen and his wife, Ruth, received me warmly, and, over the next several months, they helped me piece together Vogel’s story. Vogel was an amateur musician, perhaps more of an aficionado than a savant. He was stout—before the war, he was about two hundred and ten pounds—and round-faced, with big, kind eyes. His eyebrows were pleasingly thick and arched into two little peaks. Vogel was the type of guy who could I.D. a horn solo mere seconds after the stylus hit the record, a serious and devoted student of the form, an instinctive critic. He was not above some light boasting about his record collection, which he described as “one of the largest collections of American jazz records in my country.”
On March 15, 1939—the same day that the Czech President, Emil Hácha, granted free passage to German soldiers, after Hitler had threatened to bomb Prague—the Gestapo pounded on the door of the apartment that Vogel shared with his parents, in Brno. The officer recognized Vogel from a jam session that they’d both attended a few weeks back. How odd that confrontation must have felt—meeting again under once unthinkable circumstances. The officer assured Vogel that he would be safe. “This was the first time that jazz was deeply involved in shaping my life. It was not to be the last,” Vogel wrote.
After the German occupation, Vogel lost his job. He was required to wear a yellow Star of David and forbidden to be outside after 8 P.M. His family now shared their two-bedroom apartment with two other Jewish families. Vogel clung to jazz as a sort of life preserver. “I still managed to play somewhat muted jazz in my apartment,” he writes, “and was in demand by bandleaders to write more arrangements.” Eventually, his short-wave radio was confiscated by the Gestapo. The Gestapo also took his trumpet, though he soaked the valves in sulfuric acid before surrendering it, “to prevent anyone from playing military marches on the horn used to playing jazz.” Vogel took a job with the local Jewish council, and was ordered to help organize umschulungskurse, or “retraining” courses. In theory, these were supposed to teach people practical skills that would allow them to emigrate, but Vogel was asked to lead a course on jazz. He had about forty applicants, and turned them into a band: the Kille Dillers. “I had found in one Down Beat an expression, ‘killer diller,’ that I liked very much, though I didn’t know the exact meaning of the words,” Vogel wrote. (A bit of lost mid-century American slang, “killer diller” refers, in a general way, to something sensational, though jazz musicians of the big-band era used it specifically to refer to a musician who could really play; Vogel also noted that “Kille” sounded a bit like the Hebrew word “kehilah,” or congregation.)
The Kille Dillers, in 1940. Vogel stands in the center, holding his trumpet in his left hand.
The Kille Dillers fell apart as the transport orders started coming in. Vogel’s notice arrived on March 25, 1942. He was sent west to Theresienstadt, a transit camp and sorting station in Terezín, a fortress town in the Nazi-occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Theresienstadt had been picked, he wrote, “to be shown to a commission of the International Red Cross as proof that everything written in the enemy press about concentration camps, with gas chambers, forced labor, and killing, was a lie.” In January of 1943, Vogel wrote to the camp’s department of leisure activities to see about establishing a jazz orchestra; he was given permission to assemble it. A band shell was erected in the main square, and a coffee house opened. The Ghetto Swingers were forced to play there “every day for many hours,” Vogel recalled. “It was set up as a so-called paradise camp—a showcase for propaganda purposes,” Bret Werb, an ethnomusicologist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, D.C., told me. “A lot of extraordinary things happened there. Many talented people who were sent there were allowed to exercise their artistic bents.”
The Ghetto Swingers were being compelled to participate in what was, by all accounts, a hideous charade, but the music that they played was real—which means that, for the players, it still offered a brief, guilty kind of solace, a bit of “joy and pleasure,” as Vogel wrote. “People did it because they felt better doing it, because it helped them escape,” Werb said. “Songs were spontaneously created there, or remembered. People’s access to the outside world was largely frozen in 1939, so a lot of the camp songs created are based on pop songs that people heard at the end of 1939.”
Vogel was able to recruit some of the best European players of the interwar era, including the clarinetist Fritz Weiss, and he soon found himself a little out of his league, musically. “The band was augmented by three trumpets and one trombone, and I was politely asked by the other members of the band to take the third chair and not play too loudly,” he wrote. The German-Jewish pianist Martin Roman was recognized at one of the band’s early shows. “They had heard that I had played in Holland with Coleman Hawkins, who was the greatest saxophonist in the world,” he said in 1989, in an interview with the musicologist David Bloch. “I improvised, and they did not let me stop.”
Vogel, who had never been a professional musician, was happy to cede control of the group. A few days later, Roman was approached by the bassist Pavel Libensky. “Libensky requested me to take over the leadership of the Ghetto Swingers,” Roman said. “At first I was reluctant to be in charge of a basically Czech group, but Libensky insisted and said all the musicians wanted me as their leader, and told me how impressed they all were by my playing and knowledge.”
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At Theresienstadt, the Ghetto Swingers were enlisted by the S.S. to perform in a propaganda film known as “The Führer Gives the Jews a City.” Schumann, the guitarist, also described the band as a haven offering deep, if temporary, relief from the panic of the camps. “When I played I forgot where I was. The world seemed in order, the suffering of people around me disappeared—life was beautiful,” he wrote in his autobiography. “We knew everything and forgot everything the moment we played a few bars.” Vogel described a similar experience: “We were so concerned and so happy to play our beloved jazz that we had tranquilized ourselves into the dream world produced by the Germans for reasons of propaganda.”
Though there’s little musical overlap, Vogel’s story reminded me, in a way, of the work songs that were recorded in Southern prisons in the mid-twentieth century. At that time, black prisoners were often leased from state penitentiaries to companies that collected resin from long-leaf pine forests. (The resin was distilled into turpentine, a volatile, toxic substance commonly used as a paint solvent.) “The men worked killing shifts in deep mud and thick underbrush,” David Oshinsky writes in his book “Worse Than Slavery.” “We go from can’t to can’t,” one prisoner explained. “Can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night.” As early as the nineteen-thirties, ethnomusicologists and folklorists such as Alan Lomax travelled to places such as Parchman Farm, Mississippi’s notorious state penitentiary, to make field recordings of prisoners working in the sweltering cotton fields there. They sang to pass the time, to give rhythm to their labor, and to keep their humanity from dissipating entirely.
On June 23, 1944, delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived to inspect Theresienstadt in person. The Ghetto Swingers set up and played in the band shell. Vogel recalls the camp commandant handing out sardine sandwiches to starving children, and ordering them to exclaim, “My, sardines again!” The Red Cross accepted the display, and, three months after its representatives left, on September 28th, the Nazis began emptying the camp. The Ghetto Swingers were sent to Auschwitz, every member aside from Vogel on the first transport train. Some of them, including Fritz Weiss, were marched from the train directly into a gas chamber. Vogel writes about his later arrival with extraordinary frankness: “The dense smoke coming from the chimney was the last of my friends.”
Vogel was eventually reunited with a few surviving members of the band. At Auschwitz, thirty or so musicians were selected to entertain the Nazis; they were assigned to a special barracks, and dressed in “sharp-looking” band uniforms. “We had to play from early in the morning until late in the evening for the German SS, who came in flocks to our barracks,” Vogel wrote. But, after four weeks, the Nazis disassembled the band and loaded its members onto a train. “People were lying one on the other. Some were crying, and a few were dying,” Vogel wrote. The Ghetto Swingers managed to joke with one another, and to sing some of their favorite band arrangements. For the next several months, Vogel was shuffled between camps.
When Vogel escaped, he weighed about seventy pounds. The first night, he hid in the woods. It rained. When he finally heard a car engine, he crawled from his hiding spot, and encountered two German Air Force officers. Miraculously, they gave him bread. Vogel walked to Petzenhausen, a nearby village. “I was given hot black coffee and potatoes and hidden by the villagers in a barn,” he wrote.
On April 30, 1945, an American jeep drove into the village with the words “BOOGIEWOOGIE” painted on its side. Hitler died the same day; a week later, the Germans would sign an instrument of unconditional surrender. Vogel ran to a soldier, kissed his feet, and started asking him about jazz. Vogel was offered chocolate and cigarettes. The Americans brought Vogel to an officers’ club, where they blindfolded him and played him records, to see if he could identify the performer. “Despite the fact that I had been cut off from American jazz for more than four years, I recognized most recordings of bands and soloists that were played for me. I was the sensation of the club,” Vogel wrote.
Vogel, at left, wearing his uniform from the camps, in a photo taken in 1945, shortly after he’d escaped.
In New Jersey, Allen showed me a glass negative for a photo of Vogel taken in 1945, shortly after he’d escaped. In it, he is standing alongside an older couple. It appears that he managed to put on about twenty pounds in his first two weeks free. He’s wearing his uniform from the camps—a dirty striped shirt and work pants. Werb told me that it was not especially unusual for Holocaust survivors to get back into their uniforms and pose for photographs with locals, just as returning soldiers might do. There’s another picture that shows Vogel in a group of eleven men and boys, all of them wearing their camp uniforms. Two women huddle in the front, one holding onto the other. Vogel is standing in the back, wearing a hat. His cheeks are sunken, and his eyes are blank. The photo was shot in black-and-white, but one gets the sense that, even if it had been taken with color film, it would still look impossibly gray.
Schumann was also put on a transport train to a subcamp of Dachau. A few months later, he was being marched toward Innsbruck, in Austria, when American tanks arrived; he was twenty years old, and terribly sick with angina and typhoid fever. Schumann briefly moved to Australia after the war, but eventually he returned to Berlin, where he performed with Marlene Dietrich, Ella Fitzgerald, and the violinist Helmut Zacharias, and later started his own band, the Coco Schumann Quartet. He died in Berlin, in 2018, at ninety-three. Martin Roman ultimately immigrated to the U.S., and settled in New Jersey. He kept playing, too—first at clubs in New York City and then at resorts upstate. He died in 1996, at eighty-six. Allen found a poster advertising a show in 1947, at the Hotel Astoria, in Prague, featuring what was most likely Vogel’s first band after the war: the E. T. Birds Blue White Rhythm Stars. Vogel’s first two initials were E.T., for Eric Theodore, and Vogel means “bird” in German.
In 1946, Vogel moved to New York with Gertrude Kleinová. Trudy, as she was known, was born on August 13, 1918, in Brno. She and Vogel had met before the war, at the local branch of the Maccabi sports club. As a teen-ager, Trudy exhibited an uncanny aptitude for table tennis, and Vogel became her coach; Trudy would be a table-tennis world champion three times before the age of twenty, helping win the women’s team world championship twice, in 1935 and 1936, and the world mixed doubles once, in 1936, with her playing partner, Miloslav Hamr.
In 1939, she married Jacob Schalinger, the chairman of her local table-tennis division. There’s a beguiling black-and-white photo of Trudy leaning on a table-tennis table, holding a paddle; she’s wearing high-waisted shorts, a tucked-in shirt, and little white sneakers, with neatly folded-down socks. Her dark hair is parted on the side and brushed back. Bohumil Váňa, one of her teammates, stands to her left, beaming. Trudy’s smile is wide and satisfied. There’s a ring on her left hand, which makes me think the photo must have been taken sometime between her wedding to Schalinger, in 1939, and December of 1941, when she and Schalinger were sent to Theresienstadt. Eventually, they, too, were brought to Auschwitz, where Schalinger was killed.
Nobody knows for sure how Trudy and Vogel found each other again, after the war ended. It’s possible that they saw each other at Theresienstadt, or at Auschwitz. Surely it was a relief to reunite in Brno—to find a person they knew and cared for before the camps, but who had seen the same things they’d seen, and understood how life was different now. They arranged for what looks like a small civil ceremony. Trudy wore an elegant, long-sleeved black suit and carried tulips. They exchanged rings that were handed to them on a silver platter, and posed for a photograph with friends and family on the street. In it, a man standing behind them holds a trumpet up like a talisman. Another waves drumsticks in the air.
Trudy and Eric Vogel, in the foreground, after their wedding.
It’s hard for me not to wonder now if Vogel had loved Trudy before, back when he was her coach, lecturing her on ball placement and spin, watching her play—and what it must have been like to see her marry a different man, a friend. They settled in Elmhurst, Queens, a predominantly Jewish and Italian neighborhood. Vogel took a job as a draftsman (he was later promoted to designer, then to design engineer) with Loewy-Hydropress, an engineering firm founded by a Czech refugee who had fled the Nazis. He also worked steadily as a jazz critic (his press pass declares that he’s “a bona fide representative of Down Beat Magazine”) and a radio host. In New York, Vogel palled around with guys like John Hammond—the record producer who introduced Benny Goodman to Fletcher Henderson, seeding the idea that jazz could “swing,” and who later signed Bob Dylan to Columbia Records. He was also a friend and booster of the extraordinary jazz pianist Jutta Hipp, who moved to the U.S. in 1955 and later lived near the Vogels, in Queens. Hipp, who stopped performing not long after, often drew caricatures of jazz performers. Vogel’s papers contain several.
Hammond’s archive, at Yale, contains dozens of letters between Vogel and Hammond. In them, Vogel mostly inquired after copies of Columbia records that he wanted to broadcast on the radio, but he also appointed himself as a kind of amateur A. & R. man, vigorously championing any promising young artists whom he came across. He recommended a twenty-year-old gospel singer, Rose Presley, who had come to New York from South Carolina and now worked at Loewy: “I feel a certain potential in her voice and I would ask you, dear John if you agree with me,” he wrote. “Her salary is small and she has to support her family.” In the sixties, after he travelled to Jamaica, Vogel suggested that Hammond look into a Jamaican singer, Keith Stewart, whom he had seen perform at a hotel. Vogel believed that Stewart could be “Columbias answer to Harry Belafonte,” and described him as having “perfect intonation.” Sometimes, Hammond politely demurred in his responses; at other times, he followed up on Vogel’s suggestions. (I eventually found a copy of Stewart’s début LP, “Yellow Bird,” in the dollar bin at my local record shop: it’s a sweet, breezy folk record, the kind of thing that sounds vast and flawless when the sun is shining.) This is the part of Vogel that I find the most consistently endearing. He loved music so thoroughly.
Allen also found a handful of vacation photos tucked among Vogel’s papers. Many are of the Vogels lounging lakeside in the Catskill Mountains, in upstate New York; in one, Trudy is holding a life preserver that reads “Breezy Hill.” When I reached out to the owner of the modern-day Breezy Hill Inn, in Fleischmanns, New York, to see if it might be the same place, I was told that there used to be a larger resort nearby called the Breezy Hill Hotel. Martin Roman played in the band there. I like to think that Vogel and Roman reunited happily in the mountains—that they had suffered together, and now might share pleasure. Maybe Vogel even brought his trumpet, and sat in with Roman’s band.
In 1952, Vogel wrote a three-page poem about Breezy Hill, in German. I asked the jazz guitarist Russ Spiegel—who was born in California but came of age in Germany—if he could translate the piece. He pointed out that it was written in rhyming verse, like a song. I wondered what it meant. The owner of the Breezy Hill Inn eventually referred me to a friend of hers, Peter Neumann, who had spent time at Breezy Hill in the nineteen-fifties, and whose mother, Suzanne Neumann, occasionally sang with the band. Neumann told me that the musicians often invented parodies about the guests—or whatever was going on at the resort that week—and sang them to the melody of a popular song. Vogel’s piece, which he titled “The Secret of Breezy Hill,” describes the management of the hotel training flies to spy on the resort’s guests—to curtail their mischief and, especially, to make sure that they didn’t miss breakfast.
Trudy is smiling in the photos—never widely, but she looks content enough. Still, one gets the sinking sense that she hadn’t quite metabolized the trauma of the war. How could we expect her to? She worked in New York—she was a member of the United Optical Workers Union—but her health steadily worsened. Allen showed me a letter from her physician, Eric J. Nash, written in 1963. “Mrs. Vogel entered the camp in full physical and mental health, she was a known champion in many fields of sport,” Nash wrote. “When she left the camp she suffered from the usual starvation syndrome, avitaminosis and underweight. She had developed osteoarthritis of her dorsal spine, both knee joints and both feet. She showed marked restlessness with prolonged periods of depression, coupled with severe headaches and sleeplessness.” It ends with a grim summation: “In view of the long-standing sickness the prognosis as to complete recovery is poor.”
Allen now has what’s surely a pair of Trudy’s table-tennis paddles, though it’s hard to say whether she ever played with them again. In 1948, shortly after they arrived in America, Vogel had written to the United States Table Tennis Association, perhaps to let it know that Trudy had arrived. “I certainly do remember your wife and her brilliant play in the 1937 World Championships,” Elmer F. Cinnater, then the association’s president, responded. He encouraged the Vogels to visit the Broadway Table Tennis Courts, near Carnegie Hall. “Just for the fun of it, don’t tell anyone about your wife,” he suggested. “Enter in the tournament and surprise the fellows up there.” I wonder if Trudy went—if she and Vogel pulled off the gag, and laughed about it on the train back to Queens. Trudy died in 1976, at the age of fifty-seven. Vogel’s correspondence suggests that she was sick for years before that.
In April of 1952, Vogel published an article in Metronome, another American jazz magazine. Because the piece is critical of the Soviet Union, and because his parents were still alive and living in Czechoslovakia, he thought it best to use a pseudonym—“K. Siva.” (Vogel’s parents, Ernst and Emma, were also sent to Terezín, and remained there until the spring of 1945, when they were liberated. “They were among those who eluded deportation and outlasted the Germans,” Werb, the musicologist, told me. “You might say they were lucky.” Emma died in 1954, and Ernst in 1961.) In the piece, Vogel argues that jazz represents the truest kind of liberation—a sort of spiritual and political emancipation. “The spirit of freedom in American Jazz has always been a hindrance and sore spot in the programs  of totalitarian governments,” he writes. Jazz gave musicians a freedom “comparable only to the freedoms of the democratic way of life.” Vogel describes the desire for the music among young people in Prague as similar “to the cry for water of a thirsty man lost in the desert.” He implores radio programmers to play more jazz on the stations “being beamed toward the Iron Curtain”—it will be a balm and a thrill, he suggests, for listeners shrinking under uncompromising regimes. Vogel felt that he owed his life to jazz (“I truly and literally had made my living with jazz,” he writes at the end of his Downbeat story), and, for the rest of his years in New York, he wanted to celebrate it. It had kept him alive once; maybe it could do the same for others now.
Curiously, the response to his Downbeat story appears to have been underwhelming. In a February, 1962, issue, a month after the publication of the third installment, there’s a single letter to the editor from an irate twenty-nine-year-old German, who sarcastically thanks Vogel for how he “really helped to rip open old wounds.” Yet Vogel went on. He tried to sell a memoir, but couldn’t find an appropriate co-author. (At one point the jazz critic Leonard Feather was a candidate.) He programmed radio shows, helped to book jazz festivals, and played music with his friends whenever he could. Before he died, in 1980—his death certificate cites congestive heart failure and colon cancer, though he was also suffering from Parkinson’s disease—he had collected photos of almost every major American jazz musician performing live: Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk. There’s something so pure and glorious about that part of Vogel. Nobody could extinguish or soften his love of jazz, not even the Nazis.
A lot of us who write about music talk about how a song or album saved our lives at one point or another. I’ve done it. It’s a flashy way of saying, “I need this. It means something to me.” Vogel understood the idea literally, as a debt he’d spend the rest of his life repaying. One night, Allen sent me a couple of stanzas by the writer Gregory Orr, from “Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved.” It made him think of Vogel, he said, and why it was so important to remember his life.
Reading it, I wondered if this was what it felt like for Vogel and the rest of the Ghetto Swingers to raise their instruments. To find grace in a place of dying, to be reborn and reanimated, briefly, by song:
Who can measure the gratitude
Of the beloved?
To have lain so long in the dark,
Listening to the worms whisper.
The eyes closed, the nerves numb.
And then to be brought alive.
And all because of you.
Because you sang the song
That someone wrote—or
Hummed it, even, not remembering
The words, but feeling the feeling of it.
 

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Happy Easter One More Time

Happy Easter One More Time

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J S Bach – Adagio from The Easter Oratorio BWV 249 – Art of Moog – The Lab Sessions 2019 – YouTube

J S Bach – Adagio from The Easter Oratorio BWV 249 – Art of Moog – The Lab Sessions 2019 – YouTube

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CklCJk6kNFg

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How Richmond jazz legend Lonnie Liston Smith is bridging generations | WTVR.com

How Richmond jazz legend Lonnie Liston Smith is bridging generations | WTVR.com

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https://wtvr.com/2019/04/19/lonnie-liston-smith-blue-note-records-beyond-the-notes-movie/
 
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How Richmond jazz legend Lonnie Liston Smith is bridging generations
Connatix
4-5 minutes


Richmond jazz legend Lonnie Liston Smith`s music sampled by Jay-Z
RICHMOND, Va. — Church Hill native Lonnie Liston Smith has made a name for himself playing with the likes of jazz giants Miles Davis and Art Blakey.
The pianist was one of the only jazz artists to appear on Soul Train and one of Smith’s songs was even sampled by Jay-Z.
As far back as he can remember, Smith has been tickling the ivories.
“I tell people I came out of my mother’s womb playing music,” Smith said. “From day one it was all music, all music.”
His talents have carried this Church Hill native from New York to Melbourne and countless jazz clubs in between. Smith’s fusion, acid jazz and smooth jazz helped him gain a strong foothold on the music scene.
“Back then the record company was fantastic,” Smith said.
He’s played with jazz heavyweights like Miles Davis and Art Blakely. Then Smith’s stature soared. When he appeared on Soul Train in the 1970s. A rarity for jazz musicians.
“All of a sudden people just come to you. They say you really must be famous. You really must be good,” Smith said.
Over the years Smith rubbed shoulders with some of the greats from Barry White to Marvin Gaye.
“(Marvin) impressed me. He was so nice. We started talking like we knew each other.”
In the 1990s younger listeners were exposed to Smith’s earlier works when hip-hop artist Guru collaborated with Smith on the groundbreaking album Jazzmatazz, which blended two genres.
Blending genres is one of the themes of a new documentary: “Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes.”
“They put out some great records and they influenced the whole world,” Smith said.
The film detailing the legendary jazz label’s history and influence on new artists will play at the upcoming Richmond International Film and Music Festival.
“I performed with a lot of those musicians,” Smith said. “It was live. I mean the feeling was.”
Smith remembers playing in the New Jersey studio where Blue Note artists recorded as “fantastic” and “like some special place.”
The pianist says Blue Note’s distinct sound is timeless much like this 80-year-old’s music.
Rapper Jay-Z discovered Smith’s sound when he sampled “A Garden of Peace” for his breakthrough song Dead Presidents.
“The young people are discovering jazz through the samples,” Smith said.
Smith doesn’t consider sampling as unoriginal or thieving.
“When the artist or publishing or record company send you a check it really is a blessing,” Smith said.
Smith’s advice for young musicians?
“You got to go inside and find yourself,” Smith said. “A lot think I’m crazy, but I tell them you have to learn how to breathe through your fingers.”
Smith is bridging generations using his first love: Jazz.
“I feel a great responsibility. It’s a blessing that young kids have really fallen in love with it,” Smith said. “Music is fantastic.”
“Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes” documentary will show Sunday, April 28 at 1:30 p.m. at the Byrd Theatre where Smith will appear as a guest panelist immediately following the film.
Like inspiring stories? Watch CBS 6 News at 11 p.m. Fridays for Greg McQuade’s powerful “I Have A Story” reports. If you know of someone Greg should feature in my “I Have A Story” segment email him at gmcquade@wtvr.com.

Watch “I Have A Story” Fridays on CBS 6 News at 11 p.m. If you know of someone with an interesting story we should tell, email gmcquade@wtvr.com
Additionally, watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade’s “Heroes Among Us” features. 
 

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Yankees and Flyers Will Stop Playing Kate Smith After Discovering Racist Songs – The New York Times

Yankees and Flyers Will Stop Playing Kate Smith After Discovering Racist Songs – The New York Times

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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/19/sports/kate-smith-new-york-yankees-philadelphia-flyers.html?action=click&module=Latest&pgtype=Homepage

Yankees and Flyers Will Stop Playing Kate Smith After Discovering Racist Songs

By Victor Mather
 April 19, 2019
Kate Smith sings “God Bless America” before a 1975 playoff game between the Flyers and the Islanders.Associated Press
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Kate Smith sings “God Bless America” before a 1975 playoff game between the Flyers and the Islanders.Associated Press
For the Yankees, Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America” was a staple of the seventh-inning stretch since 2001.
For the Philadelphia Flyers, the connection was even tighter, with Smith serving as a mascot of sorts for the team’s 1970s Stanley Cup winners, and performing live at games.
Now both teams have announced they will stop playing Smith’s version of “God Bless America” after discovering that she sang songs with racist lyrics in the 1930s. The Flyers will also cover a statue of Smith that has been in front of their arena since 1987.
Smith, who died in 1986, is most closely identified with “God Bless America,” but recorded numerous other songs over her long career. Among them were “Pickaninny Heaven” and “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which contain disturbing lyrics that demean black people.
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a team spokesman told The Daily News, which first reported the story. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
The Yankees used the song early in the season, but stopped after being alerted by a fan’s email to Smith’s racially insensitive work.
A statue of Kate Smith by the Philadelphia Flyers arena. At left is Lauren Hart, who has sung “God Bless America” at Flyers games alongside a recording by Smith.Matt Rourke/Associated Press
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A statue of Kate Smith by the Philadelphia Flyers arena. At left is Lauren Hart, who has sung “God Bless America” at Flyers games alongside a recording by Smith.Matt Rourke/Associated Press
The Flyers said in a statement: “We have recently become aware that several songs performed by Kate Smith contain offensive lyrics that do not reflect our values as an organization. As we continue to look into this serious matter, we are removing Kate Smith’s recording of ‘God Bless America’ from our library and covering up the statue that stands outside of our arena.”
The Flyers have a tradition of playing Smith’s version of “God Bless America” as a replacement for the national anthem at particularly big games. The song has been said to bring the team good luck. Smith performed it live before Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup final, the game in which the Flyers won their first Cup.
Like many white singers of her era, Smith sang some songs that at best are dated and insensitive and at worst are downright racist.
In “Pickaninny Heaven,” Smith sings of a place where “great big watermelons roll around and get in your way.” “Pickaninny” is a demeaning term for a black child. In the 1933 film “Hello Everybody,” Smith sings the song to a group of black orphans listening on the radio.
“That’s Why Darkies Were Born” begins: “Someone had to pick the cotton,/ Someone had to pick the corn,/ Someone had to slave and be able to sing,/ That’s why darkies were born.”
The lyrics also include: “Sing, sing, sing when you’re weary and sing when you’re blue/ Sing, sing, that’s what you taught all the white folks to do.”
The song was also recorded by the black singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson, although “one has to think that Robeson’s take on the lyrics was decidedly ironic,” wrote Steven Carl Tracy in “Hot Music, Ragmentation and the Bluing of American Literature.”
James Wagner contributed reporting.
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‘Pick Up My Pieces: Gabrielle Stravelli Sings Willie Nelson’ Review: Jazz That Heads Down Home – WSJ

‘Pick Up My Pieces: Gabrielle Stravelli Sings Willie Nelson’ Review: Jazz That Heads Down Home – WSJ

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/pick-up-my-pieces-gabrielle-stravelli-sings-willie-nelson-review-jazz-that-heads-down-home-11555613962
 
wsj.com
‘Pick Up My Pieces: Gabrielle Stravelli Sings Willie Nelson’ Review: Jazz That Heads Down Home
Will Friedwald
4-5 minutes


The late, great jazz writer Nat Hentoff was much enamored of a certain anecdote about Charlie Parker, the legendary saxophonist and modern jazz innovator. The story goes that Bird and his band were relaxing and he kept playing country-and-western records on a jukebox. The musicians, who regarded country music as hopelessly square, asked their boss just what he found so appealing in those tracks, and he answered: “Listen to the stories.” (Hentoff even used that as the title of one of his books.)
Hentoff would have loved “Pick Up My Pieces: Gabrielle Stravelli Sings Willie Nelson” (Big Modern Music), out now, in which the New York-based jazz singer addresses the music of one of country’s most iconoclastic singer-songwriters. Country music is, on the whole, an underutilized wellspring for jazz musicians and singers, who in recent decades have been looking as far afield as the Beatles and Björk for inspiration while largely ignoring a massive genre of great homegrown American songs.
Not that Ms. Stravelli takes Mr. Nelson’s music and merely “jazzes” it up in the most obvious way. She’s giving these songs the same kind of thoughtful interpretation that, for instance, Cyrille Aimée, Melissa Errico and Cheryl Bentyne all brought to the music of Stephen Sondheim in their recent albums. As famously sung by the duo of Mr. Nelson and Waylon Jennings, “Good Hearted Woman” is compassionate but undeniably macho; Ms. Stravelli and her musical director, Pat O’Leary, not only recast it as a gentle waltz but retell the tale from the viewpoint of the woman herself. Ms. Stravelli has, in effect, transformed “Good Hearted Woman” into a whole new song, one that I like as much as the original.
Yet here and elsewhere in the album she never messes with the message or gets in the way of Mr. Nelson’s humor—“Three Days,” which now opens with a scatted intro and is set in a swinging 4/4, remains as funny and poignant as Mr. Nelson’s own versions. It now climaxes in an exciting sequence of horn battles between trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso and trombonist Jon Allred, then between Evan Arntzen on alto saxophone and Scott Robinson on tenor. (Spoiler alert, to the few who don’t know the song, originally a hit for Faron Young in 1962: The “three days” are yesterday, today and tomorrow.) Another Willie-Waylon classic, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” is relentlessly bebopped in a way that replaces the irony of the original with a whole new set of ironic underpinnings and subtexts.
Ms. Stravelli’s treatment of “Nightlife” is significantly more celebratory than the original, leaving out the regret and recriminations of Mr. Nelson’s many versions. “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” has always been something of a dirge and a cautionary tale; Ms. Stravelli and Mr. O’Leary add a string quartet and move it over to the realm of the love song.
Along the way, Ms. Stravelli also incorporates several songs identified with Mr. Nelson that he didn’t write, notably the jazz standard “Stardust” and the country classic “Always on My Mind.”
Surprisingly, Ms. Stravelli never dives straightforwardly into Mr. Nelson’s “Crazy,” best known through its interpretations by other artists, though she alludes to that 1961 song instrumentally in “Good Hearted Woman” and she also interpolates about four lines of “Crazy” into the middle of “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces.” That last number, from which the album draws its title, may be her most remarkable transformation here; Mr. Nelson’s own treatment is highly confessional, but Ms. Stravelli’s is not only that. It’s like a sprawling blues testimonial, in the manner of Charlie Parker’s “Parker’s Mood,” not to mention part spiritual, part sermon and part eulogy. “What I thought was heaven / Was just falling debris.”
My guess is that not only would Nat and Bird have loved it, but so will Willie.
—Mr. Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for the Journal.
 

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EASTER & PASSOVER GREETINGS

EASTER & PASSOVER GREETINGS

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FROM ALL OF US TO ALL OF YOU


forsythia warwick ny spring 2019
 

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Dill Jones Trio-in Concert – YouTube

Dill Jones Trio-in Concert – YouTube

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GAXHgRRibk
 
Recorded in BBC Llandaff, Studio C1. The studio is due to be demolished sometime in 2020.

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BBC Radio 3 – Sunday Feature – 7 Candid Photos of Jazz Legends

BBC Radio 3 – Sunday Feature – 7 Candid Photos of Jazz Legends

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/k329t7ywmrhngwrK3JZWFV/7-candid-photos-of-jazz-legends
 
bbc.co.uk
BBC Radio 3 – Sunday Feature – 7 Candid Photos of Jazz Legends
5-6 minutes


Over six decades, Val Wilmer has become “a world figure in the history of African-American musical culture”. Her remarkable career has seen her interview and photograph almost every significant and influential figure in post-war jazz, blues and R&B.
In 1956, aged 14, Val took a snap at London Airport of a grinning Louis Armstrong. Since then she has covered names including Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Sun Ra and Albert Ayler – as well as countless unrecognised men and women who have shaped African-American culture since the 1950s.
Radio 3’s Sunday Feature: A Portrait of Val Wilmer talks to Val and discusses her career. Here are some of the photographs she’s taken…

Louis Armstrong leaving London Airport for Ghana, with Clive Wilmer (Val’s younger brother, aged 11) in background. 1956.

Sunny Murray and son, at home. Carroll Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 1966.

Donald & Albert Ayler. St Nicholas Park, New York. September 1966.

Archie Shepp. East 5th Street, Lower East Side, New York. 1971.

Charles Mingus, recording ‘Let My Children Hear Music’ (“the best album I have ever made”). New York City. 1972.

Pharoah Sanders, with Richard Davis (bass). Village Gate, New York. 1976.

Val Wilmer, with her portrait of Sun Ra in background. In conversation at The Wire Salon, Café Oto, Dalston, London. July 2017. Photo credit: David Corio.
Radio 3’s Sunday Feature: A Portrait of Val Wilmer is broadcast on 4 March 2018 at 18:45.
Images supplied by Val Wilmer / David Corio, and are subject to copyright.
 

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Boston Public Library 78rpm Collection : Free Audio : Free Download, Borrow and Streaming : Internet Archive

Boston Public Library 78rpm Collection : Free Audio : Free Download, Borrow and Streaming : Internet Archive

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https://archive.org/details/78rpm_bostonpubliclibrary
 
Boston Public Library 78rpm Collection
The Boston Public Library (BPL) sound collection includes hundreds of thousands of audio recordings in a variety of historical formats, including wax cylinders, 78 rpms, and LPs. The recordings span many genres, including classical, pop,

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Wesley Schmidt, owner of Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, dies at 68 – nola.com

Wesley Schmidt, owner of Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, dies at 68 – nola.com

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https://www.nola.com/entertainment/2019/04/wesley-schmidt-owner-of-snug-harbor-jazz-bistro-dies-at-68.html
 
Wesley Schmidt, owner of Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, dies at 68
By Olivia Prentzel, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Updated Apr 14, 9:21 AM; Posted Apr 13, 2019
Wesley Schmidt was the grand marshal of the Storyville Stompers. In this file photo from April 2003, Schmidt leads the marching band around Jackson Square as the opening act of the final day of the French Quarter Festival.
Wesley Schmidt, owner of Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, grand marshal of Storyville Stompers and a founder of MOMS Ball, died Friday (April 12) from lung cancer at his Mid-City home, friends said. He was 68.
A New Orleans native, Mr. Schmidt spent three decades at Snug Harbor, a cornerstone to the city’s jazz scene and anchor to Frenchmen Street. He started at the club as an assistant manager and was promoted to manager. In 2007, he became the club’s owner after the death of former owner George Brumat.
“He loved that place,” said Mr. Schmidt’s friend Woody Penouilh. “He was Snug Harbor to me.”
Before Snug Harbor, Mr. Schmidt was a manager at The Dream Palace, which is now Blue Nile.
In the 1970s, Mr. Schmidt became a manager of Luigi’s Italian Restaurant on Elysian Fields Avenue, near the University of New Orleans. It was at Luigi’s that Mr. Schmidt booked the pre-Radiators group, The Rhapsodizers, including guitarist Clark Vreeland, to play every Wednesday night.
Mr. Schmidt’s public persona was shaped by his role as grand marshal of the Storyville Stompers, a marching band inspired by the Olympia Brass Band, and as one of the founders of MOMS ball, a semi-private, bohemian costume party held every Saturday before Mardi Gras. Behind his public persona, friends said Mr. Schmidt was a relatively private person.
Penouilh, a tuba player with the Storyville Stompers, described Mr. Schmidt as an audiophile who would seek out a certain type of turntable on which he’d play his eclectic selection of music. Mr. Schmidt was a generous person, Penouilh said, who was “unique and true and real.”
Jay Christman, general manger of Snug Harbor, said Mr. Schmidt played a large role in continuing the club’s legacy and its mission to jazz. The club, which provides music seven nights a week, is only closed three nights a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mardi Gras. It closed Friday night in honor of Mr. Schmidt’s passing.
Every Thanksgiving, Mr. Schmidt would have an open house, inviting anyone he knew without family in town to share dinner at his home, Christman said.
“He celebrated all aspects of what we think of community in the city here,” Christman said. “Music was a primary source of everything we do and he did what ever he could to promote that.”
Mr. Schmidt is survived by his wife. Funeral arrangements are unknown.
Staff reporter Doug MacCash contributed to this story.
 
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Remembering Philadelphia jazz drummer, composer, and advocate Jim Miller | Broad Street Review

Remembering Philadelphia jazz drummer, composer, and advocate Jim Miller | Broad Street Review

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Remembering Philadelphia jazz drummer, composer, and advocate Jim Miller
Suzanne Cloud
March 10, 2019
Legendary listening
I first met Jim Miller in the early 1980s when I needed a drummer to fill in for my regular guy on short notice. From the first downbeat, I realized this musician had a way of transforming the drums behind a singer: from a ballad’s whispering pulse, delicate and lush, to launching an insistent pocket with the band, allowing me to glide above the groove, suspending or parsing my notes in midair.
NZyGAzlA-751-1125.jpgA champion of the Philadelphia jazz community: Jim Miller. (Photo by Anthony Dean.)
At first break that first night, Miller told me he was born in Indianapolis and had moved to Philly in 1977 after stopping here for a gig with a touring band. The hotel room’s radio, tuned to an All-Coltrane Weekend on WRTI, sold him on our city.  
Tuning in to everyone
Miller was already known as the cofounder of the jazz-fusion group Reverie, an experimental group that included keyboardist Mark Knox, bassist Gerald Veasley, and saxophonist EJ Yellin; and featured many guest artists, including guitarist Jef Lee Johnson. A fan favorite, Reverie played festivals, clubs, and colleges from New England to Florida. Of course, I didn’t know any of this when I met Miller, but I knew that he would be my first call from now on. Now, after forty years of collaborations, I’d never heard a drummer like him.
Veasley, president of Jazz Philadelphia, says Jim taught him that “listening is the most essential skill for a musician,” adding, “I never played with a drummer who was so tuned to the musicians around him. He was just as tuned into people off the stage. His heart was as big as his musical ears.”
Philly embraced him as a musician, and Miller was a highly sought drummer, recording and playing with many nationally known artists, including Philly greats like Johnny Coles, John Blake Jr., Al Grey, Reggie Workman, Larry McKenna, Richie Cole, Charles Fambrough, Randy Brecker, Buddy DeFranco, and Tyrone Brown. Miller regularly played and recorded with small groups led by singer Evelyn Simms, fusion-pioneer pianist Eddie Green, and baritone saxophonist Denis DiBlasio.
Drummer Tom Cohen, a fellow traveler with Miller in Philly drum circles (they frequently subbed for each other), tells me that “Jim created a modern style that was uniquely his own. Born of deep passion and a deft touch, he served up a gritty matrix of hipness that was singular … the mark of a true jazz musician.”
Beyond the drums
In 1986, angry and indignant at the indifference of the world toward jazz and the people who played it, Miller founded a cooperative record label, which eventually became Dreambox Media, to spotlight Philadelphia-area jazz artists deserving recognition that major labels consistently overlooked. I became the second artist on the label (Reverie was the first), and we both spread the word to the community at large: Yes, you can record, get airplay, and sell your work in addition to sticking it to the big labels! We built it and they came.
In 1999, Dreambox Media won Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly award for Jazz Record Label, and in early 2007 the label celebrated its 20th anniversary, coinciding with its 100th release. In 2010, Jim’s MONKadelphia Crepuscule CD was named one of the Top Ten Best in Jazz by the Inquirer. So many artists’ original work from this region was documented from 1986 through 2015, and Philly is lucky to have this treasure trove of jazz history to appreciate and listen to well into the future. Jim Miller did that. But he wasn’t finished.
Jazz Bridge, a charity to help professional jazz and blues artists in crisis, was created by musicians who knew firsthand that choosing a life in jazz, essentially a vow of poverty, often ends in tragedy. Miller immediately got involved to help get the organization off the ground (I was its founder and first executive director). As a volunteer and board member, Miller made sure a guitarist with a cognitive disability made it to Horizon House for his appointments. He drafted fellow musicians to jam with an avant-garde drummer in hospice. Miller lugged PA equipment and drum sets for elderly musicians, learned QuickBooks, played every fundraiser for free, and basically did anything and everything to make Jazz Bridge a success. He knew how hard the life was, because he lived it every single day.
A jazz hero 
Miller loved the drums, and his book, A Brief History of Time-Keeping: From Baby Dodds to Jack DeJohnette, showed his wry sense of humor and keen intelligence from the start. He dedicated the book to his mother (who made him play for “every disinterested relative or family friend who happened to come by”) and wrote that “those early days subliminally prepared me for the indifference and implied hostility I would recognize in many an American jazz-club audience later in my career.”
Eventually, he formed his own band, Miller Time, which put out three CDs of original material (much of it political), and two of his compositions will be featured in the Real Philadelphia Book, a compendium of Philly jazz and blues artists’ original compositions, coming soon from Temple University Press. This was Miller’s last project—he was working intensely on it as an editor when he died.
Singer Wendy Simon, a cofounder of Jazz Bridge, says, “He was smart, funny, a creative and compassionate person who believed in social justice. I was blown away by his musical, out-of-the-box compositions.”
For the entirety of his work, Miller received the Jazz Hero Award for the Philadelphia region by the Jazz Journalists Association in April 2013.
I loved his presence in my own life, and the Philadelphia jazz community lost a champion on February 25, 2019, when Miller died of sepsis at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. He was only 65 and leaves behind his wife Michelle, daughter Annie, many students, and a host of admirers inspired by his empathy and advocacy.
Wherever jazz lived in this city, Jim Miller was there, too. This town will never be the same.
Donations in his name can be made to Jazz Bridge.

 
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Ken Snakehips Johnson – YouTube

Ken Snakehips Johnson – YouTube

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dub9uQuOlE

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Wobbly Sounds, A Collection of British Flexi Discs | Irregulars | Four Corners Books

Wobbly Sounds, A Collection of British Flexi Discs | Irregulars | Four Corners Books

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https://www.fourcornersbooks.co.uk/books/wobbly-sounds/

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Appreciating D.C.’s Jazz History – The Georgetowner

Appreciating D.C.’s Jazz History – The Georgetowner

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https://georgetowner.com/articles/2019/04/10/appreciating-d-c-s-jazz-history/
 
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Appreciating D.C.’s Jazz History – The Georgetowner
Gary Tischler
5-7 minutes


You might think for now that April is cherry blossom month, or it’s a month for April showers or the month that a poet or poets called the cruelest of the year.
April is all of that, but April is also Jazz Appreciation Month, aka JAM, by way of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, which created the designation in 2001 to “recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz.”
The focus of this year’s JAM is “Jazz Beyond Borders,” which not only looks at the “dynamic ways jazz can unite people across the culture and geography” but also highlights the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra’s upcoming tour, hitting cities in North America, Europe and Asia.
Nat King Cole, the smooth-voiced, “Unforgettable” singer of jazz ballads and vocal classics (and father of the late Natalie Cole) is this year’s JAM featured artist.
Jazz is many things to almost everyone. Phrases abound: jazz is love, jazz is freedom, jazz flies, jazz is original. It’s been called America’s classical music. Jazz in its history carries irony, dichotomy, aspiration, the weight and sometimes burdens of its roots. It spirals out of a wellspring of blues, gospel, rock and rockabilly. It is a trifecta of cool — as a style, as a sound and as a way of being. It’s unfettered and, at the same time, as disciplined as math; precise, yet in flight.
It has a history of dramatic personas and personalities — performers, musicians, composers and singers who left indelible impressions by the way they sang, played, explored — to the point of achieving the status of legend or of royalty: the Duke, the Count, Lady Day and so on, as in Ellington, Basie and Billie Holiday.
Jazz is also our city’s music. Duke Ellington lived and played here, great singers sang here in churches, in clubs and at the Lincoln and Howard Theatres. If there was a Harlem Renaissance, there was one here, too. It remains in places like Blues Alley and Twins, in the resurrected Lincoln and Howard. And it had its homegrown legends like Shirley Horn and Buck Hill, who died only a couple of years ago at 90.
The spirit of jazz and jazz history will be found on Wednesday, April 17, at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, at 1334 29th St. in Georgetown, when the Citizens Association of Georgetown hosts Georgetown University’s Maurice Jackson, co-editor of “DC Jazz: Stories of Jazz Music in Washington, DC,” conversing with local jazz greats Blair Ruble, Bridget Arnwine and Rusty Hassan. A reception at 6:30 p.m. precedes the program, from 7 to 8 p.m.
It’s an appropriate location for such an event. Mt. Zion was one of the keystones of a once thriving and culturally and musically rich African American community.
The book is a treasure trove of history, deeply researched and often tightly annotated. It’s something of a landmark history, where all sorts of personalities, peoples, places and things pop up, sometimes feeling like a print version of a riff by a jazz trio or a quartet, going from here to there, picked up by some other player in another way, always returning home.
The arrangement of the book is like an arrangement of a composition or, as Jason Moran, artistic director for jazz at the Kennedy Center, writes in a foreword: “Jazz has always been about community because of a revolutionary idea: the song is shared by every member of the band.”
Ellington figures strongly in the book, along with tales of origins, the building of communities and identity and all the legendary players that made D.C. a kind of jazz city, always evolving. It’s full of contributions from people steeped in jazz, including Willard Jenkins, current artistic director of the DC Jazz Festival, poet E. Ethelbert Miller and producer Bill Brower, along with Ruble and Jackson, who serve as co-editors of the book. Jackson teaches history and African American studies at Georgetown and Ruble is the author of “Washington’s U Street: A Biography.”
Jazz is at heart a personal experience, touched by life experience, which seems a birthright for some, a gratifying accident for others. As a kid and a German immigrant, growing up in small-town America, I had no experience of jazz until, stationed in New York in 1961 as part of my army service, on leave in Manhattan, I stumbled into a place called the Metropole and encountered Lionel Hampton. I had never seen anybody play the vibes, or heard the music being made, but it created vistas in a small, smoke-filled bar and enlarged the world for me.
I was fortunate: a phone interview with Basie, who at a concert in Oakland announced “Ladies and gentlemen, the Duke is dead”; seeing Dizzy walk along M Street in Georgetown on his way for morning coffee before heading to Blues Alley; listening to Nina Simone sing “Ain’t Got No” in a stadium on a hot summer day (wearing a white mink); watching two bass players, a youngster and an oldster, dueling; chancing to hear Ella sing scat at Wolf Trap; arguing with my neighbor in Lanier Heights, who remembered the glory days of U Street, about the best singer to sing “My Funny Valentine” (Chaka Khan was his choice).
You can add this: Miller, the poet, writing about Ellington:
what did Ellington mean
when he said
”I love you madly”
his hands touching a
piano not made of flesh
Probably everything. One woman says: jazz is love, after all.
 

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Jazz Commentary: Pee Wee Russell – A Singular Voice – The Arts Fuse

Jazz Commentary: Pee Wee Russell – A Singular Voice – The Arts Fuse

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http://artsfuse.org/182981/jazz-commentary-pee-wee-russell-a-singular-voice/
 
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Jazz Commentary: Pee Wee Russell – A Singular Voice – The Arts Fuse
By: Steve Provizer
5-6 minutes


You are here: Home / Music / Jazz / Jazz Commentary: Pee Wee Russell — A Singular Voice

April 7, 2019 Leave a Comment
By Steve Provizer
Despite the fact that clarinet (and occasional sax) player Pee Wee Russell was one of the most distinctive voices in jazz history, his name remains unknown outside of infra jazz circles.
Pee Wee Russell. Photo: Jan Persson & CDJ
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp, a benefit concert organized right after the 1969 death of Russell. Somehow, I don’t think you knew that. Despite the fact that clarinet (and occasional sax) player Russell was one of the most distinctive voices in jazz history, his name remains unknown outside of infra jazz circles. From my bully pulpit here at The Arts Fuse, I thought it worthwhile to bring him to your attention.
Born in 1908 in St. Louis, Russell was exposed to New Orleans musicians when he was ten and caught the jazz bug. He wasn’t much for school, got his first gig at eleven, and was fully employed as a musician by the mid-1920’s. Almost from the beginning, Russell’s playing polarized listeners and other musicians. Some loved it, hearing it as the highest expression of jazz creativity. Others thought it the fumbling of an amateur. It should be noted that Russell struggled with alcohol addiction; it’s not hard to imagine that there were nights when his playing slipped over the line from idiosyncratic to spaced-out or chaotic. In any case, the only other jazz musician to create a similar level of contentiousness is Ornette Coleman. Both were accused of not having mastered the lingua franca of jazz. In Ornette’s case, he did an end-around, essentially creating a kind of parallel language that drew on some parts of the prevailing jazz discourse and discarded others. Russell’s case is different.
From the start, Russell demonstrated that he know the basic jazz language as it was developed in the 1920s. He gigged and recorded with the musical cohort that was recognized as the most evolved mainstream (mostly white) branch of jazz, including Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, Red Nichols, Miff Mole, and Jack Teagarden. He also played in early mixed race groups, which included Fats Waller, Henry Red Allen, and Coleman Hawkins. One of his first recordings, “Crying All Day” in 1927, was with Trumbauer and Bix. He is clearly in the Bix mold; his solo, coming right after Beiderbecke’s, shows that he is in complete control of his instrument. He proffers a distinctive tone and an incipient approach to melody and intervals that will become part of what separates him from other jazz musicians.
In this 1929 Louisiana Rhythm Kings recording of “Basin Street Blues,” you can hear more clearly Russell’s bent, stifled, even strangled notes and phrases of unexpected length; signs that Russell was leaving the Beiderbecke voice behind and moving toward  asserting his own.
In this 1938 recording of “Love Is Just Around the Corner,” the voice continues on its singular, idiosyncratic way.
I’m not going to flood you with musical examples from the ensuing decades, if only because Russell retained many of the same stylistic elements he had developed early on. He remained himself whether he was playing in a more traditional (“Dixieland” or “Chicago”) context, in a swing-oriented group, or in a more “modern” context.
Here Russell is paired with Jimmy Giuffre in 1958, playing a blues. It’s a remarkable duet.
Lastly, here’s Russell with Thelonius Monk in 1963. Hear how he brings his idiosyncratic style and adapts it to Monk’s harmonic language.
Pee Wee Russell was one of the few jazz musicians who began recording in the ’20s and went on to play with new generations of jazz players well into the ’60s. Another was saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Hawkins was vastly and overtly influential; I think Russell’s influence was more subliminal. Russell’s approach did not generate legions of followers — as Hawkins’ playing did — but he was an important exemplar that the sine qua non of jazz is finding your individual voice. In Russell’s case, one part of this meant presenting a paradigm that gave other musicians a yardstick, a way to measure how far “in” or “out” they themselves wanted to go. Finally, I think that musicians could see that Russell, by pursuing his own vision, had avoided the vicissitudes of changing fashion and touched on the quality of timelessness that is the implicit goal of any jazz musician — indeed, of any artist.


Steve Provizer is a jazz brass player and vocalist, leads a band called Skylight and plays with the Leap of Faith Orchestra. He has a radio show Thursdays at 5 p.m. on WZBC, 90.3 FM and has been blogging about jazz since 2010.

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Fifty Years In, Lee Fields Is Still Wearing Great Suits | Vanity Fair

Fifty Years In, Lee Fields Is Still Wearing Great Suits | Vanity Fair

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https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2019/04/fifty-years-in-lee-fields-is-still-wearing-great-suits

Fifty Years In, Lee Fields Is Still Wearing Great Suits

Dan AdlerApril 5, 2019 2:55 PM
That’s Sharp
Image removed by sender.
Photograph by Justin Bishop.
Catching up with the soul singer, whose new album, It Rains Love, is out today, and his wife on a clear day in New Jersey.
Soon, soul singer Lee Fields is going to celebrate his 50th anniversary in music by touring behind his new album, It Rains Love, with his band, the Expressions. But on a recent day at his home in Plainfield, New Jersey, he was mostly talking about his suits.
“Oh man, watch yourself!” he said as he handed over one of them, before breaking into a deep belly laugh. “You almost cut your hand off!” This particular suit was dangerous—it had shards of mirror sewn onto its exterior.
The 68-year-old keeps the hundred-plus bespoke outfits he has worn over his career in basement storage. From the cache, he brought up a few racks of his imaginative and ornate favorites to share with Vanity Fair.
“When I wore this outfit in Las Vegas,” Fields said of the mirrored suit, “my bass player said, ‘Oh man, Lee, this sharp.’ I did a spin, and I moved on with the show. He looked at me and said, ‘Lee, you almost got me.’”

Photographs by Justin Bishop.

Photographs by Justin Bishop.
With Fields, though, even a conversation about clothes turns into a disquisition about religion and politics, or else a dive into his trove of stories. “I like the Stones, I like the Beatles, I like Liberace, I like Elvis, I like James Brown, I like the Temptations,” he continued. “How they were dressing back in the day. I like David Bowie. We went to David Bowie’s concert—we were invited by his keyboardist, and then I thought David Bowie was just absolutely fantastic. The way he had on this outfit, he came on with one outfit, but he was constantly taking pieces off of the outfit and he was changing right before your eyes. I felt he was one of the most creative artists of all time.”
Fields’s wife, Christine, was home that afternoon, too. The couple, who will also be celebrating their 50th anniversary soon, met in New York in 1968, a year after he arrived from North Carolina to pursue a singing career. “As I’ve watched the changes through the years,” Fields said in his living room, “it seemed like every betterment of society came because of love.”
For all Fields’s effortlessly maximalist, Clyde Frazier-level style, he didn’t want to take the credit. “I don’t really pick ‘em out,” he said of his wife. “She does.”
Fields’s mother made some of his earliest suits. “And I enjoyed that, going to the fabric stores, picking out fabrics,” Christine said. “She knew exactly what to buy, because she was actually a stage person, too. I took it from her, to be honest, and I loved picking different styles, different colors, and just having this vision.”
“We used to ride around for hours,” Fields said of his early trips with his wife and mother. “Some days, maybe ride around for six, seven hours. Until we find that right material and everybody agreed on it, it didn’t work.”
After Fields took a break from music to pursue real-estate interests in the 80s, it was Christine who put him back on track. “I had drifted so far from music, I felt like I’d missed my shot,” he said. “I was planning on opening an eatery over in Newark. I thought, we get this place, rent out the three floors, and turn the bottom storefront into a fish place, where you carry out, where you come get your fish and you go. So then we won’t have to worry about dealing with people that might sit around for a while, and might cause a lot of trouble. I thought it was a great idea, so I told my wife about it.”

Photograph by Justin Bishop.
“She wasn’t that excited about it but I said, ‘I’ll take you over to the place and let you see the place.’ So we drove over to Newark and she saw the place. She thought it could be a good idea. But she looked at me, she said, ‘What do you know about fish?’”
He paused, and his laughter beat him to the punch line. “I said, ‘Well baby, they taste good.’”
Christine told Fields that he should just stick to what he did best. At one point, he gestured to her. “That’s really Lee Fields, over there.”
On It Rains Love, Fields sounds as vital and enlivened as ever, his voice warm and restrained. His still-growing stockpile of suits is a capsule of his career, but also an expression of his intention to keep pushing it forward. Before he left his house, he put on a lime green jacquard jacket.
“I always dressed a little futuristic,” Fields said. “A lot of people that look at my music, they don’t see the future. But I’m very much about the future. You know, I wear the regular suits, too. But sometimes, man, for me to really be expressing myself, I got to just take it to the full metal. I got to go out there.”

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