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Popular Jazz Voice Silenced – Radio Ink

Popular Jazz Voice Silenced – Radio Ink


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https://radioink.com/2020/05/14/popular-jazz-voice-silenced/
 

Popular Jazz Voice Silenced

May 14, 2020

NPR station WCLK-FM in Atlanta announced that John “Jay” Edwards has died. Edwards was with WCLK for more than 20 years. He hosted, Jazz Tones, every Sunday afternoon from 3:00 until 6:00 p.m.

 

On many occasions Jay would turn his Sunday afternoon timeslot into a talk studio where he interviewed hundreds of Jazz musicians who released new music and or were about to go on tour in Atlanta or around the world. Many of those interviews are archived at WCLK.com

WCLK GM Wendy Williams said, “Jay availed himself for the cause of WCLK without hesitation. He was our friend and colleague with whom we loved to laugh, debate and just enjoy, whenever he was around.”

PD David Linton added it was an honor to work with Jay Edwards when I was asked to join WCLK as Program Director. “I was excited about the opportunity to work with someone of Jay’s stature. We hit it off immediately finding a bond with us both being from New York City. However, our love for music, especially Latin Jazz made the bond stronger. I called him the ‘Elder Statesmen of Jazz.’ He was always ready to step up for Jazz and WCLK. He made my job so much easier and I’ll miss his hearty laugh and friendship.”

 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
https://www.jazzpromoservices.com

HAVE A JAZZ EVENT, NEW CD OR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE JAZZ COMMUNITY YOU WANT TO PROMOTE? CONTACT JAZZ PROMO SERVICES FOR PRICE QUOTE.

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The famed Jazz pianist Ed Stoute went home in February

The famed Jazz pianist Ed Stoute went home in February


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Passing reported on his Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/stoutejazz


Born and raised in Bedford Stuyvesant, Ed Stoute has been playing jazz for over 60 years. A pianist, composer, arranger, and band leader, Ed has composed more than 100 tunes and arranged numerous standards. He is a member of the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra (HRO); was a member of the house band (known as the Minton’s Players) at Minton’s Supper Club in Harlem; and loves to play in Brooklyn at favorite spots such as Jazz 966, Sista’s Place, and For My Sweet. Ed is a proud recipient of the 2015 Tohma Y. Faulkner Bed Stuy Community Award as an Arts & Culture Trailblazer, and is part of the Weeksville Heritage Center’s Jazz Oral History Project.

Ed Stoute On YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ed+stoute

Ed Stoute on Discogs
https://www.discogs.com/artist/1606122-Ed-Stoute

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
https://www.jazzpromoservices.com

HAVE A JAZZ EVENT, NEW CD OR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE JAZZ COMMUNITY YOU WANT TO PROMOTE? CONTACT JAZZ PROMO SERVICES FOR PRICE QUOTE.

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Les Tomkins obituary | Music | The Guardian

Les Tomkins obituary | Music | The Guardian


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https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/may/10/les-tomkins-obituary
 

Les Tomkins obituary

Sun 10 May 2020 12.51 EDT

 

Les Tomkins in 2016. His early interviews were in Melody Maker and Jazz News, before he switched to Crescendo Les Tomkins in 2016. His early interviews were in Melody Maker and Jazz News, before he switched to Crescendo

During his long career as a magazine journalist, Les Tomkins compiled an archive of more than a thousand interviews with jazz musicians, many of them significant figures in the music’s history. Those who answered his questions included Louis ArmstrongDuke EllingtonDizzy GillespieMiles DavisOscar PetersonPeggy LeeBenny GoodmanStan GetzDave BrubeckStephane Grappelli and Woody Herman.

Tomkins, who has died aged 89, was most closely identified with Crescendo International, a monthly magazine founded in 1962. His interview with Peterson was featured in its first issue; from 1966 to 1970 he served as its assistant editor and then as editor until 1988. In his later years he wrote for The Jazz Rag.

He was born in Brixton, south London, to Charles, a printworker, and Rosa (nee Dodt), and brought up in Carshalton, Surrey. Educated at Sutton County grammar school, he worked as a junior reporter on the Croydon Advertiser before joining an advertising agency, where he was employed for many years as a costing accountant.

Exposure to boogie-woogie pianists during his schooldays turned him into a jazz fan. In 1950 he started a Monday-night jazz club in Sutton, featuring John DankworthRonnie Scott and Tubby Hayes among the live performers. His earliest interviews were published by the Melody Maker and Jazz News before he transferred his allegiance to Crescendo, where the emphasis was on big bands and mainstream-modern jazz. “It was a small operation and essentially it fell to me to fill the pages,” he remembered. Several generations of musicians found in him a sympathetic and knowledgable repository of their memories and opinions.

The possessor of perfect pitch, he was also a singer, often taking part in the Singers’ Club sessions initially held in the upstairs room at Ronnie Scott’s and later in the Royal George pub off Charing Cross Road.

He was married three times: first in 1948 to Gwendolyn Kekewich, with whom he had three sons and three daughters; second to Margaret Wheatley, with whom he had a son; and finally, in 1974, to Margaret Hains, with whom he had a daughter. The first two marriages ended in divorce. Margaret died in 2019, and one son, Alan, also predeceased him. He is survived by his children Marvin, Lorraine, Eve, Sharon, Neal, Glenn and Roz, and by four grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. 

America faces an epic choice …

… in the coming year, and the results will define the country for a generation. These are perilous times. Over the last three years, much of what the Guardian holds dear has been threatened – democracy, civility, truth. This administration has cleared out science and scientists across all departments. America’s reputation as a competent global leader is in peril. Truth is being chased away. But with your help we can continue to put it center stage.

Rampant disinformation, partisan news sources and social media’s tsunami of fake news are no bases on which to inform the American public in 2020. We believe every one of us deserves equal access to fact-based news and analysis. So we’ve decided to keep Guardian journalism free for all readers, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. This would not be possible without the generosity of readers, who now support our work from across America in all 50 states.

You’ve read more than 5 articles in the last six months. Our journalism relies on our readers’ generosity – your financial support has meant we can keep investigating, disentangling and interrogating. It has protected our independence, which has never been so critical. We are so grateful. 

We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support the Guardian from as little as $1 – it only takes a minute. Thank you.

 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Virtuoso Female Jazz Drummer Learned Early On: Music Has No Gender: FORBES

Virtuoso Female Jazz Drummer Learned Early On: Music Has No Gender: FORBES


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https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiegoldsmith/2020/05/11/virtuoso-female-jazz-drummer-learned-early-on-music-has-no-gender/#6b9195db333d
 

Virtuoso Female Jazz Drummer Learned Early On: Music Has No Gender

Margie Goldsmith07:00am EDT

The 15-member DIVA Jazz Orchestra with bandleader Sherrie Maricle in white jacket

The DIVA Jazz Orchestra

Kahmeela Adams

Virtuoso drummer Sherrie Maricle leads The DIVA Jazz Orchestra,  an ensemble of 15 versatile women musicians about whom it has been said, “If there were still big band cutting sessions, DIVA would swing a lot of the remaining big bands out of their place.” 

The orchestra was founded in 1990 by Stanley Kay (a one-time manager and relief drummer for Buddy Rich) who was conducting an orchestra with Sherrie Maricle performing on drums. This gave him the idea for an all-woman orchestra. He said, “Music has no gender, if you can play, you can play.” Two years later, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra   was born, a concert jazz band with deep roots in the tradition of bands like Buddy Rich, Woody Herman and Count Basie and with a focus on straight ahead swing music.

The Diva Jazz Orchestra

The Diva Jazz Orchestra

Bob Widner

Besides DIVA, Maricle leads a quintet FIVE PLAY, which was formed from the rhythm section and some key soloists from the big band. Maricle also co-leads the 3Divas Jazz Trio, a fairly new trio with Sherrie Maricle on drums, Amy Shook on bass and Jackie Warren on piano. ”It was love at first note,” says Maricle of her trio. Maricle has also performed with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall for 30 years and is music director and drummer for Broadway star Maurice Hines. Maricle is a published composer/ arranger and has received countless awards and grants including a Mary Lou Williams – Women in Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center.  I caught up with her by phone at her home near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sherrie Manicle, leader of The DIVA Jazz Orchestra sits wih her drunsticks

Sherrie Manicle, leader of The DIVA Jazz Orchestra

Garth Woods

Where were you born and brought up?

Buffalo, New York. When I was five, my family moved to Endicott, NY, an amazing hub of music, smack in the middle of the state on the southern border. 

Was either parent musical?

My mother loved music, especially country western and Irish folk music, but they weren’t jazz oriented. Later, I rebelled against country and Irish folk music, but now I have a great reverence for that music.

How old were you when you picked up your first instrument?

I wanted to play the trumpet in fourth grade but the music teacher said girls do not play trumpet. He gave me a metal clarinet which I really hated so I switched to cello. In the sixth grade, the orchestra teacher needed an extra percussionist so I volunteered and never left.

Did you have lessons? 

My mom bought me my first drum and had me take music lessons from the local music store. When I was 11, I saw Buddy Rich and his Killer Force Orchestra in Binghamton, New York and I freaked out. I still have goosebumps when I recall the moment. I ran home and said, “Mom, I have to play drums this way and I love jazz and I have to be in a big band.” And it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since.

What happened after that?

I graduated high school then attended Binghamton University. It was a great place to live because all the touring big bands from Buddy Rich to Woody Herman and Count Basie with Frank Sinatra all played my hometown. I became colleagues with some of my professors and was often hired to play percussion for the big shows that came through town like Ringling Brothers Circus, Ice Capades, touring Broadway shows, etc. I also played drums in a lot of the local bands.

After undergraduate school, I received a scholarship to get my Master’s Degree at NYU and subsequently a doctoral fellowship that thankfully paid my rent for three years. 

Did you go to jam sessions?

I went to the Blue Note every night. They had a jam after the last set which went till 4:00 AM. And I ran a jam session at the Village Gate for eight years until the Gate closed in 1993.

How did they feel when you first came in, about a female drummer?

At the Blue Note, one of the people running the session said to me, “All right honey, you can sit in if you take your top off,” and “All right baby, can you handle this tempo?” I’m sure a lot of those antiquated attitudes or perceptions about women in music/women in jazz may have had more of an effect on my career than I realized. It’s probably true for all women in any male-dominated career field. But I always chose to let that stuff just roll right off my back because most of it was too stupid to acknowledge and I was passion-driven; focused on what I loved and serious about developing my “voice” and finding the best way to contribute something good to the world.

Sherrie Manicle at home

Sherrie Manicle

Garth Woods

In the 80s, I was hired at the 6,000-seat Binghamton Arena to play for comedian Rodney Dangerfield. I walk in and right away the manager races over, “Oh no, you can’t be on this gig, Rodney doesn’t want to work with women and he doesn’t think you can take his swearing and all that.” It was just a whole bunch of nonsense. They refused to hire a woman. So, the Musicians Union in Binghamton boycotted Rodney Dangerfield’s performance — to the union’s credit and in such a small town. But they didn’t care, they just hired nonunion players. Rodney should have heard me swear!

Years later, I had a chance to work with Don Rickles; he was so funny and used my presence in his band as an opportunity to make hilarious jokes, beginning with: “How the hell did a broad get in the band?” I loved him. 

Over time, there haven’t been that many female musicians period, because of chauvinist males. Do you think there are more opportunities for women musicians now ?

No, specifically regarding jazz where there are less performance opportunities for everyone. However, in some cases our male counterparts are opening up their minds by listening with their ears instead of their eyes, which naturally leads to more women being hired for their excellence and artistic ability. 

Many musicians, especially now, are creating their own opportunities; and with technology, cyber-space is the largest “venue” we have to present our artistic offerings. Next, we each have to find our audience and aim to bring joy into the world.

Five musicians from The DIVA Jazz Orchestra

Noriko Ueda (bass), Jami Dauber (trumpet), Sherri Manicle (drums), Janelle Reichman (sax), and … [+]

Bill Westmoreland

When did you start composing and arranging and are you doing this for all three of the bands?

Yes, and for other groups of various musical genres; from symphonic pops to jazz orchestra, solo marimba, etc. I’m up to try anything.

I especially love composing/arranging for big band and my small groups. We don’t play 100% originals as I enjoy putting my stamp on jazz standards and music from other genres. For example, on my last trio CD, we recorded our version of The Beat Goes On by Sonny and Cher and Sunshine on My Shouldersby John Denver. 

What has this pandemic done to your music?

Music isn’t canceled, but there’s no way to readily perform with or for others; and that is one of music’s greatest joys. Jazz musicians are mourning the loss of that:  the “live” connection to each other and the audience. Individual creative souls uniting to produce something uniquely beautiful and inspired, beyond themselves and sharing, exchanging energy with the audience; there is nothing like it. We can still create together via technology and we can still listen, but it’s not quite human.

Will you be releasing a new album anytime soon?

Yes. My new trio CD, I Love To See You Smile, will officially be released on May 22, but you can get your copy now on our website.

What are you doing now with Covid-19 prohibiting practice sessions, private lessons and concerts?

I’m putting new, free mini-lessons on my YouTube channel every Monday to keep a positive flow of musical energy; teaching online; sharing videos; streaming “live;” and seeking out ways to more ways share music and support each other.

If you could play with anyone living or dead, who would that be?

Ray Brown, the jazz bass player. And Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd. And I think it’d be pretty spectacular to play a tune with Tina Turner. She’s just such a powerhouse. She just a goddess. I love her so much.

What haven’t you done yet, that you want to do?

Performing at more of the world’s major jazz festivals and perhaps doing special recording with a major pop-country or rock star. A unique project crossing musical genres that would have a higher visibility than traditional jazz, like: Bonnie Raitt Swings Broadway, or Dolly & DIVATina Swings the Blues, Willie Nelson & DIVA! It would be a dream to collaborate with any number of inspirational artists from multiple musical genres. 

What does music mean to you?

When I’m playing music and connecting with my band mates, there ceases to be physical barrier between me – us and the music. A lot of people have heard the term, when you’re in a flow state. It means everything disappears except what you’re doing in the moment. Creating music from your heart and soul is transformative; it feels like you’ve transcended your physical being,have energetically melded with a force greater than yourself ,and your only purpose is to make something beautiful.

Sherrie Manicle

Sherrie Manicle

Garth Woods

 

The DIVA Jazz OrchestraAlbums Archives – The DIVA Jazz Orchestra

 

The DIVA Jazz OrchestraHome – The DIVA Jazz Orchestra

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
https://www.jazzpromoservices.com

HAVE A JAZZ EVENT, NEW CD OR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE JAZZ COMMUNITY YOU WANT TO PROMOTE? CONTACT JAZZ PROMO SERVICES FOR PRICE QUOTE.

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Soul music legend Betty Wright dies at 66 | SoulTracks – Soul Music Biographies, News and Reviews

Soul music legend Betty Wright dies at 66 | SoulTracks – Soul Music Biographies, News and Reviews


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https://www.soultracks.com/story-betty-wright-dies
 

Soul music legend Betty Wright dies at 66

(May 10, 2020) We are devastated to report the death of legendary singer and songwriter Betty Wright, at age 66. 

One of the most talented and underrated vocalists of her generation, Betty Wright has only recently received a fraction of the accolades she deserves for her notable career as a singer, songwriter and pioneering independent recording artist. She was recently honored in an episode of TV One’s flagship series, Unsung. Fans were alerted to her health issues when Chaka Khan issued a tweet last week, asking for prayers.

A native and lifelong Miami resident, Wright landed on the music scene as a teenager with the minor hit “Girls Can’t Do What Guys Can Do” but became a star with her 1971 smash “Clean Up Woman,” a love-gone-bad song the theme of which belied the fact that Wright was only 18.  It was the highest charting song of Wright’s career but not nearly the last.  While she never again made a significant dent on the pop charts, Wright continued to score on R&B radio with frank, relationship-driven songs like “Let Me Be Your Lovemaker,” “Shoorah Shoorah,” “Tonight Is The Night” and “Where Is The Love.” She also began a lifelong mission of helping to find and establish other talent, initially helping George (“Rock Your Baby”) and Gwen McCrae (“Rocking Chair”) get signed to the TK label, and soon after aiding disco star Peter Brown (Wright also sang on his smash hit “Dance With Me”).

Her hitmaking days were largely behind her when she moved to Epic Records in 1981 for the enjoyable but sadly overlooked Betty Wright, featuring a fine Stevie Wonder song (“What Are You Going to Do”) and two excellent ballads (“I Come To You” and “One Bad Habit”).  However, she received new interest in her music via her classic guest appearance on Richard Dimples Fields’ “She’s Got Papers On Me,” playing the role of the scorned wife who was going to take her scorn out on his hide.

In the mid-80s Wright took a pioneering leap, creating her own independent record label (an almost unheard of move by a female artist) and finding a second chart life through songs like “After the Pain” and “No Pain No Gain.” Through her courageous move, she became the first African American female vocalist to score a gold record (Mother Wit) on her own label.

Wright continued recording through the 90s and eventually became an icon for a new generation of singers ranging from Angie Stone to Mary J. Blige to Joss Stone, who became Wright’s protege en route to two consecutive gold albums. She appeared on Stone’s 2007 release The Art of Love and War, sounding fabulous dueting with Stone on the track “Baby.”

Wright returned four years later with Betty Wright: The Movie, an album where she teamed with The Roots and an all-star cast of collaborators, many of whom viewed Wright as an iconic, influential artist who had never fully received her due. Some of these artists had sampled Wright’s work over the years.

Today we pay tribute to this all-time great artist. Rest In Peace

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
https://www.jazzpromoservices.com

HAVE A JAZZ EVENT, NEW CD OR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE JAZZ COMMUNITY YOU WANT TO PROMOTE? CONTACT JAZZ PROMO SERVICES FOR PRICE QUOTE.

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Heart in Her Voice: A Farewell to Holli Ross, From Her Friend Michael Bourne | WBGO

Heart in Her Voice: A Farewell to Holli Ross, From Her Friend Michael Bourne | WBGO


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https://www.wbgo.org/post/heart-her-voice-farewell-holli-ross-her-friend-michael-bourne#stream/0
 

Heart in Her Voice: A Farewell to Holli Ross, From Her Friend Michael Bourne

By  • 22 hours ago

 

Holli Ross was one of my favorite singers and dearest friends. She passed early Saturday morning after several years fighting cancer.  

I first enjoyed her singing when she came on Singers Unlimited more than 30 years ago with the group Mad Romance. Holli was lovely, lively, and we were friends from then on.

She was a teacher and a vocal therapist. When I was working too much on the radio, full-time for WBGO and for Sirius, I started suffering from what I called Chops Fatigue. I called Holli for advice and everything she said was helpful. She was also insightful about my foolishness in life. That’s what friends are for.  

Holli always sang with her heart in her voice. She was a devout jazz singer, especially about vocalese. She wrote lyrics, including words to a melody that Sarah Vaughan composed, “I Have Waited So Long,” recorded by Janis Siegel with the Count Basie Orchestra.

Holli was especially active singing in groups, including the trio String of Pearls and in recent years with The Royal Bopsters. She was especially delighted when the Bopsters were singing with some of her vocal idols: Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Mark Murphy, Bob Dorough and Sheila Jordan. 

 

 

Party of Four, the group’s just-finished new album, features songs with Sheila and Bob, a take on Chet Baker’s version of “But Not for Me,” and Holly’s English lyrics to Tito Puente’s “Cuando Te Vea (When I See You).” 

 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
https://www.jazzpromoservices.com

HAVE A JAZZ EVENT, NEW CD OR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE JAZZ COMMUNITY YOU WANT TO PROMOTE? CONTACT JAZZ PROMO SERVICES FOR PRICE QUOTE.

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BBC World Service – The Forum, Hazel Scott: Jazz star and barrier breaker

BBC World Service – The Forum, Hazel Scott: Jazz star and barrier breaker


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https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cszjv9

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Let The Good Times Roll (Concert Movie)1973 – YouTube

Let The Good Times Roll (Concert Movie)1973 – YouTube


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Little Richard jump to 51:04

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EL8LXmDyQ_k

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Little Richard, Rock Pioneer Who Broke Musical Barriers, Dead at 87 – Rolling Stone

Little Richard, Rock Pioneer Who Broke Musical Barriers, Dead at 87 – Rolling Stone


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https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/little-richard-dead-48505/
 

Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock Who Broke Musical Barriers, Dead at 87

Pianist-singer behind “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Long Tall Sally” set the template that a generation of musicians would follow

May 9, 2020 9:30AM ET

Little Richard, a founding father of rock and roll whose fervent shrieks, flamboyant garb, and joyful, gender-bending persona embodied the spirit and sound of that new art form, died Saturday. He was 87. The musician’s son, Danny Jones Penniman, confirmed the pioneer’s death to Rolling Stone, but said the cause of death was unknown. 

Starting with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956, Little Richard cut a series of unstoppable hits – “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up” that same year, “Lucille” in 1957, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in 1958 – driven by his simple, pumping piano, gospel-influenced vocal exclamations and sexually charged (often gibberish) lyrics. “I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it,” Elton John told Rolling Stone in 1973. “I didn’t ever want to be anything else. I’m more of a Little Richard stylist than a Jerry Lee Lewis, I think. Jerry Lee is a very intricate piano player and very skillful, but Little Richard is more of a pounder.” 

 

 

Although he never hit the top 10 again after 1958, Little Richard’s influence was massive. The Beatles recorded several of his songs, including “Long Tall Sally,”and Paul McCartney’s singing on those tracks – and the Beatles’ own “I’m Down” – paid tribute to Little Richard’s shredded-throat style. His songs became part of the rock and roll canon, covered over the decades by everyone from the Everly Brothers, the Kinks, and Creedence Clearwater Revival to Elvis Costello and the Scorpions. “Elvis popularized [rock and roll],” Steven Van Zandt tweeted after the news broke. “Chuck Berry was the storyteller. Richard was the archetype.”

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Little Richard’s stage persona – his pompadours, androgynous makeup and glass-bead shirts – also set the standard for rock and roll showmanship; Prince, to cite one obvious example, owed a sizable debt to the musician. “Prince is the Little Richard of his generation,” Richard told Joan Rivers in 1989 before looking at the camera and addressing Prince. “I was wearing purple before you was wearing it!”

Born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5th, 1932, in Macon, Georgia, he was one of 12 children and grew up around uncles who were preachers. “I was born in the slums. My daddy sold whiskey, bootleg whiskey,” he told Rolling Stone in 1970. Although he sang in a nearby church, his father Bud wasn’t supportive of his son’s music and accused him of being gay, resulting in Penniman leaving home at 13 and moving in with a white family in Macon. But music stayed with him: One of his boyhood friends was Otis Redding, and Penniman heard R&B, blues and country while working at a concession stand at the Macon City Auditorium.

After performing at the Tick Tock Club in Macon and winning a local talent show, Penniman landed his first record deal, with RCA, in 1951. (He became “Little Richard” when he about 15 years old, when the R&B and blues worlds were filled with acts like Little Esther and Little Milton; he had also grown tired with people mispronouncing his last name as “Penny-man.”) He learned his distinctive piano style from Esquerita, a South Carolina singer and pianist who also wore his hair in a high black pompadour.

 

 

For the next five years, Little Richard’s career advanced only fitfully; fairly tame, conventional singles he cut for RCA and other labels didn’t chart. “When I first came along, I never heard any rock & roll,” he told Rolling Stone in 1990. “When I started singing [rock & roll], I sang it a long time before I presented it to the public because I was afraid they wouldn’t like it. I never heard nobody do it, and I was scared.”

By 1956, he was washing dishes at the Greyhound bus station in Macon (a job he had first taken a few years earlier after his father was murdered and Little Richard had to support his family). By then, only one track he’d cut, “Little Richard’s Boogie,” hinted at the musical tornado to come. “I put that little thing in it,” he told Rolling Stone in 1970 of the way he tweaked with his gospel roots. “I always did have that thing, but I didn’t know what to do with the thing I had.”

During this low point, he sent a tape with a rough version of a bawdy novelty song called “Tutti Frutti” to Specialty Records in Chicago. He came up with the song’s famed chorus — “a wop bob alu bob a wop bam boom” — while bored washing dishes. (He also wrote “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly Miss Molly” while working that same job.) 

By coincidence, label owner and producer Art Rupe was in search of a lead singer for some tracks he wanted to cut in New Orleans, and Penniman’s howling delivery fit the bill. In September 1955, the musician cut a lyrically cleaned-up version of “Tutti Frutti,” which became his first hit, peaking at 17 on the pop chart. “’Tutti Frutti really started the races being together,” he told Rolling Stone in 1990. “From the git-go, my music was accepted by whites.”

 

 

Its followup, “Long Tall Sally,” hit Number Six, becoming his the highest-placing hit of his career. For just over a year, the musician released one relentless and arresting smash after another. From “Long Tall Sally” to “Slippin’ and Slidin,’” Little Richard’s hits – a glorious mix of boogie, gospel, and jump blues, produced by Robert “Bumps” Blackwell — sounded like he never stood still. With his trademark pompadour and makeup (which he once said he started wearing so that he would be less “threatening” while playing white clubs), he was instantly on the level of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and other early rock icons, complete with rabid fans and mobbed concerts. “That’s what the kids in America were excited about,” he told Rolling Stone in 1970. “They don’t want the falsehood — they want the truth.”

As with Presley, Lewis and other contemporaries, Penniman also was cast in early rock and roll movies like Don’t Knock the Rock (1956) and The Girl Can’t Help It (1957). In a sign of how segregated the music business and radio were at the time, though, Pat Boone’s milquetoast covers of “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally,” both also released in 1956, charted as well if not higher than Richard’s own versions. (“Boone’s “Tutti Frutti” hit Number 12, surpassing Little Richard’s by nine slots.) Penniman later told Rolling Stone that he made sure to sing “Long Tall Sally” faster than “Tutti Frutti” so that Boone couldn’t copy him as much.

 

 

But then the hits stopped, by his own choice. After what he interpreted as signs – a plane engine that seemed to be on fire and a dream about the end of the world and his own damnation – Penniman gave up music in 1957 and began attending the Alabama Bible school Oakwood College, where he was eventually ordained a minister. When he finally cut another album, in 1959, the result was a gospel set called God Is Real.

His gospel music career floundering, Little Richard returned to secular rock in 1964. Although none of the albums and singles he cut over the next decade for a variety of labels sold well, he was welcomed back by a new generation of rockers like the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan (who used to play Little Richard songs on the piano when he was a kid). When Little Richard played the Star-Club in Hamburg in the early Sixties, the opening act was none other than the Beatles. “We used to stand backstage at Hamburg’s Star-Club and watch Little Richard play,” John Lennon said later. “He used to read from the Bible backstage and just to hear him talk we’d sit around and listen. I still love him and he’s one of the greatest.”

By the 1970s, Little Richard was making a respectable living on the rock oldies circuit, immortalized in a searing, sweaty performance in the 1973 documentary Let the Good Times Roll. During this time, he also became addicted to marijuana and cocaine while, at the same time, returning to his gospel roots. 

 

 

Little Richard also dismantled sexual stereotypes in rock & roll, even if he confused many of his fans along the way. During his teen years and into his early rock stardom, his stereotypical flamboyant personality made some speculate about his sexuality, even if he never publicly came out. But that flamboyance didn’t derail his career. In the 1984 biography The Life and Times of Little Richard (written with his cooperation), he denounced homosexuality as “contagious … It’s not something you’re born with.” (Eleven years later, he said in an interview with Penthouse that he had been “gay all my life.”) 

Later in life, he described himself as “omnisexual,” attracted to both men and women. But during an interview with the Christian-tied Three Angels Broadcasting Group in 2017, he suddenly denounced gay and trans lifestyles: “God, Jesus, He made men, men, he made women, women, you know? And you’ve got to live the way God wants you to live. So much unnatural affection. So much of people just doing everything and don’t think about God.”

Yet none of that seemed to damage his mystique or legend. In the 1980s, he appeared in movies like Down and Out in Beverly Hills and in TV shows like Full House and Miami Vice. In 1986, he was one of the 10 original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1993, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys. His last known recording was in 2010, when he cut a song for a tribute album to gospel singer Dottie Rambo.

In the years before his death, Little Richard, who was by then based in Nashville, still performed periodically. Onstage, though, the physicality of old was gone: Thanks to hip replacement surgery in 2009, he could only perform sitting down at his piano. But his rock and roll spirit never left him. “I’m sorry I can’t do it like it’s supposed to be done,” he told one audience in 2012. After the audience screamed back in encouragement, he said – with a very Little Richard squeal — “Oh, you gonna make me scream like a white girl!”

Additional reporting by Patrick Doyle

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Reuben Wilson & Tommy Derrick Duo Plus Two – C. C. Rider YouTube

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Chicago jazz club owners ponder when to reopen, and how – Chicago Tribune

Chicago jazz club owners ponder when to reopen, and how – Chicago Tribune


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Chicago jazz club owners ponder when to reopen, and how

Howard Reich

Howard Reich

Chicago Tribune |

May 06, 2020 | 11:00 AM 

Even when times are good, Chicago’s globally famous jazz clubs operate on razor-thin profit margins.

Their small size and limited seating capacity offer some of the most intimate experiences available in live music. But that very virtue, plus cover charges that are a fraction of tickets for major concert halls and theaters, means few club owners are getting rich in this business.

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The city’s five major jazz rooms have been shuttered since mid-March due to the coronavirus. But with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s lockdown evolving over time, venue owners are contemplating when and how they might reopen.

And whether a great jazz club can survive in a world of social distancing.

“It comes down to math,” says Scott Stegman, who opened Winter’s Jazz Club, 465 N. McClurg Court, in 2016. 

“How do you make enough money to pay the bills if you have to keep people six feet apart? How do you make it work? If we’re six feet apart in a place as intimate as ours, what would we have – 12 people there?

“I don’t see us reopening for the next three or four or five months,” added Stegman, who had emergency surgery last month for “a surprise diagnosis of cancer” and is back home recovering.

“We’re not like the cupcake place at the front of the building: put the open sign on and see what happens. We’ve got to book bands three or four months out. And once you open, what do you do if people don’t show up? If you find you’re not making enough money, do you just cancel them? We can’t open and can’t afford to lose more money.”

Said Chris Chisholm, who with his brothers operates family-owned Andy’s Jazz Club at 11 E. Hubbard St., “Even when we reopen, you’re going to have limited occupancy, limited hours, limited numbers of people even interested in coming out of their house.

“This is my family’s livelihood. This is what we’ve done for 40-plus years,” added Chisholm, who discussed the quandary with his father, Scott Chisholm.

Owner Mike Reed at his club Constellation Monday, May 4, 2020, in Chicago.
Owner Mike Reed at his club Constellation Monday, May 4, 2020, in Chicago.(Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

“He said, ‘You guys are going to have to do what I did 40 years ago in regard to starting this business from scratch, and find a new method to do what we do.’

“We’re just biding our time until we can give it a chance to give it a go again,” added Chris Chisholm, of a jazz club that also serves food.

“We’re seriously considering live-streaming (music) and figuring out to-go ordering, and maybe even meals that could be cooked at home.”

Wayne Segal, who owns the oldest of the clubs, the Jazz Showcase at 806 S. Plymouth Court, already has been preparing for the new abnormal.

“Realistically, I think that social distancing will affect the way that we open and the way that we present our concerts,” said Segal, whose father, 94-year-old Joe Segal, first began presenting jazz sessions in Chicago in 1947.

“I’ve already reset the room somewhat so now (it seats) half the normal audience that I used to have, so that there’s social distancing, if that comes into effect.”

Even so, he’s not sure how many people will want to venture out once they’re given the OK.

“I think the audience probably will hesitate at first, especially my audience – I have somewhat of an older audience,” says Segal.

“I’ll probably feel it out to see where this virus goes. The last thing you want to do is have a house full of people, and someone gets sick, and we’re starting all over again. I certainly wouldn’t go seven days a week right now. I’d try to slowly get back into it, maybe just the weekends or something. I think that’s cautiously optimistic.

“We’ll have to wait it out and see and try to stay safe until there’s a time to hear music with low lights and bright moments.”

All the jazz club owners say they will follow official mandates as directed. But all sense confusion and ambiguity about when they can restart the music.

“I just don’t know how long we’re supposed to be able to go with this thing,” said Dave Jemilo, owner of the Green Mill Jazz Club at 4802 N. Broadway, which he bought in 1986. 

“It’s a little nerve-wracking to not know how long you have absolutely no income coming except T-shirt sales.”

If the lockdown were to end on any particular date, would he open the next day?

“Absolutely,” said Jemilo. “We’ve got to get going here. Employees, the joint – we’re still paying the bills with no income. It’s a tough one. The only time we ever closed was for three days to redo the bathrooms.

Wayne Segal, owner of Chicago's legendary Jazz Showcase, is seen there on Monday, May 4, 2020. The club, like all venues in the city, was ordered closed in March in reaction to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
Wayne Segal, owner of Chicago’s legendary Jazz Showcase, is seen there on Monday, May 4, 2020. The club, like all venues in the city, was ordered closed in March in reaction to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

“I’ve got the coolers on; the beer’s still good. The lemons and limes, we ate them. Thank God it’s not a restaurant where you have to throw food away. I’m not saying I have it the worst.

“We’re alcohol and music. We think we need music because without it we’d go insane. Politicians don’t look at it that way.”

Mike Reed, who owns Constellation at 3111 N. Western Ave., also articulates the human need for what he and his peers provide.

“I’m just waiting for the days that we can have some sort of performance with people in the room,” says Reed, who opened Constellation in 2013. 

“Right now, I don’t care if that’s half capacity – doesn’t really matter, for the spiritual need to be around people and to share things.

“Honestly, it’s like right now, people are trying to take care of their concerns and business and bills and all that stuff. But without these other things, what is it all worth? What’s working for, unless you have it to do (an) expression of being alive? Whether that’s dining out, going to the movies or going to a gallery and, of course, going to see and hear and perform music,” adds Reed, who’s also an admired drummer, bandleader and composer.

As to when he might reopen Constellation, “We could be closed for six to eight months,” says Reed. “Maybe we’ll be open in September. Right now, it’s about ramping things down and putting utilities into the lowest monthly plan as possible. We’ve had to lay off all the employees.”

Touring musicians continue to contact Reed about whether they can play Constellation sometime.

“I will reluctantly say yes,” he explains. “But the problem is that if you have touring acts, and they’re trying to realize some kind of financial reality, I can’t tell them I have what used to be our capacity. We might have had a night with 175 seats. (Now) they may have 30 percent of that.”

Reed expects that the jazz world will awaken slowly, in inverse proportion to the speed at which it was shut down.

“It started with ‘let’s close the borders,’ then the NBA is going to suspend games, then no events over 1,000, then 250, then 50, then lockdown. That went very fast.

“The other way is going to be pretty slow, and it will start from the bottom.”

Indeed, the smallest venues, with the least amount of customers, will open before large concert halls and festivals.

Reed believes this may change how we hear music — and may do so for the better.

“It will put an interesting spin on small clubs and restaurants and bars,” says Reed. “And especially if there is a rationing of people. So instead of having one place that’s packed, you might have a lot of places that have moderate (sized) audiences, which could be really cool for the local artist, local business.

“And maybe – I couldn’t really say that this is true – but let’s just say that there could be a little resemblance of a time period where there wasn’t so much mass concerting. A 1950s-era kind of thing. And that may last for a while.

“And you might also then have an imprint on people that lasts longer. Like when people talk about having grandparents that grew up during the Depression: ‘That’s why they’re like that.’

“You might have 16-year-olds that (say): ‘Well, I didn’t really go to big concerts till I was 20, because that industry fell apart – there was a whole period where they didn’t allow that to happen.’

“And in a certain way, who knows, but for the world that I mostly deal in and prefer to deal in, that could be beneficial.”

Meaning we could be entering an era in which small rooms with moderate-sized audiences become the new way to hear live music, at least for a while.

And that could affect not only how we hear music, but how the music itself is made.

For jazz thrives best in close quarters, and that may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Howard Reich is a Tribune critic.

hreich@chicagotribune.com

Howard Reich

Howard Reich is the Tribune’s Emmy-winning arts critic; author of six books, including “The Art of Inventing Hope: Intimate Conversations with Elie Wiesel”; and writer-producer of three documentaries. He holds two honorary doctoral degrees and served on the Pulitzer music jury four times, including for the first jazz winner, “Blood on the Fields.”

 

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Frederick Tillis, jazz musician and longtime director of UMass Fine Arts Center, dies at 90 – masslive.com

Frederick Tillis, jazz musician and longtime director of UMass Fine Arts Center, dies at 90 – masslive.com


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Frederick Tillis, jazz musician and longtime director of UMass Fine Arts Center, dies at 90

By Patrick Johnson | pjohnson@repub.com
Posted May 06, 10:38 AM

Frederick Tillis

Frederick C. Tillis, professor emeritus of music and former Fine Arts Center director at the University of Massachusetts. Tillis died May 3 at age 90.Ben Barnhart

AMHERST – Frederick C. Tillis, an esteemed jazz musician and composer who joined the University of Massachusetts faculty in the early 1970s and spent 20 years as director of the UMass Fine Arts Center, died Sunday at the age of 90, the university announced.

“Dr. Fred Tillis leaves an extraordinary legacy at UMass Amherst,” said Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “He was a gentle soul who made me feel at once like we had known each other for a long time.”

The cause of death was the result of complications following a recent hip-replacement surgery, according to his family.

As a composer, performer, poet, educator, and arts administrator, Tillis helped shape the cultural and musical life at UMass, the Pioneer Valley and beyond. As a composer and performer, his work spanned both jazz and European traditions, and his more than 100 compositions included works for piano and voice, orchestra and chorus, chamber music and works in the African-American spiritual tradition.

At UMass, he founded many programs and courses of study while at UMass, Tillis founded numerous programs and courses of study that greatly enriched the life of music majors and the general student body. In 1978, he was appointed the director of the Fine Arts Center and helped start some of the university’s most successful art initiatives, including the Jazz and Afro-American Music Studies program, the Jazz in July Summer Music program, the New World Theater, the Augusta Savage Gallery and the Asian Arts and Culture Program.

He also received many awards and represented the UMass Music Department and the university as a cultural ambassador, performing locally, nationally, and internationally with students, alumni, and faculty such as Salvatore Macchia, Jeffrey Holmes, David Sporny, and Horace Boyer.

Upon his retirement from UMass, Tillis was appointed emeritus director of the Fine Arts Center.

Fred Tillis

In this file photo from November 5, 1997, Frederick C. Tillis stands outside the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center. Tillis, the long-time director and faculty member, died May 3 at age 90.

Macchia, the chair of the UMass Department of Music and Dance, said the entire department mourns the loss of Tillis as a both a friend and colleague, and as a gifted composer and performer, poet and administrator.

“I first met Fred in 1978, and have many wonderful memories of touring Russia with him, playing local jazz clubs, and presenting concerts of new music in a variety of venue,” Macchia said. “He was then, as he remained for the rest of his life, a kind, caring, and knowledgeable human being. He will be sorely missed.”

Tillis joined the faculty at UMass in 1970 after previously being on the faculty at Grambling University and Kentucky State University. He would stay at UMass until retiring in 1997.

Willie Hill Jr., a former student who would go on to succeed Tillis as Fine Arts Center director for 20 years until his retirement last year, said he had a gigantic influence on his life and on the lives of many others.

“He has meant so much to me since 1964 when I had the privilege of having him as my music theory and orchestra teacher at Grambling State University for two years,” he said. “He will be sorely missed for his unselfish contributions to our organization, by the FAC staff, advisory board, friends, and UMass community at large.”

Current Fine Arts Center Director Jamilla Deria said “I did not have the opportunity to know Dr. Tillis well, but I’ve felt his indelible imprint in every facet of our work. From our very first meeting last summer to our many brief encounters at performances throughout the year, it was clear to me that the FAC was not just a place he worked, but was, in fact, a piece of him.”

Upon his retirement from UMass in 1997, Tillis was appointed emeritus director of the Fine Arts Center.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Library maintains the Frederick Tillis papers, which document his career in the arts and in arts administration, as well as Tillis’s role as a composer and poet.

Tillis, a native of Galveston, Texas, began his jazz career as a teen under the name Baby Tillis, playing trumpet and saxophone.

He enrolled in Wiley College at age 16, graduated three years later with a bachelor’s degree, and after graduation, was immediately hired by the college to teach music education. This was the start of his lifelong dual careers as a musician and educator.

He earned his master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1952, and then served the Air Force for four years, during which he led the Air Force band.

He earned his Ph.D from the University of Iowa in 1963, and began teaching at Grambling University a year later.

During an interview with The Republican prior to his retirement in 1997, Tillis said he had no regrets about choosing to combine teaching with his music, instead of following many of his contemporaries and becoming a full-time musician and performer.

“I would probably be much less comfortable with what I’ve accomplished,” he said.

He also said that in his time at UMass, he was most proud of helping shape the Fine Arts Center into a vibrant showcase for the arts from around the world.

“Art is so important to the life of human beings,” he said. “I feel I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunities to share with others the importance of art to humanity.”

A celebration of Tillis’ life and impact will be held in the future due to restrictions on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 emergency. The Fine Arts Center has established a memorial webpage dedicated to Tillis where people may read about his life, see photos, and leave personal remembrances.

The address is www.fineartscenter.com/Tillis

 

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“Dameronia” Philly Joe Jones 1983 – YouTube

“Dameronia” Philly Joe Jones 1983 – YouTube


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2qqbipKNWI

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New York Lost These 5 Remarkable Characters to the Virus – The New York Times

New York Lost These 5 Remarkable Characters to the Virus – The New York Times


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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/06/nyregion/nyc-neighborhood-coronavirus-deaths.html?action=click
 

New York Lost These 5 Remarkable Characters to the Virus

“His high in life was talking to people from everywhere,” a son said of his father, a Harlem bar owner who died last month.

By Corey Kilgannon

May 6, 2020

To live in New York is to know the city as a patchwork of tight-knit neighborhoods defined by local characters: the beloved bartender, the “mayor” of the block, the habitual stoop-sitter, the chatty sidewalk vendor.

And while the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 18,000 city residents, has claimed the lives of prominent figures, the wider toll has been on these lesser-known but no less distinctive citizens.

When the city struggles back to a semblance of normalcy, New Yorkers will emerge from their homes and greet one another, only to find gaping holes in the human fabric that fixtures like these helped weave together.

Nathan Allman, 85

A neighborhood statesman with a musical palette

Growing up in a thriving music scene in Brooklyn, Nathan Allman became a jazz aficionado with many musician friends.

“Jazz musicians loved to talk to him,” said his wife, Ellen Krüger Allman, 69. “He spoke their language.”

As a computer operator for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the 1960s, Mr. Allman would hang out after work at the Village Vanguard, once driving Miles Davis home from the club.

Mr. Allman — most people knew him as Nate or Nat — lived for a half-century in a family-owned brownstone in Park Slope, even as white members of the professional class replaced old-guard, working-class families of color.

Mr. Allman, who served on many civic and community groups, was concerned about the sociological implications of gentrification, his wife said.

But, she added, he “transcended all kinds of possible social, racial and gender barriers by staying open-minded and just connecting with the person in front of him.” With some neighbors, she said, jazz became a common love.

Mr. Allman died on March 22 after contracting the coronavirus at a rehabilitation facility where he was recovering after a hip-replacement procedure.

As he was dying, a friend, the jazz pianist Fred Hersch, dedicated a livestreamed performance of his song “Valentine” to Mr. Allman. Ms. Krüger Allman asked a nurse to hold a phone to her husband’s ear, allowing him to hear the music and her farewell.

After he died, Mr. Allman’s doorway was crowded with notes, flowers and gifts from neighbors.

“He was a community-minded soul,” Ms. Krüger Allman said. “He made a beautiful impact on the world.”

Caridad Santiago, 43

A subway worker on the front lines

Caridad Santiago, was a fun-loving, lifelong Bronx resident who was well known in her Belmont neighborhood for loving the card game spades and singing along to R&B tunes.

“She could make a dull room light up,” said Crystal Puertas, 26, the eldest of Ms. Santiago’s three children. “Everyone gravitated toward her energy. She was the life of the party.”

But Ms. Santiago, known as Cari, also brought a serious work ethic to her job as a subway station cleaner for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a position that gave her and her family financial stability.

“She did come from poverty, in a sense, and her getting that job made life a little better for us,” Ms. Puertas said.

Ms. Santiago, who died at home on March 29, is one of the many authority workers whose deaths were caused by the virus.

She worked the overnight shift, which often required long, late-night commutes by bus and train to haul trash, mop stairways and, especially lately, sanitize turnstiles and MetroCard machines.

As the virus spread in New York, Ms. Santiago remained on the front lines. She changed her Facebook photo to one that showed her at work. “I can’t go home,” the caption said. “I’m an essential worker.”

“She was very confident,” Ms. Puertas said. “She could swim deeper and dive from higher than anyone. At amusement parks, she would be on the scariest roller coaster.”

One place she feared — and avoided, even as her symptoms worsened — was the hospital, because of news reports of patients dying in droves, Ms. Puertas said.

Her confidence never seemed to waver, even as she lay dying in bed.

“She told us, ‘You guys are going to be OK, always,’” Ms. Puertas said.

Ed Antonio Jr., 79

The original ‘take care of your essential workers’ person’

Ed Antonio Jr. made a daily habit of inviting the mail carrier into his home in the Rockaway section of Queens for a sandwich and bathroom break.

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He attended the wedding of the sanitation worker who picked up his trash.

“He was the original ‘take care of your essential workers’ person,” said his grandson Eddie Joe Antonio, 23. “Everyone he encountered became a friend.”

Mr. Antonio looked after his neighbors, too. He brought in their trash cans and walked an older neighbor’s dog every day.

His appetite for activism seemed boundless. He spent his evenings serving on school and community boards, and on neighborhood and other civic associations.

“He showed up to everything,” said his son, E.J. Antonio, 55. “He had the ability to walk up to somebody and in seconds make them feel like he knew them forever.”

He was an adopter of abandoned bicycles. He would fix them and give them to local children or add them to a fleet he kept for the friends, families, disabled veterans and strangers whom he invited over for beach days.

Mr. Antonio, a retired pharmaceutical salesman, and his wife, Paula, were married for 60 years. They had met as toddlers living on the same block in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay section. Later, they were high school sweethearts.

After Hurricane Sandy decimated the Rockaways in 2012, the couple stayed in their home despite having no electricity. They fed cleanup workers and watched over the homes of neighbors who had decamped.

Mr. Antonio died at home on April 14. He may have exposed himself to the virus by mobilizing a mask-making effort for hospital workers while many New Yorkers sheltered in place, his son said.

“He was still looking for ways to help first responders,” his son said.

Marianne ‘Peachy’ Herlihy, 79

A cheerful New Yorker who dispensed ‘Peachy’s proverbs’

 

Marianne “Peachy” Herlihy, far right Marianne “Peachy” Herlihy, far right

Growing up in the Bronx, Marianne Herlihy picked up the nickname “Peachy,” a jaunty moniker that matched her outlook on life.

Ms. Herlihy was developmentally disabled and she lived under her parents’ care into her 50s. She worked an assembly-line job, sorting makeup kits for meager pay.

Beneath her cheery, charismatic exterior, Ms. Herlihy, who died on April 6, had an intense desire to live as independently as possible.

As a child she memorized words to win spelling bees, said a sister, Eileen Powers, 82. She watched television obsessively and kept notes on shows in carefully archived notebooks. To travel the city, she memorized bus and subway routes.

And, Ms. Powers said, she came up with volumes of “Peachy’s proverbs,” practical dictums and coping expressions she lived by and preached to others, often with hilarious timing.

For example, she fiercely guarded her pocket money because, she said, “When you have Mr. Twenty, take care of him until you need him.”

She said that she rarely declined a social invitation because, “If you say no, you won’t be invited again.”

For the past 20 years, Ms. Herlihy lived at Fineson House, a group home in Manhattan.

“Everybody who knew Peachy loved her; she gave life lessons to me and my daughters,” Ms. Powers said. “She was a hero among us.”

 

Sam Hargress Jr., 84

Owner of ‘Harlem’s oldest and only live jazz dive’

 

Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Samuel Hargress Jr. opened Paris Blues more than a half-century ago.

The live music joint, which he liked to refer to as “Harlem’s oldest and only live jazz dive,” became a neighborhood institution, as did Mr. Hargress.

And as gentrification brought corporate chains to Harlem, he considered it a badge of honor to run a thriving, black-owned establishment.

Over the years, Mr. Hargress spurned lucrative offers to sell the five-story building that housed the bar, said his son, Sam Hargress III, 43.

Dressed in a sharp suit, hat and sunglasses, the elder Mr. Hargress would plant himself at the bar’s entrance to greet customers, whether they were regulars, new residents or tourists.

“His high in life was talking to people from everywhere and having common ground with them,” his son said.

Mr. Hargress’s business cards listed not just him, but also his bar staff by name, and he would cook food himself and set it out free for customers.

A military veteran, he insisted on waking at dawn, so he would leave the bar at midnight for his apartment upstairs. He loved music and he enjoyed falling asleep listening as the band kept playing downstairs, his son said.

As the virus spread, and nonessential businesses were ordered to close in March, Mr. Hargress reluctantly shut Paris Blues.

“To close the bar, something he never had to do since 1969, was painful,” the son said, adding that he planned to keep the place open in memory of his father, who died on April 10.

“This was more than a job for him,” his son said. “This was his life.”

Those We’ve Lost

The coronavirus pandemic has taken an incalculable death toll. This series is designed to put names and faces to the numbers.

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Can You Mute That Tuba? Lockdown Forces Musicians to Practice Quietly – WSJ

Can You Mute That Tuba? Lockdown Forces Musicians to Practice Quietly – WSJ


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Can You Mute That Tuba? Lockdown Forces Musicians to Practice Quietly

Performers stuck inside are finding ways to sing and play instruments without annoying neighbors working from home; ‘my first gig back is going to be rough’

By 
May 5, 2020 11:34 am ET

Angela Scorese is preparing her voice for a breakout role as Queen of the Night in a coming performance of the Magic Flute, Mozart’s signature opera. The 26-year-old soprano, an understudy for the part, runs through a daily warm-up routine in her Jersey City, N.J., apartment. When she’s ready to sing, she steps into a bedroom closet and shuts the door. 

“I have a lot of clothes in there that help muffle the sound,” says Ms. Scorese, whose part includes singing a piercing High F, one of the highest notes in classical opera. 

She says the makeshift closet studio is a workaround aimed at keeping the peace with other residents in her building. The performance is set for July.

Across the country, lockdown orders to stem the spread of the coronavirus have performers from opera singers to heavy-metal drummers stuck indoors—practicing within earshot of their working-from-home neighbors. Many singers and instrumentalists who no longer have access to outside studio space are finding creative ways to make do. 

Before the crisis, conscientious musicians living in crowded buildings tended to practice during office hours, when most residents were at work. But since the pandemic struck, scales and arpeggios are competing side-by-side with conference calls, Zoom meetings or Netflix binge-watching next door.

Angela Scorese, an opera singer in New Jersey, has been practicing in her closet.

Photo: Angela Scorese

Though Ms. Scorese hasn’t heard any complaints, she says a singer friend in a nearby West New York, N.J., apartment found a note slipped under her door. Rebecca Benitez, a 31-year-old soprano practicing for the role of the Queen’s lady in the same production, says the unsigned letter told her to pipe down “in passive aggressive terms.”

“I’m sure like us you’ve had to adjust to staying at home and working,” the letter writer said, according to a copy provided by Ms. Benitez. “Indeed while we’re uncertain what it is you do, we imagine it has something to do with singing which we know because, unfortunately, the walls in this building are not quite as thick as we would like.” 

Ms. Benitez says she has tried wearing a customized mask to damp the sound of her voice, “but it’s just not the same.” 

Many musicians say it’s especially irksome that nearly all complaints against them are anonymous. 

Samuel Green, a singer and trombone player in St. Paul, Minn., says he put a sign on the door of his downtown apartment, promising not to tread on the building’s quiet policy, which allows him to play between 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., after Minnesota went into lockdown. 

That didn’t stop one resident from yelling through a wall last month, as Mr. Green was warming up. “Right when I reached the top of my vocal range I heard ‘stop singing!’ and just froze in place,” he says.

Brian Perry, a 40-year-old bass player in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, says he and his family perform 20-minute concerts in front of their Fort Worth, Texas, single-family home. His wife plays violin and his daughters, 11 and 7, play violin and cello. They recently performed a rendition of “Yellow Rose of Texas.” “People keep their distance, but they can hear us,” Mr. Perry said. So far no one has complained.

The family has an upstairs music studio, though sheltering in place has made scheduling individual practice sessions tricky, especially around home schooling. “Sharing has become the name of the game,” he said.

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John Bianchi, a vice president at a New York communications firm, who is taking clarinet lessons online during the lockdown, says he has been on edge since a neighbor complained about a piano player in their 13-story Manhattan apartment building. 

To avoid a confrontation, Mr. Bianchi now spends up to two hours a day playing clarinet in his 1998 Saturn station wagon, parked on Fifth Avenue near Washington Square Park. New York state imposed a stay-at-home order on March 20.

Mr. Bianchi says he sits behind the steering wheel, because “sitting alone on the passenger side is just too weird.” Masked pedestrians who stop beside the car snapping their fingers or singing along to scales are “more than a little distracting,” he says.

John Bianchi plays clarinet in his car in New York.

Photo: Kathleen Vance

In Brooklyn, jazz trumpeter Jason Prover says he has dialed back practicing in his apartment to roughly two hours a day, from five or six hours. He also uses a mute, a cone-shaped device that fits into the bell of brass instruments to muffle the sound, and plays into a pillow. But the accommodation isn’t ideal, he says. “I can’t warm up with a mute and you can’t really practice,” he says, adding that the mute changes the airflow through his trumpet.

“My first gig back is going to be rough,” Mr. Prover says.

New York City has become a hotbed of noise complaints. 

Over the first week of the lockdown alone, New Yorkers made more than 11,000 complaints to the city about noisy neighbors, up 23% from the same period last year, according to a study of 311 calls by apartment-rental site Renthop.com. The complaints included musical instruments and loud music, as well as home repairs and unidentified banging noises.

Like other cities, New York has a municipal noise code that sets out maximum decibel levels and hours for noise-generating activity. Most instruments fall well below allowable daytime levels for construction sites, nightclubs and other loud disturbances. Some condos or co-op boards may set stricter policies, according to the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM, the city’s musicians’ union.

“Acceptable decibel levels must take into account ambient noise, which in NYC is often very loud,” a union spokesperson said.

Christopher Tefft says he was shocked when a neighbor called the police on an electric bass player in a downstairs unit of their New York building. Mr. Tefft, a musical-theater performer himself, says the bass player is now using headphones.

Brian Perry’s family in Forth Worth, Tex., playing in front of their house.

Photo: Terry Hammond

“I think it was rude and completely inappropriate,” he says about the anonymous neighbor who called the cops. “There’s an understanding in New York that we do what we want and leave each other alone.” 

Mr. Tefft says he has vowed to keep singing any time he feels like it.

Other musicians are taking a softer approach to pre-empt complaints. 

David Ostwald, a 64-year-old tuba player, has started playing “America the Beautiful” out of the fifth-floor window of his uptown Manhattan apartment. He performs every night at 7 p.m., timed to coincide with the city’s nightly salute to medical workers, he says.

Mr. Ostwald, who led a weekly Louis Armstrong tribute band at Birdland, the city’s legendary jazz club, before the lockdown, says he started doing the impromptu shows about a week after he recovered from coronavirus.

He says neighbors gather in front of the building to hear him play, and he’s added “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Amazing Grace” and other inspirational songs. 

“I’ve received a lot of positive feedback,” Mr. Ostwald says. As far as he knows, there have been no complaints. 

 

Related Video

 

Balcony Workouts and Singalongs: Socializing in the Time of Coronavirus

0:00 / 2:07

Balcony Workouts and Singalongs: Socializing in the Time of Coronavirus

Balcony Workouts and Singalongs: Socializing in the Time of Coronavirus

In cities around the world, balcony singing, workouts and other improvised events can fill the silence of empty streets. Here’s how developing creative ways to connect with others is helping some people cope with coronavirus quarantines. Photo: Alberico/Fotogramma/Ropi/Zuma Press

Write to Angus Loten at angus.loten@wsj.com

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UCSD professor Anthony Davis wins Pulitzer Prize for fiery opera ‘The Central Park Five’ – The San Diego Union-Tribune

UCSD professor Anthony Davis wins Pulitzer Prize for fiery opera ‘The Central Park Five’ – The San Diego Union-Tribune


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UCSD professor Anthony Davis wins Pulitzer Prize for fiery opera ‘The Central Park Five’

The work, which debuted in 2019 at Long Beach Opera, features Donald Trump (or, rather, an opera singer portraying Trump, circa 1989)

Anthony Davis had an excellent reason for missing part of his Zoom meeting at noon Monday with the other faculty members of UC San Diego’s music department. 

The veteran composer received a mid-meeting call, on his home phone, informing him he had just been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music. The win came for Davis’ “The Central Park Five,” which debuted last June at Long Beach Opera. 

It chronicles the racially and politically charged New York trial and conviction of one Latino teenager and four black teens — who were later all exonerated and freed — in the 1989 rape of a young white female investment banker in Central Park. Donald Trump, then a New York real estate magnate, took out full-page newspaper ads at the time that read, in part: “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!” Accordingly, the Trump character plays a key role in Davis’ opera. 

“I’m excited, thrilled and honored that this work has been recognized this way,” Davis said Monday, speaking from the University City home he shares with his opera-singer wife, Cynthia, and their son, Jonah, a professional baseball player.

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Noted composer Anthony Davis blurs the lines between jazz, opera, world music, the avant-garde and other styles with unique skill and daring.

In announcing the award for “The Central Park Five” Monday, the Pulitzer committee hailed it as “a courageous operatic work, marked by powerful vocal writing and sensitive orchestration, that skillfully transforms a notorious example of contemporary injustice into something empathetic and hopeful.” 

Spotlighting injustice and focusing on historical figures and events has been a driving force for Davis since 1986, when the New York City Opera debuted his first major work, “X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X.” 

The subjects of his subsequent operas have included the kidnapping and radicalization of heiress Patty Hearst (1992’s “Tania”), a slave rebellion (1997’s “Amistad”) to social injustices perpetrated against Native Americans (2007 “Wakonda’s Dream”). The libretto for “The Central Park Five” was written by Richard Wesley, a New York University associate professor of dramatic writing.

“The Pulitzer win is really a tribute to Long Beach Opera, which was so incredibly supportive of this piece, and the singers who brought so much to their roles” said Davis, 69, who has taught at UC San Diego since 1998. 

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“And it’s also very exciting for me that you can create political work that has an impact and speak to issues in our society. I’ve done my career creating political works, and I never thought I would ever get a Pulitzer. I hope it will encourage other people to speak their minds and be passionate about what they believe and to express it in their art.”

Davis, who was dressed in shorts and a T-shirt for his Monday Zoom meeting, laughed.

“I definitely never thought I’d win a Pulitzer Prize for an opera that features Donald Trump sitting on a toilet while speaking on the phone,” he said. 

“I hope that, in a way, the opera brings to the forefront the idea that Trump’s ascent to power is a present danger and that, from the beginning, he has exploited racial tensions. I also hope that this (Pulitzer) will allow the piece to be presented in other places in America and, perhaps, in other countries.”

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What Davis didn’t realize during his Monday Zoom meeting was that his fellow faculty members could hear him reacting to the news of his prestigious honor.

Or, as percussion professor Steven Schick put it: “Anthony’s microphone was open and so we all just heard him pick up the call telling him that he had won the Pulitzer Prize. Best Zoombomb ever!”

Davis sounded both amused and embarrassed when told of Schick’s observation. 

“I thought I put the Zoom meeting on my iPad on mute,” Davis said with a chuckle.

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As skilled a pianist as he is a composer, Davis has more than 15 non-opera solo albums to his credit. He was a 20-year-old student at Yale University in 1971 when he turned down an offer to join the Grateful Dead

Davis went on to establish himself as a cutting-edge jazz composer and band leader before starting to focus on opera in the 1980s. Full of unexpected leaps and turns, his richly textured music can be warm and inviting, dense and thorny, sometimes almost concurrently.

Drawing from jazz, contemporary classical, various World Music styles and more — including R&B and hip-hop in “The Central Park Five” — Davis creates an aural universe all his own. What results has earned him effusive praise from others, including Schick.

“Anthony is a master at listening to the world — the enormous variety of styles, cultures and musical impulses of many times and places — and distilling from them cogent, pointed works of art that illuminate the most important qualities of our time and place,” Schick said Monday. 

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Davis has had commissions from Opera Omaha, Long Beach Opera and other companies that have staged productions of his consistently daring work. His Pulitzer win for “The Central Park Five” may bring a wider audience for the work. 

He is only the third UC San Diego faculty member to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize, according to a campus spokesman. Fellow composer Roger Reynolds won the 1989 Pulitzer for music, while Rae Armantrout won the 2010 Pulitzer for poetry. 

“All I thought about was making this the best piece I could,” Davis said of his Pulitzer-winning work. 

“And I wanted to do justice to the (real) Central Park Five and to represent and tell their story, so it was important for me to have the music represent their story. I met them in Los Angeles last June, just before the opening at Long Beach Opera, at an ACLU luncheon that they attended, along with the cast members from the opera and from the cast of (Ava DuVernay’s four-part Netflix TV series) ‘When They See Us.’”

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Davis is now composing new operas about, respectively, the 1921 Tulsa race massacre in Oklahoma and the fatal 2015 shootings by Dylann Roof of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. 

He is also working on a musical adaptation of the children’s book “Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale,” which is set at the U.S.-Mexico border and addresses current immigration issues. His adaptation will likely feature a version of Donald Trump.

“I’m trying to decide,” Davis said, “if he’ll be a crocodile or a snapping orange turtle.”

 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Book Review: “Play The Way You Feel” – Jazz on Film, Music and Myth – The Arts Fuse

Book Review: “Play The Way You Feel” – Jazz on Film, Music and Myth – The Arts Fuse


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Book Review: “Play The Way You Feel” — Jazz on Film, Music and Myth

May 4, 2020 Leave a Comment

By Steve Provizer

Play The Way You Feel is the best volume around on the uneasy relationship between film and jazz.

Play The Way You Feel: The Essential Guide to Jazz Stories on Film by Kevin Whitehead. Oxford University Press, 400 pages, $34.95.

Author Kevin Whitehead, jazz critic for NPR’s Fresh Air, posits that film and jazz make use of parallel techniques: cross-cutting in film, call and response in big bands; the solo, the close up. They also unspool in real time and draw on the mechanism of tension and release. Does this make them — as Whitehead claims  — “natural allies”?

If they are, they are uneasy allies, as allies tend to be.

There are similarities in the technical language of both art forms. But major movie production is top-down, hierarchic, expensive, and script-bound. Jazz is rooted in community and can be produced at only the cost of a few instruments. Improvisation is at its center. A jazz musician’s life may be colorful enough to inspire the production of a  film, but few lives fall neatly into Hollywood’s standard three-act screenplay format. Inevitably, there must be some excruciating shoehorning. The complications of la vie du jazz are always subservient to the needs of plot, and that means the credulity of the jazz lover, who knows much of the back-story, is stretched to the breaking point.

What makes analyzing the relationship between film and jazz interesting is the constant but uneasy negotiation between the two art forms. Though I find these two “allies” more at odds than Whitehead does, it doesn’t undercut the undeniable value of his book. This is the best volume around on how the film-jazz scenario plays out. Most such books on the subject are either a gathering of hundreds of short précis/reviews or academic-oriented tomes that try to prove the author’s thesis through pedantic analysis of a small number of films chosen to buttress his or her argument. (Consumer alert: check for Adorno and Freud in the index). I applaud the fact that Whitehead takes a third approach. He has chosen a representative sample of films with substantial jazz elements and gives the reader clearly-written, detailed explanations of the plots of these (65) films. He also treats about the same number of films in a briefer manner.

Each extended film reconstruction reflects Whitehead’s careful watching and thorough research. He approaches each movie by applying what he sees as its principle jazz trope. The book’s title, Play The Way You Feel,  alludes to one of those motifs, and it is probably a key theme: playing jazz represents the apotheosis of personal freedom and expression. The most frequent obstacle in a jazz film for a protagonist is that someone, some organization or some other malevolent presence tries to keep the protagonist from pursuing his (always a man) vision of “real,” “true,” or “pure” jazz. Whitehead then explores how this plot structure — the creative artist challenged — plays out in a given film.

He’s a keen observer. Whitehead catches how a member of the sax section moves mysteriously from one side of the band to the other between consecutive shots; he notices how Art Tatum’s piano is muted in The Fabulous Dorseys when it comes time for Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey to solo. I was happy to learn details about which musicians were “ghosting” on the soundtracks (performing on the instrument we see an actor play onscreen), including Harry James for Kirk Douglas in Young Man With a Horn, Nat Adderley for Sammy Davis in A Man Called Adam, Snooky Young for Jack Carson in Blues in the Night, and Bunny Berigan ghosting for Rex Stewart (!) in Syncopation. Other interesting facts are revealed about the 1947 film New Orleans. For about 15 years, Louis Armstrong had been performing as a soloist backed by a big band. He was cast in New Orleans to play with a small group. As a tie-in with the release of the movie, his manager Joe Glaser booked him with a similar sized group, which evolved into the “Louis Armstrong All-Stars,” the band that he traveled with (with personnel changes) for the rest of his career.

A scene from Symphony In Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life.

There are times when Whitehead’s lengthy descriptions seem somewhat gratuitous. It’s illuminating to evaluate jazz musicians when they’re actually called upon to act (rare, but it happens). But do we need to know this detail about drummer Gene Krupa in George White’s Scandals (1945): “When a bevy of beauties sign up to audition for producer White’s girly show, Gene and his men eavesdrop to write down phone numbers: Krupa writes them on a drumhead.” Well, ok…

Other descriptions, while not exactly on point, provide canny background color: Writing about a scene in Symphony In Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life, its music provided by Duke Ellington, Whitehead notes, “Now as the music continues, the scene shifts again, to industrial-age laboring in rhythm: Olive-skinned men in short sleeves or stripped to the waist (but wearing snakeskin boots or loafers).”

Whitehead credits academic Krin Gabbard’s work on jazz and film, referring to him several times. He generally agrees and occasionally disagrees with his cinematic analyses. I’m not an admirer of Gabbard’s — he has a tendency to stretch the facts to fit his theses. As I argue here, Gabbard seems to envision “people [in film] being moved around by The Man as if on some giant pathological chess board…citing only one or two examples per decade fuels the thought that the theory came first and that evidence was chosen to support it.“ Thankfully, Whitehead is level-headed and independent when it counts — his extrapolations all seem well founded.

Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong in New Orleans.

Whitehead’s major fault is not giving enough attention to the issue of how cinema dealt with — or refused to deal with — the question of mixed race bands on screen. It does sometimes arise here, but it was a problematic issue from when jazz first hit the big screen in the ’20s. The sad story of how musicians had to have their skin lightened or darkened — or were made to perform hidden behind scrims — is one that should be more completely investigated and told.

As is to be expected, not everyone will agree with Whitehead’s choices and evaluations. I think Sean Penn does a better job of simulating guitar playing than Whitehead does in Sweet and Lowdown. Sweet Smell of Success deserves more attention than Whitehead gives it. Whitehead can be glib on occasion, as when he notes that Billie Holiday looks great in the film New Orleans because “she knew who to befriend on the set — the cameramen.” In truth, she’d have had to befriend the Director of Photography — the one who’s really in control.

But these are minor quibbles. I follow this film-jazz relationship pretty closelyand I’m happy to see this book. Whitehead takes a glass-half-full attitude; he believes that all of the films he covers get at least something right. Maybe he’s setting up jazz lovers for more falls; or it could be he wants us to bring a different set of expectations. We should reconcile ourselves to the exigencies of the cinema and let go of the hope that the emotional rewards of jazz can be dramatized in feature films. As for me, I can only set the bar so low if a movie purports to portray the life of a specific musician. Overall, I’m willing to accept these films as they come: as projections of the mythologies popular culture has spun around the art of jazz and its practitioners. Whitehead’s Play The Way You Feel is a very useful guide to the cinematic web.


Steve Provizer writes on a range of subject, most often the arts. He is a musician and blogs about jazz here.

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Eugene ‘Woody’ Smith, Pittsburgh bassist who played in The Temptations, dies at 76 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Eugene ‘Woody’ Smith, Pittsburgh bassist who played in The Temptations, dies at 76 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


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https://www.post-gazette.com/ae/music/2020/04/22/Eugene-Woody-Smith-Pittsburgh-bassist-who-played-The-Temptations-obit/stories/202004210093
 

Eugene ‘Woody’ Smith, Pittsburgh bassist who played in The Temptations, dies at 76

As they say about Motown backing musicians, Eugene “Woody” Smith did his time standing in the shadows.

The bassist from Homewood, having cut his teeth in Pittsburgh’s jazz clubs, would spend two years as a touring member of The Temptations, during the legendary group’s psychedelic-soul heyday of the early ’70s.

Mr. Smith, of Beaver Falls, died Monday at 76, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The musician spent his formative years, in the late ‘50s/early ‘60s, playing in the Westinghouse High School band under director Carl McVicker, who, in his 40 years there, had schooled such greats as Billy Strayhorn, Earl Garner and Ahmad Jamal.

In the late ’60s, as jazz was undergoing a revolution, Mr. Smith transitioned from upright to electric bass and played in Van and the Village Vanguards, an R&B/funk band led by drummer Van Harris, son of legendary Pittsburgh Courier photographer Teenie Harris.

From there, he helped pack The Fox in Shadyside as part of the rhythm section of the house band Cincinnati & The In-Crowd.

For The Temptations, the big hits began in 1964, with “My Girl,” featuring an iconic bassline played by Funk Brothers bassist James Jamerson, one of two famed Temptations bassists. The other was Pittsburgh native Bob Babbitt, a member of the Funk Brothers until 1972, when the group disbanded upon Motown’s move to Los Angeles.

That year, The Temptations released the chart-topping, Grammy-winning classic “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” — Babbitt is credited for playing on the album — and on bass for the tour was Eugene “Woody” Smith.

“He already was a child prodigy and he was taught by the best, so when he auditioned for The Temps, it wasn’t that hard for him,” says childhood friend and Homewood-based music historian Darryl “Boogie” Dunn.

Dunn recalls seeing him with The Temptations when the band came through the Holiday House in Monroeville in 1973. He can be heard on the album “The Temptations in Japan,” released that year.

After two or three years with The Temptations, Mr. Smith realized he wasn’t a rolling stone.

“He said he just got tired of the road,” Mr. Dunn said. “He got tired of that type of lifestyle. I think that’s the turning point for a lot of musicians. Once they get to that point, that’s a make-or-break period, and he found that that wasn’t the life that he wanted to live.”

After the Temps stint, Mr. Smith returned to Western Pennsylvania and settled down in Beaver Falls with his wife, Emily Joyce, (now deceased) and daughter, Robin Owens Hill. He took a job for the Pennsylvania Railroad at Conway Yards.

The musical life wasn’t completely behind him. In the mid-2000s, he picked up the bass again, playing his last gigs with the Beaver Falls band Sounds Unlimited.

Keith Haskins, a member of Sounds Unlimited, wrote in a Facebook post, “As a young boy I idolized this man musically and as life would have it, played in a band beside him for over a decade. As accomplished as he was, bass player for the Temptations in the ’70s amongst several other legends of R&B/Jazz, he would never brag or talk above anyone.”

“He was a very humble person, but so talented,” said Ronnie Cox, who led Sounds Unlimited. “And he could read music. That set him apart from many of his counterparts.”

Otis Williams, the last surviving member of the original Temptations, said in a statement, “Woody was a wonderful person and a hell of a bass player. We really enjoyed working with him while touring in the 70’s. My sincere condolences to his daughter and family.”

Scott Mervis: smervis@post-gazette.com.

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Richie Cole, Esteemed Alto Saxophonist and a Keeper of the Bebop Flame, Has Died at 72 | WBGO

Richie Cole, Esteemed Alto Saxophonist and a Keeper of the Bebop Flame, Has Died at 72 | WBGO


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https://www.wbgo.org/post/richie-cole-esteemed-alto-saxophonist-and-keeper-bebop-flame-has-died-72
 

Richie Cole, Esteemed Alto Saxophonist and a Keeper of the Bebop Flame, Has Died at 72

By  • 22 hours ago

 

Richie Cole, an alto saxophonist, bandleader and composer with a steadfast commitment to the hard-driving verities of bebop, died on May 1 at his home in Carnegie, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh. He was 72.

His daughter Annie Cole said he died in his sleep, of natural causes.

With his tart, gusty alto sound, his unerring rhythmic footing and a broad harmonic fluency, Cole was among the leading straight-ahead saxophonists to emerge in the 1970s — a decade in which bebop, his chosen language, had come to seem outmoded if not obsolete.

He was proud to push against those perceptions, declaring bebop jazz’s “ultimate expression” and giving one of his early albums the title Keeper of the Flame. He made some of his first appearances on record with bebop trumpeter Red Rodney, and developed a close partnership with singer Eddie Jefferson, who appears on Keeper of the Flame and a handful of other Cole albums.

Cole also established a sparring camaraderie with Sonny Stitt, a bebop virtuoso of the highest order, notably on a 1981 album called Battle of the Saxes. That same year Cole was filmed with his band, Alto Madness, at The Village Vanguard. The footage — for a television special called The Jazz Life, produced by Ben Sidran — captures the intensity, velocity and abandon that were Cole hallmarks, then and since.

 

 

Richard Thomas Cole was born on Feb. 29, 1948 in Trenton, N.J. His mother, Emily Cole, worked as a secretary, and his stepfather, Thomas Cole, was a factory worker.

He encountered jazz at a tender age through his birth father, who owned two jazz clubs in Trenton: The Harlem Club, a home to visiting bands from New York and Philadelphia, and Hubbie’s Inn, which was more of a showroom. (The clubs catered respectively, and separately, to a black and white clientele.)

Cole received his first alto saxophone, he said, when somebody left it at one of his father’s clubs. He began playing in earnest around age 10, inspired by the likes of Stitt, Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins. He played in various bands at Ewing High School in Trenton before entering to win a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music from DownBeat magazine.

He spent a few years at Berklee, dropping out to join Buddy Rich’s big band in 1969. The band was at its apex — it had just released its defining live album, Mercy, Mercy — and Cole inherited a lead alto saxophone chair just vacated by Art Pepper. He appears on Buddy & Soul, recorded at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, as well as Keep the Customer Satisfied, taking the first solo a minute into the title track.

He appears in this footage of the band from 1970, with a solo that charges out of the gate just before the nine-minute mark.

 

 

Following his tenure in Rich’s band, Cole played with Lionel Hampton and Doc Severinsen’s Tonight Show Band, and with the Manhattan Transfer. But from the mid-‘70s on, he worked primarily as a bandleader, releasing a slew of albums with first-rate collaborators like guitarist Vic Juris, who died at the end of last year.

Cole’s first album, borrowing a motto from his hometown, was Trenton Makes, the World Takes. He followed it with New York Afternoon: Alto Madness, which marked the beginning of his collaboration with Jefferson as well as the coining of a catchphrase. “Alto Madness” would become the default moniker for most of Cole’s projects from that point forward; he was still using it as recently several years ago, when he made Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas.

Cole lived in Los Angeles for a time, and relocated to Trenton before moving once more in 2015 to Pittsburgh, to be closer to his daughter and her family. In addition to Annie, he is survived by a daughter from a previous relationship, Amanda Marrazzo, and by four grandchildren: Annie’s sons, Ricky Barajas and Julian Barajas; and Amanda’s daughters, Emily Marrazzo and Abby Marrazzo.

In Pittsburgh, Cole enjoyed the stature of an elder statesman, and connected with an admiring circle of musicians. Among them was his bassist and producer Mark Perna, who tells WBGO he spoke with Cole earlier in the day on Friday. “We talked about the work we done and how proud he was of it,” Perna says, referring in particular to the 2018 album Cannonball, a tribute to Cannonball Adderley.

Perna adds that they were brainstorming Cole’s future releases. “We have 30-40 unreleased, mostly finished tracks that will someday see the light of day,” he says. “There are some in there that were definitely slated for his next album.”

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Eugene ‘Woody’ Smith, Pittsburgh bassist who played in The Temptations, dies at 76 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Eugene ‘Woody’ Smith, Pittsburgh bassist who played in The Temptations, dies at 76 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


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https://jazzbuffalo.org/2020/05/02/alto-sax-master-richie-cole-has-died-at-the-age-of-72/
 

Alto Sax Master Richie Cole Has Died At The Age of 72

Posted on May 2, 2020 (May 2, 2020) by JazzBuffalo

(Photo Credits: Jack Zuff from October, 2017 JazzBuffalo Presents Concert at Musical Fare Theatre.)

Alto saxophone great Richie Cole once referred to in Downbeat magazine as “the sax machine,” has died at the age of 72. Cole is believed to have passed away in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 2nd. Details regarding his death are currently unknown. This article will be updated as new information becomes available. 

Richie Cole was a prolific composer who has recorded over 50 albums with the likes of Eddie Jefferson, the Manhattan Transfer, Bobby Enriquez, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, Tom Waits, Boots Randolph, and Nancy Wilson. He performed at the historic Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall. Cole even gave a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II.

Years ago, the prominent jazz critic Leonard Feather noted Cole’s lively and informal presentations and “the free-wheeling and sometimes satirical nature of his performances.” The website About Jazz says Cole “is the last of a breed — a fast and competitive musical gunslinger acquiring legendary status for his willingness to demonstrate his command of Charlie Parker’s bebop language by taking on all comers at any speed.”

“I like to trick people into liking jazz by keeping things friendly, upbeat, and familiar,” stated Cole, who represented a musical link that runs from bebop’s founder Charlie Parker and innovator Phil Woods to the present. Woods — who married Parker’s widow — taught at a summer performing arts camp in New Hope, where he met the young Cole and became his mentor. The two eventually joined in recording an album, “Side by Side.”

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“(Bebop) to me is the ultimate expression of jazz,” Cole said about the style that he mastered. It is a style that followed swing in the late 1940s, employed both traditional and untraditional harmonic and rhythm constructions (with an emphasis on the untraditional), and stressed playful, fast, and intricate solos that let musicians soar as they explored both sound and emotion. In addition to Parker, other masters of the style that took its name from sounds related to scat or sound singing include Dizzy Gillespie and Theolonius Monk. “If serious jazz musicians study their music, they’ll see that it starts with bebop. You must master your instrument. Anything that comes into your head you can play, because you have mastered your instrument. Bebop musicians are like classically trained musicians,” Coe had stated.

Another important thing to recall, he expressed, is that bebop performers are not just playing music. “They’re telling a story off the top of your head; you’re not reading the story. (Saxophonist) Sonny Rollins is a poet. He’s telling a story. I understand it. Every paragraph he’s talking about. That’s the core of my thing.”

Cole shared that’s how the style of music came to him. “That’s just the way I heard it. I used to stay up listening to the radio. I used to stay up all night listening to the jazz stations. I was attracted to bebop. I understood it. When I was growing up in the ’70s, the avant-garde was out, and it looked like I was playing old folks’ music. But I heard it, and I based my career on it. It wasn’t easy. I was a young white guy playing black bebop music. It was like a contradiction.”

Although he has performed with some of the jazz greats — including Buddy Rich — a generation of music lovers remembers his four-year partnership with jazz vocalist Eddie Jefferson. That great and playful collaboration ended when Jefferson was gunned down during a drive-by shooting after a concert on May 9, 1979. “A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about the man. He was the world’s greatest pure jazz singer,” Cole has said.

Here is a classic recording featuring Eddie Jefferson and Richie Cole:

 

 

Cole often says that he was born to play jazz, and his family background backs up the claim. His father was the proprietor of two Trenton jazz clubs in the segregated 1940s. The black-patrons Harlem Club featured great black players from New York and Philadelphia. The other, white Hubbie’s Inn, booked Las Vegas-type acts.

Cole’s decision to play alto sax at 10 years old was a natural. A pawned alto sax ended up in his house. “I grew up with a sax and smelled the metal and played with the keys. When I went to elementary school and wanted to be in the band, I had the instrument. I was blessed to be in an era when the public-school systems had great music departments. I had great teachers who really helped me a lot. I was one of the two people in the world who got a full scholarship,”stated Cole of his 1966 Downbeat Magazine award that took the Ewing High graduate to jazz and contemporary music-oriented Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Cole left Berklee for experience, playing lead alto with Buddy Rich’s band in 1969. “I took the place of famed alto-saxophonist Art Pepper. It was the dream job. I went around the world. I was with him for two-and-a-half years. I have been very lucky with my career and had a lot of good breaks.” Other experiences included joining bands led by Lionel Hampton and Doc Severinsen, playing with the Manhattan Transfer, and then creating his own group, the Alto Madness Orchestra.

“The idea of the orchestra is the concept and sound of an 18-piece big band using only seven instruments, four of which are horns. Not only does this have the big band ensemble sound, it also allows us plenty of room for improvisation as if we were in a quartet setting,” Cole shared in an earlier interview.

When asked about his personal musical presence, Cole, self-assured but not self-congratulating, says, “I have a distinctive sound. You hear it and you know it’s Richie Cole. That’s an accomplishment. I go to Russia all the time, and the literary people call me the poet of jazz. I do not play the saxophone; I sing the saxophone. I approach it like a (vocal) soloist. I sing it. I play the melody straight, then I do what I want and improvise, tell the story, and then come back to the melody. And there’s the creation.”

For Cole, the storytelling or improvisation comes from places beyond thought. “I do not plan what I’m going to do; it just comes out. I quote (other pieces of music). When you improvise, it just comes out. If you think too much, you’re going to (screw) it up. Don’t think. Just blow, man,” he was quoted as saying.

What made a standard his own related to deeply felt life experiences. “For some reason, I am torn between serious jazz and show business. I have a sense of humor. I have to because my life has been a catastrophe.”  That catastrophe, he says, includes the deaths of two wives, a battle with alcoholism, and problems with the music business.

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Cole has played with the greats, appeared at international festivals, recorded more than 50 albums and CDs, written more than 3,000 compositions (including symphonies for 80-piece orchestras), and served on the boards of the National Jazz Service Organization and the National Endowment for the Arts, where he was chairman for one year.

“Almost every recording I’ve done is my statement at the moment,” he says. And several recordings and sessions available on YouTube give testament to his artistry and talent.

“Yardbird Suite,” recorded in 1981 by the Richie Cole Quintet at the Village Vanguard in New York City, shows Cole’s exuberance, dexterity, and grounding in style. Clear and bright throughout, he begins with a solid respect to the score before launching into a fast-paced yet masterfully controlled exploration of tonal relations and phrases before returning to the introduction. Throughout Cole makes choices that seem to honor the work’s originator, Parker, and the work’s era while not sacrificing his own sensibility, such as when he uses a rising and playful flourish to end a phrase and introduce another musician.

Here is a vintage video of Richie Coe performing Yardbird Suite at the Village Vanguard in 1981:

 

 

In the 1978 “Moody’s Mood,” Cole’s phrasing is full, smooth, and expressively swelling and retreating, suggesting the sensuous quality of Ella Fitzgerald, one of the great bebop vocalists. And, in “Something’s Coming” from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” he merges both bebop and cool jazz into an interpretation that clearly delivers the song while imbuing it with his soulfulness and playfulness.

Here is the 1978 recording of “Moody’s Mood” in the classic Cole style:

 

 

Cole is also known for his playful rendition of the “I Love Lucy” theme song for one of television’s landmark shows.  Recording and performing this tune in varietal ways. 

Here is a recent rendition of Cole’s take on I Love Lucy that features the Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet:

 

 

In the past decade, Riche Cole had been living in Pittsburgh and benefited from the generous stewardship of bassist and jazz musician Mark Perna.  Recording several albums in the past few years. These albums continued to showcase his legendary stature as one of the trailblazers and unique sounds in jazz.  The latest albums the past few years include Richie Cole Plays Ballads and Love SongsThe Many Minds of Richie ColeHave Yourself an Alto Madness ChristmasRichie Cole: PittsburghLatin Loverand Cannonball. 

In a 2019 interview, Perna and Cole along with Vince Taglieri talked about Cole’s resurgence in jazz recordings and in the jazz scene:

 

The interview was at the time of the release of Cannonball, where Cole paid tribute to his longtime hero, jazz legend Cannonball Adderley. 

Cole certainly did enjoy a resurgence in the past five years. Thanks to the help of bassist and producer Mark Perna. Here is an example of this collaboration that features Richie Cole in a recording of The Girl From Carnegie from his album Latin Lover:

 

 

No doubt, Richie Cole will be remembered as one of the most enigmatic and revered figures in jazz history.  His music, interviews, and appearances were a source of jazz electricity to be reckoned with. Cole leaves behind a catalog of music that will always be remembered for its bebop energy. A significant sound that carried on the legacy of Charlie Parker and bebop jazz.

 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Alto Sax Master Richie Cole Has Died At The Age of 72 – JazzBuffalo

Alto Sax Master Richie Cole Has Died At The Age of 72 – JazzBuffalo


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https://jazzbuffalo.org/2020/05/02/alto-sax-master-richie-cole-has-died-at-the-age-of-72/
 

Alto Sax Master Richie Cole Has Died At The Age of 72

Posted on May 2, 2020 (May 2, 2020) by JazzBuffalo

(Photo Credits: Jack Zuff from October, 2017 JazzBuffalo Presents Concert at Musical Fare Theatre.)

Alto saxophone great Richie Cole once referred to in Downbeat magazine as “the sax machine,” has died at the age of 72. Cole is believed to have passed away in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 2nd. Details regarding his death are currently unknown. This article will be updated as new information becomes available. 

Richie Cole was a prolific composer who has recorded over 50 albums with the likes of Eddie Jefferson, the Manhattan Transfer, Bobby Enriquez, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, Tom Waits, Boots Randolph, and Nancy Wilson. He performed at the historic Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall. Cole even gave a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II.

Years ago, the prominent jazz critic Leonard Feather noted Cole’s lively and informal presentations and “the free-wheeling and sometimes satirical nature of his performances.” The website About Jazz says Cole “is the last of a breed — a fast and competitive musical gunslinger acquiring legendary status for his willingness to demonstrate his command of Charlie Parker’s bebop language by taking on all comers at any speed.”

“I like to trick people into liking jazz by keeping things friendly, upbeat, and familiar,” stated Cole, who represented a musical link that runs from bebop’s founder Charlie Parker and innovator Phil Woods to the present. Woods — who married Parker’s widow — taught at a summer performing arts camp in New Hope, where he met the young Cole and became his mentor. The two eventually joined in recording an album, “Side by Side.”

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“(Bebop) to me is the ultimate expression of jazz,” Cole said about the style that he mastered. It is a style that followed swing in the late 1940s, employed both traditional and untraditional harmonic and rhythm constructions (with an emphasis on the untraditional), and stressed playful, fast, and intricate solos that let musicians soar as they explored both sound and emotion. In addition to Parker, other masters of the style that took its name from sounds related to scat or sound singing include Dizzy Gillespie and Theolonius Monk. “If serious jazz musicians study their music, they’ll see that it starts with bebop. You must master your instrument. Anything that comes into your head you can play, because you have mastered your instrument. Bebop musicians are like classically trained musicians,” Coe had stated.

Another important thing to recall, he expressed, is that bebop performers are not just playing music. “They’re telling a story off the top of your head; you’re not reading the story. (Saxophonist) Sonny Rollins is a poet. He’s telling a story. I understand it. Every paragraph he’s talking about. That’s the core of my thing.”

Cole shared that’s how the style of music came to him. “That’s just the way I heard it. I used to stay up listening to the radio. I used to stay up all night listening to the jazz stations. I was attracted to bebop. I understood it. When I was growing up in the ’70s, the avant-garde was out, and it looked like I was playing old folks’ music. But I heard it, and I based my career on it. It wasn’t easy. I was a young white guy playing black bebop music. It was like a contradiction.”

Although he has performed with some of the jazz greats — including Buddy Rich — a generation of music lovers remembers his four-year partnership with jazz vocalist Eddie Jefferson. That great and playful collaboration ended when Jefferson was gunned down during a drive-by shooting after a concert on May 9, 1979. “A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about the man. He was the world’s greatest pure jazz singer,” Cole has said.

Here is a classic recording featuring Eddie Jefferson and Richie Cole:

 

 

Cole often says that he was born to play jazz, and his family background backs up the claim. His father was the proprietor of two Trenton jazz clubs in the segregated 1940s. The black-patrons Harlem Club featured great black players from New York and Philadelphia. The other, white Hubbie’s Inn, booked Las Vegas-type acts.

Cole’s decision to play alto sax at 10 years old was a natural. A pawned alto sax ended up in his house. “I grew up with a sax and smelled the metal and played with the keys. When I went to elementary school and wanted to be in the band, I had the instrument. I was blessed to be in an era when the public-school systems had great music departments. I had great teachers who really helped me a lot. I was one of the two people in the world who got a full scholarship,”stated Cole of his 1966 Downbeat Magazine award that took the Ewing High graduate to jazz and contemporary music-oriented Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Cole left Berklee for experience, playing lead alto with Buddy Rich’s band in 1969. “I took the place of famed alto-saxophonist Art Pepper. It was the dream job. I went around the world. I was with him for two-and-a-half years. I have been very lucky with my career and had a lot of good breaks.” Other experiences included joining bands led by Lionel Hampton and Doc Severinsen, playing with the Manhattan Transfer, and then creating his own group, the Alto Madness Orchestra.

“The idea of the orchestra is the concept and sound of an 18-piece big band using only seven instruments, four of which are horns. Not only does this have the big band ensemble sound, it also allows us plenty of room for improvisation as if we were in a quartet setting,” Cole shared in an earlier interview.

When asked about his personal musical presence, Cole, self-assured but not self-congratulating, says, “I have a distinctive sound. You hear it and you know it’s Richie Cole. That’s an accomplishment. I go to Russia all the time, and the literary people call me the poet of jazz. I do not play the saxophone; I sing the saxophone. I approach it like a (vocal) soloist. I sing it. I play the melody straight, then I do what I want and improvise, tell the story, and then come back to the melody. And there’s the creation.”

For Cole, the storytelling or improvisation comes from places beyond thought. “I do not plan what I’m going to do; it just comes out. I quote (other pieces of music). When you improvise, it just comes out. If you think too much, you’re going to (screw) it up. Don’t think. Just blow, man,” he was quoted as saying.

What made a standard his own related to deeply felt life experiences. “For some reason, I am torn between serious jazz and show business. I have a sense of humor. I have to because my life has been a catastrophe.”  That catastrophe, he says, includes the deaths of two wives, a battle with alcoholism, and problems with the music business.

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Cole has played with the greats, appeared at international festivals, recorded more than 50 albums and CDs, written more than 3,000 compositions (including symphonies for 80-piece orchestras), and served on the boards of the National Jazz Service Organization and the National Endowment for the Arts, where he was chairman for one year.

“Almost every recording I’ve done is my statement at the moment,” he says. And several recordings and sessions available on YouTube give testament to his artistry and talent.

“Yardbird Suite,” recorded in 1981 by the Richie Cole Quintet at the Village Vanguard in New York City, shows Cole’s exuberance, dexterity, and grounding in style. Clear and bright throughout, he begins with a solid respect to the score before launching into a fast-paced yet masterfully controlled exploration of tonal relations and phrases before returning to the introduction. Throughout Cole makes choices that seem to honor the work’s originator, Parker, and the work’s era while not sacrificing his own sensibility, such as when he uses a rising and playful flourish to end a phrase and introduce another musician.

Here is a vintage video of Richie Coe performing Yardbird Suite at the Village Vanguard in 1981:

 

 

In the 1978 “Moody’s Mood,” Cole’s phrasing is full, smooth, and expressively swelling and retreating, suggesting the sensuous quality of Ella Fitzgerald, one of the great bebop vocalists. And, in “Something’s Coming” from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” he merges both bebop and cool jazz into an interpretation that clearly delivers the song while imbuing it with his soulfulness and playfulness.

Here is the 1978 recording of “Moody’s Mood” in the classic Cole style:

 

 

Cole is also known for his playful rendition of the “I Love Lucy” theme song for one of television’s landmark shows.  Recording and performing this tune in varietal ways. 

Here is a recent rendition of Cole’s take on I Love Lucy that features the Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet:

 

 

In the past decade, Riche Cole had been living in Pittsburgh and benefited from the generous stewardship of bassist and jazz musician Mark Perna.  Recording several albums in the past few years. These albums continued to showcase his legendary stature as one of the trailblazers and unique sounds in jazz.  The latest albums the past few years include Richie Cole Plays Ballads and Love SongsThe Many Minds of Richie ColeHave Yourself an Alto Madness ChristmasRichie Cole: PittsburghLatin Loverand Cannonball. 

In a 2019 interview, Perna and Cole along with Vince Taglieri talked about Cole’s resurgence in jazz recordings and in the jazz scene:

 

The interview was at the time of the release of Cannonball, where Cole paid tribute to his longtime hero, jazz legend Cannonball Adderley. 

Cole certainly did enjoy a resurgence in the past five years. Thanks to the help of bassist and producer Mark Perna. Here is an example of this collaboration that features Richie Cole in a recording of The Girl From Carnegie from his album Latin Lover:

 

 

No doubt, Richie Cole will be remembered as one of the most enigmatic and revered figures in jazz history.  His music, interviews, and appearances were a source of jazz electricity to be reckoned with. Cole leaves behind a catalog of music that will always be remembered for its bebop energy. A significant sound that carried on the legacy of Charlie Parker and bebop jazz.

 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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The Eddy: Will Gompertz reviews Netflix drama directed by Oscar-winning Damien Chazelle ★★★☆☆ – BBC News

The Eddy: Will Gompertz reviews Netflix drama directed by Oscar-winning Damien Chazelle ★★★☆☆ – BBC News


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The Eddy: Will Gompertz reviews Netflix drama directed by Oscar-winning Damien Chazelle ★★★☆☆

The Eddy

The Eddy is an indie jazz club on the rundown outskirts of Paris, co-owned by Elliot (André Holland) and Farid (Tahar Rahim). They are good friends. Elliot used to be a famous American jazz pianist. Farid didn’t, which is why he’s in charge of the business side, while his cooler-than-thou colleague looks after the music. 

They have a house band. It is on the cusp of a record deal with a prestigious label. But they’re not quite at it. Particularly singer Maja (Joanna Kulig), who is struggling to get over an affair with Elliot, who in turn is struggling to get over his own personal issues, which are the cause for him stepping out of the limelight.

The EddyNetflix
André Holland, who stars as Elliot Udo and is seen here with Maja (played by Joanna Kulig), said he was interested in the history of black artists leaving America and coming to Paris to make music

Farid doesn’t have any such cares, he has two lovely children and a stocking-wearing wife, Amira (Leïla Bekhti). But he too has struggles. 

That’s how it is with jazz. 

Money is his problem. The Eddy isn’t going steady. 

The EddyNetflix
Amira (Leïla Bekhti) being held by her husband Farid (Tahar Rahim), who co-owns The Eddy with Elliot Udo (André Holland)

Nor is Elliot. He’s broken up with Maja and split up with his wife, who stayed in America (we meet her, he was right to move continents). The last thing he needs is their bolshy 16-year-old daughter coming to stay and giving him a hard time. But when your lucks out…

Julie (Amandla Stenberg) duly arrives with a bad attitude and a big suitcase, which is a lot to squeeze onto a mis-firing Vespa. By the time they arrive at Elliot’s apartment she’s mouthed-off at some dodgy types driving a sedan, poked her nose into her dad’s love-life, and demanded a cigarette with all the grace of President Trump at a press conference. 

And this, we find out, is her good side. 

The EddyNetflix
Feisty Julie (Amandla Stenberg) comes over from the US to see her father Elliot (André Holland) with an excess of issues

It’s not all woe, though. 

We are thankful for the music, the songs Maja’s singing, thankful for all the joy they’re bringing. 

Not to Elliot, obviously. He’s too wrapped up in his own world, until he gets too wrapped up in Farid’s, which he discovers is an uncouth underworld populated by gangsters who think The Bird is a girlfriend, not one of the greatest saxophonists of all time. 

At least he’s got the The Eddy, his gritty subterranean jazz joint, a million metaphorical miles from the grand mainstream arts institutions of the 1st arrondissement. Its edgy, multi-cultural clientele is there to escape from the grim realities of their daily life, which disappear from view the moment they see the band play. They’ve come to be taken away by them.

As you will be if you like jazz. 

The EddyNetflix
Real-life trumpeter Ludovic Louis played the part of Ludo in the drama, where jazz was “at the heart of” how The Eddy was filmed

The musical numbers aren’t so much allowed time to breathe, but to luxuriate in a warm bath of televisual love followed by a lengthy manicure.

I’ve seen spoilt children less indulged. 

Large chunks of each of the eight one-hour-plus episodes are devoted to the house band performing, jamming, rehearsing, riffing. It is the source of energy around which all else revolves: imagine Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments (sans comedy) meeting French police procedural Spiral, and you’ll have a sense of the vibe. 

This is not to suggest that The Eddy is a prog-rock length epic music promo, but to recognise jazz is not only the star of the show, but also its basis. 

The concept for the series started with a meeting in 2013 between exec producer Alan Poul (Six Feet Under) and lyricist and record producer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette’s album Jagged Little Pill), who had written a bunch of jazz songs and assembled a band to perform them (two members of which are in the tv series). 

The EddyNetflix
Glen Ballard (in the centre with two of the band members) wrote the songs, and has also worked with Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and Alanis Morissette

The narrative came second, which is rarely a good thing in a drama. 

There is so much that is right with The Eddy: The Cinema Vérité handheld camerawork instigated by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land), who directed the first two episodes. 

The EddyNetflix
Tahar Rahim and award-winning director Damien Chazelle sharing a joke on the set of The Eddy
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Damien Chazelle directing Emma Stone in La La LandLionsgate
Both director Damien Chazelle and actor Emma Stone picked up Oscars for La La Land

The excellent casting (there’s a standout performance from Adil Dehbi as The Eddy’s bar-hand with ambitions), the multilingual script, the honest depiction of contemporary life on the edgelands of Paris, the cinematography, the actors’s performances, the musicians for goodness sake.

They’re all great. 

The EddyNetflix
Julie (Amandla Stenberg) sharing a tender moment with Sim, superbly played by Adil Dehbi

But the story isn’t. 

It is plodding at best: an all-too predictable sequence of events with as many twists and turns as a Roman road. 

Quite how this came to be is difficult to fathom. 

The series was written by the multi-award-winning Jack Thorne, a very talented man with a string of critical and commercial hits to his name (Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, Skins, This is England, His Dark Materials). 

There’s nothing technically wrong with the script, which is refreshingly bold in the way it interweaves languages – sometimes mid speech. The problem is the plot, which would barely sustain a cheap-and-cheerless 1980’s TV drama, let alone this oceanic-sized Netflix series which is becalmed on a sea of two-dimensional clichés: a heroin addicted bassist (called Jude leading to the immortal line “hey, Jude”), a stroppy daughter, a wrong’un brother, snobby in-laws, a bitchy ex-wife, a cash-strapped club.

The Eddy needs an eddy.

Maybe there’s a grand plan afoot, and seasons two, three and four are already in the works, and the glacial speed of the story thus far will seem like the smartest set-up in the history of television. Maybe. 

But even the most committed improv jazz player knows there comes a point when freestyling has to resolve into something more concrete otherwise everybody falls asleep. That won’t happen in The Eddy if you like the music, but if you don’t you might well find yourself nodding off to the sound of the double bass.

Recent reviews by Will Gompertz

Follow Will Gompertz on Twitter

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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RIP Richie Cole

RIP Richie Cole


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https://www.facebook.com/richie.cole.5070

The Jazz world lost another master this weekend. 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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New Orleans Mourns the Loss of Ellis Marsalis: ‘We Were All His Children’ by Larry Blumenfeld: The Daily Beast

New Orleans Mourns the Loss of Ellis Marsalis: ‘We Were All His Children’ by Larry Blumenfeld: The Daily Beast


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New Orleans Mourns the Loss of Ellis Marsalis: ‘We Were All His Children’

by Larry Blumenfeld

I first met Ellis Marsalis one night in 1990, at the University of New Orleans. Seated at a piano, surrounded by a quartet of fresh-faced musicians, he played with the same understated grace, harmonic acuity, and rhythmic drive that had made him a distinctive bandleader and sought-after sideman 30 years earlier in his hometown.

One after another, saxophonists, trumpeters, and trombonists stepped up, at one point navigating the alluring but deceptively tricky terrain of his composition, “12’s It,” which was included on his first recording, 1963’s Monkey Puzzle.

Pretty soon, bassists began stepping in for bassists. Drummers supplanted drummers. The musicians kept coming, all young, students or former students, seemingly out of the woodwork. After not too long, Ellis relinquished the piano bench and stood aside, his expression alternating between stern investigation and nodding appreciation. His arms were folded. It was as if he had simply turned a key in an ignition switch, steered through an on-ramp, and was now enjoying the ride.

A year earlier, Ellis had founded the jazz studies program at UNO, where he remained until his retirement from academia in 2000, the capstone of a long and revolutionary career as an educator. By then, Ellis had also rekindled the spark of his recording career, which never ceased but had grown sporadic; just then, this often involved playing alongside the eldest two of his six sons, trumpeter Wynton and saxophonist Branford, who had both achieved swift and broad popularity leading a pride of so-called “Young Lions” bent on reviving jazz’s vitality. The cover of Wynton’s album, Standard Time, Vol. 3: The Resolution of Romance, released earlier that year (and produced by another son, trombonist Delfeayo), showed Ellis playing piano and Wynton standing beside him, trumpet resting on his father’s instrument. The two smiled sweetly, lost in what looked like a moment of musical reverie or fresh discovery, or both.

When Ellis Marsalis died, on the evening of April 1, at 85, the cause, complications of COVID-19, had already begun claiming the lives of important jazz musicians in other cities and key culture bearers in Ellis’ hometown: a day earlier, trumpeter Wallace Roney, a contemporary of Wynton and Branford, anointed early on by none other than Miles Davis; and a week earlier, Ronald Lewis, a beloved figure of Sunday second-line parades, who had founded a Lower Ninth Ward museum dedicated to indigenous Crescent City traditions.

“Ellis Marsalis was a legend,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell wrote on Twitter the day he died. “He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz.”

Yes, and no. Ellis did in fact attain legendary status in his hometown—as one in a long line of distinctive pianists, and as an educator who directly influenced the careers of not just his famous sons but of other homegrown stars who spanned generations, including trumpeter Terence Blanchard, saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr., and pianists Harry Connick Jr. and Jon Batiste. Yet Ellis was also, initially, an anomaly in New Orleans, a straight-ahead jazz musician devoted to modern jazz derived largely from bebop in a city that more so prizes earlier jazz traditions.

Ellis was a key participant in a thrilling if short-lived mid-20th-century flowering of bop-based modern jazz in his hometown. The manner in which he bridged that stylistic inclination with a deep affection for his hometown’s indigenous traditions and with jazz’s full sweep, combined with his particular brand of music education, based as much in humanistic philosophy as in fundamentals, transcended seeming divisions. It sought a greater whole.

“My daddy was a humble man with a lyrical sound that captured the spirit of place—New Orleans, the Crescent City, The Big Easy, the Curve,” Wynton wrote in his online blog the day after Ellis’s death. “He was a stone-cold believer without extravagant tastes.” Ellis was both dreamer and realist, stances he saw as not in opposition. 

In 2011, he was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master (together with his musician sons, Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason, a drummer and vibraphonist who was Ellis’ steady musical partner to the end). His first words from the podium noted the privilege of standing alongside fellow honorees “past and passed on,” and acknowledged musicians who had recently died: pianists Hank Jones and Billy Taylor, singer Abbey Lincoln, and saxophonist James Moody.

Ellis Louis Marsalis Jr. was born Nov. 14, 1934, in the Gert Town neighborhood of New Orleans. In 1944, his father, Ellis Marsalis Sr., purchased some property in Jefferson Parish, a nearby suburb, and built a motel, Marsalis Mansion—“a place for people who knew about it, because in those days blacks couldn’t stay downtown,” Marsalis told me. Motel guests included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, and singers Ray Charles and Etta James. Ellis briefly ran a jazz club, The Music Haven, at his dad’s place.

As a boy, Ellis made fast friends with Roger Dickerson and Harold Battiste. All three were destined for musical careers of distinction. “Our love of music is what brought us together,” said Dickerson. “It also helped us to transcend all of this stuff around us back then, the contradictions of segregation.” (After Ellis’ death, the statement Branford Marsalis posted to his website ended with this comment, texted by his friend, Harvard Law Professor David Wilkins: “We can all marvel at the sheer audacity of a man who believed he could teach his black boys to be excellent in a world that denied that very possibility, and then watch them go on to redefine what excellence means for all time.”)

Ellis played clarinet and saxophone at Booker T. Washington High School. Hearing Dizzy Gillespie’s band at the school’s auditorium, which often hosted big-name stars, was “a life changing experience,” he said. “I knew that was what I wanted to become—a jazz musician.” Soon Ellis was playing tenor saxophone or piano at local gigs, sometimes at the Dew Drop Inn, where he first heard tenor saxophonist Nat Perrilliat, who would become an important collaborator. “From then on,” Ellis said, “I stuck to piano.”

When I was growing up, people were expelled from school for playing jazz.

— Ellis Marsalis

After earning his Music Education degree from Dillard University, Ellis enlisted in the Marine Corps. He met Dolores Ferdinand at a Dinah Washington concert. In 1959, they married. Ellis taught briefly in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, then returned to New Orleans with Dolores and their growing family. (By 1965, they had four sons: Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, and Delfeayo; Mboya and Jason were born in 1971 and 1977, respectively.) 

Passionate about his own music, Ellis was also drawn to teaching. “At first, it was purely practical,” he told me. “Gigs alone would not cut it. I had mouths to feed.” But it turned into a calling. He was a founding teacher at New Orleans Center of the Creative Arts (NOCCA), a high school launched in the ’70s with competitive auditions for students. He left his hometown in 1986 to take a position at Virginia Commonwealth University, returning to New Orleans two years later, lured by the UNO position he held until retirement.

“When I was growing up, people were expelled from school for playing jazz,” Ellis told me. “Yet now, here I was teaching it. Once they hired me, I had to figure out—man, how am I going to do this? I was listening for something in these kids.” 

Ellis taught fundamentals (blues form, swinging rhythms and such) and exposed students to classic recordings, but he also relied heavily on the Socratic method, questioning more than answering, challenging students to “do something with their information.” 

“Ellis taught the way Duke Ellington led a band,” said Lolis Eric Elie, the writer-filmmaker and former New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist who studied at NOCCA. “He was also very specific in his approach to each student. He had a sense of who you were, what you were missing.”

Ellis gave a teenage Terence Blanchard recordings by trumpeters Miles Davis and Clifford Brown. “I wore those out,” Blanchard said, “and I knew that I had found what would inspire me for the rest of my life.” 

Clarinetist Michael White, who now holds an endowed chair at Xavier University, studied the subject he now teaches, African American music, under Ellis. “He knew so much that I was scared of him,” Dr. White said. By then, musical tides had turned, and traditional jazz had fallen out of favor. “Soon after, we ended up performing together. I saw him shaking his head. I figured he didn’t like my playing. But he told me, ‘You amaze me. Twenty years ago, you could not have existed—a young man, playing traditional New Orleans jazz like that, correctly. Keep doing it.’ Just then, I needed that.”

Ellis’s impact as an educator can’t be overstated but it also ought not overshadow his work as a musician. As his career began, Ellis was working with a coterie of musicians making sharp and innovative music. There was Ellis, in 1958, playing with evident fire in the American Jazz Quintet 2, on Boogie Live… 1958, (which didn’t find release until 1992), led by drummer Ed Blackwell. And, in 1962, playing with gorgeous concision as part of trumpeter Nat Adderley’s sextet, the credits of which refer to him, Perrilliat, and drummer James Black as “down-home new stars from New Orleans.”

Ellis’s debut as a leader, 1963’s Monkey Puzzle, (reissued decades later with additional tracks as The Classic/Ellis Marsalis) is a riveting statement, not just for Ellis’s facility and his wondrous musical rapport with Black, but also an important early salvo from the independent AFO (All For One) label created by his childhood friend, Harold Battiste. Much like Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), AFO highlighted original compositions, and represented a collective sense of empowerment during a challenging moment for jazz.

The most important thing about Dad is really not that he drilled us in music, music, music, but more so he made us see life in a certain way.

— Branford Marsalis

Solo Piano Reflections (1978) displayed how, as Roger Dickerson told me, “Ellis discovered a way to voice chords that had his fingerprints on them.” He swung with authority on saxophonist Arnett Cobb’s Live in New Orleans (1980), and ventured into adventurous, unbound territory in duets with saxophonist Eddie Harris on Homecoming (1985). The Ellis Marsalis Quintet Plays the Music of Ellis Marsalis (2018) showcased the sturdiness and breadth of Ellis’s own book of compositions. 

There were many worthy recordings in between—19 of his own in all, including noteworthy tributes to Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, others accompanying leading players, and more than dozen in collaboration with one or more of his sons, all expressing what New Orleans pianist David Torkanowsky calls “a manner of piano playing that is profoundly devoid of pretense or preconceived licks.” “Ellis’ name doesn’t come up as an influential stylist all that often,” said pianist Ethan Iverson, whose writings on jazz are as erudite as his acclaimed recordings. “Overall, he’s better known for fathering Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason. But Ellis was certainly a great jazz pianist, no doubt.”

Ellis’s accomplishments were grounded in values more than style, in family more than personal ambition. In a 1990 episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, before Ellis performed with a band that included Branford, Delfeayo. and Jason, Fred Rogers asked his sons, “I wonder how you feel about your dad giving you this music while you were growing up?” Branford didn’t miss a beat. “The most important thing about Dad is really not that he drilled us in music, music, music, but more so he made us see life in a certain way. He gave us a certain outlook on how we were supposed to carry ourselves and how we should see other people. And it had a profound effect on what we play, musically.”

I got to know Ellis better while reporting in New Orleans after the 2005 flood resulting from the levee breaches following Hurricane Katrina. Sitting on the swing on the front porch of his Uptown home, or in his study, Ellis was generous with his time, compassionate in his outlook but also unforgiving of those who trivialized or willfully ignored his city’s predicament. He told stories about, say, driving to California with Ed Blackwell, who headed West to join Ornette Coleman (Marsalis loved the freedom of that music even if he didn’t hear “a place in it for a piano.”) He talked with reverence but also clear-eyed frankness about the place where he had always lived, New Orleans, and about how values more than even money would restore the place after utter devastation. He told me, “This city was built on a hustle, but now the hustle won’t suffice.” He was right.

By this past December, when Ellis gave up the Friday night gig he held for some 30 years at the Snug Harbor club on Frenchmen Street, he was using a walker to get around. 

The last time he performed in public, in March, he came to the stage to play one of his tunes, “Tell Me,” in the company of three New Orleans master drummers—Herlin Riley, Shannon Powell, and his son Jason—at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, which was established in 2011 in a previously flooded-out part of the Upper Ninth Ward. Ellis was tentative about the center at first, according to Executive Director Michele Brierre. “He was a little uncomfortable with a building named for him,” she explained, “and he was supposed to be retired, anyway.” But Ellis dove right in, she said, with the same zeal he had for teaching decades ago. He gave up his office to make space for another classroom.

The COVID-19 crisis that claimed Ellis’s life won’t allow for a jazz funeral through the streets of New Orleans for Ellis. A star-studded memorial at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Manhattan institution Wynton established, will have to wait. Meantime, like most of life right now, appreciations have come in a digital space. During an episode of “Skain’s Domain,” a quarantine-era conversation series at Wynton’s website, musicians dropped in to talk about Ellis. Pianist Peter Martin said, “Ellis was an old cool dude even before he was old.” Jon Batiste described him, late in life, as teaching and playing with child-like wonder.

What he believed in most of all were all the younger players that came through his life.

— Jason Marsalis

In a webcast hosted by Snug Harbor, musicians from Ellis’ former working band played a few of his tunes, and then paused to reminisce. Saxophonist Derek Douget recalled how “E,” as they called him, would start tunes without even looking up, “meandering,” as he called it, into each via improbable introductions, expecting his bandmates to be ready. Trumpeter Ashlin Parker described the “crazy keen humor” with which Ellis would bury a quote from one song—maybe Ellington, maybe Chaka Khan—within another song. Jason Marsalis considered his dad’s legacy: “I think what he was ultimately about was passing it on. He had the music that he loved, and the music that he believed in. But what he believed in most of all were all the younger players that came through his life.”

I remember Ellis wincing a bit when he’d hear people talk about his as “the First Family of jazz.” “You have to understand,” Terence Blanchard told me, “This was a humble dude, not one to beat his chest or wear a crown. But, you know, we were all his children. He wanted to create a little army of jazz musicians, and here we are.”

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Jazz Concert Afloat Friday, June 19th, 1970

Jazz Concert Afloat Friday, June 19th, 1970


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Tip O The Hat to Joseph Banks (who actually took this cruise)

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DCJazzFest From Home Series: Kenny Garrett Quintet – YouTube

DCJazzFest From Home Series: Kenny Garrett Quintet – YouTube


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYM8H9Kh-Mw

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‘Laurel Canyon’ Riveting Documentary TV Series: Preview, Photos | Best Classic Bands

‘Laurel Canyon’ Riveting Documentary TV Series: Preview, Photos | Best Classic Bands


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https://bestclassicbands.com/laurel-canyon-documentary-series-epix-5-01-20/
 

‘Laurel Canyon’ Riveting Documentary TV Series: Preview, Photos

A two-part documentary series, Laurel Canyon, will premiere this spring on premium television network EPIX. As the riveting film unfolds, it explores the lives and evolution of the musicians – the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, Joni Mitchell, and many more – who inhabited that unique part of that early Los Angeles music scene. Through rare and newly unearthed footage and audio recordings, the documentary features an intimate portrait of the artists who created a music revolution of the ’60s and ’70s that would change popular culture.

The series also features Carole King, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Doors, the Monkees, Eagles, and many more.

Alison Ellwood (History of the Eagles) directed it. Part one will premiere May 31 at 10 p.m. on EPIX. Part two airs one week later, on June 7.

Two of the film’s frequent interview subjects are a pair of well known photographers, Henry Diltz and Nurit Wilde, both of whom became close with many of the era’s stars and documented it with countless images, scores of which are used in the film to great effect. They share, in significant and often humorous detail, their first-hand accounts of the artists they befriended and the events they documented.

Early in the film, Diltz says, “I made a list of everyone I could think of that I photographed in Laurel Canyon,” as his shots of such figures as Mama Cass, Micky Dolenz, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, and more, are shown. “Lot of people.”

Crosby, Nash and Stills, from EPIX’s Laurel Canyon

In addition, the producers crowd-sourced fans’ personal film footage, photos and other materials that featured artists in conjunction with the Canyon, the Sunset Strip and other area locales.

Among the artists who are featured in all-new, original interviews are Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Linda Ronstadt, Michelle Phillips, Graham Nash, Roger McGuinn and many more.

It all unfolds beautifully, taking the viewer back to that fertile music scene.

“We were at the very center of this bubble of creativity and friendship,” says Nash.

“[My home] turned out to be a gathering place,” says Dolenz. “We began to throw these soirees along with a ping-pong tournament. Up the street were the Turtles. Zappa was a little further down. It was a very small community of musicians and long-haired weirdos.”

The enclave and its unique geography were also part of what made it special. “It was so magical,” says Chris Hillman, who moved there in ’65. “Literally within four or five minutes you could be down on the Sunset Strip into Hollywood.”

“Once you got above 20 or 30 of us living there,” says his Byrds bandmate, David Crosby, “it was kind of a community. We would go around and visit one another quite a bit.”

Bob Dylan, on stage with the Byrds, at Ciro’s in West Hollywood, March 26, 1965 (Photo © Henry Diltz; used with permission)

When the Byrds drastically reinterpreted Bob Dylan’s acoustic “Mr. Tambourine Man” with a much richer version, filled with harmonies and jangly guitar, in 1965, the public embraced the song, sending it to #1 on the Hot 100.

“He loved what we did,” says Hillman.

The group members were regulars at Ciro’s, a nightclub in West Hollywood. The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn recalls, “I remember Bob came and said, ‘Wow, you can dance to it!’ He got on stage with us.”

 

 

“The next day,” says Crosby, “everyone in town was talking about us. All of a sudden people were lining up. It was every kid’s dream.”

Buffalo Springfield (Photo © Henry Diltz; used with permission)

“When I heard that electric version of this song, it inspired me to go to California to start a band,” says Richie Furay.

Soon, he would form Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin.

“We were creative people,” says Furay. “We were young. We were ambitious. The spectrum we covered was incredible.”

Stephen Stills at Peter Tork’s house (Photo © Henry Diltz; used with permission)

Naturally, much of the community’s musical output is featured by plenty of marvelous footage and through the neighborhood’s legendary soundtrack: The Turtles’ “Happy Together,” the Mamas and the Papas’ “Creeque Alley,” the Doors’ “Break on Through,” Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.”

Interviews with Furay, the Monkees’ Dolenz and Mike Nesmith, and Stills himself explain the genesis of “For What It’s Worth,” which stemmed from the clashes between teenagers on the Sunset Strip and police, caused by neighborhood curfews that took place in November 1966. “I get home, pick up an acoustic guitar, and all of a sudden it turns into a song,” says Stills.

Buffalo Springfield recorded it and it was quickly released as a single, becoming not only the band’s biggest hit but also one ultimately associated with the Vietnam War.

When they performed it at 1967’s Monterey Pop festival, they were joined on stage by David Crosby (but minus Neil Young).

Watch them get introduced by Stills’ close friend, Peter Tork

 

 

“It didn’t bother me that much at the time,” says Croz’s bandmate, Chris Hillman. Several months later, though, Crosby and the Byrds parted ways.

Later that year, Crosby was selected to produce the debut album from a new singer-songwriter, known to everyone by her middle name, Joan.

Joni Mitchell at her home in Laurel Canyon (Photo © Henry Diltz; used with permission)

Within two years, the performer, now known professionally as Joni Mitchell, was a significant star, and had settled in nicely into a bungalow in Laurel Canyon.

Diltz was hired by Warner Bros. Records to photograph her for 1970 album, Ladies of the Canyon. As he approached the house with his partner, Gary Burden, “[Joni] was leaning in the window waiting for us. Luckily Gary got into a conversation with her which allowed me… to just keep clicking away while she was talking.” The album included “The Circle Game,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock” and the title track.

Listen to the title track from Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon

 

 

Best Classic Bands will have more on the upcoming series, prior to its May 31 premiere on Epix.

Watch the official trailer for Laurel Canyon

 

 

The series, originally announced for 2019, is not associated with that year’s documentary Echo in the Canyon, which explored the same, fertile ’60s music scene. Laurel Canyon was worth the wait.

“Having personally lived through this musical period of time, I’m incredibly excited to be involved in telling this story, especially given the amazing team we’ve assembled to make what we intend to be the definitive documentary on the Laurel Canyon scene,” said executive producer Frank Marshall.

Watch the Mamas and the Papas sing “12:30 (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon)”

 

 

If you’re a new Best Classic Bands reader, we’d be grateful if you would Like our Facebook page and/or bookmark our Home page.

Said Craig Kallman, Chairman and CEO, Atlantic Records, “In Laurel Canyon, all the stars aligned to kindle a creative community unlike any other in modern musical history. Brought together during a cultural sea change, these artists inspired themselves and each other to make transcendent music that remains as vibrant and relevant today as it was a half century ago. The Warner Music family of labels—Atlantic, Elektra and Warner Bros.—were fortunate to have been part of this extraordinary moment, recording many of the artists at the center of the Laurel Canyon scene. We’re thrilled to be partners in this long-overdue documentary about an incredible time and place.”

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

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Two thousand hours of Louis Armstrong – The Washington Post

Two thousand hours of Louis Armstrong – The Washington Post


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https://www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/post-reports/two-thousand-hours-of-louis-armstrong/

The Louis Armstrong Museum is finding a new life online during the coronavirus pandemic — and just a warning, this segment contains explicit language. How one blues musician is changing his act under self isolation. And a new kind of rom-com.

 

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Madeline Kripke, Doyenne of Dictionaries, Is Dead at 76 – The New York Times

Madeline Kripke, Doyenne of Dictionaries, Is Dead at 76 – The New York Times


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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/30/nyregion/madeline-kripke-dead-coronavirus.html
 

Madeline Kripke, Doyenne of Dictionaries, Is Dead at 76

A woman of many words, mostly unspoken, she amassed a lexicographic trove of some 20,000 books, much of it crammed into her Greenwich Village apartment.

By Sam Roberts

April 30, 2020

 

Madeline Kripke in her Greenwich Village apartment in 2013 with part of her vast dictionary collection. “Madeline built a cathedral of the English lexicographic tradition,” an admirer said. Madeline Kripke in her Greenwich Village apartment in 2013 with part of her vast dictionary collection. “Madeline built a cathedral of the English lexicographic tradition,” an admirer said.Emon Hassan

This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

Madeline Kripke, who kept one of the world’s largest private collection of dictionaries, much of it crammed into her Greenwich Village apartment, could be defined this way: liberal [adj., as in giving unstintingly], compleat [adj., meaning having all the requisite skills] and sui generis [adj., in a class by itself].

Beginning with the Webster’s Collegiate that her parents gave her in the fifth grade, she accumulated an estimated 20,000 volumes as diverse as a Latin dictionary printed in 1502, Jonathan Swift’s 1722 booklet titled “The Benefits of Farting Explained,” and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 1980 guide to pickpocket slang.

Ms. Kripke (pronounced KRIP-key) died on April 25 in Manhattan at 76. Her brother, Saul Kripke, a noted philosopher and professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center, said the cause was the coronavirus and complications of pneumonia.

One question that none of Ms. Kripke’s reference books answers is what will happen to her collection. After avoiding eviction in the mid-1990s by agreeing to remove the volumes stacked in the hallway, she had hoped to transfer the whole enchilada [slang for the entirety] from her apartment and three warehouses to a university or, if she had her druthers [n., preference], to install it in her own dictionary library, which she never got to build.

“Unfortunately, it appears that no clear plan existed for her collection,” her brother, her only immediate survivor, said in a phone interview. “We are now in touch with some of her expert friends for advice.”

Those friends are legion [adj., multitudinous], thanks to Ms. Kripke’s generosity and virtuosity as a resource on etymology [n., the derivation of words], pronunciation and usage and especially every variety of vulgarity and slang, from the indigenous argot of Argentina to the patois of vaudeville, the London underworld, cowboys, hipsters and generations of teenagers.

But Ms. Kripke was not an indiscriminate amasser, said Ammon Shea, the author of “Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages” (2008). “Madeline,” he said, “built a cathedral of the English lexicographic tradition, tens of thousands of carefully chosen items.”

Madeline Faith Kripke was born on Sept. 9, 1943, in New London, Conn., where her father, Rabbi Myer S. Kripke, headed a Conservative Jewish congregation. Her mother, Dorothy (Karp) Kripke, was an author of children’s religious books.

Madeline grew up in Omaha, where her father was the rabbi of Beth El Synagogue and where her parents were friends of the investor Warren Buffett (and beneficiaries of his financial advice).

The Webster’s Collegiate she received from her parents, she told Daniel Krieger for a profile about her on the website Narratively, “unlocked the world for me because I could read at any vocabulary level I wanted.” Which she did, conscientiously documenting the words she didn’t understand.

“I realized that dictionaries were each infinitely explorable,” she told Mr. Krieger, “so they opened me to new possibilities in a mix of serendipity, discovery and revelation.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in English from Barnard College, she remained in New York in the 1960s, living as a cross between a beatnik and a hippie, she said, then working as a welfare case worker, a teacher, and a copy editor and proofreader — skills she would apply to her collecting.

She was self-taught as a lexicographer. “She approached her collection and study with the same scholarship and discipline with which her father approached religion,” said Tom Dalzell, a slang expert, “and with which her brother approaches modal logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology and recursion theory.”

Jesse Sheidlower, a former editor at the “Oxford English Dictionary,” said of Ms. Kripke, “She didn’t just accumulate material; she read it all, and could tell you the editor’s personality based on the changes made across varying editions of a work.”

While she later revived her childhood practice of recording unfamiliar words in a notebook, Ms. Kripke never exploited her command of language in poetry or prose, except for the occasional verse, like her ode to Icarus, which began, “He must have been high when he first tried to fly.”

The comprehensiveness of her collection amazed many in the lexicographic world.

Simon Winchester, the author of “The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary” (2003), said in an email: “I would challenge her to find this volume of Czech loanwords or that collection of Greenland slang or Common Terms in Astrophysics — and she’d always say, ‘Yes, I’m sure I have it somewhere,’ and would dive in like a truffle hound and come up for air holding the volume in triumph, and I would retire, always defeated.”

Ms. Kripke’s linguistic-related ephemera included an instruction manual for dictionary salesmen and a pivotal letter from George Merriam to his brother Charles. The letter captured “the moment when the brothers hatch a plan for getting the rights to Noah Webster’s dictionary — the Big Bang moment that leads directly to the creation of Merriam-Webster dictionaries,” said John Morse, a former president and publisher of Merriam-Webster.

About one-fifth of Ms. Kripke’s collection represents what Mr. Winchester described in The New York Review of Books in 2012 as “the very living and breathing edge of the English language: the ragged and ill-defined omnium gatherum of informal, witty, clever, newborn, and usually impermanent words that constitute what for the past two centuries has been known as slang.”

Armed with a flashlight, she would hunt down “A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue” from 1785; or “The Pocket Dictionary of Prison Slanguage” (1941), by Clinton T. Duffy, a former warden of San Quentin; or the pornographic comic books known as Tijuana bibles.

Ms. Kripke sold books, but she acquired even more, with surpassing dedication. As a young collector, she once coveted a 1694 edition of “The Ladies Dictionary,” which she had found in a London shop at a time when she had only enough money for a planned train trip to France to meet a friend in Nice.

She bought the book and hitchhiked to Nice instead.

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Trombone Shorty on what happens when New Orleans’ musical heartbeat falls silent | PBS NewsHour

Trombone Shorty on what happens when New Orleans’ musical heartbeat falls silent | PBS NewsHour


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https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/trombone-shorty-on-what-happens-when-new-orleans-musical-heartbeat-falls-silent

Jazz Fest, one of the nation’s liveliest annual music celebrations, should have been full-throttle this week in New Orleans. Instead, the city remains locked down, a hot spot in the COVID-19 pandemic with close to 6,500 cases and over 400 deaths. As part of Canvas, our ongoing coverage of arts and culture, Jeffrey Brown talks to one of the city’s musical ambassadors about the pandemic’s toll.

 

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LIVE FROM THE LOUISIANA MUSIC FACTORY – YouTube

LIVE FROM THE LOUISIANA MUSIC FACTORY – YouTube


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https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjmWrcwxxZ-dSu8ZzlHOQTA

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Seattle’s Bop Street Records, once named one of the 5 best record stores in America, to close at the end of June | The Seattle Times

Seattle’s Bop Street Records, once named one of the 5 best record stores in America, to close at the end of June | The Seattle Times


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https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/music/bop-street-records-once-named-one-of-the-5-best-record-stores-in-america-to-close-at-the-end-of-june/?mc_cid=ab594aa31f
 

Seattle’s Bop Street Records, once named one of the 5 best record stores in America, to close at the end of June


 April 29, 2020 at 6:00 am Updated April 29, 2020 at 5:04 pm 
By 

Special to The Seattle Times

No one knows what the landscape for music lovers will look like in the post-COVID-19 era, but one longtime Seattle landmark is definitely going away.

Bop Street Records, shuttered since the governor’s March 23 stay-at-home order, will close its doors permanently at the end of June. Bop Street has been a fixture on the Seattle music scene since 1979, and in 2011 was picked by The Wall Street Journal as one of the five best record stores in America.

“I don’t want to say I’m being driven out of business,” said Dave Voorhees, who will continue to sell records from his home after his store closes. “But my lease expires at the end of June and because of the coronavirus, we decided to not extend the lease.”

Voorhees, 70, had planned to retire in five years. He considers himself lucky that the pandemic hit just in time for him to change his mind. Much of his revenue comes from out-of-state and foreign buyers who depend on airline travel, which has dried up.

“The timing was totally fortuitous,” he said.

Dave Voorhees, owner of Bop Street Records in Ballard. (Courtesy of Dave Voorhees)
Dave Voorhees, owner of Bop Street Records in Ballard. (Courtesy of Dave Voorhees)

Voorhees estimates that the store’s chockablock bins hold half a million recordings of rock, R&B, jazz, classical, country and other musical genres — an inventory his business manager, Bob Jacobs, values at $3 million. About 200,000 of those records are vintage 45 RPM singles, many extremely rare.

“About a month ago,” Voorhees said, “a guy called and said, ‘Hey, my mom won this contest where she got to meet Elvis Presley back in 1957, and the radio station also gave her a thousand 45’s. Are you interested?”

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When Voorhees unpacked his purchase, he discovered he owned, among other treasures, two mint copies of “Bop Crazy Baby,” by early rockabilly artist Vern Pullens – each valued at $800-$1200.

Bop Street takes its name from a 1956 song by another early rock pioneer, Gene Vincent, a reflection of Voorhees’ passion for early rock’n’roll. He got his start selling records out of his parents’ basement in 1974, after buying 3,000 45’s for a dime each from a Texas jukebox distributor. Five years later he opened the first Bop Street, on Aurora and 101st in what is now the Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. He has been in Ballard since 1984 and at his current location on Northwest Market since 2010.

Voorhees plans to take home only 20,000 discs for his new wholesale operation. Disposing of the rest of the inventory will be a challenge. He and Jacobs are currently negotiating sales with dealers and store-owners and plan to donate the store’s 25,000 78’s to Goodwill or other nonprofits. Jacobs said some recordings may be stored in private homes if they cannot be sold promptly.

“I’m hoping I can reopen the store between now and the end of June and that I can sell as many records as I can to people,” said Voorhees. “I refuse to put them in the dump.”

And if he can’t reopen?

“I actually have no idea,” said Voorhees. “If I’m not able to sell these, it’s 40 years of business and I’m walking away with no money. This was supposed to be my retirement.”

Paul de Barros: pdebarros@comcast.net. This report is supported, in part, by the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Tito Rodrigues vs Orlando Cepeda – YouTube

Tito Rodrigues vs Orlando Cepeda – YouTube


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=and2Pq2LJNE

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Tony Allen, Pioneering Afrobeat Drummer, Has Died – Rolling Stone

Tony Allen, Pioneering Afrobeat Drummer, Has Died – Rolling Stone


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https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/tony-allen-afrobeat-drummer-fela-kuti-dead-992588/
 

Tony Allen, Pioneering Afrobeat Drummer, Dead at 79

“Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat,” Fela Kuti once said of legendary Africa 70 drummer

Daniel KrepsApril 30, 2020 6:48PM ET

Nigerian Drummer Composer and Songwriter Tony Allen Performs on Stage at the Salzhaus in Winterthur Switzerland 22 May 2015 Switzerland Schweiz Suisse WinterthurSwitzerland Music - May 2015

Tony Allen, the pioneering drummer who helped defined Afrobeat during his tenure with Fela Kuti, has died at age 79.

Ennio Leanza/EPA/Shutterstock

Tony Allen, the pioneering drummer who helped define Afrobeat during his tenure with Fela Kuti, died Thursday evening. He was 79. 

Allen’s manager, Eric Trosser, confirmed the musician’s death to Rolling Stone, adding that Allen was taken to Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris, where he died of abdominal aortic aneurysm. “He was in great shape,” Trosser added to France 24. “It was quite sudden.” Sahara Reporters first reportedAllen’s death.

As a member of Kuti’s band Africa 70, Allen helped revolutionize the art of drumming, simultaneously anchoring and propelling classic albums like 1973’s Gentleman, 1975’s Expensive Shit, and the Afrobeat legend’s most enduring work, 1976’s Zombie. Each release depended on Allen’s slippery, ferocious, polyrhythmic grooves. “Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat,” Kuti once said. Damon Albarn and Brian Eno were also famously enamored with Allen’s playing; Eno called him “one of the great musicians of the 20th century — and the 21st.”

“There was no band like the Africa 70,” Femi Kuti, Fela’s son, told Rolling Stone in 2017. “And there is no drummer like Tony Allen.”

 

 

Allen was born in Lagos, Nigeria; he didn’t pick up the sticks until his late teens. He studied the work of a variety of jazz drummers, from Art Blakey to Elvin Jones to Philly Joe Jones to Gene Krupa. Speaking with The Wire, Allen credited Max Roach with turning him on to the potential of the hi-hat, which he believed many of his peers were neglecting. Allen later met the drummer Frank Butler, who influenced him to practice drumming on pillows. “It adds flexibility,” Allen told The Guardian

Allen also picked up a wide-ranging musical education on the club circuit in Nigeria. “Latin American, African horns, jazz, highlife… you had to be able to play it all, because in the club they asked for it,” Allen said. He played in an outfit dubbed the Cool Cats and then moved on to help better known highlife artists like Victor Olaiya. 

Kuti initially met Allen in 1964. “The first thing he asked was, ‘Are you the one who said that you are the best drummer in this country?’” Allen recalled. “I laughed and told him, ‘I never said so.’ He asked me if I could play jazz, and I said yes. He asked me if I could take solos, and I said yes again.”

Allen went on to serve as the drummer in Kuti’s band Koola Lobitos. Initially, listeners weren’t sure what to make of the group. “It was like a revolutionary music style coming to the country,” Allen explained. “They were used to the highlife thing.… It was kind of strange for the people.”

 

 

After a visit to the United States in 1969, Allen and Kuti began to cement the endlessly copied sound of Afrobeat. This was full-band dance music, boosted by searing, intricate horn parts, scratchy, relentless guitar, and agitated, hyperactive bass lines. Like American funk, each instrument could function as a percussive engine, driving the song forward, but Afrobeat made more room for solos and inventive melodic digressions that sprawled out over 10, 12, or 17 minutes.

Allen was the whirlwind at the center of it all, producing a darting web of rhythm, invigorating but never overpowering, that entranced generations of musicians. “I was accustomed to a hard and rigid sort of drive in the drums,” Meshell Ndegeocello said in 2017. “Hearing Tony Allen really opened my mind up to fluidity and the understanding of agility within the pulse.”

Eno bought a Kuti album on a whim in a London record shop in the early Seventies. “I think I liked the cover, and I think I liked the fact that the band had so many members,” he told The Vinyl Factory in 2014. “It changed my whole feeling about what music could be.… when I first met Talking Heads and we were talking about working together, I played [Kuti’s 1973 album Afrodisiac] for them and said: This is the music of the future.”

“I love the density of the weave between the players,” Eno added. “I love the relationship of discipline and freedom shown in this. It’s not jamming in the do-whatever-you-like sense. But it’s not constrained parts in the orchestral sense either.”

 

 

Allen and Kuti were a prolific and indefatigable team for more than a decade. Kuti released multiple albums a year with ease. He was also a tireless performer. “We’d play six hours a night, four days of the week with Fela,” Allen told Clash. “That’s what the people want.”

Kuti quickly became known for his blunt condemnations of government corruption and ineptitude. “What [Fela] was challenging, he was right,” Allen said in 2016. “But it was too direct and that’s why he got all this shit. There were too many arrests, too many bombardments. You’re a musician — why do you leave yourself to be beaten up all the time like that?” Government retaliations against Kuti became increasingly fierce, and Allen decided to strike out on his own in 1978.

In addition to his work with Kuti, Allen was known for his collaborations with Albarn: Allen was a member of The Good, The Bad and the Queen alongside Albarn, the Clash’s Paul Simonon, and the Verve’s Simon Tong. That band released a pair of albums, a self-titled 2007 LP and 2018’s Merrie Land. Allen, Albarn, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea — under the moniker Rocket Juice & the Moon — also released a collaborative album in 2012.

“The greatest drummer on Earth has left us,” Flea wrote on Instagram. “What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove. Fela Kuti did not invent afrobeat, Fela and Tony birthed it together. Without Tony Allen there is NO afrobeat.”

 

 

In recent years, Allen reconnected with his jazz roots, recording a tribute EP for his “hero” Art Blakey and teaming up with Jeff Mills for 2018’s Tomorrow Comes the Harvest. Earlier this year, Allen released Rejoice, a collaboration with late South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela.

“Today, we’ve just lost the best drummer that has ever lived,” Mills said in a statement. “Rhythms and patterns so complex and on such a high level of communication, there are not words yet created to describe what he created. It was otherworldly. He was otherworldly! A master musician and a master thinker.”

While many listeners think drumming and clobbering a rhythm are synonymous, Allen never felt that way. “Some drummers don’t know what it means to play soft, it’s not in their book,” he said in 2016. “I know I can make my drums bring the house down if I have to. But I know how to make it subtle. You listen to it flowing like a river.”

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
https://www.jazzpromoservices.com

HAVE A JAZZ EVENT, NEW CD OR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE JAZZ COMMUNITY YOU WANT TO PROMOTE? CONTACT JAZZ PROMO SERVICES FOR PRICE QUOTE.

CHECK OUT OUR NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO
 


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Copyright (C) 2020 All rights reserved.

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Tony Allen, Pioneering Afrobeat Drummer, Has Died – Rolling Stone

Tony Allen, Pioneering Afrobeat Drummer, Has Died – Rolling Stone


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https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/tony-allen-afrobeat-drummer-fela-kuti-dead-992588/
 

Tony Allen, Pioneering Afrobeat Drummer, Dead at 79

“Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat,” Fela Kuti once said of legendary Africa 70 drummer

Daniel KrepsApril 30, 2020 6:48PM ET

Nigerian Drummer Composer and Songwriter Tony Allen Performs on Stage at the Salzhaus in Winterthur Switzerland 22 May 2015 Switzerland Schweiz Suisse WinterthurSwitzerland Music - May 2015

Tony Allen, the pioneering drummer who helped defined Afrobeat during his tenure with Fela Kuti, has died at age 79.

Ennio Leanza/EPA/Shutterstock

Tony Allen, the pioneering drummer who helped define Afrobeat during his tenure with Fela Kuti, died Thursday evening. He was 79. 

Allen’s manager, Eric Trosser, confirmed the musician’s death to Rolling Stone, adding that Allen was taken to Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris, where he died of abdominal aortic aneurysm. “He was in great shape,” Trosser added to France 24. “It was quite sudden.” Sahara Reporters first reportedAllen’s death.

As a member of Kuti’s band Africa 70, Allen helped revolutionize the art of drumming, simultaneously anchoring and propelling classic albums like 1973’s Gentleman, 1975’s Expensive Shit, and the Afrobeat legend’s most enduring work, 1976’s Zombie. Each release depended on Allen’s slippery, ferocious, polyrhythmic grooves. “Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat,” Kuti once said. Damon Albarn and Brian Eno were also famously enamored with Allen’s playing; Eno called him “one of the great musicians of the 20th century — and the 21st.”

“There was no band like the Africa 70,” Femi Kuti, Fela’s son, told Rolling Stone in 2017. “And there is no drummer like Tony Allen.”

 

 

Allen was born in Lagos, Nigeria; he didn’t pick up the sticks until his late teens. He studied the work of a variety of jazz drummers, from Art Blakey to Elvin Jones to Philly Joe Jones to Gene Krupa. Speaking with The Wire, Allen credited Max Roach with turning him on to the potential of the hi-hat, which he believed many of his peers were neglecting. Allen later met the drummer Frank Butler, who influenced him to practice drumming on pillows. “It adds flexibility,” Allen told The Guardian

Allen also picked up a wide-ranging musical education on the club circuit in Nigeria. “Latin American, African horns, jazz, highlife… you had to be able to play it all, because in the club they asked for it,” Allen said. He played in an outfit dubbed the Cool Cats and then moved on to help better known highlife artists like Victor Olaiya. 

Kuti initially met Allen in 1964. “The first thing he asked was, ‘Are you the one who said that you are the best drummer in this country?’” Allen recalled. “I laughed and told him, ‘I never said so.’ He asked me if I could play jazz, and I said yes. He asked me if I could take solos, and I said yes again.”

Allen went on to serve as the drummer in Kuti’s band Koola Lobitos. Initially, listeners weren’t sure what to make of the group. “It was like a revolutionary music style coming to the country,” Allen explained. “They were used to the highlife thing.… It was kind of strange for the people.”

 

 

After a visit to the United States in 1969, Allen and Kuti began to cement the endlessly copied sound of Afrobeat. This was full-band dance music, boosted by searing, intricate horn parts, scratchy, relentless guitar, and agitated, hyperactive bass lines. Like American funk, each instrument could function as a percussive engine, driving the song forward, but Afrobeat made more room for solos and inventive melodic digressions that sprawled out over 10, 12, or 17 minutes.

Allen was the whirlwind at the center of it all, producing a darting web of rhythm, invigorating but never overpowering, that entranced generations of musicians. “I was accustomed to a hard and rigid sort of drive in the drums,” Meshell Ndegeocello said in 2017. “Hearing Tony Allen really opened my mind up to fluidity and the understanding of agility within the pulse.”

Eno bought a Kuti album on a whim in a London record shop in the early Seventies. “I think I liked the cover, and I think I liked the fact that the band had so many members,” he told The Vinyl Factory in 2014. “It changed my whole feeling about what music could be.… when I first met Talking Heads and we were talking about working together, I played [Kuti’s 1973 album Afrodisiac] for them and said: This is the music of the future.”

“I love the density of the weave between the players,” Eno added. “I love the relationship of discipline and freedom shown in this. It’s not jamming in the do-whatever-you-like sense. But it’s not constrained parts in the orchestral sense either.”

 

 

Allen and Kuti were a prolific and indefatigable team for more than a decade. Kuti released multiple albums a year with ease. He was also a tireless performer. “We’d play six hours a night, four days of the week with Fela,” Allen told Clash. “That’s what the people want.”

Kuti quickly became known for his blunt condemnations of government corruption and ineptitude. “What [Fela] was challenging, he was right,” Allen said in 2016. “But it was too direct and that’s why he got all this shit. There were too many arrests, too many bombardments. You’re a musician — why do you leave yourself to be beaten up all the time like that?” Government retaliations against Kuti became increasingly fierce, and Allen decided to strike out on his own in 1978.

In addition to his work with Kuti, Allen was known for his collaborations with Albarn: Allen was a member of The Good, The Bad and the Queen alongside Albarn, the Clash’s Paul Simonon, and the Verve’s Simon Tong. That band released a pair of albums, a self-titled 2007 LP and 2018’s Merrie Land. Allen, Albarn, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea — under the moniker Rocket Juice & the Moon — also released a collaborative album in 2012.

“The greatest drummer on Earth has left us,” Flea wrote on Instagram. “What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove. Fela Kuti did not invent afrobeat, Fela and Tony birthed it together. Without Tony Allen there is NO afrobeat.”

 

 

In recent years, Allen reconnected with his jazz roots, recording a tribute EP for his “hero” Art Blakey and teaming up with Jeff Mills for 2018’s Tomorrow Comes the Harvest. Earlier this year, Allen released Rejoice, a collaboration with late South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela.

“Today, we’ve just lost the best drummer that has ever lived,” Mills said in a statement. “Rhythms and patterns so complex and on such a high level of communication, there are not words yet created to describe what he created. It was otherworldly. He was otherworldly! A master musician and a master thinker.”

While many listeners think drumming and clobbering a rhythm are synonymous, Allen never felt that way. “Some drummers don’t know what it means to play soft, it’s not in their book,” he said in 2016. “I know I can make my drums bring the house down if I have to. But I know how to make it subtle. You listen to it flowing like a river.”

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
https://www.jazzpromoservices.com

HAVE A JAZZ EVENT, NEW CD OR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE JAZZ COMMUNITY YOU WANT TO PROMOTE? CONTACT JAZZ PROMO SERVICES FOR PRICE QUOTE.

CHECK OUT OUR NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO
 


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PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE ON THIS MAILING LIST PLEASE RESPOND WITH ‘REMOVE’ IN THE SUBJECT LINE. IF YOU ARE RECEIVING DUPLICATE EMAILS OUR APOLOGIES, JAZZ PROMO SERVICES ANNOUNCEMENT LIST IS GROWING LARGER EVERY DAY…..PLEASE LET US KNOW AND WE WILL FIX IT IMMEDIATELY!

Copyright (C) 2020 All rights reserved.

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Warwick, Ny 10990

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Take The “A” Train: David Meeker’s Ten Favourite Jazz Films

Take The “A” Train: David Meeker’s Ten Favourite Jazz Films


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https://ehsankhoshbakht.blogspot.com/2020/04/David-Meeker-top10.html?utm_source=feedburner
 

David Meeker’s Ten Favourite Jazz Films

 

David Meeker, the author of Jazz in the Movies (and its online, massively updated version, Jazz on the Screen, available on the website of the Library of Congress), has been kind enough to furnish me with the list of his favourite jazz films. I don’t think anyone in the world has seen as many jazz films as David has and certainly no-one has bothered spending years retrieving information (including song lists and personnel) from these films, compiling the indispensable encyclopedia that he has given us. For that reason, I think this list should be cherished more than other similar listings — this is the work of a man who has almost seen everything! – EK 

By my reckoning the first ever sound film of a jazz performance was produced in 1922, a short featuring pianist Eubie Blake. Therefore, faced with almost 100 years of world cinema and taking a degree of masochistic pleasure in sticking my neck out I have managed with considerable difficulty to reduce untold millions of feet of celluloid to a necessarily subjective choice of 10 favourite titles, undoubtedly quirky but hopefully not pretentious. Try and see them if you can – they all have much to offer both intellectually and emotionally.

David Meeker



BLACK AND TAN (Dudley Murphy, 1929)

A rare example of a movie which uses jazz both organically and dramatically with stunning effect. The slight plot serves as a background for the first appearance on film of Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra (including Cootie Williams, Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, Sonny Greer, etc.) and above all the lovely dancer Fredi Washington who lies dying while the band comfort her by playing Ellington’s tune Black and Tan Fantasy and as the final chords fade away the camera moves in to a giant close-up of Ellington’s face as his eyes fill with tears…


THE SOUND OF JAZZ (Jack Smight, 1957)

Originally produced for US CBS television but luckily for us was eventually preserved on celluloid, a great musical package unsurpassed in jazz history by the sheer richness of the line-up, including Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Ben Webster, Gerry Mulligan, Roy Eldridge and more. But never forgetting the jewels of the show as Billie Holiday and Lester Young transcend everyone and everything gently swinging through Fine and Mellow.


THE CONNECTION (Shirley Clarke, 1961)

Film adaptation of Jack Gelber’s stage play following the making of a film about a group of jazz playing junkies waiting for their connection to arrive… The Freddie Redd Quartet (with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean) are on camera throughout performing some steaming numbers composed by Freddie Redd which have stayed favourites of mine since, well, 1961. But, it is true, that seeing the film again recently it does creak a bit in places since its improvisatory camera style is no longer fresh. However, it does contain a perfect cinematic non sequitur when a guy arrives with a portable gramophone and treats the cast to a Charlie Parker recording of Marmaduke (take 4) before packing up and exiting.


TOO LATE BLUES (John Cassavetes, 1961)

John Cassavetes first Hollywood studio movie has, I believe, been sadly underrated since its release. I can’t believe that the so-called film critics who trashed it at the time had any understanding of the edgy camaraderie that exists between a close-knit combo of jazz musicians and just how brilliantly Cassavetes had captured their lives. There’s terrific music by David Raksin played by top Los Angeles musicians, Benny Carter, Uan Rasey, Milt Bernhart, Jimmy Rowles, etc. Eminently memorable.


TALMAGE FARLOW (Lorenzo DeStefano, 1981)

A film portrait of jazz master guitarist Tal Farlow made with all the love and care that he so richly deserved. We see his friends and influences, rehearsals and work-outs with some New York concert footage in performance with Tommy Flanagan and Red Mitchell. Tal was simply one of the most charming people that I’ve ever met and this fine documentary does him justice and reminds us of what an amazingly brilliant, swinging musician he was.


ART PEPPER: NOTES FROM A JAZZ SURVIVOR (Don McGlynn, 1982)

A deeply moving portrait of the great Art Pepper which contains what must be one of the most touching, heart-breaking sequences in the genre as Art and his wife, Laurie, settle down to listen to Art’s latest recording, dedicated to Laurie, the quite beautiful Our Song, specially arranged for Art plus strings by maestro Bill Holman. In the light of Art’s death a few month’s later the music’s poignancy and the way that Art re-acts to it make the scene all but unbearable.


ARTIE SHAW: TIME IS ALL YOU’VE GOT (Brigitte Berman, 1985)

Filmmaker Brigitte Berman delighted us in 1981 with her fine documentary about the legendary Bix Beiderbecke which so impressed Artie Shaw that he agreed to co-operate on this first authorized production about the erudite, articulate and witty clarinetist and bandleader who twice quit the music business at the height of his fame but never lost the adoration of big band jazz enthusiasts and their love of his art nor of the notoriety he achieved with his ‘bad marriages’ and ‘good divorces’.


THELONIOUS MONK: STRAIGHT NO CHASER (Charlotte Zwerin, 1988)

A celebration of the life and music of the great pianist and composer interwoven with unique performance footage from the late 1960s plus testimonies and music from colleagues including Phil Woods, Johnny Griffin, Charlie Rouse, etc. If proof were ever needed of Monk’s genius, however idiosyncratic, simply listen to his interpretation of Sweetheart of All My Dreams and marvel. Produced by Clint Eastwood.


SWEET AND LOWDOWN (Woody Allen, 1999)

Whilst not exactly a “jazz film,” I make no apology for including this Woody Allen picture as an example of the filmmaker’s total commitment to jazz/big bands throughout his long filmmaking career. He has hardly made a film that hasn’t showcased our music on soundtrack and often there is also plenty of it on screen ably directed by his longtime musical associate, the pianist/composer Dick Hyman. In this particular film, telling of the trials and tribulations of a sub-Django Reinhardt guitarist, the soundtrack features a selection of carefully chosen tracks performed by Howard Alden and Bucky Pizzarelli as well as a generous selection of appropriate jazz classics.


THE LAST OF THE FIRST (Anja Baron, 2002)

The behind-the-scenes story of some of the last living jazz pioneers from the 1920s/1930s produced by a German but New York-based documentary filmmaker with all the love and care for which one could hope. The story of The Harlem Blues and Jazz Band founded some 50 years ago provided the last links to the early roots of jazz. Members in 2002 ranged from guitarist Al Casey, drummer Johnny Blowers, pianist Edwin Swanston and the wonderful vocalist Laurel Watson. Musicians interviewed include Milt Hinton, Jay McShann, Nancy Wilson, Clark Terry, Jonah Jones and Lionel Hampton. A true celebration of the jazz spirit.

 

David Meeker

April 2020

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
https://www.jazzpromoservices.com

HAVE A JAZZ EVENT, NEW CD OR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE JAZZ COMMUNITY YOU WANT TO PROMOTE? CONTACT JAZZ PROMO SERVICES FOR PRICE QUOTE.

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PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE ON THIS MAILING LIST PLEASE RESPOND WITH ‘REMOVE’ IN THE SUBJECT LINE. IF YOU ARE RECEIVING DUPLICATE EMAILS OUR APOLOGIES, JAZZ PROMO SERVICES ANNOUNCEMENT LIST IS GROWING LARGER EVERY DAY…..PLEASE LET US KNOW AND WE WILL FIX IT IMMEDIATELY!

Copyright (C) 2020 All rights reserved.

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269 State Route 94 South

Warwick, Ny 10990

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Take The “A” Train: David Meeker’s Ten Favourite Jazz Films

Take The “A” Train: David Meeker’s Ten Favourite Jazz Films


jazzLogo.jpg

shem.gif
shem.gif

https://ehsankhoshbakht.blogspot.com/2020/04/David-Meeker-top10.html?utm_source=feedburner
 

David Meeker’s Ten Favourite Jazz Films

 

David Meeker, the author of Jazz in the Movies (and its online, massively updated version, Jazz on the Screen, available on the website of the Library of Congress), has been kind enough to furnish me with the list of his favourite jazz films. I don’t think anyone in the world has seen as many jazz films as David has and certainly no-one has bothered spending years retrieving information (including song lists and personnel) from these films, compiling the indispensable encyclopedia that he has given us. For that reason, I think this list should be cherished more than other similar listings — this is the work of a man who has almost seen everything! – EK 

By my reckoning the first ever sound film of a jazz performance was produced in 1922, a short featuring pianist Eubie Blake. Therefore, faced with almost 100 years of world cinema and taking a degree of masochistic pleasure in sticking my neck out I have managed with considerable difficulty to reduce untold millions of feet of celluloid to a necessarily subjective choice of 10 favourite titles, undoubtedly quirky but hopefully not pretentious. Try and see them if you can – they all have much to offer both intellectually and emotionally.

David Meeker



BLACK AND TAN (Dudley Murphy, 1929)

A rare example of a movie which uses jazz both organically and dramatically with stunning effect. The slight plot serves as a background for the first appearance on film of Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra (including Cootie Williams, Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, Sonny Greer, etc.) and above all the lovely dancer Fredi Washington who lies dying while the band comfort her by playing Ellington’s tune Black and Tan Fantasy and as the final chords fade away the camera moves in to a giant close-up of Ellington’s face as his eyes fill with tears…


THE SOUND OF JAZZ (Jack Smight, 1957)

Originally produced for US CBS television but luckily for us was eventually preserved on celluloid, a great musical package unsurpassed in jazz history by the sheer richness of the line-up, including Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Ben Webster, Gerry Mulligan, Roy Eldridge and more. But never forgetting the jewels of the show as Billie Holiday and Lester Young transcend everyone and everything gently swinging through Fine and Mellow.


THE CONNECTION (Shirley Clarke, 1961)

Film adaptation of Jack Gelber’s stage play following the making of a film about a group of jazz playing junkies waiting for their connection to arrive… The Freddie Redd Quartet (with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean) are on camera throughout performing some steaming numbers composed by Freddie Redd which have stayed favourites of mine since, well, 1961. But, it is true, that seeing the film again recently it does creak a bit in places since its improvisatory camera style is no longer fresh. However, it does contain a perfect cinematic non sequitur when a guy arrives with a portable gramophone and treats the cast to a Charlie Parker recording of Marmaduke (take 4) before packing up and exiting.


TOO LATE BLUES (John Cassavetes, 1961)

John Cassavetes first Hollywood studio movie has, I believe, been sadly underrated since its release. I can’t believe that the so-called film critics who trashed it at the time had any understanding of the edgy camaraderie that exists between a close-knit combo of jazz musicians and just how brilliantly Cassavetes had captured their lives. There’s terrific music by David Raksin played by top Los Angeles musicians, Benny Carter, Uan Rasey, Milt Bernhart, Jimmy Rowles, etc. Eminently memorable.


TALMAGE FARLOW (Lorenzo DeStefano, 1981)

A film portrait of jazz master guitarist Tal Farlow made with all the love and care that he so richly deserved. We see his friends and influences, rehearsals and work-outs with some New York concert footage in performance with Tommy Flanagan and Red Mitchell. Tal was simply one of the most charming people that I’ve ever met and this fine documentary does him justice and reminds us of what an amazingly brilliant, swinging musician he was.


ART PEPPER: NOTES FROM A JAZZ SURVIVOR (Don McGlynn, 1982)

A deeply moving portrait of the great Art Pepper which contains what must be one of the most touching, heart-breaking sequences in the genre as Art and his wife, Laurie, settle down to listen to Art’s latest recording, dedicated to Laurie, the quite beautiful Our Song, specially arranged for Art plus strings by maestro Bill Holman. In the light of Art’s death a few month’s later the music’s poignancy and the way that Art re-acts to it make the scene all but unbearable.


ARTIE SHAW: TIME IS ALL YOU’VE GOT (Brigitte Berman, 1985)

Filmmaker Brigitte Berman delighted us in 1981 with her fine documentary about the legendary Bix Beiderbecke which so impressed Artie Shaw that he agreed to co-operate on this first authorized production about the erudite, articulate and witty clarinetist and bandleader who twice quit the music business at the height of his fame but never lost the adoration of big band jazz enthusiasts and their love of his art nor of the notoriety he achieved with his ‘bad marriages’ and ‘good divorces’.


THELONIOUS MONK: STRAIGHT NO CHASER (Charlotte Zwerin, 1988)

A celebration of the life and music of the great pianist and composer interwoven with unique performance footage from the late 1960s plus testimonies and music from colleagues including Phil Woods, Johnny Griffin, Charlie Rouse, etc. If proof were ever needed of Monk’s genius, however idiosyncratic, simply listen to his interpretation of Sweetheart of All My Dreams and marvel. Produced by Clint Eastwood.


SWEET AND LOWDOWN (Woody Allen, 1999)

Whilst not exactly a “jazz film,” I make no apology for including this Woody Allen picture as an example of the filmmaker’s total commitment to jazz/big bands throughout his long filmmaking career. He has hardly made a film that hasn’t showcased our music on soundtrack and often there is also plenty of it on screen ably directed by his longtime musical associate, the pianist/composer Dick Hyman. In this particular film, telling of the trials and tribulations of a sub-Django Reinhardt guitarist, the soundtrack features a selection of carefully chosen tracks performed by Howard Alden and Bucky Pizzarelli as well as a generous selection of appropriate jazz classics.


THE LAST OF THE FIRST (Anja Baron, 2002)

The behind-the-scenes story of some of the last living jazz pioneers from the 1920s/1930s produced by a German but New York-based documentary filmmaker with all the love and care for which one could hope. The story of The Harlem Blues and Jazz Band founded some 50 years ago provided the last links to the early roots of jazz. Members in 2002 ranged from guitarist Al Casey, drummer Johnny Blowers, pianist Edwin Swanston and the wonderful vocalist Laurel Watson. Musicians interviewed include Milt Hinton, Jay McShann, Nancy Wilson, Clark Terry, Jonah Jones and Lionel Hampton. A true celebration of the jazz spirit.

 

David Meeker

April 2020

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
https://www.jazzpromoservices.com

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Heart of Louisiana: Online Jazz Tour

Heart of Louisiana: Online Jazz Tour


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https://www.fox8live.com/2020/04/28/heart-louisiana-online-jazz-tour/

Heart of Louisiana: Online Jazz Tour

April 28, 2020 at 8:52 PM CDT – Updated April 28 at 10:11 PM 

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) – It’s now easier to do a deep dive into the history of Jazz and you don’t have to leave home to do it.

Information from a number of different historical sources has been combined into one website.

The website is called “A Closer Walk NOLA”. And not only does it take you on a virtual stroll through some of New Orleans’ older neighborhoods, but it also wakes you back in time to the very beginnings of Jazz.

“The idea was to bring attention to the physical structures that were part of the development of New Orleans music,” says Jordan Hirsch.

Hirsch is one of the developers of the broad immersion into the city’s musical history.

“It’s not only the birth place of Jazz, it’s the birth place of Rhythm and Blues. It’s the birthplace of Bounce. It’s the way that these movements interacted with social movements interacted with social movements like civil rights There’s a whole lot of a value to making these sites more visible,” says Hirsch.

One of the most musically historical blocks in New Orleans is the 400 block of South Rampart Street.

You still have a few of the original structures left that were part of the early beginnings of this music.

“Smithsonian famously called that block one of the most significant blocks in all of Jazz history,” says Hirsch.

On one corner, there is the Eagle Saloon, a popular hangout for early musicians. In the middle of the block is the Iroquois Theater.

“Where Louis Armstrong was. He was just a kid. He won a talent show there by putting flour on his face and performing in white face,” says Hirsch.

A young Armstrong befriended the Karnofsky family who operated a tailor shop here. He got a job delivering coal.

And there’s a reason the old photo of Buddy Bolden’s band is painted on the side of the Little Gem Saloon.

“The Little Gem on the corner was a place where musicians like Buddy Bolden and Jelly Roll Morton would hangout and drink before and after their gigs,” says Hirsch.

Bolden is credited as the creator of Jazz music. His house still stands in another neighborhood, Central City. A few blocks away is the home of another Jazz great, King Oliver.

“If Central City was in any other city in America, it alone would make that city a destination for music history buffs,” says Hirsch.

Also in Central City, the dilapidated Dew Drop Inn, a must stop on the Chitlin Circuit of the 1940s and 50s.

“Ray Charles spent time there, Little Richard spent time there. And during segregation, it was a place where touring black artists could find a hotel room and a barbershop in a restaurant and basic services that were denied to them when they were just driving across Louisiana between shows,” says Hirsch.

These stories and hundreds more are tucked away on the website where you can explore musical history and take a virtual walk along the streets where it all began.

To take a tour, visit https://acloserwalknola.com/.

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
https://www.jazzpromoservices.com

HAVE A JAZZ EVENT, NEW CD OR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE JAZZ COMMUNITY YOU WANT TO PROMOTE? CONTACT JAZZ PROMO SERVICES FOR PRICE QUOTE.

CHECK OUT OUR NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO
 


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PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE ON THIS MAILING LIST PLEASE RESPOND WITH ‘REMOVE’ IN THE SUBJECT LINE. IF YOU ARE RECEIVING DUPLICATE EMAILS OUR APOLOGIES, JAZZ PROMO SERVICES ANNOUNCEMENT LIST IS GROWING LARGER EVERY DAY…..PLEASE LET US KNOW AND WE WILL FIX IT IMMEDIATELY!

Copyright (C) 2020 All rights reserved.

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269 State Route 94 South

Warwick, Ny 10990

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