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Barney Ales, Indispensable Motown Executive, Is Dead at 85 – The New York Times

Barney Ales, Indispensable Motown Executive, Is Dead at 85 – The New York Times


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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/29/arts/music/barney-ales-dead.html?action=click
 

Barney Ales, Indispensable Motown Executive, Is Dead at 85

In the 1960s, he promoted the black-owned company’s music to the white-dominated music industry, helping to make it a ubiquitous force in American pop culture.

By Ben Sisario

April 29, 2020

In the summer of 1964, Motown was in a bind. Its biggest female star, Mary Wells, had just reached No. 1 with “My Guy,” and then quit the label — the first major defection from the young company, which had set itself up in Detroit as a flawless factory of black pop.

So Berry Gordy Jr., Motown’s founder, and his team tried to craft a hit for a trio of young women from the label’s bench, the Supremes, who had struggled to crack the Top 40. Their chosen song, “Where Did Our Love Go,” was carefully arranged for hit potential — all that was left was to sell it to radio programmers.

That job fell to Barney Ales, Mr. Gordy’s indefatigable lieutenant, who proclaimed in a company news release that “Where Did Our Love Go” would be Motown’s next No. 1. He was soon proved correct and the Supremes, led by Diana Ross, were anointed Motown’s newest superstars.

Mr. Ales died on April 17 in Malibu, Calif., at age 85. The Universal Music Group, which owns the Motown label, announced the death but did not specify the cause.

Mr. Ales was one of Mr. Gordy’s most indispensable executives throughout the 1960s, when Motown became a ubiquitous force in American pop culture and a prime symbol of black enterprise at the height of the civil rights movement.

Officially, he was in charge of sales and promotion. But as a high-ranking white executive at a black-owned label, Mr. Ales was also instrumental in promoting Motown’s music to the white-dominated industry — most importantly the programmers who decided what songs were played on Top 40 radio stations.

Crossing over to the pop mainstream was crucial to Mr. Gordy’s vision for Motown. The label’s sound was rooted in R&B, yet its artists were carefully styled to appeal to white audiences, down to the sequined gowns, etiquette lessons and Las Vegas nightclub engagements for acts like the Supremes.

“There’s no question that Ales’s race gave him access to, and influence with, pop radio D.J.s and programmers,” Adam White, who collaborated with Mr. Ales on the 2016 book “Motown: The Sound of Young America,” said by email.

“That was the reality of the times,” Mr. White added, “even as pop radio was recognizing that its audience was drawn to the kind of R&B-pop that Motown was perfecting.”

Baldassare Ales was born in Detroit on May 13, 1934, to Silvestro Ales, a Sicilian-born barber, and Evelyn (Winfield) Ales, who grew up in Cheboygan, Mich. He attended Thomas M. Cooley High School in Detroit and as a young man worked on a Dodge assembly line.

He began his education in the music industry at 21 in the stockroom of Capitol Records’ local office, rising to positions in sales and promotion. In 1959, he became the Detroit branch manager of Warner Bros. Records.

Those jobs gave Mr. Ales entree to the record stores, distributors and programmers vital to making any song a hit. He met Mr. Gordy in 1960 and was soon hired as the national sales and promotion manager at Motown, which Mr. Gordy had founded in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family.

Mr. Ales built the label’s sales and promotion team, which in the early days was predominantly white. Part of his job involved collecting money the label’s distributors owed — a hazard for most independent labels, which Mr. Ales dealt with by threatening to withhold Motown’s supply of hits from nonpaying accounts.

“It didn’t just happen overnight. It was a well-thought-out philosophy that we had,” Mr. Ales said of the label’s business plan in a 2016 interview with The Detroit Free Press. “Motown was a music company. It wasn’t an R&B company. It wasn’t a soul company. It was the same as Capitol Records or CBS: a company devoted to making music.”

Mr. Ales offered a glimpse of his method on a one-sided 45 r.p.m. record titled “An Important Message From Barney Ales (Play Immediately)” that was sent to distributors in 1970. Over three minutes, he implored them to help make a No. 1 hit out of Ms. Ross’s debut solo single, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand).”

“I’m concerned and I want action,” he told them. But the single stalled at No. 20.

When Motown moved its headquarters to Los Angeles in 1972, Mr. Ales remained in Detroit. A few years later he started his own label, Prodigal, but in 1975 he rejoined Motown and sold Prodigal to it. In the late 1970s he served as Motown’s president.

He left Motown again in 1979 and worked with various companies, including the jazz label Pablo and Elton John’s Rocket Record Company. In the 1990s he also worked with the AEM Record Group, which released music by the funk hero George Clinton — whom Mr. Ales had known since the 1960s, when Mr. Clinton was signed to Motown’s music publishing subsidiary, Jobete, as a songwriter.

Mr. Ales is survived by his wife, Eileen; his sons, Steven, Barney and Brett; his daughters, Shelley DeRose and Cristina Ales-Neggazi; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

In a statement, Mr. Gordy praised Mr. Ales’s ability to sell the label’s music to anyone who would buy it.

“I just thought Barney was the greatest salesperson in the world, and he had like the United Nations in his sales department,” Mr. Gordy said. “I wanted to sell music to all people: whites, blacks, Jews, gentiles, the cops and the robbers.”

 

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Woodstock Jazz Festival DeJohnette, Corea, Metheny, Braxton, Konitz, Vitous

Woodstock Jazz Festival DeJohnette, Corea, Metheny, Braxton, Konitz, Vitous


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCDSmB2arsE

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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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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Jazz Interview: Drummer George Schuller on Working with Lee Konitz – The Arts Fuse

Jazz Interview: Drummer George Schuller on Working with Lee Konitz – The Arts Fuse


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https://artsfuse.org/201136/jazz-interview-drummer-george-schuller-on-working-with-lee-konitz/
 

Jazz Interview: Drummer George Schuller on Working with Lee Konitz

April 28, 2020 Leave a Comment

By Steve Provizer

It amazed me that Lee Konitz in his nineties could still find his way through a maze of changes, chorus after chorus, and at the same time be capable of weaving a beautiful, unscripted melody while producing a sound so wide, one could crawl into it.

Bucharest in 2015: Saxophonist Lee Konitz and drummer George Schuller. Photo: Henning Bolte.

George Schuller performed as percussionist with the recently deceased saxophonist Lee Konitz on and off since 1992. I covered one of their last Boston concerts for The Arts Fuse. George has lived in Brooklyn since 1992, but he is well-known in Boston. His father, Gunther Schuller, was a composer and musician of considerable note, serving as President of the New England Conservatory of Music from 1967 through 1977. His brother Ed is an accomplished bass player.

George is co-founder of the ensemble Orange Then Blue, and is leader or co-leader of several other groups, including Circle Wide and the George Schuller Trio. He has performed with scores of high caliber jazz musicians and has recorded as leader and sideman on dozens of records. He played on Lee Konitz’s last recording session, released as Old Songs New. George has received a number of awards for his compositions and was co-producer of the documentary film Music Inn. I asked him about his relationship with Konitz — what it was like to play with such a celebrated saxophone master?


Arts Fuse: I’m sure that long before you met Lee that you’d heard his music. What did you think of it?

George Schuller: I believe it was during my days as a volunteer jazz DJ that I began to connect with the recordings of Lee Konitz. I was hosting a regular jazz program at WTBS (later to become WMBR), MIT’s college radio station. I started in 1976 when I was in high school and continued while attending the New England Conservatory of Music. I had access not only to the station’s eclectic library, but to my own collection and to that of my father [Gunther Schuller]. I was fast learning about the breadth of Lee’s recorded legacy: Miles Davis Nonet, Lennie Tristano Quintet, Motion (with Sonny Dallas and Elvin Jones), Konitz Duets, etc., right up to what was, at that time, his latest releases — the nonets of the ’70s. All of those recordings made a huge impact on me. Nor was it lost on me that my father had a connection musically with Lee; he participated in the last Birth of the Cool session (in 1950) which produced those iconic 78 sides “Deception,” “Rocker,” “Moon Dreams,” and “Darn That Dream.”

AF: You told me that Lee’s nonet was an influence on you.

Schuller: There was something about those ’70s nonet tracks that really caught my ear — small enough for an intimate sound, yet large enough for a variety of colors and textures. The blend of soprano sax, piccolo trumpet, bass trombone, electric piano all came into play. And, most of all, the album didn’t sound like something from a typical big band. It was more about line-writing interspersed with hip orchestrated ensemble sections, often constructed around legendary solos, from Satchmo to Lester to Coltrane. And so I was hooked. I heard the nonet live at the old Jazzmania Club in lower Manhattan where  Konitz and company held residency on Sunday nights. My brother, Ed Schuller, had been regularly playing bass in the nonet at that time. The night I heard them, Chick Corea happened to be sitting in.

Meanwhile, I had been taking some classes in arranging at NEC and was looking for opportunities to write for large ensembles. I tried out a few things at school and decided to assemble a nonet-sized band — with similar instrumentation to the Konitz group — to play at my recital. The idea was to unearth a few of my father’s old jazz charts and to perform “Boplicity” and “Moon Dreams” from the original Birth of the Cool charts — parts that still had “Miles,” “Gerry,” and “Lee” written in the top corner! My other idea was to see if I could perform a blues by Chick Corea called “Matrix” arranged for the Konitz Nonet from their first recording on Roulette (1977). I called Lee in NYC to see if I could borrow the chart and he told me to go see his arranger, Sy Johnson, who agreed to allow me to make copies of the parts and perform the arrangement for my recital in 1982.

Sy had orchestrated the piano solo from Corea’s trio recording Now He Sings, Now He Sobs. Sy created a section that mimics exactly what Corea played, note for note. With piccolo trumpet and soprano sax leading the way, that arrangement and that performance sparked the idea for a bunch of us students to form a similar-sized ensemble. By 1984, seven of us who had graduated from NEC formed an 11-piece band called Orange Then Blue, adding an extra trumpet and saxophone, but still using the Konitz’s Nonet’s instrumentation as an initial guiding model.

AF: How did it come about that you began playing with Konitz? And how long did you end up performing with him?

Schuller: I had been hankering to play with Lee and finally got the courage to call him for a few gigs in New England around 1992. He was coming up to Boston that spring to play at Scullers with his NYC quartet, which included pianist Peggy Stern and drummer Jeff Williams. Since he was in town for those weekend appearances at Scullers, I decided to book my own trio gigs with him at Café No in Portland, ME and down in Providence, RI at the alternative rock club called AS-220.

Both gigs were an exhilarating learning experience for me, especially since Lee thoroughly explored that wide open, piano-less group construct; something Rollins, Mulligan, Ornette, and others were famous for. Lee was also famous for choosing familiar standards and well-worn ballads, but most of the time he would begin soloing unaccompanied without announcing what it was or what key he was in. It was usually up to us to join in somewhere down the line and pick it up at the bridge or by the 2nd chorus — as long as we knew what he was playing. Generally, we figured it out within a few bars, but if there was some slight hesitancy about our entrance, he would stop his introduction midway and announce to the audience, as if to reinforce our timidity, “Quiet band…”

I remember the drive back to Boston with Lee after the Café No gig. At some point, while listening to a local jazz station, Lee fell asleep. Minutes later, as if on cue, the next radio set started with Tristano Quintet sides from the late ’40s with Warne Marsh. Looking at Lee, I suddenly had a surreal out-of-body thought — here I am driving with one of the legends of improvisation and they’re playing “Progression” and “Intuition,” those early free Tristano experiments that predate Cecil, Ornette, and the rest by almost ten years. No, I did not wake him up — thought better of it, of course.

2017 at The Kennedy Center: Dan Tepfer, Jeremy Stratton, Lee  Konitz and George Schuller. Photo:Brad Linde.

Fast forward to 2004, I had already moved to Brooklyn. Andreas Scherrer, who had been helping me book my own groups, had also worked with Lee on various eclectic touring projects. With offers for Lee to bring a group to Europe, Andreas hatched the idea that maybe Lee should be playing with a stable rhythm section. In those years, and pretty much throughout his career, Lee was not one to stick with the same side-mates for more than one recording and/or one tour. His attitude toward rhythm sections was like his touring: all over the map!

Andreas suggested that he hire my brother, Ed Schuller, on bass and myself to form a simple touring trio and Lee agreed. It was kind of like Konitz meets The Schulldogs (a slightly more adventurous free-floating group I had formed in the ’90s with my brother). Some of the early gigs ended up a bit more edgy than perhaps Lee would’ve liked — “All the Things You Are,” “Cherokee,” and “Body & Soul” untethered and shapeshifted. Lee kept saying to us that he wanted to play free and the two of us took that to mean-licking our chops: “like, literally…free…? Ok, you got it.”

Occasionally, musical chaos ensued — loose time, rubbery melodies, and stretched harmonies — as we rambled far afield on the standards and ballads Lee loved to play. I thought a lot of it worked in a twisted Ornette-ish way, but I’m not sure the audience was buying it and neither was Lee. It suddenly dawned on us that maybe he was looking to stretch and play free over and around a steady pulse. We should keep the harmony and structure true. So by the 3rd or 4th gig, we all came to a mutually agreeable compromise. Lee was happy and we finished that first tour as a unified and swingin’ trio.

During the late 2000s and for the next decade, Lee called me up not only for some choice local gigs, but also for several overseas tours. Dan Tepfer had become one of Lee’s favorite pianists and a key member of the group, while bassist Jeremy Stratton and I had musically bonded on a regular basis at the Grassroots Tavern, a haunt in the East Village. We formed what was more or less Lee’s working quartet during those last 10 years of public performance. When Dan was not available, Lee invited German-born pianist Florian Weber to join the quartet — especially when we toured in Europe. However, we were by no means his only working quartet. Lee continued to be in high demand: competing agents and musicians with active label representation had other ideas about rhythm section possibilities that didn’t necessarily include us.

Still, there were several key opportunities for us to play in NYC and stateside throughout the 2010s including a thrilling weekend at the Village Vanguard (a significant high point in my life), two appearances at New York’s annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, and festivals in Newport, New Orleans, and at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. We also played several times in the Boston/Cambridge area at the Regattabar and significantly, at Scullers in December 2018, which turned out to be our last official quartet concert; this time with pianist Bruce Barth and bassist Joe Fitzgerald.

In addition, overseas tours afforded us high-profile gigs at Jazz festivals and clubs all over Europe, Israel, and Asia. One memorable performance was at the Blue Note in Beijing. The club was packed and the audience reacted enthusiastically all weekend. After each gig, long lines formed for autograph seekers. Lee generally grumbled about post-concert autograph signing; always hoping to sneak out and head straight for the hotel. But this time the lines were too long for him to dismiss. Jeremy and I stood there in awe watching these avid fans wait patiently just to get a Konitz scrawl on a piece of paper. There were several who had brought their old Konitz recordings for Lee to sign. One fan with a handful of old 10 inch records under his arm crept up quietly to the signing table and without warning, wept openly in front of Lee. This poor guy had probably waited a generation to see his hero in the flesh, clutching ancient, out-of-print Konitz LPs. It was as if Pope Lee was about to perform a baptism. This, of all places, in Beijing! I was touched as I watched this unfold. It showed Lee’s global reach, especially in that particular corner of the world.

AF: He was pretty elderly at the point when you were playing with him and I imagine you had to make some adjustments for his energy level, etc. What can you tell us about that?

Schuller: We were all cognizant of the fact that Lee in his eighties and early nineties wasn’t going to be the Lee of earlier times. So it was up to us to gauge every situation as it presented itself, to tread carefully and fine tune right on the spot. The object was to make him feel as if he was playing from a soft, comfortable recliner in his living room, although occasionally he may have gotten too comfortable.

As for the gigs, Lee was the ultimate compulsive improvisor. We followed his lead wherever that took us — that was both the challenge and the fun part. He seemed to be up for most of our prodding and toying, yet he could also return the favor on a dime. Lee was acutely aware of his sidemen and of his audience. He was always in the moment and nothing more. That’s what he lived for.

Portugal, Festival International Seixal Jazz 2017: Florian Weber, Jeremy Stratton, Lee Konitz and George Schuller. Photo: João de Barros.

His “line” tunes, the ones based on familiar chord changes like “Kary’s Trance,” “Subconscious-Lee,” “Thingin,” and Tristano’s “317 East 32nd Street,” all had to be slowed down to medium tempo explorations. Ballads like “Round Midnight” and “Darn That Dream” (a possible inspired holdover from the Birth of the Coolsession…?) had now become signature portraits of an aging icon. And Lee was singing more and playing less. Some of that, I believe, was to pace himself over a long set or two but. deep down, he really enjoyed the “wordless singing” (to quote journalist Dan Morgenstern). His singing was merely an extension of his saxophone playing — perhaps a bit pitchy in places, but who cared. It was honest and true, and at times almost heartbreaking.

Sure, he had physical and mental lapses on stage and off; who wouldn’t at that age? But the music was always his clarion call. It amazed me that Lee in his nineties could still find his way through a maze of changes, chorus after chorus, and at the same time be capable of weaving a beautiful, unscripted melody while producing a sound so wide, one could crawl into it. That’s what we all lived for.

AF: In terms of jazz history, how do you think Lee will be remembered?

Schuller: Lee wasn’t one to open up about his accomplishments or what he had yet to achieve, but one of his goals in life was to keep simplifying his approach to improvising. Clear notes and pure sound was his mantra — a kind of stripped-down, daily rationing of everything he had heard, studied, absorbed, and played. Lee had become the perfect jazz Buddhist in a white leisure suit, albeit excused for the occasional kvetch.

In 1977, at the less-than ripe old age of fifty, he said in an interview, “I know in my heart that I’ve paid my dues and I guess I can function as a senior citizen of jazz if I stay in good health…I feel that I’d like to keep going on. And I think as long as I have my marbles about me, I can continue to be as creative as I can be. And that’s fine by me. I’m delighted to be able to do that for a lifetime.” He also quipped, “And I’m working on a double lip embouchure, so when my teeth are gone, I can still play…” Lee’s self-deprecating sense of humor was ceaseless.

Now that Lee has joined Miles, Gerry, JJ, Max, John, Klook, Gil, Gunther and the rest of the Birth of the Cool participants, they can all finally climb on that bus and start the tour they never had.


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
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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Warwick, Ny 10990

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Jazz Interview: Drummer George Schuller on Working with Lee Konitz – The Arts Fuse

Jazz Interview: Drummer George Schuller on Working with Lee Konitz – The Arts Fuse


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https://artsfuse.org/201136/jazz-interview-drummer-george-schuller-on-working-with-lee-konitz/
 

Jazz Interview: Drummer George Schuller on Working with Lee Konitz

April 28, 2020 Leave a Comment

By Steve Provizer

It amazed me that Lee Konitz in his nineties could still find his way through a maze of changes, chorus after chorus, and at the same time be capable of weaving a beautiful, unscripted melody while producing a sound so wide, one could crawl into it.

Bucharest in 2015: Saxophonist Lee Konitz and drummer George Schuller. Photo: Henning Bolte.

George Schuller performed as percussionist with the recently deceased saxophonist Lee Konitz on and off since 1992. I covered one of their last Boston concerts for The Arts Fuse. George has lived in Brooklyn since 1992, but he is well-known in Boston. His father, Gunther Schuller, was a composer and musician of considerable note, serving as President of the New England Conservatory of Music from 1967 through 1977. His brother Ed is an accomplished bass player.

George is co-founder of the ensemble Orange Then Blue, and is leader or co-leader of several other groups, including Circle Wide and the George Schuller Trio. He has performed with scores of high caliber jazz musicians and has recorded as leader and sideman on dozens of records. He played on Lee Konitz’s last recording session, released as Old Songs New. George has received a number of awards for his compositions and was co-producer of the documentary film Music Inn. I asked him about his relationship with Konitz — what it was like to play with such a celebrated saxophone master?


Arts Fuse: I’m sure that long before you met Lee that you’d heard his music. What did you think of it?

George Schuller: I believe it was during my days as a volunteer jazz DJ that I began to connect with the recordings of Lee Konitz. I was hosting a regular jazz program at WTBS (later to become WMBR), MIT’s college radio station. I started in 1976 when I was in high school and continued while attending the New England Conservatory of Music. I had access not only to the station’s eclectic library, but to my own collection and to that of my father [Gunther Schuller]. I was fast learning about the breadth of Lee’s recorded legacy: Miles Davis Nonet, Lennie Tristano Quintet, Motion (with Sonny Dallas and Elvin Jones), Konitz Duets, etc., right up to what was, at that time, his latest releases — the nonets of the ’70s. All of those recordings made a huge impact on me. Nor was it lost on me that my father had a connection musically with Lee; he participated in the last Birth of the Cool session (in 1950) which produced those iconic 78 sides “Deception,” “Rocker,” “Moon Dreams,” and “Darn That Dream.”

AF: You told me that Lee’s nonet was an influence on you.

Schuller: There was something about those ’70s nonet tracks that really caught my ear — small enough for an intimate sound, yet large enough for a variety of colors and textures. The blend of soprano sax, piccolo trumpet, bass trombone, electric piano all came into play. And, most of all, the album didn’t sound like something from a typical big band. It was more about line-writing interspersed with hip orchestrated ensemble sections, often constructed around legendary solos, from Satchmo to Lester to Coltrane. And so I was hooked. I heard the nonet live at the old Jazzmania Club in lower Manhattan where  Konitz and company held residency on Sunday nights. My brother, Ed Schuller, had been regularly playing bass in the nonet at that time. The night I heard them, Chick Corea happened to be sitting in.

Meanwhile, I had been taking some classes in arranging at NEC and was looking for opportunities to write for large ensembles. I tried out a few things at school and decided to assemble a nonet-sized band — with similar instrumentation to the Konitz group — to play at my recital. The idea was to unearth a few of my father’s old jazz charts and to perform “Boplicity” and “Moon Dreams” from the original Birth of the Cool charts — parts that still had “Miles,” “Gerry,” and “Lee” written in the top corner! My other idea was to see if I could perform a blues by Chick Corea called “Matrix” arranged for the Konitz Nonet from their first recording on Roulette (1977). I called Lee in NYC to see if I could borrow the chart and he told me to go see his arranger, Sy Johnson, who agreed to allow me to make copies of the parts and perform the arrangement for my recital in 1982.

Sy had orchestrated the piano solo from Corea’s trio recording Now He Sings, Now He Sobs. Sy created a section that mimics exactly what Corea played, note for note. With piccolo trumpet and soprano sax leading the way, that arrangement and that performance sparked the idea for a bunch of us students to form a similar-sized ensemble. By 1984, seven of us who had graduated from NEC formed an 11-piece band called Orange Then Blue, adding an extra trumpet and saxophone, but still using the Konitz’s Nonet’s instrumentation as an initial guiding model.

AF: How did it come about that you began playing with Konitz? And how long did you end up performing with him?

Schuller: I had been hankering to play with Lee and finally got the courage to call him for a few gigs in New England around 1992. He was coming up to Boston that spring to play at Scullers with his NYC quartet, which included pianist Peggy Stern and drummer Jeff Williams. Since he was in town for those weekend appearances at Scullers, I decided to book my own trio gigs with him at Café No in Portland, ME and down in Providence, RI at the alternative rock club called AS-220.

Both gigs were an exhilarating learning experience for me, especially since Lee thoroughly explored that wide open, piano-less group construct; something Rollins, Mulligan, Ornette, and others were famous for. Lee was also famous for choosing familiar standards and well-worn ballads, but most of the time he would begin soloing unaccompanied without announcing what it was or what key he was in. It was usually up to us to join in somewhere down the line and pick it up at the bridge or by the 2nd chorus — as long as we knew what he was playing. Generally, we figured it out within a few bars, but if there was some slight hesitancy about our entrance, he would stop his introduction midway and announce to the audience, as if to reinforce our timidity, “Quiet band…”

I remember the drive back to Boston with Lee after the Café No gig. At some point, while listening to a local jazz station, Lee fell asleep. Minutes later, as if on cue, the next radio set started with Tristano Quintet sides from the late ’40s with Warne Marsh. Looking at Lee, I suddenly had a surreal out-of-body thought — here I am driving with one of the legends of improvisation and they’re playing “Progression” and “Intuition,” those early free Tristano experiments that predate Cecil, Ornette, and the rest by almost ten years. No, I did not wake him up — thought better of it, of course.

2017 at The Kennedy Center: Dan Tepfer, Jeremy Stratton, Lee  Konitz and George Schuller. Photo:Brad Linde.

Fast forward to 2004, I had already moved to Brooklyn. Andreas Scherrer, who had been helping me book my own groups, had also worked with Lee on various eclectic touring projects. With offers for Lee to bring a group to Europe, Andreas hatched the idea that maybe Lee should be playing with a stable rhythm section. In those years, and pretty much throughout his career, Lee was not one to stick with the same side-mates for more than one recording and/or one tour. His attitude toward rhythm sections was like his touring: all over the map!

Andreas suggested that he hire my brother, Ed Schuller, on bass and myself to form a simple touring trio and Lee agreed. It was kind of like Konitz meets The Schulldogs (a slightly more adventurous free-floating group I had formed in the ’90s with my brother). Some of the early gigs ended up a bit more edgy than perhaps Lee would’ve liked — “All the Things You Are,” “Cherokee,” and “Body & Soul” untethered and shapeshifted. Lee kept saying to us that he wanted to play free and the two of us took that to mean-licking our chops: “like, literally…free…? Ok, you got it.”

Occasionally, musical chaos ensued — loose time, rubbery melodies, and stretched harmonies — as we rambled far afield on the standards and ballads Lee loved to play. I thought a lot of it worked in a twisted Ornette-ish way, but I’m not sure the audience was buying it and neither was Lee. It suddenly dawned on us that maybe he was looking to stretch and play free over and around a steady pulse. We should keep the harmony and structure true. So by the 3rd or 4th gig, we all came to a mutually agreeable compromise. Lee was happy and we finished that first tour as a unified and swingin’ trio.

During the late 2000s and for the next decade, Lee called me up not only for some choice local gigs, but also for several overseas tours. Dan Tepfer had become one of Lee’s favorite pianists and a key member of the group, while bassist Jeremy Stratton and I had musically bonded on a regular basis at the Grassroots Tavern, a haunt in the East Village. We formed what was more or less Lee’s working quartet during those last 10 years of public performance. When Dan was not available, Lee invited German-born pianist Florian Weber to join the quartet — especially when we toured in Europe. However, we were by no means his only working quartet. Lee continued to be in high demand: competing agents and musicians with active label representation had other ideas about rhythm section possibilities that didn’t necessarily include us.

Still, there were several key opportunities for us to play in NYC and stateside throughout the 2010s including a thrilling weekend at the Village Vanguard (a significant high point in my life), two appearances at New York’s annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, and festivals in Newport, New Orleans, and at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. We also played several times in the Boston/Cambridge area at the Regattabar and significantly, at Scullers in December 2018, which turned out to be our last official quartet concert; this time with pianist Bruce Barth and bassist Joe Fitzgerald.

In addition, overseas tours afforded us high-profile gigs at Jazz festivals and clubs all over Europe, Israel, and Asia. One memorable performance was at the Blue Note in Beijing. The club was packed and the audience reacted enthusiastically all weekend. After each gig, long lines formed for autograph seekers. Lee generally grumbled about post-concert autograph signing; always hoping to sneak out and head straight for the hotel. But this time the lines were too long for him to dismiss. Jeremy and I stood there in awe watching these avid fans wait patiently just to get a Konitz scrawl on a piece of paper. There were several who had brought their old Konitz recordings for Lee to sign. One fan with a handful of old 10 inch records under his arm crept up quietly to the signing table and without warning, wept openly in front of Lee. This poor guy had probably waited a generation to see his hero in the flesh, clutching ancient, out-of-print Konitz LPs. It was as if Pope Lee was about to perform a baptism. This, of all places, in Beijing! I was touched as I watched this unfold. It showed Lee’s global reach, especially in that particular corner of the world.

AF: He was pretty elderly at the point when you were playing with him and I imagine you had to make some adjustments for his energy level, etc. What can you tell us about that?

Schuller: We were all cognizant of the fact that Lee in his eighties and early nineties wasn’t going to be the Lee of earlier times. So it was up to us to gauge every situation as it presented itself, to tread carefully and fine tune right on the spot. The object was to make him feel as if he was playing from a soft, comfortable recliner in his living room, although occasionally he may have gotten too comfortable.

As for the gigs, Lee was the ultimate compulsive improvisor. We followed his lead wherever that took us — that was both the challenge and the fun part. He seemed to be up for most of our prodding and toying, yet he could also return the favor on a dime. Lee was acutely aware of his sidemen and of his audience. He was always in the moment and nothing more. That’s what he lived for.

Portugal, Festival International Seixal Jazz 2017: Florian Weber, Jeremy Stratton, Lee Konitz and George Schuller. Photo: João de Barros.

His “line” tunes, the ones based on familiar chord changes like “Kary’s Trance,” “Subconscious-Lee,” “Thingin,” and Tristano’s “317 East 32nd Street,” all had to be slowed down to medium tempo explorations. Ballads like “Round Midnight” and “Darn That Dream” (a possible inspired holdover from the Birth of the Coolsession…?) had now become signature portraits of an aging icon. And Lee was singing more and playing less. Some of that, I believe, was to pace himself over a long set or two but. deep down, he really enjoyed the “wordless singing” (to quote journalist Dan Morgenstern). His singing was merely an extension of his saxophone playing — perhaps a bit pitchy in places, but who cared. It was honest and true, and at times almost heartbreaking.

Sure, he had physical and mental lapses on stage and off; who wouldn’t at that age? But the music was always his clarion call. It amazed me that Lee in his nineties could still find his way through a maze of changes, chorus after chorus, and at the same time be capable of weaving a beautiful, unscripted melody while producing a sound so wide, one could crawl into it. That’s what we all lived for.

AF: In terms of jazz history, how do you think Lee will be remembered?

Schuller: Lee wasn’t one to open up about his accomplishments or what he had yet to achieve, but one of his goals in life was to keep simplifying his approach to improvising. Clear notes and pure sound was his mantra — a kind of stripped-down, daily rationing of everything he had heard, studied, absorbed, and played. Lee had become the perfect jazz Buddhist in a white leisure suit, albeit excused for the occasional kvetch.

In 1977, at the less-than ripe old age of fifty, he said in an interview, “I know in my heart that I’ve paid my dues and I guess I can function as a senior citizen of jazz if I stay in good health…I feel that I’d like to keep going on. And I think as long as I have my marbles about me, I can continue to be as creative as I can be. And that’s fine by me. I’m delighted to be able to do that for a lifetime.” He also quipped, “And I’m working on a double lip embouchure, so when my teeth are gone, I can still play…” Lee’s self-deprecating sense of humor was ceaseless.

Now that Lee has joined Miles, Gerry, JJ, Max, John, Klook, Gil, Gunther and the rest of the Birth of the Cool participants, they can all finally climb on that bus and start the tour they never had.


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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Dave Roper: Lehigh Valley remembers jazz piano man – The Morning Call

Dave Roper: Lehigh Valley remembers jazz piano man – The Morning Call


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https://www.mcall.com/entertainment/lehigh-valley-music/mc-ent-reaction-dave-roper-death-jazz-pianist-20200428-sild4noqmzcd7jwwhp5bhxikim-story.html
 

A key figure: Lehigh Valley remembers jazz piano man Dave Roper

The Morning Call |

Apr 28, 2020 | 8:21 AM 

Dave Roper died April 8 in Bethlehem at the age of 82.

Dave Roper died April 8 in Bethlehem at the age of 82.(Contributed photo / TMC)

Dave Roper, unassuming and formal in person, could instantly quiet a room when he sat behind a piano and started playing jazz classics, especially his signature version of “Rhapsody in Blue.”

The Lehigh Valley music favorite and esteemed educator continues to be mourned and remembered by friends, audiences and students he warmly welcomed over a 60-year career.

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Roper died April 8 in Bethlehem following lingering health issues. He was 82.

He was one of the region’s best-loved musicians. The sharp-witted, understated and personable entertainer built an impressive following — attributable to a 15-year stint at Dorneyville’s King George Inn from 1972 to 1987.

Roper played every Friday and Saturday night during that stretch. No one can recall him missing a show.

“You get a gig with me … it’s pretty long term,” Roper once noted with a wry smile.

He started playing professionally as a solo act at venues in the Easton area during his senior year at Lafayette College. Roper earned degrees in government, English and education from Lafayette and Lehigh University.

Following a stint with the Buddy Harrison Trio, Roper formed his own group in 1961 and performed at the Cellar Door cocktail lounge in Allentown until 1965.

Dave Roper's self-portrait 'Miles Tones' is included in Reflections: A Self-Portrait Show at a Bethlehem City Hall Rotunda exhibit.

Dave Roper’s self-portrait ‘Miles Tones’ is included in Reflections: A Self-Portrait Show at a Bethlehem City Hall Rotunda exhibit.(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO / THE MORNING CALL)

He continued playing throughout the Valley at lounges including Easton’s Intrigue and Bethlehem’s Intimate. Then came his extraordinary run at the King George. Through years playing together in the early ’70s, Roper, Nick Diehm (drums) and Charlie Siegfried (bass) developed a comfy relationship resulting in a natural blend of sound.

On a typical weekend evening of music at the time, Roper’s trio delivered crowd favorites like “But Beautiful,” “Satin Doll,” “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” “Send in the Clowns” and his signature encore, Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

The Yorkshire Room at the King George was better known as “The Roper Room” or “Dave’s Room.” For 15 years, the cozy space was home for the trio’s musicianship, improvisation and playfulness.

Diehm, a former Saucon Valley High School teacher, baseball and soccer coach, remembers his first encounter with Roper’s music. “I was really impressed. Oh my god, I thought, ‘Boy, someday I would love to be a part of that trio.’ They played everything I like, and all the tunes I was familiar with playing.

“As time went on, the band’s drummer (Joe Conahan) was having some health issues. Dave asked me if I’d like to sit in. Then when Joe decided to retire, Dave called me and said, ‘Well, the job’s yours if you want to come aboard.’ And that was how things started for me.

Album cover of Dave Roper Trio's 'Inn Concert: Jazz Lites' featuring Dave Roper (piano), Charlie Sigfried (bass) and Nick Diehm (drums)
Album cover of Dave Roper Trio’s ‘Inn Concert: Jazz Lites’ featuring Dave Roper (piano), Charlie Sigfried (bass) and Nick Diehm (drums)(Cover illustration by Bob Doney)

“I was with Dave for 33 years. It got to the point where I would know what Dave was going to do on stage before he did it. He always told me that,” Diehm recalls. “He wasn’t big on conversation but he talked and loved sports. And like any successful sports team, good chemistry is what you need when you play music together. We had that. I liked to complement what he was doing.

“The trick was, it was fun! I enjoyed the anticipation of every time I was going to play with him. The same way as when I’m coaching or playing sports. I enjoyed being on the field and on the bandstand with Dave.”

The Dave Roper Trio, with only a few lineup changes on drums and bass, proceeded to play around the area for decades — most recently at Hotel Bethlehem, Kirkland Village, occasional Christmas functions and weddings and a dozen special engagements as part of the Jazz Upstairs Series at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown.

“He had such appeal,” notes Ethel Drayton-Craig, Jazz Upstairs Committee Chair and Allentown Symphony Association board member. “He was low-key and quiet but had such humor. He would play and set up the next song with a tongue-in-cheek turn of phrase, and the whole room would be laughing.

Dave Roper (lower right) and his popular trio included drummer Nick Diehm (left) and bass player Charlie Siegfried.
Dave Roper (lower right) and his popular trio included drummer Nick Diehm (left) and bass player Charlie Siegfried.(Contributed photo / TMC)

“Plus, he reached such a wide range of people — not just older people. Sure, people had nostalgia for some songs, but he attracted a younger crowd too — music students, jazz fans. And it would be captivating. You could hear a pin drop when he played at our Jazz Upstairs shows.”

Roper’s most recent bass player in the trio was Paul Rostock, a freelance musician who has toured with Frank Sinatra Jr.’s band and currently teaches music at Moravian College. Rostock fondly looks back on his first gig with Roper.

“Dave called me … and I didn’t really know him that well. It was right around New Year’s and it fell on a weekend. He said there was a birthday party — these were King George people — at Morton’s Steakhouse in Philadelphia. He said they invited him to play and wondered if I was interested. I was really skeptical because I didn’t really know Dave that well. I’m thinking, ‘Ooooh, I’ve gotta drive to Philly and blah, blah, blah?’

“And Dave was all business and formal-like, you know? Like an English teacher? He said, ‘Well, Paul … before you turn me down … you should know that the venue will be providing valet service for the car and will serve us a nice dinner …

“So I drive to Bethlehem to pick up Nick Diehm and we travel down to center city Philly. Sure enough, the wait staff comes out and unloads the car. It was this really nice dinner and the people could not be more surprised to see me because they were used to seeing (former bass player) Charlie Siegfried. So Dave had to explain me, this bearded guy, who showed up. And at the end of it, the host tipped us this huge, generous — I mean, beyond generous — tip.

“I’ll never forget Dave’s face when he handed me the check. He’s just like, ‘Oh, here’s the tip … and the gas money.’ Nick and I drove back to Bethlehem and we were just like, ‘Wow! We made this much money?’”

Drummer Gary Rissmiller — a music teacher at Muhlenberg College who played with Roper for the last few years — remembers how he got his start with the trio. “Dave was actually a substitute teacher of mine in junior high school. And I used to give him such a hard time (laughs). Years later, we used to go to the King George, and Dave and Nick (Diehm) would let me sit in on drums.

“Then years later, Dave calls me up and says, ‘Believe it or not, I had a dream last night about a new band with you on drums and Paul (Rostock) on bass.’

“So this gig comes up at Moravian College and it’s me on drums and Paul on bass. We played and Dave loved it so much that he started using us as regulars. And I said to him, ‘Do you remember me from junior high? And you still want to hire me?’ Haha. Then we played together for the better part of 10 years.”

Judith Harris, an Allentown attorney and Allentown Symphony Association board member, replays her earliest acquaintances with Roper. 

“Growing up on Allentown’s west side, my parents loved taking us to the King George. They loved hearing Dave Roper and his trio. I was a William Allen High School graduate and I had the privilege of being on our Scholastic Scrimmage team. Dave was Emmaus High School’s Scholastic Scrimmage coach. He was a very well-loved English teacher. He has a huge, huge fan base among his former students.”

Harris reflects on Roper’s presence at the King George Inn. “I remember being overwhelmed in this small room by the incredible quality of music. Dave’s a very witty guy and so literate. Hearing him introduce their numbers was as delightful as hearing the performance itself. Wow!

“One of the biggest joys of my life was that … Dave knew I loved when he played ‘Rhapsody in Blue.’ And every time I sponsored a concert in the Rodale Room at Symphony Hall, he would play the Gershwin classic. And his last time playing there, he dedicated it to me. I will never forget that.”

“He had such smart and clever things to say. Just seeing the interaction with his trio … in later days with Paul (Rostock) and Gary (Rissmiller) and the way he assembled his melange of works … He could just kind of make things flow.

“He was hip. He was classical. He was everything in between. He could play anything. And that’s what was so amazing about him.”

Editor’s note: Roper is survived by his wife Barbara, of Bethlehem; brother-in-law, Lloyd Wright; niece, Lisa King. The family requests that you show your support by planting a tree in memory of Dave.

Morning Call Arts & Entertainment Editor Craig Larimer can be reached at 610-778-7993 or at clarimer@mcall.com 

Follow Craig on Twitter @cklarimer

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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At His Centennial, a Jazz Pioneer Still Rings True – WSJ

At His Centennial, a Jazz Pioneer Still Rings True – WSJ


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At His Centennial, a Jazz Pioneer Still Rings True

John Lewis was a visionary pianist who imagined a different look, sound and esteem for jazz.

By 

John Edward Hasse 

April 28, 2020 4:19 pm ET

Pianist and jazz pioneer John Lewis

Photo: ullstein bild via Getty Images

May 3 marks the centennial of jazzman John Lewis, best remembered as the pianist and musical director of the long-lived Modern Jazz Quartet. 

But he was much more. A visionary, he imagined a different sound, look and esteem for jazz. A musical mastermind and organizer, composer, creative catalyst, educator—all these gifts have been undersung. But the quiet, gentle Lewis was uncommonly modest, unseeking of showmanship or stardom. He preferred to let his music speak for itself. 

Raised in Albuquerque, N.M., by his grandmother and great-grandmother, he began piano lessons at age 7 and pursued music and anthropology at the University of New Mexico. After World War II Army service in Europe, he moved to New York, a cauldron of the daring, new bebop style. Lewis wrote arrangements for trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie’s explosive big band and for trumpeter Miles Davis’s seminal “Birth of the Cool” recordings. 

While gigging at night with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and saxophonist Charlie Parker, Lewis earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. He was now deeply in love with Bach, bebop and the blues, not to mention Duke Ellington’s music. 

In 1952, he and the Modern Jazz Quartet began recording, with their novel instrumentation. Their personnel solidified as Lewis on piano, Milt Jackson on vibes, Percy Heath on bass, and Connie Kay on drums remaining essentially the same for four decades (with a seven-year break from 1974 to 1981). With an intimate, fluid sound unlike any other, they became one of the most popular, venerable and elegant small ensembles in jazz or chamber music. Its rapport and interplay were palpable. 

With grace and steely determination, Lewis demanded that the Modern Jazz Quartet denote dignity and command respect with its music and presentation. He insisted that the foursome dress in matching suits, even practice walking on stage. The epitome of professionalism, purpose and preparation, he wrote intricate scores requiring assiduous practice. His interweaving of written-out parts with improvisation was so seamless that many—even other musicians—couldn’t differentiate the two. He strove for an optimal balance among the four instruments, yielding clean, exquisite textures.

With a pianistic style as reserved as his personality, his filigree touch was so light that his left hand might barely graze the outline of a chord. Like late Count Basie, “less is best” describes his keyboard playing.

The descriptor “chamber jazz” was not always applied admiringly to the Modern Jazz Quartet. Some listeners found their music too restrained or classical-sounding, their instruments incapable of the vocalizing of much African-American music. 

Another challenge: Nightclub patrons would talk over the quartet, treating them as sonic wallpaper. The band’s response? They’d play softer until the audience got hip and paid attention. If the audience got too loud, they’d simply walk off the stage. Lewis envisioned the band as concert artists, and they sparkled in recital halls and at festivals. 

From 1974, the double-disc, luminous “Last Concert” provides a splendid introduction to the Modern Jazz Quartet. Other Lewis highlights with the Quartet include his “Django,” a lament for the stellar Belgian-born Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt, which became a jazz standard. Fascinated by Bach’s music, Lewis’s compositions with polyphony and fugal counterpoint are among his finest: “Vendome,” “Concorde,” “Versailles” and “Three Windows.” 

Like many jazz pianists—from Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington to Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock—Lewis excelled at composing. The principal writer for the Modern Jazz Quartet, he also included among his nearly 250 works the scores for ballets, TV shows, and such films as “Odds Against Tomorrow” and “No Sun in Venice.” Whether writing for the Quartet or larger ensembles, Lewis often merged jazz and classical music. Today, genre-crossing is commonplace, but in the 1950s his approach was fresh and provocative.

So knowledgeable and respected was Lewis that, beginning in 1958, for 25 years he served as musical director of the Monterey Jazz Festival. From 1957 to 1960, he directed the pioneering School of Jazz, in Lenox, Mass., training such future luminaries as David Baker and Ornette Coleman. Later he taught at Harvard and City College of New York. When I spoke with him in January 2001, he did not mention his battle with prostate cancer; three months later, he was gone. 

His piano-centric albums “Evolution” (1999) and “Evolution II” (2000), models of wit and economy, marked his swan song. Among the lesser-known of Lewis’s legacies: from the 1980s, his four discs of sensitive improvisations on Bach preludes and fugues from “The Well-Tempered Clavier” with some tracks including guitar, bass and violin. Rarely has a jazz-classical synthesis sounded so accessible and sublime. 

—Mr. Hasse is curator emeritus of American music at the Smithsonian. His books include “Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington” (Da Capo) and “Discover Jazz” (Pearson).

 

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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At His Centennial, a Jazz Pioneer Still Rings True – WSJ

At His Centennial, a Jazz Pioneer Still Rings True – WSJ


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https://www.wsj.com/articles/at-his-centennial-a-jazz-pioneer-still-rings-true-11588105141
 

At His Centennial, a Jazz Pioneer Still Rings True

John Lewis was a visionary pianist who imagined a different look, sound and esteem for jazz.

By 

John Edward Hasse 

April 28, 2020 4:19 pm ET

Pianist and jazz pioneer John Lewis

Photo: ullstein bild via Getty Images

May 3 marks the centennial of jazzman John Lewis, best remembered as the pianist and musical director of the long-lived Modern Jazz Quartet. 

But he was much more. A visionary, he imagined a different sound, look and esteem for jazz. A musical mastermind and organizer, composer, creative catalyst, educator—all these gifts have been undersung. But the quiet, gentle Lewis was uncommonly modest, unseeking of showmanship or stardom. He preferred to let his music speak for itself. 

Raised in Albuquerque, N.M., by his grandmother and great-grandmother, he began piano lessons at age 7 and pursued music and anthropology at the University of New Mexico. After World War II Army service in Europe, he moved to New York, a cauldron of the daring, new bebop style. Lewis wrote arrangements for trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie’s explosive big band and for trumpeter Miles Davis’s seminal “Birth of the Cool” recordings. 

While gigging at night with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and saxophonist Charlie Parker, Lewis earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. He was now deeply in love with Bach, bebop and the blues, not to mention Duke Ellington’s music. 

In 1952, he and the Modern Jazz Quartet began recording, with their novel instrumentation. Their personnel solidified as Lewis on piano, Milt Jackson on vibes, Percy Heath on bass, and Connie Kay on drums remaining essentially the same for four decades (with a seven-year break from 1974 to 1981). With an intimate, fluid sound unlike any other, they became one of the most popular, venerable and elegant small ensembles in jazz or chamber music. Its rapport and interplay were palpable. 

With grace and steely determination, Lewis demanded that the Modern Jazz Quartet denote dignity and command respect with its music and presentation. He insisted that the foursome dress in matching suits, even practice walking on stage. The epitome of professionalism, purpose and preparation, he wrote intricate scores requiring assiduous practice. His interweaving of written-out parts with improvisation was so seamless that many—even other musicians—couldn’t differentiate the two. He strove for an optimal balance among the four instruments, yielding clean, exquisite textures.

With a pianistic style as reserved as his personality, his filigree touch was so light that his left hand might barely graze the outline of a chord. Like late Count Basie, “less is best” describes his keyboard playing.

The descriptor “chamber jazz” was not always applied admiringly to the Modern Jazz Quartet. Some listeners found their music too restrained or classical-sounding, their instruments incapable of the vocalizing of much African-American music. 

Another challenge: Nightclub patrons would talk over the quartet, treating them as sonic wallpaper. The band’s response? They’d play softer until the audience got hip and paid attention. If the audience got too loud, they’d simply walk off the stage. Lewis envisioned the band as concert artists, and they sparkled in recital halls and at festivals. 

From 1974, the double-disc, luminous “Last Concert” provides a splendid introduction to the Modern Jazz Quartet. Other Lewis highlights with the Quartet include his “Django,” a lament for the stellar Belgian-born Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt, which became a jazz standard. Fascinated by Bach’s music, Lewis’s compositions with polyphony and fugal counterpoint are among his finest: “Vendome,” “Concorde,” “Versailles” and “Three Windows.” 

Like many jazz pianists—from Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington to Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock—Lewis excelled at composing. The principal writer for the Modern Jazz Quartet, he also included among his nearly 250 works the scores for ballets, TV shows, and such films as “Odds Against Tomorrow” and “No Sun in Venice.” Whether writing for the Quartet or larger ensembles, Lewis often merged jazz and classical music. Today, genre-crossing is commonplace, but in the 1950s his approach was fresh and provocative.

So knowledgeable and respected was Lewis that, beginning in 1958, for 25 years he served as musical director of the Monterey Jazz Festival. From 1957 to 1960, he directed the pioneering School of Jazz, in Lenox, Mass., training such future luminaries as David Baker and Ornette Coleman. Later he taught at Harvard and City College of New York. When I spoke with him in January 2001, he did not mention his battle with prostate cancer; three months later, he was gone. 

His piano-centric albums “Evolution” (1999) and “Evolution II” (2000), models of wit and economy, marked his swan song. Among the lesser-known of Lewis’s legacies: from the 1980s, his four discs of sensitive improvisations on Bach preludes and fugues from “The Well-Tempered Clavier” with some tracks including guitar, bass and violin. Rarely has a jazz-classical synthesis sounded so accessible and sublime. 

—Mr. Hasse is curator emeritus of American music at the Smithsonian. His books include “Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington” (Da Capo) and “Discover Jazz” (Pearson).

 

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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Jeopardy: Jazz DJs

Jeopardy: Jazz DJs


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Tip Of the Hat to Symphony Sid Gribetz 

  On last night’s broadcast, Jazz DJs was a category in the Double Jeopardy Round, and Phil was one of the answers.  (And the contestants got the Question right!!! – but Alex Trebek could not pronounce Schaap)

http://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=6618

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Dave Stryker Online Jam – Jazz Guitar Today

Dave Stryker Online Jam – Jazz Guitar Today


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https://jazzguitartoday.com/2020/04/dave-stryker-online-jam/
 

Dave Stryker Online Jam

Dave Stryker Organ Trio shares a little grease during these tough times.

By

  
April 27, 2020

 

Dave Stryker: “Looking forward to when we can play together again, instead of alone together…”

Jared Gold on organ, McClenty Hunter on drums, and thanks to Garrett Spoelhof for editing.

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Sam Records and Saga Launch new ARTISAN Record Series Aimed at Jazz and Art Lovers | Analog Planet

Sam Records and Saga Launch new ARTISAN Record Series Aimed at Jazz and Art Lovers | Analog Planet


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https://www.analogplanet.com/content/sam-records-and-saga-launch-new-artisan-record-series-aimed-jazz-and-art-lovers
 

Sam Records and Saga Launch new ARTISAN Record Series Aimed at Jazz and Art Lovers

From the Sam Records press release:

“By the late 1940s, the emergence of vinyl records created new opportunities for graphic artists to express their talent. The new 12” square format seemed particularly suitable for experimentation and many labels became reputed for their innovative designs. Amazingly gifted artists such as David Stone Martin, Jim Flora, Pierre Merlin, Burt Goldblatt or Reid Miles, to name just a few, made a name for themselves illustrating or designing jazz record covers.

ARTISAN will reissue some of the rare and beautiful records that have made the fine days of the vinyl era. We will also issue previously unreleased recordings by some of the greatest performers of blues and jazz.

Every album cover will be manually screen-printed, making each record a unique object. Screen printing is well known to provide vivid colors and refined details, and we have selected the best inks and papers to produce the highest quality record covers possible. The print run for each album will be limited to 300 copies and there will be no repress.

In addition to the fine cover prints, ARTISAN will bring the same level of quality as our previous Sam Records / Saga releases, including meticulous sound restoration, 180g pressing and booklets with photos and liners.”

The first album in the limited to 300 numbered copies series is Donald Byrd’s Byrd Jazz, (Transition TRLP 5), which was the trumpeter’s very first recording. 

 

The Transition Tapes label was started by producer Tom Wilson upon his mid 1950s graduation from Harvard. Wilson eventually became Columbia Records’ first black producers and is best known for producing Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel (Wilson added the electrified backing to “Sounds of Silence” without Paul Simon’s knowledge) and of course while at Verve, The Mothers of Invention and The Velvet Underground. But previous to that he released on his own label the first recordings by both Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor. Unfortunately, in 1957 Transition folded and Wilson moved on to United Artists where he produced albums by Benny Golson, Booker Little, Art Farmer and more Cecil Taylor (with sideman John Coltrane). Wilson had a heart attack and died in 1978 at age 47.

Sam Records’ packaging and presentation are always deluxe but here the label has outdone itself. The jacket is exquisitely presented and includes a booklet explaining the recording’s significance and more useful background.

For more information about ARTISAN Records and to order go to The Sam Records website.

To watch how the jackets are being hand-printed go to this YouTube channel:

 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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The Vinyl? It’s Pricey. The Sound? Otherworldly. – The New York Times

The Vinyl? It’s Pricey. The Sound? Otherworldly. – The New York Times


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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/arts/music/electric-recording-co-vinyl.html?action=click
 

The Vinyl? It’s Pricey. The Sound? Otherworldly.

The Electric Recording Co. in London cuts albums the way they were made in the 1950s and ’60s — literally.

By Ben Sisario

April 28, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET

 

Pete Hutchison, the founder of the Electric Recording Co. label, inspecting a master disc on the record-cutting lathe. Pete Hutchison, the founder of the Electric Recording Co. label, inspecting a master disc on the record-cutting lathe.Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

LONDON — Tucked in a trendy co-working complex in West London, just past the food court and the payment processing start-up, is perhaps the most technologically backward-looking record company in the world.

The Electric Recording Co., which has been releasing music since 2012, specializes in meticulous recreations of classical and jazz albums from the 1950s and ’60s. Its catalog includes reissues of landmark recordings by Wilhelm Furtwängler, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, as well as lesser-known artists favored by collectors, like the violinist Johanna Martzy.

But what really sets Electric Recording apart is its method — a philosophy of production more akin to the making of small-batch gourmet chocolate than most shrink-wrapped vinyl.

Its albums, assembled by hand and released in editions of 300 or fewer — at a cost of $400 to $600 for each LP — are made with restored vintage equipment down to glowing vacuum-tube amplifiers, and mono tape systems that have not been used in more than half a century. The goal is to ensure a faithful restoration of what the label’s founder, Pete Hutchison, sees as a lost golden age of record-making. Even its record jackets, printed one by one on letterpress machines, show a fanatical devotion to age-old craft.

“It started as wanting to recreate the original but not make it a sort of pastiche,” Hutchison said in a recent interview. “And in order not to create a pastiche, we had to do everything as they had done it.”

Electric Recording’s attention to detail, and Hutchison’s delicate engineering style in mastering old records, have given the label a revered status among collectors — yet also drawn subtle ridicule among rivals who view its approach as needlessly expensive and too precious by half.

Braided silver wire made specifically for the company.Tom Jamieson for The New York Times
The silver wire gives the audio signal greater purity.Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Hutchison, 53, whose sharp features and foot-long beard make him look like a wayward wizard from “The Lord of the Rings,” dismissed such critiques as examples of the audiophile world’s catty tribalism. Even the word “audiophile,” he feels, is more often an empty marketing gimmick than a reliable sign of quality.

“Audiophiles listen with their ears, not with their hearts,” Hutchison said. He added: “That’s not our game, really.”

So what’s his game?

“The game is trying to do something that is anti-generic, if you like,” he said. “What we’re doing with these old records is essentially taking the technology from the time and remaking it as it was done then, rather than compromising it.”

To a large degree, the vinyl resurgence of the last decade has been fueled by reissues. But no reissue label has gone to the same extremes as Electric Recording.

In 2009, Hutchison bought the two hulking, gunmetal-gray machines he uses to master records — a Lyrec tape deck and lathe, with Ortofon amplifiers, both from 1965 — and spent more than $150,000 restoring them over three years. He has invested thousands more on improvements like replacing their copper wiring with mined silver, which Hutchison said gives the audio signal a greater level of purity.

The machines allow Hutchison to exclude any trace of technology that has crept into the recording process since a time when the Beatles were in moptops. That means not only anything digital or computerized, but also transistors, a mainstay of audio circuitry for decades; instead, the machines’ amplifiers are powered by vacuum tubes (or valves, as British engineers call them).

“We’re all about valves here,” Hutchison said on a tour of the label’s studio.

Mastering a vinyl record involves “cutting” grooves into a lacquer disc, a dark art in which tiny adjustments can have a big effect. Unusually among engineers, Hutchison tends to master records at low volumes — sometimes even quieter than the originals — to bring out more of the natural feel of the instruments.

He demonstrated his technique during a recent mastering session for “Mal/2,” a 1957 album by the jazz pianist Mal Waldron that features an appearance by Coltrane. He tested several mastering levels for the song “One by One” — which has lots of staccato trumpet notes, played by Idrees Sulieman — before settling on one that preserved the excitement of the original tape but avoided what Hutchison called a “honk” when the horns reached a climax.

“What you want to hear is the clarity, the harmonics, the textures,” he said. “What you don’t want is to put it on and feel like you’ve got to turn it down.”

These judgments are often subjective. But to test Hutchison’s approach, I visited the New Jersey home of Michael Fremer, a contributing editor at Stereophile and a longtime champion of vinyl. We listened to a handful of Electric Recording releases, comparing them to pressings of the same material by other companies, on Fremer’s state-of-the-art test system (the speakers alone cost $100,000).

I am often skeptical of claims of vinyl’s superiority, but when listening to one of Electric Recording’s albums of Bach’s solo violin pieces played by Martzy, I was stunned by their clearness and beauty. Compared to the other pressings, Electric Recording’s version had vivid, visceral details, yielding a persuasive illusion of a human being standing before me drawing a bow across a violin.

“It’s magical what they’re doing, recreating these old records,” Fremer said as he swapped out more Electric Recording discs.

Hutchison is a surprising candidate to carry the torch for sepia-toned classical fidelity. In the 1990s, he was a player in the British techno scene with his label Peacefrog; the label’s success in the early 2000s with the minimalist folk of José González helped finance the obsession that became Electric Recording.

Hutchison’s conversion happened after he inherited the classical records owned by his father, who died in 1998. A longtime collector of rock and jazz, Hutchison was entranced by the sound of the decades-old originals, and found newer reissues unsatisfying. He learned that Peacefrog’s distributor, EMI, owned the rights to many of his new favorites. Was it possible to recreate things exactly has they had been done the first time around?

After restoring the machines, Electric Recording put its first three albums on sale in late 2012 — Martzy’s solo Bach sets, originally issued in the mid-1950s.

Hutchison decided that true fidelity applied to packaging as well as recording. Letterpress printing drove up his manufacturing costs, and some of the label’s projects have seemed to push the boundaries of absurdity.

In making “Mozart à Paris,” for example, a near-perfect simulacrum of a deluxe 1956 box set, Hutchison spent months scouring London’s haberdashers to find the right strand of silk for a decorative cord. The seven-disc set is Electric Recording’s most expensive title, at about $3,400 — and one of the few in its catalog that has not sold out.

Hutchison defends such efforts as part of the label’s devotion to authenticity. But it comes at a cost. Its manufacturing methods, and the quality-control attention paid to each record, bring no economies of scale. So Electric Recording would gain no reduction in expenses if it made more, thus negating the question Hutchison is most frequently asked: Why not press more records and sell them more cheaply?

“We probably make the most expensive records in the world,” Hutchison said, “and make the least profit.”

Electric Recording’s prices have drawn head-scratching through the cliquey world of high-end vinyl producers. Chad Kassem, whose company Acoustic Sounds, in Salina, Kan., is one of the world’s biggest vinyl empires, said he admired Hutchison’s work.

“I tip my hat to any company that goes the extra mile to make things as best as possible,” Kassem said.

But he said he was proud of Acoustic Sounds’s work, which like Electric Recording cuts its masters from original tapes and goes to great lengths to capture original design details — and sells most of its records for about $35. I asked Kassem what is the difference between a $35 reissue and a $500 one.

He paused for a moment, then said: “Four hundred sixty-five dollars.”

Yet the market has embraced Electric Recording. Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, Hutchison said, its records have been selling as fast as ever, although the company has had some production hiccups. The only manufacturer of a fabric that Hutchison chose for a Mozart set in the works, by the pianist Lili Kraus, has been locked down in Italy.

The next frontier for Electric Recording is rock. Hutchison recently got permission to reissue “Forever Changes,” the classic 1967 psychedelic album by the California band Love, and said that the original tape had a more unvarnished sound than most fans had heard. He expects that to be released in July, and “Mal/2” is due in August.

But Hutchison seemed most proud of the label’s work on classical records that seemed to come from a distant era. He pulled out a 10-inch mini-album of Bach by the French pianist Yvonne Lefébure, originally released in 1955. Electric Recording painstakingly recreated its dowel spine, its cotton sleeve, its leather cover embossed in gold leaf.

“It’s a nice artifact,” Hutchison said, looking at it lovingly. “It’s a great record as well.”

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Jazz and blues singer Alton “Big Al” Carson dies at age 66

Jazz and blues singer Alton “Big Al” Carson dies at age 66


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https://www.fox8live.com/2020/04/26/jazz-blues-singer-alton-big-al-carson-dies-age/
 

Jazz and blues singer Alton “Big Al” Carson dies at age 66

April 26, 2020 at 9:28 PM CDT – Updated April 26 at 9:28 PM 

Jazz and blues singer Alton “Big Al” Carson dies at age 66

 

Alton “Big Al” Carson, a fixture at a Bourbon Street bar and live music venue died at the age of 66. (Source: Tropical Isle’s Facebook) 

 

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) – Alton “Big Al” Carson, a fixture at a Bourbon Street bar and live music venue died at the age of 66.

Bourbon Street bars, Funky Pirate and Tropical Isle, posted the news on Facebook on the evening of Sunday, April 26, calling today a “sad day.”

He died on Sunday, April 26, according to Tropical Isle’s Facebook post. 

Carson spent 25 years playing for the Funky Pirate. 

The owners called him a kind soul with an infectious smile and, of course, a talented musician.

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.

Top articles1/5READ MOREIRS enhances Get My Payment online tool to help taxpayers

 

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Take The “A” Train: Surprise Boogie (1956), a Short Jazz Film by Albert Pierru

Take The “A” Train: Surprise Boogie (1956), a Short Jazz Film by Albert Pierru


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https://ehsankhoshbakht.blogspot.com/2020/04/Surprise-Boogie.html?utm_source=feedburner
 

Surprise Boogie (1956), a Short Jazz Film by Albert Pierru


Created by scratching the emulsion and painting on raw film, the fantastically joyous short Surprise Boogie (1956) is an homage to the 1949 Begone Dull Care (image by Norman McLaren, music by Oscar Peterson Trio), the latter known as the most famous example of abstract jazz animation. Conceived as an audiovisual jam session of colours, patterns, forms and volumes on celluloid stripe, Surprise Boogie is the work of filmmaker Albert Pierru who was known for his love for jazz music on which he made various shorts, all using the same method of “camera-less” filmmaking, painting directly on film.

View the film here, courtesy of the Cinémathèque française:
https://cinematheque.tube/videos/watch/c10125be-83bd-4e84-b11f-d1d78bbc71b9?title=0&warningTitle=0&start=12s

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3,000 Interviews. 50 Years. Listen to the History of American Music. – The New York Times

3,000 Interviews. 50 Years. Listen to the History of American Music. – The New York Times


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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/23/arts/music/yale-american-music.html?action=click
 

3,000 Interviews. 50 Years. Listen to the History of American Music.

Vivian Perlis founded Yale’s Oral History of American Music in 1968. Today, the project continues her mission to record the voices of American composers.

By William Robin

April 23, 2020

 

Vivian Perlis, the founder of Yale University’s Oral History of American Music, facing Leonard Bernstein (far right) and Aaron Copland. Vivian Perlis, the founder of Yale University’s Oral History of American Music, facing Leonard Bernstein (far right) and Aaron Copland.Yale University

In 1968, Vivian Perlis, a research librarian at Yale, knew that she needed to talk to Julian Myrick. A man who had spent his life in the insurance business was not the most likely of musicological sources. But Myrick’s business partner had not only been significant in the field of life insurance, but was also one of the most important figures in American music history: the composer Charles Ives, who had died 14 years earlier.

“He was writing music at the time when I first knew him,” Myrick recalled to Perlis, in a Southern drawl. “He worked very hard at it, but people couldn’t understand it.”

Myrick was only the beginning of what became Perlis’s landmark resource, celebrating its 50th anniversary this season: Yale University’s Oral History of American Music. Over the following years, Perlis sought out more of Ives’s friends and acquaintances. “I searched for the oldest and most fragile Ives survivors and often found myself in hospitals and rest homes waiting for an aged Yale classmate or Ives relative to wake from a nap to tell his story,” she would later recall.

She even tracked down the barber who cut Ives’s hair: a man nicknamed Babe, who hadn’t known that his patron was a composer but did remember that Ives once yelled at him to shut off the radio. Perlis assembled these and other recollections into a groundbreaking 1974 book, “Charles Ives Remembered: An Oral History.”

 

Charles Ives: “You know, Babe? Your work reminds me of mine”

Yale Oral History of American Music

 

For the most part, the Oral History of American Music, known as OHAM, has focused not on insurance salesmen or barbers, but has instead gone straight to the source: living American composers, who sit for interviews that can last many hours. The archive has grown to encompass recordings of around 3,000 interviews with major voices in American music.

“When you talk to people, they have this sense of their own value in a way that they haven’t before,” Libby Van Cleve, an oboist and the director of OHAM, said in an interview in January at her office at Yale. Perlis died last year at 91; Ms. Van Cleve became director of the oral history project in 2010, when Perlis retired.

Ms. Van Cleve still frequently conducts interviews with composers, one of her favorite parts of the job. “My husband used to joke, ‘If you weren’t a musician, you’d be an investigative reporter,’” she said. “If I meet somebody new, I’m always asking a lot of questions.”

Perlis, with a similarly inquisitive temperament and an elegant presence, made it her life’s mission to record the voices of American composers. She conducted many hours of interviews with Aaron Copland; after he saw the transcripts, he realized they could form the basis for the book he always meant to write, which became a two-volume autobiography.

She spoke to Nadia Boulanger, the famed French composition teacher, on her 90th birthday in 1977. Boulanger claimed at first that she was too tired to talk, but once Perlis mentioned that she brought greetings from Copland, the grande dame described her pedagogical philosophy in detail.

 

Nadia Boulanger: “One must respect the personality of the other”

Yale Oral History of American Music

 

Perlis foraged for mushrooms during a rainstorm with John Cage. She talked with ragtime composer Eubie Blake, who recounted growing up the son of slaves and bringing his pioneering musical “Shuffle Along” to Broadway in 1921. (He refused to use the word “jazz” in the interview because he believed it was uncouth to say in front of a woman.)

Perlis managed to track down Leo Ornstein — who had been renowned for giving recitals of his radical piano works in the 1910s but had long since vanished into obscurity — in a trailer park in Texas. After Duke Ellington died, OHAM conducted more than 90 interviews with friends, family, and collaborators, yielding a rich collection of essential jazz arcana. (Excerpts from these and other interviews are compiled in the 2005 book “Composers’ Voices from Ives to Ellington,” by Perlis and Ms. Van Cleve.)

 

Eubie Blake: “As a kid, I could always hear something else”

Yale Oral History of American Music

 

In its early decades, the project had a tenuous relationship to the academy — traditional musicologists, dutifully focused on archival texts, were skeptical of oral history, and rarely investigated contemporary music — and a complicated relationship with Yale, where it was continually under-resourced. But through Perlis’s single-minded dedication, the collections expanded. Until the coronavirus outbreak intervened, anniversary celebrations at Yale this spring were to include an exhibition, a public interview with the composer Julia Wolfe, and “reVox,” a multimedia installation of newly commissioned pieces that remix OHAM interviews. OHAM recently started “Alone Together,” a series of short interviews with musicians about their experiences during the pandemic.

For many years, OHAM was located in a basement at the Yale School of Music, stuffed with shelves of tape. Today, its headquarters is tucked away on the third floor of the university’s Sterling Memorial Library, through a series of corridors that wind past an Egyptology reading room and an archive for the papers of James Boswell. A blown-up photograph of a young, suave-looking Aaron Copland greets visitors.

OHAM’s relationship with its parent institution is stronger today than in the past — it is officially part of Yale’s Irving S. Gilmore Music Library — and it doesn’t need as much space as it once did, as reel-to-reel tape has given way to digitization.

In a typical session, interviewers for OHAM — a range of journalists, scholars, and musicians — gather a repository of information from composers. “It needs to feel like a conversation, with the flow and the ease and the informality, but it has to not be a conversation,” Ms. Van Cleve said. “It’s not equal.” The resulting recordings and transcripts yield insights far beyond those found in typical media profiles, offering deep looks into how American composers have lived and worked.

In 1986, David Lang, then a 29-year-old grad student at Yale, spoke to OHAM for several hours: The recording provides a full portrait of a whip-smart, loquacious composer who describes his dissatisfaction with academia, his love of Berlioz’s viola concerto “Harold in Italy,” and his earliest experiments in composition: writing trombone parts to play alongside his father’s recordings of Beethoven’s violin sonatas.

A decade later, Mr. Lang talked with Ms. Van Cleve about why he and his colleagues Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe chose to forego conventional career paths in favor of starting their own renegade organization, Bang on a Can. In 2011, he spoke again with Ms. Van Cleve, three years after he unexpectedly won the Pulitzer Prize. “I am now generally regarded as a successful composer, but it was not very long ago that I was regarded as a barbarian,” he says, trying to come to terms with the direction his life has taken. Multiple stages of a composer’s path are captured on tape. It’s a biographer’s dream.

 

David Lang: “When I was in college, I kept trying to give up being a composer”

Yale Oral History of American Music

 

There are limits to OHAM’s approach. When the two-volume Copland autobiography was published, it was criticized for being too discreet: It omitted any mention of the composer’s sexual orientation, because Copland didn’t talk about it in the interviews.

Once an interview is completed and transcribed, the transcripts are shared with the subjects. They are allowed make small corrections, like fixing incorrect dates or facts. Not all musicians like to see their candid moments written down. Ms. Van Cleve recalled that, despite her clear instructions, one prominent composer liberally took a red pen to his transcript and completely rewrote large passages — and even invoiced Yale for the work.

As an outfit, OHAM remains slim: Ms. Van Cleve works alongside a research archivist, Anne Rhodes, and is assisted by a bevy of student workers. They have made OHAM’s materials more easily available than ever before: Most recordings and transcripts can be requested, without charge, through their website. (Such requests are temporarily limited to the Yale community because of limited resources during the pandemic.) But while the texts will be sent on request, they cannot be downloaded: While making sure they remain accessible to scholars, aficionados, and the general public, Van Cleve wants to insulate the interviews — in which composers often tell candid, personal stories they wouldn’t necessarily give to journalists — from popping up all over the internet.

Over lunch at Mory’s, the Yale dining club, Ms. Van Cleve, Ms. Rhodes and the composer Martin Bresnick discussed Perlis’s legacy and the role of OHAM. Back in the early 1980s, as a young professor at Yale, Mr. Bresnick had sat for his first oral history interview with Perlis.

“I didn’t think I was worthy,” he said. “I am still not worthy!”

“I had not been taken quite so seriously by anybody,” he added. “And she didn’t make it seem like, ‘Oh, we’re taking you hyper-seriously.’ It was just a conversation about things that seemed interesting to me.”

Ms. Van Cleve said, “The non-intentional quality, I think, is really important.” Mr. Bresnick agreed: “It really does allow people to reveal themselves.”

More than half a century after Perlis began interviewing friends of Ives, Ms. Van Cleve’s main goal for OHAM is to do more of the same: to continue to make its work better-known and more accessible, and to continue to capture the history of American music as it plays out.

“The whole point of this resource,” Perlis once said, “is to give you a sense of the person, the sound of the voice, the attitude that comes through.”

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Tiffany Club – 1950/1951 – Jazz Research

Tiffany Club – 1950/1951 – Jazz Research


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Tiffany Club – 1950/1951

April 25, 2020 By  2 Comments

Union 76 Los Angeles City Map, 1952

Tiffany Club (number 2 on the map with the red block) was located at 3260 West 8th Street between Normandie and Mariposa Avenues, west of downtown Los Angeles. The grounds of the Ambassador Hotel (3) were at the end of the block with the ritzy Cocoanut Grove (4) nightclub fronting Wilshire Boulevard. The Haig (1) was located across Wilshire Boulevard at 638 Kenmore Avenue. Chuck Landis obtained a revised maximum capacity rating in 1951 after having the space remodeled increasing the persons allowable from 110 persons to 140. The wall behind the bandstand featured a musical mural with piano keyboards, vinyl records, musical staff lines with notes and a large mirror set at an angle so that patrons had a view of the musicians at work who were set up below the mirror.

The first advertisements for Tiffany Club in Los Angeles newspapers appeared at the end of August 1950 when the booking of Julia Lee was announced as opening September 1, 1950.  The space at 3260 West 8th Street occupied the first floor of a three-story building. Prior to its transformation as Tiffany Club it had been a bar and restaurant. If entertainment was offered it was low key and not promoted in newspapers. The first ad stressed that this was “The New Tiffany Club.”

Julia Lee

Julia Lee was born in Boonville, Missouri, and raised in Kansas City. She began her musical career around 1920, singing and playing piano in her brother George Lee’s band, which for a time also included Charlie Parker. She first recorded on the Merritt record label in 1927 with Jesse Stone as pianist and arranger, and launched a solo career in 1935.

Capitol 40028 (78 single)

In 1944 she secured a recording contract with Capitol Records, and a string of R&B hits followed, including “Gotta Gimme Whatcha Got” (No. 3 R&B, 1946), “Snatch and Grab It” (No. 1 R&B for 12 weeks, 1947, selling over 500,000 copies), “King Size Papa” (No. 1 R&B for 9 weeks, 1948), “I Didn’t Like It The First Time (The Spinach Song)” (No. 4 R&B, 1949), and “My Man Stands Out”.

Julia Lee and Sam “Baby” Lovett

As these titles suggest, she became best known for her trademark double entendre songs, or, as she once said, “the songs my mother taught me not to sing”. The records were credited to “Julia Lee and Her Boy Friends,” her session musicians including Jay McShann, Vic Dickenson, Benny Carter, Red Norvo, Nappy Lamare, Dave Cavanaugh, Vic Dickenson, Red Callender, Sam “Baby” Lovett, Red Nichols and Jack Marshall.

Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1950

Julia Lee’s contract with Capitol and her chart topping hits provided a buffer that provided protection from the morals squad who regularly patrolled nightclubs to monitor activity that was deemed salacious or otherwise inappropriate. Lee’s engagement ended September 28th. Art Tatum opened on the 29th for a two week stay at the club.

Bill Douglass, Red Callender and Art Tatum at Tiffany Club – photo © Howard Morehead

Tiffany’s owner, Chuck Landis, owned the Surf Club at 3981 West 6th Street between South Manhattan Place and Western Avenue. Landis frequently booked the same jazz artists at both clubs. Art Tatum appeared at the Surf Club earlier in 1950 spending February and part of March in residence before Martha Davis opened on March 10th. The Tiffany ads did not clarify if Tatum was working as a solo act or with a trio that frequently accompanied him in clubs. Howard Morehead was one of the photographers who worked jazz clubs regularly. His photo of Art Tatum at Tiffany Club catches Bill Douglass and Red Callender at work.

Los Angeles Times, October 13, 1950
Wini Beatty, Arv Garrison and Vivien Garry
Helen Forrest

Helen Forrest opened at Tiffany on Friday, October 13, 1950. She was accompanied by the Vivien Garry Trio. Forrest’s early career was established as a vocalist with the bands of Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Harry James. Forrest left Harry James in late 1943 in pursuit of a solo career, saying “three years with a band is enough.” She signed a recording contract with Decca and co-starred with Dick Haymes on The Dick Haymes Show on CBS radio from 1944 to 1947. Helen’s first Decca disc, “Time Waits For No One,” reached second place on the Hit Parade, and the radio show achieved top ratings. Haymes was also contracted to Decca, and from 1944 to 1946 the pair recorded 18 duets, 10 of them reaching the Top Ten. Particularly successful were their versions of “Long Ago and Far Away”, “It Had To Be You”, “Together”, “I’ll Buy That Dream”, “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” and “Oh, What It Seemed To Be.”

Darnell Howard, Muggsy Spanier and Ralph Hutchinson at Tiffany Club – photo © Cecil Charles/CTSIMAGES

The timeline between the departure of Helen Forrest and the arrival of Muggsy Spanier and his Dixieland band is not revealed via the ads that Landis placed with the Los Angeles Times. Forrest is shown as still working the club on the 26th of October. The next Tiffany Club ad in the Los Angeles Times is dated November 22, 1950 – no opening next date – just Muggsy Spanier All-Star Dixieland band – with the same ad repeated on November 24th, December 1st, 8th, and 15th. 

Los Angeles Times, November 22, 1950

Spanier’s band’s theme tune was “Relaxin’ at the Touro,” named for Touro Infirmary, the New Orleans hospital where Spanier had been treated for a perforated ulcer early in 1938. At the point of death, he was saved by Dr. Alton Ochsner who drained the fluid and eased his weakened breathing. One of Spanier’s Dixieland numbers is entitled, “Oh Doctor Ochsner.”

‘Relaxin’ at the Touro’ is a fairly straightforward 12-bar blues with a piano introduction and coda by Joe Bushkin. The pianist recalled, many years later: “When I finally joined Muggsy in Chicago (having left Bunny Berigan’s failing big band) we met to talk it over at the Three Deuces, where Art Tatum was appearing. Muggsy was now playing opposite Fats Waller at the Sherman hotel and we worked out a kind of stage show for the two bands. Muggsy was a man of great integrity. We played a blues in C and I made up a little intro. After that I was listed as the co-composer of “Relaxin’ at the Touro.”

The Nat King Cole Trio opened at Tiffany Club the day after Christmas, 1950. The current Cole trio featured Irving Ashby on guitar and Joe Comfort on bass. Cole appeared in the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts in 1944. He was credited on Mercury as “Shorty Nadine”, a derivative of his wife’s name, because he had an exclusive contract with Capitol since signing with the label the year before. 

Joe Comfort, Nat Cole and Irving Ashby

In 1946 the trio broadcast King Cole Trio Time, a fifteen-minute radio program. This was the first radio program to be sponsored by a black musician. Between 1946 and 1948 the trio recorded radio transcriptions for Capitol Records Transcription Service. They also performed on the radio programs Swing SoireeOld GoldThe Chesterfield Supper Club, Kraft Music Hall, and The Orson Welles Almanac. Nat King Cole continued to be booked by Landis for the club over the years. The Nat King Cole Trio ended their engagement on January 20th and Nellie Lutcher opening the following evening.

Lutcher was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the eldest daughter of the 15 children of Isaac and Suzie Lutcher. She was the sister of saxophonist Joe Lutcher. Her father was a bass player and her mother a church organist. She received piano lessons, and her father formed a family band with her playing piano. At age 12, she played with Ma Rainey, when Rainey’s regular pianist fell ill and had to be left behind in the previous town. Searching for a temporary replacement in Lake Charles, one of the neighbors told Rainey that there was a little girl who played in church who might be able to do it.

Nellie Lutcher

Aged 15, Lutcher joined her father in Clarence Hart’s Imperial Jazz Band, and in her mid-teens also briefly married the band’s trumpet player. In 1933, she joined the Southern Rhythm Boys, writing their arrangements and touring widely. In 1935, she moved to Los Angeles, where she married Leonel Lewis and had a son. She began to play swing piano, and also to sing, in small combos throughout the area, and began developing her own style, influenced by Earl Hines, Duke Ellington and her friend Nat King Cole.

She was not widely known until 1947 when she appeared on the March of Dimes talent show at Hollywood High School, and performed. The show was broadcast on the radio and her performance caught the ear of Dave Dexter, a scout for Capitol Records. She was signed by Capitol and made several records, including “The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)” and her first hit single, the risqué “Hurry On Down,” which went to # 2 on the rhythm and blues chart. This was followed by her equally successful composition “He’s A Real Gone Guy”, which also made # 2 on the R&B chart and crossed over to the pop charts where it reached # 15.

San Francisco Examiner, February 2, 1951.

In 1948 she had a string of further R&B chart hits, the most successful being “Fine Brown Frame”, her third # 2 R&B hit. Her songs charted on the pop, jazz, and R&B charts, she toured widely and became widely known. She wrote many of her own songs and, unlike many other African-American artists of the period, retained the valuable publishing rights to them. In 1950, Lutcher duetted with Nat King Cole on “For You My Love” and “Can I Come in for a Second.” Lutcher’s engagement at Tiffany Club ended on the first of February. She opened in San Francisco at the New Orleans Club the next day.

Bulee “Slim” Gaillard, also known as McVouty, was noted for his comedic vocalese singing and word play in his own constructed language called “Vout-o-Reenee”, for which he wrote a dictionary. In addition to English, he spoke five languages (Spanish, German, Greek, Arabic, and Armenian) with varying degrees of fluency.

Slim Gaillard

He rose to prominence in the late 1930s with hits such as “Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)” and “Cement Mixer (Put-Ti-Put-Ti)” after forming Slim and Slam with Leroy Eliot “Slam” Stewart. During World War II, Gaillard served as a bomber pilot in the Pacific. In 1944, he resumed his music career and performed with notable jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Dodo Marmarosa. Gaillard’s engagement was brief as he was replaced on February 9th by Virginia Maison, a piano/vocalist in the same tradition as Julia Lee.

Tiffany Club, early 1951 when Virginia Maison was the headline attraction.
Virginia Maison

Virginia Maison was performing at Larry Potter’s Supper Club in 1949 when she was arrested by plain clothes officers of the Studio City Police Department. She was charged with singing lewd and obscene songs and pleaded guilty. Potter was on the verge of losing his “show permit” that would prevent him from presenting live entertainment in the club. He declared that he was unaware of the nature of Miss Maison’s act and was able to retain his license. Maison paid a $250 fine and continued to perform at other clubs in the early 1950s.

Miss Maison did not encounter any plain clothes officers during her month long engagement at Tiffany Club. The only known photo of the exterior of the club is from the Joyce Tucker Collection. Her father, Jack Tucker, was the host at the club for many years. The area to the left of the building was the parking lot for the club, offered as free parking in ads for the club. 

Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1951
June Christy, Tiffany Club, © Bob Willoughby

Shirley Luster was born in Springfield, Illinois, United States. She moved with her parents Steve and Marie Luster to Decatur, Illinois, when she was three years old. She began to sing with the Decatur-based Bill Oetzel Orchestra at thirteen. While attending Decatur High School she appeared with Oetzel and his society band, the Ben Bradley Band, and Bill Madden’s Band. After high school she moved to Chicago, changed her name to Sharon Leslie, and sang with a group led by Boyd Raeburn. Later she joined Benny Strong’s band. In 1944, Strong’s band moved to New York City at the same time Christy was quarantined in Chicago with scarlet fever.

In 1945, after hearing that Anita O’Day had left Stan Kenton’s Orchestra, she auditioned and was chosen for the role as a vocalist. During this time, she changed her name once again, becoming June Christy.

Her voice produced hits such as “Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy”, the million-selling “Tampico” in 1945, and “How High the Moon.” “Tampico” was Kenton’s biggest-selling record. When the Kenton Band temporarily disbanded in 1948, she sang in nightclubs for a short time, and reunited with the band two years later.

Weeks, Tjader and Brubeck, Zebra Room, 1951.

The Dave Brubeck Trio with Ron Crotty and Cal Tjader first appeared in Los Angeles at The Haig in October and November of 1950. Brubeck told Down Beat that the audience at The Haig just looked at the trio curiously now and then and didn’t stop talking while they played. Brubeck’s trio opened at the Blackhawk in San Francisco on January 16, 1951. The trio continued playing at the club with the Eastman Trio and Mary Ann McCall sharing the billing through March 11th when the trio’s engagement ended. Brubeck received an offer to bring the trio to Los Angeles to appear at Tiffany Club. The trio with Crotty and Tjader opened on March 16th and continued on a double bill with June Christy through April 5th. The Tiffany Club appearance was the last public performance of the original Dave Brubeck Trio with Ron Crotty and Cal Tjader. After returning to the Bay area Brubeck received an offer to perform with the trio in Hawaii at the Zebra Room in Honolulu. Crotty was drafted and could not accompany Brubeck and Tjader. Jack Weeks was hired to replace Crotty and the trio opened on April 16, 1951.

Herb Barman and Dave Brubeck, Tiffany Club © Bob Willoughby

The Brubeck family accompanied Dave to Hawaii and Dave took his sons to Waikiki Beach to enjoy the sun and surf on May 1st. Dave injured himself when he dived into a wave and hit a sandbar. The accident ended their engagement at the Zebra Room. Weeks and Tjader returned to the mainland where they joined Nick Esposito’s band at Fack’s. Brubeck spent several weeks at Tripler army hospital recuperating from the accident. The Brubecks returned to the states in June and Dave was booked to open at the Blackhawk with his new trio on July 2, 1951. The new trio included Paul Desmond who had been contacted by Dave’s wife while he was in the hospital. Desmond had been sitting in with the trio and had worked at devising how his alto would function within the trio’s current repertoire. Fred Dutton became the first permanent bassist with the new trio that included Herb Barman on drums and bongos. Dutton would also leave the group when he was drafted later in the year. Dave Brubeck and His Trio opened at the Surf Club in Hollywood on August 31, 1951 for a ten week stay. The Bob Willoughby photograph of Dave Brubeck and Herb Barman was taken at Tiffany Club in 1951. Most likely the occasion was an informal drop in by Dave’s group while they were performing at Surf Club, Landis’ other club where he had booked Dave. Dave’s informal dress, a Hawaiian shirt, and Paul’s alto saxophone on the piano date the photo as being during the engagement at Surf Club.

Cole, Teagarden, Armstrong, Shaw, Bigard and Hines.

Louis Armstrong formed an all-star group that played clubs and concerts in 1951. The group included Cozy Cole, Jack Teagarden, Arvell Shaw, Barney Bigard, Velma Middleton and Earl “Fatha” Hines. The group had appeared at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium January 30th along with Ward Kimball’s Firehouse Five Plus Two in a concert presentation organized by Gene Norman. Armstrong’s group had appeared earlier in January at Dave Rafael’s 150 Club in San Francisco. Rafael brought them back in April and Gene Norman booked the All-Stars again in December for another double bill at the Pasadena Civic with the Les Brown Band.

Los Angeles Times, April 6, 1951

The Louis Armstrong All-Stars opened at Tiffany Club on April 6th for a two week stay. The George Shearing Quintet had been playing Rafael’s 150 Club in San Francisco until they switched places with the Louis Armstrong All-Stars who opened at Rafael’s 150 Club on April 24th, and the George Shearing Quintet took their place at Tiffany Club on the same day.

Los Angeles Times, April 24, 1951

Hollywood, April 16.—(UP)— Some fans of George Shearing, the famed blind pianist, have offered him their eyes, but he turns them down.

Shearing said today he’d rather stay sightless.

The London-born musician and his famed quintet currently are beating it out at the Tiffany Club where jazz fans in large numbers crowd in to hear him.

Between numbers, Shearing took off his dark glasses, sipped a glass of milk and said he refuses all offers of help for is disability.

“I don’t want to regain my sight, really,” he said in his calm, matter-of-fact English accent.

I’d be afraid of losing my musical aptitude. Right now, you see, I have remarkable hearing.

“Can you imagine the terrific adjustment if you were to lose your sight? It would he just such an adjustment if I gained mine.

I’m happy this way. I’m successful. I have a wife and child, I want nothing else.”

One offer of eyes came from a man in prison, another from a teen-age girl who insisted her parents approved the idea.

“I don’t think anything could be done, anyway.” said Shearing. “I haven’t been to doctors for years, but years ago they told me my case was hopeless.

“I suppose they’ve found out more things by now and something could be done, but I don’t want to go back to them to even find out.

“It isn’t so bad. I can tell light from dark.” he smiled. “I hate it so in hotels when they give me an inside room. Then I can’t even tell when the daylight comes.

“There are other advantages. I’ve never seen color, so I have I no prejudice. I judgc a man for himself, not the color of his skin.”

Shearing lost his sight two works after he was born in the Battersea Slums of London in 1920. At five he began studying music. Ho graduated from a school for the blind and then won recognition at a London jam session. For seven years he was a top jazz artist in England before trekking to the United States. He now lives on a farm in New Jersey.

“I want to be liked for my ability, not my disability.” he said.

Interview by Aline Mosby – United Press Hollywood

McKibbon, Shearing, Foster, Garcia and Roland.

Originally George had planned to be a concert pianist and was working toward that goal, despite the handicap that blindness had given him since birth. But the jazz played by American pianists intrigued him and it wasn’t long before all his efforts were bent in their direction. Since coming to America, George has been extremely successful in clubs and on MGM records. Though very happy with his current quintet (Al McKibbon on bass, Marquis Foster temporarily replacing ailing Denzil Best, guitarist Dick Garcia and vibist Joe Roland), George’s big ambition is to front a large orchestra for which he is currently writing several ambitious pieces of music.

Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1951

The George Shearing Quintet ended their engagement on May 21st, a Monday evening. Sarah Vaughan opened the next evening, May 22nd. Vaughan made several appearances during her stay in Los Angeles. Prior to her opening at Tiffany she performed with the Ike Carpenter orchestra at the Rainbow Gardens ballroom in Pomona.

Pomona Progress Bulletin, May 19, 1951

The Pomona Progress Bulletin published a column noting her upcoming appearance in their May 16th edition. Sarah Vaughan, who has won every major popularity poll of the past year as the nation’s No. 1 woman vocalist, will perform in Rainbow Gardens ballroom on May 19th when Ike Carpenter and his orchestra will occupy the bandstand, the management announced today.

The 23-year-old singer got her start by winning an amateur contest in Harlem’s Apollo theater and a job as vocalist with Earl Hines’ band. She also sang with Billy Eckstine’s band, and set out on her own two-and-a-half years ago. Sarah is now one of the highest paid singers in the country, commanding upwards of $2000 per concert and upwards of $5000 a week for theater engagements.

Sarah was recently dubbed “The New Sound” by the nation’s disk jockeys. The platter-spinners all agree that she is the first new singer to have come along with a completely new style since Ella Fitzgerald.

Some of her favorite songs demanded by her public are “September Song,” “Don’t Worry ’bout Me,” “As You Desire Me,” “Summertime,”    “Fool’s Paradise,” and “I Cried For You.”

Sarah Vaughan © William Gottlieb

Sarah Vaughan performed at the third Cavalcade of Jazz concert held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles which was produced by Leon Hefflin, Sr. on September 7, 1947. The Valdez Orchestra, The Blenders, T-Bone Walker, Slim Gaillard, The Honeydrippers, Johnny Otis and his Orchestra, Woody Herman, and the Three Blazers also performed that same day.

She won Esquire magazine’s New Star Award for 1947, awards from Down Beat magazine from 1947 to 1952, and from Metronome magazine from 1948 to 1953. Recording and critical success led to performing opportunities, with Vaughan singing to large crowds in clubs around the country during the late 1940s and early 1950s. In the summer of 1949, she made her first appearance with a symphony orchestra in a benefit for the Philadelphia Orchestra entitled “100 Men and a Girl.” Around this time, Chicago disk jockey Dave Garroway coined a second nickname for her, “The Divine One”, that would follow her throughout her career.

In 1949, Vaughan had a radio program, Songs by Sarah Vaughan, on WMGM in New York City. The 15-minute shows were broadcast in the evenings on Wednesday through Sunday from The Clique Club, described as “rendezvous of the bebop crowd.”[10] She was accompanied by George Shearing on piano, Oscar Pettiford on double bass, and Kenny Clarke on drums.

Sarah Vaughan’s Tiffany engagement ended the first of June. Chuck Landis brought Muggsy Spanier and His Dixieland Band back to Tiffany Club for two weeks beginning June 6th, the opening night. George Hoefer wrote an extended article tracing Muggsy Spanier’s career in the May 4, 1951 edition of Down Beat.Spanier was the 15th musician to be profiled in Down Beat’s “Bouquets to the Living” series. Spanier was featured on the cover.

Muggsy Spanier

From 1944 to 1947 Muggsy Spanier became one of the leaders at Nick’s in New York, alternating with Miff Mole and others. He became a fixture there and at times the music got very tired. When the Blue Note opened in Chicago he brought a band made up of Mole, Tony Parenti, the late Dave Tough, and Charlie Queener out to play the opening engagement. This led to his desire to again lead a Dixieland combo, and with the revival he has gotten together the most sought-after Dixie band in the country.

Muggsy says all his boys can play and he is happier with this band than any other in his career. It was organized in Chicago after Muggsy spent a year as the featured attraction at Jazz Ltd. During that engagement in 1949 he was considerably irritated when one of the Chicago gossip columnists mentioned, “Muggsy Spanier is currently be-bopping at Jazz Ltd.”

Darnell Howard © Cecil Charles/CTSIMAGES

Last summer the Spanier group received national attention while playing the Dixieland Village of the Chicago Fair of 1950. They were the outstanding feature of the fair, and received personal plaudits from the manager Crosby Kelly in the form of a letter that Muggsy is very proud to have received.

Spanier’s current personnel includes Darnell Howard on clarinet; Floyd Bean, piano; Ralph Hutchinson, trombone, Truck Parham, bass, and Red Cooper, drums.

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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The Best Live Theater to Stream Online Today (April 25 and 26)

The Best Live Theater to Stream Online Today (April 25 and 26)


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The best live theater to stream online on April 25 and April 26

Theaters are closed for now, but you can find great stage stars and events live online today

Adam FeldmanPosted: Saturday April 25 2020

Patti LuPone in Company
Photograph: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg Patti LuPone in Company

The current crisis has had a devastating effect on the performing arts. Broadway is shut down, and the ban on gatherings in New York extends to all other performance spaces as well. So the show must go online—and, luckily, streaming video makes that possible. Here are some of the best theater, opera, dance and cabaret performances you can watch today without leaving home, many of which will help you support the artists involved. 

Events that go live today are at the top of the list; scroll down for ongoing limited runs and bonus material. We update this page completely every day except Sunday, so feel free to bookmark it and check back daily. (All show times are in Eastern Daylight Time.)

Saturday 12:30pm: Schaubühne: Lenin
Berlin’s Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz has long had a reputation as one of the world’s coolest theaters, and its influence has grown in the past 20 years under the leadership of director Thomas Ostermeier, known for his outrageous Regietheater deconstructions of classic works. The theater is currently streaming a different production from its archives every night, in a window that translates to 12:30pm to 6pm Eastern Time. (You can find a full schedule here.) The shows are in German, but a few offer closed captioning in English, which you can access via the cc button at the bottom of the screen. Such is the case with 2017’s Lenin, Swiss provocateur Milo Rau’s portrait of Russian politics in the aftermath of the Communist Revolution, as various figures maneuver around the physically and mentally ailing Vladimir Lenin. 

Lenin // Photograph: Thomas Aurin

Saturday 1pm: The Metropolitan Opera: At-Home Gala
In lieu of an opera tonight, the Met is streaming a three-hour matinee gala. The event features dozens of Met artists performing from their homes around the world, including Anna Netrebko, Renée Fleming, Jonas Kaufmann, Elīna Garanča, René Pape, Diana Damrau, Bryn Terfel, Angel Blue and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. (You can watch it up until 6:30pm on Sunday evening.)

Anna Netrebko in Les Contes d’Hoffmann // Photograph: Courtesy Ken Howard

Saturday 2pm: Plays in the House: Arms and the Man
Twice a week, the invaluable Stars in the House series, which usually features interviews and musical interludes (see 8pm below), tries something different: one-time-only live performances of plays in their entirety. Previous efforts—including The Heidi ChroniclesFully Committed and The Little Dog Laughed—came off smashingly. Now the series welcomes Gingold Theatrical Group’s David Staller, who specializes in works by George Bernard Shaw, for a reading of the Bearded One’s 1894 comedy about honor and romance, set during and after the Serbo-Bulgarian War. The starry cast, directed by Staller, includes Santino Fontana, Phillipa Soo, Alison Fraser,  Daniel Davis, Tom Hewitt, Daniel Jenkins and Lauren Molina.(Unlike most Stars in the House offerings, this will not be available on video later, so clear time to watch it live.)

Phillipa Soo // Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Saturday 2:30pm: Martha Graham Dance Company: Lamentation
The queen of modern dance’s legacy lives on. In this edition of its Martha Matinees series on YouTube, the dance company that bears her name shares archival footage related to Graham’s iconic Lamentation (1930), which stages grief through the image of a seated solo dancer struggling within a tube of purple fabric. The selections include a newly uncovered film of Graham dancing the piece herself. Artistic director Janet Eilber is on hand for live Q&A during the group watch, joined by guests including past Lamentation performers Joyce Herring and Peggy Lyman.

Martha Graham in Lamentation // Photograph: Courtesy Barbara Morgan/Martha Graham Resources

Saturday 3pm: Trump Lear
You may know David Carl from his portrayal of Gary Busey in his standout one-man comedy show, David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet. Now Carl plays an actor named Carl David (try to keep up), who evokes the wrath of Donald Trump by portraying the President in a solo version of King Lear, Shakespeare’s portrait of a senescent ruler whose vanity tears his country apart. Carl now performs the show live on Zoom from his home in Brooklyn. Tickets are $12.

Trump Lear // Photograph: Courtesy Anthony Velez

Saturday 5pm–10:30pm: Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar
The beloved West Village institution keeps the show tunes rolling merrily along every night of the week. Read all about it here. Join the Maries Group page on Facebook to watch from home, and don’t forget to tip the pianist and staff through Venmo. Tonight’s scheduled pianists are Franca Vercelloni (@Franca-Vercelloni) and Michael James Roy (@MichaelJames-Roy).

Saturday 7pm: all decisions will be made by consensus
The downtown arts complex HERE rises to the challenge of the moment with the premiere of what it bills as “the world’s first Zoom opera”: an original 15-minute comic work by the noted composer Kamala Sankaram and librettist Rob Handel, set in a factious online meeting of social activists. Artistic director Kristin Marting directs a cast led by bass-baritone Zachary James—who created the roles of Abraham Lincoln in Philip Glass’s The Perfect American and Lurch in Broadway’s The Addams Family—and featuring bass Paul An, the veteran experimental vocalist Joan LaBarbara and Orange Is the New Black’s Joel Marsh Garland. 

Kamala Sankaram // Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

8pm: Brian Nash
A wizard at the piano and an ace musical director, Brian Nash is also an exuberant showman when he takes the mic himself—as he usually does on Sunday nights at the Duplex in the West Village, where he has held court for the past decade or so. Tonight he brings the magic to Facebook Live. In lieu of a tip jar, you can Venmo him at @BrianJNash. (If you do it in advance, feel free to include a request.) 

Brian Nash // Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

8pm: Metropolitan Playhouse: Old Love Letters
The dramatic archaeologists of the Metropolitan Playhouse unearth Bronson Howard’s 1878 one-act about a young widow who is unexpectedly reunites with her first love, who is conveniently a widower himself. The company’s artistic director, Alex Roe, directs this 45-minute reading (which streams via YouTube and Zoom) as part of the company’s continuing Virtual Playhouse project.

Saturday 8pm: Through the Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice In Wonderland
Callooh! Callay! Seattle burlesque impresarios Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann go down all sorts of rabbit holes in an online edition of their lavishly naughty Lewis Caroll-inspired pageant, Through the Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice In Wonderland. This three-hour interactive experience centers on a recording of the show’s 2019 iteration, but performers from the large cast are on hand for live-streamed commentary as well as preshow “backstage” visits and postshow Q&As, and a jazz combo performs at intermission. Tickets are $25; additional tips for the artists are welcome. 

Saturday 9pm: Serials @ The Flea: Online!
Beer, bands and youth fuel this weekly competition, in which the Flea’s enthusiastic resident company, the Bats, pits five serial plays against one another; the winning writers return with new installments, while the losers must start from scratch. Tonight the Tribeca company takes the fun to Instagram and YouTube with playlets specifically crafted for digital delivery; a $15 donation is suggested. (Voting stays open until midnight on Tuesday.)

Sunday 1pm: Through the Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice In Wonderland 
See Saturday 8pm.

Through the Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice In Wonderland // Photograph: Courtesy Angela Sterling

Sunday 2pm: Stars in the House: Stephen Sondheim celebration
Showtune savant and SiriusXM host Seth Rudetsky (Disaster!) and his husband, producer James Wesley, are the animating forces behind this ambitious and very entertaining series to benefit the Actors Fund. Twice a day, at 2pm and 8pm, they play host to a different theater star for a live, chatty interview interspersed with songs. (Rudetsky is an expert at sussing out good stories.) Dr. Jon LaPook, the chief medical correspondent for CBS News, provides periodic updates on public health; surprise virtual visitors are common as well. Today’s matinee edition ramps up tonight’s big Sondheim celebration (see 8pm) below with past cast members of Sondheim musicals, including Company belter Pamela Myers and Into the Woods’s Little Red Riding Hood, Danielle Ferland.

Sunday 3pm: all decisions will be made by consensus
See Saturday 7pm.

Saturday 4pm–9:30pm: Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar
See Saturday 5pm. Tonight’s scheduled pianists are Adam Michael Tilford (@Adam-Tilford-1) and Dan Daly (@DanDalyMusic).

Sunday 6:30pm: Alice Ripley & Emily Skinner: Unattached
The city’s top supper club, Feinstein’s/54 Below, offers shows from its archives, streamed live on YouTube for one night only, in its ongoing series #54BelowatHome. In tonight’s edition, from 2016, the original stars of the conjoined-twin musical Side Show reunite to perform their first show together in nearly a decade. Both have had substantial careers since their joint 1997 breakthrough, and it is fascinating to see how Ripley’s edgy presence and rough-edged rock voice interplays with Skinner’s vivacious, Broadway-broad approach.

Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley // Photograph: Courtesy Feinstein’s/54 Below

Sunday 7pm: Susan B. and the Tennessee Waltz
The East Village arts complex Theater for the New City offers another in its series of live readings on its Facebook page. Toby Armour’s play, directed by Geoge Ferencz, marks the bicentennial of Susan B. Anthony’s birth with a salute to the feminist icon and dollar-coin model’s life and legacy.

Sunday 7:30pm: The Metropolitan Opera: La Cenerentola
The Met continues its immensely popular rollout of past performances, recorded in HD and viewable for free. A different archival production goes live at 7:30pm each night and remains online for the next 23 hours. The fifth week of offerings concludes tonight with Rossini’s 1817 version of the Cinderella story, written just a year after his grand success with The Barber of Seville. Fabio Luisiconducts this 2014 performance, which stars Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez.

La Cenerentola // Photograph: Ken Howard

Saturday 8pm: Together in Pride: You Are Not Alone 
Billy Eichner and Lilly Singh host this glam-packed GLAAD fundraiser for LGBTQ centers across the country. Performers include Kesha, Melissa Etheridge, Alex Newell, the cast of Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill and recent Little Shop of Horrors costars Mj Rodriguez and George Salazar; other participants include Pete and Chasten Buttigieg, Matt Bomer, Adam Lambert, Bebe Rexha, Dan Levy, Wilson Cruz, Kathy Griffin, Gigi Gorgeous, Nats Getty, Michelle Visage, Javier Muñoz, Sean Hayes, Sharon Stone, and Tatiana Maslany, Billy Porter, Rosie O’Donnell, Jonathan Van Ness, Brian Michael Smith, Ross Mathews and Tyler Oakley. 

Billy Eichner // Photograph: Amanda Friedman

Sunday 8pm: Hybrid Movement Company: Nowhere
The cross-disciplinary collective Hybrid Movement Company merges dance, aerialism, physical theater, music, poetry and film in a 45-minute performance piece on Zoom, performed live by five members who are quarantined together at the group’s home and studio and augmented with recorded material by five members participating remotely. Suggested donations start at $10. 

Hybrid Movement Company // Photograph: You Bin Photography

Sunday 8pm: Take Me to the World: a Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration
For Broadway fans, this promises to be not just the live concert event of the week, but perhaps of the isolation era to date. No living musical-theater artist is more revered than Stephen Sondheim, and for good reason: from his lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy to his full scores of shows including Sweeney ToddFolliesA Little Night MusicInto the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George, Sondheim has sculpted a peerless body of work. So it makes sense that this concert tribute features a truly astonishing galaxy of stars. Produced and hosted by the intense, cavern-voiced leading man Raúl Esparza—who headlined the 2005 revival of Sondheim’s Company—the show is being platformed on Broadway.comand YouTube as a fund-raiser for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty)/ You will want to sit down before you look at the list of performers. Are you ready? Here goes: Meryl Streep, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban, Kristin Chenoweth, Ben Platt, Jake Gyllenhaal, Christine Baranski, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Donna Murphy, Lea Salonga, Sutton Foster, Neil Patrick Harris, Katrina Lenk, Annaleigh Ashford, Laura Benanti, Michael Cerveris, Randy Rainbow, Aaron Tveit, Judy Kuhn, Linda Lavin, Melissa Errico, Beanie Feldstein, Maria Friedman, Iain Armitage, Brandon Uranowitz, Stephen Schwartz, Elizabeth Stanley, Chip Zien, Alexander Gemignani and recent Pacific Overtures revival cast members Ann Harada, Austin Ku, Kelvin Moon Loh and Thom Sesma. (There will also be special appearances by Victor Garber, Joanna Gleason, Nathan Lane and Steven Spielberg.) Need we say more? Good, because that list has taken it out of us. Can they pull off an event of this magnitude? We’re excited and scared. And like everyone else, we’ll be watching.

Stephen Sondheim // Photograph: Emilio Madrid-Kuser 

NOTE: If you would like to be considered for this page, please write to Adam Feldman at theaterfromhome@gmail.com. Listings continue below. 

You can still read our latest issue from the comfort of your couch

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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R.I.P. legendary artist and producer Hamilton Bohannon | SoulTracks – Soul Music Biographies, News and Reviews

R.I.P. legendary artist and producer Hamilton Bohannon | SoulTracks – Soul Music Biographies, News and Reviews


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https://www.soultracks.com/story-hamilton-bohannon-dies
 

R.I.P. legendary artist and producer Hamilton Bohannon

(April 25, 2020) He was a music lifer who contributed to several momentous periods in music and also created an iconic dance jam. We are very sad today to report the passing of the great Hamilton Bohannon at age 78

Bohannon moved from his native Georgia to Detroit as a young man to perform as a drummer in a teenage Stevie Wonder’s touring band. It led to a job at Motown leading the touring musicians for many of the label’s biggest artists in the late 60s and early 70s, including The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and The Supremes. He also wrote for Gaye and other artists during his stay at Motown.

Bohannon fronted his own musical act in the 1970s and released a series of albums that created for him a following in the developing dance and disco communities. His first major hit was “Foot Stompin Music” in 1975 and the international smash “Disco Stomp.” But it was his move to Mercury Records later in the decade that led to the peak of his recording success. “Let’s Start The Dance” became an across-the-board smash and one of the most iconic songs of the disco era. He also produced other artists during this period, including legendary Detroit singer Carolyn Crawford.

In the 1980s, Bohannon continued his success with his own label, working both as an artist and as a producer. And with the rise of the hip-hop era, his songs found new life. Their infectious beats and big sound became the sampled foundation for several hip-hop songs by countless artists as Snoop Dogg, Digable Planets, and Jay Z. He also fulfilled many fathers’ dream, working with his son, Hamilton Bohannon II, and, in an ultimate honor, had a street named after him in his birth town of Newnan, Georgia.

Hamilton Bohannon was an incredibly talented music man whose work – both up front and supporting others – was pivotal in the development of R&B and dance music for two decades. And he always, ALWAYS, got us moving. He will be missed.

By Chris Rizik

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Gene Deitch, Prolific Animator, Is Dead at 95 – The New York Times

Gene Deitch, Prolific Animator, Is Dead at 95 – The New York Times


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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/24/arts/gene-deitch-dead.html?action=click
 

Gene Deitch, Prolific Animator, Is Dead at 95

In a 60-year career, he created Tom Terrific, revived Tom and Jerry and won an Academy Award for a cartoon based on a Jules Feiffer story.

By Neil Genzlinger

Updated April 25, 2020, 12:56 a.m. ET

 

Gene Deitch in 1957 with his sons Kim, left, and Simon and a drawing of his creation Tom Terrific, the hero of series of cartoons broadcast on the children’s television show “Captain Kangaroo.” Gene Deitch in 1957 with his sons Kim, left, and Simon and a drawing of his creation Tom Terrific, the hero of series of cartoons broadcast on the children’s television show “Captain Kangaroo.” CBS, via Getty Images

Gene Deitch, an Oscar-winning animator who created the early television cartoon “Tom Terrific” and went on to make countless cartoons and film versions of popular children’s books for more than a half-century, died on April 16 in Prague, where he lived. He was 95.

His son Kim Deitch confirmed the death.

Mr. Deitch’s vast output included shorts shown ahead of feature films in theaters when that practice was common, cartoons for TV’s black-and-white era, and works aimed at the grandchildren of his earliest fans. His films often showed a subtle sophistication beneath a seemingly simple premise and design.

There was, for instance, his “Nudnik” series, made in the mid-1960s and discovered by later generations when it aired on Cartoon Network in 1996. The title character was a sad-sack type, but, like Charlie Chaplin and Nudnik’s other predecessors in the art of droll comedy, there was a humanity in his haplessness.

“Nothing ever goes Nudnik’s way,” Tom Maurstad wrote in The Dallas Morning News in 1996, “but he keeps on going, creating little moments of improbable beauty along the way.”

 

 

 

There was a similar complexity in Mr. Deitch’s short “Munro,” an animated version of a Jules Feiffer story about a 4-year-old who is drafted into the Army and tries in vain to convince various authority figures that he is just a child. In a little under eight and a half minutes, the film mocks the military mind-set and empty jingoism while creating a picture of an overwhelmed young boy that could melt the hardest heart.

For “Munro,” which won the Oscar for best animated short subject in 1960, and for many of his other projects, Mr. Deitch (pronounced “dych”) essentially had to master someone else’s artistic style. He made his film version of “Munro” look like Mr. Feiffer’s drawings. The same was true of some of his early work for the animation studio United Productions of America, known as UPA, in the 1940s.

 

 

 

“That’s the basis of my work,” he told Gary Groth, a comic book editor and publisher, in a 2008 interview. “I’ve learned how to recreate anybody’s drawing style. I keep telling people there’s no such thing anymore as a Gene Deitch style.”

“Our secret aim,” he told The Chicago Tribune in 1985, when he was creating short films based on children’s books for Weston Woods Studios,“is to give the impression that the author has personally made the film.”

Eugene Merrill Deitch was born on Aug. 8, 1924, in Chicago to Joseph and Ruth (Delson) Deitch. He was, it seems, born to be an animator.

“I made little kid newspapers, using carbon paper, hectograph gelatin and mimeograph stencils,” he wrote in “How to Succeed in Animation” (2001), a mix of autobiography and advice. “I put up a bedsheet on the wall and made a slide projector out of a shoe box, with a toilet paper tube and a magnifying glass as a lens. I made little comic strips.”

Mr. Deitch grew up in Los Angeles, and his gear became more sophisticated. “All those things,” he said, “the drawing, the writing for an audience, the love of technical gadgetry related to putting on a show, all eventually came together to prepare me for becoming an animation director.”

But it was his love of jazz that was his entree to the business, which was tough to crack because there was a cartoonists’ union.

 

Among Mr. Deitch’s earliest jobs while working in Prague was making new “Tom and Jerry” cartoons for MGM. He ran into several obstacles. Among Mr. Deitch’s earliest jobs while working in Prague was making new “Tom and Jerry” cartoons for MGM. He ran into several obstacles.Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

In 1945, after graduating from Venice High School and serving in the Army during World War II, Mr. Deitch was on the art staff in the sales promotion department at CBS when he sent some drawings to The Record Changer, a jazz publication.

The magazine published them, and more followed. (His Record Changer drawings were published in a book, “The Cat on a Hot Thin Groove,” in 2003.) There were jazz fans at UPA, and he ended up there as an apprentice designer.

Mr. Deitch worked on safety films for the military and some of the earliest Mr. Magoo cartoons. He moved to a Detroit studio for a time, but in 1951 UPA lured him back to help open its New York office. Among his biggest successes there was a series of animated commercials for the Brooklyn beer Piels, with Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding — the comedy team Bob & Ray — providing the voices.

“The beer was dreadful,” Mr. Deitch wrote, “but the commercials boosted its sales phenomenally.”

In 1956, CBS hired him to manage Terrytoons, a venerable cartoon studio it had just bought. His signature creation there, in 1957, was Tom Terrific, the hero of a serial cartoon broadcast as part of the children’s show “Captain Kangaroo.”

Mr. Deitch, though, found the atmosphere at Terrytoons hostile.

“After three years,” he wrote in his memoir, “For the Love of Prague” (1995), “I pulled the knife from my back, and in May 1958, I set up my own animation studio.”

A project on his wish list was to turn Mr. Feiffer’s story of the drafted 4-year-old into an animated film. He made a deal with William L. Snyder, a producer who had founded Rembrandt Films in Prague, and “Munro” got made.

Mr. Deitch’s son Seth, who was 3, provided the voice of the title character. (“To this day my favorite fun fact about myself is that I starred in an Oscar-winning movie,” Seth Deitch said by email. “It is a claim that being able to prove true has won me a number of rounds of drinks.”)

 

Mr. Deitch in 2018 with a copy of his memoir, “For the Love of Prague.” He often spoke of his affection for the city, where he lived since the early 1960s. Mr. Deitch in 2018 with a copy of his memoir, “For the Love of Prague.” He often spoke of his affection for the city, where he lived since the early 1960s.Vit Simanek/CTK, via Associated Press

Part of the deal with Mr. Snyder was that Mr. Deitch had to go to Prague to work on Rembrandt films there. On his first trip, Mr. Deitch met the production manager at Mr. Snyder’s studio, Zdenka Najmanova.

“She could charm the spots off a Dalmatian,” Mr. Deitch wrote on his website. After he and his first wife, Marie (Billingsley) Deitch, divorced, he and Ms. Najmanova were married in 1964. Mr. Deitch spent the rest of his career in Prague.

Among his earliest jobs there was making new entries in the “Tom and Jerry”series of cat-and-mouse cartoons, which had been popular in the 1940s and ’50s and MGM asked him to revive in 1961. One obstacle was that none of the Czech animators he worked with had ever seen a “Tom and Jerry” cartoon. (The 12 he made have a decidedly different look from that of their predecessors.) And then there was the matter of the credits, a touchy subject in the midst of the Cold War.

“Obviously, we could not put ‘Made in communist Czechoslovakia’ on our titles,” Mr. Deitch wrote. “We were not even allowed to credit any Czechs with their true names.”

Later in his career, he made animated version of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” (1975), Diane Paterson’s “Smile for Auntie” (1979), Tomi Ungerer’s “Moon Man” (1981) and numerous other well-regarded children’s books.

Seth and Kim Deitch and another son from Mr. Deitch’s first marriage, Simon, are all illustrators. In addition to his sons, Mr. Deitch is survived by his wife, a granddaughter and a great-granddaughter.

In a 1975 interview with The New York Times, Mr. Deitch, who often made the soundtracks for his films in a home studio, talked of his affection for Prague, whose history goes back centuries.

“Where else could you come out of a studio,” he said, “make a cup of coffee at your own stove and look out at that old tower, where a real alchemist used to work at turning base metals into gold?”

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Finding a City’s Soul Without Jazz Fest By Larry Blumenfeld  – WSJ

Finding a City’s Soul Without Jazz Fest By Larry Blumenfeld  – WSJ


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https://www.wsj.com/articles/finding-a-citys-soul-without-jazz-fest-11587505973
 

Finding a City’s Soul Without Jazz Fest

The year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival may be canceled, but that doesn’t mean the music that makes up its DNA can’t be savored.

By 

Larry Blumenfeld 

April 21, 2020 5:52 pm ET

A crowd at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May 2019

Photo: J Keaton/Shutterstock

At the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, in 1970, official attendance was 350. Last year’s 50th edition drew nearly a half-million fans, mostly out-of-towners. Not long before playing the festival’s Jazz Tent, pianist Ellis Marsalis looked around and told me, “This was a good idea in 1970, and it remains one today.”

That good idea has been unstoppable, even in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Yet due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jazz Fest, like most of life, is on hold—canceled until next year. Ellis Marsalis is gone, one of a growing list of jazz musicians who have succumbed to Covid-19 that includes saxophonist Lee Konitz and trumpeter Wallace Roney.

Fans who would be landing at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport but are instead hunkered down at home know there’s nothing like hearing the Crescent City’s great musicians in their hometown. WWOZ, the New Orleans radio station that broadcasts live from a Jazz Fest hospitality tent each year, will fill some of the void. “Jazz Festing in Place,” a virtual festival of live recordings from past Jazz Fests, will air on the station’s website from noon to 8 p.m. EDT on what would have been Jazz Fest days—April 23 to 26 and April 30 to May 3. 

Still, this moment invites reflection on a basic question: What gives New Orleans music its singular sound and inimitable appeal? 

“It’s the humidity,” pianist David Torkanowsky told me after last year’s Jazz Fest. “Danny Barker used to point out to young musicians that New Orleans is surrounded by water on all sides—that, in essence, we are underwater.” (Technically, roughly half of New Orleans is at or below sea level.) Barker, a banjoist and guitarist, left New Orleans, played with the likes of Jelly Roll Morton and Charlie Parker during a long stretch in New York and, once back home, founded the Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band, reigniting indigenous musical traditions.

“Danny was letting us know that here, you have to push through this extra density,” Mr. Torkanowsky said. “That’s why trumpeters have such a big sound here. We push out a joyful noise against physical resistance in the form of the water, the humidity. But we also give in to it, too, because on a humid Southern night a slow pace is the most effective way to communicate. Our music has a dignity imposed upon it by the place we learned to play.” There are other distinguishing musical qualities, including danceable rhythms, redolent of parades, collective improvisation and a reverence for melody.

The Olympia Jazz Band at New Orleans’ Mardi Gras in 1978, as seen in Les Blank’s documentary ‘Always for Pleasure’ 

Photo: Everett Collection

By 1928, when Louis Armstrong recorded “West End Blues,” named for a then-popular picnic and entertainment area along Lake Pontchartrain, he had left New Orleans for Chicago. Still, the opening cadenzas of his take on King Oliver’s composition reveal, along with spectacular ingenuity and daring, that power Barker noted. As for that slower pace, that dignity, Allen Toussaint, the pianist-songwriter-producer whose hits emblazoned his city’s sound across generations and genres, had a particular feel for it. If his “Southern Nights” sounded heavy-handed in Glen Campbell’s version, for Toussaint it was a meditation. During a 2011 solo performance at Joe’s Pub in New York (on YouTube) he embedded it with a long reminiscence of childhood trips into the Louisiana countryside, recalling the closeness of family, the heavy calm of humid nights and the mysteries “in the trees.” 

In his 1960 autobiography, “Treat It Gentle,” the great New Orleans clarinetist Sidney Bechet described his city’s music as, essentially, one long “remembering song.” Though steeped in pain and sorrow, that cultural memory finds expression mostly through joyous communal rituals (the very things the Covid-19 crisis robs from us).

Little captures that essence like “Always for Pleasure,” Les Blank’s 1978 love letter of a documentary about New Orleans. As plot, the film mostly follows second-line parades and other processions that run like river currents through city streets, punctuated by private revelations. Trumpeter “Kid Thomas” Valentine muses on mortality; Blank cuts to a jazz funeral that moves from somber dirge to up-tempo rhythm. A young Irma Thomas (still the “Soul Queen of New Orleans”) shares her recipe for red beans and rice; when she speaks of “coming to a boil” and sustaining “a slow burn,” she might as well be addressing the music in which she is steeped. 

If Blank’s true-life New Orleans scenes seem surreal, the reality of what is (but might, following Katrina, have been lost) is best conveyed through fiction in David Simon’s “Treme,” which ran on HBO for four seasons. The series regularly featured extended musical sequences (some of TV’s best), beginning with a re-creation of the first second-line parade following the hurricane. Playing “Feel Like Funkin’ It Up,” the Rebirth Brass Band led Social Aid & Pleasure Club members past carcasses of former houses, displaying how, as Mr. Simon told me, “New Orleans came back one second-line at a time, one moment at a time.” Soon Antoine Batiste, the freelance musician played by actor Wendell Pierce, offers his character’s opening monologue as could happen only in New Orleans—wordlessly, on trombone. 

Strong feature-length documentaries abound regarding New Orleans culture. Royce Osborn’s 2008 “All on a Mardi Gras Day” reveals essential and enigmatic traditions, such as New Orleans’s feathered-and-beaded Black Indians. Lily Keber’s 2013 “Bayou Maharajah” showcases one in the long line of brilliant and idiosyncratic New Orleans pianists, James Booker. 

Yet sometimes the allure of New Orleans music requires just minutes. Clarinetist Michael White (now a perennial Jazz Fest headliner and Xavier University professor) spent his earnings from his first parade with Doc Paulin’s Brass Band on a record by clarinetist George Lewis. He was especially enthralled by “Burgundy Street Blues” (a riveting version, filmed at a 1959 German festival and clocking in at 2:51, is on YouTube). “From the first note, it was as if I had been living in darkness and a bulb was turned on,” Mr. White said. “He didn’t sound like a clarinet player as much as a person telling a story, explaining through sound what it feels like being from New Orleans.” Or what it’s like to arrive there—if only, for now, in our minds.

—Mr. Blumenfeld writes about jazz and Afro-Latin music for the Journal.

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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10 Women in Jazz Who Never Got Their Due – The New York Times

10 Women in Jazz Who Never Got Their Due – The New York Times


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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/arts/music/women-jazz-musicians.html?action=click
 

PLAYLIST

10 Women in Jazz Who Never Got Their Due

We’re often taught to think of jazz’s history as a cavalcade of great men and their bands, but from its beginnings the music was often in the hands of women. Listen to some of the greatest.

 

From left: Valaida Snow, Lil Hardin Armstrong and Una Mae Carlisle, three instrumentalists who made a big impression in their day. From left: Valaida Snow, Lil Hardin Armstrong and Una Mae Carlisle, three instrumentalists who made a big impression in their day.Credit…Popperfoto/Getty Images; Gilles Petard/Redferns, via Getty Images; Afro Newspaper/Gado, via Getty Images Giovanni Russonello

By Giovanni Russonello

  • Published April 22, 2020Updated April 23, 2020, 1:47 p.m. ET
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Young, female instrumentalists have been establishing a firmer footing in jazz, taking some of the music’s boldest creative stepsand organizing for change on a structural level. But this isn’t an entirely new development.

While we’re often taught to think of jazz’s history as a cavalcade of great men and their bands, from its beginnings in the early 20th century women played a range of important roles, including onstage. During World War II, right in the heart of the swing era, all-female bands became a sensation, filling the void left by men in the military. But in fact they were continuing a tradition that had begun in the vaudeville years and continued, albeit to a lesser degree, in jazz’s early decades.

Prevented from taking center stage, many female instrumentalists became composers, arrangers or artists’ managers. Buffeted by sexism from venue owners and record companies in the United States, they often went abroad to pursue careers in Europe or even Asia. As was also true of their male counterparts, the African-American women who helped blaze some of jazz’s earliest trails had to innovate their way around additional roadblocks.

“These jazz women were pioneers, and huge proponents in disseminating jazz and making it a global art form,” said Hannah Grantham, a musicologist at the National Museum of African American History and Culture who studies the work of female jazz musicians and contributed notes to this list. “I don’t think they’ve been given enough credit for that, because of their willingness to go everywhere.”

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The piano and organ were considered more socially acceptable instruments for young women to play, and few serious fans of jazz would be unfamiliar with the names Mary Lou WilliamsMarian McPartlandHazel ScottShirley Scott or Alice Coltrane. But the ranks of female jazz genius run much deeper than that. Here are 10 performers who made a big impression in their day, but are rarely as remembered as they should be in jazz’s popular history.

Lovie Austin, pianist (1887-1972)

 

Lovie Austin composed for and accompanied some of the greatest singers of the early recording era, including Ma Rainey and Ethel Waters. A number of her songs became hits, including “Down Hearted Blues,” a smash for Bessie Smith that sold close to 800,000 copies. Based in Chicago, Austin was also a frequent bandleader at some of the Harlem Renaissance’s most famous venues. Mary Lou Williams counted Austin as her largest inspiration. “My entire concept was based on the few times I was around Lovie Austin,” she later said.

Lil Hardin Armstrong, pianist (1898-1971)

 

Lil Hardin met her future husband Louis Armstrong in 1922, when he joined her as a member of King Oliver’s famed Creole Jazz Band. Hardin, who studied at Fisk University and had an entrepreneurial streak, helped bring Armstrong forward as a bandleader, serving as his first manager, pianist and frequent co-composer. After they split up around 1930, she found some success with her own big band, but stepped away from performing years later after determining that male promoters would never be willing to promote her on the same level as men.

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Valaida Snow, trumpeter (1904-1956)

 

Valaida Snow’s career was a wildfire: a thing of great expanse and then rapid, wrenching exhaustion. She was a master of the trumpetbut played a dozen other instruments, as well as singing, doing arrangements for orchestras, dancing, and appearing prominently in early Hollywood films. When the pioneering blues musician and composer W.C. Handy heard her play, he dubbed her “Queen of the Trumpet.” Denied a proper spotlight in Chicago and New York, Snow became a star abroad, touring for years in East Asia and Europe. She wound up stuck in Denmark during World War II, becoming ill while imprisoned there. She escaped in 1942 and spent the rest of her career back in the United States, although her health never recovered.

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Peggy Gilbert, saxophonist (1905-2007)

 

As a grade-school student in Sioux City, Iowa, Peggy Gilbert quickly became accustomed to cutting against the grain. The daughter of classical musicians, she was told in high school that the saxophone was unsuitable for a young woman — but she taught herself anyway. A year after graduating she started her first band, the Melody Girls. In 1938, outraged at an article in DownBeat magazine headlined “Why Women Musicians Are Inferior,” she penned a retort that the magazine published in full. “A woman has to be a thousand times more talented, has to have a thousand times more initiative even to be recognized as the peer of the least successful man,” she wrote. Talent and initiative were two things Gilbert possessed. She went on to lead ensembles for decades, on the vaudeville circuit and the Los Angeles scene, eventually becoming an official with the musicians’ union there. She continued to perform well into her 90s, and died at 102.

Una Mae Carlisle, pianist (1915-1956)

 

Just like better-remembered contemporaries such as Fats Waller and Louis Jordan, Una Mae Carlisle made jazz that was also R&B and also pop — before the Billboard charts had effectively codified those genres. She was publicly known best as a singer, but she played virtuosic stride piano and composed prolifically too. Part black and part Native American, Carlisle was a pioneer in various ways, as Ms. Grantham pointed out. Carlisle was the first black woman to be credited as the composer of a song on the Billboard charts, and the first African-American to host her own regular, nationally broadcast radio show. She wrote for stars like Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee, and recorded her own hit singles, often with famous jazz musicians as her accompanists, before illness tragically shortened her career.

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Ginger Smock, violinist (1920-1995)

 

Orphaned at age 6 and subsequently raised by her aunt and uncle, Ginger Smock showed extravagant talents early on. At 10, she performed at the Hollywood Bowl; a year later, she gave a solo recital at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles. She was the only black member of the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic’s all-student symphony, and soon after she apprenticed with the jazz pioneer Stuff Smith. She then started an all-female trio, the Sepia Tones, that was a centerpiece of the city’s burgeoning Central Avenue jazz scene, and she soon became “pretty influential on the West Coast,” Ms. Grantham said. Later, Smock hosted a full-length (though short-lived) show on Los Angeles’s CBS affiliate, KTSL, in 1951, making hers the first black band to host a regular TV program.

Dorothy Donegan, pianist (1922-1998)

 

A blazing player whose personality was as big and effusive as her talents, Dorothy Donegan piled her mastery of classical, stride, boogie-woogie and modern jazz piano into boisterous, often ribald performances. An old-school performer at heart, she could amaze and amuse an audience in equal measure. Donegan’s career was book ended by illustrious performances: In 1943, with dreams of becoming a professional classical pianist, she became the first black instrumentalist to give a concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. Time magazine covered it, and it set her on a path to renown, although a career in classical music was off-limits because of both her gender and her race. Fifty years later, she performed at the White House for President Bill Clinton. For all her accomplishments, Donegan made it clear in interviews that she felt sexism had prevented her from joining her male contemporaries in the music’s pantheon.

Jutta Hipp, pianist (1925-2003)

 

Hailing from Leipzig, Germany, Jutta Hipp taught herself jazz as a child growing up in the Third Reich, secretly listening to international radio broadcasts. She was forced to flee her hometown at age 21, after the war left it in ruin; she supported herself by becoming a professional jazz pianist. Hipp eventually became the first woman bandleader to record for Blue Note Records, whose proprietors were German expatriates. But with true stardom escaping her, she eventually abandoned her career as a professional musician for the stability of job working with seamstresses, although she never totally gave up playing.

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Clora Bryant, trumpeter (1927-2019)

 

A self-proclaimed “trumpetiste,” Clora Bryant was part of the first generation of bebop musicians innovating in Los Angeles clubs, and she joined a handful of all-female ensembles in the years during and after World War II. Bryant became a featured soloist in the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the most famous ensemble of its kind, then joined the Queens of Rhythm. Through the esteemed trombonist Melba Liston she met Dizzy Gillespie, who became her mentor. And as her career went on, she mentored countless musicians herself as a respected elder on the L.A. scene.

Bertha Hope Booker, pianist (1936-)

 

Bertha Hope’s career bloomed alongside that of her husband Elmo Hope, whose economic hard-bop style was not altogether different from hers. They released a joint album together in 1961, but after his untimely death she focused on raising their children, performing intermittently around the New York area and remaining close with many musicians on the scene. Years later, she remarried, to the bassist Walter Booker; since then she has recorded a handful of albums and become a respected elder among younger New York musicians, including the bassist Mimi Jones, who recently made a documentary about her mentor titled “Seeking Hope.”

Correction: April 23, 2020

An earlier version of this article misstated Jutta Hipp’s job after she stopped performing music in public. She worked with seamstresses, but she was not a seamstress. 

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José Torres, 73, Restaurateur Beloved of Salsa Stars, Dies – The New York Times

José Torres, 73, Restaurateur Beloved of Salsa Stars, Dies – The New York Times


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José Torres, 73, Restaurateur Beloved of Salsa Stars, Dies

His Joe’s Place was a must for a stop-off after a night of music-making. Mr. Torres died of Covid-19.

By David Gonzalez

April 22, 2020

 

José Torres at his restaurant Joe’s Place, a favorite of salsa musicians. “Everything in the buffet was on him,” the pianist Eddie Palmieri said. “Talk about jam-packed!” José Torres at his restaurant Joe’s Place, a favorite of salsa musicians. “Everything in the buffet was on him,” the pianist Eddie Palmieri said. “Talk about jam-packed!” Joe Conzo Jr.

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

Salsa musicians had a post-gig ritual in the Bronx. When the music stopped, off they’d go to Joe’s Place, a Puerto Rican restaurant, where the owner and chef José Torres would lay out a free spread. Perhaps it was their enthusiasm for his home-style food that prompted one musician not long ago to announce to a concert audience at Lehman College in the Bronx, “We’re off to Joe’s!”

“It was for the musicians, but whoever wanted to come by, they certainly did,” said Eddie Palmieri, the Latin jazz pianist, who performed at that concert. “Everything in the buffet was on him. Talk about jam-packed! But that was him. He did things like that.”

Mr. Torres died on April 12 at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. He was 73. The cause was Covid-19, his sister Aida Torres said.

Mr. Torres opened Joe’s Place, an unassuming establishment on Westchester Avenue under the elevated tracks of the No. 6 subway line near the Parkchester neighborhood, in 1998. He turned it into a must-visit destination for music stars, a source of a free meal or a loan for out-of-work musicians, a favorite spot for family get-togethers, and even a place to mourn the loss of other musicians who were waked at one of the many nearby funeral homes.

Like many other restaurants, its walls hold pictures of local kids made good. One shows Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Mr. Torres was born on Sept. 21, 1946, in Puerto Rico and moved to the Bronx when he was 10. He was a mature child, Ms. Torres said, who watched his mother closely in the kitchen as she prepared traditional dishes like bacalao guisado and pernil. He left high school in his junior year to work as a soda jerk at a midtown Manhattan hotel.

An employee there befriended him, she said. “He took him from the counter to the kitchen and taught him. From there, he started cooking, from grill man, line cook until he became a chef.”

In addition to Ms. Torres, he is survived by two other siblings, three adult children and his fiancée, Janet Sanchez.

Mr. Torres didn’t just feed musicians at his restaurant. He was their friend. For years, Mr. Palmieri would stop in every Wednesday to conduct business or catch up with musician friends like the guitarist Nelson Gonzalez or the archivist and producer Rene Lopez.

“He wanted to put an Eddie Palmieri room upstairs, like a lounge,” the pianist recalled with a gravelly laugh. “Man, he was a unique individual who was in love with what he did. When he passed away, he broke a lot of hearts.”

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Hometown Hero: Marshall Allen | Jazz Philadelphia

Hometown Hero: Marshall Allen | Jazz Philadelphia


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https://jazzphiladelphia.org/2020/04/21/hometown-here-marshall-allan/
 

Hometown Hero: Marshall Allen

by hsblakesleeApril 21, 2020

By Suzanne Cloud | Photograph by Colin M. Lenton

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1924, Marshall Allen started on the clarinet at age ten. Eight years later, the time studying music stood him in good stead when he enlisted in World War II at age 18. After helping to liberate Italy and then going on to play alto saxophone with the Special Services entertainment division in Paris, the young player quickly got attention from two very important saxophonists—Don Byas and Coleman Hawkins. The lucky association ultimately evolved into a tour, and recording, with James Moody’s Boptet.

Allen met Sun Ra in the early 1950s, and his life was transformed. Ra’s mystical world and mission of human elevation changed Allen’s ideas about what music could inspire and do for spiritual uplift. So, the alto saxophonist stayed, and a unique movement was born that would end up in Philadelphia in 1968 when the Sun Ra Arkestra moved from New York City into a rowhome on Morton Street, a home they called “The Pharaoh’s Den.” 

Explaining the move, Allen said, “We were in Chicago 10 years, then in New York 10 years, so we moved to Philly, the First Capital, the birth of the country. When we got Philadelphia, we got America!”

Allen helped Sun Ra run the band “rehearsing Monday through Sunday” until Ra’s death in 1993, and after saxophonist John Gilmore died in 1995, led the Arkestra ever since, constantly exploring and reexploring the musical output of the late pioneer of Afrofuturism.

Trenton musician and current member of Kool and the Gang trumpeter Michael Ray (who’s been associated with the band since 1978), was mentored by Allen. Ray wrote in an email, “Marshall was my roommate and took me under his wing. He has been an unlimited reservoir of information, music, and love. He has always said, ‘PLAY WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.’ To this day, I’m learning to play what I don’t know.”

Marshall Allen pioneered the avant-garde jazz movement of the early 1960s, and he was one of the first jazz musicians to blend traditional African song into his music. Allen’s collaborations with percussionist Babatunde Olatunji mark some of the first free jazz/traditional African music fusions. Because of his vast musical impact, this multi-instrumentalist won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Vision Festival in 2009 and was named a Pew Fellow in 2012 by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.

Marshall Allen speaks about how Sun Ra’s concept of the “spirit of the day” isn’t an abstraction, and the idea says a lot about his creative longevity. Artists must leave preconceived notions of genres behind to express what is happening now in the world. Find your own instrumentation, and your own ways of playing an old or new composition. Explode your musical vocabulary and discover atypical rhythms of surprise.

Allen, who will celebrate his 96th birthday on May 25, 2020, understands how this philosophy keeps him young enough to find the next original musical thought that speaks to the world a moment later.

It’s like life,” says Allen. “You do the same things, but you do them differently because of the situation. If it’s raining, you get your umbrella and keep on going.”

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Michael Cogswell, Who Made a Prized Museum out of Louis Armstrong’s Home, Is Dead at 66 | WBGO

Michael Cogswell, Who Made a Prized Museum out of Louis Armstrong’s Home, Is Dead at 66 | WBGO


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https://www.wbgo.org/post/michael-cogswell-who-made-prized-museum-out-louis-armstrongs-home-dead-66
 

Michael Cogswell, Who Made a Prized Museum out of Louis Armstrong’s Home, Is Dead at 66

By  • 15 hours ago

Michael Cogswell with a trumpet at the dedication of the Louis Armstrong Archives in September 1991.

Michael Cogswell, a jazz archivist and historian who took the lead in turning Louis Armstrong’s modest home into the Louis Armstrong House Museum, a cherished New York institution and a site of pilgrimage, died on Monday. He was 66.

His wife, Dale Van Dyke, said the cause was complications from bladder cancer, in an announcement on his Facebook page.

Cogswell was the founding Executive Director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, which also posted a note about his death. “During Cogswell’s tenure at the museum,” reads a portion of the statement, “what was originally a stack of 72 shipping cartons filled with Louis Armstrong’s vast personal collection of home-recorded tapes, scrapbooks, photographs, manuscripts, and memorabilia was transformed into a monumental research archives, eventually holding eleven collections of Armstrong material. The collections are routinely accessed by scholars, public school students, journalists, record producers, and many more.”

Located on 107th Street in Corona, Queens, the museum has earned its reputation as both a historical landmark and a house of wonders. It’s routinely featured in the mainstream press, most recently with an article about its virtual exhibitions in The Washington Post. And it has become a clearinghouse for all things Armstrong, like the rare 16-millimeter footage of Armstrong in a studio that made international news — as “a groundbreaking discovery,” via Cogswell’s assessment— in 2016.

 

 

In his 2003 book Louis Armstrong: The Offstage Story, Cogswell succinctly describes how the Armstrongs came to live in the modest two-story house in Corona: “Louis lived out of a suitcase — he was typically on the road more than 300 days per year — and had no interest in owning a home. Lucille — who had spent some of her childhood in Queens — discovered the house, purchased it, and decorated it without Louis ever having seen it.”

Cogswell was the driving force behind its conversion from a private residence into a public resource. Having been hired by Queens College in 1991 to catalog and preserve the Louis Armstrong Archives, he was charged several years later with the task of opening the house as a museum.

Along with a gargantuan organizational task — given Armstrong’s prodigious affinities for home recording, letter-writing and the amassing of ephemera — this assignment presented a more delicate challenge: how to capture the soulful eccentricity of the place without seeming to violate a trust? The solution, which suited Cogswell’s personality, was a combination of scholarly attention and fathomless care and respect.

Michael Cogswell was born on Sept. 30, 1953, in Buffalo, N.Y., but largely raised in Fairfax County, Va. His father, Charles Lamburn Cogswell, was a marketing consultant who had been a Brigadier General in the Marine Corps; his mother, Margaret Hoyt Cogswell, was a homemaker.

While at North Texas, where he created the first master’s in jazz history by combining jazz studies courses with a musicology program, Cogswell focused on the jazz avant-garde. “He submitted a terrific piece about Ornette Coleman’s music to the Annual Review of Jazz Studies,” Dan Morgenstern, executive director emeritus of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, tells WBGO. “After we published this piece, I was asked to come down to North Texas for a panel. We met, and had lunch together. At the time, he was fascinated by Pharoah Sanders, so that’s what we were talking about.”

Lewis Porter, founder and former director of Rutgers-Newark’s Master’s in Jazz History and Research, says that Cogswell’s stewardship of the Armstrong Archives helped turn him into an unimpeachable Armstrong authority. “He proved to be a remarkable director in every way,” Porter says. “Under his guidance, the house and the collection became world-famous, the subject of news stories in Newsweek (when Hillary Clinton came to visit), The New York Times, and of course all the jazz press. He did an unbelievable job at fundraising, culminating in groundbreaking in the spring of 2017 of an entire new building that will locate the archive and a performance center right across the street from the house.”

In addition to his wife, Cogswell is survived by two brothers, Dr. Frank B. Cogswell and Col. Charles H. Cogswell.

In 2018, due to his health problems, Cogswell retired as executive director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. “As founding Director, with 27 years of service,” he wrote in his announcement, “I have performed every task from mopping the floor and repairing the pump in the fish pond to composing multi-million dollar grant proposals and producing and emcee-ing the annual gala.”

Cogswell’s friend and protégé Ricky Riccardi stayed on as lead archivist for the organization, but the director job went to an outsider, Kenyon Victor Adams. Last July, after serving for six months, Adams resigned, citing “the intractable opposition of the staff and board to the Armstrong NOW vision.” (The current acting director of the organization is Jeff Rosenstock.)

The Armstrong house is administered by Queens College under a long-term licensing agreement with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, which received it as a gift from the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation after Lucille Armstrong’s death in 1983.

“The house had been in a state of neglect,” Morgenstern says. “Nobody had really done anything that should have been done. But Michael did. He went into this with such dedication and enthusiasm — and love, yes, I think that’s the right word. He just turned the whole thing around.”

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Remembering Philly Sax Legend Bootsie Barnes: “The Man With The Tenor Touch” Has Passed At Age 82 | WRTI

Remembering Philly Sax Legend Bootsie Barnes: “The Man With The Tenor Touch” Has Passed At Age 82 | WRTI


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Remembering Philly Sax Legend Bootsie Barnes: “The Man With The Tenor Touch” Has Passed At Age 82

By  • 13 hours ago

We are so sad to report that Philadelphia jazz legend, Robert “Bootsie” Barnes—tenor sax player extraordinaire—passed this morning of COVID-19 at age 82. “The man with the tenor touch,” he was beloved by so many in our jazz community and beyond. In 2018, WRTI featured his wonderful album with Larry McKenna, The More I See You, as our Jazz Album of the Week. Please take a moment to watch the videos below and read about this special collaboration between two good friends. 

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November 26, 2018. After 80 years of living in the same city, saxophonists Larry McKenna and Bootsie Barnes have finally recorded an album together! The More I See You is a recording of these legends playing some classic gems and originals the only way they know how – with that Philly flare.

 

 

Growing up mere miles from each other, these career musicians knew of each other, but didn’t play together until later in life. This album marks the first full recording as a duo, and the rest of the band is just as dynamic as the leaders – Lucas Brown plays the Hammond B-3 organ and Byron Landham is on drums. These fellow Philadelphian’s are the perfect companions to the respective styles of Larry and Bootsie.

 

 

The group revisits the swinging “Three Miles Out” from Bootsie’s 2003 release Boppin’ Round the Center, and introduces a bluesy McKenna original called “Don’t Redux the Reflux.” They each take a solo turn on some standards – Larry does a velvety version of “You’ve Changed,” and Bootsie brings his signature bounce to “My Ship.” Selections from the Great American Songbook and the jazz songbook make appearances, including Jimmy Heath’s “For Minor’s Only.”

The More I See You is an outstanding tribute to the classic Philadelphia jazz sound, skillfully executed by the city’s most revered tenor men. No one can play this music like these legends.

Read this 2017 Philadelphia Inquirer article about these two good friends

 

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Jazz Legend Wynton Marsalis Reflects on His Late Father | Video | Amanpour & Co.

Jazz Legend Wynton Marsalis Reflects on His Late Father | Video | Amanpour & Co.


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Other Music, Vinyl Nation and Record Safari: 3 new documentaries – Los Angeles Times

Other Music, Vinyl Nation and Record Safari: 3 new documentaries – Los Angeles Times


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https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2020-04-17/record-stores-other-music-vinyl-nation-record-safari
 

Three new documentaries explore the enduring allure of a great record store

In the Before Times, the annual vinyl celebration Record Store Day would have occurred this weekend. Considered high holy day for a certain sect of the music-loving realm, the event generates hundreds of limited-release records for sale in the small but vibrant music retail marketplace.

The most profitable day of the year, it has kept the turntables powered in hundreds of mom-and-pop shops. But with retail shuttered due to the COVID-19 restrictions, organizers of the event pushed Record Store Day to June (though that date will likely change).

Those looking to indulge their vinyl fetish, though, can do it with a triple feature of new feature-length documentaries available this weekend. The three movies offer a kaleidoscopic view of the ways in which physical music, and the communal spaces that buy and sell it, has become a kind of secular religion. 

Though the directors never could have predicted it, they’re also bittersweet odes to shops that are going silent before our very ears. 

“Record Safari” is an on-the-road story guided by Pomona-based collector and used record retailer Alex Rodriguez as he embarks on a monthlong trans-American buying spree. “Vinyl Nation” takes a more macro look at the unlikely return of vinyl as a music format, documents the nuts and bolts of record making, and retells the behind-the-scenes rise of Record Store Day. And “Other Music” is a love song to one particular shop, the beloved Manhattan record store Other Music. Before closing in 2016, it had the most influence per square foot of any music retailer in the world. 

 

 

“People who listen to records deserve to have a job where they can do that,” says Stuart Braithwaite, guitarist of Scottish band Mogwai, in “Other Music.” That belief drives all three of these movies, but each conveys it from a different point of view.

Directed by Vincent Vittorio, “Record Safari” is told from the perspective not of a shop or of a movement, but of Rodriguez. The general manager of Glasshouse Records in downtown Pomona, owned by Coachella founder Paul Tollett, Rodriguez stocks and operates both the shop and Coachella’s long-running on-site vinyl tent. Rodriguez would have been selling records in Indio this weekend, in fact. 

The self-described “hippie longhair weirdo” has an enviable job: A few times a year he rents a car on somebody else’s dime, heads out to the highway and fills up the trunk with records culled from shops in midsize towns. On the trip shown in the film, director Vittorio sits on the passenger side and follows Rodriguez on stops from Southern California to the Northeast and back.

A meditative film about the joy of discovery and the ways in which obscure frequencies can upend psyches, the film is informed by Rodriguez’s understated, guru-like presence. Early on, he’s shown standing on a Pacific Northwest beach in bell-bottoms and a tattered Judas Priest T-shirt, pondering the ocean’s depths before heading east in search of another sort of depth. 

Along the way, he and Vittorio introduce us to shop owners and collectors in Missoula, Bismark, Fargo, Minneapolis, Detroit, New York, New Orleans, Austin and elsewhere. As Rodriguez flips through, literally, every album in every crate in every store, owners and collectors chat about their stock and their lives. 

 

 

“We’re being filmed having a nerd conversation,” says Thomas Jones, co-owner of Crossroads Records in Portland, Ore. during one in-store interview. He’s got a point. Collectors, whether of first-edition books, Star Trek trivia or first-pressing garage rock 45s, are an insular bunch, and a whole subset of film has been devoted to such communities. 

That insularity hides some great personalities. Rodriguez chats with New York DJ and producer Pete Rock, Patti Smith guitarist and “Nuggets” compiler Lenny Kaye and hip-hop scholar and writer Oliver Wang, among others. The hunter dives through basement overstock and crawls through attic cubbies for hidden finds. The goal is a noble one: He wants to dig up records and help them on their way to what he calls “their forever homes.” 

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“There’s a diamond bumping in between this canyon,” says producer John Vanderslice in “Vinyl Nation” on the mechanics of record playing. Produced and directed by Kevin Smokler and Christopher Boone, it focuses on the revival of record manufacturing and the sheer magic of capturing sound waves and locking them onto a plastic disc.

Smokler and Boone crisscross America in search of vinyl-guided mystics. They visit record pressing plants, jacket manufacturers and record stores. In Ventura, they interview Logan Melissa, whose popular Instagram account features her visually recreating classic album covers from her record stacks. 

In Kansas City, the camera moves down a blocklong line of Record Store Day customers waiting for Mills Record Co. to open for the day, then follows them in as they shop. Speaking among his voluminous collection, writer and DJ Wang (who also appears in “Record Safari”) recalls the ways in which samples on hip-hop tracks generated an entire subset of obsessives.

Down I-5, the film travels to Stoughton Printing in City of Industry. There, long-bearded production planner Rob Maushund recalls the ways in which the stalwart jacket-pressing company has endured the ups and downs of the business. In doing so, he illustrates how a record’s physicality — its texture, weight, composition — inspires such fetishism. 

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“If there are one or more people with Jheri curls on the cover, I’m pretty sure there’s going to be some heat,” says Los Angeles collector Monalisa Murray of one picking strategy.

It’s safe to say most music freaks interviewed in both “Record Safari” and “Vinyl Nation” would cite Other Music as among the most important indie retailers of the past few decades. When it opened in 1995, it did so across the street from the then-powerhouse Tower Records superstore. About the size of a two-car garage, Other Music felt packed when more than a dozen people were shopping. 

The reason for its importance is best explained by Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore during “Other Music”: “Per square meter, it probably had more interest value than any other shop I’d ever been in in the world.” 

 

 

Opened by a trio of Kim’s Underground expats — Josh Madell, Chris Vanderloo and Jeff Gibson — Other Music helped define the notion of a “curated” record store as Napster and iTunes were decimating the market for physical music. Across the street, Tower had everything, no matter if it was good, bad or neither. Because of its size, Other Music couldn’t fit much, so every recording it carried had to be great.

“Other Music is kind of like a religious experience,” actor Benicio del Toro says during the film, as he’s picking up a box of new stuff. “After a while they get to know your taste, and sometimes I just come here and say, ‘Pick ‘em.’” 

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Elsewhere directors Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller sit down with famous people including actor Jason Schwartzman and TV on the Radio singer Tunde Adebimpe to discuss the ways in which the space informed East Village culture. The directors were allowed access as the shop made the difficult decision to close, and the film gets into the close-quartered lives of a group of fanatics whose lives were changed in a shoebox shop.

The film, in fact, begins at the end of Other Music’s story, as a second-line-style parade marches through the neighborhood to mark the company’s demise. Across the next 90 minutes, Basu and Hatch-Miller illuminate ways in which little rooms with good music can build scenes as they inform and enliven entire populations. Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig recalls discovering “the curated, cool place across from this massive megastore” as a kid. Le Tigre’s JD Samson speaks of similar epiphanies.

“Other Music” reaches its climax when the store announces its closure, and cameras are inside as longtime customers go on final sprees and bid farewells. “They should have a therapist here,” says one customer as the final day approaches. 

Sadly, viewers might want to have their therapists on speed dial during the triple feature. As with every other small business during the shutdown, record stores are barely surviving. Some are making do through Instagram sales or eBay auctions. Proceeds from online sales of “Vinyl Nation” and “Other Music,” in fact, are being directed to brick-and-mortar music retailers for a limited time. . 

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Only as social distancing restrictions ease will buyers and sellers know how many stores remain. 

Still, the devotion for record shops conveyed across the three films suggests that as long as the stock hasn’t warped or molded, buyers will be waiting outside on the first morning of After Times, if they aren’t already.

++

“Record Safari” is currently available for viewing through Record Safari site, Apple TV, Roku, Vimeo and Chromecast.

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“Vinyl Nation” will offer a limited-time digital screening, in partnership with Record Store Day, on Saturday and Sunday. Ticket sales will benefit independent record retailers. More info

“Other Music” is available for $11.50 through Thursday for screening via Factory 25. Ticket sales will benefit independent record retailers.

 

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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Ian Whitcomb ‘You Turn Me On’ Singer, Dead at 78 | Best Classic Bands

Ian Whitcomb ‘You Turn Me On’ Singer, Dead at 78 | Best Classic Bands


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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/20/arts/music/henry-grimes-giuseppi-logan-coronavirus.html?action=click&module=Features&pgtype=Homepage

Giuseppi Logan, left, and Henry Grimes both shot to prominence in the mid-1960s and then vanished for decades.

Giuseppi Logan, left, and Henry Grimes both shot to prominence in the mid-1960s and then vanished for decades.Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times, Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Giovanni Russonello

By Giovanni Russonello

  • April 20, 2020
    •  
    •  
    •  

The lives of Henry Grimes and Giuseppi Logan already felt like the stuff of legend long before they came to an end last week — just two days and one borough apart — from complications of the coronavirus.

Mr. Grimes, a bassist, and Mr. Logan, an alto saxophonist, were once the two biggest disappearing acts on the jazz avant-garde. Each shot to prominence in mid-1960s New York and then vanished, quickly and darkly, for decades. And then, in the new millennium, they both mounted triumphant returns.

Though they were never close friends or collaborators, their stories now feel cosmically linked. For a couple of artists whose music was about individual expressive freedom as well as interdependence, it is fitting that Mr. Grimes and Mr. Logan would now take their respective places in history side by side.

Both Mr. Logan and Mr. Grimes were born in 1935 in Philadelphia, a metropolis then flush with black musical innovation. Both passed through modern jazz groups (Mr. Logan with Earl Bostic; Mr. Grimes alongside a number of leading bandleaders, including Charles Mingus and Sonny Rollins) and the academy (Mr. Logan studied at the New England Conservatory; Mr. Grimes at Juilliard).

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Continue reading the main story

In New York, they became two of the primary voices in free jazz’s heady first generation, using sound to convey huge amounts of energy and agony. Embodying a kind of total sensitivity to the moment, pushing improvisation to its limits, Mr. Grimes and Mr. Logan contributed to a revolution in music that continues to ricochet, more than 50 years later, far beyond jazz.

 

Mr. Grimes eventually became a linchpin of free-improvising groups led by Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, and in 1965 he released a well-regarded album of his own, “The Call,” on the influential independent label ESP-Disk. Mr. Logan tended to lead his own groups, playing a range of instruments — from the Pakistani shehnai to the bass clarinet — and challenging his bandmates to upend their own roles.

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Updated 20m ago
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Like Mr. Grimes, he released one studio album on ESP-Disk (“The Giuseppi Logan Quartet,” from 1964), following it a year later with a live recording, “More.” On both albums, harmony, rhythm and melody became agents of texture and suspense: Whether Mr. Logan is playing in apoplectic fits or in a long atonal smear, the radical open-endedness of each moment is palpable.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue reading the main story

But by the late 1960s, Mr. Logan and Mr. Grimes — each seemingly at the height of his powers — had disappeared from the scene. For decades, each of them was a whisper in the back of jazz fans’ minds, a question it seemed wise to leave unanswered. Both struggled with mental illness, though maybe it’s more apt to say that each struggled to bring the world in tune with the music of his life.

Image

Mr. Logan disappeared in the late 1960s, returning in the 2000s after being “found” in a music store while buying a reed. Mr. Logan disappeared in the late 1960s, returning in the 2000s after being “found” in a music store while buying a reed.Credit…Eddie Hausner/The New York Times

Mr. Grimes had traveled to California to perform with the vocalists Jon Hendricks and Al Jarreau, but when his bass broke he sold it for a meager sum. Soon he was without either an instrument or money. For more than 30 years, he worked off and on as a janitor while battling bipolar disorder and scribbling dreamlike, often-beautiful poetry into notebooks. It was not until 2002 that a social worker and jazz devotee tracked him down in Los Angeles. The bassist William Parker had an instrument sent to him. Soon after, Mr. Grimes finally returned to New York, receiving a hero’s welcome at the 2003 Vision Festival.

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Mr. Grimes had always had a bold, resounding bass sound, but upon his return, what those who played with him often noticed was his note choice. Even amid rancorous free improvisation, he still seemed able to select notes that were in perfect counterpoint to what surrounded him, such that they not only fit in but unlocked extra dimensions in the group sound.

The drummer Chad Taylor, who played hundreds of shows alongside Mr. Grimes in the Marc Ribot Trio, described the bassist’s note choices as “3-D.”

“He was always thinking of playing something against what you were playing,” Mr. Taylor said in a phone interview. “Against might not be the right word. Playing something different that would be complementary to what you’re playing.”

Mr. Grimes was a man of painfully few words, making it easy to misinterpret his silence as a consequence of age. But even as a young person he had been famously laconic; and as the decades advanced, he remained first and foremost committed to listening. In New York over the past 10-plus years, you were just as likely to find Mr. Grimes in the front row at a younger musician’s concert — eyes bright, body held upright, listening — as to see him onstage.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue reading the main story

“He said very few words, but when he played, it was like kinetic radar waves,” Mr. Parker said. “He could listen; he could hear; he could push the music.”

“He was just very perceptive in his own way,” Mr. Parker added.

 

Mr. Logan was chattier by nature, and perhaps this became his saving grace. After bouncing for decades between Virginia and New York, cycling through homelessness and mental institutions — where he was often barred from playing music, only deepening his despair — Mr. Logan was at a music store in Manhattan one day, trying to buy a single reed for his saxophone, when he struck up a conversation with a young sales clerk.

That clerk was the trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Lavelle. When he discovering that this man was, indeed, the famous Giuseppi Logan, Mr. Lavelle became dedicated to bringing the saxophonist back into the music world. They recorded an album together, “The Giuseppi Logan Quintet” (2010), featuring a mix of Mr. Logan’s avant-garde compositions and the jazz standards he had by then been playing for years in public parks.

For Mr. Logan, even walking back into more standard repertoire was an expression of openness. As he had said years ago, describing his musical mission in a short documentary in the mid-1960s, “You have to get closer to your creator. Because that instills in the individual a love for everything, an unbiased heart.”

More than any happenstance similarities, it’s that omnivorousness that formed the crucial common bond between Mr. Logan and Mr. Grimes. They followed a hunger for listening into careers as performers, and found themselves pulled back into the fold, celebrated anew, by a community that wasn’t finished listening to them yet.

A version of this article appears in print on April 21, 2020, Section C, Page 3 of the New York edition with the headline: Lost and Found, Then Gone. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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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Warwick, Ny 10990

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R.I.P. Tony Bruno aka Anthony Puglisi

R.I.P. Tony Bruno aka Anthony Puglisi


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https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/north-lauderdale-fl/anthony-puglisi-9138788

Anthony Puglisi

Anthony Puglisi was born on August 14, 1935 and passed away on April 18, 2020.

NOMAR Records

Profile:
Label started in 1960 by Tony Bruno (3). Located at the Brill Building in New York. 
Later on the Nomar label was bought by Scepter Records, where Tony Bruno would work over the next several years with Gene Pitney, Chuck Jackson, and many others.

https://learning2share.blogspot.com/2007/08/tony-bruno-original-by-bruno-1967.html


https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=-8is-kORbeY&feature=emb_logo
 

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
 


Unsubscribe | Update your profile | Forward to a friend

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.

Jazz Promo Services

269 State Route 94 South

Warwick, Ny 10990

Add us to your address book

slide

Ian Whitcomb ‘You Turn Me On’ Singer, Dead at 78 | Best Classic Bands

Ian Whitcomb ‘You Turn Me On’ Singer, Dead at 78 | Best Classic Bands


jazzLogo.jpg

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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/20/arts/music/henry-grimes-giuseppi-logan-coronavirus.html?action=click&module=Features&pgtype=Homepage

Giuseppi Logan, left, and Henry Grimes both shot to prominence in the mid-1960s and then vanished for decades.

Giuseppi Logan, left, and Henry Grimes both shot to prominence in the mid-1960s and then vanished for decades.Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times, Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Giovanni Russonello

By Giovanni Russonello

  • April 20, 2020
    •  
    •  
    •  

The lives of Henry Grimes and Giuseppi Logan already felt like the stuff of legend long before they came to an end last week — just two days and one borough apart — from complications of the coronavirus.

Mr. Grimes, a bassist, and Mr. Logan, an alto saxophonist, were once the two biggest disappearing acts on the jazz avant-garde. Each shot to prominence in mid-1960s New York and then vanished, quickly and darkly, for decades. And then, in the new millennium, they both mounted triumphant returns.

Though they were never close friends or collaborators, their stories now feel cosmically linked. For a couple of artists whose music was about individual expressive freedom as well as interdependence, it is fitting that Mr. Grimes and Mr. Logan would now take their respective places in history side by side.

Both Mr. Logan and Mr. Grimes were born in 1935 in Philadelphia, a metropolis then flush with black musical innovation. Both passed through modern jazz groups (Mr. Logan with Earl Bostic; Mr. Grimes alongside a number of leading bandleaders, including Charles Mingus and Sonny Rollins) and the academy (Mr. Logan studied at the New England Conservatory; Mr. Grimes at Juilliard).

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue reading the main story

In New York, they became two of the primary voices in free jazz’s heady first generation, using sound to convey huge amounts of energy and agony. Embodying a kind of total sensitivity to the moment, pushing improvisation to its limits, Mr. Grimes and Mr. Logan contributed to a revolution in music that continues to ricochet, more than 50 years later, far beyond jazz.

 

Mr. Grimes eventually became a linchpin of free-improvising groups led by Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, and in 1965 he released a well-regarded album of his own, “The Call,” on the influential independent label ESP-Disk. Mr. Logan tended to lead his own groups, playing a range of instruments — from the Pakistani shehnai to the bass clarinet — and challenging his bandmates to upend their own roles.

Latest Updates: Coronavirus Outbreak in the U.S.

See more updates
Updated 20m ago
More live coverage: Global Markets New York

Like Mr. Grimes, he released one studio album on ESP-Disk (“The Giuseppi Logan Quartet,” from 1964), following it a year later with a live recording, “More.” On both albums, harmony, rhythm and melody became agents of texture and suspense: Whether Mr. Logan is playing in apoplectic fits or in a long atonal smear, the radical open-endedness of each moment is palpable.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue reading the main story

But by the late 1960s, Mr. Logan and Mr. Grimes — each seemingly at the height of his powers — had disappeared from the scene. For decades, each of them was a whisper in the back of jazz fans’ minds, a question it seemed wise to leave unanswered. Both struggled with mental illness, though maybe it’s more apt to say that each struggled to bring the world in tune with the music of his life.

Image

Mr. Logan disappeared in the late 1960s, returning in the 2000s after being “found” in a music store while buying a reed. Mr. Logan disappeared in the late 1960s, returning in the 2000s after being “found” in a music store while buying a reed.Credit…Eddie Hausner/The New York Times

Mr. Grimes had traveled to California to perform with the vocalists Jon Hendricks and Al Jarreau, but when his bass broke he sold it for a meager sum. Soon he was without either an instrument or money. For more than 30 years, he worked off and on as a janitor while battling bipolar disorder and scribbling dreamlike, often-beautiful poetry into notebooks. It was not until 2002 that a social worker and jazz devotee tracked him down in Los Angeles. The bassist William Parker had an instrument sent to him. Soon after, Mr. Grimes finally returned to New York, receiving a hero’s welcome at the 2003 Vision Festival.

Sign up to receive an email when we publish a new story about thecoronavirus outbreak.
Sign Up

Mr. Grimes had always had a bold, resounding bass sound, but upon his return, what those who played with him often noticed was his note choice. Even amid rancorous free improvisation, he still seemed able to select notes that were in perfect counterpoint to what surrounded him, such that they not only fit in but unlocked extra dimensions in the group sound.

The drummer Chad Taylor, who played hundreds of shows alongside Mr. Grimes in the Marc Ribot Trio, described the bassist’s note choices as “3-D.”

“He was always thinking of playing something against what you were playing,” Mr. Taylor said in a phone interview. “Against might not be the right word. Playing something different that would be complementary to what you’re playing.”

Mr. Grimes was a man of painfully few words, making it easy to misinterpret his silence as a consequence of age. But even as a young person he had been famously laconic; and as the decades advanced, he remained first and foremost committed to listening. In New York over the past 10-plus years, you were just as likely to find Mr. Grimes in the front row at a younger musician’s concert — eyes bright, body held upright, listening — as to see him onstage.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue reading the main story

“He said very few words, but when he played, it was like kinetic radar waves,” Mr. Parker said. “He could listen; he could hear; he could push the music.”

“He was just very perceptive in his own way,” Mr. Parker added.

 

Mr. Logan was chattier by nature, and perhaps this became his saving grace. After bouncing for decades between Virginia and New York, cycling through homelessness and mental institutions — where he was often barred from playing music, only deepening his despair — Mr. Logan was at a music store in Manhattan one day, trying to buy a single reed for his saxophone, when he struck up a conversation with a young sales clerk.

That clerk was the trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Lavelle. When he discovering that this man was, indeed, the famous Giuseppi Logan, Mr. Lavelle became dedicated to bringing the saxophonist back into the music world. They recorded an album together, “The Giuseppi Logan Quintet” (2010), featuring a mix of Mr. Logan’s avant-garde compositions and the jazz standards he had by then been playing for years in public parks.

For Mr. Logan, even walking back into more standard repertoire was an expression of openness. As he had said years ago, describing his musical mission in a short documentary in the mid-1960s, “You have to get closer to your creator. Because that instills in the individual a love for everything, an unbiased heart.”

More than any happenstance similarities, it’s that omnivorousness that formed the crucial common bond between Mr. Logan and Mr. Grimes. They followed a hunger for listening into careers as performers, and found themselves pulled back into the fold, celebrated anew, by a community that wasn’t finished listening to them yet.

A version of this article appears in print on April 21, 2020, Section C, Page 3 of the New York edition with the headline: Lost and Found, Then Gone. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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
 


Unsubscribe | Update your profile | Forward to a friend

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.

Jazz Promo Services

269 State Route 94 South

Warwick, Ny 10990

Add us to your address book

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Henry Grimes and Giuseppi Logan, Lost and Found Jazz Stars, Are Both Gone – The New York Times

Henry Grimes and Giuseppi Logan, Lost and Found Jazz Stars, Are Both Gone – The New York Times


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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/20/arts/music/henry-grimes-giuseppi-logan-coronavirus.html?action=click&module=Features&pgtype=Homepage

Giuseppi Logan, left, and Henry Grimes both shot to prominence in the mid-1960s and then vanished for decades.

Giuseppi Logan, left, and Henry Grimes both shot to prominence in the mid-1960s and then vanished for decades.Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times, Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Giovanni Russonello

By Giovanni Russonello

  • April 20, 2020
    •  
    •  
    •  

The lives of Henry Grimes and Giuseppi Logan already felt like the stuff of legend long before they came to an end last week — just two days and one borough apart — from complications of the coronavirus.

Mr. Grimes, a bassist, and Mr. Logan, an alto saxophonist, were once the two biggest disappearing acts on the jazz avant-garde. Each shot to prominence in mid-1960s New York and then vanished, quickly and darkly, for decades. And then, in the new millennium, they both mounted triumphant returns.

Though they were never close friends or collaborators, their stories now feel cosmically linked. For a couple of artists whose music was about individual expressive freedom as well as interdependence, it is fitting that Mr. Grimes and Mr. Logan would now take their respective places in history side by side.

Both Mr. Logan and Mr. Grimes were born in 1935 in Philadelphia, a metropolis then flush with black musical innovation. Both passed through modern jazz groups (Mr. Logan with Earl Bostic; Mr. Grimes alongside a number of leading bandleaders, including Charles Mingus and Sonny Rollins) and the academy (Mr. Logan studied at the New England Conservatory; Mr. Grimes at Juilliard).

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue reading the main story

In New York, they became two of the primary voices in free jazz’s heady first generation, using sound to convey huge amounts of energy and agony. Embodying a kind of total sensitivity to the moment, pushing improvisation to its limits, Mr. Grimes and Mr. Logan contributed to a revolution in music that continues to ricochet, more than 50 years later, far beyond jazz.

 

Mr. Grimes eventually became a linchpin of free-improvising groups led by Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, and in 1965 he released a well-regarded album of his own, “The Call,” on the influential independent label ESP-Disk. Mr. Logan tended to lead his own groups, playing a range of instruments — from the Pakistani shehnai to the bass clarinet — and challenging his bandmates to upend their own roles.

Latest Updates: Coronavirus Outbreak in the U.S.

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Like Mr. Grimes, he released one studio album on ESP-Disk (“The Giuseppi Logan Quartet,” from 1964), following it a year later with a live recording, “More.” On both albums, harmony, rhythm and melody became agents of texture and suspense: Whether Mr. Logan is playing in apoplectic fits or in a long atonal smear, the radical open-endedness of each moment is palpable.

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But by the late 1960s, Mr. Logan and Mr. Grimes — each seemingly at the height of his powers — had disappeared from the scene. For decades, each of them was a whisper in the back of jazz fans’ minds, a question it seemed wise to leave unanswered. Both struggled with mental illness, though maybe it’s more apt to say that each struggled to bring the world in tune with the music of his life.

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Mr. Logan disappeared in the late 1960s, returning in the 2000s after being “found” in a music store while buying a reed. Mr. Logan disappeared in the late 1960s, returning in the 2000s after being “found” in a music store while buying a reed.Credit…Eddie Hausner/The New York Times

Mr. Grimes had traveled to California to perform with the vocalists Jon Hendricks and Al Jarreau, but when his bass broke he sold it for a meager sum. Soon he was without either an instrument or money. For more than 30 years, he worked off and on as a janitor while battling bipolar disorder and scribbling dreamlike, often-beautiful poetry into notebooks. It was not until 2002 that a social worker and jazz devotee tracked him down in Los Angeles. The bassist William Parker had an instrument sent to him. Soon after, Mr. Grimes finally returned to New York, receiving a hero’s welcome at the 2003 Vision Festival.

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Mr. Grimes had always had a bold, resounding bass sound, but upon his return, what those who played with him often noticed was his note choice. Even amid rancorous free improvisation, he still seemed able to select notes that were in perfect counterpoint to what surrounded him, such that they not only fit in but unlocked extra dimensions in the group sound.

The drummer Chad Taylor, who played hundreds of shows alongside Mr. Grimes in the Marc Ribot Trio, described the bassist’s note choices as “3-D.”

“He was always thinking of playing something against what you were playing,” Mr. Taylor said in a phone interview. “Against might not be the right word. Playing something different that would be complementary to what you’re playing.”

Mr. Grimes was a man of painfully few words, making it easy to misinterpret his silence as a consequence of age. But even as a young person he had been famously laconic; and as the decades advanced, he remained first and foremost committed to listening. In New York over the past 10-plus years, you were just as likely to find Mr. Grimes in the front row at a younger musician’s concert — eyes bright, body held upright, listening — as to see him onstage.

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“He said very few words, but when he played, it was like kinetic radar waves,” Mr. Parker said. “He could listen; he could hear; he could push the music.”

“He was just very perceptive in his own way,” Mr. Parker added.

 

Mr. Logan was chattier by nature, and perhaps this became his saving grace. After bouncing for decades between Virginia and New York, cycling through homelessness and mental institutions — where he was often barred from playing music, only deepening his despair — Mr. Logan was at a music store in Manhattan one day, trying to buy a single reed for his saxophone, when he struck up a conversation with a young sales clerk.

That clerk was the trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Lavelle. When he discovering that this man was, indeed, the famous Giuseppi Logan, Mr. Lavelle became dedicated to bringing the saxophonist back into the music world. They recorded an album together, “The Giuseppi Logan Quintet” (2010), featuring a mix of Mr. Logan’s avant-garde compositions and the jazz standards he had by then been playing for years in public parks.

For Mr. Logan, even walking back into more standard repertoire was an expression of openness. As he had said years ago, describing his musical mission in a short documentary in the mid-1960s, “You have to get closer to your creator. Because that instills in the individual a love for everything, an unbiased heart.”

More than any happenstance similarities, it’s that omnivorousness that formed the crucial common bond between Mr. Logan and Mr. Grimes. They followed a hunger for listening into careers as performers, and found themselves pulled back into the fold, celebrated anew, by a community that wasn’t finished listening to them yet.

A version of this article appears in print on April 21, 2020, Section C, Page 3 of the New York edition with the headline: Lost and Found, Then Gone. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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Coronavirus has been deadly in the jazz world – The Washington Post

Coronavirus has been deadly in the jazz world – The Washington Post


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https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-coronavirus-is-devastating-a-uniquely-american-art-form/2020/04/20/cd8039d0-81a3-11ea-8013-1b6da0e4a2b7_story.html
 

The coronavirus is devastating a uniquely American art form

Chris Richards

 

Ellis Marsalis has died of complications from covid-19, one of several jazz icons to fall victim to the pandemic illness. Ellis Marsalis has died of complications from covid-19, one of several jazz icons to fall victim to the pandemic illness. (Sophia Germer/AP)

The best piece of jazz advice I ever received wasn’t a cool tip in a record shop or a firm nudge into a nightclub. It was a ritual: Cue up a free-jazz record first thing in the morning and see if it helps your brain open up to what’s possible in the day ahead. On mornings when I remember to take that advice, one of my go-tos is “The Giuseppi Logan Quartet,” an album recorded in 1964 by a free jazz multi-reedist whose distinctive style of play still has broad, cosmic, everyday implications.

This music sounds as if it’s shaking itself loose, but even as Logan uses his horn to smear and smudge different notes, he’s being decisive, shifting his priorities as the moment demands. That agile kind of playing debunks the idea of improvisation as some serendipitous expression drawn from thin air. Instead, it reminds us that the human experience is an ongoing improvisational act, one that’s continuously shaped at the intersection of purpose and chance. Jazz isn’t magic. It’s life.

Logan’s sound-smears felt particularly affirming on my stereo Saturday morning after I had learned that he had died of complications from covid-19, making the 84-year-old the latest victim of a pandemic that continues to decimate the jazz world with horrific swiftness. It’s been crushing to watch so many meaningful lives end in such a meaningless way. Among the dead: the venturesome bassist Henry Grimes, the graceful saxophonist Lee Konitz, the impeccable trumpeter Wallace Roney, the erudite pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr. — and there will be more. A uniquely American art form is being killed by a uniquely American incompetence.

And while our government’s mishandling of this pandemic remains incomprehensible, the fact that covid-19 appears to be disproportionately killing jazz musicians shouldn’t be. First, New York City remains the capital of American jazz, as well as the pandemic’s current global epicenter. On top of that, before social distancing measures were put into practice, jazz musicians were out and about. They had to be. For most jazz players to survive in an era of digital music streaming, they have to get out there and perform live. Has jazz’s reputation for being cerebral and remote ever felt more wrongheaded than it does right now? Jazz requires physical participation. It’s social music. What a horrible way to be reminded.

If it’s possible for something as expansive as jazz to have a second unifying principle, maybe it’s this: Jazz always has to do with starting something. It’s the music of possibility, and it’s never too late to keep starting. So while many of us would be delighted to live 92 years on this Earth, it still hurts to lose Konitz at that age. Across the final decade of his life, the alto-saxophonist was still playing, still performing, still starting — all while drawing on an inventory of life experience that grew deeper by the minute. As human beings, the longer we extend the twilight of our lives, the more unique our perspectives become. Jazz elders are especially well-positioned to refract those perspectives back out into the world. Listening to Konitz breathe into his horn near the end of his life was an opportunity to hear hard wisdom manifest in a caress.

 

Lee Konitz was 92. Lee Konitz was 92. (Juan Herrero/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

 

Wallace Roney was 59. Wallace Roney was 59. (Fernando Aceves/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Every jazz musician lost in this pandemic had a unique start that sent them on a distinct trajectory, but the sounds they made often overlapped. Marsalis was an educator and a New Orleans jazz patriarch who — along with his sons Branford, Wynton, Delfaeyo and Jason Marsalis — formed a musical dynasty that championed mid-century jazz values. Roney was a protege of Miles Davis who began his career in the traditionalist mode of the Marsalis brothers, but eventually adopted an exploratory approach that allowed him to reimagine the music of OutKast. Konitz famously broke ground alongside Davis in the cool-jazz era of the 1950s, then spent subsequent decades distilling melody to its essence.

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For each of these players, jazz was a way of experiencing freedom within the framework of a tradition. We like to idealize life in America the same way. We structure our lives around a sense of possibility.

The volatile trajectory of Grimes’s life feels especially American, for better and for worse. In the 1960s, the Philadelphia-born bassist was blazing thrilling new paths alongside Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, Pharaoh Sanders and other innovators. Then, in 1968, Grimes moved to California, failed to find work, sold his bass and disappeared from the public eye so completely that some thought he was dead. When he finally returned to the stage in 2003, his music sounded so alive, it stung — the jolt of his inspiring comeback tempered by a painful reminder of how easy it is to vanish between the cracks of a system that does little to invest in the health and financial well-being of artists.

The arc of Logan’s life bent in astonishing parallel to Grimes’s, as the critic Nate Chinen noted in twin obituaries published within hours of one another. Like Grimes, Logan made historic noise in the mid-’60s, then fell into poverty and homelessness for decades, only to make a heroic 21st-century return.

Their parallel paths didn’t stop there. When Logan and Grimes climbed back onto those stages, they didn’t run victory laps. These were bright minds that had survived some dark years, and now they had something new to communicate. There was more music to make because there was more life to live. We start until we stop.

How to listen alone in a lockdown

Lee Konitz, groundbreaking jazz saxophonist for 7 decades, dies of coronavirus at 92

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The Difference Between Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents – The New York Timess at 74 | TAPinto

The Difference Between Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents – The New York Timess at 74 | TAPinto


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https://www.nytimes.com/article/copyrights-trademarks-patents.html?algo=identity
 

The Difference Between Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents

Whether you’re an inventor, a writer or an artist, you need to know what these each mean — and which you need to protect your work.

By Alexander Webb

April 16, 2020

 

Temilade Adelaja/Reuters

“It felt like my heart was being ripped out.”

The first time artist and illustrator Yas Imamura saw her art for sale on unauthorized products online, she was shocked and surprised. Then it happened again. And again. And again.

Intellectual property theft has always been a problem, but it has never affected as many people as it does today. If you’ve taken a photo, recorded a song or written a letter, you’ve likely created a copyright. If you operate a small business, you probably qualify for trademark protection, and if you invent something, you may be able to patent it. But the same tools that make it easy to distribute your work online make it easier than ever to steal.

Intellectual property, or I.P., is everywhere, but almost nobody who is not a lawyer understands how to protect their art, business or inventions. This article is no substitute for real legal advice, but it should give you an idea of what questions you need to ask next. I.P. law is vast, so this will focus on basic terms you’ve probably heard: copyrights, trademarks and patents. Let’s get started.

What is a copyright?

Copyrights protect original artistic works. That includes things like photos, books, movies, songs, paintings, software code, architecture and even the article you are reading right now. Copyrights give their owner the exclusive right to reproduce and profit off the underlying work.

The underlying principle is simple; If you create something original, you get to choose what to do with it. Copyrights are automatic at the time of creation, but you can register with the government to get stronger protections. Confused? Let’s bring in an expert.

“Creators are not required to register their original creative work before copyright exists because rights exist automatically when the work is fixed in some tangible form,” said Tonya Evans, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of law at the University of New Hampshire. “But creators should register it for further protection.”

Registration comes with many real benefits, like the ability to seek $150,000 in statutory damages. If your copyright is not registered, you must seek actual damages, which are often much lower and usually much harder to prove. Long story short, if a dispute arises, your life will be a lot easier if you have registered your copyright.

You also might be much richer. In nearly every country, a copyright created today lasts for at least the author’s life plus 50 years. In the United States and most of Europe, it is the author’s life plus 70 years. If the creator is a corporation, the term is at least 95 years.

That’s one reason the right copyright can be extremely valuable. A hit song, movie or book can plausibly produce royalties well into the life of the creator’s great-grandchildren. And it can do so around the world. There is no such thing as an international copyright, but a host of treaties means U.S. copyrights have at least some protections in most countries.

Copyright registration is easy (no need for a lawyer) and inexpensive, Dr. Evans said. You can do it yourself online, and fees are currently $65 for most registrations, but can be as low as $45. To get started, visit copyright.gov.

What is a trademark?

When most people think of trademarks, they think of brand names like Coca-Cola, Apple or McDonald’s. These are good examples, but the category is even broader.

“A trademark protects a word, phrase, symbol or device — the mark — used in commerce to identify and distinguish one product from another,” Dr. Evans said. The slogan “I’m lovin’ it” is a trademark of McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola was granted a trademark on the design of its curved glass bottles.

Trademarks help businesses and the public by making the differences between products clear. Anyone can start a soda company, but only one soda can be called Coca-Cola. There are many hotel chains, but only one is called the Four Seasons. There are many cafe companies, but only one Starbucks. There are many airlines, but only one Delta.

But just because a company has a trademark for one type of product doesn’t mean other companies can’t use the same name for a different type of product.

It all boils down to “whether the defendant’s use is likely to confuse a consumer,” Dr. Evans said. “For example, someone could have a McDonald’s auto parts because consumers are not likely to be confused as to the source of the goods or expect Big Macs to be served.” This is why Delta Dental, Delta Air Lines and Delta faucets can coexist. Their businesses are different enough that consumers aren’t likely to be confused.

There are only 45 trademark categories for goods and services, which means similar items are usually combined into a class. But it’s not always obvious which class your product or service belongs in. For example, Class 29 includes “preserved, frozen, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables,” but doesn’t include baby food, which is in Class 5. Class 13 includes fireworks, but not matches.

Like copyrights, trademarks can have some common-law protection even if they are not formally registered. But unlike copyrights, trademarks can be renewed forever — as long as the mark is still being used in commerce. So don’t expect to sell a soda using the name Coca-Cola anytime soon.

Filing for a trademark costs at least $225 per class of goods but can easily cost over $1,000 with legal help. Although a lawyer is not required to file, the trademark registration system is more complicated than that for copyrights, and can involve objections from examining attorneys at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You can search for existing and expired trademarks, or file a new application, on its website, uspto.gov.

What is a patent?

Patents protect novel inventions or discoveries like pharmaceutical drugs, complex machinery or advanced software. By prohibiting others from using or importing the invention, a patent essentially grants its owner a monopoly on the innovation, but only for a limited time — generally 20 years. After that, anyone can use it free.

The patent system tries to balance the need for inventors to make money and allowing the public to benefit from advances. The classic example is a new pharmaceutical drug. The promise of a temporary monopoly spurs companies to invest in research and development, which leads to valuable drugs that, eventually, become generic. Both the company that developed the drug (which presumably made money off it) and the public (which has a new treatment) are supposed to benefit.

Patents protect inventions, not ideas, so you can’t patent teleportation or time travel unless you actually invent it. The invention must also be “useful” and “non-obvious.” It goes without saying that millions have been spent on legal fees fighting over these terms alone.

Unlike copyrights and trademarks, patents operate under a “first inventor to file” system. That means failing to register your invention can have disastrous consequences if someone else registers before you — even if you invented it first.

Because patents preclude rivals from using new inventions, and what is “useful” or “non-obvious” can be subjective, they can be the subject of heated litigation. Elon Musk once described patents as “a lottery ticket to a lawsuit.”

The complexity of patent law and the propensity for lawsuits in this space means that you will want a lawyer to move forward with a patent. The Patent and Trademark Office says on its website that it always recommends “using a registered attorney or agent” to help file a patent application, but you can file an application without one. The office offers legal resources including videoconference and phone assistance if you want to file a patent without a lawyer.

Google Patents is designed to help you search existing inventions and discoveries.

In theory, a do-it-yourself patent application can be relatively affordable, with total fees under $1,000. In practice, filing fees and legal representation for this highly technical process can easily push costs well into the thousands, if not tens of thousands. Learn more about patents at the Patent and Trademark Office.

One trap to avoid: The ‘Poor Man’s Copyright’

No matter what type of intellectual property you have, if you believe the work has value, there is no substitute for actual registration.

Mailing yourself a letter with your idea or invention, commonly known as the “Poor Man’s Copyright,” offers you “no additional protection” beyond what simply putting your ideas on paper already grants, said Dr. Evans, who called it a “myth that continues to be perpetuated.”

Where to get help

Let’s say you have more questions but don’t have the budget to hire a fancy lawyer — is there anything you can do?

A host of legal aid organizations collectively known as Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts provide free or affordable legal advice for artists or small businesses. These independent organizations generally operate statewide, so search for your state’s chapter.

If you’re trying to obtain a patent, the Patent and Trademark Office has a program that offers inventors and small businesses free legal assistance.

And if you think you might have a lawsuit on your hands, intellectual property lawyers will often provide free consultations to help determine if you have a case. Some lawyers will represent you at no upfront cost in return for a fraction of the potential winnings.

If you can’t or don’t want to go to court, there are other ways out. Ms. Imamura, the artist, transitioned into book illustrations, and her publisher now wages those battles for her.

“It’s a huge weight off my shoulders that someone else is fighting for my intellectual property,” she said. She also found some success calling out people who copy her work. “Sometimes they’ll just take it down if you write them.”

One counterintuitive strategy is to give up on the idea of intellectual property protection at all. Leo Babauta, creator of Zen Habits, releases all his work copyright-free and says on his website that it hasn’t hurt him. “You can’t steal what is given freely,” he said. “I call this sharing, not piracy.”

Whatever path you choose, it’s important to make sure you understand your legal rights. As a small-business owner or artist, your intellectual property may be the most valuable asset you own. Make sure you treat it that way.

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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Lee “Boz” Boswell-May, South Orange Music Booster, Dies at 74 | TAPinto

Lee “Boz” Boswell-May, South Orange Music Booster, Dies at 74 | TAPinto


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Lee “Boz” Boswell-May, South Orange Music Booster, Dies at 74

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Lee “Boz” Boswell-May of South Orange, retired hearing officer at New York State Public Service Commission and wife of musician Earl May, has died at age 74. She was a lifelong resident of South Orange, and an advocate for human rights, evidenced when she and her family helped integrate the dormitories at Glassboro State, as seen in this biographical documentary, as well as music in general and jazz in specific.

She was an active volunteer with South Orange Performing Arts Center, and curated the Jazz in the Loft series. 

“We are all stunned and saddened,” said Dee Billia, SOPAC director of external relations. Lee “was a Jazz singer herself and a tireless advocate for Jazz in the region. She played a huge role in Giants of Jazz — a 23 year SOPAC tradition, Jazz in the Loft and other music activities in South Orange. She was a lifelong resident of South Orange and was a historian for the African-American experience in our area. She meant a great deal to all the Board and staff.”

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South Orange Village Trustee Steve Schnall remembered her this way: “I am so grateful to have had many opportunities to work and speak with her, but I especially recall and enjoy the great times at “Giants of Jazz” which have been hosted at SOPAC the last bunch of years. Her story is amazing as she has made such an impact on our Community, the Jazz world and beyond. We will miss her.”

“You were everyone’s biggest fan and supporter…never asking why…always willing to help,” said musician Mike Griot on his Facebook page. “Music coursed through your soul like the Nile, and all we could do was be awestruck by its beauty. You were the fabric of our expansive musical family — a lover of all genres: as long as sincere people expressed their joy, you gave them the reward of your undivided attentions. You offered your support to almost every gig, event, concert, festival or project I’ve pursued for the last decade or more. I never imagined a day like this…without a warm “well hello, Michelob” (nickname) or a full throttle hug.”
Griot, who lives in the Valley Arts district of Orange after 20 years of South Orange residency, added, “Your gift of your dear husband Earl May’s Acoustic Bass (“Coltrane”) was among the most generous gifts I’ve ever received. I promise I’ll keep playing it in tribute to him…and YOU, my dear Lee Boz May. I miss my friend.”

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NYC jazz musician Giuseppi Logan dies of coronavirus: report – New York Daily News

NYC jazz musician Giuseppi Logan dies of coronavirus: report – New York Daily News


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Esteemed NYC jazz musician Giuseppi Logan dies of coronavirus: report

New York Daily News |

Apr 18, 2020 | 4:23 PM 

Giuseppi Logan died at the Lawrence Care Center nursing home in Far Rockaway, Queens, longtime friend and fellow performer Matt Lavelle told the jazz radio station WBGO.

Giuseppi Logan died at the Lawrence Care Center nursing home in Far Rockaway, Queens, longtime friend and fellow performer Matt Lavelle told the jazz radio station WBGO.(Youtube.com)

Giuseppi Logan, an avant-garde musician who played with some of the greatest jazz firebrands in the 1960s died Friday of coronavirus, according to a report. 

Logan died at the Lawrence Care Center nursing home in Far Rockaway, Queens, longtime friend and fellow performer Matt Lavelle told the jazz radio station WBGO.

The self-taught saxophonist, flutist and pianist became a fixture in New York’s free jazz scene in the 1960s and recorded and performed with a number of jazz heavyweights before addiction and mental illness forced him to stop performing for more than four decades.

For years, he oscillated between being institutionalized to sleeping on New York subways until he returned to New York’s jazz scene in 2009, with Lavelle’s help, and performed his first gig at the Bowery Poetry Club.

He later recorded an album “The Giuseppi Logan Quintet” featuring François Grillot on bass, Warren Smith on drums and distinguished composer Dave Burrell on piano.

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“The main thing for me, to be honest, was just to make Giuseppi feel good and to give him some money and some CDs to sell in the park,” Josh Rosenthal, owner of Tompkins Square Records told WBGO. “He made his first record in 45 years, and that was enough. But the record was surprisingly well received.”

Lavelle said that Logan was the “ultimate example” of humanity in music.

“His music was all about really how he felt, who he was, and how vulnerable he was,” Lavelle said. “Giuseppi was one of those guys who was almost consumed by how much he wanted to get inside of the music. Everything else in his life was connected to this prime directive that he had.”

Logan is survived by two sons, Jaee, a pianist and producer, and Joe.

Latest coronavirus updates: Click here for our roundup of the most important developments from NYC and around the world.


Born and bred in Brooklyn, crime reporter Thomas Tracy has been covering the NYPD for more than a decade. He joined the Daily News in January 2013.

 

Most Read • Coronavirus

 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Lee & Bird – YouTube

Lee & Bird – YouTube


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Courtesy of The Jazz Video Guy

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Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces – Searching For My Baby (Rare Video Footage)

Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces – Searching For My Baby (Rare Video Footage)


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx9UTW6AIXM

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Giuseppi Logan, Free-Jazz Multireedist Who Returned Once From Oblivion, Has Died at 84 | WBGO

Giuseppi Logan, Free-Jazz Multireedist Who Returned Once From Oblivion, Has Died at 84 | WBGO


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https://www.wbgo.org/post/giuseppi-logan-free-jazz-multireedist-who-returned-once-oblivion-has-died-84#stream/0
 

Giuseppi Logan, Free-Jazz Multireedist Who Returned Once From Oblivion, Has Died at 84

By  • 15 hours ago

 

Giuseppi Logan, a saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist whose esteemed career in free jazz bracketed a mysterious absence of almost 40 years, died on Friday at the Lawrence Nursing Care Center in Far Rockaway, Queens. He was 84.

Matt Lavelle, a trumpeter and clarinetist who was Logan’s closest musical partner over the last dozen years, said the cause was related to the coronavirus.

Logan leaves behind a small body of recorded work, but his standing in the improvised avant-garde is considerable. He emerged just as free jazz was beginning to crest as a movement, and even amidst a crowded field of iconoclasts, he distinguished himself as an original.

In 1964, shortly after his arrival in New York, he participated in The October Revolution in Jazz, alongside artists like trumpeter Bill Dixon and pianist Cecil Taylor. Several weeks later he recorded The Giuseppi Logan Quartet for ESP-Disk, with impeccable partners: pianist Don Pullen, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Milford Graves.

 

 

Logan’s second album, Morewas recorded live at The Town Hall during a concert of ESP-Disk artists on May 1, 1965. (The same concert yielded saxophonist Albert Ayler’s classic Bells.) His group worked often over the next year or two, notably on a college tour organized by the label; he also appears, playing flute, on College Tour, by the avant-garde vocalist Patty Waters. 

In performance, Logan would not only play saxophone and flute but a range of other instruments, with varying degrees of technical facility. Reactions were mixed, with many “New Thing” converts on one end of the spectrum; the other end held a good many detractors, including the bulk of jazz’s critical establishment.

Whitney Balliettreviewing a performance at Judson Hall for The New Yorker, noted that Logan and his band “had the air of mediums possessed.” That furious intensity wasn’t a turn-on, as Balliett made painfully clear. “Logan’s sheer dexterity masks sly sins,” he wrote, and proceeded to enumerate a few:

His violin work, made up of a million short, scratchy notes, was demonic; his trombone was equally congested; his trumpet playing was high and strangled; his alto and tenor saxophones — he dangled each instrument from his mouth like a cigarette — were a mockery of Ornette Coleman; his Pakistani oboe was a Pakistani oboe; and his vibraphone sounded as if he were pouring loose change into it.

A short film from 1966, by Edward English, shows Logan in his East Village neighborhood with his family. A hand-lettered sign on his door reads “GIUSEPPI LOGAN / Music Teacher / All Instruments / Vocal Coach.” At one point, he is heard in voiceover: “If people in any other profession are able to support their families by doing what they do, I mean, why can’t I?” he says. “Or other musicians that are doing something that’s good for society?”

 

 

Logan made one of his only sideman appearances in 1966 on an album by trombonist Roswell Rudd, whom he had met through Graves (like Rudd, a member of the New York Art Quartet). That early Rudd album, Everywhere, consists of just four compositions, one of which is Logan’s “Satan Dance” — a theme introduced, as “Dance of Satan,” on The Giuseppi Logan Quartet. 

By the early 1970s, Logan’s struggles with substance abuse and mental illness had removed him from the scene. He is mentioned in a footnote of Valerie Wilmer’s 1977 book As Serious As Your Life: The Story of the New Jazz as “no longer active in music,” and his whereabouts were unknown, even to his family, for the next few decades. In a haunting coincidence, his passing came the same week as that of bassist Henry Grimes, whose story similarly includes a disappearing act, followed by a welcome return.

Joseph Logan was born in Philadelphia on May 22, 1935. (According to Lavelle, he adopted his Italianate first name for effect, possibly at the suggestion of ESP-Disk founder Bernard Stollman.) His first instrument was the piano, which he taught himself; he took up reed instruments at age 12. He studied at the New England Conservatory before moving to New York. That first iteration of his career lasted only about half a dozen years.

Survivors include two sons, Jaee, a pianist and producer, and Joe. 

According to a sympathetic profile by John Leland in The New York Times, Logan had stretches of institutionalization and homelessness, in Norfolk, Va. and then back in New York. He slept in shelters or on the subway. He played his saxophone for change, often in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village — where Josh Rosenthal, founder of Tompkins Square Records, would often see him playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” without realizing his pedigree in free music.

Around the same time, Logan wandered into a Sam Ash music store in midtown and encountered Lavelle, who pieced together his identity and quickly became a crucial ally. “He was in a place where he was trying to get back to his musical self,” Lavelle recalls.

With Lavelle’s help, Logan played his first proper gig in some 40 years, at the Bowery Poetry Club on Feb. 17, 2009. Later that year they recorded an album for Tompkins Square Records, The Giuseppi Logan Quintetalso featuring François Grillot on bass, Warren Smith on drums, and one of Logan’s former collaborators, Dave Burrell, on piano.

“The main thing for me, to be honest, was just to make Giuseppi feel good and to give him some money and some CDs to sell in the park,” recalls Rosenthal. “He made his first record in 45 years, and that was enough. But the record was surprisingly well received.”

Lavelle says that he and Logan had been working on a return to the freeform explorations of the 1960s, and making progress toward another album, before a series of hospitalizations thwarted the plan.

“I learned a lot about the humanity in music from Ornette Coleman,” Lavelle says. “But Giuseppi to me was the ultimate example of that. His music was all about really how he felt, who he was, and how vulnerable he was. There’s this one video of us at Local 269, where he plays ‘My Favorite Things.’ He pretty much plays the melody and does some variations on it. But there’s so much of his sound; nobody else would ever, ever play it that way.”

Beyond the raw originality of the expression, there was a power of commitment. “His thing with music was in the extreme,” Lavelle adds. “It truly was more important than anything else. Giuseppi was one of those guys who was almost consumed by how much he wanted to get inside of the music. Everything else in his life was connected to this prime directive that he had.”

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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WWOZ to broadcast eight days of archival New Orleans Jazz Fest ‘greatest hits’ | Louisiana Festivals | nola.com

WWOZ to broadcast eight days of archival New Orleans Jazz Fest ‘greatest hits’ | Louisiana Festivals | nola.com


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https://www.nola.com/entertainment_life/festivals/article_38c8d742-80b4-11ea-8811-f78ad83179f3.html
 

WWOZ to broadcast eight days of archival New Orleans Jazz Fest ‘greatest hits’

Under normal circumstances, staffers at community radio station WWOZ 90.7 FM would be preparing for their annual live broadcast from the Fair Grounds during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. 

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the  2020 Jazz Fest has been canceled. So instead, WWOZ will broadcast a sort of Jazz Fest greatest hits. 

Starting at 11 a.m. on April 23 — what was the originally scheduled opening day of the 2020 Jazz Fest — the station will air selected live recordings from past festivals. The “Jazz Festing in Place” on-air festival will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each of the eight days that OZ would have been broadcasting from its hospitality tent on the Jazz Fest grounds, April 23 to 26 and April 30 to May 3. 

 

The station also plans to create its own scheduling “cubes.” Featured acts who will appear on those cubes and in the broadcasts include Dr. John, Fats Domino, the Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Henry Butler, Marcia Ball, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Mardi Gras Indians, Trombone Shorty, Kermit Ruffins, John Boutte, the Radiators, Big Freedia, Ernie K-Doe, Ellis Marsalis, Danny Barker, the Rebirth Brass Band, Bob French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band and more.

Additionally, WWOZ will air the “Fire Benefit,” a 1974 concert to raise money for piano legend Professor Longhair after his house caught fire. Longhair, Dr. John, the Wild Magnolias and other local legends appeared on the bill.

The special eight-day “Festing in Place” broadcast will also feature interview segments about food, music and crafts, as well as recipes for Jazz Fest cuisine. 

To foster some semblance of the Jazz Fest community in isolation, WWOZ is soliciting photos from listeners of their “Festing in Place outposts and fest-worthy attire. 

The broadcasts will air on the radio station locally and stream worldwide via the WWOZ web site. 

The WWOZ operating license is owned by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the non-profit organization that also owns Jazz Fest.

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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Henry Grimes, Bassist of Avant-Garde Pedigree and a Storied Return, Dies of COVID-19 at 84 | WBGO

Henry Grimes, Bassist of Avant-Garde Pedigree and a Storied Return, Dies of COVID-19 at 84 | WBGO


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https://www.wbgo.org/post/henry-grimes-bassist-avant-garde-pedigree-and-storied-return-dies-covid-19-84#stream/0
 

Henry Grimes, Bassist of Avant-Garde Pedigree and a Storied Return, Dies of COVID-19 at 84

By  • 9 hours ago

 

Henry Grimes met with a hero’s welcome, his first of many, when he lugged an upright bass onstage at the eighth annual Vision Festival.

This was May 24, 2003, and the feeling in the room, at Old St. Patrick’s Youth Center in SoHo, was momentously charged. It had been 35 years since Grimes last played in New York, and for much of that time he’d been a ghost — an unanswerable whatever-happened-to question, as far as the jazz world was concerned. Some reference books had actually listed him as deceased.

His performance that evening, with fellow bassist William Parker and alto saxophonist Rob Brown, served notice that Grimes was not only alive but still a vital force — bowing his instrument with manic clarity, burrowing into the thorny center of the sound.

It marked the start of a legendary comeback that stretched more than 15 years, until his death on Wednesday at Northern Manhattan Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Harlem. His wife, Margaret Davis Grimes, confirmed the details to the Jazz Foundation of America, which had been assisting with his care. She said the cause was complications from the coronavirus.

Before his disappearing act, Grimes had been a bassist in high demand and even higher promise. Known both for his versatility and the stout fullness of his sound, he began to make a mark in the mid-to-late 1950s, on albums by saxophonists Lee Konitz (who also died this week of COVID-19), Gerry Mulligan and Sonny Rollins.

Grimes played the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival with Rollins, and is captured in the film Jazz on a Summer’s Day with an ad hoc trio featuring Thelonious Monk and Roy Haynes.

 

 

In the ‘60s, Grimes began to branch into a burgeoning avant-garde: he appears on Haynes’ Out of the Afternoon and Gil Evans’ Into the Hot; he anchored the Steve Lacy-Roswell Rudd Quartet on School Days and the McCoy Tyner Trio (again with Haynes) on Reaching Fourth. Then came a decisive pivot to free jazz, which had become an onrushing force by 1965, the year of Grimes’ first album, The Call.

By that point, Grimes had already appeared on several albums by saxophone firebrand Albert Ayler, notably Spirits and Witches & Devils. In ‘65 he played on Ayler’s Spirits Rejoice — along with a handful of other avant-garde touchstones, like Don Cherry’s Complete Communion, Sunny Murray’s Sunny’s Time Now, and Frank Wright’s Frank Wright Trio.

Grimes was a member of the Cecil Taylor Unit, which appeared on half of Into the Hot. Taylor’s fluent yet spiky pianism, and his comfort with atonality, didn’t faze him in the slightest; he subsequently appeared on Conquistador! and Unit Structures. Each is an essential album in the avant-garde canon, and each represents a high-water mark for early Taylor.

In 1968, Grimes headed for California, in search of sunshine and the promise of work. Things didn’t work out that way. His bass was damaged, and he pawned it. Without an instrument, gigs were hard to come by, so he did an assortment of construction and custodial work. He was homeless at times, and prone to erratic behavior. (This aspect of his story invites comparison with saxophonist Giuseppi Logan, who also died this week of causes related to COVID-19.)

His rediscovery came through the tenacious efforts of a social worker named Marshall Marrotte, who studied court records and other documents in order to find him in 2002. Grimes owned no instrument, so Margaret Davis began a campaign to get him one. This led to William Parker donating one of his own, a green-painted bass he’d dubbed Olive Oil.

Grimes would go on to play hundreds of gigs with that instrument, in New York and around the world. Among them was a return to the Vision Festival in 2004, when he performed in a trio with pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Andrew Cyrille. He also rekindled his musical relationships with Cecil Taylor and Bill Dixon, and forged new ones with a wide range of admirers, like guitarist Marc Ribot. He could often be seen in the audience at performances in New York, typically wearing a trademark headband, with Davis by his side.

Henry Grimes was born in Philadelphia on Nov. 3, 1935. His first instrument was the violin, which he picked up again in earnest after his return to performing. He graduated from the Jules Mastbaum Vocational/Technical School in the Kensington neighborhood of Philly, and went on to Juilliard in New York, to study with Frederick Zimmermann, principal bassist for the New York Philharmonic. (There was no jazz outlet at Juilliard then, and he left after a year.)

Grimes led a prolific second act — enjoying his avant-garde eminence, performing on many more Vision Festivals, and holding the center of gravity in countless improvisational settings. One of his most fruitful collaborations was with Ribot, who had revered his work with Ayler. In 2005, Ribot released an Ayler tribute called Spiritual Unity, with Grimes, trumpeter Roy Campbell and drummer Chad Taylor.

In a  2012 interview with Brad Farberman for The Village Voice, Ribot reflected on what made Grimes such an ideal musical partner:

First of all, he’s a great improviser. Full of ideas. One of the things that you see in some beginning improvisers are that if you play a note they have to play the same note just to show, “Hey. See, I heard you.” [laughs] Henry manages to counterpoint whatever’s going on, but he doesn’t have that insecure reaction at all. He counterpoints while following his own trajectory, and it always works.

Ribot, Grimes and Taylor played a week at The Village Vanguard that year. Reviewing the opening set for The New York Times, I called it “a rough astonishment, restless and altogether riveting.” (The first set of the second night was broadcast by WBGO.) Pi Recordings released an album culled from the run.

Grimes published a book of poems he’d written during his time off the scene, calling it Signs Along the Road.

In a 2012 interview with For Bass Players Only, he reflected on his period of exile.

“I never gave up on music, not for a minute,” he said. “You could say I was absent for a long time, but I always believed I would be back one day. I just couldn’t see the way to get there, but I knew it would happen.”

 

Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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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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HENRY GRIMES November 3, 1935-April 17, 2020 + Giuseppi Logan (May 22, 1935 – April 17, 2020) The New York City Jazz Record – Posts

HENRY GRIMES November 3, 1935-April 17, 2020 + Giuseppi Logan (May 22, 1935 – April 17, 2020) The New York City Jazz Record – Posts


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