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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Keep the 'Hi-de-ho' Man's house for jazz history

Couldn't resist posting this exchange and appeal . Some things should stay as they are

Release Date: June 13, 2008
Greenburgh Town Clerk Judith Beville and I met with Cab Calloway¹s daughter
yesterday. Cecelia Calloway is seeking assistance with a project to preserve
the Cab Calloway house at 1040 Knollwood Road as a historical landmark.
Greenburgh played an important role in music, jazz and the arts during the
last century. It is our hope that we can prevent the house from being
demolished. If you¹re interested in working with us in our efforts to save
the Calloway House and to preserve the property as a historic landmark
please e mail me at pfeiner@greenburghny.com and Judith Beville at
jbeville@greenburghny.com. The following is a letter received from Cecilia
Lael Calloway today.

Hi-De-Ho Paul Feiner,

I am Cecelia Lael Calloway, the daughter of Cab Calloway and I¹m seeking
your assistance with a project that I strongly believe will benefit the Town
of Greenburgh in several ways. My father, Cab Calloway, called Greenburgh
home for many years. He truly loved living in this town and he often said he
would like to have his legacy kept alive here. I want to acquire the house
on Knollwood Road and use it as base to celebrate his life, music, and
legacy. I envision this location being used to preserve an important piece
of Greenburgh¹s history, provide many educational opportunities to learn
about the cultural and musical history, and provide a location to feature
jazz performances, dance, sculpture, display memorabilia from Dad¹s life,
photographs, story telling and a functioning recording studio.

Your support would be such a great honor to me, my family and dad. I
believe it is imperative to save, preserve and operate the old Calloway home
where I met so many great celebrities visiting Dad. My associates and I are
embarking on preserving the energies and spirits of celebrities and friends
of yesterday who visited dad in celebration at our old home.

Here are just a few of these legendary performers who spent time at the
Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., E. Simms
Campbell. dinners with Dizzy Gillespie, Loentyne Price, Pearl Bailey,
Slappy White, Gordon Parks, Eddie Haywood, Nipsie Russell, Michael Jackson,
Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, big parties with the Harlem Globe Trotters, Lionel
Hampton, Panama Francis, Dave Brubeck, Billy Eckstine, Roy Campanalla and
Cab¹s band members; Milt Hinton, Fletcher Henderson, Chuck Berry, Cozy Cole,
and the great producer of Hello Dolly, David Merrick.

The house is currently for sale and I understand developers have shown
interest in acquiring the property for possible subdivision, meaning the
demolition of this historically valuable location. We need to move quickly
to make this dream happen. I believe the best vehicle for maintaining this
location on a longterm basis would be to form a local charitable
organization or foundation that would:

1. Operate exclusively for charitable, educational, and civic purposes as
referred to in Sections 501(c) (3) and 170 (c) (2) of the Internal Revenue
Code, generally referred to as ³exempt purposes².

2. To promote and fund the preservation of Cab Calloway name, likeness,
music history and legacy locally and worldwide.

3. To produce fund raising events, activities and concerts for the Calloway
house revival and preservation.

4. To purchase, renovate and expand the old Calloway home (1040 Knollwood
Rd., White Plains, N.Y.) with showcase rooms, sound recording and music
facility for continuous Calloway operations and projects

5. To sponsor multi-media, music and arts programs and projects for
underprivileged youth, youth at risk, the school system, the local
historical and arts organizations, and places of Higher learning such as
colleges and universities.

Of course, these are preliminary ideas, but I think with your help, and the
help of any interested groups and citizens, we can preserve this important
piece of Greenburgh¹s history. If this dream is to become reality, time is
of the essence, the clock is ticking and the wrecker¹s ball is looming
I hope you will join me in getting the word out to those who might be
interested in making this happen.


Cecelia Lael Calloway

The 'Butler' threw down @ Christopher's

Left to his own clearly very joyous devices, pianist/composer/all-round Jamaican legend Harold Butler may well ahve gone on playing well past midnight at Christopher's this past Tuesday.

With Chris Tyrell (drums) and Maurice Gordon and Mfonabasi taking turns on bass, 'The Butler' unleashed a series of uninhibited runs on the keyboard, delving into everything from staright-ahead jazz, funk fusion, roots reggae and his own substantial Jamaican pop catalog, including the timeless 'Love Me Forever' immortalised by the late Cynthia Schloss and Beres Hammond's 'One Step Ahead'

He extended each set by several tunes and looked as if he had hardly worked up a sweat. Not so the adoring crowd, who visibly made drnks and chatter a secondary priority as they absorbed every bit of the maestro's release.

Should make the upcoming Battle of the Ivories at Jazz in the Gardens on Sunday that much more interesting.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ronnie Matthews - on the outro

Pianist Ronnie Matthews, of Bajan descent, has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
One of the most highly respected and admired jazz musicians, Matthews was a journeyman who managedto stay just under the radar of celebrity. He performed here in Kingston in the 1980s atthe legendary Blue Monk, and is also known for his time in the jazz-funk out fit TS Monk, led by TS Monk Jr. (they hada hit in the 80s with a track called The Good Life)

An umber of his musical friends, including Gary Bartz, Roni Ben-Hur, Ray Bryant, Dwayne Burno, George Coleman, Charles Davis, Akua Dixon, Kathy Farmer, Sonny Fortune, Lucy Galligher, Louis Hayes and Jimmy Heath will be gathering at NYC's Sweet Rhythm club to celebrate him.

Outstanding CD reviews this week - I promise

Changing personal situatio and some computer issues have been a challenge, but Recent Auditions will return this week, with my take on JD Allen's I Am I Am, and CDs by David Murray and Hiromi and possibly new Brian Blade Fellowship CD Season of Changes

Dolphy was Jamaican - who knew?....

.....Certainly not me. Not that its surprising that a great musician has Jamaican connections, but I simply hadn't heard that before. Check out the sounds of Jamaican Dolphy & other great music makers all this week on Riffin'



MONDAY: Cassandra Wilson, the singer, after a 20 year break from recording “standards”, has done so again, in a new album”Loverly”, and in her own inimitable fashion.

TUESDAY: Two other female singers, less well know than Cassandra Wilson-- Stevie Holland, and Joanna Pascale, serve the same muse of claiming and defining the music.

WEDNESDAY: Art Tatum’s piano prowess, unmantched to this day, has not dimmed in 50 years, as a specially recorded edition of “Piano Starts Here, Live At The Shrine” , reveals.

THURSDAY: Eric Dolphy, a shortlived, but brilliant musician, who was born in the United States of Jamaican parents. In 36 years, Dolphy was a singular voice, on the alto saxophone and bass clarinet.

FRIDAY: Dobet Gnahore, is Africa’s latest voice, a star on the rise. From the Ivory Coast, the riveting singer delivers songs in praise of African women, and calls on the continent to search for solutions to its problems, within.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

R.I.P. EST Leader

In a place where even jazz superstars are hardly known, Esbjorn Svensson was not a blip on the Jamaiacan radar but he was a much admired pianist and bandleader internationally.

jazz news, Canada
Esbjorn Svensson

Esbjorn Svensson

Musician Dies in Scuba Diving Accident

Swedish pianist and composer Esbjorn Svensson, best known for his trio work with his group E.S.T., has died on Sunday in a tragic scuba diving accident. Svensson, who was 44 years old, leaves behind a wife and two children.

Considered one of the most influential figures in contemporary jazz, Svensson and E.S.T., his trio with Dan Berglund and Magnus Ostrum, gained international fame for their genre-breaking music. The group achieved cult status with younger jazz fans, often performing in rock venues.

E.S.T. were recognized on numerous occasions with with such prestigious honours as the European Jazz Award and the BBC Jazz Award. They were also the first European jazz group to be featured on the cover of Downbeat Magazine.

Esbjorn Svensson and E.S.T. were slated to perform at numerous Canadian jazz festivals this summer.

for more info visit www.est-music.com

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jazz 4 Alpha - My Review

see it here first

Gift Presentation to Alpha Boys


It was enough, almost, to see a clutch of Alpha Boys School students and alumni, of various ages, gathered on the dimly lit stage of the Sir Phillip Sherlock Centre at the UWI Mona campus on Monday night; to see – and hear – a trombone line four players strong; to hear a ‘rising star’ of improvised music like trumpeter Shaniel Stewart skip across the register and begin to own his instrument and his sound in a manner that recalled the greats whose tradition he has inherited.

The presentation which celebrated and augmented that tradition also saw a brief duet from pianist Dr Kathy Brown and alto man (and Alpharian himself ) Tony Greene reliving the music, if not the moment of the maestros in tunes like Eastern Standard Time and Rockfort Rock.

And the treasures did not come solely from the live performers. There was knowledge, from the erudite former Jamaican Ambassador to the US, Richard Bernal, who expounded on the heritage of his alma mater, the New York City-based New School University (specifically the School for Social Research), which also houses the School for Jazz and Contemporary Music came the musical instruments and equipment that were donated. The was a short, sharp commentary from the Don Drummond Foundation’s Dr Clinton Hutton on the need to intensify the culturally-oriented social interventions of an Alpha Boys’ programme in the face of the nation’s mounting crisis of violence and underdevelopment.

And there was, from former New School faculty member, jazz club owner, record producer, artiste manager, and music lover Herbie Miller, and excellent audiovisual slide presentation on the development and worldwide impact of several Alpha alumni, most notably Joe Harriott and the enigma that is Don Drummond. The benefit of the addition of the audio clips, while certainly a must given the subject, cannot be overstated. The real beauty of the music, especially in Drummond’s case, is that labels become superfluous: there’s no need to call it dance music – the very sound itself is a dance, the lines skip and dart and pirouette so fluidly over the rhythms.

It’s the kind of music and the kind of erudition that deserved a far wider audience than turned up at the Centre – the room was scarcely half filled. But hopefully, there will be opportunities, especially in this Jazz Month, for repeat engagements on whatever scale. The young charges at the Alpha Boys, some wielding horns that were almost bigger than them, deserve some kind of audience for their dedication to walk in the giant footsteps of generations past.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Riffin 20

In these heady times, the music of diversity continues on Riffin'



MONDAY: Reimageing, Barack Obama’s “Audacity of Hope”, to the “Audacity of Musical Brilliance” with Andy Bey and Grady Tate.

TUESDAY: Continuing with the “Audacity Of Musical Brilliance”, with Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins.

WEDNESDAY: Trombonist, Conrad Herwig, brings a Latin sound to the compositions of Wayne Shorter.

THURSDAY: Hurricane “Katrina” brought havoc to New Orleans, and especially to one of its treasures-the new Oreleans musician. Dr Michael White, lost greatly but prayer and music have been his salvation.

FRIDAY: Canadian producer, Dubmatix, creates some of the freshest reggae around, by combining a dub/reggae sound, that gives a fillip to , Alton Ellis, Linval Thompson, Pinchers, Michael Rose, Willie Williams, and Ranking Joe.

Jazz 4 Alpha tonite

Late, clearly, but get there if u can

Monday, June 02, 2008

Riffin' this week



MONDAY: Legend, Charles Lloyd, celebrates his 70th birthday, in the company of young musicians, who energize him—Jason Moran, Rueben Rodgers and Eric Harland.

TUESDAY: Two great singers from back in the day, Alberta Hunter and Billie Holiday.

WEDNESDAY: The bossa nova, a Brazilian beat that became globally popular, was started by a soft spoken singer, with a guitar, and a seductive beat. Jao Gilberto, whose female counterpart is Rosa Passos.

THURSDAY: Harry Belafonte, singer, composer, actor, producer and activist. Iniator of brand Jamaica.

FRIDAY: Trombonist, Vin Gordon, also known as Don Drummond jnr, with a new album as leader. “UMALALI”, The Garifuna Women’s Project, presents the hidden voices of the Garifuna women to the world. Ace reggae drummer, Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, is still one of the music’s best. Ainsley Burrows, a powerful new poet of word sound and power.