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Monday, December 29, 2008

'Blue Train' into 2K9 & More



MONDAY: UNIQUE SOUNDS: The Electrified Eddie Harris, and singer Leon Thomas’s vocal sound.

TUESDAY: Pianist composer, Kenny Barron’s new album, “The Traveler”, celebrates Barron’s, taste, and skill not only as a pianist, but also as a composer and lyricist.

WEDNESDAY: Guitarist, Al Dimeola’s current music, leans toward the tango. “Live In Milano”, finds Dimeola and his group, World Sinfonia, on fire.

THURSDAY: John Coltrane’s , “Blue Train” ushers in a new year with a cool swing by the saxophonist, and his spellbinding guests, Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Drew, Paul Chambers and Philly Jo Jones.

FRIDAY: John Legend sings “If Your Out There”, reaching out, hoping for a better world. Other voices, Cassandra Wilson, Carla Cook, Omar & Stevie Wonder, chime in.

Farewell Freddie

Some, I knew the degree of unease I felt this morning was due to something. We've lost another of the greats.

Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, who from the mid '60s to the late '80s was arguably the most powerful and prolific trumpeter in jazz, died Monday morning in Sherman Oaks Hospital in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He had been admitted to the hospital in early December with what was believed to be a heart attack. He was 70.
Blessed with a sound that combined Clifford Brown's technique, Lee Morgan's bravura and Miles Davis' sensitivity, Hubbard was prominent for much of his career both a leader and a sideman. Born in Indianapolis on April 7, 1938, Hubbard's earliest professional gigs were with guitarist Wes Montgomery and his brothers before he moved to New York in 1958, working with Eric Dolphy, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones and many others. He recorded with John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and on Oliver Nelson's Blues And The Abstract Truth album.

In 1961, he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers for three years and recorded as a leader for Blue Note. His albums for the label include Breaking Point, Goin' Up and Hub-Tones, and he appeared as a sideman on a number of important Blue Note dates, including Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage and Empyrean Isles. After stints with Atlantic and Impulse! records, Hubbard worked with producer Creed Taylor in 1970 and recorded a number of accessible and noteworthy jazz-fusion classics including Red Clay, Straight Life, Sky Dive and First Light. In the mid '70s, Hubbard signed with Columbia and recorded and toured with VSOP: a Miles Davis reunion combo featuring Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams.

Hubbard also collaborated with vocalists Chaka Khan and Elton John and recorded Double Take with trumpeter Woody Shaw. His recorded on the Atlantic, Pablo ad EMI throughout the '80s. After a series of lip problems had sidelined him for almost a decade, Hubbard re-emerged in the past few years with David Weiss’s New Jazz Composers Octet. He released On The Real Side (Times Square) last year to celebrate his 70th birthday.

Monday, December 22, 2008





MONDAY: “The Lovers , the Dreamers and Me”, an ode to songwriters past and present, by singer Jane Monheit.

TUESDAY: The saxophone as sensual instrument, with several exemplars.

WEDNESDAY: “ The Harlem Nutcracker”, a superb interpretation of Duke Ellington and Billy Srayhorn’s “The Harlem Nutcracker”, by David Berger and The Sultans of Swing, and based on themes by Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky.

THURSDAY: Riffin in Extended play on Christmas Day, starting at 5pm, a 3 hour symphony of music and song.

FRIDAY: Cuban diva, Omara Portuondo, with guests Chico Buarque, Pablo Milanes, Jorge Drexler, and Richard Bona.. The famed Tropicana night club house-band led by Bebo Valdes, often referred to as the’ Cuban Quincy Jones. “Arriba La Cumbia”, the hot dance rhythm from Columbia.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Five on Fire @ Christopher's

Had a blast tuesday nite with trumpeter Mickey Hanson, Othneil Lewis (keys), Obed Davis (drums), Carl Gibson (bass)and percussionist Richie Cunningham, all to kick off final week of Live music nation for 2k8 at Christopher's. Pics and full review to follow.

visit E-Square at www.liveplug.blogspot.com - "It's hip 2 E-Square"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Common, the Christmas Swing & More




MONDAY: Traditional Christmas songs take a new lease on life with Sean Jones, Gerald Wilson and Oscar Castro-Neves.

TUESDAY: Genius pianist, Travis Shook, plays 3 original compositions intensely, before giving way to Brian McKnight’s “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

WEDNESDAY: Straight No Chaser, a 10 man a capella group that exploded on U-Tube with a live version of 12 days Of Christmas, plus Boots Randolph.

THURSDAY: a Swinging Christmas with Tony Bennett, featuring The Count Basie Orchestra, with Monty Alexander, piano.

FRIDAY: Femi Kuti, son of the legendary Fela Kuti, asks burning questions over a heavy Afro Beat. Common,s album Universal Mind Control, takes hip hop in a new direction, with fresh beats and new hooks.

Reminder on Mickey

Just a reminder to come out and catch Mickey hanson's Tuesday nite gig at Christopher's

also look out for a compilation - photos & essay - "100 Nights or So of Live Music"
documenting the Live Music nation experience over the past year or so.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


In what will be the final week of events for 2008 in the Live Music nation series, trumpeter Mickey Hanson will lead his band in the popular Tuesday Night jazz showcase at Christopher's Jazz Cafe inside the Quad in New Kingston. No stranger to live gigs or to the Griot Music-produced LMN series, Hanson's lyrical voicings on the horn, and his wide knowledge of contemporary music and easygoing rapport have endeared him to audiences far and wide. Hanson has been one of the principal persons involved in the resurgence of live music in small venues through the successful series “Live Thursdays at the Deck.”

The Live music nation series, which began with the lone Tuesday night engagement over two years ago, has grown to encompass three nights: A Thursday Singer's Night at Christopher's is also popular, while the recently added Wednesday Night Rocks has seen growing interest form aficionados of the the 'rock/alternative' scenes.

Among the other artistes that have been featured are pianists Kathy Brown, Kamla Hamilton and Dennis Rushton, saxophonist Nicholas Laraque, vocalists Janine Cunningham, Bijean Gayle, Katrina Harley, Hezron and Mario Evon. The 2008 series will close out with performances from Althea 'di Chic' Hewitt on Thursday night and, before that, a special Wednesday concert headlined by Tessanne Chin at Backyaad on Constant Spring Road. Opening for Chin will be rockers Gas Money and Crimson Heart Replica.

Mickey Hanson’s accomplished music career spans the past four decades. A self-taught musician, he learned to play the trumpet at the age of 16, and soon attracted the attention of the popular bands that were playing the live music circuit during the sixties. Hanson took to the stage with the Presidents (1963-67) and the Cascades (1967-70) before spending several years (1973-1977) under the tutelage of the great American composer, arranger and trombone player Melba Liston at the Jamaica School of Music. His talent earned him a place by her side as a colleague on her tour of schools, colleges and university music departments in Pennsylvania and New York in 1975.
On his return to Jamaica, Hanson took a five-year stint at Kingston’s New Kingston hotel which he credits as the genesis of his solo career. Between 1979 and 1984, he and the Caribs band kept the city’s nigh crowd jumping at the Johnkanoo Lounge, then Kingston’s premier night club. As his success with the public grew, his fans called for recordings from the much-loved trumpet player and Hanson’s recording career began. His first venture into the studio in 1985 produced a popular single release, Kyu Sakamoto’s Sukiyaki. This was followed by releases of Stevie Wonder’s Harmor Love, Prez Prado’s Mambo classic Patricia and fellow Jamaican Glen Brownie’s Love Song. All enjoyed respectable success on the charts and served to establish Hanson as a name on the Jamaican music scene.
Hanson, now an established talent on the music scene, was an obvious choice when backing musicians were booked for the appearances of major international performers in Jamaica, including Gladys Knight, Denise Williams and Aretha Franklin, among others. He also performed and recorded with Jamaica’s own legend Bob Marley, who was himself only just beginning to surface as a force in the music world.
The occasion was the only Jamaican appearance by Michael Jackson, who at the time was still performing as a member of the Jackson Five. Hanson also became a regular in the recording sessions of other established artists; Bob Marley, (Survival album); Myrna Hague, (Send in the Clowns); Louise Bennett, (Miss Lou); Skatalites, (Last of the Great Guns); Fabulous Five (On the album Yu Safe!, which won a Jammy in 1986, the top award in Jamaica’s music industry).
Mickey Hanson has been a familiar face and valued presence on many Jamaican bandstands. With the legendary Skatalites, he was one of two musicians who although they were not original members, were invited to play on the group’s first recording since they disbanded over 20 years before. Other bands included the Caribs, the Sonny Bradshaw Seven, the Big Band, the Mutual Life Players, Cedric Brooks’ Divine Light of Saba and the Ritz All Star Group.
His concert work includes appearances with the Shortwood 30 voice choir. Hanson’s career took another leap forward with the completion of his first album “For The Love of It”, which features his own distinctive interpretation of Jamaican Standards. “For the Love of It” enjoyed success both locally and overseas, and won two Jammy awards for best produced and arranged album. The album also encouraged a wide cross section of instrumentalists locally to produce albums as a result of its success.
His talent and standard of excellence were recognised as he was a specially invited guest on the Prime Ministers’ Independence Gala at Jamaica House. In 2004, his peers recognised his achievement by awarding him with the Jamaica Federation of Musicians Union Special Award in 2004 for “Outstanding contribution to the development of the Jamaican Music Industry.”

Monday, December 08, 2008

"Dollar" The Duke & more on Riffin'


Live stream www.newstalk93fm.com

MONDAY: Three sides of Duke Ellington. As pianist/composer. As Orchestral leader/composer. Finally, an Ellington singer , Betty Roche sings some of his classic songs.

TUESDAY: Italian trumpeter, Enrico Rava’s album “Full Of Life”, finds Rava, leading a pianoless Quartet, including a baritone saxophone, that reminds of Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan.

WEDNESDAY: Archie Shepp and Abdullah Ibrahim, aka Dollar Brand, make a duo , a high level music conversation, by two great artists, totally in tune with one another.

THURSDAY: In a matter of weeks, music has lost, Miriam M akeba, and now Odetta, the voice of America’s Civil Rights Movement. Riffin pays tribute to a powerful voice.

FRIDAY: The promising Jamaican/Kenyan duo, the Neutral Sisters, Kyra and Bianca Noons, has suffered a setback. The death of Bianca, means her sister must go it alone. Riffin features the Neutral; Sisters.

Monday, December 01, 2008

from Salif to Stevie & more


Live stream www.newstalk93fm.com

MONDAY: Two streams of musical consciousness. One, a quietude provided by the Tord Gustavensen, piano trio. The other, four songs by Joni Mitchell, one of the best contemporary songwriters, and winner of the Polar Music Prize, The Nobel Prize of Music.

TUESDAY: The “golden voice of Africa”, Salif Keita, and one of his best albums, “Moffou”.

WEDNESDAY: Two Afro-Cuban divas, Celia Cruz, and Omara Portuondo.

THURSDAY: The Monterey Jazz festival, one of the best of its kind, and among the oldest, has an impressive array of talent , in the first volume, of an ongoing series, “Highlights From the Monterey Jazz Festival.

FRIDAY: Music icon, Stevie Wonder, and a rising star whom he influenced greatly, John Legend, and his new album “Evolver”.