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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

THE JAZZMOBILE THAT JACQUES BUILT


Jazz is a medium best enjoyed live, and for a jazz band performance to be enjoyable, the band has to function similar to the engine of a high-end sports car: not only do the components have to function well individually with repeated high demands, but the individuals must function perfectly in tune to the other parts, ready to roll with the split-second shift of gears and the subtlest changes in tone and direction.

With the intimate lawn of Grosvenor Galleries in Manor Park as his “course” saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart took the audience for a welcome spin through contemporary jazz spiced with Caribbean rhythms and inflections. Arguably unknown to most prior to his performance, the artists, who has performed with the likes of modern soulster D’Angelo and trumpeter Roy Hargrove, made a powerful statement for celebrating music and life on Saturday night.

The five-man combo was something of a mini-United Nations, with two Serbians, a Brazilian, a Puerto Rican and the leader himself, born in Guadeloupe, raised mostly in Europe and now based in New York City (as are all the musicians). They demonstrated that combination of individual virtuosity and collective simpatico that is critical to making the music come alive.

And come alive it did. After a brief spoken word intro, in which eh urged the audience to spare a thought for the people of Iran (fighting to establish a ‘real’ democracy) he led the band into selections from his last two CDs, Sone Ka La and Abyss. Dominated by the infectious poly-rhythms of gwo-ka (an indigenous Guadeloupean form played largely with hand drums), the tunes had hips swaying, fingers snapping and hands clapping, as the celebratory mix and the obvious joy of the players seeped into the crowd.

By night’s end, with the band having played two sets, the party was well and truly on at the final number with patrons willingly abandoning their chairs and dancing in the soft lush grass.

Earlier in the evening, the focus (at least on the leader part anyway) shifted to strings. Maurice Gordon functioned as a kind of “special guest” along with a young trio that gave good support on numbers like “Oleo” “Irie Moods” and the opener, “All Blues”. Before Gordon, Benjy Myaz (whose new album drops very soon) led the audience on a journey through contemporary r&b, pop and reggae.

The entertainment began in the afternoon, with 16 acts who had pre-booked for the Open Mic segment showcasing their talents for the audience. The Fete De Musique is a global celebration co-ordinated by the offices of the Alliance-Frnacaise in each country. The event is also included in the roster of the Kingston on the Edge arts festival - steadily growing in both quality and quantity in its third year. Many more music and arts events remain over the next several days

But for now, Jamaicans can celebrate the building of some new bridges through music and the visual arts , which is what those things were intended to do in the first place.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Vol. 5 # 11: Anticipating Jazz month, Stanley Clarke goes unplugged & more


I

EDITOR'S NOTE: yes, the issue is late, andfor that I apologize. Its hard maintaining a reg schedule when you're also moving into a new home, moving a new relationship to another level, etc, TMI
Anyhow, better late than never. Enjoy and please let us have your comments

Mike Edwards

n this issue:


- June is Jazz month;

- What is Jazz?: A history and time line

- blogging jazz (the first 5 years);

- Stanley Clarke's Jazz in the Garden reviewed;

- Live review: Christopher's Jams

- lOok out for: Sunday Lyme


OCHO RIOS JAZZ '09: THE WHO

Following our previous news line cocnerning the provisional jazz programmes, here is a

http://www.jamaicaculture.org/jazz/artists.html

Festival Performers
Marie Claire (Dominican Singer)
Marje Whylie (Jamaica)

Wayne Batchelor (bass)
Harold Butler, Leslie Butler (Miami)
Andre Campbell (Jamaica – piano)
Foggy Mullings, Myrna Hague, Obeah Denton
Jon Williams
Peter Ashbourne
Ozou'ne
Courtney Sinclair
Kathy Brown; Byard Lancaster (Sax/Flute) Sonny Bradshaw
Desi Jones & Skool
Calvin Mitchell (Congas)
Ouida (Percussion)
BLUES MESSENGERS (Philly)
LISA CHAVOUS
MAX KLEZMER BAND (Poland)
Desi Jones Skool & Karen Smith (Mutabaruka Jazz)
Lisa Chavous & Byard Jazz (Philly)
Max Klezmer Band (Poland)
Keith Waithe Macusi Players (England)
Community & School Band Finalists
Fab 5 Inc - The Ska-Reggae Revival & Junior Soul
Jamaica Big Band


Leadingthe overseas charge are Byard Lancaster, with Lisa Chavous, Keith Waithe Macusi Players (UK) and the Max Klezmer Band (all the way from Poland)

A VEHICLE WITH NO TERMINAL”: FIVE YEARS OF BLOGGING JAZZ

It was back in 2004, shortly after the Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival that year, that inveterate Web surfer and “incurable music aficionado” Michael Edwards, came across a link (“It might have been an ad on another site, I don’t remember now”) that would change his life.

That link, to Blogger.com, then an independent site (subsequently acquired by Google), offered the music journalist the opportunity to set up the equivalent of a web page on jazz at no cost, the major input being time and the sourcing and organization of content.

He jumped at it and the blog debuted in July 2004 as jazzofonik jamaica (“Jazzofonik” being a name he had already coined for himself), then changing about two years ago to Jazz First and now (since March of this year) evolving to Jazz Buss. “I added the extra “S” to convey the Jamaican sense of the music ‘getting a buss’ in terms of popularity, and also to align with the ‘double z’ in jazz” he explains.

For a time, Edwards also ran the blog in tandem with ‘Jazz Notes’ a weekly column he initiated and wrote while at the Jamaica Observer. His work has also appeared in the US magazine, Jazz Times, as well as the premier website, allaboutjazz.com. Occasionally, at events like Jazz in the Gardens and Seh Supmn Poetry, he also spins music from his own collection (not limited to jazz) under the moniker DJ-E and the Unpopular Uprising.

Edwards, who styles himself as “an advocated for the music” is pleased to see the growth in support for live musical performances, and for a greater diversity of genres being presented under the banner of live music. As MC of the growing twice-weekly “Live Jammin’ @ Christopher’s (previously Live Music Nation) at the New Kingston nightspot, he’s seen some of those changes first-hand. Even though the series ventures way beyond jazz, its still, Edwards says, a heartening development.

Against that backdrop, his biggest disappointment - the negative disposition of the media and the electronic media in particular to jazz – is even further magnified. “With precious few exceptions, broadcast media in Jamaica has left jazz for dead. With 18 radio stations, it’s just a disgrace that the same country that produced the Skatalites, Ernie Ranglin, Monty Alexander, Harold Butler and so many more does not have a single station dedicated to improvised music.”

The genre, he adds is struggling even in the US, with radio stations either closing down or dropping jazz from their programming, and also long-established jazz venues closing their doors – and that was even before the current recession.

But one big bright spot has been the World Wide Web, where the genre has practically exploded. Sites like My Space, jazztimes.com and the aforementioned allaboutjazz.com as well as Web streaming and radio outfits like last.fm and jazzradio are helping to push the music to the four corners and –more importantly – bring aficionados from around the globe together in the virtual space.

For his own part, his involvement with jazz as a journalist and blogger have taken him to events and festivals in Atlanta, Miami, St Lucia and Barbados, as well as annually to the Ocho Rios Jamaica Jazz festival and the former Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival (now Jamaica Jazz & Blues), with Toronto, New York and possibly Italy beckoning this year.

Assessing the last five years, Edwards, who continues to write features freelance, as well as promote music events is “Its been a good run, considering that this is unpaid, unsponsored labour done almost totally on my own steam, but the first five years are really just the warm-up,” he says. “My advocacy for jazz is about to enter a whole new phase, a phase where we more fully exploit the connections the Web makes possible.”

Thus, the Jazz Buss, Edwards says, is a “a vehicle with no terminal. It will stop, but it never parks.”

568-5638/321-0402
liveplug22@gmail.com
www.jazzofonik1.blogspot.com

CD Review
Artist: Stanley Clarke Acoustic Trio
Title: Jazz in the Garden
Label: Heads Up

players: Stanley Clarke (bs); Hiromi(p) Lenny White(dr)

A stroll in the Park

Its somewhat hard to bleieve that Stanley Clarke never recorded an acoustic album asas leader before now. of course, he's well known for his varied exploits on electric bass (most recently in tandem with fellow virtuousos Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten, as SMV), but one somehow always assumed that Clarke had cut his teeth as an acoustic bassist (which he did), and therefore had already established his credentials on the instrument with a recording under his name.

As it turns out, there's little for Clarke to prove as a player, a question settled by any one of the tracks on this CD. He ropes in old friend Lenny White on drums in the Japanese 'whirlwind' Hiromi, he has drafted a young but rapidly maturing player who has already fulfilled the promise of her prodigious talents displayed on her opening albums (Another Mind, and Brain)

The three combine well, especially on Sakura, Sakura and on Global Tweak (the latter a piano-drum duet). But its the catalog songs - Ellington's "Take The Coltrane" Joe Henderson's "Isotope" and Miles Davis' "Solar" that are most engaging. Somewhat less so, but clealry well-intentioned, is a cover of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' "Under the Bridge" which closes the CD. There, Hiromi shunes, but Clarke sounds like has picked upa an electric bass during the session.

Whether or not, its an enjoyable session from the maestro, and one hopes there'll be more "Garden " excursions for this group.


Recommended from the Web:www.jazzonthetube.com - classic jazz videos from all the greats
www.globaljazznetwork.ning.comThe Jazz Network Worldwide is now opening its doors to the artists that would like to submit one tune for compilation CD's that will be offered as an artistic collective in all genres of Jazz.

For those of you that are interested in being considered, please send the one song that you would like to submit to jaijai@womanofjazz.com and share what catagory of jazz it falls under along with your CD cover in jpg format and bio. Note in subject: JAZZ COMPILATION - STRAIGHT AHEAD (or whatever sub-set you fall under) so I can catagorize when received.

This process allows for us to virally market all the members in The Jazz Network, it allows for us to virally promote each other and the compilation set forth. TJWN has a promotion designed just for this effort as well.

There will be further instructions as to how the CD's will be distributed and the necessary legal paperwork will be issued that states your involvement, compensation and distribution once your music has been selected.

10% of the proceeds of each compilation CD will go to jazz musicians in financial duress whether that be with physical ailments, or just plain everyday needs that one would struggle through. This portion of the revenue will be handled accordingly through a non-profit organization that we couple with that supports these types of situations. I believe we have to help and heal each other through our gifts, music, skill sets and most of all 'heart'.

WHAT IS JAZZ?


The music called Jazz was born sometime around 1895 in New Orleans. It combined elements of Ragtime, marching band music and Blues. What differentiated Jazz from these earlier styles was the widespread use of improvisation, often by more than one player at a time. Jazz represented a break from Western musical traditions, where the composer wrote a piece of music on paper and the musicians then tried their best to play exactly what was in the score. In a Jazz piece, the song is often just a starting point or frame of reference for the musicians to improvise around. The song might have been a popular ditty or blues that they didn't compose, but by the time they were finished with it they had composed a new piece that often bore little resemblance to the original song. Many of these virtuoso musicians were not good sight readers and some could not read music at all, nevertheless their playing thrilled audiences and the spontaneous music they created captured a joy and sense of adventure that was an exciting and radical departure from the music of that time. The first Jazz was played by African-American and Creole musicians in New Orleans. The cornet player, Buddy Bolden is generally considered to be the first real Jazz musician. Other early players included Freddie Keppard, Bunk Johnson and Clarence Williams. Although these musicians names are unknown to most people, then and now, their ideas are still being elaborated on to this day. Most of these men could not make a living with their music and were forced to work menial jobs to get by. The second wave of New Orleans Jazz musicians like Joe "King" Oliver, Kid Ory and Jelly Roll Morton formed small bands that took the music of these older men and increased the complexity and dynamic of their music, as well as gaining greater commercial success. This music became known as "Hot Jazz", because of the often breakneck speeds and amazing improvised polyphony that these bands produced. A young virtuoso cornet player named Louis Armstrong was discovered in New Orleans by King Oliver. Armstrong soon grew to become the greatest Jazz musician of his era and eventually one of the biggest stars in the world. The impact of Armstrong and other Jazz musicians altered the course of both popular and Classical music. African-American musical styles became the dominant force in 20th century music.

JAZZ TIMELINE

African Roots
Jazz is a mixture of many types of music. However, jazz's roots can easily be traced back to African origin. Unlike European music, the African music was based on simple melodies and complex cross-rhythms. Classic European music differed in that it was based on complex melodies and simple rhythms. The African music also featured a lot of slurs, vibrato, syncopated rhythms, and "blue notes". These blue notes were neither somewhere between the half steps. An example would be a note that was neither B nor B flat. Instead it was somewhere in between. Their music was mostly sung. The songs they sang were mostly spirituals or just tunes to ease the pain and boredom of hard labor. Jazz has been defined as the continual fusion of African and European music.

1890-1899
The term "Ragtime" was first used in 1883 by Fred Stone in the title of his song "My Ragtime Baby". By 1897 ragtime was the craze.

In 1899 Scott Joplin presents some of his own ragtime tunes to a publisher. Shortly after it was turned down by another publisher,

John Stark publishes "Maple Leaf Rag" for Joplin. In one year the song sells over a million copies.

1900-1909
The blues becomes a standard feature on honky-tonks and dance halls. Horn players begin to experiment with their sounds by imitating the human voice with growls and mutes.

At the end of the Spanish-American War there is an abundance of used military band instruments, especially in New Orleans. The New Orleans players play a mix of everything from blues, brass band music, and ragtime, to marches, pop songs, and dances.

At the same time, many people are migrating north to cities such as Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. The music travels with them.

Also during this time the phonograph is drastically improved. This allows the music to spread even easier as more and more people are buying phonographs and records.

In 1908, Columbia Records produces the first two-sided disc.

1910-1919
In 1910 the old Ragtime music is still popular, but sadly its popularity is on a decline. The dance craze starts. Dances like the Foxtrot become popular.

In 1914 W.C. Handy writes "St. Louis Blues". This becomes a tremendous hit as the Blues is also going full tilt.

Also between 1910 and 1920 , 12-bar form of the blues, based on the 1-4-5 chord progression becomes standard in order to make it easier to understand, notate, and play the Blues along with establishing a form and harmonies the players can work with.

In 1916 Daniel Louis Armstrong begins playing for $1.25 in bars in Storyville.

In 1918 he is hired by Kid Ory to replace Joe "King" Oliver on cornet.

1920-1929, The Jazz Age
Mamie Smith records the first ever recorded blues - "Crazy Blues". This signals the start of the Classic Blues craze of the 1920's.

Over 40 well known jazz players move to Chicago from New Orleans. In New York, speak-easys become numerous and in turn offer numerous opportunities to jazz musicians.

In 1923, Jelly Roll Morten sits in with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and helps to break down the color barrier.

By 1927, Coleman Hawkins loses his "slap tongue" style of playing tenor sax. He starts improving by using the notes of chords in the song instead of just basing the improv on melodies in the song (what had previously been done). This new style is not as coherent, but it is a big step leading to more modern forms of jazz.

1930-1939
In 1930 Armstrong swings harder than ever.

In 1931 he records "Stardust". The same year, the young Charlie Parker is given his first alto saxophone by his mother.

In 1932 Duke Ellington records the classic "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing".

Also in the 1930's, jazz begins to develop its own spoken language. New terms and phrases are being used. Examples include hot, break it down, freak lips, my chops are beat, boogie man, and chill ya.

1940-1949
The 1940's bring even more new styles. Dizzy Gilepsie starts using major thirds over minor changes when he records "Pickin' the Cabbage" in May of 1940. Parker and Gilepsie occasionally start and end phrases on the 2nd and 4th beats while the standard beats to end and start on are the 1st and 3rd. It is called playing "offbeat". At this time Jazz is moving in two distinct, yet opposing directions. One is a New Orleans revival called Dixieland and the other is bebop (also known as rebop or bop) which is born in New York City. Also, rhythm changes are bigger. Fast songs become faster while slow songs become slower.

Another great acheivement of 1941 was when Roy Eldrige joined drum player Gene Krupa's band becoming the first black performer to be accepted into a white big band.

In 1942 a recording ban limits the recording of the young bop movement. However, the music is becoming better recognized as a new type of music. The strike ends in 1944.

In 1946 the first vinyl record is produced. By '45 the clarinet is nearly out of the picture when it comes to jazz. This is mostly due to the saxophone's influence in the band. Even brass players are forced to take notice as the sax becomes king.

Also by the 1940's, jazz has developed into many different styles of music. Bop, trad, swing, cool, and dixieland are all being played. Latin music is also influencing jazz.

1950-1959
March 4, 1955 - Charlie Parker performs in public one last time in Birdland. On the 12th he dies of heart seizure, hemorrhage, and general bad health. He dies watching the Tommy Dorsey band on television. His last comment is that Tommy Dorsey sounded great. Many of the old Bop greats are dead - many from drug use such as heroin.

Free jazz is ahead.

In 1959 Bill Evans, Miles Davis, and the rest of the Davis group record "Kind of Blue". This is the first song to ever feature truly modal Jazz. Modes brought back improv to the melody line. At the same time, Coltrane is exploring polytonality by playing a melody in one key above the chord sequences in a different key.

1960-1969
Free Jazz and black rights somehow become intertwined. At the same time, free jazz and modal jazz are pushing bop further and further away and out of view. Soul jazz is beginning.

In 1967 Gary Burton, Jeremy Steig, Larry Coryell, the group Soft Machine, and others toy with the idea of a kind of jazz-rock fusion.

1970-1979
In 1971 Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong dies. Then, in May 1974 Edward "Duke" Ellington dies.

The Disco dance craze is on the rise.

January 5th 1979 – bassist Charles Mingus passes away in Mexico at the age of 56. Supposedly, on the same day in Mexico 56 whales become beached on the shore.

Gil Scott Heron starts experimenting with a new type of music that – with the influence of Jamaican “toasting” or DeeJaying, will be called rap.




1980-1989
The SONY "Walkman" becomes popular and helps to change the publics attitude to listening to music in 1981.

Thelonius Monk dies in February 1982.

In 1983 the CD is introduced, sparking a huge nostalgia for many different types of music, including jazz. By 1987 they become very common place in record stores. The vinyl records are thought to become obsolete, but their revival is ahead.

1990-Present
1992 brings a new form of jazz called acid jazz, combining elements of R& B and funk with jazz.

In 1995 jazz is beginning to show up more throughout the media and popular culture – in advertising in movies and TV shows and in other references.
Today there are many bands out there keeping the tradition alive. Many are ghost bands like the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Others are young groups. Many of them play a Ska-Jazz mix. .



Look Out for:
Sunday Lyme
5-7 Roosevelt Avenue (now Herb McKenley Blvd), leading out from the Stadium entrance
From 6pm till about midnight.
starting June 28, 2009
FREE! NO COVER CHARGE
- Refreshments on sale; recorded jazz as well as live performance by an eclectic mix of acts


Next issue online:June 16 - we wrap-up the Ocho Rios Jazz fest & more

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Vol. 5 #10: "Jazz Cricket XI, JVC falls; Drumquestra reviewed and more





In this issue:

- Jazz Takes the 'Wicket';

- JVC Fest Falls to recession;

- Larry McDonald's Drumquestra reviewed;

- Harold Davis & 'The Big Men' @ Christopher's

J'CAN JAZZ MEN (AND WOMEN) 'AT THE WICKET'
It may seem an unlikely combination, but wily Ocho RIos Jazz maestro Sonny Bradshaw knows that cricket, lovely cricket is in the air, and so as the Jamaica Ocho RIos Jazz Festival prepares to round out its second decade (this is number 19), a new concept is being added to this year's event.

Dubbed the All-Jamaican Jaz Cricket XI, the "Team" consists of some of the best keyboardists/voclaists/composers in the busienss today. they will perform on the Opening Jazz Day, Sunday June 14, atthe Gardens of the Pegasus in New Kingston.

Aside from "Captain" Marjorie Whylie, the team consists of brothers Harold and Leslie Butler (who make up the opening pair), Seymour "Foggy" Mullings, Myrna Hague, Obeah Denton, Andrae Campbell, John Williams, Peter Ashbourne (assigned the specialty task of "wicket keeper), Ozou'ne, Courtney Sinclair and Kathy Brown.
Bradhsaw himself and Philly jazz veteran Byard Lancaster are listed as "reserves"
with drummer Desi Jones listed as "Coach."

There will be an addiitonal combo composed of Lancaster on fluters, percussionist-tap dancer Ouida Lewis and percussion legend Calvin Mitchell, who will play on what is being billed "The Jazz mOund" on the same venue.

Overseeing the proceedings will be "umpires" Michael Anthony Cuffe, Fae Ellington and Don Topping.

The 19th annual Jmaaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival rund from June 13 through 21, at various venues across Jamaica



************************************

JVC JAZZ FEST FALLS TO RECESSION
NYC Summer Jazz Fest pt II

We led with this story last issue. here's the update:

The curtain has fallen on the JVC Jazz Festival New York, and the Big Apple will likely be without a flagship jazz festival until new sponsorship emerges.

A spokesman for the Japanese electronics company said it would not be sponsoring any jazz events in 2009, ending what he called "a productive and successful relationship" dating back to 1984 when JVC first attached its name to the New York festival.

"JVC is proud of its association with the Jazz Festivals, but the marketplace in which JVC competes today has changed dramatically, and so JVC has chosen to take our promotional activities in a different direction, and one that will no longer include jazz event sponsorship," Terry Shea, a spokesman for the Wayne, N.J.-based JVC U.S.A., said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press.

Jazz impresario George Wein, who arranged the original JVC sponsorship deal, called JVC "the best sponsor anybody ever had."

Instead of a festival, the 83-year-old Wein is producing under his own name three concerts at Carnegie Hall in late June, when the JVC event usually takes place. He chose performers he was confident could fill the costly venue — British singer-pianist Jamie Cullum and Diana Krall.

"I booked artists that I knew I could do on my own without a festival, without a sponsor, and at least not get hurt," said Wein in a telephone interview from his Manhattan home.

Last year's two-week JVC Jazz Festival New York featured nearly 40 concerts — including 11 in Carnegie Hall's two main performance spaces with such artists as Herbie Hancock, Chris Botti and Joao Gilberto — plus nearly 200 additional events at clubs, schools, museums and other venues.

In 2007, Wein sold his company, Festival Productions — whose lineup included the JVC-sponsored festivals in Newport, R.I., and New York — to the Festival Network, which retained Wein in an advisory capacity.

But Festival Network ran into financial trouble. Wein said he had stopped working with the group and earlier this year, Rhode Island's Department of Environmental Management terminated Festival Network's contract to present the Newport jazz and folk festivals because of late payments. Wein put up his own money and obtained a license from state and local authorities to produce the two festivals this summer.

Wein said he felt a less pressing need to put on a festival in New York, where in any given week there are dozens of jazz events in clubs and other venues.

"Going back to Newport was a much more personal thing for me because Newport was something I founded in 1954," said Wein, who launched the country's first jazz festival in the Rhode Island seaside resort.

New York City still has one June jazz festival, the modestly budgeted avant-garde Vision Festival XIV at an arts center on the Lower East Side, but founder Patricia Nicholson Parker said it would be "kind of foolish to see it as a replacement" for the more mainstream JVC event. In upstate New York, three long-running jazz festivals will take place in June — in Rochester, Syracuse and Saratoga Springs.

Chris Shields, executive chairman of Festival Network, insisted in an e-mail that his company "has every expectation of producing another outstanding NYC Jazz Festival in 2009. Announcements and details will be forthcoming."

But several jazz industry insiders said they were not aware of any plans for such a festival. Spokespersons for two leading jazz labels, Blue Note and Concord, said they did not know of any of their artists participating in a New York City jazz festival this summer.

"We are having no dialogue with them (Festival Network) about any of our artists for any events that they are producing or affiliated with in any way," said Jack Randall, vice president of A&R for Boston-based Ted Kurland Associates, a leading booking agency which handles dozens of jazz artists including the Marsalis family, Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman.

Wein first launched a major jazz festival in New York in 1972. JVC became the festival's main sponsor in 1984.

Wein said he has already reserved dates at Carnegie Hall for June 2010 in hopes that he will be able to present a full-fledged festival next summer if he can line up new sponsorship: "I would like to keep the festival alive."

********************************************

CD Review

Drumquestra

Larry McDonald
(featuring various artistes)
MCPR Music

THE DRUMS ARE TALKIN’
It’s a fire.
Yes, it sounds clichéd, but in this case it’s the one apt description to encapsulate all that Larry McDonald has brought to this truly standard-setting CD (his first); a great record that also ‘sounds good.’ (and that’s not overstating the case – it’s a harder feat to achieve than it sounds).
As ‘overseen’ by production vet Sidney Mills (who brought the rallying cries of Steel Pulse to the fore), Drumquestra moves the listener and also keeps him moving. After nearly 50 years of creating unforgettable musical connections, McDonald has the latitude to dip in and out of the zeitgeist (hip-hop, dancehall, worldbeat) and he uses that altitude in a manner that keeps the whole nicely balanced, but never too tidy – we’ll call it ‘organic funk.’
That ethos is itself manifest in the incandescent title track (sub-titled “Dawn Always Comes”). A joyously chirping bird sets the pace for the wordless vocals of Richie and Anjali Paray. All the while, McDonald’s fluid, supple percussion lines gently assert themselves, reaffirming the statement of the subtitle while reflecting the hard-won experience that enables such a declaration of unwavering faith.
Another highlight for this writer is “Drums Say” which McDonald introduces with his own statement – in Spanish (somos los guardiantes de un sonido ancestral… we are the guardians of an ancient sound”). Toaster Ras Tesfa then delivers a classic exposition that takes one into the heart of a Nyahbinghi session. (“Talking Drums, speak my heart) before “Daddy Larry” returns with the summation (Listen to the drums….they will tell you all”)
Elsewhere, McDonald is using that same unassuming yet assertive flow to bring some stellar contributions from his vocal other collaborators. Reggae legend Toots Hibbert starts off at medium pace on “Set the Children Free” but its not long before the inescapable polyrhythms are pushing him on and he accelerates to his usual intensely ebullient self, even returning the favour (“Hey Brother Larry, play that drum for me!”). No such issues for Mutabaruka, whose trademark intonations neatly interlock with the soloist on Free Man Free”
The undoubted vocal star is rapper Shaza. His channeled exuberance is perfectly suited to McDonald’s purposes, whether its up-to-the minute hip-hop(World Party) or loping unity anthem (Brother Man).“Its an honour in Ghana…..They wanna dance in France….Dey feelin’ me – in Italy” he intones on the infectiously funky “World Party” before turning around and making declarations (“there will be ….no more black kings walkin’ around with their pants hanging down, showin’ their backsides”) on “No More” and deftly bobbing and weaving on “Peace Of Mind”.
But star collaborations notwithstanding (Stranger Cole and son Squidley also show up, on the intriguing “Crime or Music”), the conductor is firmly in evidence on this “Drumquestra”. The closing tandem, “Got Jazz?” and “Jamaican Jazz Roll Call” feature McDonald at his most expansive, name-checking his influences (Walters, Noel Seale) his contemporaries and other unheralded and less-heralded Jamaican jazz men (and women). He even poses the provocative question – “did jazz really begin New Orleans, or was it transported there from the Caribbean via the movement of enslaved and freed Africans?”
After 50 years of hearing it all, Larry McDonald has not allowed that experience to lead him to the fallacy of a journey’s end. Rather than a retrospective (although it certainly distills his manifold influences and travels in the music), this record is a kind of emergence, an opening statement, from the artist and for the artist, but more importantly for the seemingly jaded ears of a public conditioned to thinking of percussion as mere accompaniment –a “side instrument”.
The drums are talkin’ and all should listen. You’ll like what they have to say.


Live Notes
Harold Davis and "The Big Men" liven up Christopher's


Last Thursday's Jammin' @ Christopher's was in many respects, a "big" show. Not only was the featured act, keyboardist/vocalist Harold Davis, a big man in stature and sound, but he had with him several other "big" musicians, including guitar maestro Steve Golding, keyboardit Alex Martin-Blanken, drummer Chris Tyrell. bassist Dale Brown and saxophonist (and sometime percusiionist) Warren Harris. The numbers swelled even further with the ever witty DJ Royale and drumming ace Andrew "Pregs" Thompson.

the sum total was night of outstanding entertainment, the players maintianing an unforced rapport through the oeuvre of Nat King Cole, Santana, Ben E King and Jamaican ska/rocksteady legends.

Even after three full sets the crowd hollered for more and were duly rewarded with Marley's "Exodus" (done at a blistering pace) and several other hits before the band took their leave.

The stage is htus set for another keyboard maestro, Dennis Rushton, to follow come this Tuesday (May 5).



Next issue:

June Is jazz Month - countdown continues, with profiles

reviews: new work from Stanley Clarke, and Odean Pope's Locked & Loaded

Jazz poetry

and more....

online as of May 16

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Vol 5 #9: Countdown to Ocho Rios Jazz & More




In this issue

- U.S. Embassy, CPTC bring feast of jazz for April - Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM)

- Larry Mac Attacks: percussion maestro Larry McDonald distills his diverse 40+ year career into the innovative debut CD, Drumquestra


Jazz on Film & Canvas
The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce its partnership with the Creative Productions and Training Centre (CPTC) and local sponsors to mark the month of April as Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). Activities for the month will include a jazz film festival, a jazz marathon on Creative Television (CTV), as well as a jazz exhibition, all to be held in the Wycliff Bennett Studios at CPTC, 37 Arnold Road, Kingston 5.


Creative Television’s (CTV) “Jazz Jammin’ Marathon” April17 to 19 is three days of back-to-back jazz programming featuring a line-up of concerts, feature films, documentaries and interviews with Jamaican and international jazz musicians and singers.

The film series, which will feature the inaugural season of the critically acclaimed LEGENDS OF JAZZ with Ramsey Lewis, blends one-of-a-kind music performances, rarely-seen archival material and intimate conversations with the top artists of the genre. It has received rave reviews from major publications around the U.S. The films will be shown each Thursday at 6:30 p.m., and are free and open to the public.

These jazz specials from the CPTC’s archives include the Blues on the Green, Jazz in the Gardens, and Seretse Small’s Live Music Nation series, as well as television productions with Jon Williams, Dr. Kathy Brown and Friends, Dennis Rushton, Sonny Bradshaw and the Big Band, Ernie Ranglin, Maurice Gordon and Friends, Mickey Hanson, Sonny Bradshaw, Cedric Brooks, Lester Sterling, Ian Herd, Seretse Small, singer Totlyn Jackson and many more.

The jazz exhibitions are entitled, “Louis Armstrong: King of Jazz;” “Duke Ellington Remembered – 1999” and “Jazz.” The exhibit will remain in place for the month of April and will be free and open to the public.

The embassy and CPTC join the Smithsonian Institution and a distinguished roster of U.S. federal agencies and departments, NGOs, foundations, and broadcasting networks in all fifty U.S. states and forty countries that are turning the spotlight on the glories of jazz as both a historical and a living treasure. Since 2002, JAM has been celebrated in April by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH). The month of April was selected as it is the birth-month for a number of leading jazz figures including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Lionel Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, Tito Puente and Herbie Hancock.

DRUMS UNITE!!: the mystically funky sound of percussionist extraordinaire Larry McDonald is - finally - distilled on record in his debut disc, Drumquestra

LEGENDARY REGGAE PERCUSSIONIST LARRY MCDONALD TEAMS UP WITH MCPR MUSIC AND PRODUCER SIDNEY MILLS TO PRESENT AN INNOVATIVE RHYTHMIC MASTERPIECE ENTITLED DRUMQUESTRA JUNE 2, 2009


– NEW YORK, NY – April 13, 2009: Jamaican master percussionist Larry McDonald is at the heart of MCPR Music and the record label’s "Drum Fusion" project. McDonald, who is highly regarded by many as a premier percussionist in the world / reggae genre is now residing in New York City but his career began at the heart of the Jamaican reggae/ska scene with a list of credits that includes but is not limited to collaborating with such beloved artists as: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Toots & the Maytals, Bunny Wailer, Bad Brains, Taj Mahal, Earnest Ranglin, the Skatalites, Gil Scott Heron, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Soulfly. The boundary – pushing percussionist is also a founding member of two highly touted New York City reggae acts, The Rocksteady 7 and Dub is a Weapon.

Teaming up for a groundbreaking collaboration with MCPR Music, Larry McDonald crowns a storied four-decade career with his first solo album entitled, Drumquestra. Steered by veteran reggae producer Sidney Mills (Sly and Robbie, Steel Pulse), Drumquestra is a personal and captivating percussion orchestration and dance floor masterpiece that McDonald lovingly calls “a drummical experience.”

“Andre Swanepoel , Media Marketing Manager of MCPR Music notes, “The MCPR Music family are thrilled to be working with the legendary Larry McDonald as we are dedicated to bringing to the masses an unprecedented movement that we hope will inspire the world to embrace the art of percussion as a cultural exchange.”

Drumquestra triumphantly distills McDonald's own epic percussion explorations, starting with Jamaican mento and ska in the 1960s, and flowing through the exciting cross-currents of influence that McDonald absorbed in Africa, Brazil, and Cuba and beyond.

"I wanted to take percussion elements from all countries because drums from Cuba, Africa and Brazil, they resonate with me just like family.” Larry explains. "I knew that rhythms from many places could work together to develop different textures. I wanted to take the Jamaican rhythms I was familiar with, like Kumina and Rasta and weave them together into a foundation of old and traditional sounds but introduce them as new with diverse beats and textures."

That quest led McDonald to delve into his own roots, recording organically with-in the Green Grotto caves at Runaway Bay on Jamaica's North Coast which was the inspiration behind the exuberant, shaza-driven track ‘World Party’. Pure sounds from the ocean and caves are highlighted on ‘Mento In 3’. McDonald also features Bongo Shem & the New Creators, a kumina drumming group from the mystic St. Thomas area, for the sacramental track ‘Backyard Business’.

Larry coined the unusual Drumquestra title for the crew who brought his cherished vision to life -- a unique orchestra uniting generations of Jamaican drummers including: Sly Dunbar, Isaiah "Stickie" Thompson, Bongo Herman, Carl McCleod, Marjorie Whylie, Alvin Haughton and three drummers from the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. In addition, McDonald recruited Royo Smith on bass, Simba Messado on repeater and Delroy "Putus" Williams on funde. Drumquestra also features guest lyrical performances by dub poet Mutabaruka on ‘Free Man’ and Ras Tesfa on ‘Drum Say’. Veteran reggae legend Toots Hibbert (Toots and The Maytals) is featured on ‘What About the Children’ and Stranger Cole can be found pairing up with his son DJ Squidly on the poignant ‘Crime or Music’. Scat vocalist Bob Andy delivers on the historic tribute, ‘You Got Jazz?’ and MCPR’s own DJ Shaza’s exuberance romps through the healing shout-out of ‘Brotherman’ and the more meditative track ‘Peace of Mind’, on which he's joined by the singer, J.D. Smoothe.

Drumquestra is a wonderfully unabashed drum album with 15 tracks of reggae, dub and world music featuring Larry McDonald and his drum orchestra playing over 20 different percussive instruments. A powerful mixture of textures, grooves, blood and guts all ranging in influence. Drumquestra is a special mixture of intensity and beauty, a cultural experience that transcends boundaries without blurring them, a zest of rhythmic improvisation tantalizing decks and playlists from Boston to Brixton and Bali.

Larry McDonald is scheduling a slew of European and U.S. performances in 2009. For more information on Larry McDonald and MCPR Music please visit:
www.mcprmusic.com and myspace.com/larrymcdonald1.


Thanks to our good friend, and
U.S. Publicity contact, Diane Podolak, Publicist, for the info
T: 718-383-1387
E: Diane@allegro-media.com

Jamaica Jazz "At the Wicket"Ocho Rios Jazz comes in June, with a new concept, the Jamaica Jazz XI - as i nthe cricket analogy. Check back next issue to see who made the first cut, and who should be coming into the team.

Next issue:
Drumquestra reviewed
plus.... LET ME BLOW MY MIND - What Does Don Drummond Have to say to my generation?
online as of May 1

Monday, March 23, 2009

Vol 5: #8: Battle of the Jazz Fests & more

In this issue:

*Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz - provisional programme for 2009

*Battle of the Festival Giants in NYC

* Journeymen - two icons of Afro-American music & culture speak up


*April is Jazz Appreciation Month, plus......How We Can Save Jazz



Jamaica Ocho Rios jazz festival founder Sonny Bradshaw

Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival 2009 June 13-20
PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME


Sat June 13 Jazz & Coffee In The Blue Mountains – Forres Pk. - 6.30 pm

Sun June 14 Opening Jazz Day - Pegasus In The Garden – Kingston - 6.30 pm

Mon June 15 FGFS Build Jamaica with Music – Public Free Concert – Ochie/Kgn Jazz Summer School – Mon.-Fri.

Tues June 16 FGFS Build Jamaica with Music – Public Free Concert – Ochie/Kgn Christopher's Jazz Café (Kgn) & Jazz At Sunset (Negril)

Wed June 17 FGFS Build Jamaica with Music – Public Free Concert – Ochie/Kgn Mocking Bird Hill - ( Port Antonio)

Thurs June 18 International Jazz Night – Red Bones Blues Café - Kingston - 9pm FGFS Build Jamaica with Music – Public Free Concert - Ochie/Kgn Jazz Lunch Breezes - (Runaway Bay)

Fri June 19 FGFS Build Jamaica with Music – Public Free Concert – Ochie/Kgn South Coast Jazz – (Treasure Beach)

Sat June 20 'Come Dancing' After Matinee Dance - Kingston - 8 pm Jazz Dinner - Glenns Jazz Club - Tower Isle –Ochie – 8 pm

Sun June 21 Closing Father’s Day Jazz – 'Evans Scent' ( St. Ann-Ochie-) 1-6 pm

The Jazz Bus – Kingston - Ochie/Priory, St. Ann

FEATURES

June is Jazz Month - Monday 1st June Red Bones Blues Café
Theme - Straight Ahead Jazz And Beyond
Jazz Summer School - Jazz Week - Monday-FRIDAY Community & School Band Competition
Come Dancing - Glass Bucket, Silver Slipper, Bournemouth, Sugar -Hill, TADP
Myrna Hague Singers' Contest
Charity - Breast Cancer
FGFS Merchandise – Jazz Cups, T-shirts, Jazz Bags, etc.
Jazz At Sunset - Negril Escape
Ska & Reggae Revival – Fab5 Inc. & Junior Soul


Will New York have a major jazz festival this summer?

It depends on whom you ask. Festival Network, which has presented the JVC Jazz Festival for the past two years, says it will. But concert promoters, booking agents and others in the jazz world say that because of the economy and a rift between Festival Network and the impresario George Wein, it is possible that New York will lack a big festival for the first time in 37 years.

In 2007 Mr. Wein, 83, sold his company, Festival Productions — which produced the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, the jazz and folk festivals in Newport, R.I., and many others — to Festival Network, which continued to employ him as a producer-emeritus.

But Mr. Wein said that he had not been paid since November, and Rhode Island authorities said that they canceled Festival Network’s contract to present events at Fort Adams State Park, the festival’s longtime home, because of late payments.

Muddying the water for jazz fans, Mr. Wein and Chris Shields, the chairman of Festival Network, said they were presenting events in Newport and New York.

On Tuesday Mr. Wein said he would be putting on jazz and folk festivals in Newport under his own name, with no connection to Festival Network. He is seeking sponsors for the events, but said he would back them himself if none came through.

“We believe that Newport has to be saved, one way or the other,” Mr. Wein said.

But in an e-mail message Mr. Shields said, “We view George Wein’s effort to ensure the legacy of music festivals in Newport as complementary with FN’s own effort to produce the Newport Jazz and Newport Folk festivals, the trademarks of which we control.”

George Wein’s Folk Festival 50 is to take place July 31 to Aug. 2, and George Wein’s Jazz Festival 55 will run Aug. 7 to 9.

In addition, the fate of the JVC festival in New York, which usually happens in June, is unclear. Festival Network owns the rights to it, and Mr. Shields said he intended to put on a New York jazz festival in 2009. Mr. Wein, in turn, said he had booked a handful of dates at Carnegie Hall in June, including two nights with Diana Krall, but that without a major sponsor he could not afford to host a full-scale festival.

A Carnegie Hall spokeswoman confirmed that a number of dates were being held in June under Mr. Wein’s name, but none for Festival Network. A spokesman for JVC, which has sponsored many of Mr. Wein’s and Festival Network’s events around the world, declined to comment on whether the company would be sponsoring any of the festivals this year.

Regardless, it may be too late. Scott Southard, who represents dozens of jazz and world-music acts, said he and other booking agents were “operating with the assumption that it’s not going to happen.” Festival dates are usually secured by January, he said, and since a New York event looked unlikely, many big tours will be bypassing New York.

“Artists who are capable of selling Carnegie Hall-level shows have suddenly had one of the cornerstone events pulled out of the booking season,” Mr. Southard said.

Mr. Wein said that he felt more obliged to preserve the Newport festivals than the one in New York, where jazz fans have plenty of events to choose from. The Vision Festival, for one, will present avant-garde music, dance and poetry for a 14th year in June.

“I’m not necessary in New York,” Mr. Wein said. “New York’s a jazz festival all year long

-Ruby Washington/The New York Times


Journeymen
Amiri Baraka & Henry Grimes

Amiri Baraka and Henry Grimes are very different men with several intriguing similarities. Founder of the Black Arts Movement, prolific poet, playwright, and essayist Baraka exudes a political intensity grounded in both history and current events. Henry Grimes is one of the world's greatest living jazz bassists, exuding a quieter disposition that hints at a complex and individualistic spirituality. Both men remain passionate about their work, channeling powerful waves of artistic energy that belie their years (Grimes is 73, Baraka is 74).

While Baraka moves in a slightly stooped shuffle, his voice retains its vitality, sounding like that of a far younger man. Grimes, meanwhile, speaks softly and with a halting cadence, although the raw physicality of his performances would seemingly tire a man half his age. Performing individually and together, the two recently took the stage in Brooklyn, as part of IPR's Littoral Reading Series.

-from earplug



APPRECIATE JAZZ

April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), an annual event created by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History “to draw greater public attention to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz and its importance as an American cultural heritage."

In addition, JAM is “intended to stimulate the current jazz scene and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz -- to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and support institutional jazz programs."

To promote the event, once again the Smithsonian has commissioned a poster of a jazz legend; this year's poster (pictured) features a classic Al Hirschfeld caricature of clarinet player and bandleader Benny Goodman, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Goodman's birth. The museum has printed 250,000 posters for free distribution to music and jazz educators, librarians, music merchants and manufacturers, radio stations, arts presenters, and U.S. embassies worldwide. To request a copy, send an email to jazz@si.edu. You can also download the poster (pictured) in PDF format.


-allaboutjazz.com



How We can Save jazz
Of course, we're agreeing here that it (1) needs saving, and (2) is worth saving

The following list has been 'doctored' from the Smithsonian Institution, who run the annual Jazz Appreciation Month observances, but there's no reason why some of the initiatives couldn't work in the Jamaican context

Collectors
• Collect extra or unwanted jazz recordings or books and donate them
to a local high school, college, nursing home, or community center.
• Join the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors
(http://www.geocities.com/iajrc).

Look out for word on a Jamaican jazz records Drive, as well as A Jazz Day(or some portion thereof) on Jamaican radio soon

Fans
• Listen to a jazz CD, or MP3 that is new to you. Try to stretch your ears. If you
need some guidance, consult The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, by
Richard Cook and Brian Morton, or Tom Piazza’s Guide to Classic
Recorded Jazz, or blogs, such as this one and Jamaica Music Offbeat (www.jam-offbeat.blogspot.com)
• Read a good book on jazz.
• Find a new jazz Web site. (same as above, but also www.allaboutjazz.com)

• Listen to a radio station that plays genuine jazz.
This one, is a little difficult in the Jamaican context - J'can radio has 'left jazz for dead' but there are loads of good broadcasts on the Web

• Go to “This Date in Jazz History” (at www.SmithsonianJazz.org), pick
an anniversary, and find some music by that musician to explore.

Join your local jazz society - in our case Friends of Jazz - go to www.ochoriosjazz.com for more info

If none exists in your community, organize one.

• Read a jazz magazine, such as Down Beat, Jazz Times, or Jazziz. Others
include: Cadence, Jazz Education Journal, Jazz Improv, The Mississippi
Rag: The Voice of Traditional Jazz and Ragtime, and from Canada, Coda,
Planet Jazz, and The Jazz Report.

• Host a jazz listening session in your home or a jazz-themed party in
honor of a favorite musician, or to celebrate jazz in general.

• Read a jazz-related poem—such as those in The Jazz Poetry Anthology,
edited by Sascha Feinstein and Yusef Komunyakaa or their The Second
Set: The Jazz Poetry Anthology, Volume 2.

• View and think about jazz-related artwork. How does the artwork express
jazz culture or the artist’s interpretation of jazz language? For an example
of jazz-related artwork, look in Seeing Jazz: Artists and Writers on Jazz.

Jazz Societies
• Ask your local library to feature jazz CDs, books, and videos during April.
• Ask the local museum or historical society if it would do a special
exhibition or program during April.
• Create a community-wide celebration by collaborating with your local
museum, public library, college, public radio/TV station, arts and
humanities councils, or performing arts center.
• Organize a tour of locally significant jazz sites.

• Organize a record/CD swapfest.

• Organize a jazz dance or jazz ball–perhaps encouraging the musicians
and dancers to wear vintage clothing. Make it a festive event.

• Organize a “Disc Drive” to collect unwanted jazz CDs to donate to local
schools, colleges, and nursing homes.

Parents
• Take your son or daughter to hear “live” jazz, such as the jazz band of
your local high school or college.

• Play jazz music while driving in the car or sitting at the dinner table with
your family and talk to your children about the music.

• Play different tracks from jazz CDs for your children and their friends
and ask for their reactions. Try different pieces and when you find some
that they like, consider exposing your child to more music by that artist.
• Suggest your child log on to a child-friendly jazz site.

• Display a jazz poster in your home, and talk about it with your children.
• Read to your young child. If you are the parent of a child aged 4-8, read
(or get your child to read) The Jazz Fly by Matthew Gollub and Karen
Hanke, The Sound That Jazz Makes by Carole Boston Weatherford and
Eric Velasquez, Once Upon a Time in Chicago: The Story of Benny
Goodman by Jonah Winter and Jeanette Winter, If I Only Had a Horn:
Young Louis Armstrong by Roxane Orgill and Leonard Jenkins, or Chris
Raschka’s Mysterious Thelonious or Charlie Parker Played Be Bop.
• Contact your local jazz society to see if it offers a jazz education program;

Working Musicians
• Donate a concert to your local primary, secondary or tertiary institution. After
the concert, be available to talk with students about jazz and encourage
their interest.

• Explore the work of a musician who is new to you.

• Go to “This Date in Jazz History” (at www.smithsonianjazz.org) and find
an anniversary around which you could perform a piece, dedicate a
tune, etc.

• Ask the Music Performance Trust Funds to pay for special concerts
during JAM.

• Get together with fellow musicians and organize a citywide “Jazz Day”
or “Jazz Night” and have a citywide JAM session.

• Feature music of the jazz legends whose birthdays fall in April: Duke
Ellington, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Dodds,
Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Shorty Rogers, Mongo
Santamaria, Tito Puente, Freddie Hubbard, Randy Weston, or Herbie
Hancock.

Churches
• Hold a Jazz Vespers service.
• Commission a concert of a religious work in the jazz idiom, such as
Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts, or one composed by Mary Lou
Williams or Dave Brubeck.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

VOL 5: #7: Mickey Hanson, The Lost Riddim, The Peacemaker's Chauffeur & more







In this Issue:

* 'Re-animating' J'can live music with Mickey Hanson;

* Canadian reggae-jazz man Jason Wilson & more form Jazz on the Green;

* CD reviews: A 'double take with Italian maestro Roberto Magris

* Ernie Ranglin & Co. seek the 'Lost Riddim' in NYC

* Jazz Routes: Upcoming events


TRUMPETER MICKEY HANSON: THE RE-ANIMATOR

For 2009, Hanson is going all out to reanimate and revitalize live improvised music, through initiativesIn what was 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.
He has performed and recorded with Jamaica’s own legend Bob Marley, at a time when the 'Gong' was 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). He was featured on the re-banding CD of the legendary Skatalites, although he was not an original member. 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.”


CD Review
Kansas City Outbound
Restless Spirits

Artist: Roberto Magris (piano); OTHERS AS LISTED


KEEPING GREAT COMPANY
Italian pianist/composer/all-round student of music Roberto Magris has built a career around consistently identifying and bonding with great talent, whether known, or just discovered. His Check-In CD under the banner of his Europlane band presented a great saxophonist in the person of Tony Lakatos, and magris continued the streak on the follow-up CD, Il Bello Di Jazz, that time with acknowledged maestro Herb Geller.

Now, Magris has made available two excellent recordings that again match him with peerless players. On Kansas City Outbound he hooks up with late, great bassist Art Davis, as well as "Junebug" Jackson, vetern sideman (drummer) to organ legend Jimmy Smith and local drum hero Zack Albetta.

The Restless Spirits CD is a different kind of match. Magris joins the Verona, Italy-based Big Band Ritmo Sinfonica Citta, a 43-piece outfit that is quickly establishing itself as one of Europe's finest. The music on this disc is more exuberant (especially with guest soloist Massimo Greco on trumpet and flugelhorn), and - to these ears - immediately likeable, but he Kansas City CD definitely rewards repeated listens, especially withthe group's take on the Billy Strayhorn ballad "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing" and the title track, with Davis' super-rich bass expositions giving justthe right oomph.

You can't go wrong with either CD, but why not double your pleasure and get them both. Go to www.myspace.com/robertomagrisjazz


Yard Party Uptown, - Ranglin et al in NYC

The party vibe was strong at this one-off concert put together by Jamaican historian Herbie Miller for Harlem Stage at Aaron Davis Hall. It was an oldschool massive, and it was as if everybody pretty much knew everybody else, friends of the seven musicians shouting out to their countrymen and getting a shout back from the stage. A strong case could be made for the contention that for the past several decades, no other country has had more talented musicians per square mile than little Jamaica, and this casual yet dazzling display of three generations of island jazz talent only bolstered that argument. Serving as bandleader was iconic, ageless guitarist Ernest Ranglin, who in his six-decade career has played with just about every legendary Jamaican musician in calypso, jazz, ska and reggae. Former Sun Ra sideman Cedric “Im” Brooks and Douglas Ewart on sax joined in representing the older generation, with pianist Orville Hammond and longtime Gil Scott-Heron percussionist Larry McDonald filling in the middle and a young-gun rhythm section of Wayne Batchelor on bass and frequent Jimmy Cliff and Monty Alexander sideman Desmond Jones on drums. Running through a set heavily stacked with old mento standards, the group were loose and conversational but buckled down when they had to, with often exhilarating results.

Jazz from Jamaica tends to be especially melodically oriented, and tonight it was Hammond holding it down with the rhythm section pushing along on the basic, soul- or blues-based changes. Often Brooks would ham it up, opening the set with an amusing if ill-advised turn on vocals, serving as a foil to Ranglin’s counterintuitive sophistication. Now 76, Ranglin has never played better: given a chance to take center stage, he chose his spots and then wailed through some strikingly intense, even piercing solos, generally eschewing the fluttery Les Paul-inflected chordal style that’s been his trademark for so long. Hammond had fewer chances to cut loose, but made the best of them, bringing a masterfully eerie noir lounge touch to the few minor-key songs in the set. Brooks and Ewart were remarkably similar, each showing off a soulful, slowly crescendoing, thoughtful style that gave their cohorts ample opportunity to contribute or, in the case of Ranglin, echo and bend a phrase into a completely unexpected shape.

At their most boisterous, Jones would get out from behind his kit and pummel a big bass drum, McDonald coming over from his congas, joined by both Ewart and Brooks, creating a free-for-all that would eventually drown out the rest of the band. There were also a couple of perhaps expected, perhaps surprise special guests, namely a couple of older gentlemen who took the stage in front of the band and got the crowd roaring with their impressively agile dance moves while the security guards looked on bemusedly from the edge of the stage. Before the encore, Miller explained to the crowd that they had been ripping up the yard since way back in the day. And then the less frenetic of the two grabbed the mic and indulged in a long exhortation to the Rastas in the crowd, ending with a fervent suggestion to read Isaiah, Chapter 43 (a passage which doesn’t make much sense other than to say that God will mess with you if you don’t behave). And nobody stopped him or shut off the mic: no problem, mon. For about an hour and a half, it was like being in Montego Bay - or Ogetnom, as one of the night’s most beautifully haunting numbers was playfully titled.

-Lucid Culture


Jazz Routes: Upcoming events near & far

Apr 3-4: Capetown Int'l jazz fest; Robert Glasper, Maceo Parker, Mos Def, magic malik, Zaki Ibrahim, Capetown, S Africa; www.capetownjazzfest.com

May 2-10: St Lucia jazz; Amy Winehouse, Kassav, Angelique Kidjo, Michael McDonald
various venues, St Lucia; www.stluciajazz.com

May 23 – 25,: Various Locations throughout Atlanta, Georgia venues including: Woodruff Park, Centennial Olympic Park, Underground Atlanta, Churchill Grounds, Piedmont and more; AtlantaFestivals.com.

June 14-21: Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival - various venues; "Straight Ahead Jazz & Beyond" www.ochoriosjazz.com


Soul, Ska and More on the Green
Fab 5, Canadian jazz-reggae man score

We're not exactly sure why keyboardist vocalist jason Wilson chose to call his latest CD The Peacemaker's Chauffeur, but on witnessing his combo's great performance at Sunday's Jazz on the Green, we can say he and his crew were definitely in the driver's seat.

They were one of the highlights of the show's fifth renewal - this time in a new venue, the lawns of Jamaica House, the others including Fab Five - who closed with a rip-roaring ska revival - drummer Desi Jones & the Greenhouse Effect, and Charmaine Limonious, who partnered brilliantly with another keyboard ace, Chris McDonald. whilst the staging could have been reconfigured to be more intimate, there was nothing wrong with the musical offerings (nor with the amenities provided by Wray & Nephew, Kraft et al).
Wilson injected some energy into the proceedings with, well-crafted and heartily played gems from his oeuvre, including Your Love Shines A Light For Me and Icarus' Lament (Don't Look Down). Also gracing the proceedings were guitar maestro Ernest Ranglin (see Lost Riddim review this issue) who shows no signs of age in his technique and dexterity, and always with a soulful ear, and also James Brown veteran Pee Wee Ellis (based in London) who generally delivered a classic 'big' Texas Tenor sound, but who seemed just slightly out of sorts.

All in all a good package, one on which the Rotary organisers can look with some degree of pride.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wow, Wilson!

He had already been featured on Riffin' but Canadian keyboardsit-vocalist jason Wilson and his crackerjack band were another highlight of Jazz on the Green. I'll have some commentary on the band and the bridges it has been building between jazz, reggae and pop, or go to www.jasonwilsonmusic.com to hear for yourself. Cool stuff

Jazz on the Green & Magris reviews - comin up

Had a good time at jamaica House Sunday nite last, at jazz on the Green

will publish that review, as well as my impressions of the excellent new CDs from Roberto Magris THIS WEEK!!!
watch for it

Monday, March 09, 2009

Happy birthday, Mr OC


Raise a toast of your favourite tipple today in tribute to 'free jazz' innovator Ornette Coleman, who turns 79 today.

'Slumdog's' Sweet Soundtrack, Sound The Trumpets, and more...

RIFFFIN’S RUNDOWN FOR WEEK 9/3/09, AT 8.35PM, AT NEWSTALK 93FM

LIVE STREAM WWW.NEWSTALK93FM.COM

MONDAY” IT DON’T MEAN A THING IF IT AIN’T GOT THAT SWING”. The Swing masters prove the wisdom that that timely remark, with a tribute to Lionel Hampton. An appreciation of SNOOKS EAGLIN, The New Orleans Legend.

TUESDAY: !TRUMPET SOUNDS!: The first of two trumpets, Argentinian, Diego Urcola, and Christian Scott Of New Orleans.

WEDNESDAY: San Francisco singer, Denise Perrier, has the big sound of Houston person’s tenor sax, blowing her along like a mighty wind. Also the mellifulous voice of Everette Greene.

THURSDAY: In his 3rd New York appearance in 2007, French pianist, Martial Solal, gave a solo performance at the Village Vanguard, that was hailed by the New York Times, “as the jazz event of the year”.

FRIDAY: RIFFIN’S FRIDAY NIGHT ‘RAMPIN SHOP’: Slumdog Millionaire’s sound track, got an Oscar for its music, in addition to the Oscar for Best Picture. K’NAAN, the Somalian rapper who is making waves.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

More Raves for Ranglin & Co.

this one from music blogger Josh Rosenfielder, o nthe 'Lost Riddims' show at Harlem Stage. Check out his blog, earbender.

http://earbender.com/2009/02/ernest-ranglin-takes-manhattan/?8d1b9308

Enjoy. Shouldn't we have something like this here at home?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Yard Party Uptown, - Ranglin et al in NYC

Couldn't make it to the show (sigh), butthis, from NYC blog Lucid Culture, more than suffices.

Mon: Ernest Ranglin and Others in Concert in NYC 2/26/09
February 28, 2009 · No Comments

The party vibe was strong at this one-off concert put together by Jamaican historian Herbie Miller for Harlem Stage at Aaron Davis Hall. It was an oldschool massive, and it was as if everybody pretty much knew everybody else, friends of the seven musicians shouting out to their countrymen and getting a shout back from the stage. A strong case could be made for the contention that for the past several decades, no other country has had more talented musicians per square mile than little Jamaica, and this casual yet dazzling display of three generations of island jazz talent only bolstered that argument. Serving as bandleader was iconic, ageless guitarist Ernest Ranglin, who in his six-decade career has played with just about every legendary Jamaican musician in calypso, jazz, ska and reggae. Former Sun Ra sideman Cedric “Im” Brooks and Douglas Ewart on sax joined in representing the older generation, with pianist Orville Hammond and longtime Gil Scott-Heron percussionist Larry McDonald filling in the middle and a young-gun rhythm section of Wayne Batchelor on bass and frequent Jimmy Cliff and Monty Alexander sideman Desmond Jones on drums. Running through a set heavily stacked with old mento standards, the group were loose and conversational but buckled down when they had to, with often exhilarating results.



Jazz from Jamaica tends to be especially melodically oriented, and tonight it was Hammond holding it down with the rhythm section pushing along on the basic, soul- or blues-based changes. Often Brooks would ham it up, opening the set with an amusing if ill-advised turn on vocals, serving as a foil to Ranglin’s counterintuitive sophistication. Now 76, Ranglin has never played better: given a chance to take center stage, he chose his spots and then wailed through some strikingly intense, even piercing solos, generally eschewing the fluttery Les Paul-inflected chordal style that’s been his trademark for so long. Hammond had fewer chances to cut loose, but made the best of them, bringing a masterfully eerie noir lounge touch to the few minor-key songs in the set. Brooks and Ewart were remarkably similar, each showing off a soulful, slowly crescendoing, thoughtful style that gave their cohorts ample opportunity to contribute or, in the case of Ranglin, echo and bend a phrase into a completely unexpected shape.



At their most boisterous, Jones would get out from behind his kit and pummel a big bass drum, McDonald coming over from his congas, joined by both Ewart and Brooks, creating a free-for-all that would eventually drown out the rest of the band. There were also a couple of perhaps expected, perhaps surprise special guests, namely a couple of older gentlemen who took the stage in front of the band and got the crowd roaring with their impressively agile dance moves while the security guards looked on bemusedly from the edge of the stage. Before the encore, Miller explained to the crowd that they had been ripping up the yard since way back in the day. And then the less frenetic of the two grabbed the mic and indulged in a long exhortation to the Rastas in the crowd, ending with a fervent suggestion to read Isaiah, Chapter 43 (a passage which doesn’t make much sense other than to say that God will mess with you if you don’t behave). And nobody stopped him or shut off the mic: no problem, mon. For about an hour and a half, it was like being in Montego Bay - or Ogetnom, as one of the night’s most beautifully haunting numbers was playfully titled.

Monty Does nat kIng Cole


Links
From allaboutjazz.com - the latest release from Jamaican piano legend Monty Alexander, Calypso Blues: the Music of Nat King Cole

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Afro-Cuban Rhythms, Reggae from Israel & more

RIFFFIN’S RUNDOWN FOR WEEK 2/3/09, 8.35PM, AT NEWSTALKS 93 FM


LIVE STREAM WWW.NEWSTALK93FM.COM


TUESDAY: The first of two nights of ‘MUSIC MEDITATION”, with Wes Montgomery, Gerry Mulligan, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, and Sarah Vaughan.

WEDNESDAY: MUSIC MEDITATION TWO: The sensual bolero, a Cuban music of intimacy and dreams, gets full play from bassist, Charlie Haden, and guests. Bolero, gives way to the smouldering, African flamenco singer, Buika.

THURSDAY: Singer, Ann Hampton Callaway’s “At Last”, is possibly her best recording to date. She’s cool expansive, and swings with a superb backing band.

FRIDAY: !RIFFIN’S FRIDAY NIGHT RAMPIN SHOP!, with a cameo by Somalian rapper K’Naaan. Also Sizzla, Jah Cure, Queen Ifrica, Bob Marley and Lee Perry. The shop closes with “Within My Walls”, another amazing album by the Israeli pop phenomenon, Idan Raichel.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Reggae from Sweden, pop form Nigeria and India- as herself

RIFFFIN’S RUNDOWN FOR WEEK 23/2/09, 8.35PM, AT NEWSTALK 93FM


LIVE STREAM: WWW.NEWSTALK93FM.COM

MONDAY: !SPICE IT UP!. The best of master Cuban musician, Paquito D’ Riviera, a nine-time Grammy winner, who is celebrated for his artistry in Latin jazz, but also as a classical composer.


TUESDAY: TWO VOICES: ASA(Asha). Her album” NAÏVE”, is the most impressive debut in recent memory. A Nigerian singer/songwriter, whose many influences, include Bob Marley. INDIA ARIE’S, Latest, Testimony: Vol 2 “Love and Politics”, finds the sister getting to the core of her being.

WEDNESDAY: Bobby Thomas, the one time heat in Weather Report’s kitchen, has a new album “Beyond The Grid”, and goes back to back with what Weather Report became-Joe Zawinul’s, The Zawinul Syndicate.

THURSDAY: The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, delivers pure Salsa fire in “Unidos Con Swing”, “United We Swing”. Singer Issac Delgado, brings the new Cuban rhythm, Timba.

FRIDAY: ‘THE PEACEMAKER’S CHAUFFER”: A return to Jason Wilson’s episodic album which takes reggae down a different road. Daweh Congo’s “ Ghetto Skyline”, produced in Sweden, is a fresh reggae sound from Europe.

Bigger is Better @ Jazz in the Gardens

Not that we’re carrying a brief for the folks at the National Housing Trust (there was, after all, that statue, but that’s another debate), but they’ve made some fairly astute and beneficial choices in the way of culture.

One such was Emancipation Park, which revitalized the former ‘dust bowl inking the two major midtown thoroughfares (Oxford Road and Knutsford Boulevard). The other was commissioning composer-arranger-musician Peter Ashbourne to put together a large ensemble to play a Christmas concert in the aforementioned Emancipation Park, shortened, for practical purposes, to E-Park.

The band thus dubbed the E-Park Band, has proved itself to be nothing short of an absolute musical gift to the Jmaaican people (and other nationalities who may hear it), and Ashbourne & Co again vindicated themselves at Sunday evening’s Jazz in the Gardens, the first in the bi-monthly live series for 2009, at its familiar home in the Gardens of the Pegasus, a stone’s throw from the Park of the Band’s its conception.

That the programme was essentially a reprise of that performed in the Second City during the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival last month made it in no way less enjoyable. The high level of musicianship and –more importantly – the sheer joy amongst the 13-member ensemble and the instant rapport with the audience fuelled a great hopefulness for a return to the days when such bands were commonplace. This in spite of Ashbourne’s typically deadpan admission that “this is not an economic proposition; it’s a labour of love.”

the loving laboured and romped (yes, we’ll use that word) through a varied repertoire encompassing pop, reggae, the Great American Songbook, and a “dancehall instrumental piece, incorporating the sampled voice of a lady begging on the street among other things.

They were preceded by a group of which one hopes the market will also make room for, and which might be thought of as their successors, even at this relatively early stage. The Edna Manley Ensemble, comprising recent graduates –and one teacher – at the former Cultural Training Centre offered a similarly diverse repertoire delivered with no small measure of verve.

They started with a competent, if somewhat tentative “Autumn Leaves”. Violin soloist Rafiq Williams was hampered by indifferent sound levels (thankfully, the overall sound was much improved from previous Jazz in the gardens outings), with only bassist Alves Dean showing any noticeable assurance on his instrument.

The addition of two sparkling female vocalists changed that for the better. First Some Thomas who did a creditable job covering “Love Me Forever” by the late great Cynthia Schloss before taking things up a notch with vintage Jimmy Cliff – “The Lion Say.” Immediately following her, Abby Gaye Dallas confirmed that her fine showing at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Talent Stage was no fluke, putting her sultry vocals – and a neatly restrained sensuality – to good effect on “St Louis Blues” and “Night In Tunisia” (the latter employing lyrics improvised by Chaka Khan to fit the Dizzy Gillespie original). Courtney Fadlin, no stranger to the Pegasus faithful blew sweet and mellow on the smooth jazz classic, Grover Washington’s “Just The Two Of Us”

In an era when even established players are being made subservient to technology and even the art of selecting records for play has been steadily dehumanized, the sight - and sound - of a six-man horn section, complemented by guitar, bass, drums and two keyboards is truly a refreshing change, not to mention the truly exemplary vocal stylings of Karen Smith, Michael Sean Harris and the aforementioned EMC grads.

Sunday’s jazz in the Gardens offered, amid economic downturn and potential political upheaval, a genuine sign of hope. Let’s see where it leads.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blues & more @ Hope Gardens

“Blues on the Green”
U.S. Embassy hosts annual free concert

Feel the power of Blues on the Green on Friday, February 27, during the United States Embassy’s free concert featuring American blues singer and guitarist Deborah Coleman at Hope Gardens in Kingston.

The concert comes courtesy of the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section and many distinguished sponsors in celebration of African American History Month.

Deborah Coleman has been described by USA Today as “one of blues music’s most exciting young talents.” Along with a discography that spans a decade, she gives knockout live performances that have made her one of the hottest acts on the contemporary blues scene. Meticulous and focused in the studio and highly charismatic onstage, Coleman has developed a guitar style that reflects the influences of Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Albert Collins and Larry Carlton. Her vocal inspirations are as often found in the singing of Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith as in the recordings of Bessie Smith, Janis Joplin, Memphis Minnie and Alberta Hunter.

The free concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. and include The Maurice Gordon Group, headed by talented Jamaican guitarist Maurice Gordon, and local jazz and blues singer Myrna Hague.

Parking will be provided at both the Jamaica College parking lot and Gibson Avenue, Hope Pastures entrance to Hope Gardens. Starting at 5:30 p.m., shuttle buses will transport patrons from both parking lots to the concert venue. Patrons are encouraged to carpool to avoid inconvenienc

New from Italy...Viva Roberto!!



My good friend, the acclaimed Italian pianist Roberto Magris, has not one , but two exciting new recordings - check back soon for the reviews:


KANSAS CITY OUTBOUND / ROBERTO MAGRIS TRIO

...featuring the last recording session by jazz icon ART DAVIS (the legendary bassist for John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong and Max Roach as well as other notables). A great trio performance, a rare collector's item !!!

From the liner notes by James Hale:...Peterson, Tyner, Cowell, Hill, Monk, Ellington… the roll call of great pianists present in spirit in Kansas City on these two days continues with one other who Davis felt Magris conjured the first time they met: "the Legendary Hassan." (Hassan Ibn Ali). "You play like Hassan", Dr. Art told Magris "Your sound and concept remind me of him"... Art Davis’ words carried authority, just like the man himself carried authority. His stand against discrimination at the New York Philharmonic shone a light on the continuing racism in U.S. symphonies, and his application of cello fingering to the double bass helped revolutionize the way the instrument was played. A giant figure, Davis died just three weeks after this, his last recording session. (James Hale is a regular contributor to DownBeat and Signal To Noise, and the co-author of The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues)

---000---

RESTLESS SPIRITS / ROBERTO MAGRIS & BIG BAND RITMOSINFONICA CITTA' DI VERONA
... the best of Magris' compositions and arrangements from his 25-years long international career performed by a 43-piece super big band

From the liner notes by Ed Blanco:...The classic big band performance captured on this disc is reminiscent of the kind of music you hear from today’s contemporary large orchestras like the renowned 50-piece Netherland’s Metropole Orchestra or the sounds once produced by such big bands like Woody Herman’s Thundering Herds or the legendary Stan Kenton Orchestra’s of the past. BBRS Director Marco Pasetto has done a magnificent job in developing a relatively young musical organization into a mature jazz oriented ensemble that can hang with the best orchestras in the world. Pianist Roberto Magris demonstrates once again why he is considered among the elite jazz artists of our time. He plays the piano with intensity, feeling and heart-felt passion leaving his all on the keys and his soul in the music. His compositions are creative and his arrangements are fresh and dynamic—all coming together to help deliver a restless and resounding big band musical experience you will not soon forget.

(Ed Blanco is a member of Jazz Jounalist Association and a regular contributor for eJazznews, Jazzreview and All About Jazz, and hosts several jazz radio programs at WDNA 88.9 FM "Serious Jazz" radio station in Miami)



Thanks also to Paul Collins Management

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Bellson's No More


Louis Bellson, the world famous jazz drummer who helped establish the footprint for jazz music in America, has died at the age of 84 in Los Angeles.

The jazz musician, composer, arranger, bandleader, and educator is credited with pioneering the use of two bass drums.

Louis Bellson (he reportedly preferred Louie) won the 1940 Slingerland National Gene Krupa drum contest at the age of 17, beating out 40,000 drummers and launching a career that began with the Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Harry James big bands.

He became internationally known during the early ’50s for work with Duke Ellington, gaining attention for both his performances and his compositions, which included Skin Deep and the Hawk Talks. He left Ellington’s band to work as musical director for singer Pearl Bailey, whom he wed in 1953. The marriage lasted until Bailey’s death in 1990.

Bellson has performed and/or recorded an estimated 200 albums as a leader, co-leader or sideman with renowned jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Dizzy Gillespie, and film composer John Williams, among the many. Bellson’s Telarc debut recording, Louie Bellson And His Big Band: Live From New York, was released in June 1994.

The prolific writer produced numerous jazz compositions and arrangements as well as orchestral suites, symphonic works and a ballet. Bellson is also a published author, having written more than a dozen books on drums and percussion.

A highly regarded educator, throughout his career Bellson conducted drum and band clinics at high schools, colleges and music stores.

A six-time Grammy Award nominee, among his many honours Louis Bellson received his Doctor of Humane Letters in 1985 at Northern Illinois University, and was voted into the Halls of Fame for both Modern Drummer magazine and the Percussive Arts Society. Yale University named him a Duke Ellington Fellow in 1977, and he received an honorary Doctorate from Northern Illinois University in 1985. In January 1994, Bellson received the prestigious American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts (1994).


undated file photo of Louis Bellson (rght) with Duke Ellington

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ravi Coltrane Rolls On..& more this Riffin'


RIFFIN’S RUNDOWN FOR WEEK, 16/2/09, AT 8.35PM, NEWSTALK93FM


LIVE STREAM WWW.NEWSTALK93FM.COM

MONDAY: THE GRAMMY WINNERS: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, for Best Traditional World Music Album, “Ilembe Honoring Shaka Zulu”. Burning Spear, “Jah Is Real” for Best reggae Album.

TUESDAY: MEMORIES OF YOU: Singer, Maxine Sullivan, creates a memory of herself, with the songs of leading African American composer, Andy Razaf. Denise Perrier’s , “ Second Time Around”, a live album, is an exultation.

WEDNESDAY: BLENDING TIMES: Ravi Coltrane, son of John and Alice Coltrane, continues to grow into the light of his father and mother.

THURSDAY: YESTERDAYS: Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, are in the moment, and it’s a “live” one in Tokyo.

FRIDAY: RE-GENERATIONS: Nat King Cole, is remixed again, this time in a very contemporary way. A Filial, an edgy hip hop riff from Brazil.