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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



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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 clich├ęd, 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