Jazz Viewpoints (222)

29.01.2011

Barney Kessel

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The Walnut Tree Pub and Restaurant in Yalding, Kent, UK was the venue for the first time I heard and met Barney. WHAT A PLAYER!. I had the pleasure of running him back to his hotel in London after the gig and from then on we were friends. That was a good 18 years ago. Sadly, Barney had a stroke in May 1992, but is still with us and lives in San Diego, California. I hadn't heard of Barney before the Walnut Tree and didn't know what a legend he was. But over the years I've got the full picture! Ba …
29.01.2011

Dipping Into The Vaults

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While the classic Blue Notes of the '50s & '60s have been the focus of quite a few batches of reissues as of late, it's also great to see Capitol delve deeper into its own holdings, with jazz sides from the mother label and the Pacific Jazz catalog taking center stage via a half dozen new titles, all of which have been long unavailable. Included in this new series of reissues are works by drummer/bandleader Buddy Rich, alto man Cannonball Adderley, vocalist Nancy Wilson, and trumpeters Don Ellis …
29.01.2011

Post-Concert Postscript

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Writing about improvised music means transcending a language barrier somewhat like, but not the same as, moving analog sound to a digital format. Each process necessitates some sort of converter. In writing about music, the converter is multileveled. The filtering begins with the ears; it is also accompanied by human sensibility, knowledge of the subject at hand, innate human penchants, and a human psychology that manifests predilections towards sound that is organized. I know that to describe m …
29.01.2011

60's Funk And Soul

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Fortunately for the jazz community at large, Blue Note has done a great service to its catalog by stepping up its reissues over the past five years or so. A stream of notable items continues to come our way with six new titles available as budget-priced discs and with a focus on the soulful B-3 type fare that marked the label's late '60s output. All discs also feature new 24-bit remastering.

Arguably the best of the lot and one of the baddest organ groove records ever cut, Lou Donaldson's MID …

John Coltrane's one of major tenor players in jazz history. His life and work have influenced today's modern jazz scene and his contemporaries have been studied his harmonic structure in his composition Giant Steps in order to master the harmonic complexity while attempting to create their own. The expansion of harmonic structure in Giant Steps has been studied that could point a new direction for jazz musicians who seek alternative ways to create new harmony ideas for their composition and impr …
The Jazz fest epitomizes everything to love about New Orleans-the music, the food, her laid back approach to life, her history and unique culture, her engrained traditions, her warm people and her party atmosphere.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival maintains a remarkable balance between grassroots conservation and contemporary innovation, set in an atmosphere of sensory delight that has reached legendary proportion. Through a deft combination of traditional and cutting edge performance …

29.01.2011

Passport To Brazil

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The success of Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's multi-cultural exchange that brought bossa nova to the attention of the 1960's public at large resulted in a double-edged sword when viewed through the glasses of hindsight. While it's true that names like Gilberto and Jobim entered the American lexicon, the music's intoxicating sense of communication lead to many copycat projects that flooded the market and ultimately diluted the entire movement's vivacity. In turn, record-buying consumers who had rea …
29.01.2011

Jazz-Rock Fusion

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In the early '70s rock spectrum, another strange musical mutation was gathering force and would soon make a tremendous impact on rock guitar style and technique: the sound of jazz-rock. The real pioneer of early jazz-rock though was jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, who began using static rock rhythms in his recordings and allowing his musicians to stretch out with rock inflected solos. The two ground-breaking Davis' fusion recordings were 1969's "In A Silent Way" and 1970's "Bitches' Brew", both of w …
Although the development of jazz took place exclusively in America, the music’s roots are clearly African in origin. It comes as no great surprise then that the percussive influences of Africa and other derivative Latin styles (all of which, of course, have as their origin the music of Africa) have played a colorful role in the musical melting pot that distinguishes many hybrids. Jelly Roll Morton is largely acknowledged for taking advantage of what he called "the Spanish tinge" in his writing a …
29.01.2011

Charles Christopher Parker

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If you've never heard Bird play "Laura" and "April In Paris" backed with strings, then you have something to look forward too; Bird weaves in and out of the chords with double- time figures that only Bird can manifest, and still maintain the sonorities of the melody with the inimitable technique of the craftsman that he was; his incomparable artistry is surpassed by none!

Charles Christopher Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on August 29th, 1920. Parker played his last gig at Birdland o …

29.01.2011

Jazz Vocals 101

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Since 1990 Toronto-based Rita di Ghent has enjoyed a professional career as a jazz bandleader, vocalist, composer and teacher. She made her New York performance debut in 1993 as a special guest with Verve recording artist Mark Ledford; she formed her indie label, Groove, in 1995 and released her debut CD, Mindin' the Shop. Her new release on the Groove label, The Birth of Sprawl, was produced by Nick Blagona (Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Cleo Laine, Barbara Streisand and others). …
Ed Smith and his "JAZZ" store celebrate 1st year Birthday Bash with Kirk Whalum, Benita Hill and Rod McGaha to an enthusiastic crowd all day at Bellevue Center Mall. The festivities mark Ed’s first year in business in Nashville and the birthday of his wife Lynn (Dec, 01, 2001), who incidentally, is from the Crescent City. Ed Smith is a renaissance man who has an infectious excitement about jazz music and art as evidenced by the "top shelf" products he stocks his store. He has been an arts curato …
Like many jazz collectors of my general age range, I began my serious collecting back in the early '80s and Blue Note discs were always at the top of my ever-expanding want list. Of course, staying put in Cleveland, Ohio was no way to develop a jazz collection; you had to venture out to other cities (Ann Arbor, Michigan being one) and various mail order sources (Euclid Records, Craig Moerer, and Toad Hall come to mind) to get "the good stuff." Then the internet came along and opened up new vista …
...WELCOME TO SPRING 1999 where we've just had a whack of great big shows (can you say Joshua Redman Band, Rova Saxophone Quartet and Erik Friedlander's "Topaz" within a five-day period!?!) courtesy of the jazz fiends at the Coastal Jazz & Blues Society, the non-profit organization that is responsible for year-round concerts and the annual summer jazz extravaganza known as the du Maurier International Jazz Festival Vancouver. Coastal Jazz & Blues has been bringing Vancouver some of the world's f …
29.01.2011

Two-Feet Off The Floor

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There I was, standing in front of 20 of the heaviest musicians in the business. The date was Thursday, April 20, 1972. The place, Lococo's Manhattan in Manhattan Beach, Ca. Was I nervous?...you damn right I was nervous. I had just drank two martinis...this was my third; one more and I'll be conducting 40 musicians, not 20?

What was the occasion? Well, it goes down something like this. For several months, I had been scoring charts for a 20 piece jazz orchestra-I needed a place to premier this …

29.01.2011

Savoy Jazz Classics

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You truly need a score card to keep up with the distribution end of the Savoy label over the past five to ten years or so. Going as far back as this reviewer can remember, Muse was reissuing the catalog on vinyl and then CD, usually with re-done covers. A bit further down the road, things changed and Denon Japan got a hold of the inventory and the direction they took, not surprisingly, was one of facsimile reissues with original graphics and often woefully short playing times. Just at the tail e …
29.01.2011

Joe McPhee

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Drummer Randy Kaye brought together, in an unusual setting for improvisational music, bassist Richard Downs, reed players Joe Giardullo and Joe McPhee. This gig, juxtaposed with listening to the Hat Hut reissue on CD of McPhee’s first solo album TENOR, brought to light an understanding of McPhee’s playing heretofore unrealizable.

The focus of Joe’s music is to strike a balance between structure and expression. These are polarities in the musical world. The distance between them allows for a m …

29.01.2011

Jazz Intensity & A Wet Reed

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From where does jazz intensity in it's primordial self originate? The answer is three-fold; from the soul, the composition being played, and leave us not forgot, the performing musician. So what about the soul; can we have an awareness of it. Yes! Through the use of our intellect. Why intellect? It is with the intellect that we conceptualize and perceive the existence of the soul, spirit, and ultimately, jazz intensity!

Is it possible to identify with jazz intensity. Yes! The facial expressio …

29.01.2011

5am Bourbon Street

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The gig was over, and there I was, walking down Bourbon street at 5 AM. I had just left a session at the Monteleone Hotel; it began a little before midnight. As I walked to my hotel, six blocks away, wearing my Dobbs Fifth Avenue, blue blazer, red tie, and the usual...I was holding my black tenor bag in one hand, my clarinet in the other hand; the tools of my trade...a musician. I noticed that there were only three people in the street; the driver of a garbage truck, a young African-American kid …
29.01.2011

Big Band...What's Big?

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Over the years, people have come up to me with this, "Hey Duffy, the big bands are coming back." My response, with a detectable assertiveness, was, "They never left!" Any discussion about big bands cannot go without a definition or what constitutes a big band?

Actually, big bands never went anywhere; they have, to some extent, succumb to economics; more importantly, to the many modes and styles of music which constitute simplicity and lie under the umbrella of what is considered today as, pop …