posted by Robert J. Carmack #blues2jazzguy
Subtitle; A Hipster’s perspective on Trane at 90. Its been a long 49 years ago that John William Coltrane was announced transitioned. This writer remembers that summer day as if it was only yesterday.
I was just starting to settle into the summer as any teenager would, with mine being a little bit different. That difference being, I was a young working musician playing saxophone in a Jazz band. Actually getting more gigs for Dance music or “Soul Music”, so we did both. So on top of playing “Motown” for a set, we always ended a set or opened a set with popular jazz of the era. Bumpin’ on Sunset with Wes Montgomery or Song for my Father by Horace Silver.
One of the most popular of Trane’s music at the time was Equinox and My Favorite Things. In order for me to become a big fan goes all the way back to when I first arrived in Los Angeles with my parents in July 1960. Quite excited to have moved away from the Deep south and the whole new environment to play, learn and live a better Life away from Jim Crow South. As a 10 year old boy, I had an affinity for advanced music beyond my years . One day I heard a song on the radio station my Dad listened to at the time called the Jazz KNOB , a Long Beach California station for all Jazz format. The song was Cousin Mary by Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan, a jazz vocalese group. The lyrics begin by the members of the group rhythmically chanting “John Coltrane..John Coltrane..John Coltrane. In my very young mind hearing this ,I thought I heard them saying, Jungle Train..Jungle Train..(Lol) .
I had no idea who this group was until about 3-4 years later, when I had many albums that my father had bought to refer to for further study. I was now a budding saxophone student who had a thirst for Jazz music and its history and all that relates to it. I immersed myself into the backs of albums where I got to learn not just about the leader, but all his sidemen. Coltrane had a distinct sound that differed from most of the other saxophonists I listened to in the mid 1960s.
As I progressed in my study of Jazz and its history. This led me back to the legacy of who and what were influences on John Coltrane’s life and music . I found that he was born in North Carolina to a mother and father who loved him very much and fully supported his dreams and goals. They purchased an alto saxophone for young John in 1938, where he became very proficient on sax and clarinet. the church was a big part of the Coltrane clan in High Point North Carolina. You could hear in many of Coltrane’s music in the mid 60’s leading up to a harvest of great recordings such as Spiritual,Alabama, Dear Lord and many others. The other thread that ran through Trane’s music in my opinion was the Blues, an essential ingredient for great jazz. The “Bird Factor” was a big factor in almost all of Trane’s Bop tunes, straight “12-bar blues” songs, , another stylized approach by Trane was to max-out on the chords, by inverting them ,creating new scales based on the tones in the present scales. One of the reasons John fit in really well with Miles Davis experiments with Modal chords, fewer restrictions from the “Traditional BeBop” block-chord structure. His classic recordings with Miles Davis are well known, Classic groups that featured some of the best in Jazz of the time, like Red Garland, Philly Joe Jones,Paul Chambers or Bill Evans with Cannonball Adderley.
For me, my favorite saxophonists during this period of time were Trane, Dexter Gordon,Cannonball Adderley,Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins,Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter. To further illustrate the feelings regarding Coltrane’s status in the Jazz community. Whereas the young Turks were starting to expand the music into what was called at the time so-called “Avant Garde” or “Free Jazz” .
nothing in my mind spoke to this new style of jazz more so than the album “A Love Supreme”. I had a bunch of young friends,14-18 years old, that would come together at a selected spot to bring our albums for listening and spirited discussions, anecdotes of personal experiences at concerts,etc. This was a big part of my jazz education . Hearing about the musicians, especially “cats’ I had no music by, or had never seen before. Being so young then, it was almost impossible to see a lot of jazz live because, they were in lounges or night clubs that sold alcohol and no food.
The saving grace for me and my buddies was a club out near the beach in L.A. called The Lighthouse Jazz Cafe. This venue had opened up in late 1949 as a restaurant/bar for mostly military audiences and local beach folks. but by mid-1950s under new management by local jazz bassist Howard Rumsey, he developed a policy of under 21 could come inside because they served food ( an ABC rule that allowed minors inside a place where alcohol is served) Me and my friends took full advantage of this policy. the other plus factor was that, even if you did not have any money to get in, you could stand outside on the sidewall and look into the club with those french windows.
The day Coltrane died, I got a lot of phone calls to inform me or If I had heard. You would have thought a president had died..well. in my circle of friends it was. I took out a few albums and began playing them. Crescent, Live at the Village Vanguard,Coltrane Sounds, My Favorite Things to name a few. As I recall whenever I had school projects in college where I produced a slide presentations/documentaries on socio-economic or sociopolitical topics. I used John Coltrane’s music as my soundtrack to narrate by. Years later as a mature adult, some 30 years later I would hear his music via over-head systems in stores, schools, cafes, jukeboxes or even at Bar B Ques on Boom Boxes by Baby-Boomers instead of Motown or R&B dance music. Even today, as I listen with fresh ears on some of his oldest music from the Prestige days with Donald Byrd and Red Garland or Art Taylor groups. even the early days with Miles Davis still have MAGIC in those eclectic solos. those beacons of light when I’m feeling a little dark or unsettled. I consider myself a jazz historian, but I’m more of a student of jazz and its legacy.
Some background on Coltrane…
Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926. His father was John R. Coltrane and his mother was Alice Blair.He grew up in High Point, North Carolina. His mother bought him his first saxophone, an alto in 1938. Coltrane played the clarinet and the alto horn in a community band before taking up the alto saxophone during high school. He had his first professional gigs in early to mid-1945 – a “cocktail lounge trio”, with piano and guitar.
Coltrane’s musical talent was quickly recognized. though, he became one of the few Navy men to serve as a musician without having been granted musicians rating when he joined the Melody Masters, the base swing band. By the end of his service, he had assumed a leadership role in the band. Many believed his first recording session included an arrangement of the BeBop classic Hot House.
After being discharged from his duties in the Navy, as a seaman first class in August 1946, Coltrane returned to Philadelphia. He then jumped into the excitement of the new music, BeBop and the blossoming “bop scene.” Coltrane was a member of groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic and Johnny Hodges in the early to mid-1950s.
The Miles & Monk Years 1955-1957
The rivalry, tension, and mutual respect between Coltrane and bandleader Miles Davis was formative for both of their careers.
In the summer of 1955, Coltrane was freelancing in Philadelphia while studying with guitarist Dennis Sandole when he received a call from Davis. The trumpeter, whose success during the late forties had been followed by several years of decline in activity and reputation, due in part to his struggles with heroin. He was again active and about to form a quintet. Coltrane was with this edition of the Davis band (known as the “First Great Quintet”—along with Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums) from October 1955 to April 1957. During this period Davis released several influential recordings that revealed the first signs of Coltrane’s growing ability. This quintet, represented by two marathon recording sessions for Prestige in 1956, resulted in the albums Cookin’, Relaxin’, Workin’, and Steamin’. The “First Great Quintet” disbanded due in part to Coltrane’s heroin addiction.
Coltrane rejoined Davis in January 1958. In October of that year, jazz critic, Ira Gitler coined the term “sheets of sound” to describe the style Coltrane developed during his stint with Monk and was perfecting in Davis’ group, now a sextet. His playing was compressed, with rapid runs cascading in hundreds of notes per minute. He stayed with Davis until April 1960, working with alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley; pianists Red Garland, Bill Evans, and Wynton Kelly; bassist Paul Chambers; and drummers Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb. During this time he participated in the Davis sessions Milestones and Kind of Blue, and the concert recordings Miles & Monk at Newport and Jazz at the Plaza. At the end of this period Coltrane recorded his first album as leader for Atlantic Records, Giant Steps (1959), which contained only his compositions. The album’s title track is generally considered to have the most complex and difficult chord progression of any widely played jazz composition. Giant Steps utilizes Coltrane changes. His development of these altered chord progression cycles led to further experimentation with improvised melody and harmony that he continued throughout his career.
Prior to Trane’s death, I did not know about Alice McLeod(Coltrane)his pianist wife. Her name popped up in a conversation one night with a bunch of my Jazz group sessions , That was when I first heard the Live session at the Vanguard with Alice Coltrane now on piano instead of McCoy Tyner and Rashied Ali-drums, instead of Elvin Jones. the group was not only changing personnel, but the direction the music was beginning to take a new form inside a more philosophical, “Outside”(mainstream jazz) more eastern in style thats mixed with East Indian,North African and Asian influences and less once harmonic and melodic theories.
Today as I look back over at all the Coltrane Tributes I’ve attended, created, and performed in, I never get tired of hearing a Coltrane tune or “Trane influenced music”, to me it’s like getting inside a time machine and going for a short ride into the 1950s or 1960s jazz scene.
I support live jazz for the youth in jazz too, somebody has to keep this thing going.. since we barely have radio stations, NO instruments in public schools, the worse crime is the distorted madness being called jazz today. I guess I’m still old school where you got to “swing” the circle of Fifths, know all your scales in every key and show up on the gig like you done this before(Dress).
I interviewed the great Joe Henderson who once told me, “You work on your craft in the Lab” (woodshed) so when you get to the gig ,You know your stuff.”
I never got to see Coltrane in-person, because I was too young and unlucky. 1966 he came to UCLA, but I could not get a ride to the Westwood campus about 30 miles from my house, He had just released the Impulse album, Kulu Se Mama . I saw many Trane influenced musicians from the 1970s to today. Many of today’s musicians are just getting around to checking out the Trane Prestige years, still trying to understand the Impulse and Atlantic records years too.
The longer I live, the more opportunities I get to honor this great man through words, or music and verse. Today, I’m a big fan of Ravi Coltrane(Son) tenor saxophonist with his own sound and group. a daughter Michelle , who sings like an angel locally here in LA. and his old pianist, McCoy Tyner, Who’s still performing on the circuit whenever he feels it. LIfe is Grand! #traneat90, #MilesandTrane90
posted by Robert J. Carmack via Contributor Wayne Hooper
Opening Night in Monterey CA ..59th annual Monterey Jazz Festival! Gala Dinner Honoring Quincy Jones w/guest MC and teenage friend in Seattle in the 1940’s,Clint Eastwood! Live music by child prodigy Jazz pianist Joey Alexander and his trio! Many thanks to my good friend, Wayne Hooper for his contributions to this article & photos.
Happy Wedding Anniversary Wayne!
posted by Robert J. Carmack #blues2jazzguy
WHITNEY MARCHELLE- Singer/piano & guitar/songwriter-BMi, Light Jazz, R&B and Straight- Ahead
Venues: Grammy and Olympic Events Nationally. Several International Jazz Festivals, Quincy Jones, New York Blue Note, with Clark Terry at New York Blue Note Club, Art Deco Festival in Miami Florida . Performed at Dusit Dubai Hotel in Dubai United Emirates.
She’s worked Memorial Art Gallery with Wycliffe Gordon -Rochester, Lodge At The Woodcliffe/Rochester NY Golf Resort. Kwanza Day Rochester NY,Flushing Town Hall, Mintons Playhouse and the Apollo Theater for the Frankie Manning 100 show.
Performed for five presidents and has worked with Herbie Hancock, Steve Turre, Jeremy Pelt, Frank Lacy, Patience Higgins, Drake University(Big Band). Opened for Bill Withers and Les McCann with a R&B musical show.
Brand new CD coming out very soon. Whitney Marchelle Interview coming soon to discuss whats happening today and near future. Check out Me, Marsalis & Monk CD
by Kevin Goins – Music/Media Consultant/Contributor
RUDY VAN GELDER – IN MEMORIAM…..
Damn, Grim Reaper…bad enough we’ve seen many folks go to the Great Beyond before we hit mid-year, no thanks to you. And this week, you just had to go for the flippin’ trifecta. Toots, Steven Hill, and now this great master of recording engineering.
If you own any jazz albums released on labels such as Blue Note, Prestige, Verve, Impulse, MGM, CTI or KUDU, the name of RUDY VAN GELDER would be found in the credits.
A New Jersey native of which optometry was his original profession, Van Gelder began recording jazz musicians within the living room of his parents’ home in Hackensack (they later built an extension to their house to serve as a full-functioning studio). Word spread quickly to jazz labels, which resulted in many great, classic recordings being made with Rudy overseeing the engineering, mixing and mastering.
In 1959, five years after he launched his career, Rudy Van Gelder opened the now famous recording studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. And the records kept on coming.
Okay, the short list….
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme, Blue Train
Miles Davis – The Musings of Miles, Blue Moods, Walkin’, Miles Davis/Milt Jackson Quintet/Sextet
Charles Earland – Black Talk!
Jimmy Smith – The Cat, Bashin’, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Monster, The Sermon
Wes Montgomery – Tequila, Bumpin’, Goin’ Out Of My Head, A Day In The Life
Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder,
Thelonius Monk – Hackensack
Modern Jazz Quartet – Concorde, Django
Hank Mobley Sextet – Hank
Sonny Rollins – Moving Out, Saxophone Colossus
Quincy Jones – This Is How I Feel About Jazz, Gulu Matari, Walking In Space
Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage, Speak Like A Child
Ray Charles – Genius +Soul=Jazz
Stanley Turrentine – Sugar
Willie Bobo – Spanish Grease
Cal Tjader – Several Shades of Jade
George Benson – Good King Bad, Body Talk, The Shape of Things to Come, The Other Side of Abbey Road
Deodato – Prelude, Deodato 2
Grover Washington, Jr. – Mister Magic
Esther Phillips – From A Whisper To A Scream
Like I said, folks…the short list. The man engineered over 2000 albums Y’all can Google the rest.
What made Van Gelder’s work stand out above the rest of the engineers? It was the way he was able to capture a warm, full sound via his mixing and engineering. Yes, the man had a penchant for reverb (listen to the Verve and A&M/CTI recordings) but at the same time, it did help create a dynamic effect.
Fast forward to the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the millennium – Van Gelder was commissioned by EMI to remaster his prior Blue Note works under the RVG Remastered Series – which also included recordings released on Capitol Records (Cannonball Adderly’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy and Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool albums).
Sadly, Rudy Van Gelder passed away Thursday, August 25th, at the age of 91.
What else can be said? Coming from yours truly, my appreciation for not only jazz but the way music and artists were recorded came from listening to the albums Rudy Van Gelder engineered and mastered. As a college student earning my degree in audio production, studying the man’s works was an absolute must.
As far as the time spent as a radio DJ at Ithaca College, one of many who hosted WICB-FM’s Jazz Impressions (1985-1988), there wasn’t a record I spun that didn’t have Van Gelder’s touch
To Mr. Van Gelder, thank you for making music and records sound so damn good .
Hard to choose one recording, so here are a few links….
MILES DAVIS/THELONIOUS MONK – “BEMSHA SWING”
HERBIE HANCOCK – “CANTALOUPE ISLAND”
JIMMY SMITH – “THE CAT” – http://bit.ly/1S2vAux
ESTHER PHILLIPS – “HOME IS WHERE THE HATRED IS”
posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
Rudy Van Gelder, a renowned recording engineer who captured jazz greats Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and many others in his parents’ Hackensack living room and later in his Englewood Cliffs studio, died Thursday, August 25 at the age of 91. He is truly a Jazz master in the technological sense. Many of his recording sessions were great records because of the combined efforts of musicians and engineer, capturing the most-pure extract of Jazz at the highest level.
A LOVE SUPREME by John Coltrane
The Ultimate masterpiece in jazz recording. No one knew how to deliver the best of “Trane” better than Rudy Van Gelder. It will take decades to analyze all of his work to put him into the proper perspective regarding the Legacy.
posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
Los Angeles_ Dale Fielder, the LA based musician,composer,bandleader is just one of those rare entities that chooses to grow and get better with time. After more than 20 years as the leader of Dale Fielder Quartet, He keeps re-inventing himself with his great original compositions or performing on different instruments he has mastered,which now seems to be the Baritone Sax.
This writer and Dale Fielder connections goes all the way back to 1992 in the springtime, as Los Angeles was just trying to heal its wounds from a bitter uprising over the Rodney King /LAPD incident. One of the brightest vehicles to come out of that time was the emergence of Leimert Park Village , a quaint piece of L.A. dedicated to the African-American and World Cultural Arts community where it all came together as “One”. Another positive wave of transition came into play was the re-emergence of the “Coffee House”. the most popular of that period was Fifth Street Dick’s . Truly a magnet for good classic Jazz, spirited conversation,chess and later on “LIVE” Music performed 7 days a week. The Owner Richard Fulton began his business model of just having a safe, & sober place for recovering people to enjoy life without undue influences that contributed to their downfall in life.after his Coffee House’s popularity grew so quickly, Richard an avid jazz collector, moved to the next level and began presenting jazz in a Jam session format on Fridays and Saturday night. He hired Dale Fielder to “lead the charge and see what develops”, Inside of six months, Richard had the most talked about “Spot” in LA, Musicians were coming over after the Gigs and hitting with Dale and the fellas, along with The World Stage around the corner, There was nothing like this phenomena since the 1950s or 1940s on Central Ave. Dale Fielder was at the Eye of the Hurricane, as all of this Jazz Utopia was going Down.
Dale began to develop a reputation for having great musicians in his band and his playing was becoming legendary on saxophone especially on alto which he was playing a lot in those early years. Two of the young-lions of that era that were constantly among the personnel used by Dale Fielder were , Thomas “Mr. Taste” and Bill “The Count” Markus. They were among the best of the best that performed powerfully when called upon. Jane Getz who had already made her bones inside the New York Jazz scene with the likes of Charlie Mingus and other legendary fixtures on the scene, was now living in Los Angeles .She and Dale found each other through the music in LA , and fit in perfectly as the final piece of the Quartet, bringing experience, skill and panache to the group. 21 years later, here they are still glowing. still pumping out great original jazz compositions. They perform together today as a family unit, each knowing the other’s strengths and nuances, and how to make them even better.
There are many words to describe greatness and masterful, I choose “passionately sublime” to attach to this group. I can also say the same for their latest presentation on CD, RESILIENCE! a double CD by the Dale Fielder Quartet.
Passion is a word that most definitely sears all of Dale Fielder’s compositions and arrangements. This writer is always most struck by his choice of titles for his songs he writes. I also respect his courage for writing and producing his own music, compositions that rests on their own merits, while giving nods to the masters who came before. That’s saying a lot when many of today’s so-called jazz musicians are just faxing – in rehashed standards, Dale is smashing the molds ,even present beautiful, romantic music with the “Hog-legged Baritone Saxophone”.
He brings a new elegance to this instrument standing out from others who might have chosen the more”sexy soprano or tenor”.
“On Resilience, Fielder is still able to barrel through the changes of these quite poignant tunes and still make Humming-bird like sensitivity in his solos, that offers a balancing-act relegated mostly to Cirque Soliel.”
Dale wanted this CD to be special , its a double CD! a jewel of a caveat is unleashed in this session in the persona of Ms. Rita Edmond. another Los Angeles native that is kept almost on a “NEED to KNOW” basis, and You need to know Rita. If one wanted to prove why this genre has nothing but great days ahead,One need only listen to Rita Edmond and Dale Fielder play behind her charming and skillful vocals. Without drawing obvious comparisons, but certainly this duo harken the days of Dinah Washington and Gary Mulligan.
Ms. Edmond sings on two of Dale Fielder’s most romantic compositions, Days and Night with You and Romance Serenade. These songs are among my favorites of Fielder’s previously recorded in early 2001 off the Romance Serenade CD performed instrumentally on tenor and soprano respectfully.
This time Dale attacks these songs with his own lyrics added and Rita Edmond delivering the message. She is a great communicator of song, which becomes her very own once she touches the melody. Both of these tunes are light and breezy,yet so romantic and sexy. All of this happening with the sound of the baritone sax ,an almost Beauty and the Beast montage being summoned. This time the beast is the hero who gets the girl.
Edmond unapologetically embraces Fielder’s writing like she wrote the tune and comes across like another saxophone on the recording. I’m equally impressed with her ability to wrap her velvety voice around these lyrics, which sells the whole notion of why we even bother to listen to Jazz. I see Rita Edmond sky-rocketing to the top of the charts and the new jazz divas list very soon. ALL of this spells BUY NOW!! Get RESILIENCE!
The Dale Fielder Quartet Double CD on Clarion Jazz
A LOOK BACK at Last Year 20th Year Celebration of the Dale Fielder Quartet and his Robert J. Carmack Connection .. Resilience! new double CD review for DFQ coming August 25! http://www.hipstersanctuary.com
posted by #@blues2jazzguy hipstersanctuary.com staffwriter
JAZZ SPOKEN HERE is a combination of JAZZ and POETRY being performed by Jazz man Dale Fielder and his Quartet. also performing as special guest poet is longtime jazz promoter and journalist,Robert J. Carmack. DALE FIELDER QUARTET is celebrating its 20th year as a group playing together, and Carmack’s Jazz Blog/E-Zine, Hipster Sanctuary.Com is in its 17th year of promoting jazz, By Any Medium Necessary”.
All of the festivities get started at 7pm at the upscale Jamaican restaurant ,Kingston Cafe located at 333 Fair Oaks, Blvd. in Pasadena,California. $15 at door
The two guys met at an artists enclave in Los Angeles , called 5th Street Dick’s Coffee House in Leimert Park, literally weeks after the 1992 LA Riots. “Dale was running a Jam session that started at midnight every weekend, soon it became THE…
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posted by Robert J. Carmack
Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans, better known as Toots Thielemans,was a master jazz musician. He was well-known for his harmonica playing, but was a sublime guitarist and whistle soloist, often a first-call sessions player.
Many times over the decades of his career, he could be heard on Jazz/POP recordings, or in movie themes and scores. I first experienced Mr. Thielemans masterful skills on several Quincy Jones recordings starting in 1970, Gula Matari.
Born April 29, 1922, in Brussels, Belgium Died: August 22, 2016