posted by Robert J. Carmack   @blues2jazzguy phenias Newborn

December 14, 1931 in Whiteville, TN – May 26 1989 – Memphis TN.
Of all the Unsung pianists in Jazz, IMHO, Phineas is the most disrespected by the so-called  jazz experts. All I know is when I first heard his playing on record, I had never heard anyone play that fast before on piano, and it still sounded good and made sense musically.  One day in the spring of 1965 after youth jazz band practice , Gerald Wilson, who happened to rehearse his big band at the same studio. and was co-sponsor of this youth Jazz band called me over ..”Come here son, Let me introduce you to these very hip musicians…”Sure”,      I said.. I was just waiting for my dad to pick me up, as I was not quite old enough to get my license yet. Gerald introduced me to Ornette Coleman since I played alto sax..but the second guy, he looked familiar, but I was not hip as to who he was until Gerald said his name. ” And this is Phineas Newborn Jr” (BOOM!!) Wow, I was frozen, The Cat I had been hearing on the radio now was in my face. I never forgot that day  and grateful to Mr Gerald Wilson for that inspiring and generous act. I had the pleasure of reminding him personally in December 2012 of that day and what it meant to me at the time.. He just gave that big Gerald Wilson smile. As he was directing his Big Band that day in Los Angeles for one of his men had passed away,         Mr. Carl Randall, tenor man.. Carl was a beautiful person and a great player RIP.  Phineas lived around the corner from the Grant Music Center & Studios, so it wasn’t strange to see him chatting with Gerald or other local cats that played in Gerald ‘s band whenever he was in town.
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He started out working in Memphis R&B bands with his brother, guitarist Calvin Newborn, and recorded with local players including B.B. King in the early ’50s. Brief stints with Lionel Hampton and Willis Jackson preceded a period in the military  (1952-1954). After moving to New York in 1956,  Newborn astounded fans and critics alike. Although he worked briefly with Charles Mingus (1958) and Roy Haynes,  Newborn usually performed at the head of a trio or quartet. His early recordings for Atlantic (1956), Victor, Roulette, and Contemporary are quite outstanding. Unfortunately, after the       mid-’60s,   Newborn‘s profile dropped sharply, and although there were further recordings for Contemporary (1969), Atlantic (1969), Pablo (1976) and the Japanese Philips (1977) label, and although he still sounded strong when appearing in public, the pianist was in danger of being forgotten by most of the jazz world during his last decade. Spending most of his time in Memphis, he was an inspiration to many younger pianists including James WilliamsHarold Mabern,  Mulgrew MillerDonald Brown, and Geoff Keezer, who after  Newborn‘s death would dedicate their work as the Contemporary Piano Ensemble to him.



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The CLUB ALABAM REVUE  written and directed by  Tu’Nook

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Robert J. Carmack as Robby Royale

Sunday afternoons  at 4:PM will never be the same again. From the very first note by the Quintet known as  Duane & the Central Ave Players performing an original composition , Calico Blues, to sudden burst of energized persona by the name of “Robby Royale” the so-called MC. however the audience soon learns He’s much more than just a  MC. He’s weaves in and out of the parade of musical icons and legends with the skill of a “Village Griot”,  adding spicy dialog and acting panache . He then engages the audience, takes them to 1940s Central Avenue jazz scene.

Robby Royale opens the show with a short version “without music” of  Louis Jordan’s Choo Choo Boogie  then morph’s that into a scatted-version of  Yardbird Parker’s  riff tune,  “Ornithology” back to Choo Choo Boogie & out.  Then as if rolling dice  he says, ” Let the Good times Roll!! Bringing to the stage a swinging Joe Williams  persona singing “Everyday  I Have the Blues.”  This kicks off a wild and history-rich yet , not preachy and yet, quite entertaining for the novice as well as the “Jazzyphiles” too.

For ticket RSVP  info Call 323-552-8283 –  limited seating

Venue: The Performers Corner 214 Hardy St. Inglewood,Calif 90301

Cast  of The Club Alabam  Revue 

Dorothy Dandridge – Wanda Ray Willis

Sarah Vaughn – Pat Sligh

Little Walter  –  Larry Robinson

Billie Holiday – Kerrimah 

Little Richard – Phillip Bell

Ella Fitzgerald –  Deborah Sharpe-Taylor

Joe Williams / Killer Joe – Wilford Courtney

Josephine Baker – Latoya Dawson

Larney Johnson – Cab Calloway  

Tu’Nook – The Poetess 

Robert J. Carmack – Robby Royale

Music by the Central Ave Players

Directed by  Tu’Nook

Technical Director – Carla Clark

Media/Publicity – RJC Mediatainment    https://www.facebook.com/RJCMediatainment


Phil Bell as Little Richard

Phil Bell as Little Richard


posted by Robert J. Carmack @blues2jazzguyduke_ellington-at piano     
Duke Ellington was born April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C. A major figure in the history of jazz music, his career spanned more than half a century, during which time he composed thousands of songs for the stage, screen and contemporary songbook. He created one of the most distinctive ensemble sounds in Western music and continued to play what he called “American Music” until shortly before his death in 1974.   the dukehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEQzcDzsn3gcolor duke2 now


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1943 duke jam



Did You Know Kenny Dorham was AKA Walter Gil Fuller composer/arranger??

Hipster Sanctuary

KD on Uptown label

posted by Robert J. Carmack _”In my opinion, pound for pound, he was among the “best of the best” trumpeters from all eras. In 1965, I was sitting in my jazz band class ,where I held down the alto sax chair..every Friday  was free-time where the student musicians  all breakup into small groups, go into the small sound proof practice rooms. That’s when we pull out our own records and learn the “heads” to the great jazz tunes of the day, or standards being played on many jazz stages everywhere. My best friend, Larry R. (RIP) at the time played trumpet, and was very much into the best of trumpet players.”

“He was the first one to bring Una Mas to class, certainly my first time hearing it, we had so much fun trying to play the record, then match up the tones of our instruments with the record.. especially…

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We Open on Sunday April 27th .. Tickets are still available for all Shows remaining@ CALL 323-552-8382

Hipster Sanctuary

art jazz a;;stars



Jazz Appreciation Month was created to be an annual event that would pay tribute to jazz as both a living and as a historic music. Schools, organizations, even governments, celebrate JAM with events ranging from free concerts to educational programs. The first year was 2001, and initial funding was provided by the                             Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

 (Miss Fitzgerald’s archives are housed at the Smithsonian).

Hipster Sanctuary.Com  are proud to sponsor and support organizations , groups and individuals that help carry the legacy of Jazz on Stage, Film, Radio or Television .  in keeping with that noble mission, we highly recommend the following  event(s) below;

Theatre Perception Consortium presents  The Club Alabam   Directed by Tu’Nook

Situated on “The Block” in the heart of Central Avenue, the Club Alabam served as…

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posted by robert j. carmack  @blues2jazzguy

GV J  Singer B&W

Being  a “Certified” Hipster and all and holding my Ph.D  in “COOL” , I know one when I see or, hear one.  George V. Johnson is one of the coolest Hipsters I know. I got hip to this vocalist almost 15 years ago via rare CD recordings, One of jazz’s biggest secret, (which I can’t figure out) but we’ll table that for now. GVJ is always Up, never down on the scene, and takes what the scene gives. I love him to death. I’m just glad to be a part of his DC Jazz Network.  Nobody works harder at keeping the Jazz legacy alive than George.  Bestowed by the “King of Jazz vocalese ” Eddie Jefferson…who was quoted as saying George was “next in line.” Having that statement seconded by another jazz icon and scat master, James Moody.  Over the years we’ve often talked about bringing him to the west coast to do a “special  scene” with some “hip West Coast musicians”, I still hold hope of that happening in the very near future.

In 2003, George V Johnson Jr. was commissioned by Don Sickler of Second Floor Music to pen lyrics to the music of jazz legend and saxophonist, Hank Mobley. Since taking on the project Johnson has skillfully, completed over 40 of Mobley’s classic compositions and still counting. Some with complete solo’s. Critics are already saying this is one of the most important and extensive projects to be presented to the public from the jazz vocalese realm in many, many years. With Jazz Vocalese, still in a state of infancy, Johnson has almost single handedly kept the vocalese dream alive as exemplified from his performances presenting the Music of Hank Mobley. 


A feat unmatched by any of his peers in jazz music. His lyrics are well rounded, beautifully written and a classic work of art. In the spirit of Eddie Jefferson, Johnson’s a modern day “GRIO” telling stories our ancestors would be very proud of …a la…Langston Hughes

GV Johnson  Lou DonaldsonHank Mobley recorded many of his classic compositions on the Blue Note label featuring some of the greatest names in jazz. Mobley composed over 100 songs that are becoming jazz classics and every musicians dream. Johnson’s soulful style and earthly lyrics to this great composers work establishes new dimensions in Jazz Vocalese. The voice accented with skillful musicians magically connects with the Mobley Spirit. Just imagine! Swinging, stories that take you on a musical voyage. Everyone should experience this. See what the buzz is all about. Join in the fun and bring the music of Hank Mobley to your city today. It’s Jazzically wonderful.  

Hank’s Symphony, Soul Station, Dig Dis, No Room For Squares, East of The Village, This I Dig of You, Take Your Pick, Three Way Split, Split Feelings, Up A Step, Work Out, The Baptist Beat, My Groove Your Move, Soft Impressions, Hank’s Waltz, Chain Reaction, Roll Call, Syrup & Biscuits, Snappin Out, Comin’ Back, The Feelings Good, Uh Huh, Up Over and Out, Looking East, Cute N’ Pretty, Third Time Around, Bossa For Baby, Ballin’, Madeline, No More Goodbyes, The Break Through, Hank’s Other Bag, Infra-Rae, Straight No Filter, Caddy for Daddy, The Morning After. . . and more!   GVJ Talking Jazz

Catch George V. via Blog Talk Radio also ” Talkin’ Jazz” Speakin’ Jazz…Real Jazz at the Washington D.C.  Jazz Network.  George Johnson









posted by Robert J. Carmack    follow:@blues2jazzguy

Onaje Gumbs

whenever you hear jazz pianists on radio, over your car speakers, or even at a club , do you ask yourself, Why do they do this? at least I do..unless they happen to be Onaje Allan Gumbs. a New York native who embraces all there is to jazz and more. The reason I asked that question is, some of today’s musicians are just faxing it in. While resting on the laurels of having studied jazz at a respected school , many still don’t get it, it’s not yielding any new classic composers/arrangers. That makes for very dull radio, Festivals and concerts…That’s why I’ve been a fan of Allan’s since his early days with Norman Connors  and Woody Shaw. I especially admire  his horn & voice arrangements on classics like “Betcha By Golly Wow-Phyllis Hyman, Rosewood  with trumpeter Woody Shaw and Stanley Jordan’s “Lady in my Life” . my favorite classic is Saturday Night Special by Norman Connors featuring Jean Carne, where O.A.G. conducted and arranged many of the cuts on that album.

Onaje is currently playing in a “Zone” where only the great ones gather. Nothing proves that more than in the solo produced     “Ronald Shannon Jackson’s  Bloodlife”.


Read my accompanying   re-blog  2013  piece by  Ken Shimamota.

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Onaje Big picture

An anomalous release in Ronald Shannon Jackson’s discography was his 1984 album Pulse, which consisted of drum solos, spoken word pieces by Jackson and others, and a Jackson composition, “Lullabye for Mothers,” recorded on solo piano by Onaje Allan Gumbs.

Gumbs, who played keyboards in Jackson’s Decoding Society on 1985’s Decode Yourself, had a friendship with the monumental composer-drummer dating back to the early 1970’s. It was he who introduced Jackson to Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism (after Jackson heard Gumbs chanting “Nam myoho renge kyo” during a frenetic drive through Brooklyn), and the two men studied the religion under the tutelage of bassist Buster Williams. Jackson subsequently met his wife Natalie while performing in a trio with Gumbs and Williams at a Nichiren Buddhist convention in Hawaii. In his notes to the 2000 Knitting Factory re-release of Pulse (as Puttin’ On Dog), Jackson called Gumbs “my mentor.” The keyboardist’s variegated career also includes stints with jazzy R&B purveyors Norman Connors and Phyllis Hyman, post-bop trumpeter Woody Shaw, pioneering rapper Kurtis Blow, and free-jazz bass legend Henry Grimes.

In 1985, at the behest of producer David Breskin, Gumbs recorded an album of solo piano renderings of nine melodies composed by Jackson, along with a couple of his own compositions. Since Jackson composed on the flute, Gumbs added harmonies to flesh out the pieces, giving them a lushness and spiritual warmth only hinted at in the notated versions. The master tapes were shelved for 24 years until Gumbs was able to purchase them from Breskin, and now the pianist is releasing them under his own Ejano Music imprint via CD Baby.

Gumbs’ interpretations give the listener a new way to hear Jackson’s music, and provide a new insight into the composer’s melodic gifts. On his last visit to New York, Jackson heard the tapes and told Gumbs, “You have taken something great and made it magnificent.” Highlights include the two takes of “Lullabye for Mothers” that bookend the album (subtitled “Good Morning” and “Good Night”); the title track, which unfolds relentlessly (and was the last piece performed at Jackson’s final live performance in 2012); the delicately ethereal “Dialogue of Angels;” the gracefully flowing “Lydia” (inspired by a dancer Jackson knew); and “Theme for a Prince,” which Jackson recorded on the Decoding Society’s 1980 On You. Two takes of Gumbs’ own “Rising To the Occasion” give an idea of the interpreter’s grounding in gospel, blues, and bebop. A fitting tribute, which one hopes will be only the first of more explorations of the Jacksoncanon by others. ORIGINALLY POSTED BY KEN SHIMAMOTO – www.http://networkedblogs.com/S9ewK   

About Ken Shimamoto-I’m writing an autobiography in record reviews. I blog at stashdauber.blogspot.com. I’ve written about music for publications (hard copy and online) including the Dallas Observer, Fort Worth Weekly, I-94 Bar, First Church of Holy Rock and Roll, Polish Jazz (Poland), Shindig (UK), Funhouse (Italy), and The Big Takeover.






posted by Robert J. Carmack  @blues2jazzguy

Latin percussionist Amando Peraza (89) died April 14. No information was reported on place or cause of death as reported by several news agencies.  armando_peraza_and_carlos_santana_depth1

Armando Peraza was born May 30, 1924 in Havana, Cuba. His first gig as a percussionist was on the island with local bandleader Alberto Ruiz. After performing with other Cuban outfits, Peraza came to the United States via Mexico in 1949, settling in New York City. Excelling at both congas and bongos, he found work quickly within the city’s vibrant Latin music and jazz communities. His earliest recording and performing dates in the U.S. included sessions with Charlie Parker and Slim Gaillard.

After spending time in Mexico, Peraza returned to the U.S. and settled in San Francisco, where he played with Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Dexter Gordon and others. In 1954, while working with Dave Brubeck, Peraza teamed with drummer Cal Tjader and appeared on the latter’s Ritmo Caliente album. (He continued to reside in San Francisco for the rest of his life.)

Beginning in 1957, Peraza joined the band of George Shearing, with whom he remained for 12 years, appearing on nearly two dozen albums by the British pianist. He also recorded with Mongo Santamaria during this period, then joined Tjader’s band in the early ’60s for six years. Other dates at the time included high-profile gigs with Judy Garland and Stan Kenton. Peraza rarely served as bandleader, but he did release a solo album, Wild Thing, in 1968, among whose personnel was a young Chick Corea.    Armando_Peraza_1_depth1

Peraza was already 48 when he joined Santana, playing on all of the group’s recordings of the period and in concert around the world. He also wrote 16 songs that were recorded by Santana. Other artists whose recordings featured Peraza included Art Tatum, Machito, Josephine Baker, Aretha Franklin, Jaco Pastorius, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Zappa and Rick James.