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.

allan O. Gumbs  noW





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.







Buster Williams


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.



Who Remembers these two plays and what were the circumstances in which you remember?  please comment.




a young Clarence Williams III  showcases his acting skills – 1964

Veteran  Actor Glynn Turman ,is the only actor connected to both plays.  He made his Los Angeles stage debut in Vinnette Carroll‘s “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground.” An impressive 1974 performance in “The Wine Sellers” earned him a “Los Angeles     Critics Award” nomination and a  Dramalogue Award.   images (10) Glynn

The play was also produced on Broadway as “What The Wine Sellers Buy.” He won his first NAACP Image Award for his work in the play “Eyes of the American.” Most recently, Glynn  Turman was honored with his first Emmy Award after 50 years on stage & screen.



Walter Bishop, Jr. ( pianist ) was born on April 10, 1927 in New York City and passed away on January 24, 1998 at the age of 70 in Manhattan.      walter_bishop_jr-1-Bish!!

posted by Robert J. Carmack   twitter: @blues2jazzguy

A pianist during the bebop era, he played and recorded with many jazz greats, including Art Blakey, Charlie Parker, Blue Mitchell, Curtis Fuller,  Oscar Pettiford, John Coltrane and Miles Davis. In the early 1960s he also led his own trio with Jimmy Garrison and G. T. Hogan.

Walter Bishop, Jr. was a valuable utility pianist on many a modern jazz session during the bebop era, remaining an active performer until his death at the age of 70 in early 1998. The son of composer Walter Bishop, Sr., he grew up in Harlem’s Sugar Hill area, and as a teen counted among his friends Sonny Rollins, Kenny Drew, and Art Taylor; acknowledging Art Tatum, Bud Powell, and Nat King Cole as important influences.  walter J Piano man

Bishop first attracted notice on the Manhattan club circuit around 1947, going on to play and record in bands led by Art Blakey, Charlie Parker, Oscar Pettiford, Kai Winding, and Miles Davis in the years to follow. In 1960 he played in trombonist Curtis Fuller’s group before forming his own trio the next year with bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer G.T. Hogan.

Bishop played and recorded with Bird until his untimely death in 1955, on Parker’s later Verve sessions as well with Bird’s  Quintet and Bird with Strings.

After studying at The Julliard School with Hall Overton in the late 1960s, he taught music theory at colleges in Los Angeles in the 1970s. In 1983 he began teaching at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford. He also wrote a book, A Study in Fourths, about jazz improvisation based on cycles of fourths and fifths.

Bishop   Coral Keys



April 8, 1920 – November 10, 1994

An  american jazz singercomposerpianist, and actress. Considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th century, it was her behind-the-beat phrasing and her ironic interpretations of song lyrics that made her memorable

Carmen McRae  Eight years younger than her idol, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae was a contemporary of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Ella and Sarah were already well established by the time Carmen came onto the scene, but it wasn’t long before Carmen was considered their artistic equal, although she never achieved their wide popularity.                    

She never had a huge hit nor did she ever receive a Grammy.  But, on the other hand, she never made a bad record nor compromised her high standards.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjRGxv-ULY0&list=PL8E44CC153E554C79

carmen mcCrae cool ones