Its 2016, that means Messers ,Miles Dewey Davis and John William Coltrane,both born in 1926 is turning 90 years old . I’m excited and curious about what’s going to happen event-wise. What is radio,print and internet going to do? Miles has a tremendous jump on things ,since a movie about part of his life is due out. Probably around his birthday weekend which is in May.
John Coltrane’s peeps have been rather silent and crickets-like when it comes to making a splash..Not a peep. Don’t get me wrong I’m not admonishing them for not being all social media “blitzy” like the Miles Davis camp. But its par for the course when you’re dealing with the rather flamboyant persona and spirit of Miles Davis. Films, postage stamps,Tee shirts,posters and tribute CDs and “live”concerts with artists all paying homage.
It’s really amazing that these two, of all the musicians that matter are still attached, even after their leaving this earth. With Coltrane being gone the longest (July 17 1967) this year marking 49 years in July. Miles transitioned in September of 1991, which is at 25 years. I suspect there will be a lot more events and activity for Miles before his birthday gets here, all aiding in promoting the new film by Don Cheadle as Director and Actor.
From this day forth, I will be monitoring the scene nationally to see “who does what and when.” The beauty of such a monumental occasion is a great opportunity for the jazz community to come together and promote the legacy that these two left behind for us to study, enjoy, and pass along to the next generation. in my lifetime, I have been able to absorb a great deal of their art on vinyl,CDs,tapes,canvass,film and video.
My hope is that, someone or organization will put together an assortment of events that will garner international attention as these two giants of Jazz approach a “MILESTONE.” No pun intended! Lol!!
San Francisco bay area saxophonist, Mel Martin will be a part of the S.F. Hot Plate jazz series at the SF Jazz Center. Every third Thursday of the month in the Joe Henderson Lab, the Bay Area’s most gifted musicians pay homage to the top100 jazz albums of all-time. Martin performs music from the late Joe Henderson’s 1966 Blue Note classic, MODE for JOE.
Thursday Evening, April 21, 2016 – Mel Martin plays Joe Henderson’s Mode for Joe @ The SFJazz Center. Shows at 8 & 9:30PM. General $20 Members $15. 201 Franklin Street, San Francisco,CA.94102 Featuring Mel Martin – tenor saxophone,Alber Bent -Trombone, Mark Levine – piano, Robb Fisher – bass and Jeff Marrs – drum If one wanted to pick a really hip album by a jazz musician to pay homage to, Joe Henderson fill the bill on all fronts. I was a young budding saxophone student in 1964. I would spend days trying my best to emulate what was coming out of my parent’s stereo HiFi. practicing and trying to play along with my Dad’s album,The Sidewinder” by Lee Morgan, featuring Joe Henderson on Tenor saxophone. I discovered the most electrifying solo of my young life. It possessed everything one could ever want in a solo.. First its funky as hell. Also, its very muscular and logical.. it provides a young student a roadmap on how to build a solo while moving and grooving. Joe Henderson’s Solo on the Lee Morgan album’s title track, which led me to other artist’s work with Joe Henderson playing on them.That included Horace Silver, Kenny Dorham,Grant Green,Bobby Hutcherson and later on many others and different genres They all have enjoyed this man’s performances and spirit. I interviewed Joe in the late 90s about what he thought of the newer young jazz musicians who were not focused on composing lasting compositions, but more on “watered-down tunes” that became popular for a year or two but not long lasting as many of the jazz musicians of Joe’s ilk and pedigree created just 20 years before. “Many of these cats are just putting on an Armani suit and coming on stage commiting Sacriledge. Not really working on their craft before they get to the stage” stated Joe as he shook his head.
Mode for Joe album was released in 1966, Over 50 years ago, I turned 16 that year. My passion for this music is still as strong for these compositions as they were in 1966.Here we are in 2016, Mel Martin is paying tribute to this great Tenor saxophonist and his music. Music that has stood the TEST OF TIME.. Thank you Mr. Martin. I only wish Joe was still here to come out and hear you. The greatest form of flattery to a musician is to have someone play your compositions years after you’ve created them.
Check out Mel Martin at his website for his Cds,gigs or just what’s going on with his various groups and bands. http://www.melmartin.com/
EDITORIAL by Eric WATTREE #wattreechronicles #blues2jazzguy
SAVE OUR LEGACY
As most people in Los Angeles know, the powers that be are in the process of gentrifying Leimert Park much like they’re doing in Harlem, New York. But what many in the community fail to realize is when they pave over communities, they pave over Black history as well. That’s why we have to have a “Black History Month” to recall the contributions that Black people have made to this nation. That shouldn’t be necessary. Black history should be alive all around us seven days a week and throughout the year. Our children should be drenched in it on a daily basis just like White kids.
Washington, D.C. is called Washington, and nearly every street, town, city, and state in this country are named as they are so we’ll be completely immersed in White history. And the fact that those…
The phenomenal multi-instrumentalist Warren Wolf is one of the most important and exciting young jazz artists performing today.
The jazz bassist Christian McBride once said that “Wolf’s talent is so far off the radar screen. Everything you want in a musician:he has that times 20.” Christian met Wolf in 2000 and pledged that one day,Wolf would play in his Band. That plan became a reality, and Wolf has been a regular member of McBride’s band INSIDE STRAIGHT since its inception.
Warren Wolf is a multi-instrumentalist from Baltimore,MD. From the young age of three years old, Warren has been trained on the Vibraphone/Marimba, Drums, and Piano. Under the guidance of his father Warren Wolf Sr., Warren has a deep background in all genres of music,beginning with classical music, but,In Jazz Warren has studied artist and composers like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, Cal Tjader, Return to Forever, Weather Report, Wynton Marsalis and many others.
Warren has several recordings as a leader. Warren’s first two records are on the M&I label which is based in Japan. The first record is titled “Incredible Jazz Vibes” which features Mulgrew Miller on Piano, Vicente Archer on Bass and Kendrick Scott on Drums. The second record is titled “Black Wolf”. That record features Mulgrew Miller on Piano, Rodney Whitaker on Bass and Jeff “Tain” Watts on Drums. Warren has a self-produced CD which is titled “RAW”. That record features Darren Barrett on Trumpet, Walter Smith on Tenor Saxophone, Jason Palmer on Trumpet, Plume on Alto Saxophone, Kris Funn on Bass, Peter Slavov on Bass, Lawrence Fields on Piano/Fender Rhodes and Charles “Dogg” Haynes on Drums. On “RAW” Warren performs on both the Vibraphone and Drums. The fourth recording is titled Warren “Chano Pozo” Wolf. On this recording, Warren performs on the Vibraphone,Drums/Fender Rhodes and Piano. This recording features Tim Green on Alto Saxophone, Lawrence Fields on Piano/Fender Rhodes, John Lamkin on Drums, Dana Hawkins on Drums, Kris Funn on Bass, Louis Cato on Electric Bass, Delandria Mills on Flute, Tabreeca Woodside on Vocals and Integriti Reeves on Vocals. Warren is currently signed to the Mack Ave recording label. A future record will be released in the near future.http://www.warrenwolfmusic.com/
It’s not everyday you can jump in your car and drive to a spot, then wind up in the middle of the 1960s jazz scene Los Angeles. Back then you could still catch great latin jazz bands coming through like Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria or Tito Puente. Well.. maybe I didn’t wind up in the middle of the 1960s, BUT, I had the next best thing..I drove to Roscoe’s Seabird Lounge in Long Beach where I was able to experience the Cal Tjader legacy band, Soul Sauce.Right now this group of heady musicians are keeping the Latin Jazz legacy alive with a “no-nonsense” or frilly over-produced electronic sound presentation..Working directly with the Cal Tjader songbook, Soul Sauce is conjuring up the hey-days of the Hollywood Palladium or the Lighthouse jazz cafe in the early to late 1960s. Toss in a large group of fun people who love old school latin dancing of Cha-Cha-Cha, Mambos and Boleros. It’s a great recipe for a fun-filled evening, complete with all the appropriate cocktails.(try the Golden Cadillac Margaritas)
I first saw the group at the LA County Art Museum with special guest saxophonist, Justo Almario. Group spokesman, Don Littleton told me, the group had not played the club for a couple of years or so, “I thought it would be a great spot to come in on Sunday afternoons from 5-9pm, a perfect time for “Angelenos” looking for a place that’s fun, has live music and, you can dance to it.”
Members in the Band are Peter Burke Vibes, Bass Ross Schodek, Rafael Feliciano on Timbales/Conga, Bryan Valasco Piano/Keyboards, Don Littleton on Trap Drums, Conga, Bongos & Timbales. Special Guest players, Pablo Calogero Sax/Flute and Andrew Acosta – Conga, assorted Percussion.
Currently the Soul Sauce Band is playing on Sundays afternoons at 5pm until 9pm at Roscoe’s Seabird Lounge 730 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802 (562) 522-8488 Call for the performance schedules or go to website~ http://www.seabirdloungelbc.com
With the upcoming production of NINA, a so-called biopic surrounding the life and loves of Nina Simone. There is tremendous opposition to the film from all sides and motives. It certainly has been no secret how I felt about the casting of Zoe Saldana in the starring role.I can’t speak for everybody who objects, but my reasons are not about just the pigmentation of the actress’s skin. It also goes to the arrogant notion that you could make a valid movie about such a historical and iconic figure without involving the family.
Also, making the movie about a love story between an artist who very name commands a certain amount of respect and truth when depicting her contributions. The whole notion of this movie I’m told, it’s not a “Real” biographical picture. A vehicle with her name, background, artistic position and exploitation of another prominent African-American artist, All to pad the pocketbook of a few individuals. In my humble opinion, I would have cast Viola Davis since the acting quality is needed more than beauty.(No Disrespect) One can easily ask , Why should you care if Hollywood wants to make money , who are we?? I disagree with the notion, Hollywood can do what it wants. Again my issue is when I was a young lad who left the south and away from Jim Crow in 1960 with my parents teaching us about respect and not to hate even though we were being hated and oppressed.I Experienced many of the same things Nina experienced while growing up in the racist South. I always saw NIna Simone as more than just an entertainer. I saw her liken to an Out-front radical black woman, unafraid of consequences or “what if I can’t get a check anymore??” Unlike today’s stars who are flimsy, uninvolved, unless there is some money or free publicity. She was just like Harry Belafonte, and a few others really into it, Out front, not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. By1965 , She was the first male or female entertainer I saw with the natural hair Style.
The first time I heard her sing on record, It was something different about her style and sound when she played the piano. I was only about 12 or 13 years old at the time I began hearing the song, “I Put A Spell On You”, Most of her albums and concerts in the early years were centered around the blues and folk songs with mix of jazz standards. As we got past 1965, her involvement in the Civil Rights movement expanded.. remember this was not just a photo-op moment for her, she was right there with the Evers, Kings, and the many nameless people who put their lives on the line. Even as a little girl about to perform a very important concert and audition for a very prestigious music school in Philadelphia. Her parents came all the way from the south to see her and got seats up front when the hall’s staff informed them they had to move to the rear of the theater.. at that moment Little Nina became a woman when she absolutely refused to perform unless her parents were brought back to their seats upfront. She was obliged by management of the theater after the embarrassing moment for that Philadelphian school. Though her performance during the audition was sublime and quite stellar, they did not accept her into the school. (They tried decades later to make it up to her by offering her an Honorary Doctorate degree, after she was quite famous and near the end of her illustrious career.) She then wound up applying and enrolling into Julliard school of music in New York. She excelled there until she could no longer afford the high fees. She found work in clubs and the cafes in the Village” and taught students piano to survive in the “Apple”.
I always loved pretty much all of her recordings, but enjoyed her even more whenever I could see her live on stage or at a festival. Her legacy should not be tarnished by this fake movie about a love affair that never took place. The storyline can be plugged into anyone and really doesn’t justify using her namesake and legacy to pump out more garbage movies using a Black icon for leverage to market that brand. It’s not a black movie employing dozens of black people behind and in front of the camera. It’s a damn shame and an insult to Nina Simone family having the actress have to pile on hours of makeup to look black enough to film her as Nina Simone. The same black woman who fought this type of treatment where ever she went. She was not light enough, She was not pretty enough, her lips was too big or nose too wide..she certainly did not suffer from not knowing who she was and where she came from.
The problem with today’s movie Producers is, they’re either too young or were not born at all when these types of icons were in their heyday and functioned with and without racist interaction.. IN THEIR HASTE TO GET BUTTS IN THE SEATS, QUALITY CASTING and DIRECTORIAL EXPERIENCE be damned! Many of the motivations and behaviors that would be exhibited through such a person as Nina Simone, would require not only great acting, but perhaps a person with similar looks and physical features that maybe have experienced those same experiences while trying “make it” in Hollywood. There are many women that fit that bill I’m sure. Portraying this woman is a beautiful actress who would have been better suited to play Dorothy Dandridge, Diane Carroll, or someone like that. Why it’s not even believable under this present scenario..BUT, it’s already made now.
Two years ago when I was active on social media websites arguing in the threads about, who I thought should play her. Then, we had only heard rumors about “WHO” was actually chosen as Nina Simone. Names bounced around at the time were Viola Davis, India Arie, and even hip hop’s, Angie Stone just to name a few.. Davis or Arie would have sufficed big time! I’ll leave it to the masses whether this movie sinks or swims. NINA is scheduled for an April release.
I have a strange feeling I’ll be talking about this again, possibly in May, to measure if “Nina” has the Legs to hang.
Sandra Booker sung quite “Tenderly” last Friday night working her magic on the audience at the Squashed Grape Winery.Booker took over the popular jazz pub with her Trio,Kendall Kay on drums,Mike Gurrola bass and Dori Amarillo on Guitar. Later adding a special guest, L.A.saxophonist Dale Fielder.Sandra Booker a “Nawlins”(New Orleans) transplant based in Los Angeles. She’s been knocking out her audiences for the last 25 years.
Now considered a veteran of this genre,Ms. Booker consistently brings her A-game, while performing with renewed vigor on the bandstand.To follow Sandra or find out more information on her latest CD, go to http://www.sandrabooker.com and for following Dale Fielder who’s about to release his 16th CD while celebrating his 20th year with the Dale Fielder Quartet. http://www.dalefielder.com