posted by  Kamaad Tauhid  #blues2jazzguy

L.A. Calif_ It was announced by leader/spokesman Robert J. Carmack, that a collaboration of musicians,vocalists,arrangers and poets have formed PLIGHT. Plight is a grassroots performance ensemble featuring iconic jazz compositions integrated with spoken word and “vocalese” arrangements. Seriously dedicated to preserving the legacy of improvised American classical music,better known as Jazz.

R J Carmack- Producer-Poet-musician-journalist
R J Carmack- Producer-Poet-musician-journalist

Robert J. Carmack ,musician,poet,producer and journalist first came up with the concept through a long time association with some of  the core group members, when in August of 2015, he got together with master pianist, Bobby West, on a project paying homage to Blue Note Records jazz icon, Duke Pearson.

West was instrumental in taking the hand-selected compositions of Pearson, which gave plenty of challenges with spiritual,hard bop and swinging tunes integrating poetry by Carmack and other writers. Adding Northern California pianist/arranger , James Armstrong was a no brainer,according to Carmack.

“James and I often engaged in long conversations about music, the preservation of certain jazz compositions and key artists that we thought should be recognized, it was easy to connect the dots. We saw eye to eye on Duke Pearson and his “Unsung” career in music, That became the initial project that started the ball rolling” said Carmack.

San Jose based music educator/transcriptionist,arranger James Armstrong
San Jose based musician, educator,arranger James Armstrong

Taking a page from the classic Blue Note recordings vault under the creativity of Carmack,West and Armstrong in order to bring magic to the bandstand.  “We are bringing back some of the key  and core musicians we used last summer to form this new band which will be debuting in July 2016.”said Carmack, as he showed me some of the recently completed arrangements by James Armstrong.  Robert selected what can be called stellar tunes written or recorded by iconic jazz artists, Jackie McLean and Bobby Hutcherson.

First of all, those two artists were a huge part of the 1960s/70s jazz scene with gigantic success throughout that era with remarkable recorded products to bolster their iconic stature, Carmack went on to say.  “Part of this stellar core group is percussionist/woodwind specialist , Derf Reklaw. Derf brings a special set of experiences and skills that gives us an edge with all of these cuts.” Derf Reklaw on Flute

Bobby West, a formidable Jazz master pianist, born in Los Angeles, grew up in a city that had a plethora of jazz icons living there, and lots of venues at the time to ply your craft. After-all, with jazz legends like Gerald Wilson, Plas Johnson, Freddie Hubbard,Billy Higgins, Horace Tapscott,just to name a few.

Robert J. Carmack first met Bobby West while hanging out in the early 90s at Billy Higgins World Stage jam sessions. Bobby would often be among a group of top-shelf piano players active inside the Leimert Park Village Arts community, among them , Horace Tapscott, Nate Morgan,Harold Land jr. and Bobby Pierce. Carmack went on to say “Bobby West, in my opinion possessed all the ingredients and the passion of a contemporary version of Red Garland and Bobby Timmons.  Plight is putting together an evening of  a grassroots, acoustical Art presentation that’s rich in passion musicianship and spirituality engrained inside the music and poetry.(Follow for Plight’s debut info)

Bobby West @ North Sea Jazz Festival
Bobby West @ North Sea Jazz Festival




Carmack will announce the rest of the band at a later date, due to some special circumstances regarding contracts. The instrumentation is piano,bass, drums, percussion/woodwinds, poet, vocalist and vibist. We’re very excited about the concept and looking forward to debuting at the famous WORLD STAGE in Leimert Park Saturday July 30,Los Angeles,California. 








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