KEYSTONE KLIPPINS’:JAZZ ICONS SPEAK ABOUT TODD BARKAN AND SAN FRANCISCO’S KEYSTONE KORNER


posted by Robert J. Carmack     #@blues2jazzguy

Jazz impresario Todd Barkan is returning to the scene of the Jazz Crime, San Francisco with two dates to remember. July 7 & 8.

The great pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams referred to Keystone Korner as “the Birdland of the Seventies.” Art Blakey, Miles Davis, and Stan Getz all agreed that Keystone Korner was “the best jazz club in the world.”

Band personnel: Azar Lawrence, Eddie Henderson, Mel Martin, Benito Gonzalez, Denny Zeitlin, Juini Booth,Roy McCurdy(just added) Akira Tana, Ray Drummond,Kenneth Nash, Charles McPherson, Gary Bartz & lots more!!

Friday, July 7, 7:00 pm

Kuumbwa Jazz Center
320 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz
831-427-2227
Tickets: $30/35

Saturday, July 8, 2:00 pm

Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society
311 Mirada Drive, Half Moon Bay
650-726-4143
Advance: Adults $45/35, Students $25 (25 & under with ID)
Door: Adults $50, Students $30

Saturday, July 8, 7:00-11:00 pm

Pier 23 Cafe
On the Embarcadero at the foot of Greenwich, San Francisco
415-362-5125
No advance tickets / $10 cover charge

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Barkan has assembled a “heavyweight contending” lineup for our listening pleasure. Also, its sure to offer tons of surprises from musicians & friends from over the years. Be There!!

In our series on Keystone Klippins’ – a snapshot into the thoughts and ideas of some of the “Cats” that played the “Korner” over the years and back to help celebrate the 45th anniversary with Todd and Friends. Coming Next!! Wednesday June 21, Saxophonist Mel Martin and Bassist, Juini Booth.

Charles Mcpherson – alto sax /composer/husband/dad

One of my most challenging conversations because of the time restraints. I wanted so many questions answered and so little time. I was able to find out some “nuggets for the real jazz fans. such as, I did not know he went to high school with Roy Brooks and they played in his first jazz band together. Also, Brooks was a star athlete, especially basketball. Living and growing up in Detroit, you are bound to bump into or come up against some of the “most superb” musicians in the world. Sure enough, he played with a guy known as the Charlie Parker of the bass in Detroit. Non-other than James Jamerson of Motown fame.. Yes! he was a jazz bassist too. I was a student of the saxophone at the time I learned about Charlie Parker in early 1960s, My guys on alto at the time was Bird, Jackie Mclean, Cannonball and Charles Mcpherson(I called him that guy with Mingus band not Dolphy). He always looked so cool playing with Mingus and the rest of the band.. He was built for Mingus…kind of like Charlie Rouse was built for Monk. He was his own man not a Bird clone.

Another jazz hero of mine was Barry Harris, (pianist with Lee Morgan on the Sidewinder) Lee Morgan’s record introduced me to the bop sound of Harris, which led me to the records by Harris including Charles McPherson on Saxophones.

I asked Charles about, what it was like playing the Keystone Korner in the day? Mcpherson:” Man it was a delight playing there. Todd was a REAL JAZZ FAN, not just an owner. We had fun there always over the years and I wound up the very last booked act at the Keystone in 1983″.  “my most memorable times was the Two- Biller Allstar bands with split sets. Man! Nobody was doing with jazz what Todd was doing to pack in the true jazz fans,added McPherson. Tony Williams – Barry Harris double bills!”

“I’m really looking forward to hooking up with cats I haven’t seen in a few and having that spirit of the old Keystone Korner days.”

A teenage friend of this writer who was studying saxophone also turned me on to this album in 1965.. a stellar lineup of great musicians . I still enjoy putting this one on.

Charles McPherson was born in Joplin, Missouri and moved to Detroit at age nine. After growing up in Detroit, he studied with the renowned pianist Barry Harris and started playing jazz professionally at age 19.  He moved from Detroit to New York in 1959 and performed with Charles Mingus from 1960 to 1972. While performing with Mingus, he collaborated frequently with Harris, Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet), and George Coleman (tenor sax).

Charles McPherson was recently featured at Lincoln Center showcasing his original compositions and arrangements with a seven-piece ensemble. He has toured the U.S., Europe, Japan, Africa and South America with his own groups, as well as with jazz greats Barry Harris, Billy Eckstine, Lionel Hampton, Nat Adderley, Jay McShann, Phil Woods, Wynton Marsalis, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others.

Over the years Charles has travelled as special guest artist with Charlie Mingus, Barry Harris, Art Farmer, Kenny Drew, Toshiko Akiyoshi, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. He has recorded as leader on Prestige, Fantasy, Mainstream, Discovery, Xanadu, and most recently Arabesque. His most recent recording is the highly acclaimed “Manhattan Nocturne.”

Charles was also the featured alto saxophonist in the Clint Eastwood film “Bird,” a biography about Charlie Parker.

McPherson remains a strong, viable force on the jazz scene today. He is at the height of his powers. His playing combines passionate feeling with intricate patterns of improvisation.

For more information and news of his collaboration with the San Diego Ballet featuring his daughter (see link below)

http://www.charlesmcpherson.com

Charles & Camille McPherson (daughter)

 

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