East Coast/West Coast Jazz Noir is how I describe veteran saxophonist Teodross Avery. After a brief time off the scene to complete his doctorate in music from University of Southern California, Teodross or “T” (friends call him) is turning over new soil and breaking out like a “Panther from Wakanda.”
Teodross Avery is a saxophonist of the highest level and now he’s returned his focus to acoustic Jazz. For the past twenty years he assisted multi-platinum, award-winning, and critically acclaimed artists, as they made their mark on the domestic and international music scene. Now, it’s his turn.
Here, on his most recent album, Postmodern Trap Music, Avery enlists drum master Marvin “Bugalu” Smith (Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Chet Baker) for an exploration in sax/drum duos.
While in the spirit of duo albums of the 1960’s and 70’s, John Coltrane’s Interstellar Space andFrank Lowe & Rashied Ali’s Duo Exchange, Avery adds his own stamp on the Deep Jazz format. He teeters on the edge of Modern Jazz and Free Jazz. The improvisations are in the moment and his compositions leave musical impressions that linger on long after the CD is over.
Always expanding his artistic and creative licenses. Adding film noir and deep jazz explorations, using what was left by Trane, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra and others to launch his own soul vessels of music and legacy.
In a recent interview with the “good doctor” after a blitzing concert with Dwight Trible and Mark Clive-Lowe, I asked Teodross about my favorite Jazz musician and saxophonist, John Coltrane.
Robert: How do you feel about John W. Coltrane?
T: I love Trane and all he stood for.
Robert:Why John Coltrane?
T:John Coltrane’s music promotes peace, understanding and spirituality. His message of love is timeless.
Robert: Do you feel Trane would be relevant today even?
T: More so today than yesterday, because of these times we are living in, its needed even more. Once the listener hears Trane, they can share in the spirit of John Coltrane’s music and the Message. It’s one of my main motivations for my next CD project, a Live recording session in Oakland, California.
Robert: what’s it about and where, you know, the 411,Lol!
T: Well , its A Night for John Coltrane, Saturday March 31 , at the Sound Room in Oakland, California. 2147 BroadwayDoors open at 7pm and the sets are 8:pm and 9:30pm $15 at door. tickets can be purchased on line through http://www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/20370.
Robert:Wow, that sounds like a fun Project , what’s the set-up and personnel?
T: Darrell Green-Drums, Jeff Chambers-Bass, Adam Shulman-piano and myself saxophones.
Robert J. Carmack – KARL LEE the reporter from Ebony Magazine. Robert is a veteran of the theater, producer, writer, poet and musician. Mr. Carmack has over 5 decades in the entertainment field as musician, show producer, promoter or journalist in the genres of Jazz,classic soul, and pop.
Mr. Carmack has worked for, or, with such jazz luminaries as Freddie Hubbard, Doug Carn, Andy Bey, Sonny Fortune, Freddie Cole, Vanessa Rubin and McCoy Tyner. He founded and co-founded the Atlanta International Jazz Society, and SFBAAAM( San Francisco Bay Area African-American Musicians) a forum of musicians that created their own venues to play in the Bay area. Returning back to Los Angeles after 12 years , Mr. Carmack has organized a Charlie Parker 21 sax salute on Bird’s birthday nationwide salute east & west coast. a tribute to Blue note producer & composer Duke Pearson ,Bobby Hutcherson/Jackie McLean in Los Angeles. Last year He re-created his popular character from The Club Alabam in 2014,(ROBBY ROYALE) to a sell out audience of NAACP Award winning musical, North On South Central Avenue. Carmack grew up in Los Angeles, attended Centennial high school in Compton, Graduated B.A – Theater Arts /Communications at Cal State Dominguez Hills. returning later on in life to grab his MFA-Theater Directing/Production Columbia University,New York. Robert co-founded the awarding-winning Paul Robeson Players while still attending under-grad college classes. The drama group went on to represent the state of California at the FESTAC, World Arts Festival, Lagos, Nigeria.
I wrote “Interview” out of frustration with the film version that came out a few years ago. However, I looked at the presentation, not as a traditional play or musical , More of an avant-garde /experimental theater type with music, spoken word and dramatic dialog. No set changes, or curtains . its driven by the power of the actors on stage, Nina Simone’s great social protest songs and her important role in the civil rights era. The most unsung of all the characters who played a role during that period.
We begin the story in real-time August 11,1965 inside the lounge of a Pasadena Hotel…
Jana Wilson- NINA SIMONE, a Los Angeles native, began her thespian adventures on the runways of Los Angeles, donning designer couture fashions. She modeled through college and sporadically, thereafter. Music has always been in her soul, as both parents were talented musicians, in their own right. Her brother plays bass guitar. Her father played jazz piano and her mother continues singing jazz. It’s only likely that Jana would have a love for music, with such rich influences.
Jana began singing in her church choir, then, sitting in on secular band rehearsals, which led to one song, then years of performing three nights weekly, as the featured vocalist, in the 4 Star Award winning Supper Club,The Sky Room in Long Beach CA . Since then, she’s been professionally performing with various local jazz and R&B groups. Her performance interests led to the theater, where she was cast as Billie Holiday, and additional characters, in the award-winning musical stage play, “North On South Central Avenue.”
“Music, performance arts, television… there are so many interests, gifts and abilities to put to good use. The world is a big stage, and I hope to take a few bows, while I’m here!” – Jana
Bobby Pierce, Music Director/Pianist – the former Columbus, Ohio born musician, now a Los Angeles resident is a musician’s musician. Known for his laid-back demeanor and style in personality. He elects to allow his fingers to do his speaking for him. He spent many years in Chicago and New York, working with virtually a Who’s Who in Jazz and Gospel.
Bobby has graced the stage with some of Jazz’s royal members such as Benny Carter, James Moody, Clark Terry, Frank Foster, Etta James, and Della Reese along with POP & Soul stars too. Four Tops, Walter Jackson, Dionne Warwick, Joe Williams and Esther Phillips just to name a few. While putting in work at Record labels, Muse and Cobblestone, He was able to garner a Five-star ranking on Downbeat magazine. Pierce is also listed in seven jazz history books including Leonard Feather’s Encyclopedia of jazz and Listen for Jazz by Anna Bishop.
Bobby is quite proud of his major work with the late Della Reese , where he co-wrote the musical, “The Message is In the Music.”
While the consummate classically trained , Jazz and gospel singer, arranger and composer, Bobby still finds time to go out on a few road gigs, and hitting a few local jazz gigs too. He spends most of his time working with choir groups and just being of community service whenever possible.
Derf Reklaw – Flute,Percussion, has a very positive reputation around the music industry and especially the Leimert Park Village. Derf has worked with this play’s author three times previously over last 4 years. “Derf is the type of musician you don’t have to say much, just let him do what he do” stated Robert J. Carmack Director/Producer. Now we know why Eddie Harris & Ramsey Lewis loved his playing on their group’s recordings and live.
Reklaw moved to LA from Chicago in 1979. He is an artist in residence at several educational institutions including UCLA, Santa Monica College, L.A. Conservatory and View Park Academy. His career has enabled him to play with artists like Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin, Eddie Harris, Minnie Ripperton, Ahmad Jamal, Sting and Lionel Hampton. Also featured guest spots with drummer Billy Higgins, poet Kamau Daaood and original member of the Pharoahs, Lui Lui Satterfield.