STRATO-SPHERE: THELONIOUS SPHERE MONK TURNS 100 – JAZZ-POETRY TRIBUTE


thelonious-monk-sun-glasses-008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A ROBERT J. CARMACK PRODUCTIONS Presents

Strato-Sphere:Thelonious Monk Turns 100

A moving and eclectic project involving Jazz legend Thelonious Monk’s most prized compositions performed by Los Angeles’s most talked about Jazz musicians,vocalists, poets and dancers.  Follow this blog for all information forthcoming.

If you’re interested in participation as co-sponsor, artist or media  email me. blues2jazz2003@yahoo.com  attn: Robert J. Carmack

 

t-monk-at-piano-plaid-jacket  monk-and-charlie-rouse

Robert J. Carmack Plight Jazz Ensemble

Robert J. Carmack Plight Jazz Ensemble

KEVIN GOINS ~MUSIC MAN OF THE AGES: RUDY VAN GELDER MEMORIAM


by Kevin Goins – Music/Media Consultant/Contributor

Rudy Gelder Kevin NOW2

 

 

 

 

RUDY VAN GELDER – IN MEMORIAM…..
Damn, Grim Reaper…bad enough we’ve seen many folks go to the Great Beyond before we hit mid-year, no thanks to you. And this week, you just had to go for the flippin’ trifecta. Toots, Steven Hill, and now this great master of recording engineering.
If you own any jazz albums released on labels such as Blue Note, Prestige, Verve, Impulse, MGM, CTI or KUDU, the name of RUDY VAN GELDER would be found in the credits.
A New Jersey native of which optometry was his original profession, Van Gelder began recording jazz musicians within the living room of his parents’ home in Hackensack (they later built an extension to their house to serve as a full-functioning studio). Word spread quickly to jazz labels, which resulted in many great, classic recordings being made with Rudy overseeing the engineering, mixing and mastering.
In 1959, five years after he launched his career, Rudy Van Gelder opened the now famous recording studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. And the records kept on coming.

Okay, the short list….
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme, Blue Train
Miles Davis – The Musings of Miles, Blue Moods, Walkin’, Miles Davis/Milt Jackson Quintet/Sextet
Charles Earland – Black Talk!
Jimmy Smith – The Cat, Bashin’, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Monster, The Sermon
Wes Montgomery – Tequila, Bumpin’, Goin’ Out Of My Head, A Day In The Life
Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder,
Thelonius Monk – Hackensack
Modern Jazz Quartet – Concorde, Django
Hank Mobley Sextet – Hank
Sonny Rollins – Moving Out, Saxophone Colossus
Quincy Jones – This Is How I Feel About Jazz, Gulu Matari, Walking In Space
Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage, Speak Like A Child
Ray Charles – Genius +Soul=Jazz
Stanley Turrentine – Sugar
Willie Bobo – Spanish Grease
Cal Tjader – Several Shades of Jade
George Benson – Good King Bad, Body Talk, The Shape of Things to Come, The Other Side of Abbey Road
Deodato – Prelude, Deodato 2
Grover Washington, Jr. – Mister Magic
Esther Phillips – From A Whisper To A Scream

Rudy Gelder Kevin Goins

 

Like I said, folks…the short list. The man engineered over 2000 albums Y’all can Google the rest.

What made Van Gelder’s work stand out above the rest of the engineers? It was the way he was able to capture a warm, full sound via his mixing and engineering. Yes, the man had a penchant for reverb (listen to the Verve and A&M/CTI recordings) but at the same time, it did help create a dynamic effect.
Fast forward to the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the millennium – Van Gelder was commissioned by EMI to remaster his prior Blue Note works under the RVG Remastered Series – which also included recordings released on Capitol Records (Cannonball Adderly’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy and Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool albums).
Sadly, Rudy Van Gelder passed away Thursday, August 25th, at the age of 91.
What else can be said? Coming from yours truly, my appreciation for not only jazz but the way music and artists were recorded came from listening to the albums Rudy Van Gelder engineered and mastered. As a college student earning my degree in audio production, studying the man’s works was an absolute must.

As far as the time spent as a radio DJ at Ithaca College, one of many who hosted WICB-FM’s Jazz Impressions (1985-1988), there wasn’t a record I spun that didn’t have Van Gelder’s touch
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To Mr. Van Gelder, thank you for making music and records sound so damn good .

Hard to choose one recording, so here are a few links….
MILES DAVIS/THELONIOUS MONK – “BEMSHA SWING”
http://bit.ly/2bKRrpD
HERBIE HANCOCK – “CANTALOUPE ISLAND”
http://bit.ly/1vwteUM
JIMMY SMITH – “THE CAT” – http://bit.ly/1S2vAux
ESTHER PHILLIPS – “HOME IS WHERE THE HATRED IS”
http://bit.ly/1XJCPa8

THE HIPSTER PAY TRIBUTE TO BILLY PAUL ~RIP CHARMING BILLY 1934~2016


 

posted by Robert J. Carmack       #@blues2jazzguy

Charming Billy Paul

Charming Billy Paul

 

Billy Paul NOW 3 RED Shirt

Billy’s Back Home! RIP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going East to be a Love Buddy

Going East to be a Love Buddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides being a big fan since “Live at The Cadillac Club” album which was a great JAZZ album played in heavy rotation in Los Angeles during  the late 60s on their prime jazz station,KBCA FM 105.1. I believe and was shocked to find that Billy was older than I thought,Also, that both, he and Barry Gordy had a connection in his early Jazz days.
But, the REAL Story for Billy was the hot new deal with “Philly-Soul Cervantes,” Gamble & Huff . Going East album  (1971) was a big favorite of mine , The whole album often found itself being played over and over and over again at my house. On my tape player, turn-table and at the clubs on the juke Box, even on the bandstand by cover bands.

The “Ladies” was buzzing about this brother in the leather hat & aviator glasses singing those erotic love songs and with the pleasantly smooth voice. Talking about “LOVE BUDDIES” Followup that big hit with ME & Mrs Jones, Bam! right between the eyes! Another big album Plus!
I saw him at several clubs in L.A. in the 1970s.

2003, I was producing a Jazz Series in San Francisco, Celebrate a Legend: Jazz in July, when I found out he was due at a concert in the SF Bay area the next day. During a special night we were presenting Freddie Hubbard a Congressional Lifetime Achievement ,We brought Billy in for a surprise appearance and presented him with a lifetime award also. a congressional signature by Congresswoman Barbara Lee. That night with a packed house at the Plush Room in Knob Hill, Billy “nailed” The Old Folks” a jazz standard he performed in a cameo spot while getting his award. that was the last time I saw him live …July 2003.

He never stopped touring & singing until Now.. RIP Billy! You always knew THE RIGHT SONG for the RIGHT MOMENT!


“posted by  Robert J. Carmack   #blues2jazzguy

NINA early 60sSIMONE

early 1960s

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.

 

NINA 1965NOW NATURAL

Seen in 1965, Nina was among the first to sport a Natural..

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.

 

UNSPECIFIED - 1968: This studio portrait shows American pianist and jazz singer Nina Simone reclining on the floor circa 1968. Simone, whose deep, raspy voice made her a unique jazz figure and later helped chronicle the civil rights movement, died in her sleep on April 21, 2003 of natural causes after a long illness. She was 70.   (Photo by Getty Images)

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.

Zoe Saldana as NINA

Zoe Saldana as NINA

NINA SIMONE LEGACY~MISUNDERSTOOD??

GRAMMY WINNING EWF BANDLEADER MAURICE WHITE DIES


RIP MAURICE & NATALIE

#blues2jazzguy   posted by Robert J. Carmack

Maurice WhiteNOWThe founder of soul group Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White, has died in his sleep early Thursday morning, his brother, Verdine stated emotionally. White, 74, died from complications brought on by Parkinson’s Disease.

His band had a series of hits including Reasons,September, Boogie Wonderland, Shining Star and After the Love has Gone. The singer-songwriter was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1992 but his condition was reported to have become worse in recent months. Earth, Wind & Fire were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and Maurice was individually inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.
“Reese”, as those that worked with him called him, worked with various well-known recording artists such as The Emotions, Deniece Williams, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond to name a few. Earth, Wind & Fire have sold more than 90 million albums worldwide.Many of which was under his production leadership.

As a big fan of EWF when they first hit Los Angeles where this writer resides, They were a very strong Jazz-influenced ensemble, fronting strong local LA based musicians and vocalists such as Roland Bautista, Wade Flemmons, Jessica Cleaves, Sherry Scott, Sonny Emory, Johnny Graham, Leslie Drayton to name a few. Many of us college students at the time would flock the outdoor concerts of LA in the 70s to catch Early days of big band battles with EWF, WAR, Mandrill,for bragging rights in the city.Maurice was a big part of the Hip, swagger of a bell-bottomed brother with the cool afro and bright colored outfits belting out love songs and funk, He did “Not Look” like all the “so called pretty boy crooners” of the era.

Before anyone knew it Maurice and his influence in style , approach, vision had taken over.. spinning off other acts too like, The Emotions & Denice Williams, under the umbrella of Kalimba Productions. BOY, are we really going to miss “Reese” and his fingerprints on the music quality.. Thats for sure.

A founder of the supergroup Earth, Wind & Fire, singer, drummer, songwriter and producer Maurice White is known for his stagecraft and inventive compositions

Early Life and Career

Singer, songwriter, producer and percussionist Maurice “Reese” White was born on December 19, 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee. After studying at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, he found work in 1963 as a session drummer for Chess Records. Four years later, he began playing with the Ramsey Lewis Trio. In 1969, he formed his own band in Chicago, which was called the Salty Peppers.

Maurice White bandleader,musician, songwriter,vocalist,

Maurice White bandleader,musician, songwriter,vocalist,

  Earth, Wind & Fire

After a move to Los Angeles, White renamed his band as Earth, Wind & Fire (the name was a nod to his astrological chart, which had no water signs). He also invited his younger brother, bassist Verdine, to join the group. When their first albums didn’t break out, White shuffled the band’s members. Newcomers included singer Philip Bailey and keyboardist Larry Dunn; guitarist Al McKay became a band mate as well.

Along with its revamped membership—only White and Verdine were holdovers from the group’s first incarnation—Earth, Wind & Fire’s music changed. The band began mixing jazz, R&B, funk, soul and pop music. They also used African sounds, such as White playing the kalimba (an African thumb piano). With a new style and a new record label, Earth, Wind & Fire’s album Head to the Sky (1973) sold more than 500,000 copies. The group proceeded to put out a succession of gold and platinum albums throughout the 1970s and early ’80s.

Many of the band’s hit songs were ones that White helped compose, such as “Shining Star,” “September” and “Let’s Groove.” White won six Grammys with Earth, Wind & Fire, and received an award of his own for arranging “Got To Get You Into My Life.” As a musician and vocalist, White also participated in the group’s spectacular concerts, which featured exotic touches such as pyramids and disappearing acts.

Though he spent time on outside projects—such as an album for Deniece Williams—White remained with Earth, Wind & Fire until the band took a four-year break from 1983 to 1987. After reuniting, White toured with the group until 1995. Though he stopped touring, he continued to work with Earth, Wind & Fire as a producer and songwriter. He was also with the band for its 2000 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 

 

THE DUKE OF GROOVE: HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEORGE DUKE


© hansspeekenbrink.nl All rights reserved

© hansspeekenbrink.nl
All rights reserved

posted by Robert J. Carmack              #blues2jazzguy

George Duke was a musical innovator, creator, and mentor to so many. His legacy as a recording artist is vast, from Cannonball Adderly to Jean-Luc Ponty, Frank Zappa to Michael Jackson, to over 40 recordings as a solo artist. Simply put, George forever changed the landscape of jazz, r&b, funk, pop and classical music.

George Duke (January 12, 1946 – August 5, 2013)


posted by Robert J. Carmack      blues2jazzguy

Nick Caldwell Whispers NOW 2

Nick Caldwell songwriter/composer

One of the Original members of the R&B group,The Whispers has passed at the age of 71. The cause of death are not totally clear as Caldwell was facing  several life threatening  challenges as recently as part of  last year , when he went on the record and wrote an open letter to his public and fans about his bout with Congestive Heart Failure and was optimistic about some alternative medical procedures that would elongate his life.

Some fans were treated toward the last of 2015 with actually seeing Nick as he was called by friends and fans alike perform with the group, The Whispers. In speaking to a close friend today, who had just spoke to Nick as recently as New Years eve, said, “We talked for a longtime on the phone and he gave me the impression he was feeling good and was looking forward to more shows in the near future. No indication that there was  new setbacks. Four days later, Nicholas Caldwell, 71, passes on to the great jam session with Natalie Cole and the rest in the sky.

Always the one all the ladies would whisper about in the audiences , Nick’s outgoing personality  and suave and sophisticated moves on stage set the group apart from their contemporaries, which Nicholas was charged with that responsibilty to keep the group moving and grooving. In addition to choreography, Caldwell also wrote a lot of the Whispers classic songs, centered around love and romance. This writer who saw them from the very beginning of their recording career in 1964 with Dore records as a Teenager. The Whispers were a favorite at the Hunter Hancock (local DJ) Record Hops. Hancock was one of most popular R&B soul DJ in Los Angeles at Radio station KGFJ.

NICK CALDWELL Whispers

Nick from 70s/80s

NIcholas Caldwell was born and bred in Los Angeles, when Walter & Scotty (Twins) met him. They were competing against each other at teen record hops in Watts (now called South Central Los Angeles) and at Jordan High school which he attended with other members , Marcus Huston, The Two twins and the other original member Gordy Harmon was much older, but lived in Watts close to Jordan Downs projects gymnasium.  It served as the early “gig spot” for the budding group The Whispers. Formed in L.A. in the early 1960s, the Whispers certainly took a “slow and steady” career course in which they have quietly become one of the most successful modern soul groups. Consisting of twin brothers Walter and Wallace (Scotty) Scott, Nicholas Caldwell, Marcus Hutson and Leaveil Degree (who replaced departing member Gordy Harmon in 1973), the Whispers first recorded for local LA label Dore Records, hitting the pop and R&B charts with “Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong” in 1970.

Nick with Whispers 3 NOWThey continued to be a mid level charting act throughout the 70s on the Don Cornelius/Dick Griffey “Soul Train” label but gained momentum toward the end of the decade when Griffey, who was their manager, created his own SOLAR label and worked with the group on their SOLAR debut album Headlights, which scored a moderate with “Olivia.”

 

 

 

 

 

R&B SOUL GROUP THE WHISPERS NICHOLAS CALDWELL DEAD AT 71