A brilliant Ms. M. Productions presented an intimate evening (Feb.17) with Oakland based vocalist and school principal Ms. Tyfahra Singleton. (shown in picture above are l-r, Tyrone Singleton, Tyfahra, pianist Bradley Young and bandleader/drummer Jerrell Ballard.)
Tyfahra came into the “quite full” Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center,with her “breath of fresh air” approach to the Nancy Wilson song book. Highlighted Nancy favorites during the evening were, Never Will I Marry, In The Dark, Darling Please Save Your Love for Me and the must sing “Guess Who I Saw Today. ”
I was particularly impressed with her range of tunes and tempos, along with a surprise duo rendition of Unforgettable with her dad, Tyrone Singleton , a veteran entertainer and vocalist out of Las Vegas.
The musicianship was simply outstanding all evening including some “spotlight” band numbers led by Jerrell Ballard on drums, Don Bell on saxophone, Bradley Young piano and Mike Alvidrez on bass.
The entire evening was planned,shaped and produced by Ms. M. Productions,headed up by Marion Singleton, a local theater producer and actress. Not only were we in the theater audience satisfied, but left with parting gifts of little sweet potato pies .
I will certainly be looking forward to my copy of the new Tyfahra debut CD coming soon. posted by Robert J. Carmack @blues2jazzguy
The Booth / Kim Eclectic Nativity – a Free Music creative force featuring master bassist Juini Booth and violinist Kathleen Kim.
JUST ADDED: Robert J. Carmack – Echoes of SUN RA Poetry
Juini Booth and friends w/ supporting performances by Guillermo E. Brown (solo) and L.A. Fog. and DJ Xandão bringing the Brazilian funk.
On this special celebration of Juini Booth’s 70th birthday, friends of both coasts converge for an improvisational performance of cosmic proportions. Reflecting the influence of Juini Booth’s dynamic musicianship, participating artists draw from shared inspirations from Improv, Soul, R&B, Funk, Psych, and World Music and Spoken Word. Eclectic Nativity includes Guillermo E. Brown, Wynne Bennett, Corey Fogel, LA Fog, Jon Leland, Mira Billotte, Helga Fassonaki and more.
Opening performances by Guillermo E.Brown(solo)and L.A. Fog.
Feb. 21 Wed. 8pm @ Zebulon Café Concert 2478 Fletcher Dr, Los Angeles, California 90039
posted by Robert J. Carmack
It seems that a bevy of greats have left the stage and building since January of 2017. I realize that’s just life as we know it. Nothing to say about it case closed. However, I did not want to allow the sudden death of a great man and musician go by without saying anything about it. First, my exposure to Hugh Masakela goes back beyond 50 years(1966). I lived in Los Angeles and was studying music in high school and two off campus jazz bands too. Soon summer 1966 arrived and I was quite anxious because, word had it, the very first WATTS FESTIVAL was coming to reality. Heavy announcements of Music, Art and Pageantry to replace all the violence and melee that happened only one year prior.
The opening act was this new guy we had been hearing about from Africa that was making a lot of noise in New York.
Hugh Masakela was the Kick-off concert at Jordan High school gym that launched the 1966 Watts Festival & Cultural events. I can remember like yesterday as me and a group of guys who loved jazz, was quite excited about the possibilities and the fact it would be my first time seeing anyone from Africa that was not a cliché of Hollywood racists attitudes about portraying ,anyone from the motherland. That night was very special in more ways than the obvious. I was 16 and thought I was a grown man…the other was coming from a sociopolitical viewpoint. Black people were making a transition from being negro or colored people to Black people or Afro-American (first popped up as a description of black people at this time). Anyway, back to the music, Hugh was every bit an image and role model for us young men. he had a very interesting hair-style or “Natural”, wore full African regalia, including “NO Shoes” as he went through the recently released album cuts of 1966 “The Americanization of Ooga-Booga.” Which I know now, was a title given and sanctioned by the marketing department at the record company. I assure you, mine and most of us were concentrating on the musical style of his trumpet playing and the rhythms being crafted by the unit led by Hugh. Larry Willis on piano, Henry Jenkins on Drums, Henry Franklin on Bass and Percussionist Big Black pounding out the beats on African drums and Congas.
Hugh was a master of blending the American style of jazz bop and blues idioms juxtaposition with African Rhythms. The eclectic mix of originals showcased his masterful composing skills . He introduced a whole generation of black folks and others to “South-Africanized” jazz. which was quite different in what we had heard by Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakeley or Randy Weston and their interpretations. He was bringing it “Straight with No Chaser”.
Some of the highlights of the evening’s performances was a composition by Herbie Hancock, Cantaloupe Island. Two other originals jumped out at the crowd which spawn several standing ovations when they ended.. Hale Se Di Li Kanna(the Dowry song) and Bajabula Bonke (the Healing Song).
The influence of Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard can be heard, along with McCoy Tyner in the playing of pianist Larry Willis, and he shows his debt to John Coltrane as an inspiration on “Mixolydia” as well as his affinity for Brazilian music on “Mas Que Nada.” But the core sound was what Masekela called “township bop” — his short trumpet bursts, sometimes seemingly approaching micro-tonal territory, are engrossing celebrations of the melodies of his repertory, which is mostly of South African origin. The buzz after the concert was so loud and the cultural wave became a Tsunami of positive vibes for brother Hugh as he was affectionately called after that night.
By the fall ,I was still hearing rumblings about that summer concert.. only to find out that the very same group was scheduled to perform at our school sometime before the Christmas break. Man! what a blessing! Twice in less than two months. By the time they appeared at our school, most of us was sporting Naturals and wearing sandals, some even wore traditional Dashiki garb and begun learning more about the continent of Africa, particularly, South Africa. I became a life long Hugh Fan, even as he became more and more commercial in his albums, he always brought it back home with a solid menu of fan favorites like Bajabula Bonke, and Cantaloupe Island at the Live concerts.
I will always believe to my dying breath, he believed he was put here to bring joy from the motherland and shine a light on freedom and respect for every one. His Nelson Mandela anthem (Bring him back Home) was globally huge and played a strong role in keeping the fire to the feet of the world powers. I know I will miss him and his musical spirit, but the whole world will miss his humanity. Rest in Heavenly Peace Brother Hugh!
JANA WILSON Portrays Nina Simone the High Priestess of Soul!
TICKETS ON SALE NOW LIMITED SEATS! Click Link!! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/interview-with-the-high-priestess-nina-an-original-musical-play-tickets-40769094459?aff=ehomesaved
Robert J. Carmack~ Writer-Director_Producer and Actor
Mel and wife waiting in green room to go onstage at Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society -Half-Moon Bay – Todd Barkan’s Keystone Korner 45th anniversary July 8 2017-photo by R.J. Carmack.
jazz saxophonist Mel Martin and Herbie Hancock
COMING SOON: Profiles in Jazz;MEL MARTIN- Reeds & Flute
posted by Robert J. Carmack @blues2jazzguy
Meet Newly added Jazz Editor at Large.Coming July 30th Kristina McBride debuts at the Hipster Sanctuary with an in-depth interview with the soulful and quite sublime, vocalist, Dwight Trible.
posted by Robert J. Carmack #blues2jazzguy
COME ON OAKTOWN AND ALL OF THE EASTBAY
“LET’S MAKE THIS NIGHT FOR THE BAY AREA’s MOST HUMBLE JAZZ MUSICIAN AND EDUCATOR VERY SPECIAL…
Oakland’s best and brightest stars musicians, singers and actors
Lets make some noise for the “Fiery Fingers” of Glen Pearson Dr.Jazz
Friday, July 21st
Doors open 7:00 pm – Program starts 8:00 pm
Geoffrey’s Inner Circle
Special Guest Stars:
Janice Maxie Reid
Special Presentation By:Yancy Taylor
At Geoffrey’s You Never know who might show up to play or watch you perform..even old friends that have moved away..lol!
posted by Kamaad Tauhid @blues2jazzguy
North on South Central Avenue, the jazz and dance musical took their audience in a time machine and harkened it back to 1940s/50s Los Angeles . Back to the days of a thriving economy spurred on by lot of wartime jobs and plenty of vice to loosen up some of that money.. the scene was a stretch of town that took you from Downtown-north all the way south to Watts/Compton on a street named Central Avenue. This wonderful musical was completely the total package in every respect. Oh you had your great Musical numbers , sung by professional singers cast as not only singers but actors as well. The multi-award winning play was directed by multiple award winning Director ,Carla Dupree Clark, in which up to now has amassed 14 nominations and 7 awards, as director,co-writer or co-producer. This includes this 2017 project’s previous run in the mid-2000s which garnered 14 nominations and four awards. Clark is quite the able-bodied director that Hollywood should be calling soon. Supported by the partnership of TPC(Theater Perception Consortium) Mr. Larry Robinson Producer/actor/writer & set designer. as well as Tu’Nook( Barbara Alexander) Producer/Writer and casting director for the company. This crew has consistently nailed hit plays or musicals for the last decade or more.(ARE YOU LISTENING HOLLYWOOD!) First, Clark created a brilliant approach to opening the play by having a truth-teller or “Griot in a Tux” (Robby Royale aka Robert J. Carmack) comes out and tell you what you’re going to see, and how it was done, then, where.. after getting a few “Amen” on relating to the Black Hollywood moniker that was given the “L.A. Jazz scene” going back as far as the 1920s and 30s.
Blacks had their own way of “livin” and swingin” and going to Church… With a rich cast of characters, NOSC, opens in today’s time with an old man sitting at a bus stop, when a young man rolls up in a wheel chair .The story centers around the most famous and “notorious” club in LA history, The Club Alabam.. the West coast equal to New York’s Cotton Club. Glamorous patrons and famous black celebrity entertainers appeared night in and night out.
Clark’s piece offers a glimpse into what it must have been like as a person living during the days of gangsters; Mickey Cohen, or a Bumpy Johnson like figure in a character known as “Black Dot” , a man who owned lots of businesses and kept the small time hoods in line to keep the Cops away from the real gravy. Carla Clark’s production juxtapositioned the great music of the times with strong vocals and acting like lead actress,Windy Barnes . Barnes portrayed owner of the Alabam along with Larry Robinson as husband and wife team, Eloise and L.C. Lomax. A stand out scene from the play ..the Lomaxs are in a pickle, when gangsters are blackmailing them to gain control of their very popular and profitable club. She absolutely nails a song penned by her & co-writer, Andre Washington entitled, “Hold On”.
Barnes, a veteran actress from the musical stage beginning with her California debut in the national touring company’s The Wiz. Eloise character provided glue to the story of the Alabam’s plight and the overall story of the Jazz scene in Black Hollywood. All the greats were present in this magnificent showcase of glamour and Soul. Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, (brilliantly portrayed by jazz vocalist Pat Sligh), along with special guest cameo performance by jazz and pop singer/actress Ms. Eloise Laws… performing a blistering rendition of “Dinah Washington’s What a Difference a Day Makes.
Also appearing on stage was a electrifying performance by Larry Robinson’s portrayal of Little Walter and Dr. Richard Sanders as Muddy Waters on guitar and Robinson “trading fours” back and forth on Harmonica(They Jammed hard). Its rare to get all of the feel of a real life club and the soul and panache to boot. But Clark’s production North on South Central is in my opinion, Fully Copacetic!
Hopefully this play is Broadway bound or at least national tour.. I also must mention the great music playing band, Conducted by pianist Duane Laskey.
COMING OCT. 14th & 15th Admission: $25
The World Stage 4321 Degnan Blvd. LA 90008
posted by Robert J. Carmack #blues2jazzguy
Danny “Big Black” Rey got its nickname “Big Black” from an older brother because of his interest in drums. During his high school years on the radio, the Conga in the Cuban music had heard he was interested in the instrument and traveled to Florida and the Bahamas , where he spent five years. There he played with Lord Fleas Calypso band met at Fish Ray and Johnny “Slick” Engraham and looked at Calypso Eddy Trio with Sam and Role . In Miami, he worked at Jack Contanzo, Moe Koffman and the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, before he formed a band with trumpeter Billy Cook and found private access to the fusion of Caribbean and Jazz rhythms.
In the early 1960s, he moved to New York City, where he worked in the bands of Freddie Hubbard (Night of the Cookers) and Randy Weston and also played with the likes of musicians Ray Bryant, Johnny Barracuda, Junior Cook and Eric Dolphy was heard. In 1965 he was in the Caribbean Pavilion of World Expo. Also, in that same year, he performed with Dizzy Gillespie at the Newport Jazz Festival. He got a record deal and produced four of his own albums prior to 1972, where he partially pushed the envelope in the area of African rhythms in music. He had a short stint as a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band . Big Black even spent sometime as an actor of supporting roles in TV shows and films. A tremendous musician and sideman,eclectic icon in Jazz, performed many times outside the mainstream as Sun Ra, B.B. King, Charles Tolliver , and even played music during the World Cup campaign with Muhammad Ali. Big Black worked as musical director on several projects by Randy Weston african themed recordings. But my favorite of all Big Black collaborations was his work with Hugh Masakela starting in the mid 1960s(1966) Masakela, Big Black ,Henry the Skipper” Franklin, Larry Willis and all appeared in a historic Concert in WATTS(LA california) as part of the very First WATTS Festival in August of 1966, coming just one year later after one of the worst Race riots in LA history.
This writer was there to witness that concert as a young 15-year-old budding jazz musician. Masakela was making his West Coast debut in Los Angeles with tremendous success to follow after that first concert at a local high school. It was good to talk over old days with one of the all-time greats on percussions. He still enjoys the passion & skills to elevate the room with precision-like rhythms and cadences.
more info on Big Black: http://www.bigblackmusic.com/