Category: happenings

MUSIC IS YOUR DESTINY: INTERVIEW WITH DESTINY MUHAMMAD~ “HARPIST FROM DA’ HOOD”


posted by Robert J. Carmack ~ @blues2jazzguy -You know its very hard to find a word that describes a person perfectly, but I just may have. what I mean is, I googled the word Destiny and it read, ” the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future. Also, “the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate. HOWEVER. Sometimes if you’re lucky and say your prayers, you just might meet a talented, sublime musician who happens to play a very unique instrument in a small community of players within a special genre..the original art form of America, JAZZ.

Destiny Muhammad is a Recording/ Performing Artist | Band Leader | Composer & Producer. Her genre is Celtic to Coltrane is cool and eclectic with a feel of Jazz & storytelling to round out the sonic experience.  The original harp is one of the world’s oldest instrument and toughest to master, even more challenging than the piano its self. when I was growing up in Los Angeles and studying music as a teenager I wanted to learn jazz and sought out all kinds of musicians besides saxophone players to listen and learn from. One of those unique musicians was a lady name, Dorothy Ashby, who played the harp, but not just in a classical music setting,but onstage with jazz hungry fans , in clubs, cultural arts centers and later, concert halls late 1960s through the 1980s.
(Dorothy Ashby August 6, 1930 – April 13, 1986)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dorothy Ashby was Destiny’s big influence early on long before Alice Coltrane’s huge shadow loomed large in her life. But what was really a “head-scratcher” for me was when she mentioned in an interview I held with her recently. While as a child watching TV, a man with wild hair and zany behavior. He abruptly stopped and stared at a Harp momentarily, then sat down and begun to play a beautiful solo. She was watching a famous scene from a “Marx Brothers” film. That was just the spark needed in her little head. She went wow! I would like to play that. As a little girl growing up in the Compton community and going to Tibby elementary school. Destiny could only dream, as her mom had very little money and instruments were not in the cards. Even later as she grew up and tried to learn the violin, it did not “cut it for her.” Things were changing at home and her mom moved to San Pedro area projects for low-income, about the time for her to go to high school, she joined a vocal choir and wanted to take piano lessons but again was told they could not afford lesson. Frustrated but not deterred from her dream, Destiny became a barber, a good one too, which gave her independence and decision making power to pursue whatever she wanted.  But before she knew it, she was approaching 30 years old and needed to sink or swim.making up her mind to go for it musically she began her journey as a harp player by beginning with the rudimentary method of mastering an instrument late in life. A very challenging endeavor, but none the less not impossible. She moved to Oakland East Bay area and sought out help, advice, direction. After a tad bit of finding her niche’, she found people like trumpeter Khalid Shaheed, pianist Tammy Hall and the legendary trumpeter Eddie Gale among many others. Now over 25 years later, she is being blessed beyond words. Not worrying about how long it took, but what she is doing now that she has arrived.

Destiny has opened for The Oakland East Bay Symphony and Smooth Jazz Artist Gerald Albright, shared the stage with Jazz Masters Marcus Shelby, Omar Sosa, Blue Note Artist Ambrose Akisemuire, and Azar Lawrence to name a few. She has headlined for ‘Women in Jazz’ Concert series, the Afro Solo/ Yerba Buena Gardens Concert Festival, Sunday’s in the Redwoods Concert, Fest Sundiata, and SFJAZZ Tribute to Alice Coltrane’s epic album Impulse Release ‘Journey in  Satchidananda .

Destiny is the Principal Harpist for the Eddie Gale Inner Peace Orchestra, the Oakland Community Orchestra and performs with The AWESOME Orchestra.

The Destiny Muhammad JAZZ Trio~Following in the footsteps of jazz harp master Dorothy Ashby (who recorded with everyone from Freddie Hubbard and Frank Wess to Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder), the Destiny Muhammad Jazz Trio is a sleek and soulful ensemble designed to showcase Muhammad’s soaring vocals and transporting string work. 

That second and most highly touted Jazz musician, pianist, composer and master harpist, the late Alice Coltrane. A profound influence on Destiny as a musician, composer but, also as a woman in a male-dominated genre. She has been given high praises by her peers and fellow bay area jazz musicians, as well as prestigious arts organization and music societies.

Whether interpreting jazz standards or her original tunes, Muhammad turns every piece into a soulful adventure.      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hora0U6vvDw

 

A plethora of achievements and awards received in a little over 25 years after not even starting until she was 30 years old on her instrument. Governor Emeritus and Educational Chair Emeritus of the Recording Academy, Jazz Heritage Center of San Francisco Jazz Ambassador,  ASCAP Songwriter Awardee, and Judge for The West Coast Songwriters Contest and Northern California Entertainers Music Awards Female Jazz Artist of the Year.

I asked Destiny what was her greatest joy in music? she said with glee, “That I’m still playing after starting late at 30 and taking that leap of faith. You can follow Destiny’s career and keep up with her gigs by going to her website:http://destinymuhammad.com

If you missed her moving tribute to the great Alice Coltrane the first time,  see information below for tickets and or general information regarding the Concert, Alice Coltrane~Sonic Legacy August 26, 2018 – two shows only!

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LIGHTHOUSE 68″ ~ JAZZ CRUSADERS LIVE ! CELEBRATING 50 YEARS…STILL FUNKY FRESH


posted by Robert J. Carmack

The Lighthouse Café is a nightclub located at 30 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, California. It has been active as a jazz showcase since 1949 and, under the name “The Lighthouse”, was one of the central West Coast jazz clubs from the 1950s through the late 1970s. Purely talking Jazz years, It has been a long time, since I personally use to frequent these digs as a very young budding saxophonist growing up in the early 1960s Los Angeles. Listening to two jazz stalwarts on the radio at the time in KBCA FM 105.1 & the KNOB “JAZZ KNOB” out of Long Beach. hipster Jocks ruled the radio waves back then LA. Tommy Bee, Jammin’ Jai Rich, Rick Holmes, Chuck Niles, Les Carter, Tollie Strode with “Slow traffic to the right” , “while travelin’ in my Electro-Magnetic Bag.”

AllMusic rated the album with 4 stars noting: “Feel is what dictates the material and its execution on this set, without unnecessary attention paid to crowd or recording apparatus. This is one the most intimate jazz shows captured on tape during the 1960s. It gives record buyers the sound of a band in full possession of their considerable capabilities, celebrating them in a relaxed environment, playing their own brand of grooved-out ’60s jazz”.  I actually had the opportunity to catch this very lively and “Funky as it wanted to be band” ,to borrow a catch-phrase from the era describing the feel and sound of the times. Borrowing heavily from the fresh pop culture and songs the crusaders were able to marry the hard bop edginess and the approachable groove-based chart-topping style. Jazz Crusaders were starting to dominate the west coast appeal and the young fans like myself. I was all of 17 in the fall of 1967, when this was recorded, but released in early 1968.

The best part about growing up in the early 60s and loving live jazz , You could actually go see who was playing the music you heard on radio. Because of the policy for “under -21” fans who obeyed the rules and “maintained their cool” under the fire of the electrifying bands that appeared at the beach venue.. IMHO, You might as well considered the Crusaders the House band, they appeared hundreds of times over the years, but recorded almost all of their most classic of all records with that great Lighthouse crowd over the microphones too. All of which gave it that “Flavor” like a great Gumbo meal. I would be here all day trying review all the great music from the pen or horns of Jazz crusaders, starting in 1962 , one could catch the very best in music, bar none, and be on the “hippest scene” while doing it at the Lighthouse.

I invite you to pick up a copy of this great album or whatever choice of media format is today vinyl, CD or downloads. GET IT!!

Join me ,along with some very special musicians in Los Angeles June 22 Friday night at 9pm as we turn back the clock 50 years and perform the best of the jazz crusaders: the early years up to late 70s. I have culled simply the best compositions and recordings for the featured band Crusader Legacy 5 Plus.. hand-picked stellar musicians for this event at the World Stage Performance Gallery  4321 Degnan Blvd. L.A. California 90008 – $25

Go online at http://www.eventbrite.com under title of Street Life: The Magic and Music of the Jazz Crusaders  ….

Track listing

  1. “Ooga-Boo-Ga-Loo” (Stix Hooper) – 6:39
  2. Eleanor Rigby” (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 7:32
  3. “Native Dancer” (Buster Williams) – 8:52
  4. “Never Had It So Good” (Joe Sample) – 7:15
  5. “The Emperor” (Williams) – 8:50
  6. Impressions” (John Coltrane) – 6:12
  7. “Cathy the Cooker” (Wayne Henderson) – 6:22 Bonus track on CD reissue
  8. “Shadows” (Williams) – 4:03 Bonus track on CD reissue
  9. “Tough Talk” (Henderson, Hooper, Sample) – 8:01 Bonus track on CD reissue
  10. “Third Principle” (Wilton Felder) – 8:45 Bonus track on CD reissue

Personnel

SANDRA BOOKER~ ” LIL’ SASS ON SASS” AT HERB ALPERT’S VIBRATO GRILL,JAZZ,ETC


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

posted by Robert J. Carmack @blues2jazzguy

I always try to keep an open mind about today’s music and vocalists, particularly, Jazz vocalists. However, I’m a man of distinct taste and panache’ with a “side of groove and swing”.

In the case of Sandra Booker “nobody out-swings” her in a straight up duel of singers and vocalists, those who know how to interpret the lyrics and vocabulary of classic jazz singing.

It’s probably no mystery why the late Three Sounds bassist , Andy Simpkins who knew Sarah Vaughn intimately, bestowed the moniker, Lil’ Sass on Sandra Booker. the little lady from “Nawlins” with the big voice.

An award-winning composer & conductor, Lalo Schifrin, called Sandra, “his favorite singer, live or recordings“. I suppose it’s just a coincidence When the opportunity called for her to gather an all-star band,curate a cache of great songs recorded or sung by Sarah Vaughn at different points in her career. “Sarah was my main character from the Be-bop era, she had a tremendous influence on my singing and how I handled my self on the bandstand.” “This gig Sunday, April 22, allows me to select compositions I like from her most potent and swinging pieces. I will reinterpret her spirit through my lens. That continues the legacy which makes me very proud” stated an excited Booker. The musicians backing Ms. Booker for the evening are Andy Langham-Piano,Edwin Livingston Bass,Tony Pulizzi Guitar, and Thomas”Mr. Taste” White on Drums

This is also a special occasion for Sandra as she’s been battling very challenging health issues and trying to stay positive.  The Creative Process keep her going strong, along with positive people,who support her efforts to beat-back the dreaded Big “C”.

She’s been a champion for the organization, Jazz Musicians Against Cancer, hosting concerts, doing workshops and local fundraisers to not only help herself but, others who are still battling to remain working at their craft. “Working with some of these musicians makes it very therapeutic for me, as well as it allows me to appreciate each and everyday I’m still here. The music is my true medicine.”

“It’s definitely a blessing and an honor to perform this music at the highest level just like the pioneers did, long before I came along.”

Don’t hesitate! You and a friend have a double opportunity to do a solid. 1- see a great jazz show and 2- Help out some sick people  who are up against it, each and everyday.  Part of the evening’s door admission fee goes to the JMAC Fund,(Jazz Musicians Against Cancer)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vibrato Grill,Jazz,Etc. 2900 Beverly Glen Circle LA. 90077 310-474-9400 reserve a table, enjoy great jazz at a sublime environment first show is at 7:30 on the down beat! http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com

 

TYFAHRA SINGS NANCY WILSON : AN INTIMATE EVENING OF TRIBUTE TO THE FANCY MS. NANCY!


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

JAZZ MASTER BASSIST JUINI BOOTH RETURNS TO ZEBULON CAFE FEB 21 2018


 

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

R.J. Carmack

Juini Booth and friends w/ supporting performances by Guillermo E. Brown (solo) and L.A. Fog. and DJ  Xandão bringing the Brazilian funk.

L.A. Fog

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.

Jocelyn Soubiran

 

Feb. 21 Wed. 8pm @ Zebulon Café Concert 2478 Fletcher Dr, Los Angeles, California 90039

http://zebulon.la/

SOUTH AFRICAN MUSICIAN HUGH MASAKELA JOINS THE ANCESTORS-RIP 1939-2018


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!

COMING MARCH 3rd 2018 INTERVIEW WITH THE HIGH PRIESTESS: NINA! an Original Play


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