JAZZ CRUSADERS FOUNDER NESBERT “STIX” HOOPER MAKES RARE L.A. CONCERT APPEARANCE


@blues2jazzguy ~stage photos-Robert Hill

Nov.17_Friday night in L.A, a intimate crowd of super fans gathered at The Jerry Moss Theater. Mainly to catch a rare glimpse of the last surviving member of The Jazz Crusaders.

You know..That powerful ensemble that played muscular, bluesy variations of bebop known as hard bop. Their roots coming out of Houston,Texas. Nesbert or Stix, as he is affectionately called, formed a core group in high school, along with pianist Joe Sample, tenor saxophonist Wilton Felder while performing together as the Swingsters in high school. Joe Sample met the trombonist Wayne Henderson at Texas Southern University and also joined by bassist Henry Wilson and woodwinds specialist(flutes/saxes) Hubert Laws. Laws went on to achieve notoriety on his own as a master flautist and bandleader. But during this period, they had changed its name to the Modern Jazz Sextet.

Stix and the band worked the Houston area for several years but did not have much major success until Mr. Sample, Mr. Felder, Mr. Hooper and Mr. Henderson moved to Los Angeles and changed their name to The Jazz Crusaders, a reference to the drummer Art Blakey’s seminal hard-bop ensemble, The Jazz Messengers. Their first album, “Freedom Sound,” released on the Pacific Jazz label in 1961, sold well, and they recorded prolifically for the rest of the decade, with all four members contributing compositions, while performing to enthusiastic global audiences and critical praise.

The Jazz Crusaders went on to become one of the most highly acclaimed jazz group in the history of music. The roots of The Jazz Crusaders touched its branches everywhere.. including pop, rock and soul. many collaborations such as Joe Sample with Bobby Hutcherson, or Lela Hathaway, or Wilton Felder with Letta Mbulu or soul-belter Bobby Womack, Wayne Henderson producing and writing for acts in all types of music. Stix was no stranger either, though not active with group much, He still penned hits for blues, pop and soul artists for last 3 decades.

This intimate concert in L.A.Westside’s Moss Theater was superb. we were treated to a cornucopia of musical treats from all points of the globe.. the only thing was, Stix refused to use the microphone, so we were not privy who all those wonderful musicians were. But they were very good . two guitarists, for starters.. one from an eastern European country, and the other  from South America . The acoustic pianist, Russian, while the electric keyboardist hailed from new Zealand.

The bass player was a “homie” from L.A., He even acknowledged a legendary drummer in attendance, Ndugu Chancler, as he looked on approvingly of the action on stage.

The trumpet and saxophonist were very good soloists. Sorry, the opportunity to identify band members did not happen as I anticipated. But I really enjoyed the show. so it was a win-win in my opinion. I will work harder next time to gather more information, since no one acted as spokesperson after concert.

We were whisked out of room , as the band had a meet-n-greet” and signing commitment backstage after the show.

I recommend you follow Stix Hooper via Facebook or his website, http://www.stixhooper.com

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TWO HOURS WITH AZAR LAWRENCE EXPERIENCE ~ THE RIGHT PRESCRIPTION


Los Angeles, CA. Nov 14__ The City of angels needed a rest from crazy news cycles and bad traffic reports,the perfect Rx was written last Sunday evening at Zebulon Café. Concord Records Group newest label, The Jazz Dispensary served up AZAR LAWRENCE EXPERIENCE in Bridge into the New Age .

Lawrence brought in his all-star lineup of jazz greats to recreate the spirit of his 1970s Original album. that album featured the best of the best of that era in musicianship, featuring the likes of trumpeter Woody Shaw and the electrifying Jean Carne on vocals. Azar Lawrence (ZARMAN) wasted no time in introducing the SRO crowd in the 300 seat club to gems from the album as the 7 piece band flexed its jazz muscles on the title track, Bridge into The New Age, a heavy mixture of hard-bop, modal and world fusion. One could not help but notice the audience, as it was multi-generational. The millennial and gen-X hipsters were digging on fiery-cosmic rhythms being fanned by veteran drummers Roy McCurdy and Munyugo Jackson on percussions & toys. Holding down the bottom was the “Skipper” Henry Franklin on bass. Anchoring the rhythm unit was the former keyboards for the late Alphonse Mouzon Quintet and current pianist Theo Saunders.The frontline, the very powerful trumpeter(Michael Hunter) and Azar Lawrence on saxes.

Sounding like an Angel on earth was the very beautiful, Ms.Windy Barnes-Farrell reaching new heights on vocals.

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipM5dIST7pfJjnqxjY5Qt3X5Zxz5tZQwnlcUGaQE

One of the highlights of the evening was a velvety ballad by Azar and the band with vocals on the translucent and stellar composition, Fatisha,written by Azar.. He followed that cut up with a universal spiritual tune that begins with all drums and percussions with a minimal arcing by bassist Henry Franklin, before Lawrence then spins on chanted-spoken words, before being joined by the swirling rhythms of the band on The Beautiful and Omnipresent Love . Pick up your copy today at your favorite online store for music. https://www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/jazz-dispensary/

 

 

 

 

 

 

mgt./media info Go to~ https://azarlawrence.com/  

Jazz Journalist RJ Carmack, vocalist-Windy Barnes-Farrell

 

MUST SEE JAZZ EVENT~ AZAR LAWRENCE EXPERIENCE HOTTEST TICKET IN L.A.!!


“ZAR” is celebrating his release on Concord Records, ”Bridge into the New Age” Sunday November 12 8pm-10pm Only!  Zebulon Café Concert in Los Angeles ~ 2478 Fletcher Drive L.A. 90039. Buy tickets:$25  https://www.ticketfly.com/event/1582784-azar-lawrence-experience-los-angeles/    

Saxophones ~ Leader – Azar Lawrence

Special Guest vocalist – Windy Barnes-Farrell

Bass-Henry Franklin

Trumpet-Michael Hunter

Roy McCurdy – Drums

Munyungo Jackson-Percussion

Theo Saunders-Piano

 

 

MEET AZAR LAWRENCE EXPERIENCE 2017~A BRIDGE INTO THE NEW AGE


Leader Azar Lawrence -saxophones   

Michael Hunter Trumpet/Flugelhorn

 

 

 

Bassist Henry “Skipper” Franklin

Drums Roy McCurdy

Munyungo Jackson percussion

Theo Saunders Pianist

Windy Barnes-Farrell – vocals

ZAR” is celebrating his release on Concord Records,”Bridge into the New Age” Sunday November 12 8pm-10pm Only!  Zebulon Café Concert in Los Angeles ~ 2478 Fletcher Drive L.A. 90039. Buy tickets:$25 https://www.ticketfly.com/event/1582784-azar-lawrence-experience-los-angeles/    

 

 

Background on recording :  https://www.jazzdispensary.com/

 

MOVING WEST ~AZAR LAWRENCE EXPERIENCE 2017


 Saxophonist Azar Lawrence makes his way back to the Zebulon Café Sunday night Nov.12 at 8pm.with him are some of Jazz’s most holistic and stellar musicians and vocalist. 

The Azar Lawrence Experience featuring Theo Saunders piano, Henry Franklin bass, Munyungo Jackson Percussion & Roy McCurdy drums..Special guest vocalist Ms. Windy Barnes-Farrell.

“ZAR” is celebrating his release on Concord Records, Bridge into the New Age. Zebulon Café Concert in Los Angeles. 2478 Fletcher Drive L.A. 90039.  Buy tickets:$25  https://www.ticketfly.com/event/1582784-azar-lawrence-experience-los-angeles/

 

CALIFORNIA MUSEUM JAZZ & BLUES: MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO ELLA AND JOE


California Jazz and Blues Museum

presents
A Shirt and a Skirt
Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Williams
Starring jazz legend Kevin Mahogany
with special guest jazz vocalist
Barbara Morrison
Friday, November 17
8:00 pm
The proceeds of this event benefit the programs of the
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!!
Our CJBM mission is to educate audiences about the importance of the influence that California, its artists and geographical venues have in the worldwide genre of jazz and blues. We deliver an annual calendar of innovative and inspiring exhibitions, programs, and events.
We appreciate your support. Donate here.
For more information on the California Jazz and Blues Museum or the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center,
please call (310) 462-1439 or visit
Barbara Morrison
Founder and President

 

BLACK CULTURAL EVENTS.COM:YOUR GATEWAY TO WHAT’S HAPPENING IN LOS ANGELES


 

 

 

 

“BLACK CULTURAL EVENTS IS YOUR GATEWAY TO RICH CULTURAL LIFE OF BLACK GREATER LOS ANGELES. THE ONLINE CALENDAR AND DIRECTORY OF WHAT’S HAPPENING AND WHERE TO GO, THAT WILL KEEP YOU IN THE KNOW.”

http://www.blackculturalevents.com   info@blackculturalevents.com

About Black Cultural Events

Black Cultural Events is your gateway to the rich cultural life of Black Southern California. There’s a lot going on in this wonderful metropolis of ours. We know the experience of trying to keep up with it all, or of hearing too late about some event you really would have liked to experience. So we’re getting it all for you – right here in one place. We also have listings of restaurants, cultural institutions, art centers and landmarks. We are updating frequently with new opportunities to experience and explore, so please – visit us often and share with friends. ~

The Black Cultural Events Team Leaders

Pamela Ashe-Thomas is co-founder of Black Cultural Events and BCE Media. A psychologist in private practice and at California State University, Long Beach, Pamela is a life long Black culture lover with a commitment to exposing students and community members to the cultural arts.

David Ashe is co-founder of Black Cultural Events and BCE Media. Prior to Black Cultural Events David was embedded via the 10 Up Agency at Microsoft working with the worldwide corporate storytelling division. He has managed web and digital projects for DirecTV, Toyota, Oprah Winfrey Network, FX Networks, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment.

Eric Thomas is a General Partner and Chief Operating Officer for BCE Media. As an itinerant theatre arts instructor for the Arts Education Brand of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the veteran music, broadcast and interactive media production executive brings a wealth of experience to the mission of Black Cultural Events.com.

 

 

 

SPIRITS OF CENTRAL AVENUE PAST: CENTRAL AVE. JAZZ FESTIVAL 2017


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 22nd Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival, hosted by L.A. Council member Curren D. Price, Jr., is upon us, and we hope you can join the party as we celebrate South L.A.’s rich cultural past, present and future!

The FREE event on Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., includes performances by dozens of highly talented and recognized Jazz musicians.

The two-day festival will feature prominent performers on three stages with live music, pavilions focused on arts, health, youth, business and employment resources along with food and merchandise available to purchase. For more information, including a complete schedule of performances,

please visit http://www.centralavejazz.org/

Robert J.Carmack Plight Jazz Ensemble leader ***  publisher hipster sanctuary.com

 

TODD BARKAN’S KEYSTONE KORNER 45 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN JAZZ


posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy

Tom Copi photo

Keystone Korner’s 45th Anniversary Celebration  July 7 & 8 2017
One of the best Jazz weekends in the San Francisco Bay area in decades. First, after you get over the initial shock of the lineup and why, then it all makes sense.

I was in touch with Todd Barkan as soon as I heard through the grapevine there was truly some type of celebration being planned months ahead of the date.  This of course forced me to research and find out just who actually played the North Beach venue .
Many of the great ones that played Keystone Korner are no longer with us.. But Todd selected an absolute stellar group of musicians, all legends and all-stars in their own right.  Tenor Saxophonists, Mel Martin and Azar Lawrence, Alto Sax, Gary Bartz and Charles McPherson , Bassists, Juini Booth and Ray Drummond, Drummers Akira Tana and Roy McCurdy, Percussion Kenneth Nash, Guitarist Calvin Keys, Pianist Denny Zeitlin and Theo Saunders, plus a great group from Japan, Atsuko Hashimoto B3 jazz trio.

photo by brian mcMillen

Equally important as the musicians themselves , Todd chose great venues for the presentation . starting on July 7 at Kuumbwa’s Jazz in Santa Cruz, a coastal city ripe for a top-shelf jazz set.

 

 

The very next day, Saturday July 8th, it couldn’t get any better for a gorgeous afternoon of riveting jazz. He chose the gem of the bay area, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. A unique club carved out of a beautiful home on the cliff side staring into Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco on the peninsula. Follow that Car!! great management, great drinks and service.

You know it not always clear where your next great story is going to come from or, who you might see along the way to that story. but one thing for sure , If you know anything about Todd Barkan..You just grab a brew or some wine, sit down and listen. Todd Barkan the successful Jazz presenter, piano player, record producer, jazz archivist, and  husband.

As I looked around the sanctuary and hung-out down in the green room, I observed the interaction between Todd Barkan and the many friends and fans of the “Korner”,but mostly the musicians, the “fellas”, there was a special kinship or bond between both presenter and musicians.  It’s not even close to being that way “now days”. In my chats with several of the band members and supporters leading up to this great weekend, well almost to a man, they all said pretty much the same. “Todd is one of us.. we are family. “Sadly, a lot of the old gang who frequently played the club during its hey-day are no longer with us. Their spirit lives on in Todd and the musicians memories.

Part of the weekend which also made it a special “NICE TOUCH” was having some of the photographers who were, and still a big part of  archiving this genre and historic occasions in the Bay area.  Three of the best were among the guests at the happenings , Ms. Kathy Sloane, who published a book about the days and nights at Keystone Korner. Fellow shutterbugs, Jim Bourne and Brian McMillen weaved in and out of the scene and captured many great shots to document (see a smattering of their work below)

photo by Brian McMillen

photo by Jim Bourne of Juini Booth

Akira Tana & Kenneth Nash photos by Jim Bourne

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo by Jim Bourne of Ray Drummond

 

Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society(founded loosely in late 1950s by Pete Douglas). But officially as a Jazz and classical music venue in 1964. The crown jewel of Bay area venues was the true “scene of the crime.”

Just prior to his opening remarks, Todd seemed like he was reflecting over his well documented record of work over the last 45 years plus!

1972 -1983, Over a decade in great music was presented on a 7 day a week basis at Keystone Korner  in North Beach. And, all of San Francisco, even the “East Bay peeps” came across the bridge on any given night to see the sights, enjoy the fruits of labor from the giants. Dexter Gordon, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Stan Getz, Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner,Mary Lou Williams, Art Pepper, Freddie Hubbard, Zoot Sims and Charles Mingus,Bobby Hutcherson,Cedar Walton ,Art Blakey, Michael White featuring Kenneth Nash and, Ed Kelly on piano and Ray Drummond bass.

Todd opened the club in 1972, and that was the starting point for greatness that never ceased until the last act in Charles McPherson’s group playing the last set 1983.

Charles McPherson photo by Jim Bourne

Part of the “pomp and circumstance” were watching all that talent being switched around and configured to fit mood, moment and personnel, which was masterfully orchestrated by the “Todd-Father”(Barkan) . a pleasant surprise insertion was Theo Saunders for Benito Gonzalez ..the native new Yorker demonstrated why he’s a first-call pianist in Southern California, even international, as Saunders bio reads like a who’s who in jazz for over three decades. 

Bright Moment for me was a beautiful duet ballad by old friends, Denny Zeitlin and saxophonist Gary Bartz.  Before beginning the song, Denny told the story of meeting Bartz in a jam session while at a Baltimore, Maryland club sitting-in on piano. (club owner was Gary’s Dad) the two clicked immediately musically, but Zeitlin had a small dilemma, He was studying medicine at John Hopkins with a burning desire to become a physician. But Zeitlin worked it all out. The two musicians are still friends today, Denny is also jazz pianist and also a respected Doctor of Psychiatry in the S.F. Bay area.

Photo by Robert J. Carmack Denny & Gary duet

Another stand out and surprise performances were a jazz trio from Japan, playing in a traditional B3 style group with Organ , Saxophone and Guitar. this stellar group was led by this very animated and dynamic B3 organ player, Astuko Hashimoto, Guitarist Yutaka Hashimoto, saxophone Hedeki Karamura.

Astuko Hashimoto photo by Jim Bourne

 

hideki kawamura photo by jim bourne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yutaka Hashimoto photo by Jim Bourne

Our friends from Japan were extremely busy on a blistery up-tempo blues in F, which stirred up things. It sort of reminded us of days of Jimmy Smith and Shirley Scott. Astuko brought the Fire!

As soon as all the smoke cleared from the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society’s sanctuary, especially as the ZAR-Meister(Azar Lawrence reunited with bassist Juini Booth(original live album at Keystone Korner, Atlantis by McCoy Tyner) added drummer Roy McCurdy and pianist Theo Saunders took us on a journey to Africa to Atlantis and back to Half Moon Bay. Word was, they had a gathering crowd about to converge on the restaurant Pier 23 on Embarcadero for part two of the Saturday’s festivities. A quaint and cozy Jazz spot off the Pier. Great enthusiasm with a full house awaiting to start the show 8pm hit at Pier 23. This crowd was grassroots and tuned in all the pyrotechnics that were to come later as the personnel expanded to included such jazz luminaries as saxophonist John Handy, trumpeter David Hardiman and SF Bay area’s Jazz man/Pilot, Roger Glenn on flute. along with Mel Martins band mates, plus  Larry Dunlap, Jeff Marr. to name a few.

Mel, Gary, and Azar.. photo by RJ Carmack Pier 23 July 8 2017

Easy Flowing Calvin Keys photo by Jim Bourne

Big shout out to all the management and owners of the various Jazz venues. your staff and personnel were professional and very warm.. Thanks to Mr. Todd Barkan, for all the Bright Moments, historic sessions,and recordings . You ARE truly a Jazz Master.(2018) Congratulations!!

Special Thanks to Mel Martin and his lovely wife for helping me out in a glaring situation. Catch my interview and chat with S.F. Bay legendary musician Mel Martin.

Coming August 10th @ http://www.hipstersanctuary.com

 

GEOFFREY’S INNER CIRCLE PRESENTS HAPPY BIRTHDAY GLEN PEARSON:DR JAZZ


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:

Faye Carol
Janice Maxie Reid
Nikita Germaine
Frankye Kelly
Kenny Washington

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!

l-r: Glen Pearson, Charles McNeal, Yancy Taylor & Robert J. Carmack July 9 2017