posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
posted by #@blues2jazzguy Robert J. Carmack
The Great Bassist from Indiana, who more times than not was the steady bass player for Sonny Rollins. Cranshaw had been battling a series of challenging ailments. but it’s believed that he succumbed to his battle with Cancer. Cranshaw, IMHO, was one of the top five bassists in modern jazz history. My first experience hearing Bob Cranshaw was on the Blue Note Records classic by Lee Morgan, The Sidewinder, One of of the most commercially successful record ever recorded in Jazz. (1964)
The title track Sidewinder was the very last song added to complete the album, according to Cranshaw. Lee came up with the melody while on break from the session, Lee then asked Bob to come up with a pick-up line .The now famous bass-line pickup to begin the groove is talked about in detail via an interview from a documentary on Blue Note Records.
One other note at some point as he got older, Cranshaw chose not to play the upright Bass, which seemed awkward at first since he was performing with the great Sonny Rollins for decades. I have seen many concerts with Sonny Rollins over my lifetime, with most of those “gigs” with Cranshaw on Electric Bass, by closing your eyes one could hardly tell the difference.
We in the jazz community will sorely miss Bob Cranshaw out there, bringing smiles to our faces as he practiced his craft for over 7 decades . Rest in Loving Peace Bob & Join the Jam session in the sky where all the greats go.
Happy Birthday YUSEF LATEEF !
October 9, 1920 – December 23, 2013.
posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
posted by Robert J. Carmack @blues2jazzguy
There are many piano players in the world, boiling down that premise to just Jazz piano players is not a solution either. One could just look inside a union directory, or go on a jazz site and start counting under the letter P.
However, when you call out “women jazz piano players” ,ahhhhh, now that cleaves it down to almost a virtual-handful in the scheme of things. One of these ladies that stand out, but still “under the radar” is New York born,Lenore Raphael (born Lenore Hyams).
Lenore is a jazz pianist and educator heavily influenced by Oscar Peterson, George Shearing and the great Bill Evans, just a few of the many legendary artists who have touched the life of this “Lady of Jazz.” without getting all “cliché” Lenore is a Pianist’s Pianist. What helped form that opinion by music masters many years ago was her PERFORMING at Carnegie Hall in a classical musical setting as a mere teenager. Taking that old adage to heart of “How Do I get to Carnegie Hall? Practice Baby,Practice!
Growing up in New York was half the battle before she even got started, one of the greatest cities to live and study the arts and particularly, Music. Studying classical music all through high school prepared her for her debut at the famous hall. However, She always believe there was more to it than just becoming another pianist playing classical music. she continued her studies at New York University where she received a bachelor of Arts in Music.
After some post- grad work, she began her career as a Music educator in the New York schools, all the while keeping her ears to the ground for opportunities to expand her knowledge and skills, she happened upon a concert that featured the great jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson. That one concert changed her whole life and how she viewed the world in music. She became consumed with how she could learn more about this genre, and its master players. Most importantly, How could she become a part of this beautiful music.
After a series of study sessions with jazz teachers like Mike Longo,(Dizzy Gillespie’s arranger) she also became a student of the “Bud Powell school of Jazz” Pianist, Barry Harris.
Harris has extensive and credible work as bandleader and sideman to some of the world’s greatest artists in the history of Jazz. It wasn’t long before Lenore was making a name for herself as a formidable jazz pianist. The Concrete Jungle was not without ears, especially when those “ears” were attached to the likes of Lionel Hampton, Illinois Jacquet and Clark Terry ,who hired her to work with them on the road and at home concerts.
“I couch Lenore between the likes of Mary Lou Williams and Marian McPartland, according to Women’s Jazz advocate and singer/songwriter, Joan Cartwright, who knows Lenore well.
“Ms. Raphael has worked with me and my organization on Women in Jazz South Florida,Inc. (http://www.wijsf.com) a few times. She even appeared on one of our Jazz CD compilations.
A composer as well as performer, Lenore Raphael penned a tribute composition to Oscar Peterson following his death ,Blues for O.P. It premiered at a memorial concert for Peterson at the International Association for Jazz Convention in Toronto,Canada. One of her compositions ,is now considered a Jazz standard, Johnny Jazz.
Lenore Raphael, even after all these years on the road and recording in Live concerts and TV, Radio shows, still finds time to do what she started many years ago and that’s teaching music.
Working with a bevy of jazz musicians and music professionals, She and vocalist Janet Lawson have developed a program for elementary students to learn about the history of jazz. This is a format of “combined-efforts” on the part of well established Jazz artist and legends like the Drummond brothers,Ray and Billy,Clark Terry,and Arnie Lawrence. this series has become the model for teaching students the fundamentals of jazz in the curriculum of many schools across the country.
Lenore is committed to spreading the jazz message to children, Raphael has co-created with Marcia Hillman a book-and-tape series called Scat Cat’s Adventures in Jazzland. She has also published a jazz theory book for senior students.
Lenore Raphael usually records with her first-call band mates, bassist Hilliard Greene and drummer Rudy Lawless
An authorized and accredited Steinway artist, Raphael still has her own radio show that features guest artists chatting and performing with her on an hour-long program.
Her most popular CDs include The Whole Truth, Reflections, Wingin’ It, A Beautiful Friendship and Class Act.
People that influence the world of jazz has said;
Jon Hendricks ~legendary Jazz singer/composer, Lenore is one of the baddest pianist out there today”
Henry Holloway Capetown,South Africa~”Lenore is the best jazz/swing pianist in the World in my opinion,” Her music master’s classes are awesome too.
Brian Hough Jass Man Magazine~ “This blond ambassador of Steinway will musically knock your socks off”
Jazz writer John Gilbert has called Lenore “Simply one of the best pianist in our form..She always swings. Most critics always used words like”swinging,emotional, and artistically subtle when describing Lenore’s playing.”
Swinging has always been of major importance to Lenore since she listened to her idols Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson. So is “telling the story”. She strives to be in touch with the intent of the tune when she plays.
Today, Ms. Raphael enjoys the respect of not only the jazz masters and peers, but many of the “new jazz cats & kittens.” There’s been some rumors of late that, Lenore is in the beginning stages of a new “hush-hush” project involving her knowledge,skills as a composer and deep knowledge of jazz history for a potential TV show. no details at the moment, but it promises to be a block-buster. Stay tuned to this blog for further details as they arrive. For further information and programming notes for Lenore’s radio show click on the hot link below.
posted by Robert J. Carmack #blues2jazzguy
Subtitle; A Hipster’s perspective on Trane at 90. Its been a long 49 years ago that John William Coltrane was announced transitioned. This writer remembers that summer day as if it was only yesterday.
I was just starting to settle into the summer as any teenager would, with mine being a little bit different. That difference being, I was a young working musician playing saxophone in a Jazz band. Actually getting more gigs for Dance music or “Soul Music”, so we did both. So on top of playing “Motown” for a set, we always ended a set or opened a set with popular jazz of the era. Bumpin’ on Sunset with Wes Montgomery or Song for my Father by Horace Silver.
One of the most popular of Trane’s music at the time was Equinox and My Favorite Things. In order for me to become a big fan goes all the way back to when I first arrived in Los Angeles with my parents in July 1960. Quite excited to have moved away from the Deep south and the whole new environment to play, learn and live a better Life away from Jim Crow South. As a 10 year old boy, I had an affinity for advanced music beyond my years . One day I heard a song on the radio station my Dad listened to at the time called the Jazz KNOB , a Long Beach California station for all Jazz format. The song was Cousin Mary by Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan, a jazz vocalese group. The lyrics begin by the members of the group rhythmically chanting “John Coltrane..John Coltrane..John Coltrane. In my very young mind hearing this ,I thought I heard them saying, Jungle Train..Jungle Train..(Lol) .
I had no idea who this group was until about 3-4 years later, when I had many albums that my father had bought to refer to for further study. I was now a budding saxophone student who had a thirst for Jazz music and its history and all that relates to it. I immersed myself into the backs of albums where I got to learn not just about the leader, but all his sidemen. Coltrane had a distinct sound that differed from most of the other saxophonists I listened to in the mid 1960s.
As I progressed in my study of Jazz and its history. This led me back to the legacy of who and what were influences on John Coltrane’s life and music . I found that he was born in North Carolina to a mother and father who loved him very much and fully supported his dreams and goals. They purchased an alto saxophone for young John in 1938, where he became very proficient on sax and clarinet. the church was a big part of the Coltrane clan in High Point North Carolina. You could hear in many of Coltrane’s music in the mid 60’s leading up to a harvest of great recordings such as Spiritual,Alabama, Dear Lord and many others. The other thread that ran through Trane’s music in my opinion was the Blues, an essential ingredient for great jazz. The “Bird Factor” was a big factor in almost all of Trane’s Bop tunes, straight “12-bar blues” songs, , another stylized approach by Trane was to max-out on the chords, by inverting them ,creating new scales based on the tones in the present scales. One of the reasons John fit in really well with Miles Davis experiments with Modal chords, fewer restrictions from the “Traditional BeBop” block-chord structure. His classic recordings with Miles Davis are well known, Classic groups that featured some of the best in Jazz of the time, like Red Garland, Philly Joe Jones,Paul Chambers or Bill Evans with Cannonball Adderley.
For me, my favorite saxophonists during this period of time were Trane, Dexter Gordon,Cannonball Adderley,Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins,Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter. To further illustrate the feelings regarding Coltrane’s status in the Jazz community. Whereas the young Turks were starting to expand the music into what was called at the time so-called “Avant Garde” or “Free Jazz” .
nothing in my mind spoke to this new style of jazz more so than the album “A Love Supreme”. I had a bunch of young friends,14-18 years old, that would come together at a selected spot to bring our albums for listening and spirited discussions, anecdotes of personal experiences at concerts,etc. This was a big part of my jazz education . Hearing about the musicians, especially “cats’ I had no music by, or had never seen before. Being so young then, it was almost impossible to see a lot of jazz live because, they were in lounges or night clubs that sold alcohol and no food.
The saving grace for me and my buddies was a club out near the beach in L.A. called The Lighthouse Jazz Cafe. This venue had opened up in late 1949 as a restaurant/bar for mostly military audiences and local beach folks. but by mid-1950s under new management by local jazz bassist Howard Rumsey, he developed a policy of under 21 could come inside because they served food ( an ABC rule that allowed minors inside a place where alcohol is served) Me and my friends took full advantage of this policy. the other plus factor was that, even if you did not have any money to get in, you could stand outside on the sidewall and look into the club with those french windows.
The day Coltrane died, I got a lot of phone calls to inform me or If I had heard. You would have thought a president had died..well. in my circle of friends it was. I took out a few albums and began playing them. Crescent, Live at the Village Vanguard,Coltrane Sounds, My Favorite Things to name a few. As I recall whenever I had school projects in college where I produced a slide presentations/documentaries on socio-economic or sociopolitical topics. I used John Coltrane’s music as my soundtrack to narrate by. Years later as a mature adult, some 30 years later I would hear his music via over-head systems in stores, schools, cafes, jukeboxes or even at Bar B Ques on Boom Boxes by Baby-Boomers instead of Motown or R&B dance music. Even today, as I listen with fresh ears on some of his oldest music from the Prestige days with Donald Byrd and Red Garland or Art Taylor groups. even the early days with Miles Davis still have MAGIC in those eclectic solos. those beacons of light when I’m feeling a little dark or unsettled. I consider myself a jazz historian, but I’m more of a student of jazz and its legacy.
Some background on Coltrane…
Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926. His father was John R. Coltrane and his mother was Alice Blair.He grew up in High Point, North Carolina. His mother bought him his first saxophone, an alto in 1938. Coltrane played the clarinet and the alto horn in a community band before taking up the alto saxophone during high school. He had his first professional gigs in early to mid-1945 – a “cocktail lounge trio”, with piano and guitar.
Coltrane’s musical talent was quickly recognized. though, he became one of the few Navy men to serve as a musician without having been granted musicians rating when he joined the Melody Masters, the base swing band. By the end of his service, he had assumed a leadership role in the band. Many believed his first recording session included an arrangement of the BeBop classic Hot House.
After being discharged from his duties in the Navy, as a seaman first class in August 1946, Coltrane returned to Philadelphia. He then jumped into the excitement of the new music, BeBop and the blossoming “bop scene.” Coltrane was a member of groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic and Johnny Hodges in the early to mid-1950s.
The Miles & Monk Years 1955-1957
The rivalry, tension, and mutual respect between Coltrane and bandleader Miles Davis was formative for both of their careers.
In the summer of 1955, Coltrane was freelancing in Philadelphia while studying with guitarist Dennis Sandole when he received a call from Davis. The trumpeter, whose success during the late forties had been followed by several years of decline in activity and reputation, due in part to his struggles with heroin. He was again active and about to form a quintet. Coltrane was with this edition of the Davis band (known as the “First Great Quintet”—along with Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums) from October 1955 to April 1957. During this period Davis released several influential recordings that revealed the first signs of Coltrane’s growing ability. This quintet, represented by two marathon recording sessions for Prestige in 1956, resulted in the albums Cookin’, Relaxin’, Workin’, and Steamin’. The “First Great Quintet” disbanded due in part to Coltrane’s heroin addiction.
Coltrane rejoined Davis in January 1958. In October of that year, jazz critic, Ira Gitler coined the term “sheets of sound” to describe the style Coltrane developed during his stint with Monk and was perfecting in Davis’ group, now a sextet. His playing was compressed, with rapid runs cascading in hundreds of notes per minute. He stayed with Davis until April 1960, working with alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley; pianists Red Garland, Bill Evans, and Wynton Kelly; bassist Paul Chambers; and drummers Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb. During this time he participated in the Davis sessions Milestones and Kind of Blue, and the concert recordings Miles & Monk at Newport and Jazz at the Plaza. At the end of this period Coltrane recorded his first album as leader for Atlantic Records, Giant Steps (1959), which contained only his compositions. The album’s title track is generally considered to have the most complex and difficult chord progression of any widely played jazz composition. Giant Steps utilizes Coltrane changes. His development of these altered chord progression cycles led to further experimentation with improvised melody and harmony that he continued throughout his career.
Prior to Trane’s death, I did not know about Alice McLeod(Coltrane)his pianist wife. Her name popped up in a conversation one night with a bunch of my Jazz group sessions , That was when I first heard the Live session at the Vanguard with Alice Coltrane now on piano instead of McCoy Tyner and Rashied Ali-drums, instead of Elvin Jones. the group was not only changing personnel, but the direction the music was beginning to take a new form inside a more philosophical, “Outside”(mainstream jazz) more eastern in style thats mixed with East Indian,North African and Asian influences and less once harmonic and melodic theories.
Today as I look back over at all the Coltrane Tributes I’ve attended, created, and performed in, I never get tired of hearing a Coltrane tune or “Trane influenced music”, to me it’s like getting inside a time machine and going for a short ride into the 1950s or 1960s jazz scene.
I support live jazz for the youth in jazz too, somebody has to keep this thing going.. since we barely have radio stations, NO instruments in public schools, the worse crime is the distorted madness being called jazz today. I guess I’m still old school where you got to “swing” the circle of Fifths, know all your scales in every key and show up on the gig like you done this before(Dress).
I interviewed the great Joe Henderson who once told me, “You work on your craft in the Lab” (woodshed) so when you get to the gig ,You know your stuff.”
I never got to see Coltrane in-person, because I was too young and unlucky. 1966 he came to UCLA, but I could not get a ride to the Westwood campus about 30 miles from my house, He had just released the Impulse album, Kulu Se Mama . I saw many Trane influenced musicians from the 1970s to today. Many of today’s musicians are just getting around to checking out the Trane Prestige years, still trying to understand the Impulse and Atlantic records years too.
The longer I live, the more opportunities I get to honor this great man through words, or music and verse. Today, I’m a big fan of Ravi Coltrane(Son) tenor saxophonist with his own sound and group. a daughter Michelle , who sings like an angel locally here in LA. and his old pianist, McCoy Tyner, Who’s still performing on the circuit whenever he feels it. LIfe is Grand! #traneat90, #MilesandTrane90
posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
Rudy Van Gelder, a renowned recording engineer who captured jazz greats Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and many others in his parents’ Hackensack living room and later in his Englewood Cliffs studio, died Thursday, August 25 at the age of 91. He is truly a Jazz master in the technological sense. Many of his recording sessions were great records because of the combined efforts of musicians and engineer, capturing the most-pure extract of Jazz at the highest level.
A LOVE SUPREME by John Coltrane
The Ultimate masterpiece in jazz recording. No one knew how to deliver the best of “Trane” better than Rudy Van Gelder. It will take decades to analyze all of his work to put him into the proper perspective regarding the Legacy.
posted by Robert J. Carmack
Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans, better known as Toots Thielemans,was a master jazz musician. He was well-known for his harmonica playing, but was a sublime guitarist and whistle soloist, often a first-call sessions player.
Many times over the decades of his career, he could be heard on Jazz/POP recordings, or in movie themes and scores. I first experienced Mr. Thielemans masterful skills on several Quincy Jones recordings starting in 1970, Gula Matari.
Born April 29, 1922, in Brussels, Belgium Died: August 22, 2016
I guess it’s always a surprise to find that another year have come and gone, then you realize that it’s not just another year, but a decade has come and left.
I’m not naive to believe time should stand still for me,but I was just reflecting with a good friend of mine, who also grew up in LA ,just like I did, he on the Eastside and me in the Watts section of Los Angeles in the Nickerson Garden Projects from 1960-1967, then in January of 1967 we moved to a house in Compton near Rosecrans and Rose Ave.
I remember the Summer of 1966 like it was only yesterday. School let out for the summer in mid June. Now what was I going to do , I had no job prospects , but I had my Music. at the time, I was playing in a bunch of different bands to keep me busy.One day I was lying on the grass in my backyard when suddenly a bunch of people I knew came by and said, hey! If you want a summer job you better go up to Central and 113th street, They’re handing out jobs, free lunches and you have to be at least 15 to get paid. Since I was turning 16 in August I qualified. So I went up and got me a job working with little kids teaching arts & crafts, and basically baby-sitting some little wild kids that never had anybody pay any attention to them or teach them about the arts, have “RAP sessions about life and just growing pains of “being black” in 1960s LA.. All of this just One year removed from one of the worst riots in 20 years , over 34 dead, thousands arrested and over $40 million in property damage. So all of a sudden, a lot of money was flowing into WATTS in general, but L.A. period. This man name ,Ted Watkins founded this Jobs training and youth program, along with the UAW and U.S.Labor department
Also the local politicians needed to find something to counter-balance what had happened just a year before .(1965 Riots) A cultural committee was established of community people along with clergy and politicians. They came up with a cultural project concept of a Festival that recognized Black people who were doing things in the community. Entertainers provided an artistic contribution and artists painted Murals on old or burnt building. Watkins had a full grassroots youth labor movement to clean up the city with paint, brooms, saws, pitch forks , everybody bought-in to chip-in and clean up the city.
To revitalize the area, abandoned buildings became training centers for adults with no job skills, college students,high school students had jobs, Vets returning from Viet Nam found work. By July ,1966 We had heard a rumour of a planned Parade with a big name Grand Marshall and Queen of the Festival. Ultimately, the Festival Committee selected high-profile individual, Sargent Shriver as Marshall and actress Brenda Sykes as 1966 Queen of WATTS Festival.
I was already excited because we were getting ready to do a show in June at Jefferson High school “Alive and Deprived in 65” was the name of the show that featured Our youth band, saxophonist Curtis Amy quintet with Carmello Garcia on Congo. The great Sam Fletcher vocalist and Gerald Wilson Big Band headlining. That was a really big deal to this 14-year-old saxophonist.
So by the end of July 1966, I had two things going for me, I was going to be involved with the very first WATTS Festival, just 12 months after the whole town was in flames. The youth jazz band was appointed by Gerald Wilson to “open” for the Sunday afternoon program of Jazz under the Big Tent in Will Rogers park , Yay!! That was exciting. but I also worked for WLCAC as an art instructor, and they had selected some of my work on Patio furniture made out of old Redwood logs and broken pieces. Myself and two other youngsters my age had formed this company called CHB ENTERPRISES, a teen company. Our work was so good it was selected to appear on the WCLAC float in the parade. We had previously appeared on a local (KTTV) channel, Louis Lomax TV show, mainly because we were denied entrance into the Junior Achievement organization, a national youth business enterprises organization founded to encourage youth to explore business enterprises. They were racist and we exposed them on TV. One year later we got an offer to join them, but we refused and moved on, with dignity intact.
So with all the excitement of being in the very first Festival almost over-whelming to say the least. Two weeks away from the beginning of the new Festival, another rumour started. The new sensational musician that was making waves in the jazz field and on the radio with his new jazz sound on trumpet.
A South African musician named, Hugh Masakela was revising Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloupe Island hit on record. Radio stations could not stop playing this guy’s music from an album entitled, The Americanization of OOGA-BOOGA. Man! did this guy really dominate on radio.. more than Miles Davis, more than Coltrane , more than anybody else on radio including rotation on R&B stations too. He was slated to perform a concert to open up the whole festival on a Friday night at LA Jordan High school. Tickets sold out so fast, I never got a chance to buy any. Its been a major part of the folkloric legacy of the very first WATTS Festival.
The Hugh Masakela Group consisted of Masakela on Trumpet/Flugelhorn/vocals, Larry Willis piano, Henry Franklin Bass, Henry Jenkins Drums and Big Black percussion. Over the years I have either met, or interviewed some of the band members. Most recently over the last two years, I’ve met and befriended Big Black, a tremendous percussionist. I always admired and respected his playing. he’s still active as a musician. (Shown in the picture below) I ran into him on a gig with his old friend and former bandmate, Henry Franklin in Riverside, California.They both sounded very strong some 50 years later. I sometimes wish I had a time machine, since I don’t…I just use the 2nd best method, MUSIC. It always bring you back and take you there too. what a lifetime of great memories through music and travel..the window to my soul.
posted by Robert J. Carmack
Bobby Hutcherson:1941-2016 The most accomplished vibraphonist and composer to emerge in the latter half of the 20th Century,has passed at age 75 Monday, August 15th. Bobby Hutcherson is survived by a wife and a bevy of family and close friends all grieving.
Hutcherson redefined the role of the Vibraphone in modern jazz.
A retrospective follow-up piece by music journalist and jazz historian, Robert J. Carmack coming soon to Hipster Sanctuary.Com .