posted by Kamaad Tauhid @blues2jazzguy concert photos by jazz archivist Chuck Koton
“The Stage, (pun intended)” was set 9:pm on Feb 9th 2019 in Los Angeles, where the bass master, Juini Booth landed for his WORLD STAGE DEBUT. Booth a jazz icon starting when he sprung on his own for New York in mid-60s as a teenage bassist for Sun Ra and a host of other greats. later iconic performances and recordings with McCoy Tyner, Woody Shaw and Gary Bartz’s Ntu-Troop just to name a few.
Booth powered into the world stage as part of the World Stage Black History month loaded schedule of Jazz greats. featured on spoken word and dramatic performance in the select works and poetry of SUN RA , Mr. Robert J. Carmack-MFA ” BLACK as 1000 Nights: The Artistry and Poems of SUN RA.” Carmack reflecting on his work with Booth over the last couple of years as poet, MC and journalist said, ” It has blown by so fast, I hardly noticed its been almost 3 years since I appeared with Booth and another McCoy Tyner alumnus, AZAR LAWRENCE in a fast and powerful group of musicians performing compositions of McCoy Tyner. (Roy McCurdy, Theo Sanders,Azar, Juini and Robert)
Last year we did another Sun RA project focusing on mostly all of his “Space is the Place” material and music. carmack added, This time as part 2. I went deep on his Berkeley sessions at the University’s Artist-in-Residence, 1971,period of writings. Black nationalist views on African-Americans, politics and culture.” Carmack, a jazz journalist, actor and writer that focuses on the legacy of this genre called, jazz or American Black Classic Music. Along with Carmack and Booth, were L.A. based sidemen, Mahesh Balasooriya on Piano, and Guillermo E. Brown drums. Brown performed last year with Booth and Carmack at the Club Zebulon, along with improvisational group, L.A. FOG and Kathleen Kim.
The audience not only heard rare Sun Ra Poems to improvisational interlude phrases by the group, but heard the band play pieces that they all favored in performing, like Jackie McLean’s “Melody for Melanie” and “Angels and Demons” by Sun Ra. A very powerful, moving solo bass, plus Loop were performed by Juini Booth to a standing ovation.
Carmack was able to navigate and sail around the writings with the ease of a skilled actor performing Shakespeare’s greatest montages of prose and poetry. There were certainly fireworks with Juini Booth eclectic playing and melodic approach to double bass. Balasooriya treated the surprised audience to a searing piano solo on an unnamed piece he interpreted.
Carmack is based in Southern California and Juini Booth in New York. Carmack is setting up plans now as everyone gets ready for Spring and Summer events in both thriving cities. We want to redo this show in New York and San Francisco bay area as well. There are current calls for more study at the academic level for the writings of Baba Sun RA, along with his music and lecture series too.” said a jubilant Carmack, as he spoke to more collaboration projects that involve Booth and other Jazz icon’s music and writings.
Robert J. Carmack is launching this summer, a new series of Art based cultural programming involving improvisational music, drama, poetry/spoken word and fine arts(painting,sculpting and assemblage) POCKET JAZZ 2019 presented by http://www.hipstersanctuary.com
Many thanks to the World Stage and Executive /Artistic director Dwight Trible and staff for making the group feel at home.
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 –
Details February during Black History month, follow-up on www.hipstersanctuary.com as we celebrate our 20th year in March 2018. April Live Jazz concert and special awards presentation to surprise guests, also follow-up @blues2jazzguy.
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.
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)
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.
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.
A 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.
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.
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.
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.
KEYSTONE KLIPPINS’ quick-snapshot look at the jazz journey taken by the man who presents it and the Men and Women who make it. Todd Barkan, The Man who started this journey years ago , is bringing it all back full circle. Starting the weekend of July 7th and 8th in the San Francisco Bay area at several Key(stone) venues July 7 & 8, 2017.
Three Exciting Dates of Electrifying Music for You
July 7th 2017 – KUUMBWA JAZZ CENTER 7:pm
July 8th 2017 – BACH DANCING & DYNAMITE SOCIETY
2:pm HALF MOON BAY,CA.
July 8th 2017 – PIER 23 on the EMBARCADERO -7:pm San Francisco, CA.
The action gets started with legendary artists performing
Charles McPherson..Gary Bartz.. Azar Lawrence.. Eddie Henderson.. Mel Martin.. Ray Drummond.. Kenneth Nash.. Benito Gonzalez.. Juini Booth, Denny Zeitlin & quite a few Surprises.
Plenty of BRIGHT MOMENTS!!
Since 1975, Barkan has produced more than 1000 award-winning recordings for American,Japanese and European record companies by artists such as Art Blakey,Bill Evans, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jimmy Smith, McCoy Tyner, GroverWashington, Jr., Gloria Lynne,Hank Jones, Roy Haynes, Joe Lovano, Phil Woods, Bill Charlap, FreddyCole, Chico O’Farrill, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Kenny Barron,Jeff Watts, Red Garland, Lou Donaldson, Cedar Walton, Eddie Harris, Tommy Flanagan, Jerry Gonzalez & The Fort Apache Band, Ravi Coltrane, Bud Shank, Jimmy Scott, Kenny Kirkland, Bobby Hutcherson, Dexter Gordon, Tete Montoliu, Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Golson, Eric Alexander, Mose Allison, Renee Rosnes, Joe Locke, Eddie Henderson, John Hicks, Paul Bley, Mongo Santamaria, Barry Harris, Manny Oquendoy Libre, Lewis Nash,Shelly Manne and Steve Kuhn.
“Voices of the Cats playing”
Azar Lawrence Tenor Sax
Robert: when did you first appear at Keystone?
Azar: Man! a long time ago ,I think it was either McCoy Tyner or Elvin Jones…Not sure, but I was real young back then.
Robert: what was your impression of the Club and more importantly, what was your impression of Todd Barkan?
Azar: Man, I dug the club right off the bat, the whole scene was cool and hip. Todd my man…he was so cool and professional, but a real sense of the music and where he wanted to go with it. One of my most memorable times at the Keystone..I believe.. I was gigging with Elvin Jones and George Cables, man, we were hittin’ that night. The club was built for high-level play, and the cats always delivered. Now that I think about it, that live recording with McCoy Tyner.. that was really top-shelf too… I’m really looking forward to this celebration of 45 years of Keystone. we will be doing a lot of playing, but a lot of remembering of the cats that ain’t here. Also, me seeing some cats I ain’t seen in a long time too.
Robert: Any new projects you can talk about?
Azar: I have two projects coming out in a few month, I will be launching an acoustical project with Benito Gonzalez ,Jeff Littleton and Marvin “Smitty” Smith. yeah, look for that in about 60 days.. Also in about 90 days, I have collaborated as co-producer with music producer John Barnes for a project called “Azar into the Night “.. both is poppin!
Please follow this series each week,we will feature a player that’s performing in Todd Barkan’s 45 year celebration of Keystone Korner. P.S. be sure to “like” or comment on the stories at this E-Zine Hipstersanctuary.com.