Category Archives: trending

LOCAL ARTISTS COLLABORATE ON POST PANDEMIC PROJECTS


Los Angeles,Calif. It was announced today by Pocket Jazz Presents creator and chief content developer,Robert J. Carmack, MFA. Story by Kamaad Tauhid

Robert J. Carmack, writer, producer and musician, is currently arranging a new collective made up of elite unsung artists and craftspeople the pandemic forgot about.. actors,musicians, poets,painters,sculptors, music arrangers,set designers,sound and lighting. 

Pocket Jazz Presents was formed as themed, small jazz concerts produced by Carmack ,in and around the Los Angeles / Southern California area. hence, pocket-size jazz concert, big in quality and creativity, infusing jazz,poetry and Improv theater together.

One of the most innovative ways of telling stories about Black Historical characters or events that were traumatic or Game-changing. Voices From the Window series; a collection of short vignettes and infotainment programs to educate and entertain. Beginning, April  25 2021,  the new series will debut on several Facebook pages: VOICES FROM the WINDOW- a Zoom formatted show about social change subject matter,black historic characters, and past events that impacted the lives of a people..‘

Debuting Voices from the Window – a 30 min interview with artists on artists about artists- April 25th – Donny Hathaway: Everything Everything – 50 Years! Special Guest, Ric Powell – producer/co writer, musician and co-publisher. album released 1970.

April 27-  The Awakening: Sam and L.C. Cooke- a dramatic fantasy about Sam Cooke awakening to find his Brother,L.C. staring at him, asking him questions. Since Cooke died in 1964, ??

April 30- Dynamite Hill:Bombingham 63 – a dramatic and searing look into the lives of four select characters from the Alabama 16th street church bombing in 1963, 4 girls dead and many severely injured.Pocket Jazz Presents are creating the concepts and arranging the historical data into a dramatic presentation. All performed improv, no scripts!

Its riveting and speaks volumes of early black theater memories of NEC, or Karamu House, Mafundi Institute and Paul Robeson players, in which Robert was a co-founding member going back to 1972. 

Mr. Carmack went out and recruited his old friends from his early years with The Paul Robeson Players, former players include Vel Omarr and Naomi Pryor-Stenson. characters and cast members ~

The Awakening: cast~ Sam Cooke/Vel Omarr   and L.C. Cooke- Robert J. Carmack,MFA ~ Dynamite Hill: cast~ Naomi Pryor-Stenson as Sister Collins..Vel Omarr as Deacon Trass, Mechelle LaChaux as Mrs./Mother Johnson and Robert  J. Carmack as Dr. Robert Johnson, DDM & surgery

Voices From the Window_ a innovative approach of relaxed informal chat with artists on artists about art with artists.all in a Zoom format, opening up to Q&A after show and engaging through email or texts. Hosted by Robert J. Carmack and Vel Omarr, both men, are producers for Pocket Jazz Presents. 

Coming attractions: Ric Powell musician producer and songwriter Donny Hathaway story/ everything everything. Jazz musician and saxophonist Ghasem Batamuntu, Sandra Booker.  June 2021- Black Music Month!

For more details follow us on facebook  Pocketjazzpresents/ @Freedomjazzdance or http://www.hipstersanctuary.com 951-840-7120

Vel Omarr as Sam Cooke and Robert J. Carmack as brother, L.C. Cooke

SISTAS’ DOIN’ IT : FIREY STRING SISTAS!


Coming April 20th 2019  a creative, diverse Jazz chamber-like Improvisational music in an all-female band . I will be chatting with the founder and leader of this band of stellar musicians, Ms. Nioka Workman and the Firey String Sistas, they also include the offspring of legendary jazz musicians.. follow us on http://www.hipstersanctuary.com

POCKET JAZZ: GRASSROOTS ARTS PROJECT DEBUTS AUGUST 2019


Producer Robert J. Carmack looks to bring his brand of Jazz,Poetry and Dramatic performances to the L.A. Jazz community.

Pocket Jazz is a coined phrase created by Carmack that melds theater,improvisational music and poetry into a big ball of creativity for open-minded audiences. If you dig Kamasi Washington or Horace Tapscott or Amiri Baraka, Last poets, Watts Prophets and Sun Ra.. brought to you in an affordable, safe and warm community environments. In the tradition of the Black Arts Movement early beginning of Los Angeles Community Jazz organizations paired with the painters, sculptors and actors creating on demand Art.. Subscribe and follow us on http://www.hipstersanctuary.com  FREE!! FREE!! FREE!!

posted by Kamaad Tauhid @blues2jazzguy                                              Blue Note Tribute Logo

Coming in August celebrating the 80th anniversary of the grand Jazz label 

JAZZ FOR R&B LOVERS: MUSIC FOR AFTER THE AFTER PARTY


posted by Robert J. Carmack   #@blues2jazzguy  #Precious:For Lovers & Dancers

I can hardly remember but, over the last 5 -10 years we’re  missing a lot of male jazz vocalists input. Rudi Mwongozi is constantly moving up the chain of new faces and voices on the scene.. Rudi, now based in New York from Oakland, California. I’m coming at this for a second bite. After living with this latest CD of pianist/vocalist Rudi Mwongozi, I can fully appreciate what he’s doing musically.

In my opinion, of the twelve cuts on this project, I like them all. Part of this recording has some very popular songs by elite artists Like, Eric Clapton, the gold record  Free by Denise Williams/S. Greene. He really gives this song a jolt of Mwongozi(ness). the arrangement opens with a similar intro, followed by a very classy bridge and vamp. Then he breaks out in a Afro-latin rhythmic vamp which sets up an extended solo in piano wizardry and percussive rhythms.  Another favorite is his strong harmonic approach to a syncopated piece called, Whole Steps to the House of Light, filled with musical trap doors and breaks,that swings and jumps like the pioneers use to do. I got a big kick out of the eclectic cut, the James Moody Story . a Be-Bop swinger. harkens me back to the James Moody and Eddie Jefferson style of vocalese and scat singing by Rudi and Friends.  Rudi takes on a brave arrangement of a Luther Vandross composition and handles it with delicacy and panache. He’s rolling 7s on this tune. He chose not to do what many so-called smooth jazz artist do in regurgitation of the original song,by performing it  note for note instrumentally. I was amazed at his treatment of vocalizing with his very fine jazz piano chops added, he really soars on this song like no other male Jazz artist out there.

Knowing Rudi from my days living in Oakland, California and producing jazz shows with unique themes of legendary artists works. we performed on a show paying homage to the great saxophonist, Jackie McLean compositions. A wide plethora of unique compositions in various meters and styles which paid respect to Jackie’s legacy. Be sure to cash in on a Rudi’s original Precious:When the Morning Comes and Bad Habits.

I had to push you closer to this prized project, The Music for After the After Party. what a concept, so early in the morning and then again, very late too. so the perfect menu of music for that romantic part of the morning where you listen to some swing, followed by some slow romantic tunes to Hug your “sweetie” to. Follow Rudi MWONGOZI on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rudi.mwongozi or, right here at, http://www.hipstersanctuary.com

MAIA !! TAKES THE WORLD STAGE BY STORM COMING SOON INTERVIEW WITH MAIA.


posted by Kamaad Tauhid  #@blues2jazzguy

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPSU2-wVRzY9l48Hml_efp_oC8MWMm5I-C8LTHJ

 

 

I’ve been around music since I was a pup. I been around jazz since 1963, musician, actor, producer and poetry.  MAIA.. is a woman, and a group of very talented ladies that hit all the marks for me. I have not seen anybody that bring the soul, from the grassroots level like this group in a very long time. First off, You got to acknowledge the leader’s organic approach to jazz improvisations. a very percussive Vibist, but sweet melodic flute player as well, and gutsy vocals. all of their rich harmonizing skills were on display last Saturday (March 2)night. at least 4 ladies sing from lead or duets, to background. I was blown away by the “Sweet Honey in the Rock ” type version of Nina Simone’s song , Four Women”. Their jazz chops are beyond reproach, along with their arrangements harkens me to wonder, Why aren’t we hearing more about this “ladies-only group releasing spiritual jazz and potent vocals. one of the highlights of the group is, they have several generations of musicians including the leader’s granddaughter on vocals and piano. .

Members are MAIA- Vibes, Flute, Vocals, sometimes Harp, Shanta-Bass, Mbira and vocals, Aankha Neal-Vocals/Piano, Tamina Johnson- Vocals /Piano, and Aisha Gaillard Drums/percussions

Coming soon, a sit down with MAIA! leader, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. In April 2019…

COMING AUGUST 2019..POCKET JAZZ EVENTS by Robert J. Carmack     follow us on http://www.hipstersanctuary.com

JAZZ BASSIST AND POET DELIGHTS L.A. AUDIENCES IN DEBUT


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-MFABLACK 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.

journalist/actor and producer/writer,musician R.J. Carmack

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.

painting by Sam Pace

Pianist Mahesh Balasooriya

 

Guillermo E. Brown

SAXOPHONIST TEODROSS AVERY QUARTET EXPLORES MONK & COLTRANE


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a recently held concert on the campus of my Alma Mater, California State University Dominguez Hills, Dr. Teodross Avery addressed a SRO audience on the rare compositions of Jazz icons John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk.  Avery , a professor of music at the university, curated an eclectic list of compositions by the two masters. Several of the tunes , rarely played on bandstands today, offered as proof of the complexity and challenges of playing compositions by Monk or Trane. a couple of favorites of mine were presented in their full, regal splendor, Trinkle Tinkle by Monk and The Promise by Coltrane.

As a musician, Dr. Teodross Avery stands as one who defines live music—best experienced in front row, and full throttle. His commanding presence, on stage and off, reflects his musical ingenuity and skill. With an outstanding pedigree, both professionally and academically, Teodross is a saxophonist to watch, as evidenced by many of today’s biggest names in music relying on his wide musical reach.

While growing up in Oakland and Vacaville, California, Teodross’ parents exposed him to a wide range of music including traditional Eastern and Western African music, Soul, Rock, and Jazz.  Dr. Avery put together a very solid jazz unit for the Thursday night crowd at the school.

In the band with Teodross was, veteran bassist, Henry “Skipper” Franklin, former drummer for Jay Leno’s TV show, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, journeyman pianist, Theo Saunders. Saunders was on fire on several tunes by Monk.    (https://www.teodrossavery.com) the rare composition “The Promise” was opened with a Franklin pizzicato solo for a great introduction to this spiritual composition.

 

 

 

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipNYy0Lnml3w_fJ7ngHkXSRNrucUZg5r3r07GKub

 

 

 

ARETHA FRANKLIN QUEEN OF SOUL ~ THE END OF AN ERA ~1942 – 2018


 

As a baby boomer, I grew up 1950s-60s, being only 8 years behind Aretha. I was digging on all that good music from those people my parents liked, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Brook Benton, Dinah Washington, BB King, Bobby Blue Bland, Lloyd Price. Then the Motown thing hit L.A. starting with a group from Detroit named the Miracles (Shop Around 1960).

but, I also begun to get into jazz as I got older and started playing an instrument. From early 1961 to 1963, this Motown sound was picking up steam and other entertainers from Detroit, Chicago and New York were spawning new and younger acts. A couple more years passed with no acts “jumping out” there like Motown was producing at the time. Hits from Mary Wells, The Marvelettes and The Temptations really shot out there with My Girl (1964), that was followed by the Supremes and Martha & the Vandellas, “Dancing in the Streets” & “Heat Wave”. This was the phenoms from Motown that was eating up all the airwaves on the radio back then.  But, by 1966, other “Acts” started to come into sharp focus.

The Impressions, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and even Soul Brother #1, James Brown was sounding different. One evening, I was watching a local TV dance show, and this young spunky, bouncy  singer came on with this big bellowing voice.. WoW!! Who is that?? I never heard again from her until 1967, when she came on the radio with “Respect”… Man-o-Man!  I immediately recognized that voice from only a year past , this was different. She sounded like she was speaking truth, had pain from her experiences and I was relating big time.

Before  I could get to school that morning,  I heard that song about 5 times in less than an hour, by 3:pm  after school, it was all over the radio. It was on the lips of older and young people..R_E_S_P_E_C_T, Take care , TCB!! It was on like popcorn then . Her song made it to #1 in the US in 1967. This song charted to number 2 in Canada, number 10 in the UK, number 11 in the Netherlands, and number 15 in Australia. This was the beginning of a musical legend. As far as I was concern , and many of my peers agreed with me, she was as big as James Brown.. Finally we had a Queen of soul go with the King of Soul ,JB. The consistency and relentless  energy and ability to take you to church whether you wanted to go or not.

She had all that stuff inside her playing and singing you would hear in Church coming up in the black community. She had that extra gear. Her signature “hollers” was like saying “Amen to what she was putting down on the record”. That even transferred over to her live shows on TV’s Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffith and the Johnny Carson shows.

Rolling like a runaway train with hit after hit, leaving high water marks everywhere she appeared…as part of the black political and social experience, we adopted Aretha’s phrases from her songs, TCB, RESPECT, a Do Right Woman or Man. 1968 rolled into place with a plethora of hits like Dr. Feel Good, Think, Chain of Fools, and Ain’t No Way. Included in that was a song she sung at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral.

I know I will never forget about Aretha Franklin. I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that, she will never grace a stage on earth again. I feel like I’m the lucky one, because I saw the Queen “blow-away” all comers, top shelf entertainers and anybody, male or female from that perch multiple times, over decades. 40+ Grammy nominations with 18 Awards in her quiver. Masterful achievements.

As I get ready for my 50th high School reunion, I know we will be playing lots of Ree-Ree from her debut hit, “RESPECT” to her last recordings unreleased yet. There are only a handful of miracles, not the Motown kind, but could include them also on another level. But, artists like Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder..well there’s your handful. ha ha ha!! The mold was broken and never again will there be another.  Good bye Queen, I salute you with my favorite “Retha” cut…ENJOY!