posted by Karmaad Tauhid #@blues2jazzguy
posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
Once in a lunar eclipse weekend you might get some pretty good entertainment in selected spots around Los Angeles, but to get great jazz, that requires planning ahead and research. for the last 39 years , in an unlikely area of south central Los Angeles wedged between a Junior high school , railroad tracks, some proud residents, and a Los Angeles landmark , built by an immigrant, Simon Rhodia of concrete, steel and broken glass.
The Watts Towers Jazz Festival took its familiar bow September 26 & 27th . The festival features a “Day of the Drum“, with supporting activities of all cultures and ethnicities celebration of drums, throw in Jazz from around the world by local, regional and international musicians performing on a live stage that looked like a revival tent. This writer had planned in advance to get there in time to catch Carmen Lundy & Patrice Rushen performing as single acts , but also together as well.
Carmen took the stage with her own group featuring her iconic bassist and brother, Curtis Lundy. After a couple of hot jazz numbers , Carmen called up Patrice to sit in with her group on selections from her 14th new CD as a leader. Rushen was simply stellar in her improvisations on cuts like “Life is a Song in Me” and title track, “Soul to Soul”. In my humble opinion , this is Grammy material. grab a copy at your usual source for purchasing music online.
Patrice Rushen and Ndugu are both products of the Watts community ,while being alumni of Locke High school under the mentorship of musician /Educator Reggie Andrews. Patrice and Ndugu fronted an all-star band of Nedra Wheeler on Bass and Justo Almario on saxophone, Munyungo Jackson on percussion. In their set they chose to celebrate the genius of several iconic jazz masters, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver, and a couple of others to the audience’s delight.
Weekend’s events were beautifully MC’d by Jazz program host James Janisse, and Poet Laureate and Griot ,Kamau Daood.
posted by robert j. carmack #@blues2jazzguy
SONNY ROLLINS SEPTEMBER 7 1930
Sonny Rollins turned 85 years old today . its hard to believe ,not because of his age, but, in spite of his age. He still holds court somewhere in the world on major stages blowing long, multi-note phrases, swinging violently on the most miniscule of sub-themes set up by his own improvisations. Very few things are more exciting than watching and listening to Sonny Rollins in Beast mode. My first experience seeing and hearing him was as a curious child watching 1950s television, that just happened to have a jazz band playing that night. I saw this really cool looking black man with a shiny horn , sun glasses and a Mohawk. I think it was Steve Allen or Jack Parr’s version of the The Tonight Show. Sonny Rollins was more than a jazz musician, he was a mentor to other jazz musicians, cultural and fashion icon whose influences went beyond the bandstand as well. He was the first black man I ever saw with a Mohawk (1959)..Quite the dresser on stage when he wanted to, He was the first I ever saw with clean-shaved head(1960s) and diamond-studded Ascot.
My first live Sonny Rollins concert, I was now 21 and living in Los Angeles 1971, he was performing at the museum of modern Art outside.. I watched with such wide-eyed delight as he swung so hard on unbelievable tempos, countered that with such tender,velvety arpeggios like he did on such classics as, I Can’t Get Started or Don’t Blame Me. Fast-forward to late 1990s and I’m now living in Atlanta Georgia watching a much older man with full head of snow-white hair and full beard, with a very nice suit with red “Chuck Taylor” Converse basketball shoes. This time his band personnel was young guys except for his long-time bassist Bob Cranshaw. The results were still the same…long-winded solos on jazz standards and some west indian folk songs paying homage to Rollins’ West Indian roots.
This man has appeared in countless numbers of countries on even more super numbers of stages,over (7) seven decades of playing professionally and like a great Rolls Royce classic, even though high milage, He still purrs and runs like new.
Well done sir! Happy Birthday Sonny, keep coming back!
posted by Robert J. Carmack with photos by Chuck Koton
August 29 is a very lively day for many and jazz is no stranger, as it’s the birthdate of three prominent saxophonists, Charlie Parker, Bobby Watson and multi-reeds man,Bennie Maupin. The Blue Whale jazz club of Los Angeles was rocking for two nights as Bennie Maupin and his working band (Derek Oles-bass and Munyungo Jackson-percussion) performed outstandingly on both Friday the 28th and 29th,with Saturday night, August 29 being the celebratory night with special invited guests to perform as well, including very special guest Ms. Patrice Rushen.
it was 2 nights at the Blue Whale celebrating Bennie’s 75th birthday…munyungo and Darek Oles(bass) have played with him for years, however, this weekend Bennie added young Gene Coye(drums)Josh Johnson(alto sax) an alumnus from the Monk Institute; Jeff Parker(guitar)
Patrice killed as did everyone..he closed with the hit funk tune from Headhunters.. Chameleon.
Bennie blew like he was 25!
posted by #@blues2jazzguy Robert J. Carmack
What would an installment of the Chicago Jazz Festival be without a Freeman family reunion? But September 4th’s performance by saxophonist Chico and his guitarist uncle George will offer, in the parlance of Monty Python, something completely different. Performing music from their new Southport Records album, All in the Family, their all-star band will offer what Chico called a “panorama” of Chicago musical styles – one that will capture both the sounds the city is known for internationally (he has lived for two years in Switzerland) and some distant listener might not associate with the home of tough tenors. THE CHICAGO PROJECT featuring George Freeman
And so we can expect a parcel of Chico’s brawny tenor and George’s keening bebop guitar, as well as free improvisations with AACM etched in their DNA. We can expect a sampling of the Latin fusion Chico has long specialized in and the ’70s soul jazz for which the one-of-a-kind George is celebrated. And then there is “Vonski,” George’s tribute to tenor legend Von Freeman, his departed brother and Chico’s father, a duet that is one of the album’s highlights.
At 88 more of a cult figure than ever, he has lost none of his zing or zang as a soloist, or his ability to come up with effects you simply haven’t heard before. He’s a walking repository of sounds, dating back to his playing days with Lester Young and Charlie Parker. On tenor and soprano, Chico has an excitable presence. The Freemans will be joined by longtime collaborators: Mike Allemana, Von’s longtime guitarist, pianist Kirk Brown, bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Ernie Adams, plus Swiss percussionist Reto Weber, who plays the hang, a steel-drum-like instrument of his own devise.
posted by #@blues2jazzguy
Duane Deterville shown here with Editor of Hipster Sanctuary, Robert J. Carmack. Deterville in Los Angeles recently for a guest lecture examining the iconography, structure, and layered meanings in Kahlil Joseph: Double Conscience. The scholarly artist,writer specializes in African and Afro-Diasporic Visual Culture.
Deterville previously wrote on Joseph’s film Until the Quiet Comes (2012), using African cosmology as an explanatory legend for the film’s magnetic imagery. “The Afriscape Ghost Dance on Film” appeared as a two-part essay in the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)’s publication Open Space, where Deterville is an alumni columnist. In addition to everything else, Duane, Jazz archivist/historian also has a succinct and essential jazz collection in vinyl of primo Jazz artists. https://www.facebook.com/theafriscape
2006, in Oakland,California, Carmack collaborated with Deterville and his organization,Sankofa Institute. As part of an art symposium entitled Bird, Bop, Black Art and Beyond. Mr Carmack presented a work in progress one-act play on Charlie Parker, Wounded Feathers: a Jazz Tragedy. In addition, Robert participated in a forum panel of experts,musicians,archivists and super-fans on the “STATE OF JAZZ”, and where its headed.
Every Friday at 6pm the L.A.County Museum of Art presents a free Jazz series that start in early Spring until October,featuring local and regional musicians and vocalists. http://www.lacma.org