MUSIC IS YOUR DESTINY: INTERVIEW WITH DESTINY MUHAMMAD~ “HARPIST FROM DA’ HOOD”


posted by Robert J. Carmack ~ @blues2jazzguy -You know its very hard to find a word that describes a person perfectly, but I just may have. what I mean is, I googled the word Destiny and it read, ” the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future. Also, “the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate. HOWEVER. Sometimes if you’re lucky and say your prayers, you just might meet a talented, sublime musician who happens to play a very unique instrument in a small community of players within a special genre..the original art form of America, JAZZ.

Destiny Muhammad is a Recording/ Performing Artist | Band Leader | Composer & Producer. Her genre is Celtic to Coltrane is cool and eclectic with a feel of Jazz & storytelling to round out the sonic experience.  The original harp is one of the world’s oldest instrument and toughest to master, even more challenging than the piano its self. when I was growing up in Los Angeles and studying music as a teenager I wanted to learn jazz and sought out all kinds of musicians besides saxophone players to listen and learn from. One of those unique musicians was a lady name, Dorothy Ashby, who played the harp, but not just in a classical music setting,but onstage with jazz hungry fans , in clubs, cultural arts centers and later, concert halls late 1960s through the 1980s.
(Dorothy Ashby August 6, 1930 – April 13, 1986)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dorothy Ashby was Destiny’s big influence early on long before Alice Coltrane’s huge shadow loomed large in her life. But what was really a “head-scratcher” for me was when she mentioned in an interview I held with her recently. While as a child watching TV, a man with wild hair and zany behavior. He abruptly stopped and stared at a Harp momentarily, then sat down and begun to play a beautiful solo. She was watching a famous scene from a “Marx Brothers” film. That was just the spark needed in her little head. She went wow! I would like to play that. As a little girl growing up in the Compton community and going to Tibby elementary school. Destiny could only dream, as her mom had very little money and instruments were not in the cards. Even later as she grew up and tried to learn the violin, it did not “cut it for her.” Things were changing at home and her mom moved to San Pedro area projects for low-income, about the time for her to go to high school, she joined a vocal choir and wanted to take piano lessons but again was told they could not afford lesson. Frustrated but not deterred from her dream, Destiny became a barber, a good one too, which gave her independence and decision making power to pursue whatever she wanted.  But before she knew it, she was approaching 30 years old and needed to sink or swim.making up her mind to go for it musically she began her journey as a harp player by beginning with the rudimentary method of mastering an instrument late in life. A very challenging endeavor, but none the less not impossible. She moved to Oakland East Bay area and sought out help, advice, direction. After a tad bit of finding her niche’, she found people like trumpeter Khalid Shaheed, pianist Tammy Hall and the legendary trumpeter Eddie Gale among many others. Now over 25 years later, she is being blessed beyond words. Not worrying about how long it took, but what she is doing now that she has arrived.

Destiny has opened for The Oakland East Bay Symphony and Smooth Jazz Artist Gerald Albright, shared the stage with Jazz Masters Marcus Shelby, Omar Sosa, Blue Note Artist Ambrose Akisemuire, and Azar Lawrence to name a few. She has headlined for ‘Women in Jazz’ Concert series, the Afro Solo/ Yerba Buena Gardens Concert Festival, Sunday’s in the Redwoods Concert, Fest Sundiata, and SFJAZZ Tribute to Alice Coltrane’s epic album Impulse Release ‘Journey in  Satchidananda .

Destiny is the Principal Harpist for the Eddie Gale Inner Peace Orchestra, the Oakland Community Orchestra and performs with The AWESOME Orchestra.

The Destiny Muhammad JAZZ Trio~Following in the footsteps of jazz harp master Dorothy Ashby (who recorded with everyone from Freddie Hubbard and Frank Wess to Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder), the Destiny Muhammad Jazz Trio is a sleek and soulful ensemble designed to showcase Muhammad’s soaring vocals and transporting string work. 

That second and most highly touted Jazz musician, pianist, composer and master harpist, the late Alice Coltrane. A profound influence on Destiny as a musician, composer but, also as a woman in a male-dominated genre. She has been given high praises by her peers and fellow bay area jazz musicians, as well as prestigious arts organization and music societies.

Whether interpreting jazz standards or her original tunes, Muhammad turns every piece into a soulful adventure.      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hora0U6vvDw

 

A plethora of achievements and awards received in a little over 25 years after not even starting until she was 30 years old on her instrument. Governor Emeritus and Educational Chair Emeritus of the Recording Academy, Jazz Heritage Center of San Francisco Jazz Ambassador,  ASCAP Songwriter Awardee, and Judge for The West Coast Songwriters Contest and Northern California Entertainers Music Awards Female Jazz Artist of the Year.

I asked Destiny what was her greatest joy in music? she said with glee, “That I’m still playing after starting late at 30 and taking that leap of faith. You can follow Destiny’s career and keep up with her gigs by going to her website:http://destinymuhammad.com

If you missed her moving tribute to the great Alice Coltrane the first time,  see information below for tickets and or general information regarding the Concert, Alice Coltrane~Sonic Legacy August 26, 2018 – two shows only!

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COMING IN AUGUST 2018~A MOVING TRIBUTE TO ALICE COLTRANE : DESTINY MUHAMMAD


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming JULY 4 2018- a Musical Chat with the Harpist from the Hood, Destiny Muhammad follow us @  http://www.hipstersanctuary.com

MILES & TRANE: TWO TITANS TURNING 90


posted by ROBERT J. CARMACK  #blues2jazzguy

John W. Coltrane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its 2016, that means Messers ,Miles Dewey Davis and John William Coltrane,both born in 1926 is turning 90 years old . I’m excited and curious about what’s going to happen event-wise. What is radio,print and internet going to do? Miles has a tremendous jump on things ,since a movie about part of his life is due out. Probably around his birthday weekend which is in May.

John Coltrane’s peeps have been rather silent and crickets-like when it comes to making a splash..Not a peep. Don’t get me wrong I’m not admonishing them for not being all social media “blitzy” like the Miles Davis camp. But its par for the course when you’re dealing with the rather flamboyant persona and spirit of Miles Davis. Films, postage stamps,Tee shirts,posters and tribute CDs and “live”concerts with artists all paying homage.

miles-davis-round-about-midnight-1600-cover NOW

It’s really amazing that these two, of all the musicians that matter are still attached, even after their leaving this earth. With Coltrane being gone the longest (July 17 1967) this year marking 49 years in July. Miles transitioned in September of 1991, which is at 25 years. I suspect there will be a lot more events and activity for Miles before his birthday gets here, all aiding in promoting the new film by Don Cheadle as Director and Actor.

From this day forth, I will be monitoring the scene nationally to see “who does what and when.” The beauty of such a monumental occasion is a great opportunity for the jazz community to come together and promote the legacy that these two left behind for us to study, enjoy, and pass along to the next generation. in my lifetime, I have been able to absorb a great deal of their art on vinyl,CDs,tapes,canvass,film and video.

My hope is that, someone or organization will put together an assortment of events that will garner international attention as these two giants of Jazz approach a “MILESTONE.” No pun intended! Lol!!

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY 75th BIRTHDAY BABA PHAROAH SANDERS


posted by Karmaad  Tauhid  #@blues2jazzguy

PHAROAH SANDERS
PHAROAH SANDERS
PHAROAH SANDERS AND JOHN COLTRANE - mid 1960s
PHAROAH SANDERS AND JOHN COLTRANE – mid 1960s

Pharoah Red shirt silver horn

PATRICE RUSHEN & CARMEN LUNDY HIGHLIGHT 39TH ANNUAL WATTS TOWERS JAZZ FESTIVAL


posted by Robert J. Carmack  #@blues2jazzguy

Patrice Rushen and Carmen lundy
file photo by Robert Carmack Patrice Rushen & Carmen Lundy shown at Ford Theater Hollywood

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 Lundy
carmen Lundy

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. 

Chuk Koton- Patrice Rushen
photo by Chuck Koton

Weekend’s events were beautifully MC’d by Jazz program host James Janisse, and Poet Laureate and Griot ,Kamau Daood.

Jazz drummer Fritz Wise, Poet/Jazz griot Kamau Daood with Music journalist Robert J. Carmack
Jazz drummer Fritz Wise, Poet/Jazz griot Kamau Daood with Music journalist Robert J. Carmack @ Watts Towers Jazz Festival photo by Joyce Wilson
hand made Quilt made by artist, Ramesses
hand made Quilt made by artist, Ramesses

Patrice Rush NOW WATTS

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA SCHOLAR AND ARTIST DUANE DETERVILLE @ LACMA JAZZ


posted by #@blues2jazzguy

left) jazz journalist and producer Robert J. Carmack with prolific artist and lecturer, Duane Deterville

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

RIFFIN’ WITH CLASSIC AVANT GARDE JAZZ MAN BOBBY BRADFORD


posted by Robert J. Carmack / Chuck Koton-Photos

Jazz Trumpeter Bobby Bradford
Jazz Trumpeter Bobby Bradford

One of the best part of living in Los Angeles besides the weather, is the plethora of great art museums. The County of Los Angeles on Wilshire for Modern Art has been pumping out great live jazz concerts for years. many I have been witness to, and some I missed. Unfortunately, I missed the recent Friday evening’s lineup (August 14) when the Bobby Bradford Ensemble came on like “a Tsunami” to the capacity audience in the outside venue.  what a band he brought on this warm,sunny day. (Band ) Bobby Bradford on cornet, Vinny Golia on bari sax and bass clarinet, William Roper/tuba, vocalist Dwight Trible, trumpeter Josh Aguiar, Cathlene Pineda/piano, bass clarinet, tenor sax Brian Walsh, Tina Raymond/drums and Zephyr Avalon on bass.

Bobby Bradford B
Vinny Golia bari-Sax & Trumpeter Bobby Bradford

Fortunately for me, my good friend and well respected jazz photographer Chuck Koton attended the outstanding concert  where he was able to  capture some of the electricity coming out of the musicians, including special guest vocalist Dwight Trible. Trible “delivered the word” on the now classic ode to Lester Young, by legendary bassist Charlie Mingus, Good Bye Pork Pie Hat.  

Dwight Trible singing Good Bye Pork Pie Hat
Dwight Trible singing Good Bye Pork Pie Hat

It was less than two weeks ago, a maximum crowd watched Dwight Trible perform with his own group at LACMA ,taking the audience on a pleasant mystic journey. Bobby has always had the midas touch in knowing which ingredients to toss into the Jazz gumbo he’s been known for. Putting the right personnel for the sound chemistry that exist in the players.

Vinny Golia Bari sax Now
Vinny Golia bari sax

My first experience with Bobby Bradford was in college, as he was my professor of Afro-American music, circa 1972. At that time Bradford was co-leading a local band of journeymen musicians including fellow music educator and co-founder, John Carter, an able-bodied woodwinds player,primarily clarinet.  You can dismiss without investigation, but listening to Bradford in 2015 is like being a time machine,catapulting you into an Astral -traveling scene that constantly changes, which is what improvisations is all about.. go to the internet for further study on Bobby Bradford..