If its one thing I can say about Todd Barkan, he’s one of the hardest working jazz presenters ,producer and all around good guy. Over the last few months I’ve spoken with various musicians that have either worked with, or for Todd. They all say to the man “He’s one of a kind, like family, and has his head on straight in knowing exactly where he wants to take the music” .
Among the best moves he ever made was establishing a club called The Keystone Korner..Jumping off right at a time when Jazz was waffling in the Bay area, particularly in San Francisco. With a head full of bright ideas and a few dollars, he was able to recruit some of the best musicians in the bay area at the time. He then grew that into a virtual “Who’s Who”. Its foolish to try to post a laundry list of legends who played the “Korner”.
In fact, It’s easier to say who didn’t. To name a few; Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Dexter Gordon, Bobby Hutcherson,Joe Henderson, Jimmy Smith, Freddie Hubbard, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Michael White, McCoy Tyner and on and on. Some of these stints were recorded “LIVE” and later released as collector’s sessions at the Keystone Korner. (see Bright Moments and Atlantis)
So it’s no surprise when Todd organized this 45th anniversary celebration scheduled to take place in the San Francisco bay area .. You can join him and all his friends in the Bay area July 7 & 8 2017. (see venues and times below)
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. call ahead for reservations are suggested
July 8th 2017 – PIER 23 on the EMBARCADERO -7:pm San Francisco, CA. reservations are suggested
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 other surprises.
45TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF KEYSTONE KORNER on JULY 7-8, 2017, with Charles McPherson, Gary Bartz, Eddie Henderson, Denny Zeitlin, Benito Gonzalez, Mel Martin, Ray Drummond, Juini Booth, Calvin Keys, Kenneth Nash, et al. Todd Barkan, MC.
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.
Posted by Robert J. Carmack & photos by George Jeffries & Robert Hill
Recently in Los Angeles on a stormy Friday night the heavens opened up due to The Cookers Band performing at the Nate Holden Center for the Arts. A truly rare Los Angeles appearance by 7 legendary Jazz Band, that included Tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, Trumpeter David Weiss, Bassist Cecil McBee, Trumpeter Dr. Eddie Henderson, Alto Saxophonist Donald Harrison, Veteran Drummer Billy “Jabali” Hart, and substituting for pianist George Cables was Journeyman, Stephen Scott on Piano. Once the audience settled in their seats, the group wasted no time taking us on a blissful journey.
Most tunes were expansive in content as far as improvisations, yet melodically pleasing on all fronts, whether they were “blistering” tempos in odd meters, or alternating 3/4 to 4/4.
One could only have wished for being back in time via Time machine.Hard Bop was the call of the day and the prince of night in the New York haunts and all over the east coast hot spots during the 50s and 60s .
This particular Friday night was unusual as it was raining very hard(Stormy Weather) and my getting to witness one of the last of the true Hard Bop bands ever assembled since the Jazz Messengers. Hanging out in LA is not like it use to be when I was a young pup. Hitting the spots that reeked of Jazz on a 7 nights a week basis, primarily from mid 60s up to the end of the 70s. By then, L.A. was hardly a Mecca for jazz musicians as a new form of music was dominating the radios and car tape players and later CDs.
One of the special treats for me was seeing Billy Harper play that big “Texas Tenor” approach to jazz and his very spiritual compositions in rather odd meters. I had not seen this group since I moved back to Los Angeles from the San Francisco bay area in 2009. They were frequent visitors on the circuit of clubs, festivals and wineries in northern California. I took full advantage of the presentations. A remarkable bassist, Cecil McBee was on this trip and a very good conversationalist, we spoke about jazz in general and his old days with Charles Lloyd. His resume is over flowing with a virtual who’s who in Jazz.
Missing from the lineup was in my opinion one of the most under-rated Jazz pianist since John Hicks and Bobby Timmons, George Cables, who was still in rehab from health challenges. Incidentally, The Cookers group chose another young man who has been “putting-in” his work. Steady on the scene “quiet as kept”, Mr. Stephen Scott. He filled in admirably and commendable with those blistering solos on classics like the jazz messengers favorite by Freddie Hubbard, “Crisis” and “Croquet Ballet” by Billy Harper. The band took the audience on a celestial journey with another Harper composition, If Our Hearts Could Only See, beautiful solos by members of the band, including somewhat new to me seeing him in this type of setting of late, Mr. Donald Harrison on alto, in the past I have seen Craig Handy or the master woodwinds icon, James Spaulding. Spaulding by the way is one of four surviving original musicians on the 1965 “Night of the Cookers date, featuring a battle Royale between Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan…Both Titans of the time, when this writer was in high school.
The band did not disappoint with a litany of great compositions from the past and present. where the improvisations were strictly top shelf.
Dr. Eddie Henderson’s playing, along with David Weiss kept me and the rest of the audience on the edge of our seats, clamoring for more even after a one and a half-hour set. “No Seven ways about it, Pound for Pound, The Cookers are the Rolls Royce on the scene, keeping the Flame nicely stoked.”
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
by Kevin Goins – Music/Media Consultant/Contributor
RUDY VAN GELDER – IN MEMORIAM…..
Damn, Grim Reaper…bad enough we’ve seen many folks go to the Great Beyond before we hit mid-year, no thanks to you. And this week, you just had to go for the flippin’ trifecta. Toots, Steven Hill, and now this great master of recording engineering.
If you own any jazz albums released on labels such as Blue Note, Prestige, Verve, Impulse, MGM, CTI or KUDU, the name of RUDY VAN GELDER would be found in the credits.
A New Jersey native of which optometry was his original profession, Van Gelder began recording jazz musicians within the living room of his parents’ home in Hackensack (they later built an extension to their house to serve as a full-functioning studio). Word spread quickly to jazz labels, which resulted in many great, classic recordings being made with Rudy overseeing the engineering, mixing and mastering.
In 1959, five years after he launched his career, Rudy Van Gelder opened the now famous recording studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. And the records kept on coming.
Okay, the short list…. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme, Blue Train Miles Davis – The Musings of Miles, Blue Moods, Walkin’, Miles Davis/Milt Jackson Quintet/Sextet Charles Earland – Black Talk! Jimmy Smith – The Cat, Bashin’, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Monster, The Sermon Wes Montgomery – Tequila, Bumpin’, Goin’ Out Of My Head, A Day In The Life Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder, Thelonius Monk – Hackensack Modern Jazz Quartet – Concorde, Django Hank Mobley Sextet – Hank Sonny Rollins – Moving Out, Saxophone Colossus Quincy Jones – This Is How I Feel About Jazz, Gulu Matari, Walking In Space Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage, Speak Like A Child Ray Charles – Genius +Soul=Jazz Stanley Turrentine – Sugar Willie Bobo – Spanish Grease Cal Tjader – Several Shades of Jade George Benson – Good King Bad, Body Talk, The Shape of Things to Come, The Other Side of Abbey Road Deodato – Prelude, Deodato 2 Grover Washington, Jr. – Mister Magic Esther Phillips – From A Whisper To A Scream
Like I said, folks…the short list. The man engineered over 2000 albums Y’all can Google the rest.
What made Van Gelder’s work stand out above the rest of the engineers? It was the way he was able to capture a warm, full sound via his mixing and engineering. Yes, the man had a penchant for reverb (listen to the Verve and A&M/CTI recordings) but at the same time, it did help create a dynamic effect.
Fast forward to the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the millennium – Van Gelder was commissioned by EMI to remaster his prior Blue Note works under the RVG Remastered Series – which also included recordings released on Capitol Records (Cannonball Adderly’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy and Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool albums).
Sadly, Rudy Van Gelder passed away Thursday, August 25th, at the age of 91.
What else can be said? Coming from yours truly, my appreciation for not only jazz but the way music and artists were recorded came from listening to the albums Rudy Van Gelder engineered and mastered. As a college student earning my degree in audio production, studying the man’s works was an absolute must.
As far as the time spent as a radio DJ at Ithaca College, one of many who hosted WICB-FM’s Jazz Impressions (1985-1988), there wasn’t a record I spun that didn’t have Van Gelder’s touch
To Mr. Van Gelder, thank you for making music and records sound so damn good .
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.