A Brush With Immortality: Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, and Jackie McLean


BENEATH THE SPIN  Posted by Eric L. Wattree                                via #blues2jazzguy

I went to Shelly’s Manhole with some older brothers to see Thelonious Monk one night, and I noticed that Monk kept looking over at me as he was playing. It made me nervous because I was under age and I thought he was gonna give me up and tell ’em to kick me out. They already knew me at the clubs around town. I knew damn near every waitress in this city. Sometimes they’d let me stay, and other times they’d kick me out – I never did figure out what made the difference. And they’d never serve me drinks, so I’d have to order something non-alcoholic and bring my own. But I wanted to be accepted as a sophisticated adult more than anything in life, so sometime I’d put the bass in my voice and try to casually order Scotch on the rocks. But the waitress would just look at me sideways like, “You’re lucky I’m letting you stay here, so don’t push it, buddy.” T Monk  at Piano plaid jacket .             One or two of the waitresses who’d been around for a while knew my mother when she was working as a greeter at Dynamite Jackson’s, and I think they put the word out on me. So they’d tolerate me, but they just wouldn’t let me be the man who I wanted to be so desperately, because I wasn’t. It’s sort of funny when I look back on it. Had I been sophisticated enough to know what adulthood actually entailed, I would have been more desperate to hold on to those precious years than was I to become an adult. . So I just kept coming back and braving the humiliation, because from the time I was 12 years old I loved everything, and everybody, associated with jazz. I got that gene from my father. As I’ve said many times before, my father thought the only reason the Sun came up was to keep Bird’s reeds warm. I had to fight the preacher at his funeral to have Jackie McLean playing “Love and Hate” in the background. I told the preacher if they don’t have jazz in Heaven, the Pearly Gates would constitute the entrance to Hell for my father. The irony was, when I was done reading the eulogy that I’d written for my father (Blues For Mr. C), with Jackie Playing softly in the background, that very same preacher came up to me and asked me for a copy.    Monk meditating in Cosick Hat . On that particular night, however, after his first set, Monk walked up to me and TOLD me, “Come with me.” He took me back to the musician’s lounge where Nelly was, and asked, “Who does he remind you of?” And she said, “TOOTIE!” – Monk’s son. . He saw me as a young wide-eyed joke, and I was. I was 16 and on a roll (I had just seen John Coltrane a couple of weeks earlier). Monk asked me, “What you know about jazz, boy?” And I started telling him about all the urban legends that I’d heard about him. As he was listening intently to one of my stories he asked me, “Damn! What did I do then!!!?” You have to know how Monk was to know why I look back on that as being so funny, because he was dead serious. He got into the story like I was telling him a story about someone else. I never did find out whether the story was true or not. But When I was done, he told his wife, Nelly, “Shit, he knows more about me than I do,” and they started laughing’ their asses off. . I spent that entire night with them, because I was so young that Nelly was worried that I was gonna be picked up by one of those,”Hollywood perverts.” Monk told Nelly, “Shit,who you should be worried about is (Blank)? ” – his drummer (I’m not gonna give his name because he’s famous and he’s never been outed as gay). But for the rest of the night I sat in the front row next to Nelly, and after the gig I went to their hotel room with them and we grubbed and talked. I told him how I planned on becoming a great saxophone player someday, and I asked him everything I could think of about Bird. I remember him telling me, “Naw, you don’t want to be Bird, unless you like bein’ broke. How much money you got?” I had about five dollars in my pocket. And he said, “Shit, you already richer than Bird was half the time,” and then started laughing’. Nelly said, “Don’t say that, T!” They dropped me off at my mother’s door just as the Sun was coming up. It was a night I will never forget. monk's dream album cover . After that episode, the OGs made me a celebrity in the hood. I’ve never had that much attention before, or since. I had attracted the interest of THELONIOUS MONK. EVERYBODY wanted to know EVERY detail of what went down, and every detail about Monk that they could get – everybody, including Jimmy, the brilliant dope fiend that my father had hired to teach me to play the saxophone. There are a lot of details that I’ve left out of this story, and I remember every detail like it happened last night, but I do intend to write about it, and every nuance of that great man in the most minute detail in the near future, because it’s of historic significance. People STILL don’t realize how great that man was. You can listen to “Ruby My Dear,” or “Round Midnight,” and they constitute a MASTER’S CLASS on what contemporary music is all about. I could appreciate that even back then. So I thank God that I had the sense to know that I was in the presence of immortality. . I also intend to write about an entire New Years weekend that I spent with Dexter Gordon during the 70s. He grew up two blocks from my mother and they both went to Jefferson High School here in Los Angeles. She graduated; he went on the road with Lionel Hampton at 17 years old. During that weekend Dex made a passing comment regarding how I idolized him that ended up becoming the guiding philosophy of my life – “Learn to become your own hero, because you’re the only one who won’t let you down.” He also told me, “Whenever you hear me play a lick, your very first thought should be about how you could go about playing it better.” He was right, and that was the key to his greatness. Lester Young was his main man, and you could hear Lester in him, but he wasn’t Lester – he was Dexter, and nobody did it better. But he was wrong about one thing. He never did let me down. He blew the lights out until his very last breath. But I’ve taken him at his word, nevertheless, and he became my last hero. That’s turned me into a severe cynic over the years, and that very cynicism has been of tremendous value to me as a writer. I don’t trust the word of nobody, so I start off every piece I write by probing for lies.

Eric Wattree
Award-winning writer, Eric L. Wattree
Advertisements

DALE FIELDER QUARTET ROBERT J. CARMACK PERFORMS JAZZ & POETRY CONCERT


MOON GLOW PRODUCTIONS presents The SATURDAY JAM                 

eclectic jazz Improvisations and riveting original poetry

THE DALE FIELDER QUARTET  with Special Guest Poet  

Dale fielder  sax orange shirtROBERT J. CARMACK          

@ KINGSTON CAFE 333 FAIR OAKS Blvd.  off  DEL MAR Ave.  PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91105

SAT.  APRIL 18 2015   7pm to 9pm 

$15 cover (pay at door only)  

Limited Seating 

Robert J. Carmack Publisher ,writer, musician, playwright ,poet http://www.hipstersanctuary.com

  KINGSTON CAFE    Upscale Jamaican Cuisine restaurant featuring all of your favorite entrees, along with a fully-stocked Bar for your pleasure and delight .

2015 is proving to be a very special year for both talents as The Dale Fielder Quartet is celebrating 20 years as a group, virtually unheard of in today’s music business. Robert co-founded a jazz newsletter 17 years ago (The Hipster) as part of the Atlanta International Jazz Society, thats grown into a full-blown music Blog dedicated to classic Jazz, Blues and Soul music makers and their roots/history.

Both Leos, Dale Fielder & Robert Carmack are longtime friends and artists in constant creative mode. Fielder is set to record his 16th CD; “RESILIENCE.”  A release date has not been set yet.

Carmack has penned another unique musical revue set in the 1950s and 60s Los Angeles, weaving a story around the music scene in L.A. while paying Homage to the music of, Nellie Lutcher, Ray Charles, Etta James, Bobby Blue Bland and Sarah Vaughn to name a few.

“CHITLIN’ CIRCUIT” written,directed and produced by Carmack, is debuting a Sneak Preview in late June 2015, as part of Black Music month (www.hipstersanctuary.com) production. “I met Dale while hanging out at a very popular coffeehouse in the 90s, 5th Street Dick’s in Leimert Park, said Carmack. It was in early 1993 as the area was trying to get back on track after the L.A. riot in 1992. an entire community of artist all came together inside a small area called Leimert Park (Village) groups of small business people, often marketing Afro centric wares, and crafts. One was a former homeless person living on the streets of downtown Los Angeles, who parlayed his 12 step-recovery and saved enough money to open a Jazz coffee-house. That owner gave Dale Fielder a spot hosting the jam sessions at midnight every weekend, while jazz flowed downstairs and out into 43rd  and Degnan sidewalks. People came and came and came including the media cameras, movie celebrities and all the best young cats in jazz to jam and people watch.

This all coincided with what was happening with the Wynton Marsalis crowd, created an upsurge in Jazz spots in LA once again, because of three spots, Marla’s Memory lane, 5th Street Dick’s and Billy Higgins, master jazz drummer & Kamau Daaood developed the World Stage. A performance /workshop for musicians, poets and writers. Dale Fielder was at the forefront of all that. He went on to win the Jazz Discovery artist at TV network, BET in 1995/96. By then, he’d already produced three very solid CDs, including “Dear Sir” a moving tribute to Wayne Shorter’s music and was getting wide rotation and coverage on radio across the country. Fielder even had the blessings of Wayne Shorter himself as Dale performed songs from the newly released CD with the maestro himself in the house staying late and digging on the young saxophonist peppering solos.

Dale has been all around the world practically with the Quartet, sometimes Quintet. After 20 years, the passion has only gotten stronger with Dale, and his historic band, Pianist Jane Getz, Drummer Thomas White and Bassist, Bill “The Count” Markus. This band just knows how to squeeze every drop of soul, power, passion and sometimes romance out of the notes. The stories they tell through their instruments are like classic volumes in your personal library.

Don’t miss out on celebrating 20 years of fun-filled excitement and adventure with Dale Fielder as leader of the DFQ.

Save the date and RSVP for April 18th 7pm to 9pm @ The Kingston Café Pasadena California  

333 South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105

For questions about show or tickets *** contact Moon Glow Productions Marcia (626) 818-3160

Hipster Sanctuary.com  Robert 951-840-7120

@Moon Glow

 

TALKING JAZZ DAILY WITH CARL ANTHONY : NOTORIUS JAZZ.COM


GET YOUR DAILY DOSE OF JAZZ  with CARL TODAY!!http://notoriousjazz.com/era/1941-1960/daily-dose-of-jazz-1115

Barons of Hard Bop Piano: One Night Only Lincoln Center Jazz


Jazz Piano Summit: Cedar Walton & Barry Harris

The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center     New York City, N.Y.

jazz-piano-sumit-920Two jazz piano greats, Cedar Walton and Barry Harris, share the stage for what promises to be one great night of music. Best known for his hard bop style, Walton made a name for himself early on performing in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, alongside Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard. He’s also the composer of several jazz standards, such as “Firm Roots, “Bolivia,” “Cedar’s Blues” and “Fantasy in D” (aka “Ugetsu”). Barry Harris’ bebop stylings have been heard jamming with such luminaries as Cannonball Adderley, Coleman Hawkins and Dexter Gordon. Extremely prolific, Harris has recorded 19 albums as a lead artist and has been honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. These two piano legends will be joined by Buster Williams on bass and Willie Jones III on drums.

Follow this story with #Bop Barons on twitter @blues2jazzguy

TWO SHOWS ONLY    SATURDAY,  JUNE 22   7:30pm   &  9:30pm 

KENNY GARRETT AHMAD JAMAL RAVI COLTRANE SURPRISE 55th GRAMMY NOMINEES


Grammy Nominee RAVI COLTRANE
Grammy Nominee RAVI COLTRANE

As reported in Jazz’s Downbeat magazine, Pianist Chick Corea, bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, pianist Ahmad Jamal, saxophonist Kenny Garrett are among the artists nominated for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. The nominations were announced on Dec. 5.  Among the usual suspects were some surprises this year, Ravi Coltrane  and Ahmad Jamal being nominated in Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Jazz Instrumental respectively.

Corea, a prolific pianist/keyboardist who works in a variety of settings, will compete against himself in a couple of categories. The five discs nominated in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category are Further Explorations (Concord), a trio project that Corea recorded with bassist Eddie Gomez and the late drummer Paul Motian; Hot House (Concord), a collaboration between Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton; Garrett’s Seeds From The Underground(Mack Avenue); pianist Ahmad Jamal’s Blue Moon(Jazz Village); and Unity Band (Nonesuch), a project that guitarist Pat Metheny recorded with saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Antonio Sanchez and bassist Ben Williams.

Familiar names also populate the list of nominations for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. The nominees are Corea and Burton, for the title track to Hot House; Corea, for “Alice In Wonderland” from Further Explorations; Garrett, for “J. Mac” from Seeds From The Underground; pianist Brad Mehldau, for the title track to his trio project Ode (Nonesuch); and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, for “Cross Roads” from Spirit Fiction (Blue Note).

Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza simultaneously released two outstanding albums on the Sunnyside label on Aug. 28, and each project has received a Grammy nomination. The Book Of Chet, a tribute to the music of Chet Baker, received a nod in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category.

Souza’s Duos III is nominated in the Best Latin Jazz Album category, where she’ll be competing against Chano Domínguez’s Flamenco Sketches (Blue Note); the Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band’s Ritmo! (Clare Fischer Productions/Clavo Records); the Bobby Sanabria Big Band’s Multiverse (Jazzheads); and New Cuban Express (Mavo Records) by Manuel Valera New Cuban Express. follow Robert J. Carmack  events & blogs via twitter @blues2jazzguy672175_020911spalding1 Grammy Now