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.
The Great Bassist from Indiana, who more times than not was the steady bass player for Sonny Rollins. Cranshaw had been battling a series of challenging ailments. but it’s believed that he succumbed to his battle with Cancer. Cranshaw, IMHO, was one of the top five bassists in modern jazz history. My first experience hearing Bob Cranshaw was on the Blue Note Records classic by Lee Morgan, The Sidewinder, One of of the most commercially successful record ever recorded in Jazz. (1964)
The title track Sidewinder was the very last song added to complete the album, according to Cranshaw. Lee came up with the melody while on break from the session, Lee then asked Bob to come up with a pick-up line .The now famous bass-line pickup to begin the groove is talked about in detail via an interview from a documentary on Blue Note Records.
One other note at some point as he got older, Cranshaw chose not to play the upright Bass, which seemed awkward at first since he was performing with the great Sonny Rollins for decades. I have seen many concerts with Sonny Rollins over my lifetime, with most of those “gigs” with Cranshaw on Electric Bass, by closing your eyes one could hardly tell the difference.
We in the jazz community will sorely miss Bob Cranshaw out there, bringing smiles to our faces as he practiced his craft for over 7 decades . Rest in Loving Peace Bob & Join the Jam session in the sky where all the greats go.
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 .
“Changing your life can be difficult. What are the options if you do not? More sickness, sadness and pain. Create a habit of loving yourself – being kind to yourself – enhancing your life. Give us 21, 30 or 45 days to detox your body and re-invigorate your well-being. We will help you form the habit!”
posted by @blues2jazzguy concert photos only by Jerone Myles
One of the best feeling in the world is when you plan,execute and get back a return on your effort in double spades..No, I’m not playing cards, even though I am using a card game metaphor. On August 22,last saturday night, a group of master musicians, two vocalists! and a poet came together in a show entitled,The Genius and Music of DUKE PEARSON: Thank You Uncle Duke
Working with Jon Williams to secure the World Stage with our idea to honor a man, most deserving equally,as the man who founded the world Stage, Billy Higgins. Higgins was one of the most recorded drummer in jazz history. Pearson had his hands on many of the classic albums ever produced by Blue Note Records, many of which was backed by Billy Higgins on drums,
The evening’s program kicked off with producer/host, Robert J. Carmack introducing the band,The Uncle Duke Legacy Band,which featured the piano stylings of Jazz veteran pianist, Bobby West. Before the music began,Carmack presented a letter from the Duke Pearson family. Which in short thanked the The World Stage,and their staff, Jon Williams and Sister Renee for their efforts. Also, Robert J. Carmack and all the Band members and vocalists participating. They also invited the the audience and fans alike to visit and join the Duke Pearson Tribute page on Facebook. The letter was signed by Mr. Gerald R. Ford( no relations) the nephew, Greetings and thanks from his mother and Duke’s sister,Myrtle(81)last survivor of Pearson’s direct family members.
Several choice Pearson compositions were played by the Band, including two non-Pearson tunes but were either recorded by or worked with the production and arrangements. First set jumped off without a hitch with Jeannine ,using a version arranged by Cannonball Adderley’s band . This classic allowed the band to show out and up with Bobby West taking the lead line on piano with Derf Reklaw Flute in harmonic tag-along, driven by the bass and drum duo of Ishmael hunter and Reggie Carson. West was able to really stretch out and flex his well honed skills to task on a blistering solo, followed by Derf Reklaw “take no prisoners” balancing between Flute lines and accents on Congos & bongo. In an effort to give balance and unique presentation , we added voices on certain songs , such a rich vocal arrangement of UGETSU/Fantasy in D, sung by the mother, daughter team of Pat Sligh and Jana Wilson. its a well known composition by Cedar Walton, a sessions player on many Blue Note recordings including Joe Henderson and early on in 60s with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers . Sometimes , you have to go and dig out some strange-named titles to really appreciate Duke Pearson’s mind. Especially his sense of humor with this composition the band tackled with all their might, Big Bertha. a bright uptempo ,kind of funky, driving tune. Makes you wonder what your experience would have been like meeting the infamous “Big Bertha.” Later in the evening The band decided not to perform a fast tune to open the next set , they went with a sublime composition written by Duke and dedicated to his mother, On Mother’s Day This Year (wear the brightest rose) “we wanted the audience to feel the lyrics that was also in the composition” stated Robert J. Carmack ,producer. “but we had no male vocalist to sing it, so we used Derf Reklaw flute’s mid range and low tones to bring out the richness of the very harmonic laden tune. we followed that up with another smooth swinger in Gaslight, taken from his mid-60s period.
“Many of these Pearson compositions were quite complex in their original form, and sometime they was not available to get the charts I needed , I had to rely on my associate and friend James Armstrong , who helped me immensely on many of the complex melodies, James was instrumental in breaking down a lot of the music theory I did not know, to even select the compositions we used in the show was quite difficult,” stated Carmack. James was invaluable on this project.
Carmack surprised the audience with a riveting poem written by Eric Wattree ,a family friend of Dexter Gordon, It’s called A Swinging Affair, another Blue note gem, that also included Billy Higgins on Drums at that 1964 session under the watchful eye and ear of Mr. Duke Pearson, though not credited as producer or arranger on a lot of Blue Note records, his fingerprints were all over a plethora of big records by the label, under a special arrangement between Duke and Alfred Lions , whose name appear as Producer very suspiciously on too many “hits”. It was technically his money paying for sessions ,but we all know whose creative energies were prevalent on the albums themselves. The evening’s last two compositions played by the Uncle Duke Legacy Band was just stellar, starting with Amanda, a bouncy,latin-tinged call and response ditty between West’s piano and Reklaw’s Flute. Reklaw took no solace in having to bounce between Flute and accented 4s between drums and bongos, followed by more fire from the flute as he played an extended flute solo that conjured up James Spaulding. Spaulding by the way, played flute and alto on the original 1966 “Wahoo ” album. The finale was just indescribable, Cristo Redentor, featured all members of the band , the two female vocalists and poetry by Robert Carmack. The flute’s voice was mixed with the angelic voices of the female singers , that set up a choir like sound as in the original Donald Byrd piece with piano by Bobby West’s alternating the hymn -like melody with the flute’s voice, follow in the second part by a Harmon muted trumpet by Jon Williams of the World Stage staff, this set up a mood as the band lowered its sound and vamped as Carmack recited an original poem call Let Freedom Ring Now!, aptly titled after a Jackie McLean Blue Note record from the mid 60s, this all culminated in bringing down the house with a standing ovation by the fully engaged audience at the World Stage. Robert Carmack’s next and last show of the Pocket Jazz series for August concludes Saturday,August 29. NOW’S The Time: Spirits of Our Ancestors 7:30pm doors open 8pm showtime. Venue: World Stage 4344 S. Degnan Blvd. L.A. 90008 951-840-7120 RSVP /Tickets info $15 tickets until 8pm $20 ATD after 8pm
Robert J. Carmack , collaborated with Billy Higgin’s World Stage in order to try to capture in one evening, one man’s most compelling compositions of the 1960s at Blue Note Records.
MORE ABOUT DUKE PEARSON
“This was most challenging, said Carmack , How does one select from the multitudes of compositions he’s written, produced,or arranged while having an impact. Not just on the album sales at Blue Note, but also the genre itself as Blue Note made its transition from well-known A&R man, Ike Quebec, a mainstay at the label coming out of the swing era,bebop period , then latching on at Blue Note as an arranger, and facilitator for new music and artists. IMHO, the label’s quite volatile roster of talent began to come up a little stagnant and needed new & fresh ideas to drive the label as the 1960s was upon them. Unfortunately by 1961, the death of Ike Quebec left a gaping hole in Lion & Wolff’s ability to attract new talent and fresh musical ideas. Hence, the hiring of Duke Pearson by Alfred Lion put them squarely on the right path as history played out, from 1962 -1970 Blue Note Records had its best and most profitable times, including having some of the best in artist signings and record productions in Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Cecil Taylor, Andrew Hill, Kenny Drew, Stanley Turrentine, Dexter Gordon, Bobby Hutcherson,Joe Henderson, to name a few artists. Two of the biggest albums during his tenure was, New Perspectives by Donald Byrd featuring Cristo Redentor and The Sidewinder by long time Blue Note staple,Lee Morgan. IMHO, If there were no Duke Pearson’s Vision, Those records among others never gets made.
Local Jazz artists are throwing their hat in the ring, or in this case their voices and instruments. I have assembled a plethora of very talented musicians and singers to produce the “POCKET JAZZ SERIES”, a group of concerts. I’ve coined that phrase to emphasize the “small in stature, big in content” being presented at the World Stage Performance gallery, a limited seating space for the performing arts. However, “My thinking was to have two very different shows back to back weekends, so those that cannot make one, they maybe able to make the other.”
Starting with Saturday August 22 at 7:30 ,@ World Stage 4344 Degnan Blvd. Los Angeles,CA 90008, tickets/Info 951-840-7120 we’re kicking off the Series with a moving tribute. The GENIUS of DUKE PEARSON:Thanks Uncle Duke. the evening will be filled with sparkling Duke Pearson compositions, along with other composers who was either produced by Duke or, worked with him, such Donald Byrd, Cedar Walton, Bobby Hutcherson ,etc. The music is being performed by The UNCLE DUKE LEGACY BAND featuring veteran jazz pianist/music director, Bobby West. voices featured are Aldene “Pat” Sligh, Jana Wilson and Mechelle La’Chaux . Come out and celebrate a fresh new approach to exposing an audience to unsung greatness and such historic significance. writer of such popular jazz classics as Jeannine, Fancy Free, Sudel, Wahoo, Sweet Honeybee, Big Bertha’, Gaslight,ESP,and most famous , Christo Redentor, just to name a few.. make an evening of it. Tickets are $15-$20 limited Seating- first come first served, those with tickets will have seat priority.
Enjoy an evening of classic jazz and vocals paying homage to the great Duke Pearson, who produced some of jazz’s greatest albums and had a major impact on hard bop compositions and arrangements for big band and large ensembles. The evening’s featured pianist is jazz veteran, Bobby West and five of LA’s best musicians.
Introducing guest vocalists Mechelle LaChaux & Pat Sligh
Duke Pearson played a big part in shaping the Blue Note label’s hard bop direction in the 1960s as a producer. He will probably be best remembered for writing several attractive, catchy pieces, the most memorable being the moody “Cristo Redentor” for Donald Byrd, “Sweet Honey Bee” for himself, and Lee Morgan, “Fancy Free” and “Jeannine,” which has become a much-covered jazz standard, among many others up until early1970.
August 29th 7:30pm
NOW’S THE TIME: SPIRIT OF OUR ANCESTORS
An Evening of Jazz & Poetry featuring the music of some of our great jazz legends including Charlie Parker, john Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, GiGi Gryce, Art Blakey’s Jazz messengers and such vocalists as Nellie Lutcher, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lou Rawls & Joe Williams all performed by some Los Angeles’s top shelf musicians…Featuring Anqui Renise and Amin El.
Special guest vocalists: Mechelle LaChaux and James Love
The World Stage 4344 Degnan Blvd LA 90008
ALL SHOWS start at 7:30 sharp Limited Seating RSVP preferred – No advance tickets call 951-840-7120
Donations: $15 – $20 (sliding scale)
World Stage Performance Gallery is a non-profit 501c organization tax-deductible
all shows produced by Robert J. Carmack & The World Stage