CTI RECORDS FOUNDER SUCCUMBS


CREED TAYLOR: CTI RECORDS the Next Wave

By Robert J. Carmack

Recently we lost a monumental figure of an era in music, Jazz in particular, Creed Taylor. Taylor pronounced dead in his home in Nuremburg, Germany. It appeared that he was unable to recover from a severe stroke just prior to his death. Beginning in 1950s Taylor excelled in productions and talent scouting. This led to the early creation of the “house that TRANE” built, Impulse Records, circa 1960. Also during the early years at Impulse, he again struck gold by signing saxophonist, Stan Getz. That alliance spawned several hit albums and a “Bossa Nova ,USA movement. In addition to Getz, he also introduced the world to Joao Gilberto. He penned several Bossa Nova hits, none bigger than the Girl from Ipanema, sung in both English and Portuguese by his beautiful and sultry wife, Astrud, a  multi-Grammy-winner for the Getz/Gilberto Album.

One of Creed’s inspiring heroes in music was the creator of Jazz at the Philharmonic, Norman Granz. He made monumental concerts and tours in Europe with some of the biggest and brightest Jazz stars out of USA.Taylor easily slipped into that Granz role of A&R/ Producer for Verve Records in Jazz division.

One of his top collaborations in music was with the great conductor and arranger, Don Sabesky. Who’s fingerprints were all over the best of Verve artists on the roster. The other great collaboration and “Gold Strike” discovery was the quite different guitarist, Wes Montgomery. He had a smooth delivery with more of a “thumbing” approach as oppose to strumming with pick. Also, he added a technique which some called a double-stop chording effect. This allowed Montgomery to play clean and still swing hard as required by jazz idioms. This writer was first faced with that sound in early/mid-60s album cuts from album Moving Wes, Bumpin, Tequila, Going Out of my Head, & who could forget the very soulful “Bumpin” on Sunset a multi-award winner cut and composition. It was the “Darling” of the Pop & jazz Radio audiences. Again, Taylor brings in Don Sebesky and his orchestra on the Montgomery sound and popularity. Claus Ogerman was prominent on the Tequila album. Taylor being the talent scout he was, found out “He” was being recruited by a new label in pop and mainstream music. Herb Alpert of Tijuana Brass fame was earning Big buckets of money in his new label via the Tijuana Brass, Baja Marimba band and other POP and novelty records selling like hot cakes to a starved audience. As Creed Taylor was coming over to the Herb Alpert/Jerry Moss label, To develop their new jazz division under the small creative label CTI(Creed Taylor Inc.) the first fruits were an album entitled, A Day in the Life (made popular by the Beatles)other great songs on that album were  Watch what happens, When a Man loves a woman, California Nights and Angel, all anchored by the title track, A Day in the Life.(1967)

It appeared to me, even at the young age of 17, I could draw that, this was a brilliant move by Alpert/Moss label. Ripping-off a keystone artist on his previous label at Verve, and introducing this fabulous guitarist to a new hip and open-minded audiences. An artist who could play jazz at its highest level , while still being approachable by young and older audiences. Heavy pop tunes were selected by Taylor, like the Association, Beatles, other popular young group tunes. They were brought back to life with jazz guitar on not only radio, but by 1968, Wes Montgomery was on Prime-time TV shows produced by Alpert/Moss. Needless to say, this garners TV show awards for the young Record label. Unfortunately for A&M Records, Wes Montgomery was dead by summer of 1968. Reeling from their loss of the Cash cow in Montgomery hits that played on AM and FM stations and network television.

One of the biggest decision made by Creed taylor was to now reorganize his role and position with A&M.. He then crafted a deal where A&M would now be the prime Distributor of CTI Records products.

Taylor went to work immediate putting a plan of action in place by signing big name jazz artists who had recently left other mainstream labels and was being reinvented by Taylor in his new label image of , Young sounds of electronic instruments, and popular compositions recently heard on the Radio in all genres; Soul, POP, Latin and Middle of the Road audiences. `Officially beginning in 1969/70.. you saw Taylor create some new jazz classics with older jazz artists,Quincy Jones,Nat Adderley, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Milt “Bags” Jackson, George Benson, Deodato, Joe Farrell were scattered around the charts in early 70s radio and concerts. Just like Blue Note records grew its roster of players by recording early and often with stars and their friends that they brought with them regardless of stature or standing.

Taylor, like Blue Note records used only the best in Recording and Engineering by bringing in Rudy Van Gelder on most of their choice records. The third leg of this trifecta is vivid grahics & museum quality photography. Some CTI favorites of mine are, Follow Your Heart Joe Farrell, African Cookbook Randy Weston, Straight Life Freddie Hubbard, Also , Creed spun-off even edgyier artists which a had a R&B/SOUL slant to it . KUDU RECORDS, being its answer to contemporary jazz being played with the technology of that day in Keyboards, recording, sounds, adding different rhythms and grooves . Wild Horses Rock STeady Johnny Hammond Smith, Grover Washington, Little Esther Phillips, Eric Gale, and Hank Crawford all Funky and greasy but smooth in the Pocket groove makers playing on Pop record and soul stations all over the country, many Grammy nominations and high record sales from artist who never imagine the type record sales they were now getting after signing with CTI Records.

In a sidenote many years later, Mr Creed Taylor scored again with a veteran artist ,some thought would never compromise on style and approach. He even convinced Nina Simone to record a very successful album Baltimore”. The title track was a Reggae Beat with Strings, written by Randy Newman and arranged by Dave Matthews in my opinion, one of the very best ever by CTI.

Follow this writer on http://www.hipstersanctuary.com / blues2jazz2003@yahoo.com

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YOUR MAJESTY: WALK SPIRIT TALK SPIRIT!


YOUR MAJESTY GEORGE ~ WALK SPIRIT TALK SPIRIT

By Robert J. Carmack- Hipster Sanctuary.com

I don’t know what it is about Jazz that makes me Astral-travel. My definition of a curated Jazz recording is, 1. Best material 2. Solid musicians 3.Willingness to “Go out on a Limb”(courage). When tackling a tour de force with powerful music and the ilk of McCoy Tyner, Nat Adderley, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Hank Mobley, and Lou Donaldson. What makes this project so hip and exciting is GEORGE V. JOHNSON Jr.’s vision and experience as working musician and songwriter.  Right out the gate, is a big splash intro to a moving piece of history by McCoy Tyner. Walk Spirit Talk Spirit (Knarrative Will Set You Free) we lost the great one in 2020.

What George has done is take two of Tyner’s stellar compositions including “Fly with the Wind” and crafted them into masterpieces in sound and “Griot” lyrics, that tell the best stories abound.

I lived with this CD for almost a month before I even attempted to review this project in art and soul. In my humble opinion, given a generous amount of “plays” this can become a #1 jazz hit. For example, Johnson Jr’s remarkable lyrics treatment of Wes Montgomery’s ROAD SONG, a strong cut involving the stories from all around the world while traveling and experiencing life on life’s terms. I can only concur with others, who have experienced the personality and artistry of GVJ. Jr. Be sure to put on your seatbelt when you listen to NO ROOM for SQUARES” (Hank Mobley, blue note) Nat Adderley’s JIVE SAMBA, Lou Donaldson, GRAVYTRAIN (1960s soul jazz classic)

George’s sinewy jazz sound shines on all the cuts in this beautiful session with just electrifying musicianship. Band personnel are; Devonte McCoy Trumpet, Elijah Easton saxophone, Herman Burney on Bass (I met years ago in Atlanta, when he was doing a gig with CEDAR WALTON trio) Allyn John Johnson Piano, Dana J. Hawkins drums, (**Steve Arnold bass). This ensemble brings a perfect balance of Dynamics while breathing new life into these classic, iconic tunes.

George has perfect command of his jazz vocabulary, which is not surprising since, he was mentored by the best, the Grand Pop of vocalese, Eddie Jefferson, and James Moody. Eddie even claimed George was the next in-line for sheer skill and dominance in jazz vocals. Its like having a “Magic Jukebox” that plays all the best tunes and in the right order too.

Recalling the electric pace of NO ROOM for SQUARES. It immediately takes me back to when my dad brought that album home, when I was just learning saxophone. Elijah Easton lit a fire under the Band, as if they needed more fuel, in his searing white hot solo, eating up bop changes like pancakes. ”This followed by a lucid, laser-focused solo by trumpeter Devonte McCoy. Allyn Johnson “brings the pain” on all the tunes he plays on.

It’s Johnson Jr. and him alone, who places you in a cozy Jazz Inn in Western USA or, on stage in a smoky, boozy spot tucked away along the Rhine River in Europe during the 1950s..Magic! Lol!! Whether you were diggin’ Miles, Monk, Trane or Mobley, even when they walked the earth, Or, You are a modern Hipster downloading all you can making playlists.. YOU MUST FIND ROOM for YOUR Majesty! You will Hear and see what the Barons of Bop saw in George going all the way back to 1974. He’s relentless in his attack of these songs, injecting his own personal touch that hangs over you like a Dexter Gordon 32 note phrase in Bopology and swing.

One other thing, what’s up with the “YOUR MAJESTY” thing?? Lol. I’m told it was gifted to him by another mentor John Malachi. When the jazz elders give you a nickname, you wear it with pride, like a “Blue Badge of Courage” and respect.

 George V. is the total package also, backgrounds in music, dance, and theater. Watching him perform onstage or just interact with the masters is a treat all in itself.  www.HipsterSanctuary.com gives this effort, FOUR STARS! My highest rating.  Why not grab two copies, one extra for a Pal or student trying to learn about jazz .. very approachable music even for beginners.

Walk Spirit Talk Spirit: YOUR MAJESTY ~ George V. Johnson,Jr. strikes the right chord with me. Get it at your favorite retail spot for recordings or downloads, or direct at www.georgevjohnsonjr.com

POCKET JAZZ: GRASSROOTS ARTS PROJECT DEBUTS AUGUST 2019

Pocket Jazz is a coined phrase created by Carmack that melds theater,improvisational music and poetry into a big ball of creativity for open minded audiences. If you dig Kamasi Washington or Horace Tapscott or Amiri Baraka, Last poets, Watts Prophets and Sun Ra.. brought to you in an affordable, safe and warm community environments. In the tradition of the Black Arts Movement early beginning of Los Angeles Community Jazz organizations paired with the painters, sculptors and actors creating on demand Art.. Subscribe and follow us on http://www.hipstersanctuary.com  FREE!! FREE!! FREE!!


Producer Robert J. Carmack looks to bring his brand of Jazz,Poetry and Dramatic performances to the L.A. Jazz community.

Pocket Jazz is a coined phrase created by Carmack that melds theater,improvisational music and poetry into a big ball of creativity for open-minded audiences. If you dig Kamasi Washington or Horace Tapscott or Amiri Baraka, Last poets, Watts Prophets and Sun Ra.. brought to you in an affordable, safe and warm community environments. In the tradition of the Black Arts Movement early beginning of Los Angeles Community Jazz organizations paired with the painters, sculptors and actors creating on demand Art.. Subscribe and follow us on http://www.hipstersanctuary.com  FREE!! FREE!! FREE!!

posted by Kamaad Tauhid @blues2jazzguy                                              Blue Note Tribute Logo

Coming in August celebrating the 80th anniversary of the grand Jazz label 

SPIRITS OF THE UNSUNG: HOMAGE TO BABA HORACE TAPSCOTT


SPIRITS OF THE UNSUNG: A Homage to Baba Horace Tapscott

By Robert J. Carmack   #@blues2jazzguy

 One has to keep “YOUR EAR TO THE GROUND” or, listen for the TALKING DRUMS. That will help you to stay on top of who the movers and shakers are in real jazz events of LA.

I’m certainly no stranger to the underground or “Grassroots” happenings of Leimert Park and other venue pockets scattered throughout the city. Japan Town, Highland Park, San Fernando Valley and Long Beach are just the latest cities emerging with new energy.

One of the hottest jazz venues in the city of Los Angeles is The World Stage, an intimate performance gallery for presenting top-shelf jazz, performance poetry and other performing arts and exhibits of some of the finest artisans in the state or world even.

At a recent birthday celebration and Homage to Horace Tapscott held at the World Stage on his birthday (April 6th), I got a chance to briefly speak with a few longtime members of the Pan Afrikan Peoples ARKESTRA.

Bandleader and eldest member in longevity (since 1966) Jesse Sharps-saxes, flutes and miscellaneous woodwinds: Jesse is a L A born musician from Watts who sat-in and listened to the early beginnings of The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra until he earned his stripes and paid his dues as every young musician must do.  “Post-1965 Uprising” a great spot was spawned in the heart of Watts called, the Watts Happenin’ Coffeehouse on 103rd street. Raw talent developed, in the jazz jam sessions, poetry and theater arts workshops, creative writer programs. A real bright moment for us young artists who were part of a revolutionary Black Arts Movement beginning in the mid-late 1960s Los Angeles. That venue was followed by “The Gathering” on Western & Vernon Ave. and formation of UGMAA and other branches to ARK.

Many old school players were a big part of the musical clan that gathered at all the community festivals and churches that opened their doors to Tapscott and his Eclectic group of players. Most “Ark” members are bandleaders themselves or, play on an elite basis with the great ones.

Michael and Mekala Session: Father & son musical team; Michael: “We are especially proud of what happens after experiencing the Blackness, Unity and Creative Magic that made up the sound of the “Arkestra” during the early 1974 to present. The legacy is the community itself and its love and embrace of these musical Griots. “Man..All that sound hitting you , makes you feel like you could do anything creative after that experience” 

Mekala Session; drums,percussion, In the beginning for me when I was just a pup growing up, I did not take it seriously, but as I grew and spent my time embracing the magic and spiritualism of the people surrounding me including my dad..I said to myself, What was it Horace might have been thinking when he was in his early 20s and creating all kinds of great music.”  A Mekela Session 1

“Today in the Ark , Cats closer to my age, I’m surrounded by “crazy musicians” who are trying to represent the ” Hood” in terms of the high bar that was set long before even my Dad joined the band, or Black Arthur Blythe, Jesse Sharps, Sabir Mateen, Troy Robinson, Adele Sabastian, Nate Morgan, etc.

While he was still in his twenties, Horace Tapscott gave up a successful career in Lionel Hampton’s band and returned to his home in Los Angeles to found the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, a community arts group that focused on providing affordable, community-oriented jazz and jazz training. Over the course of almost forty years, the Arkestra, together with the related Union of God’s Musicians and Artists Ascension (UGMAA) Foundation, were at the forefront of the vital community-based arts movements in black Los Angeles. Some three hundred artists—musicians, vocalists, poets, playwrights, painters, sculptors, and graphic artists—passed through these organizations, many ultimately remaining within the community and others moving on to achieve international fame. Based primarily on one hundred in-depth interviews with current and former participants, The Dark Tree is the first history of the important and largely overlooked community arts movement of African American Los Angeles. Brought to life by the passionate voices of the men and women who worked to make the arts integral to everyday community life, this engrossing book completes the account began in the highly acclaimed Central Avenue Sounds, which documented the secular music history of the first half of the twentieth century and which the San Francisco Examiner called “one of the best jazz books ever compiled.”

Jesse Sharps with Bobby West in rear

Horace Tapscott

I can only wonder what it would be like if.. Horace, Billy Higgins  were still alive to see whats become of their fruits of their labor in the beginnings.. How many practice sessions by Horace at 4:AM in morning at old World Stage building in the dark, running passages and ideas flowing like a fountain geyser. Billy Higgins doing his task every saturday, whenever he was in town bringing top flight jazz musicians to expose the youth to, Guys that were his peers, like Benny Maupin, Jabali Hart, Eddie Harris, Jackie McLean, Barry Harris, Cedar Walton, Charles Lloyd just to name a few , those workshops were classic and memorable. Part of the reason we still celebrate the greatness of the man, but more importantly we celebrate the legacy of the Community because that’s where Horace was coming from on a spiritual note.

 

OLD SCHOOL R&B LOVEFEST: EVENT IN SEARCH OF AN AUDIENCE


https://www.switchentertainmentworld.com/gallery

 Red Marine Entertainment Presents the OLD SCHOOL R&B LOVE FEST
SWITCH , SURFACE , GAP REVIEW  BALL HOOKER. (opening act..)
Real Old School Show: In Search of an audience.. I have been around or involved with the entertainment field for well over 50 years,music in particular. I know a good show when I hear or see one by individuals who really know what to to do with a chord or note. I was pleasantly surprised a few evenings ago as I sort of bumped into a great show. Just helping out my sister as a vendor at the California Education & Performing Arts Center in Ontario California,  11255 Central Avenue. Ontario,Calif.
RED Marine Entertainment recently presented an Old School R&B Lovefest… an evening of solid entertainment by classic Old School groups, Switch , Surface, The Gap Review(Tribute Band) along with opening act Kimball Hooker, male vocalist with some chops.. tagging and paying homage to artists like Keith Sweat.
DYNAMICALLY hosted by LA’s very own, ANGEL BABY – DJ Radio Host.
when you’re a vendor at these productions, you have to arrive early to load-in and get setup . get out of the way of artists moving in equipment, doing sound checks for next two hours. While I had lots of time on my hand, it also gave me an opportunity to move around , be curious as a journalist, as to who and what and why.
I chatted it up with some members of the various bands, production crews and VIP guests , who also arrived early for publicity pictures, video interviews and miscellaneous activities one does before show begins.
At first when my sister told me an old school show, my head automatically thought some mediocre wanna-bees. NOT!!
Listening to sound check of the various groups and singers/musicians, I quickly got a sense of “Oh Wow”, I just wish I had known about this show in advance.  I have my own opinions about that, but, leaving that to the side . Looking inside the cavernous hall with so many empty seats once the show began, I was shocked. Its like you and your lady or gent are all dressed up but no where to go. You just focused on how you looked and not how you were going to get there.
During the early to mid-’70s, Bobby DeBarge, Eddie Fluellen, Phillip Ingram (brother of James Ingram), Jody Sims, and Gregory Williams were in the Ohio-based White Heat, which subsequently morphed into Hot-Ice, an outfit that featured DeBarge, Sims, and Williams, as well as DeBarge’s brother Tommy. That band released an album on Polydor in 1977. Shortly thereafter, Jermaine Jackson helped them secure a contract with Motown offshoot Gordy. All of of this after a very awkward meeting in the Motown building in Hollywood.

As Switch, the band proved to be popular in clubs, as well as within the quiet storm radio format. Their singles There’ll Never Be” (1978), “I Call Your Name” (1979), and “Love Over and Over Again” (1981) reached the Top 10 of Billboard’s R&B chart. Throughout the 2000s, the band’s recordings were sampled by the likes of De La Soul (“A Brighter Tomorrow”), Ne-Yo (“It Just Ain’t Right”), Rich Boy (“Throw Some D’s”), and Erykah Badu (“That Hump”). Ingram, Williams, and Fluellen reunited, added new members, and have been bringing down the house ever since!

The Gap Band Review pays homage to The Gap Band, which is one of the most popular funk groups of the late ’70s, ‘80s to present time.  15 Top Ten R&B singles ranging from ferocious funk anthems to gorgeous slow jams. Many of their hits, such as “Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)” and “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” featured instantly memorable, rippling synthesizer bass-lines.

The Gap Band’s  run of hits spanned nearly 20 years, from 1977 through 1995. Their hits continued with “Shake”, “Open Up Your Mind”, “Don’t Stop the Music”, “Yearning for Your Love”, “Early in the Morning”, “Outstanding”, the title song to Keenan Ivory Wayans’ “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” and more!

I wanted to catch the SURFACE show but was too busy by the time they were onstage. the little I did hear, was simply off the charts.. They performed without a band just DAT and  Flute with strong vocals.. my cut Get Closer ..The ’80s soft soul vocal trio known for such lush ballads as “Closer Than Friends” and the million-selling singles “Shower Me With Your Love” and the number one pop hit “The First Time” had one of its first charting records as artists signed to dance music pioneer Salsoul Records. “Falling in Love,” co-written by Surface member David Conley, doesn’t have much in common with the aforementioned titles other than the group name and a (presumably) Conley flute solo. The single made it to number 84 R&B in summer 1983 and the U.K. pop charts. Singer Bernard Jackson who grew up in Stamford, CT, got into the music business through his cousin who lived in New York.
Seizing the opportunity, he relocated to New York and began performing around the city. While doing a show in Stamford, his godfather suggested that he contact his nephew David Townsend who was also in the music business. Townsend, a former touring guitarist for the Isley Brothers, was the son of singer/songwriter/producer Ed Townsend who had a hit with “For Your Love” in summer 1958 and wrote the Impressions‘ “Finally Got Myself Together (I’m a Changed Man)” and co-wrote Marvin Gaye‘s “Let’s Get It On.” Around 1973, Townsend joined a band called the Port Authority where he met David “Pic” Conley. Townsend, whose father shared hit songwriting tips with him, began writing songs with Conley. After Townsend and Conley met Jackson it was decided that they’d write songs together. The trio became staff writers for EMI Music. Their songs were covered by New Edition (“Let’s Be Friends” from their 1985 MCA LP All for Love) and Sister Sledge (“You’re So Fine”). The trio became performers using the name Surface and moved to Los Angeles. An EMI Music executive brought one of their songs, “Let’s Try Again,” to the attention of Larkin Arnold of Columbia Records. Arnold‘s previous successes include Natalie Cole and Peabo Bryson. He signed the group to Columbia and their first single “Let’s Try Again” charted number 80 R&B in late 1986.
The debut album Surface included the smooth and sweet “Happy,” which hit number two R&B for two weeks in early 1987, “Lately” (number eight R&B), and the reissued “Let’s Try Again.” The next LP, 2nd Wave yielded “I Missed” (number three R&B), “Closer Than Friends” (number one R&B for two weeks in early 1989), the wedding standard “Shower Me With Your Love” (gold, number one R&B/number five pop), “You Are My Everything” (number one R&B for two weeks), and “Can We Spend Some Time” (number five R&B). Jackson brought the sheet music to a song he had written in 1986 to his friend, songwriter Brian Simpson, who had a recording studio in his garage. After listening to the finished demo tape, Jackson thought that he had a hit. Hiring a mobile 24-track recording studio truck to capture his vocal in the best professional conditions, Jackson sang “The First Time” in Simpson‘s house. “The First Time” was the first single from Surface’s 3 Deep album and went gold hitting number one R&B and holding the number one pop for two weeks in early 1991. While “The First Time” was topping the charts, Surface was one of the presenters at the American Music Awards and were enthusiastically congratulated. The hits continued with “All I Want Is You” (number eight R&B, early 1991) and “Never Gonna Let You Down.” “You’re the One” billed as Surface featuring Bernard Jackson made it to number 24 R&B, summer 1991. The group’s last charting single was “A Nice Time for Lovin'” included on their 1991 greatest hits LP The Best Surface: A Nice Time for Loving. Conley and Townsend also produced sides on Rebbie Jackson (“Reaction”) that are on The Rebbie Jackson Collection from U.K. label Expansion distributed by Sony/3MV. 

CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF JOHN COLTRANE~ EILE~ SPIRITUAL JAZZ ENSEMBLE


TWO HIPSTERS CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS IN AUGUST~ ROBERT J. CARMACK & EDDIE CARTER


Robert J. Carmack ~ August 7th  Editor in Chief & Founder

Our Newest Contributing Southern Region  Jazz Editor Mr. Eddie Carter of Atlanta August 4th  

 

 

CHARLES OWENS QUINTET! LIVE AT THE MERC!


The Charles Owens Quintet Live at The “MERC! “~ Temecula California.

In a recent concert in Temecula, California at the famous “Merc” performance venue, veteran Jazz artist and saxophonist, Charles Owens appeared with his Quintet.

Owens, a Los Angeles based musician performed two very stellar sets for a jazz hungry audience. Being familiar with that music space,  I was able to get there early before the first set to grab a quick chat with the quite humble saxophonist. He shared with me many anecdotes and road stories along with who played a major role in influencing his play,style and approach. “As far as influences, Charlie Yardbird Parker and Wardell Gray for sax. The Modern Jazz Quartet and Art Blakey Jazz messengers in how I approach the music as a player or bandleader.” said a relaxed Owens. “But, I enjoy leading my own bands,however, I really loved my experiences playing with two iconic big bands. Duke Ellington’s Orchestra under the direction of his son, Mercer Ellington and the great Count Basie band.”  

This particular evening’s affair was very special to him as he’s performing with some old friends and solid jazz musicians. On the bandstand with Charlie were bassist, Henry Franklin,friends for over 40 years, Pianist Theo Saunders,whom he met in L.A. in 1977, veteran drummer Don Littleton, over 30 year relationship and his old bandmate from the Basie band, trumpeter Scotty Barnhardt, current Director of the Count Basie Orchestra.  

The SRO crowd were treated to a plethora of popular compositions, all performed with Charles Owens unique touch. First set opened with a Owens original entitled Wild Fire , a fiery piece with a great melodic line and solid enriched harmonies. Charlie and Scotty took some blistering solos, especially Barnhardt who weaved webs of delightful, above the line flurries of notes on his custom built trumpet. That was followed up by a lovely version of the perennial fave, Embraceable You. Barnhardt offered great artistry and sublime technique on this classic ballad. The Quintet quickly moved on the moment by playing a Sonny Rollins tune, Airegin (Nigeria spelled backwards) In my opinion, Scotty conjured up memories of icon, Woody Shaw as he peppered a white-hot solo. That song’s conclusion morphed into Ellington’s Take the A-Train! which ended the first set.

Highlights of the second set included equally great compositions by legends like Freddie Hubbard, Billy Strayhorn,Dizzy Gillespie with a surprise finale of the rarely heard cut, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. This was quite the treat for me and the audience as Barnhardt reached into his magic bag of techniques and growled at the audience with his “Plunger” mute and choked notes..

Charlie Owens reputation as one of the most gifted and versatile musician in Los Angeles since 1972. Part of the attention had  to do with his craftsmanship with drummer Buddy Rich Big Band and latin great, Mongo Santamaria. In addition he added stints with English Blues King , John Mayall . Owens told me he was whisked-away from Mayall by music iconoclast, Frank Zappa.  Whether he’s asked to appear in a Oscar-winning film LA LA Land or staying fresh and current by working with young musicians on various bandstands, or teaching a weekly class at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music. “During the break of the second set, he told me the reason he chose Frank Zappa. “I found Frank’s music more challenging than Mayall’s,.. I could have easily made more dough, but the challenge was calling me, as Zappa’s music was unique and quite eclectic.

Charles Owens was born in Phoenix, Arizona, grew up in San Diego California. One of his closest friends growing up was ,the late saxophonist Arthur Blythe or AKA, Black Arthur.”

Throughout the course of the evening’s performances I witnessed what most people always conclude, this is a very passionate player and humble almost to a fault. at one point in the second set, Owens and Barnhardt engaged in old-fashioned BeBop playing, to a song by Dizzy entitled the same, BeBop. the tune showcases long arpeggios and multi-note phrasing on top of mercurial-chord changes, played at break-neck speed by the entire band. At times, the rhythm unit of Franklin, Littleton and Saunders were like a giant bellows machine, stoking the coals to unheard of Fahrenheit-levels to the soloists.

Today’s young players can learn a lot from Uncle Charlie Owens. Even saxophone sensation, Kamasi Washington took a class or two at UCLA with Charles while eventually tweaking his already big sound and approach on his horn.  Whether you experience Charles Owens in a Big Band setting or a small combo, one thing for sure is, You will never forget that moment in time.

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JAZZ SHOW CANCELED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: STREET LIFE: MAGIC & MUSIC OF JAZZ CRUSADERS


IT was announced recently by producer Robert J. Carmack that the show, Street Life: Magic & music of The Jazz Crusaders is cancelled until further notice. Carmack sited health issues as reason for postponement . no other announcements will be forthcoming. all parties regarding tickets sales online have been contacted and remedied.  those that were purchased from direct sources have been contacted also. again, we apologize for the abrupt cancellation, but it could not be avoided. We will contact those groups and individuals when we are able to direct them to a new date or venue. Thank you for your understanding and support. #@blues2jazzguy

Producer/ Host- Robert J. Carmack

STREET LIFE: MAGIC & MUSIC JAZZ CRUSADERS ~ LIMITED DISCOUNTED TICKETS ON SALE NOW !!


CALL 951-840-7120 or email blues2jazz2003@yahoo.com  Regular price is $25 online at http://www.Eventbrite.com

Special discounted price Save  up to $7.25 off Online price including fees

Contact Robert regarding Direct sales Must pay Cash or money Order for 5 or more tickets @ $20 per ticket

Starting Limited period May 29th ENDS June 10th ONLY $20 per ticket when you buy (5)FIVE or more from one of our reps.

951-840-7120 for general info  or closest rep to you.

Hipster Sanctuary.Com

presents

Street Life: Magic & the Music of Jazz Crusaders

a Musical and Poetic Tribute

featuring  The Crusader Legacy 5 Plus Band

Robert J. Carmack Poet, Teodross Avery Saxophones, Alvin Starks Trombone, Don Littleton Drums,Theo Saunders-Piano,Mike Alvidrez Bass

JUNE 22nd Friday Night – 9PM  World Stage Performance Gallery 4321 Degnan Blvd. LA , Calif. 90008  $25 at http://www.eventbrite.com

Robert J. Carmack – Producer/Poet/Host

Teodross Avery

 

 

Alvin Starks

Don Littleton

 

Theo Saunders

Mike Alvidrez

 

 

 

 

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