Best Yard Bird 99th Event: 21 Toot Salute in Los Angeles


August 29th is a very famous birthday for various people..One for Michael Jackson so-called King of Pop, but this one is about the King of Be Bop Saxophonists Charlie Parker or, aka, Yard Bird! The Jazz community in Leimert Park was honoring the “Bird” on his 99 birthday.

Parker a 34 year old man died in March 1955, months before his 35th Birthday. Before that happened, Yard Bird or “Charlie’ was known as the absolute truth on jazz saxophone. Most youngsters or vet musicians wanted to play and sound like him..some even went to the pits of hell with major drugs and its abuse to follow the Bird. After saying all that, Robert J. Carmack wrote a play about the man, about the two inner-men other that “Bird,” Most people knew nothing about.. the others were the man as Father, Husband and musical genius!. Carmack’s play was not being performed, but a fictional dramatic scene from the tragic story of Parker through the eyes of a person who only wanted to be loved and to love those as he loved the music.

The amazing evening’s entertainment package consisted of a hand picked group of L.A. experienced musicians and a newcomer that’s trending very positive as a budding master of Jazz. Drummer/percussionist-Don Littleton’s Super Trio :James Leary Bass, Robert “Bobby” Pierce piano, Jazz soloists were Randall Willis Alto, Charles Owens Tenor and jazz sensation Chris Astoquillca on alto. Host/MC: Robert J. Carmack- producer, writer and actor.

The enthusiastic audience were up clapping and yelling from their seats because the musicians were off into another gear, especially young saxophonist Chris Astoquillca. who was let loose in second set and He did not disappoint. The buzz around Leimert Park Village the NEXT day told the true story. Chris made an IMPRESSION on the veteran players and the audience. Carmack is thinking ahead and looking forward to the followup event in November, Thanksgiving weekend…

POCKET JAZZ PRESENTS: CTI RECORDs Tribute ~ California Concert Redux 2! November 2019 music of Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine , Esther Phillips, Hank Crawford,Grover Washington,George Benson and other surprises..follow us on face book ~ Pocket Jazz Presents..#CaliforniaConcertRedux2

Robert J. Carmack has already begun discussions around presenting the entire play in August of 2020. Carmack has planned for a multi-night special event in 2020, on Charlie Parker Birthday next year in both Los Angeles, and San Francisco.. a Play – Night of Poets and Jazz Nu Beat Poets Society and Visual Artists(Painters,Sculptors and Assemblage art.

Producer/ Pocket Jazz Presents with Blues & Jazz singer/entrepreneur, Barbara Morrison outside the Barbara Morrison Theater LA Calif.

COMING SOON New Jazz Legends Series Pocket Jazz Presents! 2019/2020

About the producer: Robert J. Carmack He was first exposed to jazz in the late 1950s, as a kid watching the Steve Allen show. He would play with famous musicians, Robert liked the sound, He did not know the name of it. One day while watching the Dobie Gillis show with Maynard, who was a beatnik, said he would do anything to sit-in with Thelonious Monk playing Bongos.. years later, as young Robert was just starting out in music as a saxophone player, he heard a record by a friend’s big brother, who said “this is Monk’s, well you needn’t.” He made the earlier connection from his childhood, now a teenage player in a band, Carmack was hip and cool with his Tam and sunglasses .. Now all the young girls loved it because, He was different than the other guys.

Carmack went on to play professionally under a undisclosed stage name, for 25+ years, then due to medical issues became a writer of jazz history and avid fan of great players. As a writer / producer or blogger, He has worked, interviewed or promoted such luminaries as, McCoy Tyner, Doug Carn, Azar Lawrence, Bobby Womack, Commodores, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Fortune, Andy Bey, Mandrill/Lowrider band, Acknowledgement, Juini Booth/ LA Fog Band and the Sun Ra Tribute with R J Carmack & Juini Booth. contact: blues2jazz2003@yahoo.com~ @blues2jazzguy , or just follow on this site http://www.hipstersanctuary.com

posted by Kamaad Tauhid @blues2jazzguy

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L.A. Jazz Hipsters Celebrate Yard Bird Parker 99th: Appearing August 29 2019


posted by Kamaad Tauhid @blues2jazzguy

Appearing at Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, a select cadre of LA based musicians ,formed a super Trio of veteran bassist, James Leary, Don Littleton Drummer & leader, Robert “Bobby” Pierce piano”

Meet all the Cats and Kits at 7:30PM to celebrate Charlie Parker’s 99th birthday. early Thursday evening of jazz fun and friendly head-cutting jam session immediately following the scripted portion of the evening’s festivities. Producer Robert J. Carmack first thought about celebrating “Bird’s” birthday in 2015 in front of the Leimert Park World Stage, he, and a band of 7 seven saxophonists all got together for Now’s the Time, Parker’s Mood and a bursting jolt of Crazy runs & phrasing some of the Best, including Thursday featured soloist, Randall Willis, and special invited saxophonist Dale Fielder..Now just 4 years later we have put together a rollicking show of some of Bird’s greatest recorded songs. Look for an added bolster sound in Tenor man Charles Owens, Ricky Woodard and young Chris Christopher Astoquillca on alto, the youngest saxophonist under 30, maybe 25.. It all spells FUN for everybody in attendance.See You There Thursday!(photo 2015 – Chuck Koton. Jazz archivist)

Charlie Parker’s 95th Birthday.. Just us Seven just gave him a honorary “21 Toot Salute”, Left to right , Robert J. Carmack, Shondell Johnson Baritone Sax, (unknown alto player ) Azar Lawrence soprano, Randall Willis Alto,unknown soprano player??) Dale Fielder Baritone Sax..
That day’s activities were coordinated globally around the world including New York & Kansas City, with sax man, Bobby Watson and The Charlie Parker Jazz Society.
Next Year , Carmack promises multiple-days activity for Bird’s 100 2020! Play, Poetry and an All-star concert in both LA & SF Bay area.
https://www.blackculturalevents.com/event/celebratin-yard-bird-99-21-toot-salute/

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.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/P3q81hJckFjAop648