Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans, better known as Toots Thielemans,was a master jazz musician. He was well-known for his harmonica playing, but was a sublime guitarist and whistle soloist, often a first-call sessions player.
Many times over the decades of his career, he could be heard on Jazz/POP recordings, or in movie themes and scores. I first experienced Mr. Thielemans masterful skills on several Quincy Jones recordings starting in 1970, Gula Matari.
Born April 29, 1922, in Brussels, Belgium Died: August 22, 2016
Dale Fielder is a jazz saxophonist, composer and band leader. Fielder is best known for his work as a baritone saxophonist since his 2004 CD, “Baritone Sunride“. He is devotee of the late great jazz baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams. Fielder was actively involved in producing and performing at the 1st International Pepper Adams Jazz Festival in Los Angeles in October 2012 where he shared the stage with jazz baritone sax great Gary Smulyan.
Fielder followed the Pepper Adams celebration by touring with his Tribute Quintet performing his project: “The Music of the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Quintet 1958-1961”. Their CD ‘Each Time I Think Of You‘ was released in Oct. 2012. In 2014, Fielder released his 15th CD, “Dream Dancing” – Live at Lincoln Park with guitarist Eric Johnson. Fielder is releasing his 16th CD, “Resilience” August 5th 2016, with his long-time Quartet featuring pianist Jane Getz.The project celebrates the quartet’s 20th Anniversary in 2015.
Come Out and See Dale Fielder Quartet perform from his new CD, RESILIENCE! with Special Guest Vocalist Rita Edmonds Los Angeles County Museum of Art Wilshire Blvd & Ogden Ave.
Danny “Big Black” Rey got its nickname “Big Black” from an older brother because of his interest in drums. During his high school years on the radio, the Conga in the Cuban music had heard he was interested in the instrument and traveled to Florida and the Bahamas , where he spent five years. There he played with Lord Fleas Calypso band met at Fish Ray and Johnny “Slick” Engraham and looked at Calypso Eddy Trio with Sam and Role . In Miami, he worked at Jack Contanzo, Moe Koffman and the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, before he formed a band with trumpeter Billy Cook and found private access to the fusion of Caribbean and Jazz rhythms.
In the early 1960s, he moved to New York City, where he worked in the bands of Freddie Hubbard (Night of the Cookers) and Randy Weston and also played with the likes of musicians Ray Bryant, Johnny Barracuda, Junior Cook and Eric Dolphy was heard. In 1965 he was in the Caribbean Pavilion of World Expo. Also, in that same year, he performed with Dizzy Gillespie at the Newport Jazz Festival. He got a record deal and produced four of his own albums prior to 1972, where he partially pushed the envelope in the area of African rhythms in music. He had a short stint as a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band . Big Black even spent sometime as an actor of supporting roles in TV shows and films. A tremendous musician and sideman,eclectic icon in Jazz, performed many times outside the mainstream as Sun Ra, B.B. King, Charles Tolliver , and even played music during the World Cup campaign with Muhammad Ali. Big Black worked as musical director on several projects by Randy Weston african themed recordings. But my favorite of all Big Black collaborations was his work with Hugh Masakela starting in the mid 1960s(1966) Masakela, Big Black ,Henry the Skipper” Franklin, Larry Willis and all appeared in a historic Concert in WATTS(LA california) as part of the very First WATTS Festival in August of 1966, coming just one year later after one of the worst Race riots in LA history.
This writer was there to witness that concert as a young 15-year-old budding jazz musician. Masakela was making his West Coast debut in Los Angeles with tremendous success to follow after that first concert at a local high school. It was good to talk over old days with one of the all-time greats on percussions. He still enjoys the passion & skills to elevate the room with precision-like rhythms and cadences.
more info on Big Black: http://www.bigblackmusic.com/
Manning will perform at La Sierra on Wed., Jun. 15 at 7 p.m. and will be accompanied by Pierce Street Jazz regulars Henry “the Skipper” Franklin on bass, Theo Saunders on piano, and Ramon Banda on drums.
Manning studied jazz and performance at the University of North Texas. During an extensive career, Manning has shared the stage with Albert “Tootie” Heath, Al Mckibbon, Al Williams, Alan Broadbent, Alan Ferber, Alphonse Mouzon, Anthony Wilson, Andrea Pozza, Art Hillary, Azar Lawrence, and more.
He has recorded albums with the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet and has held a long-time collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Isla Eckinger. In 2008, Manning released his first solo album titled, “Notes from the Real.” Throughout 2016, Manning will tour with the Chuck Manning Quartet, Henry Franklin Quartet, and the Theo Saunders Assemblage.
Franklin has organized the Pierce Street Jazz concerts at La Sierra University since their inception as a summer jazz series in 2009. His broad experience includes recordings on more than 150 albums and compact discs including gold releases, many of which he produced.
Saunders, one of the busiest pianists in the music business, has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals and concert halls with distinguished artists including Freddie Hubbard, Carla Bley, David “Fathead” Newman, Barbara Morrison, Gladys Knight, and many others. He has directed music for opera productions and international musical theatre. As a composer, Saunders has numerous compositions to his credit as well as original scores for theatre, radio and multimedia production.
Banda performed 24 years with the Grammy award-winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. He is a current band member with famed jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco. Banda grew up in Norwalk, Calif., part of a large musical family. Over the past two decades, Ramon has performed on more than 22 recordings and recorded and played with such music greats as Dizzie Gillespie, Tito Puente, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Arturo Sandoval, Diana Reeves and others.
Pierce Street Jazz admission is free. The concert will take place at the Troesh Conference Center, Zapara School of Business. For further information, call 951-785- 2148. La Sierra University is located at 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, Riverside. A campus map is available at http://lasierra.edu/campus-map/.
Award-winning pianist and composer Eric Scott Reed began playing the piano at age two and was performing in his father’s Baptist church in Philadelphia by age five. After study at Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School and Los Angeles’ Colburn School of Arts, Reed embarked upon a professional career that has taken him all over the world. His credits include Wynton Marsalis, Jessye Norman, Quincy Jones, Patti Labelle and others. Reed has taught at The Juilliard School of Music and gives master classes and lecture demonstrations on the history of music. His other musical ventures include over 20 recordings as a leader, including his latest recording, The Dancing Monk; scoring for Eddie Murphy’s comedy, Life; and musical direction for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Currently Reed is in residence with the Ebony Repertory Theatre of Los Angeles, as musical director of Regina Taylor’s Crowns.
Sandra Booker sung quite “Tenderly” last Friday night working her magic on the audience at the Squashed Grape Winery.Booker took over the popular jazz pub with her Trio,Kendall Kay on drums,Mike Gurrola bass and Dori Amarillo on Guitar. Later adding a special guest, L.A.saxophonist Dale Fielder.Sandra Booker a “Nawlins”(New Orleans) transplant based in Los Angeles. She’s been knocking out her audiences for the last 25 years.
Now considered a veteran of this genre,Ms. Booker consistently brings her A-game, while performing with renewed vigor on the bandstand.To follow Sandra or find out more information on her latest CD, go to http://www.sandrabooker.com and for following Dale Fielder who’s about to release his 16th CD while celebrating his 20th year with the Dale Fielder Quartet. http://www.dalefielder.com
Recently at the jazz club Catalina’s in Hollywood California, a crowd of fans, former schoolmates, neighbors, teachers all came together for a reunion concert by The Harold Johnson Sextet. Johnson is an accomplished producer,writer and arranger whose Jazz group kicked off their early music careers with a “hit album” right out the gate in House on Elm Street released in 1967..the album was not only popular in Los Angeles which is Harold’s native city,but it enjoyed heavy rotation on Jazz and soul radio stations all over California and beyond.
The Reunion concert was an idea spawned from the latest CD released by Harold Johnson Sextet entitled, “Back on Elm Street” Reunion, featuring some of the original members of the band . David Crawford on Flute, and hit-songwriter,producer and highly sought after drummer, Leon Ndugu Chanceler.
Rounding out the Reunion band’s personnel ; Munyungo Jackson Percussionist, Welton Gite Bass, Gemi Taylor Guitar, The Vincent Sisters vocals and Olivia Reese vocals.
There was a particular buzz in the room as the swelling audience began to feel the electricity of the evening that was building as the show’s Master of Ceremonies, Robert J. Carmack , founder and editor of Hipster Sanctuary.Com began to warm up the audience with a little welcome cheer.
After the introduction of Harold Johnson ,the bandleader appeared alone on stage at the piano and began the evening’s festivities with a gospel-tinged solo composition, Pass It On. Johnson then started into another fanfare piece as he brought on-stage each member of the band and vocalists. Upon the first few notes the audience recognized the popular and finger-poppin’ melody of House on ElmStreet title-track with original member David Crawford lit into swirling trills,grace-notes and sweet arpeggios on Flute. Crawford’s solo was followed up by the leader Harold Johnson on Electric piano. Over 40 of Harold Johnson’s songs have been recorded by major hit-makers over the years like LTD, Diana Ross, Stephanie Mills, Dennis Edwards,Thelma Houston,Jeffrey Osbourne, OJays,Temptations and many more.
We were entertained with a trip down memory lane of jazz and R&B songs from the many hits he wrote for other artists. He also introduced us to cuts from the new CD, BACK ON ELM STREET REUNION, “Main Squeeze” and “Til’ We Meet Again”. In addition to a reunion of band mates were local school alumni who attended school with Harold Johnson or his band personnel.
I spoke with Johnson about future projects plans and actions, he mentioned that He’s already in motion for a “Back On Elm Street Reunion Volume 2. we can hardly wait.
Many years have passed since Cal Tjader made his transition, but his loyal fan base and new fans of this genre can not get enough of that sound. One group in Los Angeles is doing their part in keeping the legacy of latin jazz brightly illuminated, and Cal Tjader’s spirit alive and honored . SOUL SAUCE! The Long Beach California Jazz establishment, Seabird Lounge. They’ve been presenting top shelf jazz for quite some time now in the Southern Californian area. Soul Sauce is “in-residence” for the month of January at the Seabird Lounge in Long Beach until further notice.Concerts are Free at the door , 5PM music starts each Sunday afternoon. Say Hello to Don Littleton and the Fellas This Sunday at 5PM ..
George Duke was a musical innovator, creator, and mentor to so many. His legacy as a recording artist is vast, from Cannonball Adderly to Jean-Luc Ponty, Frank Zappa to Michael Jackson, to over 40 recordings as a solo artist. Simply put, George forever changed the landscape of jazz, r&b, funk, pop and classical music.
One of the Original members of the R&B group,The Whispers has passed at the age of 71. The cause of death are not totally clear as Caldwell was facing several life threatening challenges as recently as part of last year , when he went on the record and wrote an open letter to his public and fans about his bout with Congestive Heart Failure and was optimistic about some alternative medical procedures that would elongate his life.
Some fans were treated toward the last of 2015 with actually seeing Nick as he was called by friends and fans alike perform with the group, The Whispers. In speaking to a close friend today, who had just spoke to Nick as recently as New Years eve, said, “We talked for a longtime on the phone and he gave me the impression he was feeling good and was looking forward to more shows in the near future. No indication that there was new setbacks. Four days later, Nicholas Caldwell, 71, passes on to the great jam session with Natalie Cole and the rest in the sky.
Always the one all the ladies would whisper about in the audiences , Nick’s outgoing personality and suave and sophisticated moves on stage set the group apart from their contemporaries, which Nicholas was charged with that responsibilty to keep the group moving and grooving. In addition to choreography, Caldwell also wrote a lot of the Whispers classic songs, centered around love and romance. This writer who saw them from the very beginning of their recording career in 1964 with Dore records as a Teenager. The Whispers were a favorite at the Hunter Hancock (local DJ) Record Hops. Hancock was one of most popular R&B soul DJ in Los Angeles at Radio station KGFJ.
NIcholas Caldwell was born and bred in Los Angeles, when Walter & Scotty (Twins) met him. They were competing against each other at teen record hops in Watts (now called South Central Los Angeles) and at Jordan High school which he attended with other members , Marcus Huston, The Two twins and the other original member Gordy Harmon was much older, but lived in Watts close to Jordan Downs projects gymnasium. It served as the early “gig spot” for the budding group The Whispers. Formed in L.A. in the early 1960s, the Whispers certainly took a “slow and steady” career course in which they have quietly become one of the most successful modern soul groups. Consisting of twin brothers Walter and Wallace (Scotty) Scott, Nicholas Caldwell, Marcus Hutson and Leaveil Degree (who replaced departing member Gordy Harmon in 1973), the Whispers first recorded for local LA label Dore Records, hitting the pop and R&B charts with “Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong” in 1970.
They continued to be a mid level charting act throughout the 70s on the Don Cornelius/Dick Griffey “Soul Train” label but gained momentum toward the end of the decade when Griffey, who was their manager, created his own SOLAR label and worked with the group on their SOLAR debut album Headlights, which scored a moderate with “Olivia.”