LADY KRISTINA AT LARGE IN NEW YORK: JAZZ AND GENTRIFICATION


 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Kristina McBride ~Int’l Jazz Editor at Large   I recently ventured to NYC to go see the legendary Pharaoh Sanders in Brooklyn. I hadn’t been to New York in around 13 years, so I wanted to take my time and see the city and experience it all over again, taking in the old with the new. It felt wonderful to walk the streets again, block after block. I considered the fact that I had never been to Harlem and wanted to get off the beaten trail, so I got on the A-Train and got off at 125th and Malcom X Blvd. I was overcome with a sense of peace and excitement simultaneously.

I had arrived in the cultural mecca of Black Americans. Legends had walked these streets: Langston Hughes, Malcom X, Zora Neale Hurston, Amiri Baraka, Duke Ellington, Billy Holiday, Miles Davis…I can go on and on. I was hearing Gregory Porter’s “On My Way to Harlem” on a loop in the musical soundtrack of my mind.  I gazed at the buildings surrounding me.  All the goings-on was a sensory wonderland, displaying mothers pushing their babies around the corner while on their cellphones.. a young man rushing toward the subway, perhaps he won’t be late to his shift.

Wow..the Nigerian grandmothers sitting at their stalls with their wares for sale, fanning themselves from the impossible heat of a New York Summer.  And, of course I walked past the Apollo Theater, snapped a few pictures of myself, Then I sauntered in the vibes and wisdom from the vendors selling their body oils, shea butter,black seed soap and Dashikis.

I finally met up with a long-time friend, both of us were hungry,  we decided to stop by a café for some grub. On the way, he pointed to the left and said, “There it is…that was the Lenox Lounge.” I paused abruptly on the sidewalk, taking in the sight in front of me. It was a massive, hollowed space flanked by two buildings with awnings.  I stood in front of the empty lot where the Lenox Lounge once stood, now filled with bulldozers that will go back to work demolishing what remained that following Monday. Including a massive, blue metal removal bin, I wonder what was in it. Could it be any of the chairs or light fixtures, or maybe pieces of the beautiful, honeycomb tile floor? Not even the marquee was there. One would never know that the place ever existed.

Rumors are a Sephora is being constructed in its place. Another frivolous, over-priced store in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Or at least they’re trying to. Only just a few weeks before my visit there, was a vote to stop the renaming of a section of Harlem to “SoHa” (short for South Harlem). Harlemites wouldn’t stand for that nonsense.

I wish this could have been the case in D.C. where this is happening all over as the “brown folks” are being moved out to attract younger, richer, and incidentally more white people into the city. “The sight of a Whole Foods at the Corner of Malcolm X Blvd and 125th befuddled me as I came out of the subway station.” Such an odd place for a store like that for that neighborhood, but it’s a sign of things to come.

So many of our cultural landmarks and venues that was home to Black America’s music and its artists over generations are rapidly disappearing: Bohemian Caverns and HR-57 in Washington, D.C.; in Philadelphia, although they have been long-gone are Pep’s and The Showboat, and it’s even worse nowadays according to some long-time Philadelphians.

Older Philly Jazz fans into their 80’s now, feel the new spots  aren’t hosting any jazz whatsoever. In  Los Angeles, the home of Leimert Park’s World Stage, they too have been bullied by the threat of gentrification. Presently preparing to put up a staunch fight for culture and legacy . We now have to hear jazz in these sterile environments, where the band has to fight with the noise of people chatting-away as musicians create Living Art right in front of them.

Absolute worst..annoying people practically standing on the bandstand just to capture video and pictures to post to FB, and insta-gram, trying to prove how hip they are .

Most aren’t really into the music anyway.  Even worse than all that , if you do love the music and want to go out to hear a good gig, it’s a small fortune sometimes, $15 and up covers plus $20 food/drink minimum is not uncommon. Good luck if the gig is in a city that requires pay to park! The venues aren’t paying anything decent for the band to play, so musicians aren’t working.

Kristina on Sax

The artistry and music are suffering because of it all, Hopefully, there is an urgency to remedy this situation.

I contemplated this as I walked away from the empty, hollow shell where the Lenox Lounge once stood, looking back several times,searching deeply for a sense of hope. ### by Kristina McBride

Next Up Nov.1:They Called Him Morgan:My Spin on the Movie

 

 

 

 

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KEYSTONE KLIPPINS’~ WHEN JAZZ HISTORY, GOOD FRIENDS AND GREAT MUSICIANS COME TOGETHER


Joao Gilberto, Billy Hart, and Todd Barkan May 1976 pix: Tom Copi

posted  #@blues2jazzguy Robert J.Carmack

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 

Santa Cruz,CA.

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.
 
KUUMBWA JAZZ CENTER, SANTA CRUZ, CA.
FRIDAY, JULY 7, 7 pm.  www.kuumbwajazz.org
 
BACH DANCING & DYNAMITE SOCIETY
HALF MOON BAY, CALIFORNIA
SATURDAY, JULY 8, 2-4 pm www.bachddsoc.org
 
PIER 23 CAFE, EMBARCADERO, SAN FRANCISCO, SATURDAY, JULY 8, 7-12 pm

KEYSTONE KLIPPINS’ ~ CELEBRATING 45 YEARS AT THE KORNER


On-Going Series: Keystone Klippins’ – 45 Years!!! 

Robert J. Carmack      jazz journalist   #@blues2jazzguy

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 

Santa Cruz,CA.

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.

JAZZ PIANIST ERIC REED TO APPEAR AT LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART


Eric Reed Today
Eric Reed Today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

posted by Robert J. Carmack   #blues2jazzguy

Go and witness the incredible playing of Eric Reed  “Live At LACMA”  Los Angeles County Museum of Art Jazz Series

Friday May 6th@6pm  Wilshire Blvd & Ogden Ave(Near Fairfax)

http://www.lacma.org    eric_reed_Now Casual

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.

eric_reed_06 Now

 

HOUSTON AFICIONADO BUILDS A HOUSE OF JAZZ


Posted by Carl Glatzel Houston-based Art Director and Jazz Blogger.

The Collector: A Houston Saxophonist’s House of Jazz
An unassuming mid-century bungalow in southwest Houston holds a jazz horde to be reckoned with. Local musician, photographer and jazz aficionado, Lindy Pollard, has turned his small but tasteful home into a living jazz museum. Some 5,000 titles grace his walls in custom-built shelving installed by the owner and his brother. Upon entering this treasure trove a visitor is oftentimes overwhelmed at the sheer volume. His collection spans decades as well as formats. Pollard will occasionally spin an LP but the bulk of his collection is of the compact disc variety. As neat and precise as the surroundings with its modern appointments, each album is arranged alphabetically by artist and is easily accessible. Pollard is quite literally ensconced in jazz whenever he sits to listen to one of his recordings or play with his cats. Seven-foot tall, vintage Klipsch speakers anchor his living room and offer a surround sound experience to be coveted by any audiophile. It’s safe to say this Houston native will never run out of things to listen to. His musical tastes run the gamut, from Brazilian jazz to vintage ECM releases to hard bop staples. Row upon row of out-of-print and rare releases sit waiting for an eager listener to happen by. Just standing amidst the volumes makes a jazzophile feel anxious.
pollard_sorting_collection
Having grown up in the 50s Pollard has held such virtuosos as Paul Desmond and Sonny Stitt in high regard. As we talked about the artists that fill his walls, he fondly remembers attending a Paul Desmond concert as a young sax student back in 1963. He recalls racing a classmate backstage to grab one of Desmond’s used reeds – one man’s treasure. His enthusiasm for jazz hasn’t wained one bit over the years. Having so many titles at his disposal helps to maintain a learning environment. “There’s always something new on a recording you haven’t heard before,” Pollard points out.
pollard_dining_room
Aside from being a long-standing Bayou City multi-reedist Pollard is also an accomplished jazz photographer and graphic artist. Boasting several hundred originals, he has attended countless venues showcasing some of the most notable icons in the history of the genre. Many images catch artists in candid and even reflective poses. Artists such as Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Duke Ellington are only some of the mainstays you’ll see in his portfolio. His love for the artform is apparent in his attention to detail – each shot a special moment in jazz history. His photos have been exhibited at local galleries over the years to high acclaim. As of recent, Pollard has taken up nature photography as well. With trips to state parks, and even to his own backyard, he has begun to fill new photo albums with his boyish love of nature.
Having visited this personal jazz vault several times over the years I never tire at slowly purusing the titles, wishing today’s circumstances would still allow me to do the same at local retail outlets. Those were the days.
pollard_live_blue

BLACK MUSIC MONTH:50 YEARS BOLD SOUL SISTER ARETHA FRANKLIN


posted by Robert J. Carmack    #@blue2jazzguy

aretha-franklin-harvard-degree-2014-billboard-650
photo by associated press

Congratulations!! Aretha Franklin receives an honorary degree from Harvard University  May 29 2014.  There are Divas and there are DIVAS, Aretha Franklin isn’t just the Queen of Soul, she’s THE Voice of  All Ages. Gospel, Soul, Pop, and dare I say it, Opera?? Yes, Opera as the late Italian tenor Pavarotti once requested Aretha’s presence to stand in for him at a TV show singing two Arias. Ms Franklin shocking most people, as she easily handled the  difficult music with grace and panache’.  I first heard Aretha  as a teenager on a TV show ,Steve Allen Show in 1964. a moving jazzy-blues song entitled, It Wont Be Long.

In those days She was on the Columbia records label , and they thought they could market her as a jazz singer ,since she played piano  they would just add some drums and bass and market her like a “Female Ray Charles” , needless to say, it did not work.  Aretha was the Caged Bird, and she needed to be free, to soar and sing ..Not until she took a little trip down south to Memphis, tasted a little home-cookin’ from the musicians down there including meeting Jerry Wexler as producer on a project that changed her whole life forever! The rest is as they say, history!

Ree Ree 1965  as Jazz singer
Ree Ree 1965 as Jazz singer

JAZZ GUITARIST JACQUES LESURE COOLS OFF OUTDOOR L.A. AUDIENCE


posted by Robert J. Carmack   #blues2jazzguy  photos by R J Carmack

jacques Lesure   LACMA May 16 2014  Full monty shot

With the temperatures topping 90-100 degrees most Angelenos were seeking some relief from the heat, and that came in the form of  Jazz guitarist, Jacques Lesure and his Quartet. The former Detroit native, now L.A. based musician, Cooled off the audience with a great playlist of originals and standards including a very soothing ,but swinging title track , “When She Smiles” from his current CD.

jacques Lesure   LACMA May 16 2014 Aaron Provisor playing Deep
Aaron Provisor “digging in”

The first set was kicked off with a ” Road Warrior” of a composition, the great Wes Montgomery’s Road Song. The sun glasses and wine crowd was treated to some great playing  by Lesure and his men. Especially on a golden composition by musician/composer, Eric Wyatt, “If Only I had Known” I was particularly impressed with Aaron Provisor’s sublime piano solo on this composition along with Revis ‘s bass playing. Jacques had everyone up and on their feet with Kenny Burrell’s  “Dusty gem of a Boogaloo back-beat jam called “Chitlins Con Carne” for a first-set closer. That’s when Jacques really displayed his Motown-roots and had his guitar “talkin” that talk!”

jacques Lesure   LACMA May 16 2014- Road work

jacques Lesure   LACMA May 16 2014 001

The quartet consisted of  pianist, Aaron Provisor, with drums by Iahaji  Hampden, bassist Eric Revis.

There were smatterings of old and young people dancing near-by to the melodious music being performed.   Jacques have in a very quiet way established himself, not only as one of the great ones to watch here in Los Angeles , but on the East Coast as well. This has been attributed to his bi-coastal travel and sideman activities with established Right-Coast groups.

Iahadji  laying a foundation of rhythm
Iahadji laying a foundation of rhythm

Since i have followed Jacques career pretty closely since the late 90s when he co-led a group in Atlanta called The Swing Association or TSA for short. a group of well educated musicians and steeped in “Meat & Potatoes Jazz”  in other words, definitely swinging and bluesy with Swag!

One can only hope that, there are more groups like the Jacque Lesure  quartet on the way to rescue LA from itself. which is.. well, sometimes they fall victim to fads and fru-fru when it comes to real jazz under the “guise, that Its what sells”. Thank God for Art patrons who fund these art programs, so the county of Los Angeles can put them out. A few musicians get to eat and pay a bill or two.  The next time you’re in Los Angeles or, will be traveling in, check out the website of Jacques Lesure .

http://www.jacqueslesure.com/home-1.html

Or, better yet check it out anyway, He just may be coming to your town or city..  You might even “dance for joy” when they finish!

jacques Lesure   LACMA May 16 2014 dncing peeps

 

 

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