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.

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COLTRANE @ NINE-ZERO: CELEBRATING JOHN COLTRANE 1926 -1967


posted by Robert J. Carmack   #blues2jazzguy

artwork by King
artwork by King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subtitle; A Hipster’s perspective on Trane at 90.  Its been a long 49 years ago that John William Coltrane was announced transitioned. This writer remembers that summer day as if it was only yesterday.

photos chuck Stewart
photos chuck Stewart

I was just starting to settle into the summer as any teenager would, with mine being a little bit different. That difference being, I was a young working musician playing saxophone in a Jazz band.  Actually getting more gigs for Dance music or “Soul Music”, so we did both. So on top of playing “Motown” for a set, we always ended a set or opened a set with popular jazz of the era. Bumpin’ on Sunset with Wes Montgomery or Song for my Father by Horace Silver.

One of the most popular of Trane’s music at the time was Equinox and My Favorite Things.  In order for me to become a big fan goes all the way back to when I first arrived in Los Angeles with my parents in July 1960. Quite excited to have moved away from the Deep south and the whole new environment to play, learn and live a better Life away from Jim Crow South. As a 10 year old boy, I had an affinity for advanced music beyond my years . One day I heard a song on the radio station my Dad listened to at the time called the Jazz KNOB , a Long Beach California station for all Jazz format. The song was Cousin Mary by Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan, a jazz vocalese group. The lyrics begin by the members of the group rhythmically chanting  “John Coltrane..John Coltrane..John Coltrane. In my very young mind hearing this ,I thought I heard them saying, Jungle Train..Jungle Train..(Lol) .

I had no idea who this group was until about 3-4 years later, when I had many albums that my father had bought to refer to for further study. I was now a budding saxophone student who had a thirst for Jazz music and its history and all that relates to it. I immersed myself into the backs of albums where I got to learn not just about the leader, but all his sidemen. Coltrane had a distinct sound that differed from most of the other saxophonists I listened to in the mid 1960s.

trane-90-chuck-stewart-john-coltranearchie-shepp-love-supreme-3
photos Chuck stewart Trane,Archie Shepp, McCoy Tyner, Bob Thiele(producer Impulse)

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I progressed in my study of Jazz and its history. This led me back to the legacy of who and what were influences on John Coltrane’s life and music . I found that he was born in North Carolina to a mother and father who loved him very much and fully supported his dreams and goals. They purchased an alto saxophone for young John in 1938, where he became very proficient on sax and clarinet. the church was a big part of the Coltrane clan in High Point North Carolina. You could hear in many of Coltrane’s music in the mid 60’s  leading up to a harvest of great recordings such as Spiritual,Alabama, Dear Lord and many others. The other thread that ran through Trane’s music in my opinion was the Blues, an essential ingredient for great jazz. The “Bird Factor”  was a big factor in almost all of Trane’s Bop tunes, straight “12-bar blues” songs,  , another stylized approach by Trane was to max-out on the chords, by inverting them ,creating new scales based on the tones in the present scales.  One of the reasons John fit in really well with Miles Davis experiments with Modal chords, fewer restrictions from the “Traditional BeBop” block-chord structure. His classic recordings with Miles Davis are well known, Classic groups that featured some of the best in Jazz of the time, like Red Garland, Philly Joe Jones,Paul Chambers or Bill Evans with Cannonball Adderley.

For me, my favorite saxophonists during this period of time were Trane, Dexter Gordon,Cannonball Adderley,Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins,Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter. To further illustrate the feelings regarding Coltrane’s status in the Jazz community. Whereas the  young Turks were starting to expand the music into what was called at the time so-called “Avant Garde” or “Free Jazz” .

John W. Coltrane 1926-1967
John W. Coltrane
1926-1967

nothing in my mind spoke to this new style of jazz more so than the album “A Love Supreme”. I had a bunch of young friends,14-18 years old, that would come together at a selected spot to bring our albums for listening and spirited discussions, anecdotes of personal experiences at concerts,etc. This was a big part of my jazz education . Hearing about the musicians, especially “cats’ I had no music by, or had never seen before. Being so young then,       it was almost impossible to see a lot of jazz live because, they were in lounges or night clubs that sold alcohol and no food.

The saving grace for me and my buddies was a club out near the beach in L.A. called The Lighthouse Jazz Cafe. This venue had opened up in late 1949 as a restaurant/bar for mostly military audiences and local beach folks. but by mid-1950s under new management by local jazz bassist Howard Rumsey, he developed a policy of under 21 could come inside because they served food ( an ABC rule that allowed minors inside a place where alcohol is served) Me and my friends took full advantage of this policy. the other plus factor was that, even if you did not have any money to get in, you could stand outside on the sidewall and look into the club with those french windows.

The day Coltrane died, I got a lot of phone calls to inform me or If I had heard. You would have thought a president had died..well. in my circle of friends it was. I took out a few albums and began playing them. Crescent, Live at the Village Vanguard,Coltrane Sounds, My Favorite Things to name a few. As I recall whenever I had school projects in college where I produced a slide presentations/documentaries on socio-economic or sociopolitical topics. I used John Coltrane’s music as my soundtrack to narrate by. Years later as a mature adult, some 30 years later I would hear his music via over-head systems in stores, schools, cafes, jukeboxes or even at Bar B Ques on Boom Boxes by Baby-Boomers instead of Motown or R&B  dance music. Even today, as I listen with fresh ears on some of his oldest music from the Prestige days with Donald Byrd and Red Garland or Art Taylor groups. even the early days with Miles Davis still have MAGIC in those eclectic solos. those beacons of light when I’m feeling a little dark  or unsettled. I consider myself a jazz historian, but I’m more of a student of jazz and its legacy.

PHAROAH SANDERS AND JOHN COLTRANE - mid 1960s
Pharoah Sanders and Trane mid 1960s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some background on Coltrane…

Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926. His father was John R. Coltrane and his mother was Alice Blair.He grew up in High Point, North Carolina. His mother bought him his first saxophone, an alto in 1938. Coltrane played the clarinet and the alto horn in a community band before taking up the alto saxophone during high school. He had his first professional gigs in early to mid-1945 – a “cocktail lounge trio”, with piano and guitar.
Coltrane’s musical talent was quickly recognized. though, he became one of the few Navy men to serve as a musician without having been granted musicians rating when he joined the Melody Masters, the base swing band. By the end of his service, he had assumed a leadership role in the band. Many believed his first recording session included an arrangement of the BeBop classic Hot House.

After being discharged from his duties in the Navy, as a seaman first class in August 1946, Coltrane returned to Philadelphia.  He then jumped into the excitement of the new music, BeBop and the blossoming “bop scene.” Coltrane was a member of groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic and Johnny Hodges in the early to mid-1950s.

The Miles & Monk Years  1955-1957

The rivalry, tension, and mutual respect between Coltrane and bandleader Miles Davis was formative for both of their careers.
In the summer of 1955, Coltrane was freelancing in Philadelphia while studying with guitarist Dennis Sandole when he received a call from Davis. The trumpeter, whose success during the late forties had been followed by several years of decline in activity and reputation, due in part to his struggles with heroin. He was again active and about to form a quintet. Coltrane was with this edition of the Davis band (known as the “First Great Quintet”—along with Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums) from October 1955 to April 1957. During this period Davis released several influential recordings that revealed the first signs of Coltrane’s growing ability. This quintet, represented by two marathon recording sessions for Prestige in 1956, resulted in the albums Cookin’, Relaxin’, Workin’, and Steamin’. The “First Great Quintet” disbanded due in part to Coltrane’s heroin addiction.

trane-and-miles-davis-poster
classic posters from 1963

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coltrane rejoined Davis in January 1958. In October of that year, jazz critic, Ira Gitler coined the term “sheets of sound” to describe the style Coltrane developed during his stint with Monk and was perfecting in Davis’ group, now a sextet. His playing was compressed, with rapid runs cascading in hundreds of notes per minute. He stayed with Davis until April 1960, working with alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley; pianists Red Garland, Bill Evans, and Wynton Kelly; bassist Paul Chambers; and drummers Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb. During this time he participated in the Davis sessions Milestones and Kind of Blue, and the concert recordings Miles & Monk at Newport and Jazz at the Plaza.  At the end of this period Coltrane recorded his first album as leader for Atlantic Records, Giant Steps (1959), which contained only his compositions. The album’s title track is generally considered to have the most complex and difficult chord progression of any widely played jazz composition. Giant Steps utilizes Coltrane changes. His development of these altered chord progression cycles led to further experimentation with improvised melody and harmony that he continued throughout his career.

alicecoltrane2X Trane painting
alice and John

Prior to Trane’s death, I did not know about Alice McLeod(Coltrane)his pianist wife. Her name popped up in a conversation one night with a bunch of my Jazz group sessions , That was when I first heard the Live session at the Vanguard with Alice Coltrane now on piano instead of McCoy Tyner and Rashied Ali-drums, instead of Elvin Jones. the group was not only changing personnel, but the direction the music was beginning to take a new form inside a more philosophical, “Outside”(mainstream jazz) more eastern in style thats mixed with East Indian,North African and Asian influences and less once  harmonic and melodic theories.

b& w alice coltrane harp
Alice Coltrane with Harp

 

 

 

 

 

 

robert-sax21-sax-salute
21 sax Salute to Charlie Parker 95th Birthday celebration LA Calif. 2015 Chuck Koton photo

Today as I look back over at all the Coltrane Tributes I’ve attended, created, and performed in, I never get tired of hearing a Coltrane tune or “Trane influenced music”, to me it’s like getting inside a time machine and going for a short ride into the 1950s or 1960s jazz scene.

I support live jazz for the youth in jazz too, somebody has to keep this thing going.. since we barely have radio stations, NO instruments in public schools, the worse crime is the distorted madness being called jazz today. I guess I’m still old school  where you got to “swing” the circle of Fifths, know all your scales in every key and show up on the gig like you done this before(Dress).

I interviewed the great Joe Henderson who once told me, “You work on your craft in the Lab” (woodshed) so when you get to the gig ,You know your stuff.” 

I never got to see Coltrane in-person, because I was too young and unlucky. 1966 he came to UCLA, but I could not get a ride to the Westwood campus about 30 miles from my house, He had just released the Impulse album, Kulu Se Mama . I saw many Trane influenced musicians from the 1970s to today. Many of today’s musicians are just getting around to checking out the Trane Prestige years, still trying to understand the Impulse and Atlantic records years too.

The longer I live, the more opportunities I get to honor this great man through words, or music and verse. Today, I’m a big fan of Ravi  Coltrane(Son) tenor saxophonist with his own sound and group. a daughter Michelle , who sings like an angel locally here in LA. and his old pianist, McCoy Tyner,  Who’s still performing on the circuit whenever he feels it. LIfe is Grand! #traneat90, #MilesandTrane90 

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RUDY VAN GELDER: THE FINAL NOTE 1924 – 2016


posted by Robert J. Carmack   #@blues2jazzguy

Rudy Van Gelder
Rudy & Alfred Lions of Blue Note Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rudy Van Gelder, a renowned recording engineer who captured jazz greats Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and many others in his parents’ Hackensack living room and later in his Englewood Cliffs studio, died Thursday, August 25 at the age of 91. He is truly a Jazz master in the technological sense. Many of his recording sessions were great records because of the combined efforts of musicians and engineer, capturing the most-pure extract of Jazz at the highest level.

Rudy van Gelder TRane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A LOVE SUPREME by John Coltrane 

The Ultimate masterpiece in jazz recording. No one knew how to deliver the best of “Trane” better than Rudy Van Gelder. It will take decades to analyze all of his work to put him into the proper perspective regarding the Legacy.

Rudy Van Gelder NOW

 

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JAZZ LEGENDARY VIBIST BOBBY HUTCHERSON 75 HAS PASSED 1941 – 2016


posted by Robert J. Carmack

Bobby Hutcherson in suit  color pix

 

 

 

 

Bobby Hutcherson:1941-2016 The most accomplished vibraphonist and composer to emerge in the latter half of the 20th Century,has passed at age 75 Monday, August 15th. Bobby Hutcherson is survived by a wife and a bevy of family and close friends all grieving.

Hutcherson redefined the role of the Vibraphone in modern jazz.

A retrospective follow-up piece by music journalist and jazz historian, Robert J. Carmack  coming soon to Hipster Sanctuary.Com .

Bobby hutcherson 2 color in vest

 

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HAPPY 85 TO JAZZ LEGENDARY SAXOPHONIST SONNY ROLLINS !


posted by robert j. carmack  #@blues2jazzguy

SONNY ROLLINS  SEPTEMBER 7 1930

Sonny Rollins MOHAWK
Sonny Rollins in 1959 w Mohawk
Sonny Mohawk 3 Rollins
Prestige Records Golden Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins turned 85 years old today . its hard to believe ,not because of his age, but, in spite of his age. He still holds court somewhere in the world on major stages blowing long, multi-note phrases, swinging  violently on the most miniscule of sub-themes set up by his own improvisations. Very few things are more exciting than watching and listening to Sonny Rollins in Beast mode. My first experience seeing and hearing him was as a curious child watching 1950s television, that just happened to have a jazz band playing that night. I saw this really cool looking black man with a shiny horn , sun glasses and a Mohawk. I think it was Steve Allen or Jack Parr’s version of the The Tonight Show.    Sonny Rollins was more than a jazz musician, he was a mentor to other jazz musicians, cultural and fashion icon whose influences went beyond the bandstand as well. He was the first black man I ever saw with a Mohawk (1959)..Quite the dresser on stage when he wanted to, He was the first I ever saw with clean-shaved head(1960s) and diamond-studded Ascot.

My first live Sonny Rollins concert, I was now 21 and living in Los Angeles 1971, he was performing at the museum of modern Art outside.. I watched with such wide-eyed delight as he swung so hard on unbelievable tempos, countered that with such tender,velvety arpeggios like he did on such classics as, I Can’t Get Started or Don’t Blame Me. Fast-forward to late 1990s and I’m now living in Atlanta Georgia watching a much older man with full head of snow-white hair and full beard, with a very nice suit with red “Chuck Taylor” Converse basketball shoes.  This time his band personnel was young guys except for his long-time bassist Bob Cranshaw. The results were still the same…long-winded solos on jazz standards and some west indian folk songs    paying homage to Rollins’ West Indian roots.

Sonny at Newport 2001
Sonny at Newport 2001

This man has appeared in countless numbers of countries on even more super numbers of stages,over (7) seven decades of playing professionally and like a great Rolls Royce classic, even though high milage, He still purrs and runs like new.

Well done sir! Happy Birthday Sonny, keep coming back!

LOVE IT WHEN A GREAT JAZZ CONCEPT COMES TOGETHER : THANKS UNCLE DUKE


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

DUKE NOW CIGARETTE
Blue Note Arranger Producer,Composer 1960s photo by Francis Wolff

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,

Robert Carmack Poet
Robert Carmack Poet

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.

San Jose based music educator/transcriptionist,arranger James Armstrong
San Jose based music educator/transcriptionist,arranger James Armstrong

“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

Derf Reklaw congos,bongo & flute , Ishmael Hunter drums
Derf Reklaw congos,bongo & flute, Ishmael Hunter drums
Ishmael Hunter Drums & Reggie Carson Bass
Ishmael Hunter Drums & Reggie Carson Bass
Vocalists Pat Sligh & daughter Jana Wilson
Vocalists Pat Sligh & daughter Jana Wilson

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.

Bobby West pounding keys
Bobby West pounding keys

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.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMBASSADOR HERBIE HANCOCK LOOKING GOOD


posted by Robert J. Carmack   #@blues2jazzguy

jazz saxophonist  Mel Martin and Herbie Hancock
Saxophonist Mel Martin and Herbie Hancock photo by Mel Martin Jazz Archives

Its the birthday of the very man who once thought he would never reach the the greatness of an Oscar Peterson or a Thelonius Monk. Now 75,looking 40ish is the jazz icon who has accomplished every possible music, presidential and international recognition & Lifetime Achievement Award there is.

For me, It began in 1964, I was 14 and studying saxophone in junior high and played in a youth Jazz big band sponsored by the late great Gerald Wilson in Los Angeles. MY DAD WAS STILL MY MAIN SOURCE FOR JAZZ ALBUMS. He brought home a Blue Note album that was all blue,it had a weird name on it” Empyrean Isles” by Herbie Hancock featuring a song I could not stop playing over and over, and over again.

Cantaloupe Island  was quite dominant on radio, I heard it everywhere, in the barber shops,cafe’s on Jukeboxes and car radios and jazz stations . It had an infectious beat and groove to it that swung with a new hipness , just enough commercial to attract AM radio and FM radio stations,But enough of the old school bop playing around that groove that spoke volumes of this new artist’s approach to composition and  improvisation.

I’d been a fan of H.H. since that first album bought by my dad, but,then I was beginning to purchase my own some 9 months later.That one album turned me on to all the fellow side-men and their careers too. Herbie+Hancock-inthe1970s I am most proud that a man of his standing is the Ambassador at Large for Jazz . On the International stage, its much needed, as we in the jazz community know, its not getting its due on the american front. we’re bickering over what is Jazz, what to call it, Europeans are claiming they really started jazz and deserve to proclaim its roots.(Lol)  Herbie also has recently come on-board as professor of music at UCLA , in addition, both he and long-time collaborator,Wayne Shorter are active board members of the Thelonius Monk Institute located on campus at University of Los Angeles. I look forward to whatever comes next for Herbie Hancock, even if its just a candle blowing event. Born April 12 1940 , in Chicago ,Illinois.  HAPPY BORN-DAY HERBIE!!