Tag: Dizzy Gillespie

HAPPY BIRTHDAY YARD BIRD! CHARLIE PARKER 1920~1955


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Parker was born on August 29, 1920, in Kansas City, Kansas. From 1935 to 1939, he played the Missouri nightclub scene with local jazz and blues bands. In 1945 he led his own group while performing with Dizzy Gillespie on the side. 

 

 

 

 

 

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SOUTH AFRICAN MUSICIAN HUGH MASAKELA JOINS THE ANCESTORS-RIP 1939-2018


posted by Robert J. Carmack

It seems that a bevy of greats have left the stage and building since January of 2017. I realize that’s just life as we know it. Nothing to say about it case closed. However, I did not want to allow the sudden death of a great man and musician go by without saying anything about it. First, my exposure to Hugh Masakela goes back beyond 50 years(1966). I lived in Los Angeles and was studying music in high school and two off campus jazz bands  too. Soon summer 1966 arrived and I was quite anxious because, word had it, the very first WATTS FESTIVAL was coming to reality.  Heavy announcements of Music, Art and Pageantry to replace all the violence and melee that happened only one year prior.

The opening act was this new guy we had been hearing about from Africa that was making a lot of noise in New York.

Hugh Masakela was the Kick-off concert at Jordan High school gym that launched the 1966 Watts Festival & Cultural events. I can remember like yesterday as me and a group of guys who loved jazz, was quite excited about the possibilities and the fact it would be my first time seeing anyone from Africa that was not a cliché of Hollywood racists attitudes about portraying ,anyone from the motherland. That night was very special in more ways than the obvious. I was 16 and thought I was a grown man…the other was coming from a sociopolitical viewpoint. Black people were making a transition from being negro or colored people to Black people or Afro-American (first popped up as a description of black people at this time). Anyway, back to the music, Hugh was every bit an image and role model for us young men. he had a very interesting hair-style  or “Natural”, wore full African regalia, including “NO Shoes” as he went through the recently released album cuts of 1966 “The Americanization of Ooga-Booga.” Which I know now, was a title given and sanctioned by the marketing department at the record company. I assure you, mine and most of us were concentrating on the musical style of his trumpet playing and the rhythms being crafted by the unit led by Hugh. Larry Willis on piano, Henry Jenkins on Drums, Henry Franklin on Bass and Percussionist Big Black pounding out the beats on African drums and Congas.

Hugh was a master of blending the American style of jazz bop and blues idioms juxtaposition with African Rhythms. The eclectic mix of originals showcased his masterful composing skills . He introduced a whole generation of black folks and others to “South-Africanized” jazz. which was quite different in what we had heard by Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakeley or Randy Weston and their  interpretations. He was bringing it “Straight with No Chaser”.

Some of the highlights of the evening’s performances was a composition by Herbie Hancock, Cantaloupe Island. Two other originals jumped out at the crowd which spawn several standing ovations when they ended.. Hale Se Di Li  Kanna(the Dowry song) and Bajabula Bonke (the Healing Song).

The influence of Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard can be heard, along with McCoy Tyner in the playing of pianist Larry Willis, and he shows his debt to John Coltrane as an inspiration on “Mixolydia” as well as his affinity for Brazilian music on “Mas Que Nada.” But the core sound was what Masekela called “township bop” — his short trumpet bursts, sometimes seemingly approaching micro-tonal territory, are engrossing celebrations of the melodies of his repertory, which is mostly of South African origin. The buzz after the concert was so loud  and the cultural wave became a Tsunami of positive vibes for brother Hugh as he was affectionately called after that night.

 

 

 

 

By the fall ,I was still hearing rumblings about that summer concert.. only to find out that the very same group was scheduled to perform at our school sometime before the Christmas break. Man! what a blessing! Twice in less than two months. By the time they appeared  at our school, most of us was sporting Naturals and wearing sandals, some even wore  traditional Dashiki garb and begun learning more about the continent of Africa, particularly, South Africa. I became a life long Hugh Fan, even as he became more and more commercial in his albums, he always brought it back home with a solid menu of fan favorites like Bajabula Bonke, and Cantaloupe Island at the Live concerts.

I will always believe to my dying breath, he believed he was put here to bring joy from the motherland and  shine a light on freedom and respect for every one. His Nelson Mandela anthem (Bring him back Home) was globally huge and played a strong role in keeping the fire to the feet of the world powers. I know I will miss him and his musical spirit, but the whole world will miss his humanity. Rest in Heavenly Peace Brother Hugh!

COMING SOON! OCTOBER 2017 STRAT-O-SPHERE: THELONIOUS MONK TURNS 100


Monk,Miles & Trane!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A ROBERT J. CARMACK  PRODUCTION

STRAT-O-SPHERE; MONK MUSIC, POETRY, DRAMA & DANCE

Los Angeles California Exclusive Showing

Whether on the bandstand or Off the bandstand ..Sitting at the Piano at home composing brilliant tunes…Greatness always followed ,along with Hipness & Swing!

More Information in coming months

Media and Sponsors inquiries:blues2jazz2003@yahoo.com

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!

THE SPIRIT OF CHARLIE PARKER FLOWED AT WORLD STAGE -LOS ANGELES


posted by #@blues2jazzguy

sepia Robert on sax
Robert J. Carmack Producer,poet, journalist, music historian

Saturday, August 29  at the World Stage kicked off a double-header of  fiery jazz events beginning at 3pm where a smattering of jazz musicians assembled and paid homage to the great Charlie Parker on his 95th birthday.       Billed as A 21 SAXOPHONE SALUTE to BIRD.      A modest, but able bodied group of savvy saxophonist gathered at the 25-year-old performance gallery in Leimert Park .The World Stage, co-founded by jazz icon Billy Higgins, and Poet  Kamaau Daaood. Event coordinator and producer Robert J. Carmack was looking for  full 21 saxophone pieces, however due to conflicts and time restraints, some musicians could not make the first year’s event, but, vowed to make it next year. just like at a military event where there are three shots fired as symbol of 21 guns firing, Robert Sax21  sax salute

We had 7 saxophones riffin’ on NOW’s THE TIME melody, followed by a battery of trills, growls, squawks and other improvisational sounds, all in honor of Charles Parker II, bka Yardbird Parker.

There were other cities,groups, even other countries involved as well said Carmack. “my goal was to enlist as many people as I could, all doing the same thing at the same time on East coast at 12 noon, west coast at 3pm. Also shoot it with video or still photography, then submit the finished product to me.  I’m posting that information and images online with a special Facebook page, so all the participants can admire what others did as well.

On hand for the salute was legendary saxophonist Azar Lawrence,along with local legends Dale Fielder and Randall Willis. Invited but had a conflict in schedule, was birthday boy, Bennie Maupin, August 29 1940..(see Bennie Maupin Bashin’ at Blue Whale in Los Angeles (Hipster Sanctuary.Com – Sept.2)

There was also fans of jazz and other instruments that showed up to participate as well,even though they were not saxophones. Drummers, percussionists and even trumpet players showed up to share the moment, which is beautiful. Carmack promises next year a bigger and better program and performances will highlight the Charlie Parker 21 Sax Salute 2016 .

Robert J inside Stage squating  21 sax