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!

LOCAL JAZZ MUSICIANS & SINGERS SUPPORT BILLY HIGGINS WORLD STAGE


posted by Robert J. Carmack   #@blues2jazzguy

Local Jazz artists are throwing their hat in the ring, or in this case their voices and instruments. I have assembled a plethora of very talented musicians and singers to produce the “POCKET JAZZ SERIES”, a group of concerts. I’ve coined that phrase to emphasize the “small in stature, big in content” being presented at the World Stage Performance gallery, a limited seating space for the performing arts. However, “My thinking was to have two very different shows back to back weekends, so those that cannot make one, they maybe able to make the other.”

Starting with Saturday August 22 at 7:30 ,@ World Stage 4344 Degnan Blvd. Los Angeles,CA 90008, tickets/Info 951-840-7120  we’re kicking off the Series with a moving tribute. The GENIUS of DUKE PEARSON:Thanks Uncle Duke. the evening will be filled with sparkling Duke Pearson compositions, along with other composers who was either produced by Duke or, worked with him, such Donald Byrd, Cedar Walton, Bobby Hutcherson ,etc.  The music is being performed by The UNCLE DUKE LEGACY BAND featuring veteran jazz pianist/music director, Bobby West. voices featured are Aldene “Pat” Sligh, Jana Wilson and Mechelle La’Chaux .  Come out and celebrate a fresh new approach to exposing an audience to unsung greatness and such historic significance. writer of such popular jazz classics as Jeannine, Fancy Free, Sudel, Wahoo, Sweet Honeybee, Big Bertha’, Gaslight,ESP,and most famous , Christo Redentor, just to name a few.. make an evening of it. Tickets are $15-$20 limited Seating- first come first served, those with tickets will have seat priority.

Int'l Jazz Pianist Bobby West
Int’l Jazz Pianist Bobby West
Ishmael Hunter
Drummer Ishmael Hunter
Reggie Carson Bass
Reggie Carson Bassist
Derf Reklaw on Flute
Derf Reklaw Flute /Saxes/percussions
jana Wilson pat sligh daughter
Jana Wilson Jazz/Blues Singer
Mechelle La’ Chaux Actress/ Singer blues/Jazz/ R&B
Pat Sligh Jazz vocalist/ Actress
Pat Sligh Jazz vocalist/ Actress
Robert J. Carmack producer/actor/journalist - poet
Robert J. Carmack producer/actor/journalist – poet

BILLY HIGGINS WORLD STAGE HEATS UP IN AUGUST : A CELEBRATION of LEGENDS


posted by #@blues2jazzguy

COMING ATTRACTIONS IN AUGUST 

Duke Pearson Right Touch LP

August 22nd– 7:30PM

Genius of DUKE PEARSON:Thanks Uncle Duke

Enjoy an evening of classic jazz and vocals paying homage to the great Duke Pearson, who produced some of jazz’s greatest albums and had a major impact on hard bop compositions and arrangements for big band and large ensembles. The evening’s  featured pianist is jazz veteran, Bobby West and five of LA’s best musicians.

Introducing guest vocalists Mechelle LaChaux & Pat Sligh 

Duke Pearson played a big part in shaping the Blue Note label’s hard bop direction in the 1960s as a producer. He will probably be best remembered for writing several attractive, catchy pieces, the most memorable being the moody “Cristo Redentor” for Donald Byrd, “Sweet Honey Bee” for himself, and Lee Morgan,  “Fancy Free” and “Jeannine,” which has become a much-covered jazz standard, among many others up until early1970.

August 29th 7:30pm

NOW’S THE TIME: SPIRIT OF OUR ANCESTORS

art Farmer Cedar walton w Billy
Art Farmer, Billy Higgins with Cedar Walton on piano (RIP)

An Evening of Jazz & Poetry featuring the music of some of our great jazz legends including Charlie Parker, john Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, GiGi Gryce, Art Blakey’s Jazz messengers and such vocalists as Nellie Lutcher, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lou Rawls & Joe Williams  all performed by some Los Angeles’s top shelf musicians…Featuring Anqui Renise and Amin El.

Special guest vocalists: Mechelle LaChaux and James Love

The World Stage 4344 Degnan Blvd LA 90008

ALL SHOWS start at 7:30 sharp   Limited Seating  RSVP preferred  – No advance tickets  call 951-840-7120

Donations: $15 – $20 (sliding scale)

World Stage Performance Gallery is a non-profit 501c organization tax-deductible

all shows produced by Robert J. Carmack & The World Stage

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!!