CELEBRATING BLACK MUSIC MONTH WITH LEGEND BIG BLACK ~ PERCUSSIONIST


posted by Robert J. Carmack  #blues2jazzguy

shown: music journalist/producer Robert J. Carmack with drummer Big Black
shown: music journalist/producer Robert J. Carmack with drummer Big Black – photos by Emmett Williams

 

 

 

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/

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Advertisements

JAZZ SAXOPHONIST MEL MARTIN EXPLORES MUSIC OF JOE HENDERSON


posted by  Robert J. Carmack    #blues2jazzguy

 

Mel_Martin  MODE for Joe Large
Jazz Saxophonist Mel Martin

San Francisco bay area saxophonist, Mel Martin will be a part of the S.F. Hot Plate jazz series at the SF Jazz Center. Every third Thursday of the month in the Joe Henderson Lab, the Bay Area’s most gifted musicians pay homage to the top100 jazz albums of all-time. Martin performs music from the late Joe Henderson’s 1966 Blue Note classic, MODE for JOE. 

mel martin_SmThursday Evening, April 21, 2016 – Mel Martin plays Joe Henderson’s Mode for Joe @ The SFJazz Center. Shows at 8 & 9:30PM. General $20 Members $15.            201 Franklin Street,    San Francisco,CA.94102 Featuring Mel Martin – tenor saxophone,Alber Bent -Trombone, Mark Levine – piano, Robb Fisher – bass and Jeff Marrs – drum                                          If one wanted to pick a really hip album by a jazz musician to pay homage to, Joe Henderson fill the bill on all fronts. I was a young budding saxophone student in 1964. I would spend days trying my best to emulate what was coming out of my parent’s stereo HiFi. practicing and trying to play along with my Dad’s album,The Sidewinder” by Lee Morgan, featuring Joe Henderson on Tenor saxophone. I discovered the most electrifying solo of my young life. It possessed everything one could ever want in a solo.. First its funky as hell. Also, its very muscular and logical.. it provides a young student a roadmap on how to build a solo while moving and grooving. Joe Henderson’s Solo on the Lee Morgan album’s title track, which led me to other artist’s work with Joe Henderson playing on them.That included Horace Silver, Kenny Dorham,Grant Green,Bobby Hutcherson and later on many others and different genres  They all have enjoyed this man’s performances and  spirit.  I interviewed Joe in the late 90s about what he thought of the newer young jazz musicians who were not focused on composing lasting compositions, but more on “watered-down tunes” that became popular for a year or two but not long lasting as many of the jazz musicians of Joe’s ilk and pedigree created just 20 years before. “Many of these cats are just putting on an Armani suit and coming on stage commiting Sacriledge. Not really working on their craft before they get to the stage” stated Joe as he shook his head.

Mode for Joe album was released in 1966, Over 50 years ago, I turned 16 that year. My passion for this music is still as strong for these compositions as they were in 1966.Here we are in 2016, Mel Martin is paying tribute to this great Tenor saxophonist and his music. Music that has stood the TEST OF TIME.. Thank you Mr. Martin. I only wish Joe was still here to come out and hear you. The greatest form of flattery to a musician is to have someone play your compositions years after you’ve created them.

Check out Mel Martin at his website for his Cds,gigs or just what’s going on with his various groups and bands.     http://www.melmartin.com/

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

R&B FUNK BASSIST BROTHERS JOHNSON’S LOUIS JOHNSON PASSES AT 60 -RIP


posted by Robert J. Carmack  #@blues2jazz

 LOUIS JOHNSON  (April 13, 1955 – May 21, 2015)

louis Johnson  Thunder Thumps

FOLLOW UP STORY COMING SOON – Hipster Sanctuary staff

Louis Johnson  all solid Bass

Louis Johnson album cover

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!!

KCSM JAZZ 91 SAY THANK YOU JAZZ COMMUNITY FOR YOUR SUPPORT


header_joth2015

posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy

Congurero    Poncho Sanchez
Congurero
Poncho Sanchez

KCSM Jazz 91 invites you to spend the day with us at           Jazz On The Hill! This day-long celebration is our gift to you, our jazz community, to thank you for the support you’ve given to your favorite jazz station: KCSM 91.1 FM. Join us at College of San Mateo campus for live jazz with a great line-up of musicians who cover many genres of jazz from straight-ahead, blues, to Latin and more!  1_antonschwartz
Again we will have two music stages! The main stage will be located on the lower mezzanine in front of the library steps, with seating alongside the fountain and plenty of lawn seating…bring your picnic blanket, umbrella and come early to claim your spot!
The 400-seat Little Theater is again the venue for the Youth Stage which will showcase the next generation of jazz musicians.

Giant Steps Jazz Big Band
Giant Steps Jazz Big Band
SF Jazz AllStars Combo
SF Jazz AllStars Combo

ARTS & CRAFTS AND FOOD TRUCKS, TOO!

It’s a long day, so come hungry! There will be a variety of food trucks on site … check back soon as we begin to add the types of food available. We will also serve beer and a variety of great wine from Domenico winery. No matter what your taste….we’re sure to have scrumptious food and drink to wow your palate.
In addition to our food vendors, there will be local artisans showcasing their wares, and other organizations will also have information about local businesses that might interest you. Check back soon, we will be adding the list as they si

CBS STEVIE WONDER’S SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE CELEBRATION “GOT IT RIGHT”


posted by robert j. carmack #blues2jazzguy #chefrobb #GrammyAwards #GrammySalute  #CBSNetwork

“Songs in the Key of Life: An All-Star Grammy Salute” aired Monday on CBS, which featured the best of the new generation performers, all paying respect to the legendary Stevie Wonder.

http://www.complex.com/music/2015/02/beyonce-ed-sheeran-gary-clark-jr-cover-stevie-wonder-higher-ground

Performers including Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Pharrell, Tony Bennett and The Band Perry paid homage to the singer/songwriter and his muscular music catalog during the show, which was taped last week in Los Angeles. I don’t watch the Grammy Awards show and have not in over twenty years because of low quality shows and antics by publicity-starved pseudo mega stars.  I saw one of the best show openers in any Grammy-related or, not TV show by Beyoncé, with less “Rump-Shaking and more soulful singing along with two very talented young singers I was not aware of.

Singer/guitarist Gary Clark Jr. joined Beyonce and Sheeran for medley of Wonder hits that included “Higher Ground.”

A “Dialed back”  Lady Gaga played the piano and performed a spirited version of “I Wish” after sharing that Wonder’s SONGS album was the first she ever played on her own as a child. we watched on-screen as Stevie mouthed the words “Oh Wow” when she told of his influence on her as a 6 year old child.

Singer/songwriter Babyface joined Ariana Grande for “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.” Overall, a remarkable tribute to a man who began the journey as an eleven year old boy in 1961 at Motown Records, “Little Stevie Wonder”.

Quote of the Year by Jamie Foxx: ” Let’s be Honest, STEVIE WONDER has more talent in One Braid than most of the people we hear today “

WAS THIS SHOW BETTER THAN THE GRAMMYS ? Stripped of all the Punk & Circumstances it’s a resounding YESSSSSSS!!!!! IMHO.

HORACE SILVER:LET’S GET TO THE REAL NITTY GRITTY 1928-2014


posted by Robert J. Carmack                           #@blues2jazzguy

On June 18, we lost one of the few remaining Jazz giants, pianist Horace Silver.  As a serious fan of this man’s music, I have to take you all the way back to my early teen days in junior high, when I first heard a tune called Filthy McNasty.  A live set (recorded at the Village Gate) finds pianist/composer Horace Silver and his most acclaimed quintet (the one with trumpeter Blue Mitchell, tenor saxophonist Junior Cook, bassist Gene Taylor and drummer Roy Brooks) stretching out on four selections, including this song “Filthy McNasty in May 1961 .

Silver Keys

Its 1963, while most kids my age were groovin’ to Motown sounds,  a handful of  my special friends  and  I were learning instruments.

 

We soon got to take our parents records to listen and try to emulate what we heard . besides the BB King, Ray Charles and Bobby Blue Bland records, our parents also had, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley to name just a few. My Dad either didn’t know about Horace Silver, or he didn’t like him, but I liked him. My best friend Ray had a cousin who was away in Viet Nam, so we had full run of his cousin’s album collection. Man! this cat had everything jazz, needless to say …He had a lot of Horace Silver including the Stylings of Silver , Blowin’ the Blues Away,Silver’s Serenade, also I got hip to Donald Byrd’s Cristo Redento, The Way I Feel by Big John Patton and even Ramsey Lewis Trio, Barefoot Sunday Blues. but it was always Filthy McNasty that we blasted first and foremost.

Horace had that real Bluesy sound without turning off the straight jazz fan.. I describe it as a bouncy, barrel-house saloon type blues with hip, clean lines and definitely FUNKY HARD BOP.

Hard Bop,  an extension of bebop (or “bop”) music. Journalists and record companies began using the term in the mid-1950s to describe the new current within jazz which incorporated influences from rhythm and bluesgospel music, and blues, especially in saxophone and piano playing. Purist would easily say, Silver is the Cat that put Hard Bop on the map with fellow band mate/drummer Art Blakey, when they fronted a group called the Jazz Messengers, leaving audiences with their jaws dropped everywhere they played.

Horace later split up with Art Blakey and formed all kinds of variations trios, quartet and quintets, staying with the rollicking sounds and gymnastics on the piano with other like-minded cats like Kenny Dorham. Silver burst on the scene with Horace Silver’s  jazz Messengers, but now he had a new quintet in 1956  and recording them, which spawned 6 Pieces of Silver.

6 Pieces of Silver is an album by jazz pianist Horace Silver released on the Blue Note label in 1957 featuring performances by Silver with Donald ByrdHank MobleyDoug Watkins and Louis Hayes. “The early Silver quintet was essentially the Jazz Messengers of the year before, but already the band was starting to develop a sound of its own. “Señor Blues” officially put Horace Silver on the map”.

By The time I was beginning high school , Horace was reinventing himself, stylistic of previous bands, but growing funkier and introducing stronger disciples playing with him, enter saxophonist, Joe Henderson. Horace Silver 1964, Song for My Father.

You know.. of all the songs, albums, and performances by Horace Silver, None of them   connected with the  general public like Song For My Father did. If not for Lee Morgan’s Sidewinder, it would have been the biggest jazz hit of 1964.  That cut just carried me away, and put me down to chill and reflect. You heard it everywhere, cafe, barber shops, clubs, stores, on transistor radios and record players in homes..old and young loved this song. Whenever Horace came into Los Angeles, at the world-famous Lighthouse jazz club, He  used it as his swan song  for the evening.   horace-silver-02 (1) Now

No question.. even before his death, I had been missing Horace on the scene already for years with his ailments not allowing him to play live and in-concert since 2004.   A decade off the scene did not make our allegiance and respect for this great musician wane one iota! IMHO, it got stronger. I guess for me, I will always have my special memories growing up, listening to Horace and seeing him at a famous jazz club before I was 21.  thats why, even now as I reflect on Horace’s death, I have nothing but joy and happy thoughts.  Rest in eternal peace my old friend, some day I will see you again.

images (10) horace