Journalist,Actor/Poet, Robert J. Carmack sits down for a chat with the powerful Jazz painter, SAM PACE.
COMING IN AUGUST 2018 @ Hipster Sanctuary…
“Fiddler Blue” Not the official title, Just what I call it” -RJ Carmack
The Charles Owens Quintet Live at The “MERC! “~ Temecula California.
In a recent concert in Temecula, California at the famous “Merc” performance venue, veteran Jazz artist and saxophonist, Charles Owens appeared with his Quintet.
Owens, a Los Angeles based musician performed two very stellar sets for a jazz hungry audience. Being familiar with that music space, I was able to get there early before the first set to grab a quick chat with the quite humble saxophonist. He shared with me many anecdotes and road stories along with who played a major role in influencing his play,style and approach. “As far as influences, Charlie Yardbird Parker and Wardell Gray for sax. The Modern Jazz Quartet and Art Blakey Jazz messengers in how I approach the music as a player or bandleader.” said a relaxed Owens. “But, I enjoy leading my own bands,however, I really loved my experiences playing with two iconic big bands. Duke Ellington’s Orchestra under the direction of his son, Mercer Ellington and the great Count Basie band.”
This particular evening’s affair was very special to him as he’s performing with some old friends and solid jazz musicians. On the bandstand with Charlie were bassist, Henry Franklin,friends for over 40 years, Pianist Theo Saunders,whom he met in L.A. in 1977, veteran drummer Don Littleton, over 30 year relationship and his old bandmate from the Basie band, trumpeter Scotty Barnhardt, current Director of the Count Basie Orchestra.
The SRO crowd were treated to a plethora of popular compositions, all performed with Charles Owens unique touch. First set opened with a Owens original entitled Wild Fire , a fiery piece with a great melodic line and solid enriched harmonies. Charlie and Scotty took some blistering solos, especially Barnhardt who weaved webs of delightful, above the line flurries of notes on his custom built trumpet. That was followed up by a lovely version of the perennial fave, Embraceable You. Barnhardt offered great artistry and sublime technique on this classic ballad. The Quintet quickly moved on the moment by playing a Sonny Rollins tune, Airegin (Nigeria spelled backwards) In my opinion, Scotty conjured up memories of icon, Woody Shaw as he peppered a white-hot solo. That song’s conclusion morphed into Ellington’s Take the A-Train! which ended the first set.
Highlights of the second set included equally great compositions by legends like Freddie Hubbard, Billy Strayhorn,Dizzy Gillespie with a surprise finale of the rarely heard cut, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. This was quite the treat for me and the audience as Barnhardt reached into his magic bag of techniques and growled at the audience with his “Plunger” mute and choked notes..
Charlie Owens reputation as one of the most gifted and versatile musician in Los Angeles since 1972. Part of the attention had to do with his craftsmanship with drummer Buddy Rich Big Band and latin great, Mongo Santamaria. In addition he added stints with English Blues King , John Mayall . Owens told me he was whisked-away from Mayall by music iconoclast, Frank Zappa. Whether he’s asked to appear in a Oscar-winning film LA LA Land or staying fresh and current by working with young musicians on various bandstands, or teaching a weekly class at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music. “During the break of the second set, he told me the reason he chose Frank Zappa. “I found Frank’s music more challenging than Mayall’s,.. I could have easily made more dough, but the challenge was calling me, as Zappa’s music was unique and quite eclectic.
Charles Owens was born in Phoenix, Arizona, grew up in San Diego California. One of his closest friends growing up was ,the late saxophonist Arthur Blythe or AKA, Black Arthur.”
Throughout the course of the evening’s performances I witnessed what most people always conclude, this is a very passionate player and humble almost to a fault. at one point in the second set, Owens and Barnhardt engaged in old-fashioned BeBop playing, to a song by Dizzy entitled the same, BeBop. the tune showcases long arpeggios and multi-note phrasing on top of mercurial-chord changes, played at break-neck speed by the entire band. At times, the rhythm unit of Franklin, Littleton and Saunders were like a giant bellows machine, stoking the coals to unheard of Fahrenheit-levels to the soloists.
Today’s young players can learn a lot from Uncle Charlie Owens. Even saxophone sensation, Kamasi Washington took a class or two at UCLA with Charles while eventually tweaking his already big sound and approach on his horn. Whether you experience Charles Owens in a Big Band setting or a small combo, one thing for sure is, You will never forget that moment in time.
posted by Robert J. Carmack ~ @blues2jazzguy -You know its very hard to find a word that describes a person perfectly, but I just may have. what I mean is, I googled the word Destiny and it read, ” the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future. Also, “the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate. HOWEVER. Sometimes if you’re lucky and say your prayers, you just might meet a talented, sublime musician who happens to play a very unique instrument in a small community of players within a special genre..the original art form of America, JAZZ.
Dorothy Ashby was Destiny’s big influence early on long before Alice Coltrane’s huge shadow loomed large in her life. But what was really a “head-scratcher” for me was when she mentioned in an interview I held with her recently. While as a child watching TV, a man with wild hair and zany behavior. He abruptly stopped and stared at a Harp momentarily, then sat down and begun to play a beautiful solo. She was watching a famous scene from a “Marx Brothers” film. That was just the spark needed in her little head. She went wow! I would like to play that. As a little girl growing up in the Compton community and going to Tibby elementary school. Destiny could only dream, as her mom had very little money and instruments were not in the cards. Even later as she grew up and tried to learn the violin, it did not “cut it for her.” Things were changing at home and her mom moved to San Pedro area projects for low-income, about the time for her to go to high school, she joined a vocal choir and wanted to take piano lessons but again was told they could not afford lesson. Frustrated but not deterred from her dream, Destiny became a barber, a good one too, which gave her independence and decision making power to pursue whatever she wanted. But before she knew it, she was approaching 30 years old and needed to sink or swim.making up her mind to go for it musically she began her journey as a harp player by beginning with the rudimentary method of mastering an instrument late in life. A very challenging endeavor, but none the less not impossible. She moved to Oakland East Bay area and sought out help, advice, direction. After a tad bit of finding her niche’, she found people like trumpeter Khalid Shaheed, pianist Tammy Hall and the legendary trumpeter Eddie Gale among many others. Now over 25 years later, she is being blessed beyond words. Not worrying about how long it took, but what she is doing now that she has arrived.
Destiny has opened for The Oakland East Bay Symphony and Smooth Jazz Artist Gerald Albright, shared the stage with Jazz Masters Marcus Shelby, Omar Sosa, Blue Note Artist Ambrose Akisemuire, and Azar Lawrence to name a few. She has headlined for ‘Women in Jazz’ Concert series, the Afro Solo/ Yerba Buena Gardens Concert Festival, Sunday’s in the Redwoods Concert, Fest Sundiata, and SFJAZZ Tribute to Alice Coltrane’s epic album Impulse Release ‘Journey in Satchidananda .
Destiny is the Principal Harpist for the Eddie Gale Inner Peace Orchestra, the Oakland Community Orchestra and performs with The AWESOME Orchestra.
The Destiny Muhammad JAZZ Trio~Following in the footsteps of jazz harp master Dorothy Ashby (who recorded with everyone from Freddie Hubbard and Frank Wess to Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder), the Destiny Muhammad Jazz Trio is a sleek and soulful ensemble designed to showcase Muhammad’s soaring vocals and transporting string work.
That second and most highly touted Jazz musician, pianist, composer and master harpist, the late Alice Coltrane. A profound influence on Destiny as a musician, composer but, also as a woman in a male-dominated genre. She has been given high praises by her peers and fellow bay area jazz musicians, as well as prestigious arts organization and music societies.
Whether interpreting jazz standards or her original tunes, Muhammad turns every piece into a soulful adventure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hora0U6vvDw
A plethora of achievements and awards received in a little over 25 years after not even starting until she was 30 years old on her instrument. Governor Emeritus and Educational Chair Emeritus of the Recording Academy, Jazz Heritage Center of San Francisco Jazz Ambassador, ASCAP Songwriter Awardee, and Judge for The West Coast Songwriters Contest and Northern California Entertainers Music Awards Female Jazz Artist of the Year.
I asked Destiny what was her greatest joy in music? she said with glee, “That I’m still playing after starting late at 30 and taking that leap of faith. You can follow Destiny’s career and keep up with her gigs by going to her website:http://destinymuhammad.com
If you missed her moving tribute to the great Alice Coltrane the first time, see information below for tickets and or general information regarding the Concert, Alice Coltrane~Sonic Legacy August 26, 2018 – two shows only!
IT was announced recently by producer Robert J. Carmack that the show, Street Life: Magic & music of The Jazz Crusaders is cancelled until further notice. Carmack sited health issues as reason for postponement . no other announcements will be forthcoming. all parties regarding tickets sales online have been contacted and remedied. those that were purchased from direct sources have been contacted also. again, we apologize for the abrupt cancellation, but it could not be avoided. We will contact those groups and individuals when we are able to direct them to a new date or venue. Thank you for your understanding and support. #@blues2jazzguy
Producer/ Host- Robert J. Carmack
Special discounted price Save up to $7.25 off Online price including fees
Contact Robert regarding Direct sales Must pay Cash or money Order for 5 or more tickets @ $20 per ticket
Starting Limited period May 29th ENDS June 10th ONLY $20 per ticket when you buy (5)FIVE or more from one of our reps.
951-840-7120 for general info or closest rep to you.
Street Life: Magic & the Music of Jazz Crusaders
a Musical and Poetic Tribute
featuring The Crusader Legacy 5 Plus Band
Robert J. Carmack Poet, Teodross Avery Saxophones, Alvin Starks Trombone, Don Littleton Drums,Theo Saunders-Piano,Mike Alvidrez Bass
JUNE 22nd Friday Night – 9PM World Stage Performance Gallery 4321 Degnan Blvd. LA , Calif. 90008 $25 at http://www.eventbrite.com
“Celebrating 20 years of Jazz Advocacy Through Whatever Medium Necessary”
STREET LIFE: MAGIC & MUSIC OF JAZZ CRUSADERS
Musical and Poetic Tribute
JUNE 22 9PM World Stage Performance Gallery
4321 Degnan Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90008
Exclusive Online tickets only at www.eventbrite.com $25
CRUSADER LEGACY 5 Plus Band
Teodross Avery tenor sax, Alvin Starks trombone, Mike Alvidrez~bass
Theo Saunders~ piano, Don Littleton ~ drums
Plus poet/spoken word ~ Robert J. Carmack
Produced by Robert J. Carmack & select Crusaders transcriptions by http://www.JamesArmstrongMusic.com
Come Out and Help us pay homage to the dynamic and game-changing group
Media: @blues2jazzguy ~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~951-840-7120
Producer Robert J. Carmack has created a show paying homage to music’s most celebrated jazz group over the last 5 decades. Carmack hand-picked Los Angeles “best of the best” local jazz musicians , all of whom are stellar musicians in their own right. Plus, Carmack will be adding his poems dedicated to the group, along with a special poem dedicated to the Saxman , Wilton Felder. Crusader Legacy 5 Plus are Teodross Avery tenor saxophone, Alvin Starks trombone, Don Littleton drums, Theo Saunders piano/keyboards, Mike Alvidrez bass/elect. bass and Robert J. Carmack spoken word/poet and a special surprise guest. The evening will be filled with the essential Jazz Crusaders compositions that made them into the iconic and award-winning group they were. one survivor left of band, Nesbert “Stix” Hooper.
Robert J. Carmack & http://www.hipstersanctuary.com
STREET LIFE: MAGIC & MUSIC~JAZZ CRUSADERS TRIBUTE
featuring CRUSADER LEGACY 5 PLUS
Teodross Avery Saxophone,Theo Saunders Piano, Alvin Starks Trombone, Mike Alvidrez Bass, Don Littleton Drums
Robert J. Carmack – Poet & MC
Friday June 22nd, 2018 9PM
The World Stage Performance Gallery 4321 Degnan Blvd, Los Angeles,California 90008
Tickets exclusively sold on http://www.Eventbrite.com – No Door Sales
Early Bird Special $20 begins April 16th until May 15th, $25 regular price -General Admissions seats only- first come first served. info contact :twitter @blues2jazzguy or email: email@example.com
posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
East Coast/West Coast Jazz Noir is how I describe veteran saxophonist Teodross Avery. After a brief time off the scene to complete his doctorate in music from University of Southern California, Teodross or “T” (friends call him) is turning over new soil and breaking out like a “Panther from Wakanda.”
Teodross Avery is a saxophonist of the highest level and now he’s returned his focus to acoustic Jazz. For the past twenty years he assisted multi-platinum, award-winning, and critically acclaimed artists, as they made their mark on the domestic and international music scene. Now, it’s his turn.
Here, on his most recent album, Postmodern Trap Music, Avery enlists drum master Marvin “Bugalu” Smith (Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Chet Baker) for an exploration in sax/drum duos.
While in the spirit of duo albums of the 1960’s and 70’s, John Coltrane’s Interstellar Space and Frank Lowe & Rashied Ali’s Duo Exchange, Avery adds his own stamp on the Deep Jazz format. He teeters on the edge of Modern Jazz and Free Jazz. The improvisations are in the moment and his compositions leave musical impressions that linger on long after the CD is over.
Always expanding his artistic and creative licenses. Adding film noir and deep jazz explorations, using what was left by Trane, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra and others to launch his own soul vessels of music and legacy.
In a recent interview with the “good doctor” after a blitzing concert with Dwight Trible and Mark Clive-Lowe, I asked Teodross about my favorite Jazz musician and saxophonist, John Coltrane.
Robert: How do you feel about John W. Coltrane?
T: I love Trane and all he stood for.
Robert:Why John Coltrane?
T:John Coltrane’s music promotes peace, understanding and spirituality. His message of love is timeless.
Robert: Do you feel Trane would be relevant today even?
T: More so today than yesterday, because of these times we are living in, its needed even more. Once the listener hears Trane, they can share in the spirit of John Coltrane’s music and the Message. It’s one of my main motivations for my next CD project, a Live recording session in Oakland, California.
Robert: what’s it about and where, you know, the 411,Lol!
T: Well , its A Night for John Coltrane, Saturday March 31 , at the Sound Room in Oakland, California. 2147 Broadway Doors open at 7pm and the sets are 8:pm and 9:30pm $15 at door. tickets can be purchased on line through http://www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/20370.
Robert:Wow, that sounds like a fun Project , what’s the set-up and personnel?
T: Darrell Green-Drums, Jeff Chambers-Bass, Adam Shulman-piano and myself saxophones.
T: my record label: http://www.thompkinssquarerecords.com and follow me on web: www.teodrossavery.com, twitter:@teaodrossavery
Robert: Thanks “T”, I will be looking for a launch date for the Release party. All that can be followed right here on Hipster Sanctuary.Com…Celebrating the legacy since 1998. Our 20th Year.