Hipster Retro: Coming Soon Interview with Woodwinds/Percussionist Derf Reklaw


Derf Reklaw
Derf Reklaw
‘The Pharaohs were one of the forgotten treasures of ’70s R&B, a freewheeling jazz-funk congregation heavily influenced by Chicago’s jazz avant-garde as well as on-the-one funk and African motifs.’
 Unfortunately, they recorded only one album before Earth, Wind & Fire frontman Maurice White (who played in an early version of the Pharaohs) hired several of its members to form the Phenix Horns, the justly celebrated horn section for Earth,Wind &Fire during the 70s.
The group was formed from several jazz bands active around Chicago’s Afro Arts Theater, a community educational collective.
One of the bands, the Jazzmen, was formed in the early ’60s around trumpeter Charles Handy, trombone player Louis Satterfield, and alto Don Myrick (along with three who didn’t survive later conglomeration: pianist Fred Humphrey, bassist Ernest McCarthy, and drummer Maurice White). The other main component of the Pharaohs was the Artistic Heritage Ensemble, who had already recorded one late-’60s LP with cornetist, Philip Cohran, a veteran of Sun Ra’s Arkestra and AACM.
By the time of the Pharaohs’ 1971 recording debut, Awakening, the group included Handy, Myrick, and Satterfield plus Big Willie Woods on trombone, Oye Bisi and Shango Njoko Adefumi on African drums, Yehudah Ben Israel on guitar and vocals, Alious Watkins on trap drums, Derf Reklaw-Raheem on percussion and flute, and Aaron Dodd on tuba.

Back in the ’60s, before the Pharaohs were formed, Handy, Satterfield, and Maurice White had often contributed to sessions at Chicago’s Chess studios, so when White recorded a demo for a new band he wanted to form, both Handy and Satterfield appeared on it. After he signed to Warner Bros., they also began recording Earth,Wind &Fire material and eventually were officially hired by White as the Phenix Horns, with the addition of Pharaohs Yehudah Ben Israel and Rahm Lee, plus Michael Harris. The Pharaohs soldiered on until 1973, but called it quits without recording another studio album.

Derf Reklaw became a respected world-jazz leader, while Woods and Dodd both appeared on many soul sessions around Chicago during the ’70s. In 1996, the acid jazz label Luv ‘N’ Haight reissued Awakening and also released the 1972 live outing, In the Basement.
John Bush, All Music Guide(reprinted from all music guide-2008

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Jazz Saxophonist Dale Fielder: Tribute to Jazz Legend Pepper Adams


Re-Posted by Robert Carmack  via Dale Fielder

Dear Jazz Enthusiasts

I’d like to take a moment to thank all our supporters (you know who you are!) for all the positive vibes, support and coming out to attend our performances throughout the year!  Pretty much, this is what it’s all about for us jazz musicians.  Simply to play for YOU!  For your enjoyment of this great music!  Without you, we can do nothing!

As I speak, our new CD concentrating on the music of the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Quintet of 1958-1961 entitled: “Each Time I Think of You” by the Dale Fielder Tribute Quintet is at the pressing plant and will be available on our ‘street date’ of October 16th.  This project has overcome numerous obstacles to finally see the light of day.  I am very proud of our “Never Give Up” attitude shown by all involved with making this CD a reality.  Because of the support of those around me, I am resolved and inspired to continue to push on even through the darkest of days.  The new CD will also feature our QR code where you can scan your smartphone over it and it will direct you to our new and soon to be upgraded Dale Fielder Activities website!

We have our BIG WEEK coming up this October 17th thru the 20th.  Founded by Pepper Adam’s biographer Gary Carner, we are anchoring the Los Angeles leg of the the 1st International Pepper Adams Jazz Festival.  Here’s the details as of today:

  • Catalina Bar & Grill – Oct 17th  An all-star quintet featuring Jazz’s #1 baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan from NYC and Grammy-Nominated pianist Eric Reed joins myself, Trevor Ware on bass and Don Littleton on drums for a performance featuring the music of jazz legend, Pepper Adams.  Also on hand will be Adams’ biographer Gary Carner who will serve as MC for the evening as well as featuring the release of his new book on Adams entitled:  “Pepper Adams Joy Road”.  $15 cover.
  • Crowne Plaza LAX – Oct 18th  The official Los Angeles release of the Dale Fielder Tribute Quintet’s new CD “Each Time I Think of You” with a performance by the Tribute Quintet featuring Dale Fielder-baritone sax, Nolan Shaheed-trumpet, Jane Getz-piano, Trevor Ware-bass & Don Littleton-drums. There will be 3 sets of some hot, swinging jazz!  Y’all know how it is and how much fun we have when we play there!  No Cover!
  • Soka University Performing Art Center – Oct 19th  The San Diego area official release of the Dale Fielder Tribute Quintet’s new CD “Each Time I Think of You” with a performance by the Tribute Quintet featuring Dale Fielder-baritone sax, Nolan Shaheed-trumpet, Jane Getz-piano, Trevor Ware-bass & Don Littleton-drums as well as a live audio and video recording of the evening by impresario Jim Merod.   Also on hand will be Adams’ biographer Gary Carner who will serve as MC for the evening as well as featuring the release of his new book on Adams entitled:  “Pepper Adams Joy Road”.  $28, $21 for students.
  • Vibrato Grill Jazz – Oct 20th  An all-star quintet again featuring the great Gary Smulyan. Unfortunately pianist Eric Reed as advertised, will not be able to join us as we had to let him go to perform 4 nights with Delfeayo Marsalis.  However this night, we get to stretch out here in 2 great sets with the superb pianist Theo Saunders, Pat Senatore-bass & Ramon Banda on drums.  Herb Alpert’s joint is one of the classiest and best places to play in town!  No Cover!

I truly hope you all can come out to one or more of these events.  I promise you will hear some of the hardest-hitting jazz in the tradition the great Pepper Adams pioneered.  Also you can pick out our new CD and Gary Carner’s great new book and CDs.  Heck we’ll even have some T-shirts on hand!

See you out there!

~Dale

About The Soul & Heart of Great Music


About. Unsung musicians of Jazz, Blues and Soul Genres. We’ll profile,explore, interview and publicize information to commemorate, or uplift the legacy of these artists who gave it their all during their time in the public’s eye. From time to time, we may have special events recognizing these artists as groups, or individually honoring them. We will also include those individuals who contributed to the innovations and quality of the music through Press,Radio and Film. Artists emerging or still performing on a high level will be acknowledged as well. follow robert j.carmack :@blues2jazzguy on twitter