Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans, better known as Toots Thielemans,was a master jazz musician. He was well-known for his harmonica playing, but was a sublime guitarist and whistle soloist, often a first-call sessions player.
Many times over the decades of his career, he could be heard on Jazz/POP recordings, or in movie themes and scores. I first experienced Mr. Thielemans masterful skills on several Quincy Jones recordings starting in 1970, Gula Matari.
Born April 29, 1922, in Brussels, Belgium Died: August 22, 2016
Award-winning pianist and composer Eric Scott Reed began playing the piano at age two and was performing in his father’s Baptist church in Philadelphia by age five. After study at Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School and Los Angeles’ Colburn School of Arts, Reed embarked upon a professional career that has taken him all over the world. His credits include Wynton Marsalis, Jessye Norman, Quincy Jones, Patti Labelle and others. Reed has taught at The Juilliard School of Music and gives master classes and lecture demonstrations on the history of music. His other musical ventures include over 20 recordings as a leader, including his latest recording, The Dancing Monk; scoring for Eddie Murphy’s comedy, Life; and musical direction for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Currently Reed is in residence with the Ebony Repertory Theatre of Los Angeles, as musical director of Regina Taylor’s Crowns.
It was announced recently at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburg,Pennsylvania that alto saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master Phil Woods is retiring from performing because of challenging health issues. Woods was on hand to lead a local trio and the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra in a swinging reprisal of the Charlie Parker With Strings album.
Well, it was a historic concert but, before his last number, Mr. Woods, best known to Jazz aficionados as, one of the last surviving Charlie Parker disciples. announcing the present concert would be his last..Ever!
The 83-year-old Mr. Woods, who uses oxygen, jokingly refers to his tank as “my amplifier” later told the packed facility he has emphysema. That being the case, he wanted to go out with a bang. According to eye witnesses who were on hand to catch his final performance were quoted as saying, “If he was having any trouble breathing it surely didn’t show.”
Phil Woods, a top shelf performer, had a stellar backing unit with him from the Pittsburg area, bassist, Paul Thompson, pianist Alton Merrell, and drummer Tom Wendt.
For full concert review by Pittsburg Post-Gazette click on link below
Composer, Pianist, TV host and Jazz legend RAMSEY LEWIS has been referred to as “the great performer,” a title reflecting his performance and style. It seems strange saying Ramsey Lewis in the same sentence as 80 years old. Still youthful looking and playing at the peek of his power ,one would never know it.
I grew up on Ramsey sort of..I mean, One day me and a buddy was fooling around with his cousin’s jazz albums listening and just checking out people we never heard of before. we were able to do this unsupervised because his cousin was in Viet Nam, a long ways away from seeing us . Especially since we were only 13, well, almost 14.
We were just trying to be cool and mature by knowing all the latest Cats in Jazz and those before as well. Anyway, I ran across this one album that had a beautiful black woman with a dress sitting by a pond barefooted looking all sexy.
As all young boys do, we started bragging on our latest girls looking as good or better than . Finally I said, “lets play that record?” my friend said, ” Man,I don’t know??? looking at them is one thing, but playing it might mean trouble. But I egged him on by telling him he was chicken,”I’m Not CHICKEN! ,He said loudly. “OK you not chicken then play it and prove it, I replied.
Huffing and puffing, He finally reached over and took the album out of the sleeve and put it on the stereo Hi-Fi (that’s right Hi-Fi).. from the very first cut we were popping our fingers and lighting imaginary “Joints” , then we went into full “Hipster-mode” the rest of that whole album. This album “swung like a gate” on a well-oiled post.
Barefoot Sunday Blues .(ARGO Jazz label, a div. of Chicago based CHESS Records.)
I was a fan from that day on, then the big day came. Ramsey hit #1 on the radio, a cover song to an already Hit Soul tune by Dobie Gray, “The IN-CROWD”. That sealed the deal for me, that one cut changed the whole music industry for jazz. Here we are 50 years later, and Ramsey is still part of the In-Crowd, just ask anybody in music like Nancy Wilson or Quincy Jones.
His performances and records touch all genres of music for the last 6 decades. A native Chicagoan born May 27, 1935, Ramsey represents the great diverse music for which Chicago is noted. Ramsey Lewis first captivated fans with his first album Ramsey Lewis And The Gentlemen of Swing by the Ramsey Lewis Trio in 1956.
He has three Grammy Awards and Seven Gold Records to his credit. Often called legendary, Mr. Lewis concedes “It’s a high honor when someone says so, but I don’t see myself that way. What keeps me enthusiastic and energizes me, is the realization that the more I learn, the more I find there is to know.”