Posted by Robert J. Carmack-All Photos by Chuck Koton

Marcus Miller on Bass Clarinet
Marcus Miller on Bass Clarinet















Jazz Shutter Bug, Chuck Koton was just able to eek out the last set at Catalina’s Jazz Bar & Grill in Hollywood recently. Miller was in town for a short stint to promote his latest effort entitled Afro Deezia. the Band seemed to  push out a mix of Originals and covers. Miller was just in town last month for two big concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.  The talented multi-instrumentalist was showcasing all his skills as jazz musician and bandleader. Often Marcus found himself trading licks with alto saxophonist, Alex Hahn and Atlanta-based Trumpeter Russell Gunn. One of his tunes that stood out during the last set was a thunderous bass-thumping version of Papa Was a Rolling Stone. also, a special tribute to “Goree” was highlighted by his mastery of the bass clarinet. Thanks Chuck for the pictures.










posted by Robert J. Carmack  #@blues2jazzguy

In a rare performance in Long Beach as part of a concept jazz band, Acknowledgement, Bobby West longtime resident of many European countries, had the audience eating out of his hands ,musically speaking. Fronting an able quintet made up of local L.A.musicians, West exposed his entire arsenal of styles and passionate compositions to the attentive and lively crowd. One such ballad in the 2nd set was commandeered without the horns and was just stunning, fueled obviously by his love for classical music that provided sublime phrasing and arpeggios in the solo portion of the composition, You are Too Beautiful.

My exposure to the nimble Bobby West was Early 90s in Los Angeles where he would frequent the local haunts like 5th street Dicks coffee-house or Billy Higgins World Stage in Leimert Park area of LA. Impressed by his rarely used “Locked-Hands” approach with advanced harmonics made for an interesting evening of listening to classic “cookers” such as MIlestones , Song for my Father and Theme from Alfie.  

In  the second set, he  introduced a Miles Davis jazz pearl , Solar with 12 bars of sublime classical tinged music that would make Beethoven or Debussy proud.

Int'l Jazz Pianist Bobby West
Int’l Jazz Pianist Bobby West

He often inter-mixed the classical etudes-like phrasing  with the locked-hand precision of a Red Garland.This was  pushed by the steady pulse and drive of veteran bassist Jeff Littleton, which was co-piloted by journeyman drummer Ishmael Hunter.  who by the way was celebrating his birthday. Rounding out the frontline was L.A. trumpeter Noland Smith and the Father of Saxophone sensation, Kamasi Washington , Rickey Washington on saxophones. Rickey brought down the house on a flute solo on the perennial “Summertime.”  One has to look high and low to find flautist who play bop-like phrases on a flute today. Overall, I was quite entertained and Soul satisfied,

I’m told Bobby Bobby West 1will be in town for another few weeks before striking out for Morocco. Gone six weeks, then back  again in Los Angeles until September, where he goes on the road for a nine-month stretch before his next return. In between gigs while on hiatus from the road, he can be found at the World Stage teaching music to kids and adults,

Bobby West 2 North Sea Jazz
Bobby West performing at North Sea Jazz Festival


posted by Robert J. Carmack  #@blues2jazzguy

"Last of the Great Soulmen"
“Last of the Great Soul men”

One of the last of the great soul men has died at 70. musician, songwriter, Bobby Womack has succumb to poor health today as announced by his record label, XL Recordings. The cause of deah has not been officially reported, nut it was well known Womack was battling an array of health issues. The singer’s career spanned seven decades and included ’80s hit “If You Think You’re Lonely Now.”

Womack began his career in the early 1960s as the lead singer of his family musical group, The Valentinos. He also served as  Sam Cooke’s backing guitarist on many of his recordings.  After releasing a mild hit in early 1960s  with The Valentinos       (“But It’s All over Now”) The Rolling Stones took Womack ‘s  song global and, put Womack on the map as a songwriter along with big royalty checks.  In the late-60s, Womack went solo.

In 1968, he signed with Minit Records and recorded his first solo album, “Fly Me To The Moon,” which included his first major hit with a cover of The Mamas & The Papas’ “California Dreamin’.”

He would go on to collaborate with music notables Gábor Szabó, George Benson, Sly and the Family Stone, Janis Joplin,Patti LaBelle, and Jazz Crusaders. He would later leave Minit and sign with United Artists where he released the album, “Communication.” He would earn his first Top 40 hit, “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha.” The hits just kept on coming after that.  Part II  of this article  coming  July 1, 2014.



posted by Robert J. Carmack     twitter: @blues2jazzguy

R&B Soul legendary singer Charles Wright keeps re-inventing himself,from Doo-Wop to Hip Hop. Charles is Looking for an Ugly Woman, at least that’s the name of his new cut that’s catching  on around the country. Partly due to a famous commercial using Wright’s very popular music from the  1970s “Express Yourself” , Charles was able to catapult himself into the hearts of a new generation of admirers.  Charles was the original founder of  Watts 103rd Street Band,producer,writer,singer and multi-instrumentalist.

CW_1 closeUP Now

Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band is a pioneering American soul and funk band. Formed in the early 1960s, they had the most visibility from 1967 to 1973 when the band had 9 singles reach Billboard’s pop and/or rhythm and blues Hot 100 lists, such as “Do Your Thing” (#11 Pop, #12 R&B), “Till You Get Enough” (#12 R&B, #67 Pop), and “Love Land” (R&B #23, Pop #16). They are best known for their biggest hit on Warner Bros. Records, 1970’s “Express Yourself” (#3 R&B, #12 Pop), a song that has been sampled by rap group N.W.A. and others.    


Charles Wright was born in 1940 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, before moving to Los Angeles in the early 1950s, playing guitar and singing in several doo-wop groups including the Turks, the Twilighters, the Shields and the Gallahads.

He also briefly worked as an A&R for Del-Fi Records and was responsible for the hit record “Those Oldies But Goodies” (Remind me of you) by Little Caesar and the Romans in 1961.  In 1962, he formed his own band Charles Wright & the Wright Sounds which included future Watts Band member, John Raynford, along with Daryl Dragon, aka “Captain” of  Captain & Tennille.  Over the course of the next six years, Wright would add more players to his group and these were the players who would eventually become known as the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, at least by 1968. Several of those members, namely drummer James Gadson, bassist Melvin Dunlap, trombonist/arranger Ray Jackson, and both guitarists Al McKay and Benorce Blackmon, would play on several Dyke & the Blazers charting singles, including “We Got More Soul” (1969) and “Let a Woman Be a Woman, Let a Man Be a Man” (1969).

Color Charles   w Guitar

The Wright Sounds played in several venues across Los Angeles but their best known stint was three years (ending in 1968) at Hollywood’s Haunted House nightclub. Originally located at Hollywood and Vine, the Haunted House was a popular club in the 1960s and appeared in several popular culture artifacts, most notably the 1969 Go-Go dancing

B-movie, Girl in Gold Boots. Wright’s nephew was the rapper Eazy-E,   a successful solo artist and member of infamous hip-hop  group N.W.A.  Eazy-E, whose real name was Eric Lynn Wright, died of AIDS  March 26, 1995 at the age of 31.  The name, Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band was originally coined by Los Angeles producer and Keymen Records owner Fred Smith in 1967. However, between 1967 and 1968, the Watts 103rd name applied to three, arguably four different personnel configurations before settling into the final band who played on every Watts 103rd album from 1968 forward.

Smith produced a theme song for KGFJ radio personality, The Magnificent Montague. The song became so popular that Smith released it as a single in 1967 and created the name, Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band for the studio group who had recorded it. Purportedly, the players on the single included Wright, James Carmichael,Leon Haywood, and Bobby Womack. (R&B Soul Iegends)

In 1966, Carmichael and Wright were both working as session players for the Nashville West recording studio. Their group of studio players was discovered by Fred Smith and comedian Bill Cosby who needed a backing band for his upcoming album, Silver Throat. Smith hired the Nashville West players and gave them the Watts 103rd name. This group included (but was not necessarily limited to): Arthur Wright (bass), Pete Fox (guitar), Streamline Ewing (trombone), Herman Riley (tenor sax), Jackie Kelso (tenor sax), Melvin Jernigan (tenor sax), Mel Brown (guitar), Abraham Mills (drums).

Due to their association with Cosby, the new Watts 103rd Band landed a deal with Warner Bros. Records, becoming the first R&B band to sign with them. They released a debut album in 1967. Technically self-titled, the album has also come to be called Hot Heat & Sweet Groove after a sub-title found on the back cover. “Spreadin’ Honey” was included on this album, per Warner Bros. insistence, even though none of the players on the album, except for Wright, had actually played on the “Spreadin’ Honey” single.

For more info and current bookings http://www.expressyourself.net/


alabam cast 1

The CLUB ALABAM REVUE  written and directed by  Tu’Nook

Robby Royale 1Now
Robert J. Carmack as Robby Royale

Sunday afternoons  at 4:PM will never be the same again. From the very first note by the Quintet known as  Duane & the Central Ave Players performing an original composition , Calico Blues, to sudden burst of energized persona by the name of “Robby Royale” the so-called MC. however the audience soon learns He’s much more than just a  MC. He’s weaves in and out of the parade of musical icons and legends with the skill of a “Village Griot”,  adding spicy dialog and acting panache . He then engages the audience, takes them to 1940s Central Avenue jazz scene.

Robby Royale opens the show with a short version “without music” of  Louis Jordan’s Choo Choo Boogie  then morph’s that into a scatted-version of  Yardbird Parker’s  riff tune,  “Ornithology” back to Choo Choo Boogie & out.  Then as if rolling dice  he says, ” Let the Good times Roll!! Bringing to the stage a swinging Joe Williams  persona singing “Everyday  I Have the Blues.”  This kicks off a wild and history-rich yet , not preachy and yet, quite entertaining for the novice as well as the “Jazzyphiles” too.

For ticket RSVP  info Call 323-552-8283 –  limited seating

Venue: The Performers Corner 214 Hardy St. Inglewood,Calif 90301

Cast  of The Club Alabam  Revue 

Dorothy Dandridge – Wanda Ray Willis

Sarah Vaughn – Pat Sligh

Little Walter  –  Larry Robinson

Billie Holiday – Kerrimah 

Little Richard – Phillip Bell

Ella Fitzgerald –  Deborah Sharpe-Taylor

Joe Williams / Killer Joe – Wilford Courtney

Josephine Baker – Latoya Dawson

Larney Johnson – Cab Calloway  

Tu’Nook – The Poetess 

Robert J. Carmack – Robby Royale

Music by the Central Ave Players

Directed by  Tu’Nook

Technical Director – Carla Clark

Media/Publicity – RJC Mediatainment    https://www.facebook.com/RJCMediatainment


Phil Bell as Little Richard
Phil Bell as Little Richard




Lachaux  Nathan Hare 80th party









above:With   Artists,Singers ,Poets, Writers & musicians (l-r) Marvin X JackmonToReadah MikellMechelle LaChauxJoan Tarika- Lewis and Ayodele Nzinga.

Michelle  color  with Blond short




Breaking Out in Song



Mechelle LaChaux  4 BALD

Elegantly starring as her stylish self


1989 head SHot  Lachaux