MUSIC IS YOUR DESTINY: INTERVIEW WITH DESTINY MUHAMMAD~ “HARPIST FROM DA’ HOOD”


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.

Destiny Muhammad is a Recording/ Performing Artist | Band Leader | Composer & Producer. Her genre is Celtic to Coltrane is cool and eclectic with a feel of Jazz & storytelling to round out the sonic experience.  The original harp is one of the world’s oldest instrument and toughest to master, even more challenging than the piano its self. when I was growing up in Los Angeles and studying music as a teenager I wanted to learn jazz and sought out all kinds of musicians besides saxophone players to listen and learn from. One of those unique musicians was a lady name, Dorothy Ashby, who played the harp, but not just in a classical music setting,but onstage with jazz hungry fans , in clubs, cultural arts centers and later, concert halls late 1960s through the 1980s.
(Dorothy Ashby August 6, 1930 – April 13, 1986)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Advertisements

TODD BARKAN’S KEYSTONE KORNER 45 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN JAZZ


posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy

Tom Copi photo

Keystone Korner’s 45th Anniversary Celebration  July 7 & 8 2017
One of the best Jazz weekends in the San Francisco Bay area in decades. First, after you get over the initial shock of the lineup and why, then it all makes sense.

I was in touch with Todd Barkan as soon as I heard through the grapevine there was truly some type of celebration being planned months ahead of the date.  This of course forced me to research and find out just who actually played the North Beach venue .
Many of the great ones that played Keystone Korner are no longer with us.. But Todd selected an absolute stellar group of musicians, all legends and all-stars in their own right.  Tenor Saxophonists, Mel Martin and Azar Lawrence, Alto Sax, Gary Bartz and Charles McPherson , Bassists, Juini Booth and Ray Drummond, Drummers Akira Tana and Roy McCurdy, Percussion Kenneth Nash, Guitarist Calvin Keys, Pianist Denny Zeitlin and Theo Saunders, plus a great group from Japan, Atsuko Hashimoto B3 jazz trio.

photo by brian mcMillen

Equally important as the musicians themselves , Todd chose great venues for the presentation . starting on July 7 at Kuumbwa’s Jazz in Santa Cruz, a coastal city ripe for a top-shelf jazz set.

 

 

The very next day, Saturday July 8th, it couldn’t get any better for a gorgeous afternoon of riveting jazz. He chose the gem of the bay area, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. A unique club carved out of a beautiful home on the cliff side staring into Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco on the peninsula. Follow that Car!! great management, great drinks and service.

You know it not always clear where your next great story is going to come from or, who you might see along the way to that story. but one thing for sure , If you know anything about Todd Barkan..You just grab a brew or some wine, sit down and listen. Todd Barkan the successful Jazz presenter, piano player, record producer, jazz archivist, and  husband.

As I looked around the sanctuary and hung-out down in the green room, I observed the interaction between Todd Barkan and the many friends and fans of the “Korner”,but mostly the musicians, the “fellas”, there was a special kinship or bond between both presenter and musicians.  It’s not even close to being that way “now days”. In my chats with several of the band members and supporters leading up to this great weekend, well almost to a man, they all said pretty much the same. “Todd is one of us.. we are family. “Sadly, a lot of the old gang who frequently played the club during its hey-day are no longer with us. Their spirit lives on in Todd and the musicians memories.

Part of the weekend which also made it a special “NICE TOUCH” was having some of the photographers who were, and still a big part of  archiving this genre and historic occasions in the Bay area.  Three of the best were among the guests at the happenings , Ms. Kathy Sloane, who published a book about the days and nights at Keystone Korner. Fellow shutterbugs, Jim Bourne and Brian McMillen weaved in and out of the scene and captured many great shots to document (see a smattering of their work below)

photo by Brian McMillen
photo by Jim Bourne of Juini Booth
Akira Tana & Kenneth Nash photos by Jim Bourne

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo by Jim Bourne of Ray Drummond

 

Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society(founded loosely in late 1950s by Pete Douglas). But officially as a Jazz and classical music venue in 1964. The crown jewel of Bay area venues was the true “scene of the crime.”

Just prior to his opening remarks, Todd seemed like he was reflecting over his well documented record of work over the last 45 years plus!

1972 -1983, Over a decade in great music was presented on a 7 day a week basis at Keystone Korner  in North Beach. And, all of San Francisco, even the “East Bay peeps” came across the bridge on any given night to see the sights, enjoy the fruits of labor from the giants. Dexter Gordon, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Stan Getz, Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner,Mary Lou Williams, Art Pepper, Freddie Hubbard, Zoot Sims and Charles Mingus,Bobby Hutcherson,Cedar Walton ,Art Blakey, Michael White featuring Kenneth Nash and, Ed Kelly on piano and Ray Drummond bass.

Todd opened the club in 1972, and that was the starting point for greatness that never ceased until the last act in Charles McPherson’s group playing the last set 1983.

Charles McPherson photo by Jim Bourne

Part of the “pomp and circumstance” were watching all that talent being switched around and configured to fit mood, moment and personnel, which was masterfully orchestrated by the “Todd-Father”(Barkan) . a pleasant surprise insertion was Theo Saunders for Benito Gonzalez ..the native new Yorker demonstrated why he’s a first-call pianist in Southern California, even international, as Saunders bio reads like a who’s who in jazz for over three decades. 

Bright Moment for me was a beautiful duet ballad by old friends, Denny Zeitlin and saxophonist Gary Bartz.  Before beginning the song, Denny told the story of meeting Bartz in a jam session while at a Baltimore, Maryland club sitting-in on piano. (club owner was Gary’s Dad) the two clicked immediately musically, but Zeitlin had a small dilemma, He was studying medicine at John Hopkins with a burning desire to become a physician. But Zeitlin worked it all out. The two musicians are still friends today, Denny is also jazz pianist and also a respected Doctor of Psychiatry in the S.F. Bay area.

Photo by Robert J. Carmack Denny & Gary duet

Another stand out and surprise performances were a jazz trio from Japan, playing in a traditional B3 style group with Organ , Saxophone and Guitar. this stellar group was led by this very animated and dynamic B3 organ player, Astuko Hashimoto, Guitarist Yutaka Hashimoto, saxophone Hedeki Karamura.

Astuko Hashimoto photo by Jim Bourne

 

hideki kawamura photo by jim bourne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yutaka Hashimoto photo by Jim Bourne

Our friends from Japan were extremely busy on a blistery up-tempo blues in F, which stirred up things. It sort of reminded us of days of Jimmy Smith and Shirley Scott. Astuko brought the Fire!

As soon as all the smoke cleared from the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society’s sanctuary, especially as the ZAR-Meister(Azar Lawrence reunited with bassist Juini Booth(original live album at Keystone Korner, Atlantis by McCoy Tyner) added drummer Roy McCurdy and pianist Theo Saunders took us on a journey to Africa to Atlantis and back to Half Moon Bay. Word was, they had a gathering crowd about to converge on the restaurant Pier 23 on Embarcadero for part two of the Saturday’s festivities. A quaint and cozy Jazz spot off the Pier. Great enthusiasm with a full house awaiting to start the show 8pm hit at Pier 23. This crowd was grassroots and tuned in all the pyrotechnics that were to come later as the personnel expanded to included such jazz luminaries as saxophonist John Handy, trumpeter David Hardiman and SF Bay area’s Jazz man/Pilot, Roger Glenn on flute. along with Mel Martins band mates, plus  Larry Dunlap, Jeff Marr. to name a few.

Mel, Gary, and Azar.. photo by RJ Carmack Pier 23 July 8 2017
Easy Flowing Calvin Keys photo by Jim Bourne

Big shout out to all the management and owners of the various Jazz venues. your staff and personnel were professional and very warm.. Thanks to Mr. Todd Barkan, for all the Bright Moments, historic sessions,and recordings . You ARE truly a Jazz Master.(2018) Congratulations!!

Special Thanks to Mel Martin and his lovely wife for helping me out in a glaring situation. Catch my interview and chat with S.F. Bay legendary musician Mel Martin.

Coming August 10th @ http://www.hipstersanctuary.com

 

COMING JULY 2017 TODD BARKAN KEYSTONE KORNER 45TH ANNIVERSARY


JOIN TODD BARKAN & FRIENDS at

KEYSTONE KORNER 45th ANNIVERSARY

A Celebration of the North Beach Jazz venue in San Francisco

(Established July 7 1972)

Three Exciting Dates of Electrifying Music for You

July 7th 2017 – KUUMBWA JAZZ CENTER  7pm- Santa Cruz,CA.

July 8th 2017 – BACH DANCING & DYNAMITE SOCIETY – 2pm HALF MOON BAY,CA.

July 8th 2017 – PIER 23 on the EMBARCADERO -7pm            San Francisco, CA.

The action gets started with legendary artists performing

Charles McPherson..Gary Bartz.. Azar Lawrence.. Eddie Henderson.. Mel Martin.. Ray Drummond.. Kenneth Nash.. Benito Gonzalez.. Denny  Zeitlin & quite a few Surprises  &          BRIGHT MOMENTS!!

MORE INFORMATION and DETAILS Follow Hipster Sanctuary E-zine’s coverage and backstories in the coming weeks…#@blues2jazzguy

Coming soon in coming weeks Interviews with Mel Martin, Chuck McPherson , Azar Lawrence and others..

JAZZ LEGENDARY VIBIST BOBBY HUTCHERSON 75 HAS PASSED 1941 – 2016


posted by Robert J. Carmack

Bobby Hutcherson in suit  color pix

 

 

 

 

Bobby Hutcherson:1941-2016 The most accomplished vibraphonist and composer to emerge in the latter half of the 20th Century,has passed at age 75 Monday, August 15th. Bobby Hutcherson is survived by a wife and a bevy of family and close friends all grieving.

Hutcherson redefined the role of the Vibraphone in modern jazz.

A retrospective follow-up piece by music journalist and jazz historian, Robert J. Carmack  coming soon to Hipster Sanctuary.Com .

Bobby hutcherson 2 color in vest

 

SaveSave

RETURN OF THE GRASSROOTS HIP-NOSIS:MUSIC OF BOBBY HUTCHERSON & JACKIE McLEAN


ROBERT J. CARMACK  presents

NIGHT OF THE GRASSROOTS HIP-NOSIS: an Evening  of Spoken Word ~Jazz Music of Bobby Hutcherson & Jackie McLean .

Bobby Hutcherson
Bobby Hutcherson

 

Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean

 

 

 

 

SATURDAY  JULY 30 @ 8PM

The WORLD STAGE PERFORMANCE GALLERY

4321 Degnan Blvd.

Leimert Park Village(LA,Calif. 90008)

Featuring  Plight (Jazz/Spoken Word Ensemble)

Guest Poet; TU’NOOK

Special Guest: Dale Fielder – saxophones

Tickets:early bird special before July 15th $15 (limited seating) afterwards $20 in advance $25 at door ~ Information regarding show or tickets contact Robert J. Carmack 951-840-7120

INTRODUCING  PLIGHT Jazz Ensemble

Plight Pixs Robert Rasta hat
Robert J. Carmack Leader/Poet/producer

 

Bobby West piano/music dir.
Bobby West piano/music dir.

 

 

Derf Reklaw-woodwinds/percussion
Derf Reklaw-woodwinds/percussion

 

 

 

 

Reggie Carson-Bassist
Reggie Carson-Bassist

 

Dale Fielder-saxophones
Dale Fielder- saxophones
Tu'Nook
TU’NOOK – Poet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drums by Cornell Fauler(picture not available)

The music is a mixture of spoken word and jazz integrated into the compositions of iconic jazz artists Bobby Hutcherson and Jackie McLean. During the late 1950s and mid-1960s the record label, Blue Note churned out stellar music by saxophonist Jackie McLean. Stepping out of the shadows of Yardbird Parker and creating his own persona on alto, Jackie blazed his own unique trail that often borderlined on the Avant Garde.

His music held elements of bebop & swinging Blues numbers that captured the heart and soul of the hip new audiences that gravitated toward what became later known as, Hard-Bop.        An eclectic mixture of truly adventurous, soulful artistry,while still retaining their integrity as  jazz musicians.

Bobby Hutcherson is another bright spot of post bop masters to emerged onto the scene in the early 60s as a sideman to other peers and Heavyweights like Eric Dolphy. He grew into a first call vibist, embracing all of the pioneer’s skills on his instrument before him..like “Hamp”, “Bags” and Red Norvo to name a few.

After some very convincing recording sessions on Blue Note with other artists, it was not long before Hutcherson was commanding his own groups and recording sessions with authentic success.

Robert J. Carmack ,a jazz historian and archivist has chosen eight compositions. Four of which Carmack has written original poems that mesh with the songs that beckons a time in jazz history where, Poets and musicians often performed together.

The New York Greenwich Village and San Francisco “Beat Generation” hot spots often spawned great writers and poets including, the late poet laureate, Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones).

Plight Playlist; McLean  recordings~Riff Raff(Destination Out) Hipnosis(Hipnosis),Plight(Action) Blues in a Jiff (Vertigo)

Bobby Hutcherson Recordings~Night in Barcelona(San Francisco),Medina (Medina),Slow Change(Now!)Little B’s Poem(several albums).

The venue was chosen because of the long-standing history of these two giants working with the late founding member,Billy Higgins. Higgins was one of the most recorded drummer in jazz history and in-house drummer on Blue Note Records during its Jazz hey day of 1959-mid-1970s.

Carmack met Higgins at the early stages of the World Stage’s development while hanging out in the many workshops and performances. Robert witnessed Billy bring through Jazz icon after icon to the Leimert Park Village “digs”.

Many of these Legends would often stop through while in town for gigs ,conduct workshops or talk to young musicians who were struggling with their craft. Higgins was very approachable and would act as Jazz Griot in the artist community of Los Angeles.  Higgins grew up as a kid on the “Eastside” of Los Angeles. As a young man ,he played with great musicians like Don Cherry, John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon, Ornette Coleman, Phineas Newborn, Sonny Criss, Gerald Wilson and others.

The World Stage is monumental in the development of this new wave of musicians, writers and artists in general. while they offer writing classes,jazz workshops, music presentations by student-level performers , professionals still participate in a great deal of their activities as a “passing of the baton by those who like to give back , just as their pioneer founders Higgins and poet laureate Kamau Daaood did over 25 years ago. Gone but not forgotten, a strong “tip of the hat” to the late great World Stage contributors, Horace Tapscott and Nate Morgan. Thanks to the other faceless but important contributors. The Legacy continues today  as the Kamasi Washingtons sax, Drummer Willie Jones III, Saxophonist Dale Fielder, bassist Marcus Shelby keeps repeating over and over.

posted by Kamaad Tauhid  #@blues2jazzguy

 

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

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/

 

.