posted by #@blues2jazzguy
posted by Robert J. Carmack #blues2jazzguy
Miles Dewey Davis jazz musician,composer, and fashion setting artist turned 90 years old today. if he was still alive today ,what Miles would we see or hear from ?What would he think of the music scene, not necessarily jazz, but the whole Pop culture. Certainly, in my opinion, he would be shocked and appalled at the really low-quality of so-called talent being “worshipped and awarded all the benefits.
Miles was one of my favorite jazz artists and more importantly, He was an inspiration to me as a young budding saxophonist in the early and mid -1960s. Fortunate for me, I got an opportunity to check out Miles for myself “Live” at the Pacific Jazz Festival held at the Orange County Fairgrounds in fall of 1966. I was much too young to have witnessed his first great quintet consisting of Red Garland,Paul Chambers,Philly Joe Jones, John Coltrane almost a decade before. I was quite impressed as a 11th grade student to actually attend a festival with such a stellar lineup for that particular night the Davis Quintet were headlining. In addition to Davis performing was The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Dave Brubeck Quartet and Brazilian guitarist, Bola Sete. The Davis group had the highly sought-after Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter,Ron Carter and the very young Tony Williams with him. After that experience, I bought every album I could on the sidemen and Davis, as I was surely “hooked”. By the end of the decade,circa 1968 and 1969, Miles was changing up his whole approach from full acoustical jazz with further explorations of modes. But, he seemed more interested in exploring the hip, “Electric sounds” of Pop/Rock groups of the day .
I never saw Miles again Live until one night at Shelly’s Manne Hole in 1971, with a completely revamped band consisting of Keith Jarrett electric keyboards and Jack De’Johnette on drums ,both recent alums from the Charles Lloyd group.also Michael Henderson electric bass and Gary Bartz on saxes. At this time Miles was promoting his new all-electric band and album “Jack Johnson” which was a cornucopia of electric keyboards, organs ,electric bass with sound enhancing devices, including Miles Davis himself trying to get through the evening without shocking himself to death with this new “Electric Trumpet equipped with wah-wah pedal and an installed mic pickup near the neck and mouthpiece. Whenever Miles would get into a groove, the trumpet would shock him because of the buildup of “Spittle” and the metallic aspects of the trumpet. He practically spent the entire evening coating his lips with a special oil, and jumping in pain whenever it would shock him. I was seated right in front of Miles less than five feet away. I enjoyed the new band overall, but it was annoying watching Miles uncomfortably play his trumpet. I felt like it was a lot to sacrifice just to produce a sound, but this was the determination and resolve of a great musician and pioneer to carry on until the ability to play the trumpet was not impeded by the amount of electricity flowing through the horn. Better technology came into play by the 80s, including the horn being fitted with a special mic attached with a long cord . I miss having Miles around just as a sort of Jazz Guru or true grit genre advocate. Happy Birthday Dewey!! You were the Best!
posted by Robert J.Carmack
Kenny Dorham’s soft, energetic, be-bop style and confident, smooth lyrical playing has influenced countless musicians. One of the great trumpet pioneers of the bebop era, Kenny had the misfortune to play beneath the shadows cast by Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown and Miles Davis. He worked with most of the giants of the music in the ’40s and ’50s, and continued to lead his own groups through the 60s. Many of his compositions have become jazz standards (Blue Bossa, Prince Albert, Lotus Blossom, Una Mas, Whistle Stop). Its believed, but not substantiated he used to “ghost” many of his charts, which were published under the name of Walter “Gil” Fuller. There was another Gil Fuller who wrote and arrange for big band leaders including Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles,Billy Eckstine and many others. ( please check out Fuller Bop Man by Fuller)
Kenny was born into a musical family on August 30th, 1924 in Fairfield, Texas. At age 7, he began piano lessons, switching to trumpet while attending high school in Austin. His debut on the trumpet was with a dance band at Wiley College, where he studied pharmacy.
In 1942, he joined the army, becoming a member of their boxing team and in 1943, began working with trumpeter, Russell Jacquet, “Illinois” Jacquet’s older brother. He later moved to New York City, playing and singing with Dizzy Gillespie’s band, as well as other groups, including Billy Eckstine, Lionel Hampton, and Mercer Ellington. He earned the nickname “Quiet Kenny” due to his quiet, subdued sound, replacing Miles Davis in Charlie Parker’s group from 1948 to 1950.
In the early 50s, Kenny began playing in New York City, recording with Thelonious Monk in ’52, and became a founding member of the Jazz Messengers with Art Blakey and Horace Silver. He later replaced Clifford Brown in the Max Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet when Clifford was killed in an automobile accident. Dorham would occasionally lead his own groups, giving early exposure to such younger men as Bobby Timmons, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Charles Davis, Kenny Burrell, Butch Warren and Tony Williams.
He was very active in the late 50s and 60s, teaching at Lennox School of Jazz, leading and touring with his own groups, co-leading groups with Joe Henderson and Hank Mobley, and recording with Barry Harris, Cedar Walton, Jackie McLean, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, and Sonny Rollins. During that time, Kenny recorded an impressive series of LP’s under his own name for Blue Note. His best recordings include Whistle Stop and Una Mas for Blue Note and Jazz Contemporary for Time. He was also a thoughtful reviewer for Downbeat Magazine, and attended college at NYU School of Music, teaching at the school before he died of kidney failure on December 5th, 1972.
posted by Robert J. Carmack #blues2jazzguy
The American Jazz community is jarred once again by the passing of trumpet master,Clark Terry (94). He was considered a major influence on trumpet coming out of the swing and Bebop eras, while bringing style and hip humor to generations of musicians, including Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. The seventh of 11 children, Clark Terry was born into a poor St. Louis family on Dec. 14, 1920. Louis Armstrong was his mentor. Dizzy Gillespie once described him as “the greatest trumpet player on earth.” My first experience with Terry was where he’s playing solo with Doc Severson and the Tonight Show Orchestra with Johnny Carson. Often, his stage signature tune was a humorous vocalese- based riff tune called mumbles. 1960s, Terry went on to record an entire monologue based around the mumbles character having an argument with his girlfriend , thus, it was his calling card over the decades of his career. I kind of saw him as another Hipster like Dizzy,with the Tam and big glasses, who played trumpet on the top shelf. when injecting humor and style into his personality, that made watching him so cool .He was also one of the first black musicians to hold a staff position at a television network ,and was for many years a mainstay of the “Tonight Show” band. One of the most high-profile proponents of teaching jazz at the college level. Clark was a well respected , serious Jazz musician with a great sense of humor. Also, a perennial favorite at all the traditional Jazz festivals. He will be sorely missed by all of the jazz audiences around the world and right here in the USA.
Oran Thaddeus “Hot Lips” Page, jazz trumpeter, singer, and bandleader, was born in Dallas, Texas, on January 27, 1908. He was the son of Greene and Maggie (Beal) Page. Page’s mother, a schoolteacher and musician, taught him the basics of music when he was a child. By the age of twelve he could play the clarinet, saxophone, and trumpet. He joined a local youth band, led by drummer Lux Alexander, that played at local venues around Dallas. Page attended Corsicana High School and Texas College (in Tyler), and worked for a time in the oilfields.
He began his professional touring career when he joined Ma Rainey’s band in the 1920s. After leaving that group he toured with Walter Page’s Blue Devils from 1928 to 1931. During the early 1930s he toured with Bennie Moten’s band. In 1936 he joined Count Basie’s band for a short stint and subsequently played with Artie Shaw. Page formed his own big bands in the late 1930s and early 1940s, often playing in New York, Chicago, Boston, and other cities. Between 1938 and 1954 he cut several tracks, including the 1938 record “Skull Duggery” on the Bluebird label. He recorded “Pagin’ Mr. Page” in 1944 and “St. James Infirmary” in 1947. He recorded with numerous bands during his career, including those of Artie Shaw, Bennie Moten, and Eddie Condon.
repost from the JAZZ DADDY Blog by Justin Scoville
November 11, 2014 | The Jazz Daddy | Leave a comment
To loosely paraphrase Jazz critic Gary Giddins, Kenny Dorham (1924-1972) has become synonymous with anything starting with “under”–underrated, understated, under-appreciated, etc. Dorham was a phenomenal bop trumpet player who was game enough to record with some of the most adventurous artists of his time, from early Thelonious Monk, to Cecil Taylor, to Andrew Hill.
Leading up to 1959, and in the decade or so to follow, Jazz history is often viewed through the lens of two giants: Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Because their influence was so enormous, it is easy to forget that many Jazz musicians were quietly advancing the music in significant, albeit more subtle, ways. Dorham was one of those overlooked artists.
As a composer, Dorham was an early pioneer of fusing Afro-Cuban elements into Jazz. He penned numerous standards (Blue Bossa, Una Mas, Lotus Blossom) that were Latin-tinged, but laced with forward-thinking harmonies and the blues. (Side note: I view Tom Harrell as a direct successor of KD, both as a trumpeter and composer).
While Miles Davis exposed the fragility of the trumpet with his “walking on eggshells” approach, Dorham explored an entirely different conception of the instrument that hearkened more to the reed family than to brass (although Dorham could blow brashly when he wanted to). Beyond his unique sound, Dorham’s polished yet organic style of articulation gave his improvisations a fascinating combination of edginess, humor, and laid-backedness.
One year removed from his own definitive recording released in 1959 (Quiet Kenny), Dorham’s Jazz Contemporary album puts all of his strengths on display with a sympathetic supporting cast. In particular, the rhythm section of Buddy Enlow (drums), Butch Warren (bass), and Steve Kuhn (piano) lay a fascinating groundwork for Dorham and baritone saxophonist Charles Davis (who later played extensively with Sun Ra). Warren’s aggressive bass lines, combined with Kuhn’s very modernistic comping and Enlow’s fiery snare, make for interesting listening. Jimmy Garrison holds down the bass chair in place of Warren on a few tracks as well.
I spoke earlier in this article about the influence of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. It would be easy to frame this album as having been recorded in their respective shadows. Enlow was a disciple of Davis’ drummer Philly Joe Jones. Kuhn would go on to briefly join Coltrane’s quartet, and was probably seen at this time as a successor to Davis’ preferred pianist Bill Evans. “In Your Own Sweet Way,” which is track #3 on this album, was also coincidentally track #3 on Davis’ iconic Workin’. And Jimmy Garrison, of course, went on to be Coltrane’s bassist through the 60’s. Charles Davis, Dorham’s saxophonist here, shows a strong Sonny Rollins influence, and Rollins was one of Miles’ early partners in crime. Despite all of those facts, I prefer to view Kenny as his own man.
“A Waltz” kicks off the album with KD swinging in 3/4, something Miles attempted sparingly in his career. “Monk’s Mood” is a challenging ballad that gets a lot of burn time with the group’s expert interpretation. “In Your Own Sweet Way” is an interesting contrast to Miles’ group rendition, with Charles Davis and Kuhn blowing furiously over the labyrinthine chord changes.
To me, “Horn Salute” is the highlight of the album. It’s a Dorham original that ingeniously blends stop-time melodies with challenging background harmonies. I believe this tune is a definite foreshadowing of Dorham’s later works with Joe Henderson. “Tonica” and “This Love of Mine” close out the album in a hard-swinging fashion.
While Jazz Contemporary may not be the most definitive Jazz album of the period, or even of KD’s discography for that matter, it still represents an interesting transitional phase for the underrated trumpeter. Each member of the band would go their separate ways to successful stints outside of Dorham’s employ, but it is reasonable to believe they all were indebted to KD for the opportunity to play in a swinging, original group.
KD Gem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUDt9-TMsXQ