(L-R) A.J. Smith, Toots Thielemans, Paquito D’Rivera
(Photo of by Norm Harris)
UNHEARD NEVER RELEASED RECORDINGS BY A LEGENDARY GROUP
There they were lying in Chief Engineer’s, the late PETER BOULD’s, possession. Professionally recorded tapes of a quintet led by the legendary John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie: Gillespie, trumpet and vocals; Mike Longo, piano, Al Gafa, guitar, Earl May, bass, Mickey Roker, drums
Recorded at London’s Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in 1973 they lain fallow until Bould’s wife contacted DAVE USHER, producer and a partner in the Gillespie led short-lived DeeGee Records, about the possibility of issuing them.
Jazz is battling to stay alive. So wot’s nu? In the first half of 2015 we have lost and celebrated the contributions of artists and other progenitors of our art. To wit (not in any particular order): record company exec BRUCE LUNDVALL, multiple trumpeters CLARK TERRY & LEW SOLOFF, saxophonist and arranger BOB BELDEN, vocalist, guitarist, educator and poet JIM BARTOW, and innovative colossus, Pulitzer Prize awardee and MacArthur Fellow ORNETTE COLEMAN.
Along the way a special sidebar bow and shout-out to the family of MARGARET JUNTWAIT, the voice of WNYC’s Saturday afternoon opera broadcasts, a jazz devotee and daughter-in-law of our own Dick Katz.
“CAFE SOCETY SWING” is the name of a revue-type show wrapped around a bio at 59E59 in Manhattan. It stars, in reverse alphabetical order, Charenee Wade, Allan Harris and Cyrille Aimée, vocals –Harris doubles on guitar– in front of a talent-laden jazz octet. It’s center is one BARNEY JOSEPHSON and his clubs CAFE SOCIETY. (That is not a typo; there were two, uptown and down.) And there, dear readers, ends any similarity to this review and that which appeared in the New York Times. In short, the Times got it wrong!
Every major stop on the jazz trail had its instrument. New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong and his cornet and trumpet. Chicago, Bud Freeman and the tenor sax; Kansas City, Jo Jones and the hi hat and brushes. Then came the Swing Era. The voice was Benny Goodman’s clarinet. Soon every bandleader played one or featured sidemen who did. Woody Herman had successful hits as he mastered the alto sax but switched to the clarinet. Ditto Jimmy Dorsey. Too simplistic? Perhaps, but you get my point.
SPATE OF MOVIES WITH JAZZ IN THEATERS AND ON TELEVISION
“KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON”
By now we’ve all heard of the movie “Keep On Keepin’ On” starring CLARK TERRY and a piano phenom named JUSTIN KAUFLIN. Advisement: Bring tissues, lots of ‘em. Herewith a few others.
There’s one about overlooked bebop pianist JOE ALBANY entitled “Low Down,” a loving portrait by his daughter Amy. And there’s another which features jazz called “Whiplash.”
There’s a further jazz connection in that “Low Down” is directed by Jeff Preiss who is the brother of jazz deejay (WKCR) and journalist Cliff.
The piquant photographer DAVID REDFERN passed at his home in France in November, 2014. The British-born great –he was well over 6 feet tall– took some of the iconic images in all of jazz history. Some of them adorn album covers, front covers of magazines, newspapers of the world and U.S. Postage Stamps, of which I am a collector. While he dabbled in rock, folk and blues his forte was jazz. (You can get all those details from the numerous obits in the major publications the world over. But this is personal.)
As Duke Ellington said of his parents, “They never let my feet touch the ground till I was three,” so is the attention paid by Prof. Ken Hanlon & his wife Carrie Hanlon, Esq. to this blogster.
I lecture at Hanlon’s University of Nevada/Las Vegas (UNLV) in the spring and fall in conjunction with my archives which will be housed there. It’s a massive work-in-progress folks. I’ve presented “Aspects of Duke (Ellington)”, and “Louis (Armstrong) in Hollywood.” This past October 2014 it was Nat King Cole’s turn in the box.