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DICK HYMAN : MAN FOR ALL REASONS

MAN ABOUT TOWN

The ubiquitous pianist/arranger DICK HYMAN popped into the Apple within the last few months.  He lives in Naples, Fla.

In May 2014 in Symphony Space the Sidney Bechet Society presented an All Star Tribute to the late founder of Arbors Records, Mat Domber.  Domber, who lived in Clearwater, Fla., planted his company’s output solidly in the mainstream of jazz, i.e., Swingtime and its forebears rarely venturing beyond.

In June Hyman was honored by being given his space on the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame.  Read on.

NAT HENTOFF : THE MOVIE

They’ve gone and made a movie about one of my jazz journalist heroes.  A theater movie no less.  The Pleasures of Being Out of Step: Notes On The Life Of Nat Hentoff, a documentary by David L. Lewis, opened at the IFC Center in New York City on June 25, 2014 and as we celebrated his country’s birthday at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles on July 4.  I mention that because in no other country in the world could Hentoff have stood up and shouted his published words.  The much revered, he said, first amendment gave him that right he told me in a recent telephone conversation.  HUAC also did take note, however.

THE REAL AMBASSADORS – LIVE, AT LAST!

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During April 2014 Jazz At Lincoln Center presented a TRIBUTE TO DAVE BRUBECK.  His family participated as well as guests playing his music.

Amongst the gems was a longtime fave of mine called The Real AmbassadorsOriginally on vinyl, later a CD, this 1961 loosely sketched bauble with lyrics and libretto by Iola Brubeck was supposed to be headed for Broadway but backers evaporated for what might have become a controversial show..

RECENT CDs : ANDREW HADRO; PETE McGUINNESS; MARTIN WIND

Posted on June 6, 2014

While I don’t usually review CDs per se as there are so many which cross my desk all worthy of my attention, from time to time sounds or the stories which emanate from them jump out at me.  Here a few encapsulated cases in point.

Baritone saxist Andrew Hadro is a multi-threat jazz personage.  Not only is he a masterful player on a still under recognized solo instrument, but he is also my computer guru who helped me set up this blog.

DR. HERB WONG : JAZZ IS A HOMEGROWN AFFAIR

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It has taken me a while since Dr. Herb Wong‘s passing to compose my remembrances of the writer/producer.  He was among the first persons I met when I  decided to enter the jazz world as a journalist.  I was a Down Beat-reading fan and called Herb when I realized his depth.  Not only was he a journalist and professor approaching legendary status, but he also produced for the Bay Area’s Palo Alto Records.

THE LATIN/JEWISH JAZZ CONNECTION : A CONDENSED PERSONAL HISTORY

The bandleader, composer, timbalero, vibist Tito Puente often thanked from the stage the Jewish people who habituated the Catskill Mountains for “saving our music.”  He was alluding to all those Latin lounge bands who perpetuated the mambo, cha-cha-cha, merengé, later the charanga and the rest of the dances which emigrated north circuitously from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and South America.

NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL TURNS 60 – Concert, Tour & Announcement

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It’s that time of year, again.

Le Grande Dame of Jazz Festivals which has purveyed innovative jazz for the past six decades returns August 1-3, 2014 at Fort Adams.  The celebration has already begun.

The Newport Jazz Festival sprang from the minds of George Wein and tobacco heiress Elaine Lorillard.  The latter wanted to introduce something to the summertude blandness of Newport, R.I. so they called upon a young entrepreneur who was presenting jazz at venues in Boston, MA.  It was to be the premiere outdoor music festival anywhere.  Even Woodstock used the Newport template with their engineers and producers as advisers.

JOE WILDER : TRUE GENTLEMAN OF JAZZ DIES AT 92

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“I feel as though I’ve lost a close friend, or even a relative,” one musician close to  him and me said of trumpeter/flugelhornist JOE WILDER, who passed in Manhattan at age 92.  And we did.

Joe and I had become friends over the years.  His first greeting to me was never about me or himself but always about my vocalist wife, whom he liked.  “How’s the Mrs.?” he would ask goodnaturedly.

“LOUIS IN HOLLYWOOD” : PRESENTATION BY ARNOLD JAY SMITH @ UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA LAS VEGAS

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I presented the second in a series of lecture demonstrations at the Arnold Shaw Music Library at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).  In the Fall of 2013 the topic was “Aspects Of Duke (Ellington).”  In the Spring of 2014 the topic was “Louis (Armstrong) In Hollywood.”  The premise was to show film clips of the great cornetist/trumpeter and the creator of what we now know as jazz in various guises with and without guests.

MARIAN McPARTLAND CELEBRATED IN STYLE

In March “REMEMBERING MARIAN” was presented at the 92nd St. Y in Manhattan.  Marian McPartland, Ms. McP, as I had come to know her, passed the preceding summer leaving a gap in NPR programming where her “Piano Jazz” featured a who’s who of jazz weekly.

Here, too, there was a parade of McP worshipers both in the star-filled audience as well as on the stage.  Host, Jon Weber, who took over the radio hosting, opened the proceedings with Eddie Gomez on bass playing Marian’s P-J theme, “Kaleidoscope.”  The tearing had begun.


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