IMPROV COMIC DELIVERY ONE DEGREE FROM JAZZDOM. PROOF IN ROBIN WILLIAMS
The improv comic genius that was ROBIN WILLIAMS was never far from jazz in his roles. Let’s start at the beginning.
Overlooked by virtually everyone who has written of his tragic departure was Williams’ affiliation albeit tangentially with jazz. Bear with me and follow the thread.
“IT RAINED BOTH WATER FROM THE HEAVENS AND MUSIC FROM THE STAGES.”
AUGUST 1-3 2014
As if in the tradition of some of the past Festivals the weather made a grand entrance at this year’s NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL: It poured on Saturday, raw on Sunday. Mud notwithstanding the music was the sunshine that warmed our hearts.
When the NJF was held in July celebrating Louis Armstrong’s birthday (sic) there was the inevitable day of rain. But there has never been a rainout. Once in a while a hurricane breezed by but no cancellations.
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.
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.
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 Ambassadors. Originally 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..
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.
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 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.
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.
“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.