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THE GREAT CUBAN ENCOUNTER + 35: CHAPTER 2

PASSAGE TO HAVANA

at this point in time (May 2012)  musicians casually mention they have been to Cuba.  some understate that they have made the trip several times.  it’s so much easier now to get there from Canada and Florida.  i understand there are charters from Texas as well.

the key word is “charter.”  the visits have to be planned group excursions either for charity or religious groups.  the Greek Registry S.S. Daphne got there without any of that.  of course we had the credentials from the Prez. although the spirit of Lester Young was aboard is was the other Pres Jimmy Carter who, shall we say, “sponsored” us,

CLARK TERRY BENEFIT

“this is NOT a memorial service,” Rev. Amandus Derr happily intoned in his lengthy opening remarks. Rev. Derr is Sr. Pastor of St. Peter’s, the Jazz Church in N.Y.C. where the pews were packed to raise high our praises for one of the greatest musicians and personalities in jazz, if not all music. CLARK TERRY. the nonagenarian lost both legs to diabetes and has not been in generally good health for some time. we WERE there to more than just defray his medical costs.

THE GREAT CUBAN ENCOUNTER OF 1977 : CHAPTER 1

PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER’S VALIANT ATTEMPT TO RE-OPEN CUBA WITH JAZZ MUSICIANS

PRE-RAMBLE

It’s early May 1977. my first wife and I are going through a divorce. My kids, Jeanne, 10, and Russell, 7, and I have just returned from a weekend mountain-top Bluegrass Festival in Amcram, NY. We attempted sleep up there as well. That is to say we brought sleeping bags with us. We left the Amcram Mountain early Sunday spurred by my daughter’s remark that the Sunday Sunrise Service was not to her liking, “Daddy,” she opined, “I like yesterday’s music better.” (Bill Monroe, et al. ) Seems the whiney c&w service was an experiment for the Festival; definitely not bluegrass. I must admit I was real proud of her at that moment. Her daddy’s lobes?

JAMES REESE EUROPE

PIONEERING BANDLEADER FETED AT TRIBECA

in a  two-parter the pioneering bandleader JAMES REESE EUROPE was celebrated at the Tribeca Arts Center at Borough of Manhattan Community College in Feb. part one presented by historian/author Krin Gabbard was a panel. some survivors of Europe’s family were in the audience and from the look of them there will be more. there was a brief film excerpt from Ken Burns’ Jazz. other than that Europe remains a shadowy figure murdered too early for him to have made a further impact, other than being the first black troop leader in WWI, and a bandleader there as well. not an inconsiderable feat in 1918.

STAN KENTON CENTENARY

HIS MUSIC ENDURES DESPITE HIMSELF

that’s an interesting premise. he was controversial while he lived and remains an enigma. Stan Kenton, towering physically, hired some of jazz’s greatest arrangers and let them have reign. names like Shorty Rogers, Pete Rugolo, Bill Russo, Manny Albam, Robert Graettinger, Johnny Mandel, Gerry Mulligan, Neal Hefti, Bill Holman and Johnny Richards

his female singers began the vibrato-less, cool trend:  June Christie, Chris Connor and Anita O’day.

he featured Latin percussion, nay, gave them prime seating, often down front rather than the traditional rear. sidemen went on to greatness (see below).

Tributes To Carline Ray; Earl McIntyre

seems that the more jazz people we celebrate in life, or otherwise, the larger the fête to the point, as i have said before, each time becomes an event.

CARLINE RAY

not enough has been written about bassist, guitarist, pianist, vocalist CARLINE RAY who passed in July 2013.  [you may find the OctoJAZZarians© interview i did for www.jazz.com by Google-ing arnold jay smith/Carline Ray.]  the memorial held to honor this multi-talented performer and mentor at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church was beautifully organized by her daughter, vocalist Catherine “Cat” Russell.  in addition to musical highlights of her life Carline’s ashes were inurned in a wall in the Church.  i never knew such a place even existed; the Inurnment was simultaneously solemn and joyous, befitting the personage involved.

Late Stuffing Gift Hits

TED ROSENTHAL TRIO : “WONDERLAND” CD AND LIVE AT KITANO, NY

this threesome –Rosenthal, piano, Noriko Ueda, bass; Tim Horner, drums– have been a working trio for sometime now.  the always innovative Rosenthal has reinterpreted pieces of Americana such as Gershwin and added his own touches to Europeans.  in “Wonderland” (Playscape Recordings) we find both.  they performed solid sets to sold out tables on a stormy night at the classy Kitano Room on Park Ave. in NYC.

Thad Jones – Mel Lewis Big Band – Jazz Casual

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“Groove Merchant” – Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra 1969

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Pepper Adams, Baritone Sax “My Centennial” Thad Jones/Mel Lewis

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