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CARLINE RAY: AN APPRECIATION

July 2013 saw the passing at 88 of a beloved musical colleague and friend, multiple instrumentalist and vocalist Carllne Ray.  Her daughter vintage classical vocalist Catherine “Cat” Russell survives her.  Cat researches and archives songs and singers from begone eras and adds life so that they do not become museum pieces.

Carline was an excellent teacher in that regard.  she played acoustic guitar, upright bass, piano, and taught herself electric bass guitar with the all female Sweethearts of Rhythm.  Carline had a rich alto voice which she used to good effect.  the first time i heard her was with Mary Lou’s (Williams) Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC.  later with the Mercer Ellington Band which played live for an Alvin Ailey Ellington Celebration.  we became friends.  my wife, vocalist Fran McIntyre calls Carline her mentor.

TRIBUTES II: 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.

TRIBUTES I: SHEILA JORDAN/BARRY HARRIS; JUSTICE FOR JAZZ MUSICIANS; CEDAR WALTON

’tis the season.  for a lot of things: fat turkeys, overeating, fat men in red suits, overbuying or receiving inane stuff, overeating, faux (and some genuine) glad-handing, smiles which hurt your face after a while, overeating, greetings which escape your lips that haven’t all year to people to whom you might not have even given a nod, songs you will be more than happy to never hear again, by the same singers, ad nauseam.  did i mention overeating?

and then there are Tributes, some unfortunately in that the dedicatee has passed, but others with whom you genuinely celebrate life with them.  and still others who play on the Holiday spirit to pry bucks from you.

CHICO HAMILTON R.I.P.

the innovative and influential drummer CHICO HAMILTON passed away Mon, November 25.  he was 92 and in ill health.  you may find an interview/profle i did with my friend Chico Hamilton for www.jazz.com by Google-ing arnold jay smith/Chico Hamilton.

MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC SHOWS OFF BIG-TIME

the Manhattan School of Music‘s ambitious 2013-14 program began with a bang.  their Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra presented Don Sebesky‘s “BELA AND BIRD IN B-FLAT” and Bob Belden‘s complete incidental music to the film noir classic “BLACK DAHLIA.”

Sebesky, whose music i have admired since he played trombone and arranged for Maynard Ferguson in the 1950s, later switched to piano to lead small groups.  i was his publicist during some gigs at the late lamented Fat Tuesday club in Manhttaan.  his arranging work for Creed Taylor’s CTI Records is legendary as the cushion he created for CTI artists such as Wes Montgomery led to hits and a new way to listen to jazz.  it may even have prolonged Montgomery’s career.

CHAKRA : TED NASH BIG BAND CD AND LIVE

Reedist Ted Nash has co-produced and leads a CD based on the seven Chakras philosophy.  the CD features a large ensemble of 17 pieces.  Nash, from a musical big band tradition family –father Dick, trombone, and uncle Ted, reeds, his namesake– performs in a small group context as well, but he shines fronting big bands, notably with Jazz At Lincoln Center.  the CD with its eye-catching cover of a shapely woman’s back painted with the Chakra’s seven symbols, is only the beginning.  i caught the band during its CD-breaking performance at Dizzy’s Club in Jazz at Lincoln Center.  it is in its essence program music.  however, the soli are all individual experiences.  these guys and gal– Anat Cohen is in the reed section– are the very best.

JAZZY CHRISTMAS 2013 EDITION

if you’re tired of hearing Nat ‘King’ Cole roast Mel Tormé’s nuts, or Bing Crosby croon Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” –the movie remake versions are better– if you’re sick of Johnny Mathis “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” with Mitch Miller, then listen here.  this year’s jazz-Christmas harvest is about the most eclectic bunch since i began collecting these things in the 1950′s.  herewith a cherry-picking trio of the few which crossed my desk.

UNLV (yes, that one) WELCOMES THE ARNOLD JAY SMITH COLLECTIONS TO THEIR ARNOLD SHAW MUSIC LIBRARY ARCHIVES.

Las Vegas, NV, Oct. 26, 2013 —

the world famous University of Nevada/Las Vegas has accepted my vast collections to their Arnold Shaw Music Library Archives.  my collections include upward of 10,000 LPs –10″ and 12 “– self recorded and edited cassettes and open reel tapes, many of rare concerts, jottings, posters, artwork and various memorabilia.  the collections –already being shipped there– will be accessible to any and all for display and listening in UNLV’s state-of-the-art facility which is completely climate controlled and computerized.

NEW JERSEY CITY UNIVERSITY ALUMNI BAND ON EXCHANGE PLACE PIER; MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS IN BROOKLYN

each summer in the ’80s and ’90s at both the New School and New York University i presented my “Jazz Insights” course, only different.  yes, there were still the guests each and every week, save the summer was reserved for big bands exclusively.  while most of the practitioners of the big bands are long gone there are still some who remember.  and if they don’t, i do.

NEW JERSEY CITY UNIVERSITY ALUMNI : Exchange Place, Jersey City, N.J.

BILLIE HOLIDAY GOES BROADWAY. “LADY DAY” STARRING DEE DEE BRIDGWATER OPENS ON 42ND ST.

DRAMA PLUS RENDERINGS OF LADY’S SIGNATURE TUNES

at some point during the 2-hour-and-15 minute presentment of “LADY DAY” i lost track of what and who i was watching.  was it the late-great Billie Holiday or was it the magnificent portrayal by singer/actress Dee Dee Bridgewater?  i do know that the pen with whch i was poised to jot observations never touched paper.  i was transfixed.

the set up: there were a total of 29 songs listed in the Playbill, 13 in the first half, 16 after the interval (that’s the Brit term for intermission; the action took place at a quasi faux rehearsal and concert in London late in Billie Holiday’s career.)


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