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JAZZ LEGEND NORMAN CONNORS N THE STUDIO W/ URBAN JAZZ GUITARIST DREW DAVIDSEN
Jazz legend Norman Connors' just produced 3 tunes on Urban Jazz Guitarist Drew Davidsen's upcoming CD.
Norman featured the following players on this upcoming project. Bobby Lyle, Tom Browne, Kim Waters, Gerald Veasley, and Danny Boy. Stay tuned more surprises on this new Drew Davidsen CD. Coming in 2013!
“Jumpinjazz Kids-a Swinging Jungle Tale” Set For Release 9/25, Featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau And Hubert Laws
“JumpinJazz Kids is a great model for what needs to be presented
to young people. The age group that it targets is a great addition to
music, and it’s wonderful for any organization or school. The manner in
which it’s presented strikes a nerve – everyone should take a look at
it and listen to it!” — Dr. Billy Taylor
Los Angeles, CA. “JumpinJazz Kids – A Swinging Jungle Tale”
celebrates the rich history of Jazz and Popular music by paying tribute
to its legendary pioneers through story, song and a variety of musical
styles. This unique blend of classic storytelling and fun, original
jazz/pop songs are performed by world-renowned jazz artist’s Dee Dee
Bridgewater, Al Jarreau and Hubert Laws and backed by an energetic jazz
quartet, full symphony orchestra and narration and voice
characterizations by James Murray. “JumpinJazz Kids – A Swinging Jungle
Tale” introduces children to the imaginative worlds of jazz, the
spoken word and the Symphony in a fun yet educational, engaging and
unique way. Produced and created by music industry veterans Steve Barta
and Mark Oblinger, “JumpinJazz Kids – A Swinging Jungle Tale” is set
for release September 25th.
Speaking of Kids and Jazz........
WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM’s Award-Winning Kids Jazz Concert Series
Returns in October with Four Free, Interactive Programs for Young People
Fall Series Includes Concerts Featuring Maurício de Souza, Maurice Chestnut, Antonio Hart and Lakecia Benjamin
NJ: WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM’s award-winning, free Kids Jazz Concert Series,
which brings jazz culture and dynamic performances to young people in
the Spring and Fall, returns with performances at four New Jersey venues
on Saturdays in October. The hour-long concerts, which begin at 12:30
pm, feature drummer Maurício de Souza, October 6, at Clinton Elementary
School in Maplewood; tap artist Maurice Chestnut, October 13, at Newark
Symphony Hall; saxophonist Antonio Hart, October 20, at Newark Museum;
and saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, October 27, at South Orange Performing
Arts Center (SOPAC).
Wynton Marsalis And Eric Clapton Play The Blues – Live From Jazz At Lincoln Center Arrives On September 13
LOS ANGELES – New York City’s premier jazz venue got the blues last April when Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton performed together in Rose Theater at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center for two sold-out shows dedicated to vintage blues. The extraordinary collaboration, billed as Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play the Blues,
paired these musical virtuosos with members of the Jazz at Lincoln
Center Orchestra as they brought to life a repertoire of songs selected
by Clapton and arranged by Marsalis.
Reprise Records captures
the magic of these unprecedented shows from earlier this year on CD and
as a CD/DVD combo that both feature selections taken from the two public
concerts (April 8-9), as well a special performance for Jazz at Lincoln
Center’s annual gala (April 7). WYNTON MARSALIS & ERIC CLAPTON PLAY THE BLUES – LIVE FROM JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER will be available September 13 at physical and digital retail outlets
TONY BENNETT STILL MAKING MUSIC AT 86
Tony Bennett, one
of music's most legendary performers, celebrated his 86th birthday (August 3rd) and continues the celebration with news of the
upcoming release of his next album. His newest CD, "Tony Bennett: Viva Duets" is hitting shelves on October 23rd.
This particular album will take an international approach, featuring
songs in English, Portuguese, and Spanish and has quite a star-studded
roster. Artists hailing from eight different countries and three
continents will help Bennett achieve the foreign flair.
Some of the artists accompanying Bennett happen to be some of the biggest in the Latin music industry and include Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Dani Martin, and many more.
LOOKING BACK AT VON FREEMAN - A CHICAGO LEGEND
Von Freeman, a tenor saxophonist who was iconic within Chicago's
music scene and to jazz conoisseurs worldwide, died Saturday at the
Kindred Chicago Lakeshore care center. He was 88 and had been in
declining health for more than a year.
became a godfather of Chicago's jazz community not only through his
distinctive style, which refracted the core language of bebop through
its antecedents and outgrowths, but through his active leadership. For
decades, "Vonski" hosted a weekly gig and jam session at the New
Apartment Lounge on Chicago's South Side, attracting musicians and
tourists alike. Unlike many contemporaries of similar talent, he never
moved away from the town where he was born.
In 2004, he described
his "Chicago sound" on the saxophone to NPR's Tony Cox. "Well, it's
tough and it's windy, it's broad," Freeman said. "It means getting down
to business, so to me it's just a composite of Chicago, all four sides.
Of course, we have a lakefront, don't we?"
Lavon Freeman Sr. was born in 1923 and grew up in a musical home. Major
figures like Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller visited his house and
Freeman's brothers George (guitar) and Bruz (drums) also become
musicians. Freeman attended DuSable High School, where Captain Walter
Dyett's music program was regularly producing future stars like Nat
"King" Cole, Dinah Washington and Eddie Harris. He worked in just about
every conceivable situation, from a Navy band to strip clubs to blues
groups to the nascent AACM to jamming with stars passing through town.
He did it all in the Chicagoland area, even refusing opportunities to
join bands led by Miles Davis and Billy Eckstine.
his talent, wide recognition, even within the jazz community, came late
in life. Freeman was already 49 when he recorded his first album as a
bandleader, 1972's Doin' It Right Now. It took him a few more
decades and albums to develop a national profile. In January 2012, he
was honored with the NEA's Jazz Masters award in a New York ceremony he was unable to attend. His sons Chico Freeman, a well-known saxophonist himself, and Mark Freeman accepted on his behalf.
Far from being bitter, Freeman said his relative obscurity allowed him to develop a unique artistic profile. In a 2004 All Things Considered story, he told Tony Sarabia of Chicago's WBEZ that his only regret was that his mother, who lived to be 101, never saw him receive fame.
makes me almost want to cry 'cause she was — she never really wanted us
[her sons] to play music, but after we behaved ourselves to a certain
extent, she was proud of us," Freeman said. "And she stuck it out with
us, and she never saw any of us really make it, you know. And now I'm — I
don't think I've made it, but, I mean, at least I'm being sought after
for this 15 minutes."
ROBERTA FLACK AND DAVID SANBORN IN CONCERT
Billed as a "historic celebration of peace, music and common ground,"
the One World Concert is set to take place on October 9 at Syracuse
University's Carrier Dome. The concert is scheduled to follow a talk by
the Dalai Lama at the University. The all-star lineup for the show
includes Roberta Flack, David Sanborn, host band Don Was and his
All-Star Band, Dave Matthews, Phillip Phillips, Cyndi Lauper, Bebe
Winans, Angelique Kidjo and David Crosby, among others. Whoopi Goldberg
will be the emcee for the evening, while Ann Curry from NBC News will
be a special guest. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to
international relief efforts and to fund a new scholarship named for
Bassel Al Shahade, a Syracuse University graduate student killed this
year in Syria while filming a documentary about the violence in his
KEEPING JAZZ ALIVE IN BROOKLYN
Every Friday night on a brownstone-lined street in Bedford-Stuyvesant,
Brooklyn, professional musicians, weekend amateurs and fans gather for
the Brownstone Jazz series, an intimate night of jazz music, hosted at
the Sankofa Aban bed-and-breakfast at 107 Macon Street.
CAN RAVI COLTRANE LIVE UP TO HIS FATHERS LEGEND?
“Ambition sometimes gets a little out ahead of you,” Ravi Coltrane said.
He was sitting in his living room in Brooklyn, next to his son’s tiny
drum kit, talking about his new album, “Spirit Fiction.” “You start
imagining more than you can actually pull off, and you cross that line
from possibility into impossibility.”
On the wall nearby was a framed photo of Barack Obama standing in the
White House gazing at a black-and-white photo of another musician, a
saxophonist like Ravi. “To Ravi,” it is inscribed. “From a huge fan of
Not a little of the ambition of the new record is due to the
ever-present specter of Ravi’s father, John Coltrane, one of most
influential musicians of the 20th century. “Spirit Fiction,” with its
rhythmic complexity and slippery structures, doesn’t so much challenge
John’s legacy as move astride it. The album radiates a quietly
adventurous artistry and a serene self-confidence.
That serene feeling emerged from conditions that were anything but.
“Spirit Fiction” is Coltrane’s first record for Blue Note, the most
legendary label in jazz and the company that in 1957 released “Blue
Train,” the classic that made John Coltrane’s name as a bandleader. For
the “Spirit Fiction” sessions, Ravi pushed himself and his bandmates
hard. After recording tracks with his longtime quartet, Coltrane felt
the urge to return to the studio again, this time in hastily arranged
sessions with a quintet of musicians he has known since college. Thrown
together with tape running, the quintet played with refreshing
looseness, hitting on a mood that Coltrane had been seeking.
The final record contains tracks from both ensembles. Cobbling it
together was an exhausting effort that strained some relationships;
Coltrane’s quartet, formed in 2003, has gone on hiatus in its wake. It
was a lesson his father might have passed along to Ravi: artistic
searching sometimes leaves collaborators in its wake.
John Coltrane died of liver cancer at age 40 in 1967, when Ravi was not
quite 2. He was raised by his mother, Alice, herself a brilliant
composer and performer whose music — a trippy, meditative style of jazz
that brought harps, synthesizers and chanting into the mix — was heavily
influenced by her Eastern-inflected spiritual practice.
As a boy, Coltrane was sensitive, shy and a little nerdy. He aimed at
becoming a filmmaker or a photographer. But he played the clarinet in
his high-school marching band, and music — jazz, symphonic, pop (his
aunt is the Motown songwriter Marilyn McLeod) — was always around.
“I used to sit in my mom’s car, back in the days when you could play the
tape player without having to cue it,” he said. “And I’d literally just
sit there after school and play tapes and stare out the windows just
looking at the trees moving in the wind.”
He left high school after his older brother died in a car crash in 1982,
and as he put it, “I just let a bunch of time pass.” When he emerged,
he had left photography behind and returned to his musical roots. He
began hanging out with serious jazz lovers, people who for the first
time instantly recognized his surname.
“I had been anonymous in that regard,” he said. “Someone would say,
‘John Coltrane — I know that name. Wasn’t he a blues singer?’ I was just
me growing up. No one knew who John Coltrane was. He was still an
underground figure in many ways.”
He decided to study music and enrolled at the California Institute of
the Arts. “Showing up with a saxophone and having the name Coltrane,” he
said, “I immediately recognized that this was going to be distracting
for people.” But it was also an opportunity. He spent summer breaks in
New York with Rashied Ali, the drummer whose free-form style helped
define John Coltrane’s late period. During daily jam sessions in Ali’s
apartment, Ravi impressed older musicians who once played with his dad.
Right out of school he scored a gig in the band of Elvin Jones, who
played in John Coltrane’s legendary quartet of the 1960s. He proved
himself on grueling international tours, but there were still people
attracted solely by the novelty value of his lineage. Some record
companies were more interested in getting him to join supergroups made
up of the sons of jazz greats than in his own work.
“There were a lot of people who just wanted to take advantage of these
things that for me — I felt, Man, I’m not here for that reason,” he
said. “Anyone who knows me ultimately understands what I’m doing and why
I’m doing it.”
In his airy home studio, he keeps his mother’s Steinway piano and his
father’s saxophone, its keys capped in pristine mother-of-pearl. There’s
a bass clarinet that belonged to Eric Dolphy, who played with his
father. The miniature drum kit seems to have seen the most recent
action, though his son Aaron, after begging for it, promptly grew bored
by it. I asked Coltrane, who just turned 47, if he wanted Aaron and his
brother to grow up to be musicians.
“Secretly, I’d love — ” He stopped himself and started to laugh. “Well, I
can’t put that out there. Because it’s up to them — it’s up to them.
They’ll be great no matter what they do. They’ll be cool no matter where
they go in life.”
writes frequently about music for The New York Times and The New York Observer.
NEWPORT BEACH JAZZ FEST ANNOUNCES HEADLINERS
The Newport Jazz Festival will be anchored this year by the
guitarist Pat Metheny, the drummer Jack DeJohnette and the vocalist Kurt
Elling, among dozens of other acts, George Wein, a festival founder,
announced on Tuesday.
Mr. Wein said he wanted to present not just veterans but also
younger musicians who represent currents in contemporary jazz. These
will include the saxophonist Miguel Zenon, the pianist Jason Moran, the
trumpet player Ambrose Akinmusire, the composer Darcy James Argue and
the drummer Dafnis Prieto.
First held in 1954, the festival has long been an important yearly
showcase of top jazz stars. This year's festival will start on Aug. 3
in the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino in
Newport, R. I. Outdoor concerts will be held in Fort Adams State Park
on Aug. 4 and 5. Tickets go on sale on Thursday.
Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute
Phase 1: Intensive, August 7-11, 2012
UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music -Los Angeles, CA
Eligibility & Guidelines
Applicant must be either a U.S. or Canadian citizen or
a non-citizen, lawfully and permanently residing or studying full-time
in the United States.
There are no age restrictions on participation.
Composers who have participated in prior ACO New Music
Readings or previous the previous JCOI are ineligible to apply for the
2012 JCOI Intensive. (Previous JCOI
participants are eligible to apply for the Phase 2 JCOI Readings.)
Incomplete, illegible, or late applications will not
Information, eligibility guidelines and submission form are
available online at:
www.americancomposers.org/jcoi/ Submission Deadline:
April 16, 2012
Terence Blanchard Named Jazz Chair For The Detroit Symphony Orchestra
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) unveiled one of the
most ambitious seasons in recent years for the Paradise Jazz Series – a
collection of one-night-only appearances hand-picked by the legendary
jazz musician and composer Terence Blanchard. Five-time Grammy
Award-winning Blanchard will join the DSO as the Fred A. & Barbara
M. Erb Jazz Creative Chair beginning with the 2012-13 season of the
Paradise Jazz Series, sponsored by MGM Grand Detroit.
“We are thrilled to
welcome such a renowned jazz musician to oversee our jazz series,” said
Anne Parsons, DSO President and CEO. “Since Orchestra Hall was once
home to the famous Paradise Jazz Theatre, it is very important to us to
maintain that legacy by bringing the most talented acts of the genre to
Detroit audiences. We believe Terence is the perfect choice to help do
In this role,
Blanchard will assist in curating the acts for the Paradise Jazz series
and contribute to community education initiatives. As Jazz Chair, he
plans to add an unprecedented facet to the position: for the first time
in Paradise Jazz Series history, Blanchard will make special guest
appearances throughout the season, serving as host and at times even
performing with the featured acts.
“I am very excited
to play an active role in shaping the future of the DSO’s jazz series,”
said Blanchard. “It was extremely important to me to choose artists who I
personally respect and whose talent is indicative of the inspiring jazz
history in Detroit.”
GERALD VEASLY ANNOUNCES
Bass BootCamp EXPO 2012
We're proud to announce the inaugural Bass BootCamp EXPO!
On Saturday, March 17th, Bass manufacturers and vendors will be
exhibiting their merchandise from noon to 6pm at the Crowne Plaza in
Reading, PA! As a valued member of the bass community, you're receiving
this exclusive invitation to attend the EXPO. As an invited guest, your admission is FREE!
The stellar Bass BootCamp faculty will be making appearances during the EXPO including a master class by bass great, Victor Bailey!
Date: March 17, 2012
Time: Noon to 6PM (Sign-in starts at 11AM)
Location: Reading Crowne Plaza, 1741 Papermill Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610
(Reading, PA is about one hour's drive from Philadelphia)
Can a massive jazz museum take root in Chicago?
Back in the 1990s, several influential Chicagoans joined forces to try to build a National Jazz Museum here.
They quickly raised $350,000 in seed money to launch an institution that would do for jazz what Symphony Center does for classical music or the Lyric Opera of Chicago for music drama: provide a world-class venue that nurtures the art form.
Better still, the proposed National Jazz Museum would achieve what none of its Loop
counterparts attempted, giving music with African-American roots high
visibility in a downtown cultural grid mostly devoted to white,
But the effort lost steam in 1999, when the City of Chicago
turned down the planners' proposal to take over a choice parcel of land
up for redevelopment at the northwest corner of Roosevelt Road and Michigan Avenue, where the decaying Avenue Motel once stood. After that setback, the National Jazz Museum quickly faded into memory.
a group of respected Chicago cultural figures has revived the idea, in
somewhat altered form and under a new name: the International Jazz Hall
of Fame. But the core goal remains the same: To create a downtown
institution for jazz, a music identified with Chicago around the world.
Considering that New York has Jazz at Lincoln Center,
a multi-faceted cultural institution in Manhattan that opened in 2004,
and that next January San Francisco will have the SFJAZZ Center, a
free-standing edifice dedicated to the music, Chicago already seems late
to the party.
Could the timing finally be right?
decided Chicago would be the city – if it wanted us," says Norman
Brander, who co-founded the International Jazz Hall of Fame in Kansas
City, Mo., as a nonprofit two decades ago and recently revived the idea.
"We've talked to a number of different people in the city, and they're excited about it."
Specifically, Brander, 68, has recruited for his advisory committee such jazz heavyweights as pianist Ramsey Lewis, Columbia College Chicago
president Warrick Carter (a former jazz drummer) and Indiana University
music professor David Baker, among others. In addition, the Chicago
architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill – which had created
initial designs for the original National Jazz Museum – has been
helping Brander develop the concept.
The idea, according to the
Hall of Fame's business plan, is to build "a world-class museum and
tourist attraction," at an estimated cost of $45-$50 million, says
Brander, that will hum with performances, recording sessions and
educational offerings. To begin launching the project, Brander and his
colleagues recently met with Michelle Boone, the city's Commissioner of
Cultural Affairs, to pitch the idea. As a former member of the Chicago
Jazz Partnership, a consortium of foundations and corporations that has
poured millions into Chicago jazz in recent years, Boone indeed was
"I love it – it's a great idea, that we would have an
institution that would solidify the role of Chicago in jazz music
internationally," says Boone. "But they've got a lot of work to do. …
I encouraged them to do is to meet with the Chicago Jazz Partnership,
that that's a group of stakeholders really committed to jazz. I also
encouraged them to meet with the people who years ago were trying to
build a jazz museum in Chicago.
"What were some of the roadblocks? Who were the real crusaders? How do you re-enlist those people?"
Boone says, the work involved in realizing such a colossal project is
immense. Jazz at Lincoln Center was operating for years before opening
its state-of-the-art, $128 million home at Broadway and 60th Street in
2004 – and that campaign was led by Wynton Marsalis, then and now one of the most celebrated jazz musicians in the world.
meanwhile, has been presenting the San Francisco Jazz Festival and
concerts across the Bay Area for decades and is in the midst of raising
$60 million for its state-of-the-art new home (including a $10 million
Though the International Jazz Hall of Fame has
produced various jazz awards shows and jazz cruises, says Brander, who's
based in Boca Raton,
Fla., it has nowhere near the assets or track records of either Jazz at
Lincoln Center or SFJAZZ. Yet Brander's quest clearly has found initial
support from important quarters in Chicago, not least Skidmore, Owings
"It's really exciting, but it's very early (in the
process)," says Brian Lee, a design partner at Skidmore, Owings &
Merrill who's involved with the Hall of Fame project.
to see something like this come to the city of Chicago … so we'd love to
help. As an architectural, engineering and urban design firm based
here, we think we can assist them."
Yet past experiences raise an
inevitable question: Considering all the support that the planned
National Jazz Museum generated more than a decade ago, why did it
implode after its first setback, the loss of its hoped-for site?
U-Nam Working on George Benson Tribute
French guitarist, U-Nam is putting the finishing touches on his latest album, Week End in L.A. (A Tribute to George Benson),
due out this spring. He's joined on the project by an all-star line-up
of artists including George Duke, Phil Perry, Paul Jackson, Jr. and
Patrice Rushen, among others. U-Nam hit number one on the charts with
his take on the Crusaders tune "Street Life" and is not bashful when he
talks about his admiration and respect for George Benson, calling him
his 'favorite artist'. For his part, Benson has high praise for U-Nam
too, saying, "It's great to have a new voice on the guitar scene; one
that is loaded with energy and excitement."
Jazz Musicians Expand Pension Protest