Contact Me By Email

Atlanta, GA Weather from Weather Underground

Jackie McLean

John H. Armwood Jazz History Lecture Nashville's Cheekwood Arts Center 1989

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Big News.Com > Judge dismisses musician's claim over use of his name

Friday November 19, 2004
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) A federal judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit by a 69-year-old jazz musician from Yarmouth against a Japanese company whose chain of clothing stores bears his name.
The ruling was the latest legal setback for Cecil McBee, a Grammy-winning bass player who has spent nine years and several hundred thousand dollars on court battles in Japan and Maine.
McBee claimed that Delica Inc., owner of the chain of some three dozen stores in Japan that sell trendy clothing to teenage girls, took his name without permission.
The company said it was sheer coincidence that its boutiques and the musician shared the same name. In court papers, Delica suggested that it chose the name for its pleasant sound.
McBee's lawsuit sought to force the chain to either stop using his name or to provide him with compensation. His lawyer had suggested a formula based on a percentage of sales, which amount to roughly $100 million a year.
Rejecting the recommendation of a magistrate judge, U.S. District Judge Gene Carter concluded that the court lacks jurisdiction in the case because any damage awards would conflict with Japanese trademark law.
McBee's lawyer, Robert Newton, said he anticipates an appeal.
Newton said McBee was ``quite disappointed, but he's a strong individual and we've always recognized that this case was difficult.''
``We stayed true to the belief that because of the globalization of the marketplace, there has to be a venue somewhere in which this man can get justice,'' the lawyer said.
Todd Holbrook, who represented Delica, said his client will be pleased to learn that its long legal battle has been won. ``It's justice delayed, but it's justice nonetheless,'' he said.
During his 40-year career, McBee has toured globally and performed with such jazz greats as Benny Goodman and Miles Davis. He received his Grammy in 1989 for his contribution to ``Blues for John Coltrane.''

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Rapper Nas with his father Jazz and Blues Musician Olu Dara Posted by Hello

Big News > Newsweek > Olu Dara raps about son Nas

Olu Dara raps about son Nas

Hip-hop Poppa
Nas’s new single subverts the hip-hop fatherhood paradigm—with a little help from his dad, Olu Dara
By Brian Braiker
Updated: 3:59 p.m. ET Nov. 16, 2004Nov. 16 - Rap megastar Nas has described his style as “bold, daring, brave and honest.” His double album “Street Prophet” won’t come out till later this month, but fans have already gotten a taste of his lyrical derring-do on “Bridging the Gap,” the record’s first single: “Yeah daddy,” he shouts out to his father, “love you, boy.”


The song is a collaboration with—and mini-paean to—his old man, jazz and blues musician Olu Dara. “My pop told me be your own boss/keep integrity at every cost,” he rhymes. Dara returns the favor by singing “I told him as a youngster he’ll be the greatest man alive.” The song, aside from its hackneyed Muddy Waters sample, is fun, raucous and in a similar vein to Nas’s 2003 single “I Can” (“B-Boys and girls, listen up/You can be anything in the world, in God we trust/An architect, doctor, maybe an actress/But nothing comes easy/ it takes much practice”).

Dara, who plays cornet and sings on the new single, has worked with his son before, notably on Nas’s breakthrough classic “Illmatic.” A New York jazz fixture in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, Dara says he was constantly bringing Nas to shows and showing him around the studio. The two, he says, were inseparable and he never saw it as anything but natural. But, for better or worse, the tight father-son bond is an anomaly in rap, which—when it does broach the topic—portrays fathers as deadbeat baby-daddies.

Dara, whose own albums include the soulful roots gumbo of “In the World: From Natchez to New York” and “Neighborhoods,” recently spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Brian Braiker about the message behind his son’s new single, his own take on rap in general and what he thought of controversial comments made earlier this year by comedian Bill Cosby. Excerpts:

This isn’t the first time you guys have worked together.
I was on one song on his first album, “Illmatic.” I was on the song “Life is a Bitch.” He asked me to come and rap, but I didn’t want to be the oldest rapper in the world. So I opted to play a little on one song. The next time we played together was on my first album, where he does some spoken word. And on his album “God’s Son” I played some. We made music together when he was young in the house. So it’s like doing it the way we used to do it in the house—that’s how easy it feels.

Are you working on anything yourself?
When this settles down, I’ll go back into the studio.

You do some theater, too.
In a couple weeks I’m going down to George Mason University to put up a play with Diane McIntyre about the anniversary of Brown v. [Board of Education]. Usually I would be in it, but I don’t have time. I am going to go down there and compose the music and musically direct it. I’m busy working with my band too. We just left New Orleans.

Do you see this single as a message song or just a celebration of your own relationship?
Initially, I just thought about it as a relationship between father and son. It wasn’t anything unusual for me. But I’m finding out it’s kind of an anomaly to most people in the world. Why? I don’t know. Maybe fathers and sons are not as close as I thought they were. So maybe it is a wholesome message since people think it’s unusual.

It must be fun to do this with him.
We always did. He and I have never had a minor dispute. I may have had to chastise him when he was 7 years old. But our relationship has been very healthy throughout, from the beginning. In hindsight, I remember getting comments from the women in the neighborhood saying how special it was to see a man with his son walking around every day. I think that’s really when I started realizing that it’s an unusual sight to see. I find that with most men of all races it’s hard to see fathers and sons [together].

What’s your take on Bill Cosby’s comments about raising kids in the black community when he railed against “the young males who become fathers and [are] not held responsible, the young women having children and moving back in with their mothers and grandmothers?"
Well, he’s in the ivory tower. A lot of times you see wealthy people who escape the hard life of the ghetto, they become separated from that. He’s basically detached, which is why he can make those statements. He’s been away from that kind of thing for a long time. Only a detached person would have nerve enough to say anything like that. That’s just my own take.

Do you think the way you raised Nas encouraged him to do the positive songs like this and “I Can?”
That song [came out of] an overt conversation about 10 or 12 years ago with his grandmother, my mother, who told him to make sure that before he finished his career that he would make a song for kids. That’s the one thing he would have to do to really make a dent in the family, get appreciation from the family.

You’re a jazz and blues man. Do you listen to rap?
Oh sure, I knew a lot of the rappers during the embryonic stages of hip-hop in New York, Queens and places like that. I watched them get it rolling before it was popular. I love to dance, so rap attracted me first because of the way they use the music. I like the medium tempos they use. You listen to something like “Lean Back” by Fat Joe and if you dissect his song you hear European classical violins, you hear indigenous sounds in the back, you hear the blues beat. They actually mix four or five different genres on one song.

What about the harshness or violence of some of the more outré lyrics?
If you’re older, like me, you’ve heard it [before]. Those lyrics are not going to surprise you

So it doesn’t bother you to hear some of your son’s tougher lyrics when they come out of his own mouth?
Look, I’ve been to movies that are deeper than that. I can go and watch “Godfather” I, II and III and not only hear it but see it. I can see blood and guts, you know? It’s only something that gets people talking about it because it’s from the young black culture. One guy who interviewed me said “I don’t like gangsta rap; I don’t like what they’re saying.” And yet he was a fan of “Halloween” I, II and III. He liked Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney. He didn’t mind the scene in the Godfather when they messed up the man’s daughter-in-law. But people have a way of singling out hip-hop. One day I’m going to write something about the psychology of the criticism of hip-hop.

And you can vouch for how true-to-life the lyrics are that pertain to Nas’s childhood in songs like “Poppa was a Playa”—which is a warts-and-all portrait of you?
He portrays accurate things in his lyrics. If he speaks anything about me or his mother or anything like that, that stuff is right. It’s on. That’s it.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


JAZZFM: GET IT ON: "8.10.04 :: Branford Marsalis to present new TV documentary
Next month sees the airing of a new documentary, It's a Jazz Thing, presented by saxophonist Branford Marsalis on Channel 4 on 13 November at 7.30pm. The 90-minute documentary was made by production company Somethin' Else and is directed by Christopher Walker. The documentary follows Marsalis' travels around Europe and the US as he meets leading contemporary figures in jazz including Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, John McLaughlin and Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Medeski Martin and Wood, Tim Berne, Evan Parker, David S Ware, Ken Vandermark and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Commenting on the project, Jez Nelson, the executive producer on the show, says: 'There hasn't been a major, terrestrial jazz TV show for many years ? so this is really exciting for us. Branford is that rare thing ? a great musician who's also a superb and engaging presenter ? this should be a fantastic journey!' "

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Pete Jolly, jazz pianist

Pete Jolly, jazz pianistPete Jolly, jazz pianist and accordion player known for his disciplined work as a studio musician as well as his improvisational skills in live performances, died Saturday. He was 72.

Jolly, whose composition "Little Bird" was nominated for a Grammy in 1963, died in Pasadena, Calif., of complications of bone marrow cancer and an irregular heartbeat.

The Pete Jolly Trio, which for more than 35 years included bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Nick Martinis, performed in Southern California clubs until Jolly's hospitalization in August.

Born Peter A. Ceragioli Jr. in New Haven, Conn., he began studying accordion with his father at age 3 and at 7 appeared on the nationwide CBS radio program "Hobby Lobby." Billed as the "Boy Wonder Accordionist," he was mistakenly introduced by the announcer as "Pete Jolly" - and liked the error so much he adopted it as his professional name.

In 1954, playing with Barney Kessel and the Shorty Rogers Giants, he became a fixture in the softer, cooler West Coast jazz movement. In 1955, he recorded his first trio album, "Jolly Jumps In." His talent on piano, organ and accordion bolstered memorable music for many television shows and films, including "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."