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Jackie McLean

My Old Radio Show "The Hardcore Jazz Cafe"

Here is a link to some of my playlists from the Hardcore Jazz Cafe In 2007. In addition I have a recording of one of my jazz radio shows which was aired on WCLK FM Atlanta on February 3, 2007, below.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Alice Coltrane, Jazz Artist and Spiritual Leader, Dies at 69 - New York Times

Alice Coltrane, Jazz Artist and Spiritual Leader, Dies at 69 - New York Times:
January 15, 2007

Alice Coltrane, Jazz Artist and Spiritual Leader, Dies at 69

Alice Coltrane, widow of the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and the pianist in his later bands, who extended her musical searches into a vocation as a spiritual leader, died on Friday in Los Angeles. She was 69.

The cause was respiratory failure, said Marilyn McLeod, her sister and assistant.

Ms. Coltrane lived in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles near the Sai Anantam ashram in Agoura Hills, which she had founded in 1983. Known as Swami Turiyasangitananda, Sanskrit for “the highest song of God,” she was the guiding presence of the 48-acre ashram, set among the Santa Monica mountains, where 25 to 30 full-time residents study the Vedic scriptures of ancient India, as well as Buddhist and Islamic texts.

She was also the manager of Coltrane’s estate, as well as of his music-publishing company, Jowcol Music, and the John Coltrane Foundation, which has given out scholarships to music students since 2001.

As a pianist, her playing was dense with arpeggios that suggested the harp; the instrument had an important place in her life. One of her childhood heroes was the Detroit-based jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby, and she was later motivated to study that instrument by Coltrane, who loved its sound.

Raised in a musical family in Detroit, Ms. Coltrane played piano and organ for church choirs and Sunday school from age 7. As a young musician in Detroit, she was studying classical music and playing piano in jazz clubs, in a group including her half-brother, the bassist Ernie Farrow, and the trombonist George Bohannon.

In her early 20s she lived briefly in Paris, where she studied informally with the pianist Bud Powell, and was briefly married to the singer Kenny (Pancho) Hagood, with whom she had a daughter, Michelle. She returned to Detroit, playing in a band with her brother, and then moved to New York in 1962. A year later she met John Coltrane.

She was playing vibraphone and Powell-inspired bebop piano in a group led by the drummer Terry Gibbs at Birdland, on a double-bill with Coltrane’s quartet. Coltrane was well established by the beginning of the 1960s, though she hadn’t known about him for long before moving to New York; the first time she ever heard him, she said, was on the 1961 album “Africa/Brass.”

They connected instantly; she moved in with him and traveled with the Coltrane band. By the summer of 1964 they had relocated from New York City to a house in Dix Hills, on Long Island. They married in 1965 in Ju├írez, Mexico, coinciding with Coltrane’s divorce from his first wife, Naima Grubbs. By that time she and Coltrane had already had two of their three children together — John Jr., who died in 1982, and Ravi, who by his 30s had become an acclaimed jazz saxophonist.

Ms. Coltrane is survived by her sisters, Marilyn McLeod of Winnetka, Calif., and Margaret Roberts of Detroit; her daughter, Michelle Carbonell-Coltrane of Los Angeles; her sons Oran Coltrane of Los Angeles and Ravi, of Brooklyn; and five grandchildren.

In 1966, as the Coltrane band’s music became wilder and more prolix, she became its pianist. She replaced McCoy Tyner, who quit without rancor, largely because he could no longer hear himself on the bandstand. Though she wasn’t Mr. Tyner’s technical equal and lacked his percussive power, she fit with the group’s new purpose; by the time of the recordings that would become the album “Stellar Regions,” in February 1967, she was fluid and energetic within the group’s freer new language.

She told an interviewer that Coltrane helped her to play “thoroughly and completely.” This meant stretching the definitions of rhythm and harmony, but she also meant something broader; Coltrane was talking about “universalizing” his music, creating a nondenominational religious art that took cues from ancient history and foreign scales. He helped her to sign a contract as a solo artist with his label, Impulse. And he introduced her to Eastern philosophy and religion, which became the main focus of her life.

After Coltrane’s death from liver cancer in 1967, Ms. Coltrane took a vow of celibacy. And at first she made music closely related to his, often reflective, minor and modal; on piano or harp she played flowing, harplike phrases over a deep midtempo swing, and she worked with the bassist Jimmy Garrison and the drummer Rashied Ali from John Coltrane’s band. On records like “A Monastic Trio,” “Ptah, the El Daoud” and “Journey in Satchidananda,” she was able to reconcile blues phrases and jazz rhythm with a kind of ancient, flowing sound.

Ms. Coltrane met her guru, Swami Satchidananda, in 1970, and in more recent years became a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba. By the early 1970s she developed a renewed interest in the organ, because it produced a continuous sound; she wanted to make a meditative music that wouldn’t be interrupted by pauses for breath. Her 1972 record, “Universal Consciousness,” with Ms. Coltrane on Wurlitzer organ and string arrangements by Ornette Coleman, became a far-out classic. In the mid-70s she switched to the Warner Brothers label and made four more records, including orchestras and Hindu chants. Thereafter, until 2004, she made records purely for religious purposes, distributing them privately.

After first establishing the Vedanta Center in San Francisco, she moved her ashram to Agoura Hills, just northwest of Los Angeles, and expanded it. In the past 10 years, she performed the occasional concert with Ravi, and in 2004 she finally returned to recording jazz, making “Translinear Light,” produced by Ravi, who reunited her with some old colleagues like Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette, as well as a chorus of singers from her ashram.

ALICE COLTRANE, MUSICIAN 1937-2007

ALICE COLTRANE, MUSICIAN 1937-2007
She became a devotee of Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba after the 1967 death of her husband, legendary saxophonist John Coltrane
Pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane was the widow of legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, whose death led her to explore a vocation as a spiritual leader.

Ms. Coltrane lived in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles near the Sai Anantam Ashram in Agoura Hills, which she had founded in 1983. Known as Swami Turiyasangitananda, Sanskrit for “the highest song of God,” she was the guiding presence of the 20-hectare ashram, set among the Santa Monica mountains, where 25 to 30 fulltime residents study the Vedic scriptures of ancient India, as well as Buddhist and Islamic texts. She was also the manager of John Coltrane’s estate, as well as of his publishing company, Jowcol Music.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Michael Brecker | Obituaries | Guardian Unlimited

Michael Brecker | Obituaries | Guardian Unlimited:

Michael Brecker



Master saxophonist who straddled the worlds of jazz, blues rock and funk

John Fordham
Tuesday January 16, 2007
The Guardian


Michael Brecker, the Philadelphia-born saxophonist star who has died of leukaemia aged 57, could hurl out more notes faster than almost all of his fellow-practitioners, but his 11 Grammy awards, devoted worldwide audience and status among musicians everywhere testified to artistic strengths that went far beyond technique. He was a composer, bandleader and improviser whose solo career started late, after years as a sideman and session-player; but in the two decades after he made his leadership debut, he became the most emulated jazz saxophonist on the planet after John Coltrane.

Brecker was held in such awe by students, commentators and players alike that the thought of his exit will be hard for many to comprehend. A reserved, private and undemonstrative man, who made light of his talent - he was so indifferent to onstage histrionics that he would play the most high-energy solos with almost nothing visibly moving but his fingers - Brecker inspired enduring loyalties for his modesty as much as his influence. He also inspired confidence in the most demanding of artists that his presence would make even their best work sound better. Those who hired him in his pre-leadership days included Frank Sinatra, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Steely Dan, Frank Zappa, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Charles Mingus and Jaco Pastorius.

Brecker combined the striving energy, technical ambition and sophisticated harmonic sense of Coltrane - his first and biggest inspiration - with a soulful bluesiness that allowed him to drop easily into the earthiest of blues, rock or funk bands. In his prime, he could sustain an unaccompanied one-man show by sounding like several sax players, and even parts of a rhythm section, all at the same time. But if he could tingle the spine with Coltranesque split-note wails that took the tenor sax way above its regular range as well as transforming it into a chordal instrument, he could be tender with slow music, as his performance of Every Day I Thank You on guitarist Pat Metheny's 80/81 album confirms.

Self-revelatory emotions were not perhaps his style, in the way they were Coltrane's. But, playing in New York in the week following 9/11, Brecker told me: "I maybe felt in touch with the true purposes of music in a way I never had been before - as a hearing, transporting, unifying force." He seemed to tune into both his inner voices and the wider possibilities of his art increasingly in later years; that journey ends with an as yet unnamed new album completed just two weeks ago.

Brecker's lawyer father was a part-time jazz pianist, his sister Emmy a classical pianist, and his brother Randy became a celebrated jazz trumpeter. Michael would joke that the only way the children could have had a subversive teenage rebellion would have been to become doctors or attorneys. "[Our father] took us to jazz concerts the way other kids went to ball games," he recalled of those childhood trips to hear Miles Davis, Duke Ellington or Thelonious Monk.

Michael played drums at first (percussive accents remained a strong feature of his saxophone style), then clarinet from the age of seven, alto sax in high school, and finally the tenor and soprano instruments. While at Indiana University he mostly played rock, turning to R&B and funk at the end of the 60s when he moved to New York to play professionally. In 1969 Michael and Randy Brecker, guitarist John Abercrombie and drummer Billy Cobham co-founded Dreams, one of the earliest and most creative of the first wave of jazz-rock bands. Work with Cobham and with Horace Silver followed, before Randy and Michael formed the Brecker Brothers.

One of the group's album titles, Heavy Metal Bebop, aptly described the style. Michael's spiky, chromatically dense improvising style developed in this period - but, unlike a good many jazz players turning to funk in the 70s, he never sounded cramped by the rhythm patterns of the idiom. He burst with ideas whether the underpinning was the loose, cruising feel of swing, or the slamming backbeats of rock.

The Brecker Brothers continued with various line-ups until 1982, and between 1977 and 1985 they also ran a New York club called Seventh Avenue South. Between 1970 and the mid-80s, Michael also contributed to more than 400 pop albums as a session saxist. Then, in 1986, with pianist Joey Calderazzo, drummer Adam Nussbaum and bassist Jeff Andrews, he formed a much more jazz-oriented post-bop group, and in 1987 recorded his debut album as a leader (it was jazz album of the year in both Downbeat and Jazziz magazines), and toured with Herbie Hancock's quartet. He also briefly explored the possibilities of an electronic sax, the EWI.

That first album was well received, partly for the revelation that Brecker had an eloquent compositional talent with which to trigger his torrential saxophone variations (though he never composed extensively, and depended on a close relationship with pianist Gil Goldstein as a composer-arranger). Sideman roles still occasionally tempted him (he toured with Paul Simon in 1991-92 and with Hancock in 1997), and the Brecker Brothers were occasionally coaxed out of retirement, but it was the powerful quartet (often featuring the drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts) that was his most regular vehicle through the 1990s. Albums like Tales From the Hudson, Time Is Of the Essence, The Ballad Book and Wide Angles (2004) displayed the same improvisational verve as ever, but were also showcases for Brecker's high-class admirers - like McCoy Tyner, Metheny, Hancock and Elvin Jones.

In his 50s, Brecker's improvising gradually shed the grandstanding pyrotechnics, gaining subtler colours, greater contrast and a compelling narrative strength. In 2001, at the invitation of the English Contemporary Music Network, he also successfully explored leadership of a larger band, working with Gil Goldstein and an Anglo-American group on expanded arrangements of his own compositions. A bigger group also participated on Wide Angles, which won two Grammy awards.

The following year, the news emerged that Brecker was suffering from the blood disease myelodysplastic syndrome, a condition that frequently precedes leukaemia. Last summer, an experimental blood stem cell transplant was attempted, but was unsuccessful. Realising the importance of the marrow donor programme, Brecker and his family began campaigning for raised awareness about it generally. "This whole experience has allowed me to be a conduit to attract attention for a cause that's much larger than me," Brecker said. He is survived by his wife Susan, children Jessica and Sam, brother Randy and sister Emily Brecker Greenberg.

· Michael Brecker, saxophonist, born March 29 1949; died January 13 2007




Michael Brecker, the Philadelphia-born saxophonist star who has died of leukaemia aged 57, could hurl out more notes faster than almost all of his fellow-practitioners, but his 11 Grammy awards, devoted worldwide audience and status among musicians everywhere testified to artistic strengths that went far beyond technique. He was a composer, bandleader and improviser whose solo career started late, after years as a sideman and session-player; but in the two decades after he made his leadership debut, he became the most emulated jazz saxophonist on the planet after John Coltrane.

Article continues
Brecker was held in such awe by students, commentators and players alike that the thought of his exit will be hard for many to comprehend. A reserved, private and undemonstrative man, who made light of his talent - he was so indifferent to onstage histrionics that he would play the most high-energy solos with almost nothing visibly moving but his fingers - Brecker inspired enduring loyalties for his modesty as much as his influence. He also inspired confidence in the most demanding of artists that his presence would make even their best work sound better. Those who hired him in"

Thursday, January 04, 2007

village voice > music > by Greg Tate

village voice > music > by Greg Tate:
Eulogy for Black Caesar
James Brown, 1933–2006
by Greg Tate
January 2nd, 2007 4:00 PM


James Brown funeral procession
photo: Cary Conover
See also:
Photo gallery from the Apollo wake

Tune in
High Bias: The James Brown special
Skinny white bands who owe the Godfather









Eeeeeeyow. Gud gaad. Aintit fonkeenah? James Brown knew how to freak the tribal speak and the tribal feet alike—the tribal neckbone and irrepressible tribal hambone too. Being a poet, a boxer, and a onetime Pentecostal supplicant, the Godfather knew a thing or two about being hit with the spirit and hit with the quickness; he also knew how to hit back, how to respond in kind in a New York minute. Bold, Black, and Beautiful things just happened faster in the world according to Brown. Tempos, terpsichore, tantrums, tangents, even jail time. They didn't call him Mr. Dynamite for nothing. Word is that when the Hardest Working Man in Showbiz did his three-year bid, he stayed industrious, organized a choir, ran the kitchen and laundry detail. Sit-down time for Black Caesar? Fuhgeddaboudit. And unlike so many of our fallen fighters whom dust and base cocaine dropped to the mat in the '80s and '90s, JB came back up as superbaaad as ever. Lest we forget, he transitioned to another world tour by straight stealing Jesus' thunder on Xmas Day. He wasn't ever a puny human to begin with anyway, so don't act surprised.

The line for his people's wake at the Apollo Thursday—as great a day in Black ancestor worship as the world done seen since James Baldwin's 1987 going-away soiree at St. John the Divine—began at 1 p.m. and didn't end till nine that night, teeming multitudes still being turned away to the chilly neon darkness uptown. All kinds of reporters, I'm talking cats from here to Melbourne, spent all day asking about the significance of JB. Your reporter hit it and quit with one inquisitor, obliquely declaring Brown "the Alpha and the Omega of the African in African American." Say wha? Because JB is the embodiment of all the working-class African blood that got us through, all that African left in us beyond the Middle Passage. Because JB embodied all our collective love, joy, ingenuity, and indefatigability, all our spirited and spiritual survivalist complexity, all our freedom jazz dance. The power of King James rang true for continental Africans too—in Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, and Congo especially. He became the bridge, and the measure of how much New World African modernity they needed to keep their postcolonial cultures moving, grooving, and counting off like a sex machine too. In a nutshell, JB was our grand Black unifier. The universal Negro solvent with the feral eyes, flashwhite teeth, torrential sweaty brow, swinging crown of piled-up processed hair, and skintight pants, who made us understand nothing less than absolute soulfulness as our cultural prime directive.

Truth be told, JB remains the one Black truth we can all agree to agree on as a life-giving essential. Just ask Sly, Jimi, Miles, Fela, and Marley, because by the time the '70s rolled around they were all convinced James was the Answer. You can hear that for yourself in Fresh, Band of Gypsys, Jack Johnson, Africa 70, Exodus, and everything that flowed from those funk-saturated templates. All the way to heaven, all the way to Parliament-Funkadelic, all the way to hiphop. No surprise that everybody attributes the way hiphop music sounds to JB—the Godfather, Jimmy Nolen, Clyde Stubblefield, and Maceo Parker knew they had built a rhythmcentric beast, a perpetual-motion-making machine whose gifts couldn't help but keep on giving. But dig, if you will, this picture: The streetwise poesy of hiphop lyrics is all his inspiration too. JB's every economical, anthropological utterance legitimized and laid bare the thought process of the 'hood's hardknockschooled philosophers, those organic Black intellectual Bamm-Bamms whose only book might be the Bible, but whose chiseled, charismatic bullet-point language was their bloodsoaked own. Point-blank, the vernacular priesthood of the MC begins with Mr. Brown, a man whose savior-like social vision, bottomless erotic optimism, and boundless capitalist ambition all found expression in his dolla-bill raps, his gangsta raps, his love raps, his protest raps, and his party raps for damn sure.


This man could sum up the modern Black condition and modern Black gender relations in two or three declarative sentences: "I don't care about your past/I just want our love to last. . . . I don't care about your wants/I just want to tell you about the dos and don'ts. . . . When you kiss me and ya miss me/You hold me tight/Make everything alright/I break out—in a cold sweat." You could fish a whole August Wilson play out of those lines, with their naked, scary promise of unconditional love and inflexible control, their spooked response to a sexual charge, their punch-drunk fervor thrown down before his intended like damnation and salvation will be delivered by the same hand. Girl, you heard the man: Get up off that thang, dance to the music, and put your foot on the rock.

While we're on that subject, we'll also remind y'all that JB's footwork, legwork, and neckwork were damn near bionic in their velocity, violence, viscosity. Talking about that way he had of moving everything below his waist at fuming warp speed while his triangular pugilist's torso became hummingbird-still, more implacable than any mannequin. Talking about the way that famously unhinged slide so aptly contrasted with that almost "zombie" freeze. Talking about that voodoo thing he did with his visage midstroke, that look from somewhere between trance and terror, jokes and hallelujah, grimace and beatitude.

Something like that look was seen on his face at the Apollo last week, Mr. Brown's body driven there by two white horses and two dark horsemen in tails and top hats. Lying in state in a solid-gold casket on the very stage he'd rocked so often in days of yore, Mr. Dynamite, a/k/a the Godfather, a/k/a He's Soul Brother Number One in Tokyo was decked out in a dark-powder-blue silk suit, delicate white gloves, and sparkling silver ankle boots as his music burst like bombs around the solemn processional line and the Apollo's famous ushers did everything they could not to break in to the Funky Chicken. His face, his death mask, postmortem and post- mortician—yes, that carved granite face, first on Black Rushmore after King and X (and before Clinton and Pryor)—epitomized what the old folks mean when they say they made him look "natural." And maybe even too natural at that, as there was something etched in that famous ebony-grain skin whose cheeks now sagged under the weight of a suddenly tight mouth poised somewhere between smirk, surrender, and dissatisfaction. Something that said he wasn't too happy the way this final act had been sprung on him, and on us too, quiet as it's kept. Because truth be known, Mr. Brown was one of those iconic figures we all thought of as family first, and as with family, we took his every success and setback as our reflection, illumination, and humiliation too. If loud James said we were Black and proud, we instantly became all that in spades: louder, Blacker, prouder. If James liked the hot pants, we blindly followed suit. And if Brown went to the slammer, we did too: "Free James Brown!" Tell me you don't remember that! And we always knew, as he'd already so famously reminded us, that while money won't change you, time will take you out. Troubles, flaws, and all, Mr. Brown was one of our best, perhaps precisely because he was an object lesson in self-mastery and self-martyrdom, and took every licking as a spur to resurrection. Lawd, tell me: Now that James Brown is truly free, what's to become of the rest of us?