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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Celebrating the life of the late drummer Mickey Roker. Joe Pass, Milt Jackson, Ray Brown & Mickey Roker - Grooveyard

Mickey Roker, Dynamic Hard-Bop Drummer and Philly Jazz Institution, Dies at 84 | WBGO



"Mickey Roker, a soulful and deeply propulsive drummer who carried a torch for literate hard-bop in the decades after its commercial peak, died on Monday in Philadelphia, where he was a local jazz institution. He was 84.

His death was confirmed by his daughter, Debra Roker, who cited natural causes but noted that he had lung cancer and diabetes, among other health issues.

Though he was never a household name like Max Roach or Art Blakey, who were more than a decade his senior, Roker was held in high regard as a modern jazz drummer for more than 40 years. He’s probably most widely known for his nearly decade-long association, in the 1970s, with trumpeter and bebop paragon Dizzy Gillespie.

Roker can be heard on a handful of Gillespie albums from that era, including Afro-Cuban Jazz Moods, with Machito (1975), and Carter, Gillespie Inc., with saxophonist Benny Carter (1976). His entry in The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz includes a glowing endorsement from Gillespie: ‘Once he sets a groove, whatever it is, you can go to Paris and come back and it's right there. You never have to worry about it.’

Roker also had a highly visible tenure with the Modern Jazz Quartet, which he joined in the early 1990s as a sub for, and then a successor to, its longtime drummer Connie Kay. Roker appears, anchoring a battery of guests, on A 40th Anniversary Celebration, released in ‘93. But his core contribution to the band was as a road warrior..."

(Via.).  Mickey Roker, Dynamic Hard-Bop Drummer and Philly Jazz Institution, Dies at 84 | WBGO:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cécile McLorin Salvant’s Timeless Jazz - The New Yorker

Wynton Marsalis said, “You get a singer like this once in a generation or two.”

"On a Thursday evening a few months ago, a long line snaked along Seventh Avenue, outside the Village Vanguard, a cramped basement night club in Greenwich Village that jazz fans regard as a temple. The eight-thirty set was sold out, as were the ten-thirty set and nearly all the other shows that week. The people descending the club’s narrow steps had come to hear a twenty-seven-year-old singer named Cécile McLorin Salvant. In its sixty years as a jazz club, the Vanguard has headlined few women and fewer singers of either gender. But Salvant, virtually unknown two years earlier, had built an avid following, winning a Grammy and several awards from critics, who praised her singing as “singularly arresting” and “artistry of the highest class.”

Cécile McLorin Salvant’s Timeless Jazz - The New Yorker

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Arthur Blythe - Equinox RIP

Arthur Blythe, acclaimed jazz musician, dies aged 76 | Music | The Guardian


OMG, Arthur based. I knew Arthur well during the 1980s and 1990s.  I met him first in the 70s.  He was a great player.   I did a show with him at the Atlanta jazz festival in 1991 where he played just before Jackie McLean.  At one tome his "In The Tradition" quartet with John Hicks on piano, Fred Hopkins on bass and Steve McCall on traps was this hippest quartet inn the City.  Arthur was a lot of fun.  I remember one time he was visiting my Bronx apartment with a mutual lady friend of ours and I played a record by blues guitarist Johnny Copeland  which I had an alto saxophone solo on it.  I jokingly asked Arthur who was [;lying saxophone.  He said he did not know.  I said it is you Arthur.  We had a good laugh.  I really liked Arthur.  He singled handedly brought the tuba back into small group jazz wit his trio then later quintet recordings with tuba player Bob Stewart.  Arthur had a searing tone on alto that reminded be of a cross between Johnny Hodges's beauty and a blow torch. His tone was unmistakeable and incredibly appealing.  He will be missed.

Arthur Blythe, acclaimed jazz musician, dies aged 76 | Music | The Guardian: ""

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

John Coltrane Documentary Chasing Trane Coming to Theaters | Pitchfork

"A new trailer has been released for a forthcoming documentary about John Coltrane, titled Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Story. Watch it below via Vanity Fair. Combining archival footage, photographs and performances, the film tells the story of the jazz musician's short but powerful life. Since Coltrane gave minimal radio interviews and never gave a television interview before he died at age 40, Denzel Washington narrates his words. ‘In many of his roles Denzel radiates an exceptional quiet strength,’ said director-writer John Scheinfeld in a statement. 'Coltrane, many of his friends told me, embodied a similar strength.’

The documentary also features Common, Kamasi Washington, Carlos Santana, Wynton Marsalis, Bill Clinton, Sonny Rollins, Dr. Cornel West, and more, who discuss Coltrane's significance and impact. His family and the labels that own his catalogue all lent their support to the film's production. 

Chasing Trane will be screening at the IFC Theater in New York City beginning April 14 with a wider release to follow. 


(Via.).  John Coltrane Documentary Chasing Trane Coming to Theaters | Pitchfork:

Monday, February 27, 2017

A New Documentary Explores The Troubled, Brilliant Life Of Pianist Bill Evans : NPR

Friday, February 17, 2017

Jazz Trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Melds Past, Present and Future - The New York Times


 “...With “Ruler Rebel,” he is taking up a new challenge: uniting the spare, rippling power of trap music (Southern hip-hop known for its austere beats and deep puddles of bass) with a range of parallel inspirations, from Sergio Leone’s spaghetti-western themes to New Orleans funk…"

 Jazz Trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Melds Past, Present and Future - The New York Times: ""

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Does this sound familiar? Our "Manchurian President" and "King Richard". Democrats Demand: What Did the President Know and When Did He Know It? - The New York Times

 Michael T. Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser prompts calls to redouble investigations of Russia contacts.

■ President Trump names Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg Jr., a retired Vietnam War veteran, as interim security adviser.

■ White House press secretary Sean Spicer briefs the press at 1 p.m."

(Via.).  Democrats Demand: What Did the President Know and When Did He Know It? - The New York Times: "■

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

DownBeat News


"Almost 50 years in the making, Jon Hendricks’ vocalese re-scoring of Miles Ahead, the seminal Miles Davis/Gil Evans from 1957, will receive its global premiere in New York on Feb. 17.

With Hendricks, considered by some to be the Godfather of vocalese, on hand to witness the historic event, Miles Ahead will be performed by the London Vocal Project (a 20-piece choir plus rhythm section) and a handful of special guest soloists at St. Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Ave. in Manhattan.

Hendricks, who rose to prominence as part of the legendary vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, started work on his vocalese rendition of Miles Ahead nearly five decades ago, initially as response to the wave of popularity that greeted the widely acclaimed LH&R album Sing A Song Of Basie, a recording that helped define the sound of vocalese, or the art of writing lyrics to existing instrumental solos.

It wasn’t until 2012, however, that he began to collaborate closely with London Vocal Project director Pete Churchill who, with the support of the choir, will help bring Hendricks’ artistic vision to life. Every note of both Davis’ solos and Evans’ arrangement has been re-scored for voices with Hendricks’ lyrics.

The world premiere of the material was made possible with help of Quincy Jones, a longtime friend of Hendricks, and also through the support of the Jazz Foundation of America.

Looking ahead, LVP will return to the studio to put the finishing touches on a recording of Hendricks’ Miles Ahead. The album will be due for release later this year.

A European premiere performance has been scheduled in London for May 21. DB"

DownBeat News