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, January 21, 2006

Recently Discovered Jazz Jewel Restored by Hip-Hop Legend :: : The Number One Jazz News Resource On The Net :: Jazz News Daily

Recently Discovered Jazz Jewel Restored by Hip-Hop Legend :: : The Number One Jazz News Resource On The Net :: Jazz News Daily Recently Discovered Jazz Jewel Restored by Hip-Hop Legend
Posted by: editoron Saturday, January 21, 2006 - 06:19 PM
Jazz Festivals Noted Hip-Hop DJ GrandMixer DXT is no stranger to utilizing his prowess as a technical wizard to bridge the worlds of jazz and hip-hop music. His first foray into the jazz scene was with Herbie Hancock on the 1983 Grammy Award-winning hit “RockIt.” Since then he has worked as a musician, DJ, and studio producer fusing work in a variety of music genres. His latest studio work includes restoring the highly acclaimed Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall, recently uncovered by the Library of Congress and now available on Thelonious Records, distributed by Blue Note Records.

In 1957, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane formed one of the most important partnerships of jazz legends since the partnership of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Few well-recorded documents exist of this important partnership … until now. In early 2005, Larry Appelbaum from the Library of Congress archives ran across mysterious unmarked tapes that simply said “Sp Event Carnegie Hall Jazz Nov 29, 1957” and “T. Monk” on the back. What he found was a live recording of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall at a benefit concert for the Morningside Community Center that was taped by the Voice of America, the US Government’s international broadcast service, but never aired.

TS Monk, drummer and son of the jazz legend and executor of the Monk estate, secured a deal between Thelonious Records and Blue Note Records to distribute this important recording. The next task was to secure a producer who could effectively restore the nearly 50-year old tapes to modern day recording and distribution standards. TS Monk immediately thought of GrandMixer DXT, whose work he was familiar with and whose quality of work and expertise he confidently felt could meet the high demands of the job.

GrandMixer DXT was up for the challenge. In fact, he employed a process that he invented called Forensic Editing. This process utilizes the digital capabilities of today’s technology to restore analog tapes of yesterday. His process nearly eliminates the tape hiss and distortion that most analog tapes possess, without compromising the quality or integrity of the original recording. He is currently working on a variety of restoration projects with his newly formed company, TransferMaster.

As more and more jazz aficionados, music industry professionals, recording industry gurus, performing musicians, and music scholars hear the recent release of the Monk/Coltrane album, the overwhelming response continues to resound that the work is a newly-found treasure with unbelievably clear sound, thanks to the cutting-edge restoration work of GrandMixer DXT. His work has surprised those in the jazz field for its impeccable quality and as a result, it is quickly catapulting DXT to new levels of restoration and production status as the “must use” engineer for bringing older jazz recordings to life in the digital age.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Iraq Facing Hurdles, U.S. General Warns - New York Times

Iraq Facing Hurdles, U.S. General Warns - New York TimesJanuary 6, 2006
Iraq Facing Hurdles, U.S. General Warns

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, Jan. 4 - The top American operational commander in Iraq has offered a sober assessment of the hurdles facing a new Iraqi government, voicing concerns that sectarian rivalries and incompetence could cripple major ministries and turn newly American-trained Iraqi security forces into militias for hire.

The commander, Lt. Gen. John R. Vines of the Army, warned in an interview on Wednesday that the development of the Defense and Interior Ministries that sustain Iraqi security forces lags behind the fielding and prowess of more than 220,000 Iraqi soldiers and police officers.

"The ability of the ministries to support them, to pay them, to resupply them, provide them with water, ammunition, spare parts and weapons is not as advanced as the competence of the forces in the field," General Vines said at his headquarters here outside of Baghdad, as a new wave of violence gripped Iraq this week. "We must make significant progress in that area before they can conduct independent operations."

General Vines cautioned that other important ministries, like oil and electricity, must also strengthen their operations for the security forces to succeed - and for Iraq to prosper politically and economically.

"The reason it's important to look at areas like governance and infrastructure is because oil is the lifeblood of Iraq," said General Vines, who commands the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C. "If they don't produce enough income to support their security forces, members of those forces could turn to ulterior purposes and could become militias or armed gangs."

The comments by General Vines, who formerly served with Special Operations Forces in Somalia and commanded all American troops in Afghanistan, offer perhaps the bluntest public assessment yet by a senior military officer about the challenges facing the American-led military coalition and the fledgling Iraqi government in the coming months.

General Vines cited a string of notable successes over the past year, including the building of the Iraqi security forces into a growing number of units that are taking the lead in securing the country and successfully holding two elections and one referendum in 2005.

But he also warned of potential trouble in the weeks and months ahead, as Sunni Arabs look to a Shiite-dominated government for signs that their voices and needs will be addressed.

General Vines said the fact that Iraqis voted in such large numbers on Dec. 15 was uplifting, but he lamented that the balloting broke down largely along religious and ethnic lines. "The vote is reported to be primarily along sectarian lines, which is not particularly heartening," he said. "There was enormous enthusiasm for the election. But it must be a government by and for Iraqis, not sects. I don't think we can know that yet."

General Vines said it is too soon to gauge how well Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds will succeed in forging an inclusive government that protects all citizens of Iraq. "As the government forms, if we see indicators that there are purges of competent people to be replaced with ideologues in the security ministries, that would be disturbing," he said. "If competent commanders were to be replaced by those whose main qualification is an allegiance to a sect, that would be of concern to us."

At the urging of American commanders and civilian officials, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense has stepped up the recruiting of Sunni Arabs to serve in an army that is now dominated largely by Shiite and Kurdish soldiers. "The M.O.D. must continue to be perceived as a force that protects the population, as opposed to oppressing it," General Vines said. "This is a reason we're watching what happens at the M.O.D. very carefully."

As the operational commander for more than 150,000 American troops and 20,000 coalition forces, General Vines has day-to-day oversight, along with his Iraqi counterparts, over what troops here call the battle space around the country.

In the past several months, General Vines said that the flow of foreign fighters infiltrating Iraq had diminished in part because of nearly 20,000 Iraqi forces now stationed in restive Anbar Province, a series of American military operation in the Euphrates River Valley and increased cooperation from Syria and Saudi Arabia in tightening border controls.

In the weeks leading up to the December election, however, General Vines differed with his boss, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the overall American commander in Iraq, over how and where to assign troops to ensure a peaceful and successful balloting.

According to interviews with several senior Army officers, who were granted anonymity because their bosses' discussions were confidential, General Casey wanted to build up operations along the border between Iraq and Syria, as well as the Euphrates River Valley, to make it harder for suicide bombers to infiltrate and explode themselves in Baghdad during the elections.

But General Vines and his field commanders said the center of gravity was Baghdad and its predominantly Sunni suburbs like Falluja, the officers said. General Vines wanted to position more forces there to increase the Sunni turnout, a major political goal of the Bush administration but also a means to help reduce the insurgency.

The two commanders eventually worked out a compromise to put troops in both places, the senior officers said.

Sharon Rushed Back to Operating Theater for Emergency Surgery - New York Times

Sharon Rushed Back to Operating Theater for Emergency Surgery - New York TimesJanuary 6, 2006
Sharon Rushed Back to Operating Theater for Emergency Surgery

JERUSALEM, Jan. 6 - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was rushed back to the operating theater Friday morning when doctors detected new bleeding in his brain.

Mr. Sharon has been in a medically induced coma after a massive stroke on Wednesday, and the new bleeding, discovered in a CT scan this morning, was creating more pressure inside his cranium, said Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the director of Hadassah-Ein Kerem Hospital, who made the announcement to reporters.

"It was decided to take the prime minister to the operating room to deal with these issues -- to stop the bleeding and reduce cranial pressure," he said. "The procedure is under way and when it ends, we will update you."

While Dr. Mor-Yosef refused to speculate, Mr. Sharon is considered to be near death and the new bleeding is not a good sign.

As Mr. Sharon lay incapacitated, Israelis focused on a future, and their future relations with the Palestinians - without him in power.

Mr. Sharon's deputy, Ehud Olmert, named acting prime minister, held a special, somber session of the cabinet while Mr. Sharon lay unconscious in an intensive care unit after nearly nine hours of surgery following a massive stroke he suffered on Wednesday night. Mr. Sharon's chair, at the center of the long cabinet table, was left empty. It seemed clear to all that he very likely would never fill it again.

Doctors put Mr. Sharon in "deep sedation" and on a respirator for at least another 48 hours to decrease the pressure in his skull and to lower his blood pressure, said Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director of the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. He said Mr. Sharon's vital signs were stable and he denied persistent rumors that Mr. Sharon was being kept alive artificially.

Mr. Sharon's stroke presented a sudden test not only for his new centrist party, Kadima, but for the notion that Israel can make further moves - after its withdrawal from Gaza last summer - toward the creation of borders with a future Palestinian state.

It is unclear whether Kadima will prove to be built on a lasting base of policy, bringing together a centrist majority in favor of accommodation with Palestinian aspirations, or to be simply an extension of Mr. Sharon.

Israelis believed Mr. Sharon, a longtime warrior, would provide them security because his main passion in government and out was to keep them safe. They were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on his methods and policies, something they are unlikely to cede to his successor.

Today, most Israelis have lost faith in the political left to make concessions, fearful that it is naïve about Palestinian assurances. The political right opposed the Gaza withdrawal and has vowed to make no more such moves. Mr. Sharon, who came from the right but was joined by members of the left, has been a rare leader able to instill trust and withdraw from occupied territories. He did this through unilateral moves that did not rely on Palestinian cooperation.

Mr. Sharon's political friends and rivals all expressed hopes for his recovery, and suspended campaigning for Israel's March 28 election, which is expected to proceed on schedule. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said he was "following with great concern any harm that may come" to Mr. Sharon, but he said that the Palestinian elections, scheduled for Jan. 25, should not be delayed. Some Fatah members wanted the Palestinian voting postponed.

At the Israeli cabinet meeting, Mr. Olmert said: "This is a difficult situation, one we are not accustomed to. The strength and might of the state of Israel will be able to handle this."

Tzipi Livni, the justice minister, said, "The message today from the cabinet meeting is that beyond the prayers and hope, the government is functioning."

The big question on Thursday was the future of Kadima. Voters, many of whom had been crossing from old party loyalties to explore new ones, may now return "to natural and familiar campgrounds," as Asher Arian, a political scientist at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and the Israel Democracy Institute, put it.

For most of his life, Mr. Sharon has not been Israel's most trusted or respected politician. He was known unaffectionately as "the Bulldozer" for his bullishness and lack of subtlety. But in the last few years he shed his reputation as the builder of settlements and became for many Israelis the embodiment of their hopes for a lasting accommodation with a separate Palestinian state.

Israel, with its many political parties aimed at relatively narrow sectors of the population, has rarely been able to create a party with a clear parliamentary majority. Israelis want strong leaders, but the parliamentary system requires coalition building among parties with limited interests.

The problem went to an extreme with Mr. Sharon, who could not even manage a majority in his own Likud Party for pulling Israeli settlers and troops out of Gaza - and who barely mustered a parliamentary majority to do so - even though close to 70 percent of Israelis favored the plan.

"The old system wasn't working," said Shlomo Avineri, a political scientist at Hebrew University, explaining why Israelis responded so enthusiastically to Mr. Sharon when he broke with the right-wingers of Likud and created Kadima, which attracted the centrists in Likud, the security-minded voters of Labor and those who wanted a deal with the Palestinians shorn of religious and ideological fervor.

This seemed like the political realignment toward the center that has been at the heart of every Israeli reformer's dream, but that until now has never lasted.

But without Mr. Sharon at the helm, Kadima now seemed rudderless. In Mr. Olmert, Ms. Livni and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Kadima has a strong group of former Likud ministers, seasoned by the elder statesman from the Labor Party, Shimon Peres, 82, who can still help persuade floating Labor voters to leave their party and its new, inexperienced leader, Amir Peretz.

Mr. Olmert, a 60-year-old lawyer, will be carefully watched. He is a shrewd, experienced, capable politician, touched by arrogance, who was charged with floating the policy balloons, like Gaza disengagement, that Mr. Sharon later adopted as he moved from the far right toward the center.

But Mr. Olmert, who is widely expected to become the new head of Kadima, will have less than three months to show his abilities to exercise power as a leader and not as a deputy.

Without the appeal of Mr. Sharon, some Likud voters may return to the fold, and former Labor voters may once again be searching for a home, feeling that Mr. Peretz, a former union leader, lacks the experience and gravitas to be prime minister.

For Benjamin Netanyahu, the right-wing Likud candidate for prime minister, "this is the window opening after the door was slammed," said Mr. Arian, the political scientist, who noted that Mr. Netanyahu also emphasized security and was a good finance minister. "But to take advantage he must move sharply to the center," Mr. Arian added, a direction Mr. Netanyahu previously rejected when pressed by Mr. Sharon.

Mr. Avineri said he thought that Kadima, under Mr. Olmert's leadership, still had a chance to be Israel's largest party and that Mr. Olmert could lead the next government. "Most Israelis consider Netanyahu a failed prime minister and Peretz not ready to be prime minister, so it's not an easy choice," he said. Some observers think the voter turnout could be low.

The likelihood is a return to messier coalition politics, with Kadima most likely to be in the next government in coalition with either Labor or Likud.

"The reason people supported Kadima was agreement with the policy but also their trust in Sharon, the person who would carry it out," Mr. Avineri said. "Now the whole campaign has been thrown into disarray. A new line was drawn in Israeli politics less than three months ago, and now lines will be drawn again in the middle of an election campaign."

Ordinary Israelis reacted with shock and a sense of loss to the news of Mr. Sharon's incapacity.

Amnon Binyamin said he felt as if hope had suddenly been pulled out from under his feet.

"Listen, it's tough," said Mr. Binyamin, 47, a television writer in Tel Aviv. "We had someone with an agenda of hope, a way to separate ourselves from the Palestinians, and now it's all been cut off. We don't know what will be."

Aryeh Shuneh, 50, was more sanguine. "There won't be chaos, there are enough people to take his place," he said. Mr. Shuneh, who owns a fruit stall in the Jerusalem market, described himself as "a Likudnik who wants peace." He likes Mr. Netanyahu and said, "If he has courage, he can make peace, too." Mr. Olmert, he said, "is not a popular figure."

"I think it's especially tragic because we were on the verge, for the first time in a really long time, of stability in the area and now everything is one big mess," said Natan Hayman dipping his pita bread into a plate of hummus in Tel Aviv. Nearby fellow customers kept an eye on the television screens at an electronics store across the way for the latest updates on the prime minister's condition.

"He was the leader who did things that needed to be done," said Mr. Hayman, 30, a lawyer.

Mr. Hayman had been planning to vote for Kadima, but now he said he had no idea whom he would support. He said he suspected that without the unifying force of Mr. Sharon behind Kadima, the party would crumble.

Mournful songs were played on the radio and scenes of Mr. Sharon in various settings - from feeding cows on his ranch to meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - broadcast repeatedly on television.

In Gaza on Thursday, the border with Egypt stabilized after hundreds of Palestinians burst through a break in the border wall Wednesday night and killed two Egyptian border policemen in an exchange of gunfire.

Dina Kraft contributed reporting from Tel Aviv for this article.