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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Don Cheadle could play Miles Davis in biopic on Yahoo! News

Print Story: Don Cheadle could play Miles Davis in biopic on Yahoo! News Don Cheadle could play Miles Davis in biopic

By Claudia ParsonsTue Mar 14, 5:17 AM ET

Jazz legend Miles Davis, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, may be resurrected in a biographical movie with Don Cheadle playing the lead, Davis' family said.

His nephew, Vince Wilburn, told reporters after Davis was inducted into the Hall of Fame that Sony Pictures was working on a movie as well as planning several CDs to celebrate what would have been Davis' 80th birthday later this year.

"People are submitting scripts to Sony Pictures," Wilburn said. "A few names have come up (to play Davis) but Don Cheadle's name keeps coming up," he said.

Wilburn said the movie could touch on Davis' private life as well as his career as a groundbreaking jazz musician who later branched out into music that crossed over into rock and funk.

Wilburn said a possible director for the film was Antoine Fuqua, best known for "Training Day," the movie for which Denzel Washington won a best-acting Oscar in 2002.

Davis' son, Gregory, recalled touring with his father, who died of a stroke in 1991, and said he would have been proud of the honor bestowed on him at Monday's gala ceremony in New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

"We're very proud because this man's ancestors came out of slavery and he's an international icon all over the world and America should be proud of him," he said.

Asked about Davis' reputation as a tough and difficult man, his daughter, Cheryl, conceded that image was accurate at times but said there was another side to him. "He wasn't an angry black man ... he was very humorous. ... He lived life to the fullest and he absorbed cultures from all over the world."


Monday, March 13, 2006

Miles Davis, Romantic Hero - Assessing the trumpeter's legacy as he enters the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. By Stanley Crouch

Miles Davis, Romantic Hero - Assessing the trumpeter's legacy as he enters the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. By Stanley CrouchMiles Davis, Romantic Hero
Assessing the trumpeter's legacy as he enters the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
By Stanley Crouch
Posted Monday, March 13, 2006, at 5:32 PM ET

Miles Davis

For the innocent listener who hasn't been convinced by the noisy claims and special pleading for the artistic significance of jazz improvisation, Miles Davis' My Funny Valentine is one of the most persuasive arguments. With this recording, Davis was never to be captured playing again with such virtuosic command of varied emotional detail. It is hard to imagine another rhythm section improvising with more adventurous looseness and equal sensitivity to each moment of the music, and it is equally difficult to imagine another young tenor saxophonist, unaware of the tempo and rhythmic freedom that was going to rise about him, responding with more ease, formal beauty, and eloquence than what we hear from George Coleman on selection after selection. It was, as they say in the business, "One of those nights."

What made the recording so special when it came out—and makes it even more special in our decadent and pornographic moment—is the depth of its romantic feeling. There is an intimacy and a great tenderness to the music, both wounded and reverential. In 1964, this engagement in romantic expression was still relatively new because male Negro singers had only been recording romantic songs for about 25 years, having been forced to leave the province to Caucasians due to the sexual limits of racism. But instrumentalists had no such limitations imposed upon them. Jazzmen had used the Tin Pan Alley love song as a common form of American expression, and the most inspired of them bent the melodies until special sounds came out. The champions in the business of instrumental romance were almost always saxophone players, and the "boudoir saxophone" was a stable force in American music. A player was expected to lean his tone against a song and make it sigh with an erotic fire.

The command of the poetic emotion made Miles Davis the greatest player of romantic songs to emerge since World War II and the innovations of Charlie Parker. By the mid-'50s, he had come into his first period of maturity and developed a style in which his lyricism was so revealing that it brought unexpected pleasure to his listeners. Davis' improvisation testified to his willingness to share the facts of very introspective feelings. And none of what he did seemed easy. As My Funny Valentine shows, great difficulty was audible in every musical gesture: The notes had points on them; they were slurred and bent suggestively or painfully; a tone could disappear into a sigh or begin as a pitchless whisper and tellingly work its way up into a note. This delicacy could ascend through sudden moans to yelps or descend to dark growls devoid of vibrato that were nearly embarrassing in their exposure.

Listening to that side of Davis' talent is like a form of eavesdropping. The trumpet sounds are neither crass nor vulgar but are, even so, more than a bit reminiscent of the communicative noises made by lovers at close quarters. We hear clearly why Davis came to prominence in a time when the cold and removed masculinity defined by the night world of criminals and hustlers had a big influence on the Negro sense of male power, especially in the clubs where musicians plied their trade. In that night-world context, Davis' expressive inclinations made him a symbol of tender and complex courage. Consequently, his musical presence was adored by women and envied by men.

Davis became a matinee idol in the mid-1950s when dark-skinned men were beginning to break through the barriers that kept them from being seen in romantic roles or thought of as superb interpreters of love songs. Davis shared this moment with Sidney Poitier and Nat Cole, but his persona included something that neither of theirs did. Following Charlie Parker, in whose band he did some of his earliest work, Davis was moody. He gave the impression that he was not even interested in being known, especially by white folks. The trumpeter was not given to any aspect of the minstrel tradition that has dogged the Negro artist for over a hundred years and has most recently restated itself in the jigaboo antics of rap videos.

It was not that Davis did not smile as much as the fact that Davis, like Parker, did not consider smiling part of his job. The glowering black trumpeter was there, in those little murky clubs from one end of the country to the other, leading a band and making beautiful music in circumstances that were about as opposed to artistic statement as one could imagine. Drinks were sold, people talked, drugs were pushed, prostitutes circulated, and the cash registers rang. At their worst, those circumstances could be as wild as any in the Old West, which is why some of the joints were referred to as "buckets of blood."

Miles Davis, however, tamed those savage surroundings and made it clear that if he didn't feel respected or comfortable he would leave and the paying customers could have it out with the club owners. But if he stayed and felt like playing, his music did not hold back on the lyric quality. That element gave a charismatic frailness to his ballad interpretations. It was a sound that rarely arrived full-blown in American popular art, though it was strongly alluded to by actors such as Leslie Howard, who was often cast as a dreamer just a bit too soft for the world. There was an atmosphere of inevitable doom surrounding such characters, most of whom might be called "gallant fools." Through such types a basic idea was sustained in popular art: Romance was itself a form of heroic engagement and falling in love with an idea, a cause, or a person was an act of bravery.

By bringing that to his music, Miles Davis remade the expectations of the audience. As we hear throughout My Funny Valentine, the trumpeter taught his listeners that a whisper could be as powerful as a shout. A gallant fool, yes, but free of the maudlin Jell-O that usually came with the white American idea of the poetic soul. Davis was just as free, it seemed, of the pool-hall and street-corner braggadocio of the Negro hustling world. Little, dark, touchy, even evil, Miles Davis walked onto his bandstand and made public visions of tenderness that were, finally, absolute rejections of everything silly about the version of masculinity that might hobble men in either the white or the black world. That was his power and that is what makes My Funny Valentine so uniquely touching.

Stanley Crouch is the author of The Artificial White Man and the forthcoming Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz.
Photograph of Miles Davis © Javier del Valle/Digital Press.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Miles Davis - Jazz - Music - New York Times

Miles Davis - Jazz - Music - New York TimesMarch 13, 2006
Critic's Notebook
A Jazz Legend Enshrined as a Rock Star?

Miles Davis is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tonight. Not as an "early influence," as Hank Williams, Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith and Jelly Roll Morton were; that category is for artists whose careers were established long before rock 'n' roll began. (The hall has not inducted anyone in that category since 2001.) Davis is being recognized as a rock star.

This seems provocative for a second, and then a little meaningless. It is not some sort of timely argument for underappreciated work; adventurous musicians like those in the Black Rock Coalition have been claiming Davis's electric period as an inspiration for decades. There are some jazz adherents who never liked Davis's long electric phase and will be mildly outraged. But after all the jagged turns of his career, and its thorough box-set gilding, most of us have long since let Davis's body of work just assume its own meaning.

Davis's so-called rock could be strange and brilliant (especially from 1969 to 1975). His jazz was less opaque, and his love for it as a language and a tradition much clearer. Jazz had been his training, the basis of his best recorded work, which would include "Walkin'," "Birth of the Cool," "Milestones," "Miles Ahead" and "Live at the Plugged Nickel," among other albums. But by the mid-1960's he sensed correctly that jazz's greatest age was closing. He listened to everything, from Karlheinz Stockhausen — who has not yet been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but certainly could be in the future — to the trumpeter and record executive Herb Alpert, who is being inducted this year in the lifetime-achievement category.

Davis couldn't stand being permanently linked with jazz if it meant his becoming second-class. He wanted the music industry to take him even more seriously than before; he came into contact with rock 'n' roll simply by being himself and resisting decline. A series of women in his life during the late 1960's, particularly Betty Mabry, brought him closer to the center of rock culture, the musicians and the nightlife and the clothes; he was also working with Clive Davis at Columbia Records, who ambitiously drove his label during those years to be a rock 'n' roll contender.

As pop record-making changed, as the album-qua-album became as important as the hit single, with a wider canvas for fuller expression, Davis found himself suited to that challenge, too, during a remarkable partnership with his producer Teo Macero.

By 1970 Davis had veered hard toward funk and rock: first Jimi Hendrix, whose Band of Gypsies riffs he quoted and altered for his own purposes, and then Sly Stone and James Brown. You could call his albums "Bitches Brew" and "Live-Evil" rock by extension — especially in this context, because Mr. Brown, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Sly and the Family Stone have already been inducted into the hall. And the album "A Tribute to Jack Johnson" from 1970 even more so. You could also call them quite amazing records, whatever they are.

Davis, who died in 1991, was finally unsentimental about jazz, yet he respected many of its forms. With rock he could be more instinctive, brusque, shocking, mystifying, wasteful. With "In a Silent Way," from 1969, he did want his music to sound "like rock." He said as much in his 1989 memoir, though at the time he was fantastically dismissive about the issue. ("What's a rock 'n' roll band?" he sneered at a journalist in 1970. "The only rock I know is the rock of cocaine.")

But if he wanted more of his music to sound like rock, he meant its sound: the volume, the riff, the electric guitar and bass, the back beat. Everything else was changeable. There were dense slabs of hammering rhythm, static harmony, great moving plates of collective improvisation, which he ordered around as he conducted onstage. In the studio, he jammed endlessly with a revolving cast of musicians and then, with Mr. Macero, cut and spliced and layered the tapes. He could treat rock and funk like abstractions. Perhaps that's why his electric period — which, let's be clear, lasted half of his career — had such vertiginous high points ("Live-Evil," "Get Up With It") as well as such drowsy lows (a lot of his music after 1980).

The program essay for tonight's induction ceremony does not acknowledge the oddness of Davis's induction; it simply describes his accomplishments. But the view of Davis as rock star is not unanimous. Ahmet Ertegun, chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said in a telephone interview on Friday that as a member of the nominating committee he did not vote for Davis, because he felt that his most significant work had nothing to do with rock.

Mr. Ertegun, a cofounder of Atlantic Records with a lot of jazz in his past, said he did vote early and strongly to put Davis in Jazz at Lincoln Center's Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, where he thinks he belongs.

"I love Miles Davis," he said, referring to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. "I also love John Coltrane and Jack Teagarden, but I'm not voting for them either."

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Jazz At Lincoln Center Announces 2006-07 Season :: : The Number One Jazz News Resource On The Net :: Jazz News Daily

Jazz At Lincoln Center Announces 2006-07 Season :: : The Number One Jazz News Resource On The Net :: Jazz News Daily Jazz At Lincoln Center Announces 2006-07 Season
Posted by: editoron Saturday, March 11, 2006 - 08:55 AM
Jazz News Concerts, educational events and publications, tours, broadcasts and recordings celebrate innovations in jazz--America's greatest cultural invention

Featuring the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
September 14, 15 & 16, 2006, 8pm, Rose Theater
Jazz at Lincoln Center's 2006-07 season opens with the Coltrane Festival featuring three days of this legendary saxophonist's music at Frederick P. Rose Hall. The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis celebrates Mr. Coltrane's 80th birthday by performing selections from A Love Supreme, My Favorite Things, Africa Brass and other John Coltrane selections.

Coltrane & Hartman
Featuring guest artists Todd Williams, Eric Reed, Reginald Veal, Herlin Riley and vocalist Kevin Mahogany
September 15 & 16, 2006, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, The Allen Room
As part of Jazz at Lincoln Center's John Coltrane Festival, special guest artists will perform the popular songs of John Coltrane and selections from the album John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman recorded in 1963.

2nd Annual Women In Jazz Festival Featuring Rene Marie, Ann Hampton Callaway, The Great British Jazz Singer Claire Martin, Italian Saxophonist Ada Rovatti, Marian McPartland
September 4-October 1, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame 3rd Annual Induction Ceremony
September (tba), 2006, Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, time TBA
Jazz at Lincoln Center celebrates jazz and the third class of inductees into the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame. Some of today's finest jazz musicians will present the prestigious awards to the honorees or their family members, friends and fellow artists will perform music to honor each artist inductee.

Jazz Talk: “Did Coltrane Lose His Way?”
September 20, 2006, 7pm, Irene Diamond Education Center
Join moderator Dr. Lewis Porter and an all-star panel for a special discussion on the late years of John Coltrane's career.

Wynton Marsalis & The Hot Fives
Featuring guest artists Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines and Don Vappie
September 28, 29 & 30, 2006, 8pm, Rose Theater
Wynton Marsalis will world-premiere new compositions and perform selections from Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives studio recordings. These recordings were originally done between 1925 and 1929 and brought Armstrong his first top ten hit, “Muskrat Ramble.” The Hot Fives recordings pioneered a new era of jazz, bringing the concept of the soloist into the spotlight.


Freddy Cole's 75th Birthday Celebration With Special Guests
October 3-8, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

The Music Of Stan Getz And Antonio Carlos Jobim And Joao Gilberto Featuring Trio Da Paz, Maucha Adnet, Harry Allen
October 10-15, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with Arturo O'Farrill featuring Bebo Valdes
October 13 & 14, 2006, 8pm, Rose Theater
The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra's first show during the 2006-07 season will be a showcase of music from Mr. Valdes, one of the most important musicians from Cuba. “Suite Cubana,” by Bebo Valdes will be performed for the first time in the U.S. at this special show. At 87, pianist and composer Bebo Valdes continues to play with clav and precision, earning him GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY awards and nominations.

Singers Over Manhattan
Featuring Stephanie Jordan with the Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson Quartet
October 20 & 21, 2006, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, The Allen Room
Singers Over Manhattan returns to The Allen Room for a series of evenings with some of today's great jazz vocalists. New Orleans native Stephanie Jordan returns after her memorable appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Higher Ground Benefit Concert.

Fusion Revolution: Joe Zawinul Syndicate
Featuring Joe Zawinul
October 27 & 28, 2006, 8pm, Rose Theater
By combining jazz elements with soul jazz and funk elements, this program focuses on the 70's fusion movement birthed from the Miles Davis era. Master of the synthesizer, Joe Zawinul, from the legendary band Weather Report, explores this melding in his debut performance at Rose Theater.

Ira Sullivan & Eric Alexander, with Harold Mabern, John Webber, Joe Farnsworth
October 31-November 5, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola


Annual Fall Gala
November 13, 2005, concert in Rose Theater, dinner reception to follow
The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and some of the world's greatest artists celebrate the music of Gershwin.

Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and the American Composers Orchestra with conductor Steven Sloane & the Marcus Roberts Trio featuring the music of Gershwin
November 16, 17 & 18, 2006, 8pm, Rose Theater
For this first time collaboration, the internationally renowned conductor Steven Sloane will lead the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and the American Composers Orchestra as they perform Gershwin favorite Rhapsody in Blue and other quintessential works representative of the 1950s' Third Stream-era. This concert includes a newly commissioned piece by Derek Bermel, American Composers Orchestra's composer in residence, and a presentation of Nelson Riddle's lush arrangements originally written for artists such as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. Pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio will join this orchestral collaboration.

Paquito D'Rivera
November 17 & 18, 2006, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets
In the clarinet tradition of the great Benny Goodman, Paquito D'Rivera explores the Third Stream convergence of classical and jazz with the music of Ravel, Bartok and Stravinsky.

Manhattan Trinity With Cyrus Chestnut, George Mraz and Lewis Nash
November 28-December 3, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola


Jazz for Young People: What is an Arranger?
Featuring the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
December 1, 2006, Apollo Theater, 10:00am & 12:15pm
SCHOOL GROUPS ONLY (Tickets: $8/student)
December 2, 2006, Rose Theater, 12pm & 2pm
How do 15 strong-willed musicians come together in perfect harmony? How does the standard become fresh once more? Thank the arranger, the unsung hero who choreographs every performance, bringing order and imagination to the bandstand. Wynton Marsalis and the LCJO explore the techniques arrangers use to help everyone get along and sound good.

Red Hot Holiday Stomp
Featuring Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Victor Goines, Reginald Veal, Herlin Riley, Don Vappie
December 14, 15 & 16, 2006, 8pm, Rose Theater
December 16, 2006, 2pm, Rose Theater
Jazz at Lincoln Center ushers in the holidays with four special concerts that bring Big Easy-style holiday cheer to the Big Apple. Highlighting classic holiday tunes seasoned with a bit of Crescent City flavor and the joyous music of Jelly Roll Morton, Red Hot Holiday Stomp features Wynton Marsalis, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, banjoist Don Vappie and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra members Victor Goines, Joe Temperley and others.


Singers Over Manhattan
Willie Nelson Sings The Blues
Willie Nelson featuring Wynton Marsalis
January 12 & 13, 2007, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, The Allen Room
The incomparable Willie Nelson makes a rare appearance in The Allen Room for the Singers Over Manhattan series. From country to pop, classic rock and roll to folk, Willie Nelson has excelled in each. This performance will feature the singer-songwriter's distinctive voice over the gutbucket blues. Wynton Marsalis will be featured.

Cubana Be Cubana Bop
Featuring the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with Arturo O'Farrill
January 12 & 13, 2007, 8pm, Rose Theater
The Latin jazz band will demonstrate the fusion of Latin music and American jazz by performing the works of innovators Machito, Dizzy Gillespie and others who have inspired the Latin jazz tradition.

Bebop Lives!
Featuring James Moody and Charles McPherson
January 26 & 27, 2007, 8pm, Rose Theater
Bebop brought new and exciting direction to jazz. Pioneers of bebop, James Moody and Charles McPherson, will demonstrate the strong virtuosity and controlled technique that has become essential for players to play bebop's fast tempos and complex harmonies.

Jazz Talk: “Is Race Still a Factor?”
January 31, 2007, 7pm, Irene Diamond Education Center
In this modern age, does race still impact the jazz industry, the consumer, and our own emotions towards the music? Join Dr. Porter and a panel of musicians, scholars, and critics for Jazz at Lincoln Center's new exploration of race and jazz.


Jazz and Art
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
February 22, 23 & 24, 2007, 8pm, Rose Theater
The first half of the show will feature small and big band pieces inspired by the visual arts. The second half of this concert will feature the premiere of a musical composition by Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's own saxophonist Ted Nash based on famous 20th Century artworks. The audience will be able to gaze upon these beautiful images projected on a screen above the stage. The second half of the show will feature small and big band pieces inspired by the visual arts.

MARCH 2007

Jazz for Young PeopleSM: What is Latin Jazz?
Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with Arturo O'Farrill
March 3, 2007, 12pm & 2pm, Rose Theater
What happens when you put a little Latin in your jazz? As Latin jazz pioneer Mario Bauza explained, “You walk with rhythm, you talk with rhythm, you eat your food with rhythm.” Arturo O'Farill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra show us how Dizzy, Machito, Bauza and others infected the lines of jazz with Latin grooves and started a rhythm epidemic. Watch out! Backpacks will become bongos, your textbooks will turn into timbales.

Outer Limits!
Cecil Taylor and John Zorn
March 9 & 10, 2007, 8pm, Rose Theater
Opening the concert will be John Zorn showcasing his skills as a composer and saxophone player - one of the best in avant-garde and experimental music. For the second half, legendary pianist and poet Cecil Percival Taylor will demonstrate why he is one of the great innovative sources of free jazz.

Jazz Talk: “An Evening with Marian McPartland”
March 14, 2007, 7pm, Irene Diamond Education Center
First Lady of jazz piano and longtime host of NPR's Piano Jazz, Marian McPartland, will become the interviewee for a very special engagement celebrating her life in jazz.

The Songs We Love
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
March 29, 30 & 31, 2007, 8pm, Rose Theater
Performing “Stardust,” “How High the Moon,” “April in Paris” and many more, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra will explore the greatest big band arrangements of popular songs.

The Birth of Cool
Bill Charlap Trio with Special Guests TBA
March 30 & 31, 2007, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, The Allen Room Bill Charlap is one of the strongest mainstream jazz pianists on the scene and has played with jazz greats such as Clark Terry and Benny Carter. He, his trio guest instrumentalists will illustrate bebop in The Birth of Cool in The Allen Room.

APRIL 2007

Todo Tango
Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with Arturo O'Farrill
April 13 & 14, 2007, 8pm, Rose Theater
GRAMMY award-winning composer, bassist and arranger Pablo Aslan explores the rich tapestry of the tango experience and its fusion in jazz culture.

Singers Over Manhattan
Dianne Reeves
April 20 & 21, 2007, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, The Allen Room
The world-class GRAMMY award-winning vocalist Dianne Reeves returns to Jazz at Lincoln Center as a part of the Singers Over Manhattan series.

The Legends of Blue Note
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
April 26, 27 & 28, 2007, 8pm, Rose Theater
The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra will perform big band arrangements of Blue Note Records greatest hits including “Song for My Father,” “Blue Bossa” and “This I Dig of You” while celebrating music from one of the most fabled labels in jazz.

Annual Family Gala
April 2006, TBA

MAY 2007

12th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival
May 4, 5 & 6, 2007
* Competition I, May 5, 3-6pm
* Competition II, May 6, 10-11:30am
* Competition III, May 6, 1-2:30pm
* Concert, May 6, Avery Fisher Hall, 7:30pm
The Essentially Ellington program is one of the most successful and far reaching high school jazz programs in the country. Each year 15 of the country's best high school jazz bands compete to attend Jazz at Lincoln Center's “House of Swing” to Duke it out for the opportunity to play with Wynton Marsalis in a concert at Avery Fisher Hall.

The Many Moods of Miles
Featuring Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, the Marcus Miller Sextet and Ryan Kisor
May 11 & 12, 2007, 8pm, Rose Theater
The Marcus Miller Sextet,Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton and Ryan Kisor will represent the bebop, lyrical, modal and electric period styles of the legendary and chameleon-like trumpeter, Miles Davis.

6th Annual Spring Gala
May 14, 2007, Concert at the Apollo Theater at 7pm, reception to follow.
Music's most widely known and finest talents perform during this once-in-a-lifetime concert event. Proceeds will support the hundreds of performance and education events produced annually by Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Jazz Talk: “What's Innovative Now?”
May 16, 2007, 7pm, Irene Diamond Education Center
What does it mean to be innovative in jazz? Join a diverse panel of musicians and scholars for an engaging look at the challenge and importance of innovation in modern music.

Jazz for Young People: What are the Moods of Jazz?
May 18, 2007, Apollo Theater, 10:00am & 12:15pm
SCHOOL GROUPS ONLY (Tickets: $8/student)
May 19, 2007, Rose Theater, 12pm & 2pm
Jazz is more than a “Mood Indigo.” In the beat of a heart it can take you from “April in Paris” to “Autumn in New York,” from a “Stormy Monday” to the “Sunny Side of the Street.” Host Wynton Marsalis and friends show us howjazz's changing tones, colors, rhythms and tempos can take us from the being “Kind of Blue” to “Struttin' with Some Barbeque!”

Middle School Jazz Academy Concert
May 19, 2007, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Time TBA
Jazz at Lincoln Center presents these one-hour showcase concerts by students from the 2nd annual MIDDLE SCHOOL JAZZ ACADEMY, Jazz at Lincoln Center's instrumental instruction program for New York City middle school students.

In This House, On This Morning
Wynton Marsalis with Special Guests Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Todd Williams, Richard Johnson, Reginald Veal and Herlin Riley May 24, 25 & 26, 2007, 8pm, Rose Theater
Wynton Marsalis will be joined by many of the original musicians who performed the premiere of In This House, On This Morning at Avery Fisher Hall exactly 15 years earlier on May 27, 1992. As part of The Gospel Festival, this concert will commemorate the 15th anniversary of this first Jazz at Lincoln Center-Wynton Marsalis commission, which is one of the virtuoso's most successful recordings.

Singers Over Manhattan
Darin Atwater Gospel
May 25 & 26, 2007, 7:30pm & 9:30pm sets, The Allen Room
In celebration of The Gospel Festival, internationally recognized Darin Atwater will lead a small group, combining his virtuosity on the piano with his mastering of classical, jazz, and gospel music. Mr. Atwater tours worldwide and is also composer-in-residence with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

* Concert tickets in Rose Theater: $30, $50, $75, $100, $120
* Concert tickets in The Allen Room Singers Over Manhattan Series: $60
* Jazz Talk tickets: $10
* Jazz for Young PeopleSM tickets in Rose Theater: $12, $17, $32
* Essentially Ellington tickets for competition: $5, available after April 1; concert in Avery Fisher Hall: $20
* Middle School Jazz Academy concert tickets: FREE
* Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola: $30 cover charge regular sets; $10 after hours; $15 UPSTARTS! Student Prices: Sun, Tues, Wed 9:30pm set $15 with valid student ID / After Hours $5 with valid student ID / UPSTARTS! $10 for students with valid ID. Minimum: $10 tables / $5 bar all shows. Reservations: (212) 258-9595/9795
* For single tickets call CenterCharge (212) 721-6500 or

John Coltrane's Finest Hour - Before he jumped into the aesthetic abyss. By Stanley Crouch

John Coltrane's Finest Hour - Before he jumped into the aesthetic abyss. By Stanley Crouch

Posted Friday, March 10, 2006, at 6:10 AM ET

John Coltrane
Jazz is still the most original aesthetic form to emerge from the United States, but, after the big-band era of the 1930s, most jazz took place in small rooms that held about a hundred people. The sound systems were usually bad, the waitresses obnoxious, the drunks a pain in the backside, and there was little regard for the players as anything more than lower-rung entertainers. If the music was strong enough, however, the audience would quiet down or shout approval when something especially swinging was played. Unlike in today's more polished venues, the participation of the listeners was not forbidden, and people weren't expected to keep absolutely quiet until a song ended.

That is how it was when John Coltrane came to prominence and recorded some of his finest work in performance during the 1960s. Coltrane died in 1967 and has since achieved a mythic status that obscures the fact that he redefined jazz for the better and for the worse. The better meant an inspired use of minor modes, pentatonic scales, and original melodies that brought a Play Mediabrand new lyricism into the music, which can be heard quite clearly on Crescent, perhaps the greatest studio recording of mature Coltrane. The worse meant undisciplined and formless improvisations of epic length that were more about possession than inspired design—feeling, thought, and technique became lost in the overwhelming aesthetic event. That is why when Coltrane jumped off the cliff into hysteria, he began to lose his audience, which was not prepared, like the rock audience, for formless chaos.

The recent release of One Down, One Up, a 1965 radio performance, features Coltrane's finest group, the classic quartet that included pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones. It was recorded at the Half Note night club in New York and reminds those who were around then of what it was like to hear the band that was recharging the battery of the jazz aesthetic. New York writer Hattie Gossett remembers that, "Coltrane was an interesting contradiction because he was corny like. Very country. Backwoods. He was driving a Jaguar but he was still a country Negro. Suits didn't fit, white socks, pants too short. Then he would get up there and play all of this incredible music that was so complex you could get a headache from it if you weren't ready."

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Part of the Coltrane myth is that he had no interest in entertainment and did not submit to its parameters. He is thought to have been too involved with his art to pay attention to what the club owners or the audiences wanted. This is not exactly true. Yes, he did play very long performances that would go beyond the 45-minute sets that most bands played. But one Friday night, when I asked him if he would play "Play MediaImpressions," he told me: "Well, little brother, I would like to, but this is money night and I have to play 'My Favorite Things' every set or the club owner and the customers will not be very happy. But if I get a chance, I'll play it for you." There you have it; he was a Play Mediaworking professional.

Coltrane was a simply dressed and modestly handsome man who could have passed for a deacon on the way to a prayer meeting. He didn't have the look of special authority one saw in Miles Davis, Philly Joe Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, or Betty Carter. At best, he seemed like a humorless workman who had all the details of the job on his mind and had little interest in talking about anything outside of what he was about to do. Once he got to the bandstand, however, something unexpected happened.

On a first encounter with Coltrane, one could never believe the enormity of the force with which he and his musicians played. There was no talking. No announcements. I never saw Coltrane count off a tempo. He looked around, maybe smiled at his drummer, then put his mouth to his horn. What the saxophonist and his musicians did next was beyond material and beyond logic. With his band working under him, behind him, or encircling his sound, Coltrane would rock and roll like a rhythm-and-blues player as he pushed his saxophone forward and drew it back to him, sometimes going down on one knee. To the unprepared, the music might have sounded overstated, undisciplined, and hysterical, but it was not to become that until near the end, when the great quartet was broken up by Coltrane's naive submission to actual noise and incompetence.

Such sincere and overwrought mawkishness led to a recording like Om, which contains so much screaming and hollering that playing it was a good way to quickly clear the house after a party had reached its peak and tiresome people were still hanging around. But in its great moments, the John Coltrane Quartet appeared to have multiplied its instrumentation to three or four times its size, which was why its impact became so explosive: The pressure on the air was that of a big band at full blast. Many of its imitators, quite naturally, thought that playing loud and using modal forms would get the sound of that group onto their bandstands. Sorry. It wasn't about that.

The music could not be easily duplicated because it was the result of Coltrane's vast sonic experience. The saxophonist had evolved at a much more casual pace than his predecessors, not truly coming into his own until he had passed his 30th birthday. He had worked with three landmark thinkers. First, the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, who was, with Charlie Parker, the twin fountainhead of the bebop revolution. Next, he worked nightly on the bandstand of Miles Davis, who redefined bebop and brought in simpler melodic materials. Finally, he worked with Thelonious Monk, probably the greatest thinker of them all, whose impact is felt most clearly in the solo that Coltrane improvises on Crescent and in the 16th-note rhythms from Monk's "Trinkle Tinkle," which the Play Mediasaxophonist used to the end of his life.

With all of that experience under his belt, Coltrane went on to reinterpret the basic elements of jazz: the 4/4 swing, the blues, the romantic or contemplative ballad, and Latin or Afro-Hispanic rhythms. One Down, One Up captures the band as Coltrane was staring into an aesthetic abyss but had yet to take the plunge. The playing documents him in the middle of making art before an audience and takes its place alongside his greatest performance recordings, perhaps the best of which is the two-volume Afro Blue/Impressions. The Play Mediatitle track of One Down, One Up will give you the feeling of Coltrane, which is what most artists want to deliver after all the talk is done. As the troubled master himself said, "I never thought about whether or not people understand what I'm doing. The emotional reaction is all that matters. As long as there's some feeling of communication, it isn't necessary that it be understood."

Related in SlateFred Kaplan heralded the official release of One Down, One Up. He also put the album on his list of the best jazz albums of 2005. Stanley Crouch's last piece for Slate meditated on the genius of Fred Astaire.

Stanley Crouch is the author of The Artificial White Man and the forthcoming Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Listening to Music With Roy Haynes - Jazz - New York Times

Listening to Music With Roy Haynes - Jazz - New York TimesMarch 10, 2006
Listening With
Roy Haynes: Attention Getter, on the Beat and Off

ON the wall of his wood-paneled basement in his suburban Long Island home, the drummer Roy Haynes has a large poster of his idol, the Count Basie-band drummer Jo Jones. In the picture, taken in 1940, Jones stands outside of a building in a hat, suit and full-length overcoat, holding a cymbal with his left hand and a brush with his right. The stance is all casual defiance: Jones's feet are spaced apart, his chin and his eyebrows are raised. "He was the man," Mr. Haynes said. "And he carried himself like that."

A few summers ago Mr. Haynes invited four other drummers to his house in Baldwin, N.Y., where he lives alone. Mr. Haynes, Eddie Locke, Ben Riley, Louis Hayes and Jackie Williams ended up standing around the picture, drinking Champagne and talking about Papa Jo. More recently, early last month, Mr. Haynes had some visitors over to listen to CD's and talk about what he heard. Inevitably, Jones kept coming up.

Jonathan Jones, who died in 1985, made the high-hat significant in articulating jazz rhythm, and it has ever been thus. He played authoritatively with brushes, not just on ballads. He snapped down his patterns with subtlety and force; he ploughed powerful grooves for a band. He didn't get involved in long solos; above all, he had vitality, magnetism. One learned just by watching him move around. He was confident, and inspired some fear. He was proud of his "kiddies," the musicians he influenced. (He became known as Papa Jo in the late 1950's, in part to distinguish him from Philly Joe Jones, Miles Davis's drummer.) Toward the end of his life, he liked to perform sections of concerts on the high-hat cymbal alone.

Roy Haynes — who will celebrate his 81st birthday by leading his young band at the Village Vanguard from Tuesday to Sunday — never took a lesson from Jones. But Mr. Haynes has a whole area of technique around the high-hat, treating it as an instrument unto itself, building on Jones's principles. Really, he isolates every part of his drum kit in a similar way, letting it sing. He is naturally attention-getting, breaking up time, making his drum set react, hitting hard and then leaving space.

A musician isn't only what he plays. Jones approved of Mr. Haynes for his self-possession, too. Mr. Haynes bought his first car in the summer of 1950, the same week Miles Davis did. "Young jazz musicians buying cars was not heard of," he said, proudly. "Let alone a supposed bebop drummer." He now owns four; one is a Bricklin, the rare car with gull-wing doors, manufactured for only two years, in the mid-70's. And he likes some crackle in his leisure. When he comes into Manhattan and he's not working, he said, he often rents a limousine. "I'm like a little kid. I'm so excited, man. I just party, enjoy." He bought a second house in Las Vegas in 2001; he travels there every few months, and goes out to clubs and restaurants with his friends.

And the clothes. He often cites his inclusion in a list, created by Esquire magazine in 1960, of the best-dressed men in America. A musician in his 30's told me he met Mr. Haynes recently at the Vanguard. He mentioned to Mr. Haynes that he had just played there himself. "I was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt, and my hair was dirty," he said. "Roy just looked me up and down. And then up, and then down again. He said, 'Huh.' "

Jo Jones was the natural place to start, and other subjects flowed from him. At the top of Mr. Haynes's list was "The World Is Mad" by Count Basie from 1940, with Jones on drums. But since all CD's that include it have gone out of print, I brought instead a Basie box set called "America's No. 1 Band!" since it covers that same period.

We listened to "Swing, Brother, Swing," which is about as good as American music gets. It comes from a radio broadcast in June 1937, recorded at the Savoy Ballroom in New York; it is the Basie orchestra with Jones on drums and Billie Holiday singing. The groove is vicious, menacing; as the band restrains itself for the first chorus and then gradually turns it on, the guitarist Freddie Green drives the rhythm, chunk-chunk-chunk, and Holiday phrases way behind the beat.

"Ra-rin' to go, and there ain't nobody gonna hold me down," she sings. Mr. Haynes, wearing velvet pants and cowboy boots, sat on his living-room sofa and crouched close to hear the details. "Can I hear that little part again?" he said. "I thought I heard a cowbell."

He did. Jones hits the cowbell three times at the start of the second chorus, linking the bars together. From that point the band surges a little, makes the song meaner. "Aaah-haaa!" Mr. Haynes hollered.

"That's a hell of a one to start with, man," Mr. Haynes said, shaking his head. "If anybody wants to know what swing is, check that out. Damn! Everybody's in the pocket. You know, you just feel it: I see people dancing."

Mr. Haynes played with the three greatest female singers in jazz: Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. His time with Holiday came during her last run at a club, at Storyville in Boston, in 1959. Late Holiday is different: it communicates frailty; it's not rhythmically invincible, like this. "But there were still nights when some of that feeling was there," he said.

Mr. Haynes was born in Roxbury, Mass., where his parents had moved from Barbados; his father worked at Standard Oil in Boston. An older brother, Douglas Haynes, was a trumpet player who attended the New England Conservatory of Music in the late 1940's after his Army service; he traveled to New York when Roy was still in high school, and came to know musicians at the Savoy Ballroom. He introduced Roy to a number of them, including Papa Jo Jones, one night at the Southland Cafe, before Roy left Boston in 1945 for New York.

Mr. Haynes's next choice was "Queer Street," again by Basie. "There was a White Tower, a hamburger joint, on Broadway and 47th Street," he remembered as the song played. "They had a jukebox there. I would put dimes in, and keep playing it over and over." What he wanted to hear, he said, was Shadow Wilson's complicated two-bar fill on the snare drum near the end of the song.

Wilson later played more modern music, famously in a short-lived quartet with Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane.

"But I took him as a big-band drummer," Mr. Haynes said.

Max Roach is two years older than Mr. Haynes; they were two of the important drummers in bebop's first wave. "When I heard Max the first time," Mr. Haynes remembered, "I said to myself, He loves Jo Jones too."

We listened to Coleman Hawkins's recording of Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n' You," from February 1944, written by Gillespie. It is considered the first bebop recording session. Gillespie is in the group, and Max Roach is the drummer. "I was impressed," he said of Mr. Roach. "It was like he was talking to me."

Mr. Haynes especially identified one detail: as Hawkins finishes his first solo in "Woody 'n You," Mr. Roach makes the final beat of the bar part of a figure that enjoins the bar with the next, and also the next chorus of the song. It breaks up the flow of time; it creates tension, and it stabilizes, too. Later in the song, during a trumpet solo, Mr. Roach thuds the bass drum, creating a single off-beat palpitation in the middle of a bar. "There," Mr. Haynes said.

This was from when bebop was just beginning to take over, and Mr. Haynes was in the middle of its creation. He saw some older musicians' dissatisfaction with the way jazz was changing then — becoming more melodically fractured, more staccato, more drum-centered. But from 1947 to 1949, Mr. Haynes played with Lester Young, the paradigmatic soloist of the period before bebop, and had no problem. "I had heard Lester didn't like people getting too involved," he said. "But he liked the way I was getting involved. I was dancing with him from up here," he said, holding his hand up at the level of his head — meaning the ride cymbal. "I was doing stuff with my left hand and right foot, too, but I was always feeding him that thing from up there. I was swinging with him. It wasn't particularly hard swinging; we were moving, you know, trying to paint a picture." Young approved.

He did something similar with Coltrane, when he filled in for Elvin Jones in the John Coltrane Quartet from 1961 to 1965. After you become used to Jones's drumming in the Coltrane group, hearing Mr. Haynes is a revelation: since the emphasis pulls away from the bass drum and toward the snare and cymbals, you can suddenly hear the bass and piano more.

It has become almost a cliché to compare Mr. Haynes's improvising to the sound of the timbales player in a Latin band, but Mr. Haynes has never talked much about Latin music. He had told me that he used to be friends with Ubaldo Nieto, the timbalero from Machito's orchestra. I suggested that we listen together to Machito's "Tanga," recorded at Birdland in 1951.

This "Tanga" changes its atmosphere several times, through switches of key or tension building from different sections of the bandstand. Then suddenly the entire language alters. Cuban rhythm becomes swing; hear a drum kit and cymbals instead of conga and timbales, and Zoot Sims starts playing a tenor saxophone solo. Mr. Haynes confirmed that it was Nieto, changing over to a drum kit mid-song.

"We were always playing opposite Machito in Birdland in those years," he said. "And I always did like the sound of timbales, the approach. Sometimes when I'd play my solos, I'd approach the traps with that same effect, like when I hit rim shots." (A rim shot means hitting the head and the rim of the drum at the same time.) "Older gentlemen like Chick Webb and Papa Jo, they did rim shots too. But doing it with no snares on, with that tom-tom sort of Afro-Cuban feeling, I always liked that."

Finally we listened to Vaughan singing "Lover Man," from 1945, with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. (The drummer is Sid Catlett.) It is what Mr. Haynes called a walking ballad, not as extravagantly slow as the kind he had in mind, like the version he recorded with Vaughan in 1954.

Mr. Haynes loved the five years he worked with Vaughan. She had impeccable timing, heard well enough to correct a bass player's chord changes and filled in on piano when necessary. She sang virtuosically onstage and hung out virtuosically with her band afterward. Mr. Haynes suffered his first hangover after going to an after-hours bar with her. (Philadelphia, 1953. Gordon's Gin.)

"She sang some of the slowest ballads, probably, in the world," he said. "And in the 50's, we had bass players like Joe Benjamin. Bass players in those days had a way of letting the notes ring out. We don't get that with a lot of young bass players today. With drumming, there was an art to playing it and making it sustained, making it sound full with brushes. But you've got to have the right rhythm section to make it sound effective. And we did, every night. Moment by moment, there was always something musical happening. And during that period, man, her voice was ... mmm. Uncanny."

He paused. "The memory of the whole time is cool. That was the first time I ever went to Europe. In Paris, we played with Coleman Hawkins and Illinois Jacquet on the same show. I backed up Coleman. And that was the first time I ever had my picture on the cover of a magazine. In Paris."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Windy City Times

Windy City Timesheater: Nina Simone: The High Priestess Speaks
by Mary Shen Barnidge
Playwright: Ebony Joy

At: Black Ensemble Theater at the Hull House, 4520 N. Beacon St.

Phone: ( 773 ) 769-4451; $35

Runs through: open run

What was originally announced as Black Ensemble Theater’s “Season of Women” is now in its SECOND season because, as artistic director Jackie Taylor marveled, “you all won’t let us close these shows!”. If the opening-night response to its latest biodrama is any indication, another one can unpack its bags and settle in for a long stay.

As recounted in Ebony Joy’s elegant script ( clocking in at a sleek two hours with one intermission ) , Simone’s story was not your run-of-the-mill diva’s CV. For one, Eunice Kathleen Waymon was recognized early as a prodigy, studying piano at Julliard with the financial assistance of a ( white ) benefactor, but barred from admission to the Curtis Conservatory. For another, her mother, an ordained Methodist minister, disapproved of secular music—the impetus behind the daughter taking a stage name for her career as a jazz musician—while her FATHER encouraged her to find her own voice. And later, after she made clear that she would not tolerate a single episode of drunken abuse, her roistering husband-to-be vowed to change his ways—and DID.

But it’s not just these deviations from stereotype that distinguished Nina Simone from the sex kittens and hot mamas dominating popular entertainment in the 1950s. To be sure, during the course of the show, she sings hip-wigglers ( “My Chauffeur” ) , torchers ( “Tell Me More” ) , gospel hymns ( “Go Where I Send You” ) and rip-snorter blues ( “I Put A Spell On You” ) . But her legacy lies in the songs she wrote after becoming radicalized by Lorraine Hansberry ( along with Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, here portrayed as a pair of smug egoists ) —most notably the angry “Mississippi Goddam,” with its deceptively Broadway beat. ( “This is a show tune,” she confides to her audience, “but the show hasn’t been written yet.” )

“If there was one thing the ‘60s taught me, it was self-respect!” Though Simone died in 2003, so wholly does Yahdina U’deen ( formerly performing as Phyliss Overstreet ) immerse herself in her persona, her rolling contralto enhanced by Jimmy Tillman’s orchestra ( especially by stunt-double pianist Derrick Bounds ) and an ensemble performing Ruben D. Echoles’s expressive dances, you’d think it was the High Priestess herself speaking.