From the monthly archives: "August 2012"

These two albums will be featured for the next week or so. They are “Further Definitions” with Booker Ervin and “What Happens?” with Art Farmer and Phil Woods. Check in the schedule link for play times. ENJOY!

More on the  Further Definitions Album:

FURTHER DEFINITIONS is a serious contender for Benny Carter’s most essential disc (though he churned out astounding amounts of high-quality work for more than 70 years). This 1961 album was a revisitation of a ’37 session Carter cut with Coleman Hawkins, Django Reinhardt, and two European saxophonists. Hawkins brings his glorious tenor back for the ’61 set, while guitarist John Collins fills Reinhardt’s shoes. Charlie Rouse appears on tenor sax, with Phil Woods on alto, while the crack rhythm section of Dick Katz (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), and Jo Jones (drums) completes the personnel.

The set is, arguably, an improvement on the original, with its beautiful sound engineering, excellent arrangements (the four-horn line approximates a big band at times), and shining solo performances all around. “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Body and Soul” (on which Hawkins, of course, takes a magnificent, extended solo) are here, as are two fine Carter originals, the lush and lazy “Blue Star” and “Doozy,” a sprightly bop number. The “Additions to FURTHER DEFINITIONS” section (tracks 9-16), a 1966 session……Read More

About Album:

The individual discographies of both Art Farmer and Phil Woods are sizable, but this 1968 studio session seems to be their only joint recording in a small-group setting. With pianist Martial Solal, bassist Henri Texier, and drummer Daniel Humair (the latter two were members of Phil Woods’ European Rhythm Machine at the time), the two completed this recording in three hours, even though there are some minor rough spots. A very snappy take of Michel Legrand’s “Watch What Happens” is a perfect opener, with great interplay between Woods’ energetic alto sax and Farmers warm flugelhorn. The rhythm section kicks off a furious tempo to Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa” and the co-leaders make the most of it. Gigi Gryce’s stimulating blues “Blue Lights” is also full of fire in a brisk arrangement. “Sunrise, Sunset,” the famous ballad from Fiddler on the Roof, is unusually fast, with plenty of risk-taking in the solos by Woods, Farmer, and particularly Solal…….Read More

Phil Woods Biography:

Born: November 02, 1931 in Springfield, MA
Years Active: 40 ‘s, 50 ‘s, 60 ‘s, 70 ‘s, 80 ‘s, 90 ‘s, 00′s
Genre: JAZZ

One of the true masters of the bop vocabulary, Phil Woods has had his own sound since the mid-’50s and stuck to his musical guns throughout a remarkably productive career. There has never been a doubt that he is one of the top alto saxophonists alive, and he has lost neither his enthusiasm nor his creativity through the years.

Woods’ first alto was left to him by an uncle, and he started playing seriously when he was 12. He gigged and studied locally until 1948, when he moved to New York. Woods studied with Lennie Tristano, at the Manhattan School of Music, and at Juilliard, where he majored in clarinet. He worked with Charlie Barnet (1954), Jimmy Raney (1955), George Wallington, the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, Buddy Rich (1958-1959), Quincy Jones (1959-1961), and Benny Goodman (for BG’s famous 1962 tour of the Soviet Union), but has mostly headed his own groups since 1955, including co-leadership of a combo with fellow altoist Gene Quill in the ’50s logically known as “Phil & Quill.” Woods, who married the late Charlie Parker’s former wife Chan in the 1950s (and became the stepfather to singer Kim Parker), was sometimes thought of as “the new Bird” due to his brilliance in bop settings, but he never really sounded like a copy of Parker.

Woods popped up in a variety of settings in the 1960s — on Benny Carter’s classic Further Definitions record, touring Europe with the short-lived Thelonious Monk Nonet, and appearing on studio dates like the soundtracks to The Hustler and Blow Up. Always interested in jazz education (although he believes that there is no better way to learn jazz than to gig and travel constantly), Woods taught at an arts camp in Pennsylvania in the summers of 1964-1967. Discouraged with the jazz scene in the U.S., he moved to France in 1968….Read More

Every Tuesday starting today will have a three hour special which I will prepare for all to listen. I promise that it will be loaded, since I have a large Jazz library to choose from. It will debut today from 11AM to about 2PM (USA Eastern Time). Then it will be rebroadcasted at 8PM to 11PM (USA Eastern Time). The “Super Tuesday Jazz Presentation” will feature many Jazz greats and will be thematically structured with a real purpose behind it. So try to catch it from the beginning to get the full effect. Check the schedule link for all playlists and if you have any suggestions go here. Enjoy!

Charlie Rouse is not a very well known Jazz musicians but if you like Thelonious Monk then your ears are very much familiar with the unique distinctive sound of his tenor sax. He was as you will read below, with Monk for quite a bit of time. But he recorded several albums as a leader and this one is one of them. Yeah! will be featured here on Jazz Con Class for about two weeks. Check the schedule link for play times.

About Album:

Tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse is best known for his work with Thelonious Monk, playing with the enigmatic pianist and composer during Monk’s Columbia years from 1959 until 1970. Rouse’s sound with Monk was so fluid and smooth that’s it’s easy to forget how many eccentric, jagged turns he had to navigate night after night, and that Rouse did it with quiet, steady grace is a testament both to his sax playing and to the space Monk built into his puzzle box compositions. Rouse headed up few sessions on his own as a bandleader, but as this calm, workmanlike set, recorded in 1960 and originally released in 1961 on Epic Records, clearly shows, he could rise to the occasion. Working with a rhythm section of Dave Bailey on drums, Peck Morrison on bass, and Billy Gardner on piano (this was actually Gardner’s debut in a recording studio), Rouse’s sax lines seem to float effortlessly over the top of things, feeling less urgent and angular than his work with Monk. Highlights include the opener…..Read More

Charlie Rouse Biography:

Though a top tenor man in his own right, he will always be remembered as the saxophonist for the Thelonious Monk quartet. He adapted his playing to Monk’s music; his tone became heavier, his phrasing more careful, and he seemed to be the medium between Monk and the audience.

Charlie Rouse studied clarinet before taking up tenor saxophone. He played in the bop big bands of Billy Eckstine (1944) and Dizzy Gillespie (1945), but made his first recordings as a soloist only in 1947, with Tadd Dameron and Fats Navarro.

After playing rhythm-and-blues in Washington and New York, he was a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra (1949-50) and Count Basie’s octet (1950). He took part in Clifford Brown’s first recordings in 1953, then worked with Bennie Green (1955) and played in Oscar Pettiford’s sextet (1955); with Julius Watkins, also one of Pettiford’s sidemen, he led Les Modes (later the Jazz Modes), a bop quintet (1956-59). He joined Buddy Rich briefly before playing in Thelonious Monk’s quartet (1959-1970), the association for which he is best known.

In the 1960s Rouse adapted his style to Monk’s work, improvising with greater deliberation than most bop tenor saxophonists, and restating melodies often. His distinctive solo playing with Monk may be heard on the classic recordings in the bands heyday.

Though he would go on to do some solo projects, they were very selective and he opted for quality over quantity. His first outing as leader was “Taking Care of Business,” (1960) for this overdue debut, he selected trumpeter Blue Mitchell, and a rhythm section of pianist Walter Bishop and bassist Earl May, and Art Taylor on drums…..Learn More   

Video of Charlie Rouse with Monk:

Here’s a great album, “Silver’s Serenade” and exemplifies Horace Silver bluesy style of Jazz. It will be featured here on Jazz Con Class for about two weeks and then added to its appropriate playlist afterwards. Check the schedule link for play times.

More on Album:

This classic Blue Note date finds Horace Silver, the quintessential hard bop pianist, in a straight-ahead, swinging frame of mind. Supported by a quintet that features trumpeter Blue Mitchell and saxophonist Junior Cook on the front line, Silver sachets his way through five finely crafted numbers with the style and grace of, well, fine silver.

From the lightly bouncing title track that opens SERENADE to the barn-burner that closes the album (“Nineteen Bars”), the group shines with tight ensemble work and confident solos. Silver’s trademark bluesy piano style shines on the hard swinging “Let’s Get To The Nitty Gritty,” which also features a tight shuffle groove by drummer Roy Brooks…..Read More

Biography of Horace Silver:

When Horace Silver once wrote out his rules for musical composition (in the liner notes to the 1968 record, Serenade to a Soul Sister), he expounded on the importance of “meaningful simplicity.” The pianist could have just as easily been describing his own life. For more than fifty years, Silver has simply written some of the most enduring tunes in jazz while performing them in a distinctively personal style. It’s all been straight forward enough, while decades of incredible experiences have provided the meaning.

Silver was born in Norwalk, Connecticut on September 2, 1928. His father had immigrated to the United States from Cape Verde—and that island nation’s Portuguese influences would play a big part in Silver’s own music later on. When Silver was a teenager, he began playing both piano and saxophone while he listened to everything from boogie-woogie and blues to such modern musicians as Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. As Silver’s piano trio was working in Hartford, Connecticut, the group received saxophonist Stan Getz’s attention in 1950. The saxophonist brought the band on the road and recorded three of Silver’s compositions.

In 1951, Silver moved to New York City where he accompanied saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and many other legends. In the following year, he met the executives at Blue Note while working as a sideman for saxophonist Lou Donaldson. This meeting led to Silver signing with the label where he would remain until 1980. He also collaborated with Art Blakey in forming the Jazz Messengers during the early 1950s (which Blakey would continue to lead after Silver formed his own quintet in 1956).

During these years, Silver helped create the rhythmically forceful branch of jazz known as “hard bop” (chronicled in David H. Rosenthal’s 1992 book, Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music, 1955-1965). He based much of his own writing on blues and gospel—the latter is particularly prominent on one of his biggest tunes, “The Preacher.” While his compositions at this time featured surprising tempo shifts and a range of melodic ideas, they immediately caught the attention of a wide audience. Silver’s own piano playing easily shifted from aggressively percussive to lushly romantic within just a few bars. At the same time, his sharp use of repetition was funky even before that word could be used in polite company. Along with Silver’s own work, his bands often featured such rising jazz stars as saxophonists Junior Cook and Hank Mobley, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, and drummer Louis Hayes. Some of his key albums from this period included Horace Silver Trio (1953), Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers (1955), Six Pieces of Silver (1956) and Blowin’ The Blues Away (1959), which includes his famous, “Sister Sadie.” He also combined jazz with a sassy take on pop through the 1961 hit, “Filthy McNasty.”

But it was a few years later when Silver would record one of his most famous songs, the title track to his 1964 album, Song For My Father. That piece combined his dad’s take on Cape Verdean folk music (with a hint of Brazilian Carnival rhythms) into an enduring F-minor jazz composition. Over the years, it has become an American popular music standard, covered not only by scores of instrumentalists, but also such singers as James Brown.

As social and cultural upheavals shook the nation during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Silver responded to these changes through music. He commented directly on the new scene through a trio of records called United States of Mind (1970-1972) that featured the spirited vocals of Andy Bey. The composer got deeper into cosmic philosophy as his group, Silver ‘N Strings, recorded Silver ‘N Strings Play The Music of the Spheres (1979)……Read More

Great Video Of Horace Silver and Company:


Yeah I know, where the Lester Young playlist? Two reasons, first of all Jazz Con Class concentrates from Hard Bop (early 50′s) and to the very early 70′s. Secondly and most importantly, Jazz Con Class concentrates on broadcasting quality remastered jazz. There are many great jazz musicians who have been neglected in this respect and because of this, I cannot feature more jazz giants of the past. Lester Young is one of those but I made a big find of great quality music from “The Pres” himself and will be sharing it with all the listeners. This man was the smoothest tenor saxophonist, in my opinion. His improvising style of playing also made him the most influential jazz musician and laid the foundation for those who led the Bebop charge. You can hear a strong influence of his style whenever listening to Charlie Parker. Check for the “The Pres” playlist on the Schedule link, ENJOY!

Lester Young Biography:

b. Lester Willis Young, 27 August 1909, Woodville, Mississippi, d. 15 March 1959, New York City, New York.

Born into a musical family, Lester Young was taught many instruments by his father while growing up.  As a child, he played the drums in his father’s band.  By age 19 however, he quit the group and began playing the tenor saxophone.  His first engagements with the new instrument were with Art Bronson of Phoenix, Arizona.  After a two year tenure with Bronson along with brief work with various other bands, Young joined the Original Blue Devils under the leadership of Walter Page in 1932.  However, Young finally settled down in Kansas City at the end of 1933 and played in bands with the likes of Bennie Moten, George E. Lee, and Count Basie among others.  In 1936, he formally teamed up with Basie and would tour, broadcast, and record together for the next four years.

His partnership with Basie did not discourage Lester Young from pursuing other opportunities.  Young recorded in small groups directed by Teddy Wilson and appeared in classic record dates with Billie Holiday.  In the early 40s, he focused his playing in the Los Angles area by playing in and directing small groups with musicians such as Red Callender, Nat “King” Cole, and Al Sears.  During this period of his life, he returned briefly to the Count Basie Band and also worked alongside with Dizzy Gillespie.  In 1944, Lester Young was summoned for military service but was quickly discharged having spent part of his duty in the hospital and part in an army prison.  After his military stint, Young was filmed by Gjon Mili in the classic jazz short titled Jammin’ The Blues co-produced by Norman Granz.  In addition, he joined Granz’s Jazz At The Philharmonic package, and remained with the organization for many years.  Lester also led a variety of small groups for club and record dates as well as toured the USA and Europe.  Because of his deteriorating health condition, his musical decline was swift.  Although he continued to record and make concert and festival appearances, towards the end of his life, he lost the will to live and eventually died on 15 March 1959.

 As one of the most misunderstood figures in Jazz history and a major influence in creating an atmosphere for Bop music to flourish, Lester Young’s early and late career was often saddled with criticism.  In the early 1930s when Young began to emerge, the tenor saxophone was regarded as a forceful, barrel-toned, and potentially dominating instrument favored by Coleman Hawkins.  In the early years of Jazz, none of the saxophone family instruments were played with fervor and maintained a backline position.  Hawkins was the first to attempt and change the conception of the instrument.  His style of rich and resonant sound was copied by many imitators by not Lester Young.  When Young arrived on the scene, he favored a light, dry tone in contrast to Coleman Hawkins.  Many musicians and especially audience members disliked Young’s unique styles; only perceptive and appreciative listeners could decipher that Lester Young’s approach to jazz would be revolutionary and unparallel.

The solos he created for the Count Basie Band was simplistic yet magnificent at the same time.  On his first record date under the name of Jones-Smith Inc., Young’s performance especially his solos of “Shoe Shine Swing” and “Lady Be Good” were undisputed masterpieces.  He recorded other outstanding solos with the full Basie Band on “Honeysuckle Rose”, “Taxi War Dance”, and “Every Tub”.  In addition, his work in “Dickie’s Dream” and “Lester Leaps In” with the Kansas City Seven showed off his musical intellectual prowess and the grasp he had of his distinctive style…..Learn More

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