From the monthly archives: "January 2013"

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Lee Morgan was a Jazz giant and could be considered as one of the very best trumpeters that this musical art form ever produced. In my very own opinion, he is the best and of course my favorite. But with all the amount of recognition he had achieved while he was alive, the same could not be said of Lee Morgan after his tragic death in 1972 at the tender age of 33 years of age. Unlike Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Clifford Brown and many others, he has simply been forgotten. Not for me though and as the Jazz Con Class listeners know very well, I have the “Lee Morgan Playlist” which plays practically every day. I personally have all 30 albums (CD’s) of Lee Morgan as a leader and countless others as a sideman. The problem, I feel, is the lack search material on the internet concerning information about Lee Morgan. For instance, there is no real “Official” website dedicated to him at all. I’m sure that Lee Morgan fans are stunned by this fact and wonder why this legend has been forgotten. More can be done for certain but I also feel that this great Jazz musician will be remembered in a more dignified manner in the near future.

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Courtesy of New York Daily News

With this in mind, I would like to introduce Lena Sherrod to all the readers here. Lena Sherrod is, like me, an avid Lee Morgan fan also but on a much greater scale. Lena took that extra step to make sure that Lee Morgan will never be forgotten forever. In 2006 she made the space available and created a Jazz gallery in dedication to Lee Morgan and she named it the SOM Jazz Gallery (Shrine Of the Masters Jazz Gallery). This article written on the 40th year celebration of Lee Morgan’s death explains further. There is also a post here that shows you images from inside the gallery itself for those interested in visiting. I read both articles also and said to myself, “Why don’t I make some type of contribution towards the recognition and preservation of Lee Morgan.” I figured, why don’t I call Lena Sherrod and set up some type of interview with her so the readers here can learn more about the SOM Jazz Gallery and about Lee Morgan himself, since Lena was actually a friend of his. I called her, we spoke for a while on the phone, I explained the online Jazz station here and asked her if she would be interested in an “online interview” with me. An online interview is where I would prepare a questionnaire for her and email it to her. She would then answer the questions and email her answers back to me. She happily accepted this “online interview” and with absolutely no hesitation at all! Wow, fantastic! I sent the questionnaire to Lena and here is the result, the whole interview:

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Courtesy of SteveHoffman.tv

1st.Question/Introduction:

Hello Lena, I would like to thank you again for taking the time off to answer this questionnaire. The Jazz Con Class listeners and anybody else interested would like to thank you also. Ok to begin, my first and most appropriate question would concentrate on a short bio of yourself and an introduction to the SOM Jazz Gallery. So, can you provide the readers here with this information please?

Lena Sherrod’s answer:

I have been a Jazz enthusiast since I was a teenager. A few years after I relocated to New York in the sixties, I founded SPEUJM, Inc.([pronounced SPOO Jim] Society to Prevent Excess Unemployment for Jazz Musicians) and began producing/presenting Jazz concerts in Brooklyn, Greenwich Village and Harlem, mainly because many of my friends were musicians and were not working as regularly as they should have been, given their enormous talent.

I later moved on to other callings, including the Civil Rights Movement and then a two-year sojourn in Africa. I was on my way back to the U.S. by way of Paris when I learned of Lee Morgan’s murder while chatting with the saxophonist from Philadelphia who was playing with drummer Sunny Murray at Le Chat Qui Peche, a popular Jazz club in Paris. Lee and I had been close, so I was more than upset by the news.

A few years ago, when I retired from my position as finance and careers editor at ESSENCE magazine, I decided to research a book on Lee Morgan and was surprised to learn of the abundance of albums he had recorded. So I put the book project aside and began collecting his albums, buying them primarily on EBay from sellers around the world, many from Europe, Japan and even China.

I had the album covers framed, beginning with his recordings when he was with Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band to his first album as a leader in 1956—Lee Morgan Indeed!—to his last record date as a sideman with organist Charles Earland in 1972; and I hung then chronologically in a space in my home that had just been renovated.

After reading an interview with Lee that ran in Downbeat magazine in 1972 where he remarked that Jazz artists “should have shrines dedicated to them just like they have shrines in Europe to Beethoven and Bach,” I decided to name the space The Shrine of the Masters Jazz Gallery/Home of the Lee Morgan Legacy Exhibit.

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Courtesy of SteveHoffman.tv

2nd Question: As mentioned in the New York Daily News article, you met Lee Morgan approximately in 1967 and became friends with him. Can you tell the readers here a little more about the character of Lee Morgan and also give them a sort of feel of the Jazz scene in those days? The reason I ask the second part of this question, is because most Jazz fans who listen to Classic/Tradional Jazz now were either too young when these giants were playing or simply weren’t born yet.They want to somehow picture themselves being there in person and listening to these gifted musicians performing.

Lena Sherrod’s answer:

In addition to being a masterful trumpeter, Lee was a gifted raconteur, with a quick wit and a really sharp mind. When I met him, he was playing at the Blue Coronet in Brooklyn with greats like pianist Cedar Walton, drummer Billy Higgins, bassist Reggie Workman.

Back then, musicians usually had a weeklong engagement at a club, from Tuesday until Sunday, playing about four sets a night, usually hitting the bandstand around 9 p.m. and ending around 4 a.m., Some clubs had a cover charge, others did not, and you could sit and listen to as many sets as you wanted without having to pay another minimum or another cover charge. But today, understandably, club owners have to pay musicians more than they did back then, so they have to charge more and try to get as many people as possible in for two or three sets.

During that time, you could catch, say, Monk at the Five Spot, dash a few blocks west and catch Miles at the Village Vanguard and then go to the East Village and catch Lee Morgan or Freddie Hubbard or Jackie McLean or Sun Ra at Slugs’.

Those were truly the nights when the giants of Jazz walked the earth!

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Courtesy of SteveHoffman.tv

3rd Question:

Getting back to the SOM Jazz gallery, can you give the readers here a visual, in detail, of this sanction, where all Jazz entusiasts can visit and travel back into time?

Lena Sherrod’s answer:

The SOM Jazz Gallery is a rather compact space, about 15 feet by 50 feet, located on the garden floor of a Harlem brownstone. On entering you see  photos of Lee, including one from his 1956  high school yearbook—Philadelphia’s Jules E. Mastbaum Vocational-Technical School—where his hobby is listed as: “Collecting jazz records” and his ambition: “To be a jazz trumpet player.” The covers of the more than 130 albums on which Lee Morgan was the leader or sideman are hung grouped by the year of recording. There is a directory of musicians with the year and number of albums on which they perform; photos of Lee with various musicians, collages of musicians, an “I Remember You” memorial collage wall, a hanging trumpet and other items. A visitor is given a guided tour of the exhibit and they also get to sit and enjoy a video of Lee Morgan performing with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Live in Belgium in 1958 or another video.

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4th and Final Question:

To finalized this short but very informative interview, can you give the readers here your honest opinion of the treatment of Lee Morgan, in other words, do you feel that Lee Morgan was under appreciated for his musical achievements and/or do you think that classic/traditional Jazz has been under appreciated as a whole here in America?

Lena Sherrod’s answer:

I do not think Lee was fully appreciated for his artistry and his achievements. Case in point: When “The Sidewinder” crossed over and became a commercial success, many Jazz “purists” tried to put his music down, overlooking the fact that his repertory of compositions and his recordings ran the gamut—from blues to bossa to funky to avant-garde. But Jazz, in general, is not as appreciated in America as it is in Europe and Japan. 

Way back in the day—before the advent of Bebop—Jazz had a more populist appeal. That was when people went out to ballrooms and dance halls to hear the swing bands and would dance to the music.

But, hey, such is life.

Information on SOMJazz Gallery:

(SOM viewing hours are by appointment only)

Call: 212-368-9588 or

Email Lena Sherrod: SOMJazzGallery@aol.com.

TheBigSoundCover

Oh yes! The great Gene Ammons has arrived and will be featured. There’s plenty of the Bluesy tenor sound of Gene Ammons on Jazz Con Class, including “Groove Blues” which is mentioned in the description below. Although I could have chosen any album of his, The Big Sound will be the one I will feature, this time, here and for a couple of weeks. Of course like many others, not enough has been written about the legend Gene Ammons and played either, so that’s why the listeners tune in here everyday. Check the Schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the Album:

Digitally remastered by Gary Hobish (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). THE BIG SOUND is a companion to GROOVE BLUES. Both albums were recorded on a single day in 1958 and feature an impressive array of players. Ammons’ tenor saxophone is joined here by John Coltrane’s alto, Paul Quinichette’s tenor, Pepper Adams’ alto, and Jerome Richardson’s flute. The rhythm section is anchored by the piano of Mal Waldron. The set opens with the slow blues “Blue Hymn,” an Ammons original. Waldron’s “The Real McCoy” then kicks things into higher gear with an excitingly propulsive arrangement. The massed horns state the tune’s main theme before breaking off into furious soloing. Likewise, Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek” swings at a clip at once laid back and relentless. As with GROOVE BLUES, the album closes with a ballad, the song form forever linked with Ammons. Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on January 3, 1958…….Read More

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Biography of Gene Ammons:

Called by some, “the soul of Chicago tenor saxophony,” Gene “Jug” Ammons was a legendary, but under-appreciated jazz tenor saxophonist known for his big, bluesy, soulful tone. He had the rare ability to capture a listener’s heart with an incredibly, emotional ballad while also having the flexibility to play bebop and swing with the best of them. Ammons’ expressive and heartfelt phrasing and the ability to say “more with less” makes his ballads among the most beautiful ever recorded.

Ammons was born April 14, 1925, in Chicago, Ill., the son of the great boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons. Gene would later study music at Du Sable High School under Captain Walter Dyett, the reknowned musical director who helped launch the careers of numerous greats including Nat King Cole, Bo Diddley and Dinah Washington. Ammons’ style would be most influenced by two saxophonists…Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, two of the early greats of the instrument.

At the age of 18 Ammons left Chicago to tour with trumpeter King Kolax and his band. Shortly thereafter Ammons joined the Billy Eckstine Orhestra in 1944. Eckstine was a popular trumpeter and vocalist who helped break down racial barriers in the 1940s and became probably the first romantic black male in popular music. Eckstine’s band included several musicians who would later go on to achieve greatness of their own including trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon, drummer Art Blakey and singer Sarah Vaughan. Ammons became a key soloist with Eckstine’s orchestra……..Learn More

SoulJunctionCover

Red Garland is one of the best pianist that Jazz has ever offered but somehow his musical achievements are never mentioned. The first song on this album, “Soul Junction” gives the Jazz Con Class listeners a tiny taste of how talented he was. Garland could easily be overlooked with the presence of the names “John Coltrane” and “Miles Davis” written on the album covers. He was the unanimous choice as pianist though, just check the personnel in practically all the albums Miles and Coltrane recorded in the 50’s and early 60’s.  This album here was just one of the many he recorded as a “leader” until 1979. “Soul Junction” will be featured for a few weeks and then placed in the “Hard Bop” playlist. Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the album:

Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1990, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). While the late Red Garland is best-known and fondly remembered as the pianist for the Miles Davis Quintet in the mid-1950s, he also had a career of his own. Garland’s style was a gregarious balance of the sophistication of bebop and the earthiness of the blues. SOUL JUNCTION, recorded in 1950, is Garland leading a group featuring Davis bandmate John Coltrane and soon-to-be-rising-trumpet-star (in the late ’50s/early ’60s) Donald Byrd. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable hard bop jaunt through a Garland original and four familiar standards, with Coltrane laying down his near-torrential “sheets of sound” and Byrd playing…..Read More

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Red Garland’s Biography:

Born: May 13, 1923 | Died: April 23, 1984    Instrument: Piano

Largely self-taught, Red Garland established a reputation as a solid post-bop mainstream player in the 50s, playing with many of the most famous jazz musicians of the time. He achieved international fame in the late 50s as part of the Miles Davis quintet. He went on to lead his own groups, but then retired in 1968, a victim the declining demand for jazz. He reemerged in 1976 and performed regularly until his death in 1984.

Garland was known for his eloquent middle-of-the-road style. A fertile, often moving improvisor, he developed a characteristic block chord sound by combining

octaves with a fifth in the middle in the right hand over left-hand comp (accompanying) chords. The style has been much imitated.

Origins

William M. “Red” Garland was born March 13, 1923, in Dallas, Texas. He came from a non-musical family: his father was an elevator operator at the First National Bank…….Learn More

SearchForANewLandFeatured

This has to be the most underrated Jazz album ever! Only true Lee Morgan fans know the supreme quality of this album. Just take a look at the supporting cast, Wayne Shorter on tenor, Herbie Hancock on piano, Grant Green on guitar, Reginald Workman on bass and my favorite Billy Higgins on drums, wow!! It’s one of those albums that nobody talks about but only gets 5-Star ratings. Why, you ask, I cannot answer it. Maybe the title of the album somehow throws one off, I don’t know! It’s okay with me though, there are many who are listening to Jazz Con Class here and are new to Jazz. This is for them, the name of the album is “Search for a New Land” and was recorded on February 15, 1964. Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the album:

This release is something of a departure for the bold trumpet stylist. After the Latin-tinged dance-floor jams of THE SIDEWINDER (released about six months prior to this disc), Morgan turns somewhat reflective. The music is quieter, with a good deal of structural space and restrained, almost expressionistic playing. The title track opens the album and evokes a mood of poignancy and careful balance, like a Japanese painting. Even the more up-tempo numbers like “The Joker” and “Mr. Kenyatta” are relaxed and thoughtful, the richly textured passages unfolding in a way that seems both organic and tightly disciplined. Morgan’s playing maintains its articulate brightness, but his notes and phrases are carefully shaded. This is matched by Wayne Shorter’s sax work (also simultaneously edgy and lyrical), Grant Green’s glowing guitar and Herbie Hancock’s atmospheric contributions. Lee should also be recognized as a significant composer……Learn More

 

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This was Jackie McLean’s debut album and was recorded in 1955 with the help and support of Donald Byrd, Mal Waldron and Ronald Tucker. Nice to have a lineup like this to assist you in presenting your first album. But this was very common and where I separate Jazz musicians from the others, they were/are always helping each other all the times and I admire them for that reason. I’m not a musician but I see it in all these classic/traditional albums I have, as I learn and discover more everyday. I also see it now, how current Jazz musicians help and support each other. This album”Presenting Jackie McLean” will be featured here for a few weeks and placed on the Hard Bop playlist afterwards. Check the schedule link for play times, great album, enjoy!

About the Album:

Jackie McLean hasn’t had too many kind things to say about the recordings he made prior to signing with Blue Note in 1959. The alto saxophonist is quick to dismiss his pre-1959 work, which he feels pales in comparison to his stunning Blue Note output of 1959-1967. But while it is true that McLean recorded his most adventurous and essential albums for Blue Note, the saxman’s pre-Blue Note recordings aren’t without merit. Recorded in 1955, Presenting Jackie McLean contains his first recordings as a leader. Joined by trumpeter Donald Byrd, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Ronald Tucker, a 24-year-old McLean leads a conventional bop date that ranges from two originals…..Read More

AfricanCookbookFeature

Here’s an album that was recorded in NOLA Studios, New York City on October of the year 1964 by Randy Weston. It should be in any Jazz fan’s collection. It was originally released as an LP album under another name, “Randy.” Randy Weston had to produce it on his own independent label named Bakton basically because there was no interest. It was released later in 1972 and with the title “African Cookbook.” Why, I have no idea! It doesn’t matter either because the songs are the same, great and cannot be avoided, enjoy! I will be featuring the whole album, check the schedule link for play times.

Here’s an image of the original album:

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About the Album:

AFRICAN COOKBOOK

Randy Weston has long been an important and highly original pianist and composer within musicians’ circles. This album, which Randy produced and released himself in limited edition, is among his finest works and has become a valuable collectors’ item among those of us who have known of its existence. 1972 Michael Cuscuna

Africa, the cradle of civilization, is my ancestral home, the home of my spirit and my soul. Africa has always been part of me, and I knew I’d have to go there sooner or later. In 1961 I finally did and again in 1963, both times to Nigeria. Then my sextet and I toured fourteen countries in West and North Africa in 1967, and in 1968 I went back to stay; I’ve been living in Tangier, Morocco ever since.

For me, the most compelling aspect of African culture, North, South, East and West, is its music, magnificent in its diversity, with the “true drums” – African rhythms – always at heart. The music of no other civilization can rival that of Africa in the complexity and subtlety of its rhythms. All modern music, no matter what it’s called – jazz, gospel, Latin, rock, bossa nova, calypso, samba, soul, the blues, even the “freedom” music of the avant-garde – is in debt to Africa rhythms…..Read More

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Biography of Randy Weston:

Pianist Randy Weston was raised in Brooklyn, New York, the son of parents from Jamaica. As a boy he listened to Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Art Tatum, and began studying the piano himself. The bebop and R & B music that swelled within New York City proved to be a major influence, but it is a melding of those styles with African rhythms that have made Weston’s sound so distinguishable.

Mentored by Thelonious Monk, Weston left his R & B gigs with musicians such as saxophonist Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson in the early 1950s to play bebop with trumpeter Kenny Dorham.

In 1960, inspired by Nigeria’s newly won independence from the United Kingdom, Weston fell in love with African music. He began to experiment with elements of tribal music as well as those of High Life, Nigerian pop music. On his 1960 album Uhuru Afrika (for which Langston Hughes wrote the liner notes), Weston composed for large ensemble, and employed traditional African percussion and rhythms as a framework for a jazz suite.

Weston’s affinity for African music became the force behind dozens of albums released over the next four decades. He even moved to Morocco between 1968 and 1973, and absorbed the rhythms of traditional Gnawa music…….Learn More

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A great creative album that was recorded in 1968 and when the Avant-Garde era was at full throttle. But this album was considered to be a Hard Bop one. Booker Ervin never did change his Hard Bop style but “The In Between” expressed the power of Hard Bop, how it could be modified and without being considered Avant-Garde. Maybe the title itself was a hint and specified this point. Booker Ervin was on the right track to modernizing Hard Bop but never had the opportunity to expand on it. Unfortunately, he died of kidney disease two years later in New York City. Each of the 6 songs are very different and unique, a real Hard Bop classic!! Check the Schedule link for play times.

About the Album:

This is part of Blue Note’s Limited Edition Connoisseur series. Booker Ervin headed to Blue Note in 1968 for The In Between, a record that found him continuing in the vein of his later Prestige sessions. Supported by trumpeter Richard Williams, pianist Bobby Few, bassist Cevera Jeffries and drummer Lennie McBrowne, Ervin created an album that pushed the boundaries of hard bop. Every song on The In Between is an Ervin original designed to challenge the musicians. The music rarely reaches avant-garde territory — instead, it’s edgy, volatile hard bop that comes from the mind as much as the soul…….Read More

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Biography of Booker Ervin:

Born: October 31, 1930 | Died: 1970    Instrument: Sax, tenor

Booker Ervin had a large hard tone like an r&b tenor saxophonist, but he was actually an adventurous player whose music fell between hard bop and the avant-garde.

Ervin originally played trombone but taught himself the tenor when he was in the Air Force in the early 1950s. After his discharge, he studied music for two years before he made his recording debut with Ernie Fields in 1956. During that year he first performed with Charles Mingus and he was a key part of Mingus’s groups during 1956-1962, offering a contrast to the wild flights of Eric Dolphy.

During 1963-1965, Ervin

led ten albums for Prestige and each has its rewarding moments. “Exultation!” matches Ervin with altoist Frank Strozier in an explosive quintet. “The Freedom Book” has Ervin interacting with the unbeatable rhythm section of pianist Jaki Byard, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Alan Dawson. “The Song Book,” with Tommy Flanagan in Byard’s place, features the intense tenor interpreting a set of veteran standards……Learn More

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Jazz fans like most true music fans, know when someone is exceptional and stand out but they try exploring for others who could be even better. This is a great way to be and only helps them further in learning of other great musicians. In Classic/Traditional Jazz, there are so many great musicians that it becomes a grueling task for these fanatics but then again, they have quite a bit of fun doing so. Also, more importantly, the expansion of their musical range of knowledge only increases. They learn of different techniques and styles of delivering the music, following the unknown direction they are taken until they are exhausted and cannot go any further. They begin to make decisions and fall into the trap of certain musicians, they become their favorites. For a while, that is, as they hear another musician and begin to admire him or her even more. This is a great feeling and can only be categorized as another form of Freedom. Classic/Traditional Jazz sure gives you this opportunity because of its high standards and of course, the improvisational nature of it.

In the process of evaluating these musicians, one creates a virtual list of their favorites. In Jazz, it becomes a real struggle, as only the real interested fans know. Nevertheless, they do produce their own individual list of their favorites, no matter how long it is and how long it takes (can take YEARS!). Eventually, they come to some type of so-called conclusion, well, they think! Then all of a sudden, they hear an artist from the bottom of their list, which they had discarded for a while and pick up something else, oh no, the list changes again, LoL!! Dexter Gordon is the perfect example. You know he’s great but you somehow forget. Classic/Traditional Jazz has an infinite amount of personal satisfaction and nobody will ever get tired of it, it’s impossible!

Here’s a real classic 1955 album of his that features both, sweet ballads and fast paced Jazzy songs. For this reason this album was named “Dexter Blows Hot and Cold” and I will be featuring here for the Jazz Con Class listeners. Check the Schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the Album:

DEXTER BLOWS HOT AND COOL was released at the outset of the saxophonist’s hard-bop period. Often referred to as the horn player who served as the bridge between swing and bop styles, Gordon lives up to the definition with his combination of edgy, harmonic complexity and cool, Lester Young-inspired lyricism. An outstanding example of the latter can be found in the practically flawless version of “Cry Me A River,” in which Gordon’s tenor paints sound pictures of exquisite, aching beauty. The driving, exuberant energy of such tracks as “Rhythm Mad” and “I Hear Music” shows that, while Dexter was influenced heavily by the swing saxophonists, he is still firmly rooted in the bop movement and owes as much to Parker as he does to Hawkins and Young. But Gordon’s style is his own, as evidenced by his bright, earthy tone and unique expressive vocabulary…..Read More

MembersDontGetWearyFeature

And neither will the Jazz Con Class listeners, they will not get weary. Great album and a great example of how Jazz had evolved in the mid-60’s. Although Max Roach was always experimenting, he never really moved away from his hard bop roots. This album can be categorized under Avant-Garde and was at the time but later more as, post bop, a term that was created afterwards, learn more here. Nevertheless, the power that he unleashes with the drums is so ever present here and only allows him to lead the improvising assault, tune in! The official name of the this album is “Members, Don’t Git Weary” and will be featured for a couple of weeks, check for play times on the schedule link.

About the Album:

Although Max Roach was very much a product of the be-bop revolution of the 1940s, he proved to be quite receptive to modal post-bop and avant-garde jazz in the 1960s. One of the finest post-bop dates Roach recorded during that decade was 1968’s Members, Don’t Git Weary, which finds the drummer leading a cohesive modal quintet that employs Gary Bartz on alto sax, Charles Tolliver on trumpet, Stanley Cowell on acoustic and electric piano, and Jymie Merritt on electric bass. Despite the use of electric instruments, this isn’t an album that emphasizes rock or funk elements or predicts the fusion explosion that was just around the corner — Members, Don’t Git Weary is very much a straight-ahead effort, and the harmonic richness…….Read More

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Biography of Max Roach:

Max Roach is a renowned American percussionist and composer.   He was born in the year of 1925 in New Land, North Carolina, but he began his extensive career at the age of ten when he began playing drums in Brooklyn, New York for  gospel music groups.  These gospel groups  proved to contribute the most significant influence to his musical style.   He also studied at the Manhattan School of Music.

At Monroe’s Uptown House, a nightclub in Harlem, New York, Max Roach began working with a group of American jazz musicians (including pianist Thelonius Monk and alto saxophonist Charlie Parker) in 1942.  These talented musicians were experimenting with a musical style that was to become known as bebop jazz, or bop.  At the time, drummer Kenny Clarke was introducing stylistic innovations and was performing with many of the top bebop musicians.  These innovations included utilizing the cymbals rather than the bass drum for the primary rhythmic pulse of the music. Roach was the first to fully realize the potential of these innovations and quickly developed his own style to become the leading drummer of the bop movement (early 1940s to mid-1950s). He played and recorded with most of the major jazz musicians of the period, including American tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and American trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. From 1947 to 1949 he was a member of Charlie Parker’s historic bebop quintet. From 1954 to 1956 Roach led a jazz quintet with American trumpeter Clifford Brown. Through such albums as Study in Brown (1955) and At Basin Street (1956), the Brown/Roach Quintet came to exemplify the aggressive style of jazz known as hard bop……Learn More

TheCannoballAdderleySeptetInNewYorkFeatured

This a great Cannonball album which was recorded “Live” in New York City’s Village Vanguard on January 12th and 14th of the year 1962. The official name of the album is The Cannonball Adderley Sextet in New York.”  I’m placing the complete album, including the introductions, which the listeners here on Jazz Con Class will find very interesting. But I don’t need to go any further, Cannonball will explain it to you himself. Check the schedule link for play times. This album will be featured for about two weeks like I always do and then will be placed on the G4 Playlist and where most of the “Live” recorded songs can be heard, great stuff, ENJOY!

About the Album:

In this volume from Concord’s Keepnews Collection, the only real addition to this excellent Cannonball Adderley Sextet live date from the Village Vanguard is a new set of reminiscences from producer Orrin Keepnews himself. As always, Keepnews is candid, sometimes self-depreciating but not reluctant to pat himself on the back, uniquely insightful, and compulsively readable. Anytime you have as good a writer as he is providing first-hand source material, give him all the space he wants. This was the recording debut of the Adderley Sextet, with Cannonball waxing eloquently and swingingly on alto, brother Nat charging ahead on cornet, and the versatile Yusef Lateef (who had joined the band only three weeks earlier) adding a bit of an edge on tenor, flute, and unusually for a jazz wind player, oboe on the odd, dirge-like “Syn-Anthesia.” There is plenty of talk from Cannonball as well, and once again, we miss his genial, witty authority as a communicator…….Learn More

TrueBlueCover

Tina Brooks and Freddie Hubbard together and alongside in this 1960 Hard Bop beauty, “True Blue.” Great combination, they should have played more together but not to be, as Tina Brooks stopped playing altogether in 1961. The Tina Brooks story is a sad one and unfortunately, a very familiar one. Many talented Jazz musicians and musicians in general have encountered throughout the history of music. Dependency of heroin was the culprit and Tina Brooks could never overcome it. To compound the tragedy even further, all but this album here, which he recorded as the leader, were never released while he was alive. Brooks died at the young age of 42 (1973) and 7 years before the other three albums were released (1980).  There was another album he made as a sideman with Jackie McLean named “Street Singer” that was also released after his death and in 1980. Check the Schedule link for play times.

About Album:

Although a four-LP Mosaic box set purportedly includes every recording led by the obscure but talented tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks, this 1994 CD has previously unreleased alternate takes of “True Blue” and “Good Old Soul” that Mosaic overlooked. Brooks is teamed with the young trumpeter Freddie Hubbard (on one of his earliest sessions), pianist Duke Jordan, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Art Taylor for a set dominated by Brooks’ originals. None of the themes may be all that memorable (“Nothing Ever Changes My Love for You” comes the closest), but the hard bop solos are consistently excellent…….Read More

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Tina Brooks Biography:

Harold Floyd “Tina Brooks and his twin brother Harry were born to David and Cornelia Brooks in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on June 7, 1932. They were the youngest of eight children.

This close-knit family migrated en masse to the Bronx in New York City in 1944, when Harold was 12 years old. He was already being called Tina (pronounced Teena), a grade school nickname that came from his tiny or teensy size. Around this time, he started playing the C Melody saxophone. In addition to school instruction, he took private lessons with his older brother David Brooks Jr., whose nickname is Bubba. Tina moved from C Melody to alto and finally settled on the tenor as his instrument.

Meanwhile, Bubba was becoming established as an R&B tenor saxophonist. In 1950, he joined pianist Sonny Thompson’s band. When he took a leave of absence in late 1950, Tina took his chair for a few months. In January of ’51, Tina made his recording debut on one of Thompson’s many King sessions done in Cleveland.

Throughout the early fifties, Tina worked with local New York Latin bands and various R&B outfits such as those of singer-pianist Charles Brown and trumpeter Joe Morris. In ’53 or ’54, he went on the road with pianist Amos Milburn. He then joined Lionel Hampton’s orchestra for the spring and summer of 1955. But he found this to be little more than another R&B gig with little room to stretch out.

In 1956, Brooks met trumpeter-composer Little Benny Harris at the Blue Morocco, a Bronx jazz club. Harris took the young tenor under his wing and taught him the vocabulary and intricacies of modern jazz. Tina also developed a close friendship with the brilliant pianist-composer Elmo Hope. He was assimilating early influences (Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray) and current models (Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley) into a style of his own, which was rapidly taking shape……Learn More

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It’s amazing how many great Jazz albums that Kenny Dorham was leader of and/or was part of. Here’s one that many Jazz lovers are not familiar with, it’s “Matador” and it will be featured here exclusively for the Jazz Con Class listeners. It will be available, in its entirely for about two weeks and then placed in it’s appropriate playlist. Check the schedule for play times, enjoy!

About the album:

Kenny Dorham’s Matador can safely claim the all too common distinction of being a classic among jazz connoisseurs while virtually unknown to the casual listener. Dorham is joined here by Jackie McLean, Bobby Timmons, Teddy Smith, and J.C. Moses, all of whom deliver outstanding performances. More than anything, this session is perhaps best known for including a stunning version of McLean’s composition “Melody for Melonae,” used less than a month earlier on his groundbreaking Blue Note LP Let Freedom Ring. For this session, though, the tune is renamed “Melanie” and, if not better, this version at least rivals the take under McLean’s leadership. For starters, the addition of another horn adds some tonal depth to the proceedings, a situation arguably lacking in the tune’s earlier recording. Also of note is what has to be Bobby Timmons’ most intense moment on record…..Read More

 

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This is another great album which was recorded at the Cafe Bohemia on September 9, 1955 and just another which I am featuring here on Jazz Con Class. I have already featured three and there is supposed to be 8 live recordings in total, although I ran into another here which was a broadcast recording from the club itself. Here are the posts of the ones I covered already: Mingus at the BohemiaKenny Clarke’sBohemia after Dark” and Art Blackey’s and the Jazz Messengers Volume One. I just find it so intriguing that Cafe Bohemia only was around for 2 years and so many great albums were recorded there. It was a hangout for so many great Jazz musicians and happened to be when they were all in their prime or becoming famous. This Live performance can be found in two separate albums. The original album is the one in which you see the image on top of post but that’s the LP image, the CD version is different. There were a total of 6 songs recorded in Cafe Bohemia and they will be featured. Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

More on the original Album “George Wallington Quintet Live! at Cafe Bohemia“:

Live! At Cafe Bohemia album by George Wallington was released on the Original Jazz Classics label. This live set, although led by pianist George Wallington, is most significant for giving listeners early examples of the playing of trumpeter Donald Byrd and altoist Jackie McLean; bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor complete the quintet. Live! At Cafe Bohemia music CDs The music, although comprised mostly of group originals (other than “Johnny One Note” and Oscar Pettiford’s “Bohemia After Dark”), is essentially a bebop jam and it is particularly interesting to hear just how much McLean was influenced by Charlie Parker at this point (although his sound was already quickly recognizable)……Learn More

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More on the double CD ( With purple image and different description in the middle) has bonus tracks (“George Wallington Quintet Complete Live! at Cafe Bohemia“):

The people behind the Lone Hill Jazz label deserve some kind of humanitarian award for reissuing two of George Wallington’s very best albums: Live! At Cafe Bohemia (recorded on September 9, 1955, and subsequently issued on both the Progressive and Prestige labels) and George Wallington Showcase (recorded in a studio for Blue Note on May 12, 1954). The band heard at the Bohemia — trumpeter Donald Byrd and alto saxophonist Jackie McLean in front of Wallington, Paul Chambers, and Art Taylor — had the power and depth of ensembles led by Charles Mingus and Art Blakey during the mid- to late ’50s…….Learn More

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More on George Wallington:

George Wallington was one of the first and best bop pianists, ranking up there with Al Haig, just below Bud Powell. He was also the composer of two bop standards that caught on for a time: “Lemon Drop” and “Godchild.” Born in Sicily, Wallington and his family moved to the U.S. in 1925. He arrived in New York in the early ’40s and was a member of the first bop group to play on 52nd Street, Dizzy Gillespie’s combo of 1943-1944. After spending a year with Joe Marsala’s band, Wallington played with the who’s who of bop during 1946-1952, including Charlie Parker, Serge Chaloff, Allan Eager, Kai Winding, Terry Gibbs, Brew Moore, Al Cohn, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims, and Red Rodney. He toured Europe with Lionel Hampton’s ill-fated big band of 1953, and during 1954-1960 he led groups in New York that included among its up-and-coming sidemen Donald Byrd and Jackie McLean (the latter succeeded by Phil Woods). …….Learn More

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