Posts by: "Jose Reyes"

ChatTab

My goal is to always keep the Jazz Con Class Radio listeners interested and satisfied with the station. For this reason I have implemented a “Jazz Chat” on this Website/Blog for everyone (Around the World) to communicate on and in a “Live” environment AND in their Language, if they like. I’m not sure if everyone has noticed (some have already) but on the “Lower Right Hand Corner” of every link, you’ll find a Gray Tab like the image I placed ABOVE. As of right now it is open for anyone interested but it is also in a developmental stage, so please have some patience. This post is the official announcement of the Jazz Con Class Radio “Jazz Chat Rooms.” The most innovative company Flyzoo.co provides this platform for website owners and I am very satisfied with all the features it provides the users. I will be the “Administrator” and will make sure that you will have access to all it offers. When I am online, it will appear like you see BELOW. You will be listed as a Guest and followed by a number. Your location (City and Country) will be listed also, like you see mine there:

JazzChatRoomsTWO

Meanwhile, I am asking everyone interested (Listeners and non- Listeners) to please just click on that tab and start a chat with someone. If you don’t see anyone there, just wait or go do something else but don’t log out. Check back every now and then and see if someone has entered, this will help it populate. I will be there as much as I can but it doesn’t really matter, you are all free to converse with each other anytime! I will be adding more features if it becomes more popular. This here “project”  is in its infant stage and could actually be considered to be an experiment for the time being. It is really up to the the readers and/or the listeners here to make it happen and it will benefits them all!

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BlueMitchellSonny RedBaltimore1966

There are great recording surfacing as late as now and this is definitely one of them. It’s a LIVE 1966 performance from Blue Mitchell with Sonny Red and became available early in February of this year. This album, “Blue Mitchell & Sonny Red Baltimore 1966 (Uptown Records)” took place in Baltimore on March 20th and was part of the Left Bank Jazz Society, an infamous organization that hosted a great number of Jazz greats from 1966 to 1984 and eventually closed its doors in the 90’s, here’s more. To learn more of this specific concert and Left Bank Jazz Society read this very detailed post by Marc Myers. Blue Mitchell has a tremendous resume, from being part of great historical Jazz recording to leader of great ensembles, check his discography. Sonny Red’s was a legend himself, learn more here. I have been trying to find a list of all the “performances” they sponsored but all I have found as of right now is from 8/16/64 to 5/7/67. There were a total of 350 concerts and most of them recorded but not enough of them remastered and released. If I find out more about this mysterious Jazz Society I will add it here and vice versa, if you find out more, please add it on the comment section.

More on the Album:

Baltimore 1966 album for sale by Blue Mitchell / Sonny Red was released Mar 18, 2016 on the Uptown Records (R&B) label. Liner Note Author: Bob Blumenthal. Baltimore 1966 CD music contains a single disc with 6 songs.

Here’s a tune from this concert:

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LouTakesOffCover

Lou Donaldson was a big force in the “Hard Bop” movement which evolved directly from Bebop in the very early 50’s. He was very much established as a premier alto saxophone player by 1957 and when this album was recorded. He apparently was very up-to-date with the surprise launch of of the historic Russian Sputnik satellite mission and used it on the album cover. “Sweet Lou” was certainly taking off and recorded a ton of albums afterwards, here’s his discography.

More on the Album:

When Lou Donaldson emerged in the early 1950s, virtually every young alto-saxophonist sounded like a close relative of Charlie Parker. While Bird would always be an influence on him, Donaldson (who is still playing very well these days at age 82) had his own approach to playing jazz, and he quickly became instantly recognizable as a more soulful and bluesy player, one who was nicknamed “Sweet Lou.” Donaldson could always play bebop with the best but he also loves to caress ballads and to really dig deep….Read More

LouDonaldsonCliffordBrown

Lou Donaldson’s Biography:

Jazz critics agree that “Sweet Poppa Lou” Donaldson is one of the greatest alto saxophonists of all time.  He began his career as a bandleader with Blue Note Records in 1952 and, already at age 25, he had found his sound, though it would continue to sweeten over the years — earning him his famed nickname –“Sweet Poppa Lou.”  He made a series of classic records for Blue Note in the 50’s, and takes pride in having showcased many musicians who made their first records as sidemen for him: Horace Silver, Clifford Brown, Grant Green, Blue Mitchell, Donald Byrd, Horace Parlan, and others.  After also making some excellent recordings for Cadet and Argo Records in the early 60s, Lou’s return to Blue Note in 1967 was marked by one of his most famous recordings, Alligator Boogaloo. Lou was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by North Carolina A & T University and a scholarship was established in his name that is awarded to the most gifted jazz musician at North Carolina A & T University each year. He was inducted into the International Jazz Hall of Fame, is an NEA Jazz Master — the nation’s highest honor in jazz, and is the recipient of countless other honors and awards for his outstanding contributions to jazz, America’s “classical music.”

Lou was born in Badin, North Carolina on November 1, 1926 — the second of 4 children born to father Andrew, a minister and graduate of Livingstone College, and mother, Lucy, graduate of Cheney University who was a teacher, music director and concert pianist who recognized Lou’s expert ear for music and introduced him to the clarinet. He matriculated to North Carolina A& T College at age 15 where he received a Bachelor of Science degree and joined the marching band playing clarinet. After being drafted into the US Navy in 1945, Lou played in the Great Lakes Navy Band where, when playing for dances, he would also play the alto saxophone. After going into Chicago several times, he heard of Charlie Parker and, after checking him out, decided that this was the style of playing he would make…..Read More

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SaturdayJazzShowLogoThis here is an announcement for the Jazz Con Class Radio listeners and just another example/reason why this Jazz broadcast is internationally known! I will be adding another time slot for the five-hour “Saturday Jazz Show” which airs on Saturdays, New York Time, that is. The new added time slot will be 2 A.M. and will run until 7 A.M. I know, not the most convenient time for New Yorkers and the better half of the United States but perfect for other countries on the other side of this planet, in which we all live on. This Jazz presentation will repeat afterwards at 1 P.M. and end at 6 P.M. New York Time. This is a big PLUS for the listeners, they will really enjoy the concoctions of real quality Jazz music that I assemble for them to enjoy. I try to tie them all up together in a sort of theme and for the specific reason of keeping the listeners preoccupied and entertained. I change the playlist every week so the listeners never get bored and disinterested. Checkout the Playlist main page and also checkout the Schedule link where these playlists live. I want to thank all the listeners of Jazz Con Class Radio who tune in regularly and share its existence with other that would be interested in the great art form of Jazz music. Although I have a great selection of classic/traditional Jazz broadcasting at 24 hours a day, it is still very challenging. The listeners are are gourmet Jazz lovers with a considerable amount knowledge concerning these legendary musicians. Very challenging indeed and sure keeps me aware and alert as well. High quality is in constant demand, so the broadcast must deliver the goods! Enjoy and if you have any feedback, you can either use the comment section below or send me a message here. Thank you for listening!

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LesterYoungCoolArticle

It was Lester Young who first coined the word “Cool” into the world of music and it sure caught on! It was Lester’s way to express his approval and/or his appreciation to a particular tune and/or a particular artist. “The Pres,” as Lestor Young was also known, worked very hard along with his fellow Jazz musicians to set a high bar for those who followed. They established a concrete/solid representation of the word “Cool” and made it stick! Its all about originality and creativity, those are the main components of being “Cool.” Jazz musicians set the standard and responsibly backed it up with their uncanny ability to play their instruments in their own unique style

The power of improvisation clearly separates a great musician from an ordinary good musician, there’s simply no place to hide. Jazz musicians are allowed to, or to be more exact, they are encouraged to play as they feel, in their own individual manner and with no time limit place upon them. As a result of this, you get a scenario where multiple “Cool” musicians are playing a particular tune together but improvising on their own terms and with no time restraint. Its amazing to hear all the improvising between the musicians, how they do it without stepping on each other. Of course for this to work, the musicians must have the discipline and the utmost respect for each other in order to freely orchestrate their own version of any particular song. Jazz music actually had a difficult time when it began, as music aficionados did not consider it to be original music. You see, the Jazz musicians would take a standard song and improvise it in their own manner. This type of performing a song is called a “Jam Session” and as we all know, Jazz musicians invented this form of playing. This is what Jazz music is all about, so if you are a newcomer, this is what you must understand. You must give it a chance and you will love it!

Here’s Miles Davis with John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb , playing “All Blues.”:

A musical atmosphere of this magnitude puts enormous pressure on any musician involved, as they must be really talented to keep up. But in the same respect, if they are willing to adjust to a more free form technique of playing, then they will substantially improve to a point where they master their instrument to the fullest. The end result of recording music in a Jam Session styled manner is a “One-Time” unique version of a specific song and with no specific time restriction placed on it. This works as well for the listeners, as they are immensely rewarded with the highest quality of music, its a Win-Win situation! That’s what Jazz music brings to the table and no other genre of music can do so.

Here’s a great example of a “Live” recording that was made in 1964 by Charles Mingus and company:

What an honor to be exposed to such quality music, wow! Jazz musicians were very anti-establishment for the music industry and always will be. Listen to those Jazz “Cats” they’re playing a jam session and the song is 10 minutes long, lol! That’s why Jazz fanatics are so “Cool” themselves, they understand how privileged they are to have the opportunity to hear such innovative musicians. Not to mention, they can tell immediately how good a musician is because they heard the best! It doesn’t get any “Cooler” than this folks!

There is a troubling problem though and its having access to it. For this particular reason I started Jazz Con Class Radio, choose which way you would like to hear the broadcast and enjoy it!

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Although the word “Cool” has expanded outside of music, its level of gratification still remains “Cool.” By the way, “The Prez” also coined the words “Hip,” “Homeboy,” “Crib,” “Dig” and many more. Here’s more Jazz terminology which you probably use on a daily basis and probably were not aware of. Jazz is definitely the “Coolist!

PrezHomageToLesterYoung

Here a  “COOL” tribute to Lester Young by Jamie Reid and with poetic justice: “Prez: A Homage to Lester Young.”  Order it from the publisher, Oolichan Books, more:

P.O. Box 2278 (250) 423-6113
Fernie, B.C. VOB 1M0 info@oolichan.com

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The1954ParisSessionsCover

Here a great compilation album that contains three separate recordings, all featuring pianist Henri Renaud and from the Vogue Record Label. I purchased it through Amazon, check here.

There are 19 songs altogether, here’s the breakdown:

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Tracks 1-6 (The Roy Haynes Sextet):  Tracks 1 to 5 recorded in Paris on October 26, 1954
Track 6 recorded in Paris on October 28, 1954. One could get this album (Roy Haynes Modern Group) separately. It features Baritone Saxophone – Jay Cameron, Bass – Joe Benjamin, Drums – Roy Haynes, Guitar – Jimmy Gourley, Piano – Henri Renaud and on Tenor Saxophone – Barney Wilen. More on this album here.

Tracks 7-13 (The Rene Thomas Quintette): Recorded in Paris on May 5, 1954. Only the first seven tracks appear on this CD, you don’t get it all, sorry. You can get the whole album here (MP3, Euro). This album features,  Bass – Jean-Marie Ingrand, Drums – Jean-Louis Viale, Guitar – René Thomas, Piano – Henri Renaud, Trumpet – Buzz Gardner

Tracks 14-19 (Frank Foster Quartet): Recorded in Paris on April 4, 1954, here’s more on the album. The album features Frank Foster -Tenor, Henri Renaud – Piano, Jean-Louis Viale – Drums, Jean-Marie Ingrand – Bass.

Here are Liner Notes from the CD, translated into English:

ParisSessions1954AlbumExcerpt

By the way, if you are interested in purchasing the “Jazz On Vogue The Perfect Collection: 35 Original Albums,” check over here.

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TheConnectionReddMcGheeAlbums

“The Connection” was a  1959 Off-Broadway play (in New York City) that was produced by Jack Gelber. “The Connection” was very successful and unique because of the subject matter. It dealt with heroin addiction and the Jazz community. There were real professional Jazz musicians in the play itself (Freddie Redd – piano, Jackie McLean – alto saxophone, Michael Mattos – bass, Larry Ritchie – drums). Freddie Redd composed all the music and recorded an album in 1960 with the same musicians. In 1961 Howard McGhee recorded another version of this play and featured different musicians except for Freddie Redd, he remained behind the piano. The same exact songs were used (“Who Killed Cock Robin”, “Wigglin'”, “Music Forever,” “Time To Smile,” “(Theme for) Sister Salvation,” “Jim Dunn’s Dilemma,” “O.D. (Overdose)”  but arranged differently. Both albums are extraordinary.

CecilPayneTheConnection

In 1962 Cecil Payne and Kenny Drew co-composed a new score for this play and it featured different songs.

Note: “The Connection” was translated into five languages and produced in ten nations.

In 1962 Shirley Clarke’s film “The Connection” was released, it can be purchased here. Check the trailer out:

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HappyNewYear

I want to thank all the listeners who have been listening to Jazz Con Class Radio from the beginning and all the new loyal listeners who have joined throughout the four years the station has existed. This year will be a challenging one for me financially because of all the rising costs to maintain the broadcast but I feel its my duty to keep traditional/classic Jazz alive. Have a Happy New Year and E N J O Y ! !

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It is known to many Jazz fans as the “Greatest Jazz Concert Ever,” true or false, you be the judge. It took place on May 15, 1953. at Toronto’s Massey Hall. “The Quintet” as they were nicknamed, consisted of Jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach. If by some chance you are confused by the name “Charlie Chan” on the album cover, that’s actually Charlie Parker. He had to substitute his last name with “Chan” on the credits because he was bound by a recording contract with Mercury Records.

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A concert of this magnitude can create a sort of fixating effect on the listener because of the musicians involved, that’s for sure but more on Jazz fans with less amount of listening hours. The hard-core Jazz aficionados are not as easy to convince, in respect to the “coined” phrase associated the performance, “The Greatest Jazz Concert.” Their ears have had the pleasure of listening to many other, so called “Out of this world” performances. Best or not the best, it doesn’t really matter. More important than everything is that it was physically recorded. That’s a great historical achievement! Actually, it is precious! For this reason now, anybody can purchase and enjoy it! Charles Mingus had a big hand in the remastering process, he had possession of the original recording itself. It was done afterwards when he and Max Roach established Candid Records in 1960. ENJOY!

Note: Marc Myers (Jazz Wax Blog) has a great eyewitness account from someone who was actually there, very interesting!

Note 2: Read more about the saxophone which “Bird” played on throughout the concert> Learn about, the “Grafton” here.

Note 3: Here’s an interesting 60th anniversary review of this historical concert from Fernando’s blog, Salt Peanuts.

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LesterAndMilesInParis5960Post

This is the tale of two significant albums that are not mentioned enough and were recorded one year apart and in Paris. “Lester Young in Paris” was recorded in 1959 and Miles “Live in Paris” was done in 1960. The Lester young album is very significant in a very sad manner because it was his very last recording as you can see on the date it was completed here in this discography of the album. He died hours after arriving back to New York from Paris on March 15 (at the age of 49) and as mentioned here on his Wikipedia page, he was drinking heavy and hardly eating during the recording sessions. Nevertheless, his performance on this album was above average (as always). this is a great opportunity to own a piece of history but most importantly, a great gesture of honoring a man who literally captured the hearts of every listener with his saxophone. There will never be another Lester Young!

Miles “Live in Paris” album was recorded a few years after the famous 1958 Newport session, was simply overlooked and not to mention, a great opportunity to hear Miles alongside Sonny Stitt! So it is actually, a compilation 4-cd album of two separate recordings. To learn more about the Miles with Coltrane in Paris (on CD’s 1 and 2, March 21st) the readers here should take a look at this excellent post by Marc Myers on his blog Jazz Wax. If you are only interested in the Miles with Sonny Stitt (October 11th) then you can get it here. These are two great recordings that again, every Jazz collector should own. ENJOY!

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ScottInterviewwithHelene

Painting by Manny Fernandez

I along with my co-host Noal Cohen conducted an interview with Helen LaFaro-Fernandez, the sister of the famous Jazz bassist Scott Lafaro and the main subject of her book “Jade Visions.” This book is a biography of Scott LaFaro but with much more to offer because it is also written for musicians alike. Helene dedicated specific chapters on musical analysis with the help of Jeff Campbell and Phil Palombi. Phil was also present in this interview and provides the listeners with helpful insights on Scott Laforo’s innovative style. Altogether, it was a great introduction to “Jade Visions” and will help you understand how much of an impact Scott LaFaro had on Jazz in the little time he was on this planet. Scott Lafaro was only 25 years old when he died in an auto accident July 6, 1961. This interview was presented by yours truly, Jazz Con Class Radio and made possible by Blogtalkradio.com.

Check Out Music Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Classic Jazz Talk on BlogTalkRadio

More on the book (from Amazon.com):

Winner of the Best Book of 2009, Jazz Division, sponsored by AllAboutJazz-New York, 2009
Selected for “Best of the Best” from University Presses, ALA Annual Conference, 2010

Winner of the 2010 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in Jazz, 2010

“Fernandez’ insightful comments about her brother offer far more than jazz scholars have ever known about this significant and somewhat enigmatic figure in the history of jazz. All in all, a very complete portrait.”—Bill Milkowski, author of Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius

“LaFaro’s story is compelling not only because of his own prowess as a musician, but also due to the company he kept. How many musicians by their twenty-fifth year could say they had played with Benny Goodman, Ornette Coleman, Chet Baker, Stan Kenton, and Bill Evans? Only one. Scott LaFaro.”—Frank Alkyer, publisher, Down Beat

“Scott LaFaro was a true jazz innovator. His sound, sense of time and melodic invention blazed a trail for modern bassists and he was a beacon of light for those players who dreamed of more freedom within structure. Bill Evans once described Scott’s playing to me:  ‘He was really discovering something every night on the bandstand. He had all these ideas that were just bubbling up out of him. And he had a way of finding notes that were more fundamental than the fundamental.’ ” —Marc Johnson, bassist

“Scott LaFaro was a brilliant artist whose untimely death remains one of the great tragedies of jazz more than four decades later.”—Jed Eisenman, manager of the Village Vanguard jazz club

“Scotty was amazing. . . worked with all five fingers. . . ridiculously wonderful. . . most inventive.”—Dick Berk, drummer

“Scotty’s playing was the bible for bass players … Jimmy Blanton the old testament, Scotty, the new.”—Christian McBride, bassist

“It’s astonishing that [LaFaro’s] massive reputation is primarily based on a handful of albums that feature him in full flower: the four recorded with the Bill Evans Trio, two by Coleman and Jazz Abstractions, a Gunther Schuller recording. His work on these is so amazing, his facility on his instrument so fluid, his melodic ideas and group interplay concepts so advanced that they still reverberate today. Finally LaFaro has a worthy volume commensurate with his stature in music.”–AllAboutJazz.com……Learn More

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The Little GiantCover
Johnny Griffin was a short man in stature but his sound was big and loud! This is why he was known as the “Little Giant.” There was never a dull moment with his playing style, as he improvised constantly and in his own unique exciting manner, very impressive indeed! This particular album which was appropriately named “The Little Giant” was his six recording of a consistent career that spanned over 40 years and until the year 2000, check his discography here. This is a no-brainer, get it, ENJOY!

About the album:

A bit of an offbeat session for tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, The Little Giant features three originals by then-obscure pianist Norman Simmons, a reworking of the pop tune “Playmates,” Babs Gonzalez’s “Lonely One,” and the tenorist’s “63rd Street Theme.” Simmons’ arrangements for the three horns (which include trumpeter Blue Mitchell and trombonist Julian Priester) are colorful; the rhythm section (pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath) is state of the art….Read More

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ShowcaseCover

This a great album that actually “showcases” Philly Jo Jones’ ability as a leader. “Show Case” was recorded in New York City on November 17 (tracks 1, 4 & 6-8) and November 18 (tracks 2, 3, 5 & 9), 1959, more here on Wikipedia. This is another great album that has slipped by the radar. Get a hold of it and enjoy it!

 

About the album:

This 1959 session from drummer Philly Joe Jones not only showcases his inimitable drumming skills, but also his ability to play the piano and compose music. For example, his self-penned ballad “Gwen” is performed here with great success. Not only is it a well-written tune, Jones’s piano playing on the track is dynamic and harmonically advanced.

Despite Jones’s versatility, his drumming is still the album’s main focus. For example, on “Joe’s Debut,” Jones takes a very lyrical solo, implying the tune’s melody at each turn, proving that drums can be colorful, melodic instruments. Further, Jones’s driving snare solo on “Minor Mode” really shows off his technical acumen; he displays some very fancy stick work here. The lush ballad “I’ll Never Be the Same” serves as the perfect counterpoint to the drum-set features. On this track, there is wonderful interplay between……Read More

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The “Saturday Jazz Show” is OFFICIAL! Besides the time consuming task of preparing a high quality FIVE Hour Jazz presentation, I also need to make sure that all the components (links) associated with this new show are properly linked together throughout the whole Jazz Con Class Radio Blog/Website. I alerted the listeners here and on Facebook with an “Unofficial” debut post last month but it was a sort of teaser SaturdayJazzShowPostto get all the listeners excited a little. Now it is definitely “OFFICIAL” as you can see with the official logo I created and placed here on this post the sidebar. It has link for all the Playlists link and has been it’s own standalone link also. It can also be found on the Schedule link. As I mentioned on that previous post, every Saturday will feature a fresh new playlist that I prepare ahead of time. You can say its a lot of work but it comes with the territory a person decides to own and broadcast a radio station. Its even more challenging when that person wants to broadcast the best music ever recorded! There must be a total devotion/sacrifice made to make sure it is interesting, entertaining and most importantly, educational. In this case here, with the new “Saturday Jazz Show,” I felt it was necessary for the Jazz Con Class Radio listeners to have a special Jazz presentations on weekends also, there was certainly a need for that. That’s not all fellow listeners, I am also thinking of featuring it twice during the day and for those who unfortunately miss part of the 5 hours and/or simply had no chance on the earlier time slot. This allows a second chance to enjoy the show, this is is fair and logical. For for now please and for the next few weeks, please patient if you cannot catch it. I will be starting the broadcast of this new playlist, the “Saturday Jazz Show,” on 1P.M New York Eastern Daylight Time and it will run until 6P.M. The Jazz Con Class Radio library is literally expanding every day and I have the potential of effortlessly preparing hundreds of 5 hour presentations without repeating a single song. I hope you enjoy this new Jazz show and all that Jazz Con Class has to offer!

Note: Learn of all the ways to enjoy Jazz Con Class Radio here

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Jazz-USACover

If you ask any Jazz expert, they will tell you that Sonny Criss was one of the best alto saxophonist ever. They will also tell you that he never received the credit that should have, that’s certainly true. They even argued that the reason why was because Sonny Criss never left the west coast and that is not true. Refusing to leave the west coast in the 50’s deprived many great Jazz musicians from exposure but that wasn’t the case with Sonny Cross. There were great albums recorded in the west coast in those days but they wouldn’t travel too far, the major Jazz record labels had more of a distribution range and that included Europe. It’s a crying shame but he’s not the only musician that was not totally appreciated until it was too late. “Jazz-USA” is a true classic but if you just became interested in Sonny Criss then buy the “Complete Imperial Sessions” which contains this album, Go Man!, and Sonny Criss Plays Cole Porter. You can’t go wrong!

Great article about Sonny Criss (By Steven A. Cerra):

“ a piercing, passionate sound.”

– Mark Gardner

“I was playing with Sonny Criss and Hampton Hawes – a great Jazz pianist. … Sonny had such a great ear that he could hear something once and play it. …

Sonny Criss and I played together quite a while until I went to study with Joseph Cadaly [a first chair saxophonist at RKO Studies who taught reeds, harmony and solfège]. That’s when Sonny and I split up. He continued into progressive Jazz, and I went and studied.

When we split, he started going all up and down the Coast playing and going to Europe. But I don’t know, it just didn’t happen. He’d get records. People said he was great. They played his stuff. But it just didn’t happen for him, and I think that kind of disturbed him. Especially when you put your whole soul and your whole life and just wrap up everything into something and it doesn’t happen.

He was pioneering and when you’re pioneering, it’s kind of more difficult to get recognition …. You have to suffer when you’re a pioneer. So that’s what hap­pened, really, I think, with Sonny. He was just early.

– Cecil “Big Jay” McNeely, tenor saxophonist

Criss was a bop saxophonist, strongly influenced at first by Charlie Parker. But his mature style was more distinctive: he produced a warm, rich tone and a prominent vibrato that Par­ker lacked. He was capable of playing dazzling runs with such effortless grace that they never sounded ostentatious. An excel­lent jazz musician, through lack……Read More

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DonaldByrdGigiGryceCompleteJazzLabSessionsCover

Here’s a great compilation 4-CD album on all the Gigi Gryce/Donald Byrd Jazz Lab sessions. “The Donald Byrd and Gigi Gryce Complete Jazz Lab Sessions” is an all- in-one package of very forward-looking arrangements and played by legendary Jazz musicians. The description below will help you learn more about this Jazz collector’s dream which includes all the recorded formulas that were experimented on and released by Donald Byrd and Gigi Gryce from their “Jazz Lab.” If you are further interested in “all” of Gigi Gryce remarkable work, then you should visit Noal Cohen’s Jazz Historical Website. Noal has also written a book about Gigi Gryce named “Rat Race Blues: The Musical Life of Gigi Gryce.” This album is a must-have!

About this compilation album:

This four-disc collection contains all of the recordings of one of the most interesting jazz groups from the late ‘50s, the Jazz Lab, compiled here for the first time ever on one release. Co-led by Gigi Gryce and Donald Byrd, this set comprises the group’s five original studio albums (including all existing supplementary tunes and alternate takes from the sessions), presented here in their entirety and in chronological order. This edition also includes the Jazz Lab’s only known live performance, taped at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957. As a bonus, a complete Oscar Pettiford….Read More

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JackieMcLean&CoCover

Jackie McLean and Co.” was recorded and released in 1957. As the description below explains, this Hard Bop album was an unusual one because it featured a fifth member and not the typical 4 man (Trumpet , Sax, Bass and Drums) combination. McLean added very young and talented Tuba player, Ray Draper which added a new sound to three of the five songs of this classic album, “Flickers,” “Help” and “Minor Dreams,” which Draper wrote for this album. Ray Draper recorded another album with McLean in this year, “Strange Blues” and shortly followed up with his own little splash soon after with a couple of albums of his own, learn more about him here. Jackie McLean was a true innovator and if you listen to as many recording of him as I have, leader or sideman, you’ll realize that he was always experimenting. He was always involved with “out of the box” type of recordings, it seems that he was on some sort of mission all the times. This really wasn’t out of the ordinary because most of the Jazz musicians of his era were very creative and surely had the superior “talent” to distinguish themselves from each other but also record together without disrupting one another. This is the very essence of Jazz and why it stands out from everything else. Jazz musicians have the freedom to experiment in an environment where improvising is encouraged.

About the album:

Although altoist Jackie McLean’s Prestige recordings of the 1950s are not as significant as his Blue Notes from the ’60s, he did record quite a bit of enjoyable hard bop material during this era. This CD is unusual for, in addition to a conventional quintet (with trumpeter Bill Hardman, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor), the young tuba player Ray Draper is heard on three of the five group originals. Draper played his instrument as part of the frontline rather than in the rhythm section and, even if he was not on the level of McLean and Hardman, he gives some needed color to this set. Waldron, who….Read More

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Today is the “debut” of the “Saturday Jazz Special.” I wanted to name it the Saturday Afternoon Special but since the listeners come from around the world, it wouldn’t be appropriate. But then again, it could be Sunday altogether in another country, for example the island of Japan and  where many tune-in to hear the Jazz Con Class Radio broadcast. I will provide the listeners with a fresh handcrafted playlist each and every Saturday from today and feature FIVE HOURS of the best Jazz I could offer. I might change the starting time every now and then to start a few hours earlier or later but for now it will begin on 1 PM New York EDT. This debut presentation does not make it “Official” yet but I will announce it load and clear as soon as it is completely integrated throughout the Blog/Website. Check the Schedule link on a weekly basis in case I make a time adjustment for this playlist or any other I feature. Here’s a link of the Playlists that broadcast on Jazz Con Class Radio, so you can become more familiar with them. I hope you enjoy this Unofficial debut and if you have any suggestions concerning the play selections, please email me through the Feedback link, ENJOY!

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This Red Holloway album, “Brother Red” was the end result from combining, as the description below explains, the Jack McDuff Quintet with the unique tenor saxophone sound of Red Holloway. A great Bluesy-Jazz album with a young George Benson as an added bonus! This is a real keeper!

About the album:

The 11 selections included on this CD reissue include seven songs from a session headed by tenor-saxophonist Red Holloway that used the members of the Jack McDuff Quintet (with the organist, guitarist George Benson, bassist Wilfred Middlebrooks and drummer Joe Dukes), three pieces from a McDuff date in which the lead voices are backed by an orchestra arranged by Benny Golson, and a selection from a sampler. The material varies a bit…..Read More

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Biography of Red Holloway (Wikipedia):

Born in Helena, Arkansas, Holloway started playing banjo and harmonica, switching to tenor saxophone when he was 12 years old. He graduated from DuSable High School, where he had played in the school big band with Johnny Griffin and Eugene Wright, and attended the Conservatory of Music, Chicago. He joined the Army when he was 19 and became bandmaster for the U.S. Fifth Army Band, and after completing his military service returned to Chicago and played with Yusef Lateef and Dexter Gordon, among others. In 1948 he joined blues vocalist Roosevelt Sykes and later played with other blues musicians such as Willie Dixon, Junior Parker,Lloyd Price, and John Mayall.

In the 1950s he played in the Chicago area with Billie Holiday, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Ben Webster, Jimmy Rushing, Arthur Prysock, Dakota Staton, Eddie Vinson, Wardell Gray, Sonny Rollins, Red Rodney, Lester Young, Joe Williams, Redd Foxx, B.B. King,Bobby Bland and Aretha Franklin. During this period, he also toured with Sonny Stitt, Memphis Slim and Lionel Hampton. He became a member of the house band for Chance Records in 1952. He subsequently appeared on many recording sessions for the Chicago-based independents Parrot, United and States, and Vee-Jay…..Read More

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What is Jazz, how can one explain it and what does it stand for? These are typically difficult questions to answer concerning this unique musical art form. How can I go about, in answering these crucial questions without further complicating the issue and confusing the curious who ask. Yes, Curiosity or interest are two very interchangeable words and would be the great starting point in deciphering the puzzled ones who simply cannot understand/comprehend Jazz music. There must be some psychological/emotional connection involved when listening to music, no matter what type it is. There should be something going on in the brain cells of the listener with the particular song they are listening to at the moment. There is the rare case when the listener is extremely too busy doing something at the moment and just cannot concentrate on the music playing. The mind cannot transmit any sort of feelings and/or interpretation, so its just background sounds to the listener. This occurs to all of us but most of the times we “tune in” and listen to either an ongoing stream of music or we specifically select a song or songs that we would like to hear. So what makes a person decide to indulge themselves with a Jazz song? What are the feelings, sentiments and emotions that overwhelm the minds of those who love Jazz?

Before I continue to explain what Jazz is, let’s get a little scientific and let’s find the most logical definition of the word “Music.” Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition:

a:  the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity.
b:  vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony.

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I think the most logical approach to understanding the art form of Jazz would begin with understanding the Blues, its history and how it developed. After one gets an idea of its roots, then everything will fall into place.

Here’s a great example of the Blues (“Straight Ahead,”Donald Byrd with Gigi Gryce):

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Developing the capacity to judge and easily distinguish what exactly high quality musicianship is, would be the next step. This will take some listening and fortunately, will be an easy task. It will not take more than a few tunes to understand, just tune in to Jazz Con Class Radio and you will be well on your way! Or you can take a listen to these tracks I placed here.

To get you started, here’s some straight Hard Bop, from Jazz trumpet player Blue Mitchell, the name of the song is “Brother ‘Ball”:

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Jazz is very unique in sound and what makes it so much of a complete experience is how it covers the whole spectrum of human emotions. Let’s take a listen to this tune, “Ecclusiastics” by the great Charles Mingus:

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How about this very popular jazz song “‘Round Midnight” and played here by it’s composer Thelonious Monk:

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Dixieland style of Jazz conveys so many emotions at the same time and is a perfect example. Here’s the instrumental version of the famous song “St. James Infirmary,” done by Pee Wee Russell and his band:

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Or listen to “Black and Blue” with Sidney Bechet and his big band:

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Here’s the Miles Davis and his band performing “Bluing”:

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Here’s Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers performing “Children of the Night”:

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Here’s John Coltrane with Lee Morgan performing  “Blue Train”:

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Here’s “Intrepid Fox” from a 1970Freddie Hubbard album:

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Here’s Duke Ellington and his band performing “Tigress”:

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And Here’s Duke again with “The Swinger’s Jump”

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I find it to be so much more educational, if I may say, to provide these Jazz songs as examples to those who have never been exposed to Jazz or were not aware of. These are great tunes and range from the early 50’s to the early 70’s. This is to get an idea of the diversity of Jazz and its superior quality.

Note: Maybe the readers here only heard songs from the so-called genre “Smooth Jazz” and thought it represented Jazz music. “Smooth Jazz” is nothing else but “Easy Listening Music” and the word “Jazz” should have never been place there. The music industry’s poor choice of creating this genre has damaged Jazz and what it stands for. Smooth Jazz, which began in the early 80’s, has eventually steered the youth away from learning about any Jazz that came beforehand.

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Jazz is much more complex than it seems and Jazz musicians are masters of their craft. The more the listeners dwell into Jazz music and its improvisational nature of expression, the more they will understand the purity it treasures. I hope this article helped simplify Jazz and what it stands for. The more one gets involved with Jazz, the more they will understand what “Freedom” is all about, there’s nothing else like it. Spread the word and keep Jazz ALIVE!

Jazz Con Class Radio Latest Posts

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Bags (Milt Jackson) and Trane (John Coltrane) recorded this famous “bluesy” styled album in 1959 and appropriately named it “Bags & Trane.” There was quite a bit of experience between both musicians, for it was Bags 15th album and approximately Coltrane’s 20th album give or take a few. And although there was so much improvisation possible, the music was simple, down to earth and easy going. It’s a rather unique album on Coltrane’s side but only because it was different and more melodic. He had not played in this manner beforehand in his other albums, so everyone was surprised when it came out. I think sooner or later he would have had to refine himself a little further and this is where he did so. Great album to own, enjoy!

About the album:

As John Coltrane moved from music rich in chordal complexity to a newer, freer form of modality–in which melodic and rhythmic freedom came to the fore–some critics couldn’t make the imaginative leap. But no one could ever question Coltrane’s superb musicianship. This all-star session isn’t merely an aesthetic bone to these critics, but a superb example of two masters blowing relaxed and free over a tight, intuitive rhythm section. There’s Jackson’s Modern Jazz Quartet collaborator Connie Kay on drums, master of understated swing; the elegant, eternally tasteful Hank Jones on piano; and Mr. P.C., Paul Chambers, one of the fathers of modern bass playing.

Milt “Bags” Jackson and Coltrane play together with such easy, intuitive grace, it’s hard to believe that BAGS AND TRANE is not a working band. The title tune is a wistful, engaging blues that passes its vamping, melodic figure around between vibes, piano and tenor sax. Jackson’s funky variations over Chambers and Kay’s leisurely beat is in perfect contrast to Trane’s remarkably laid-back solo….Read More

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Biography of Milton Jackson (Jazz.com):

As a founder of the Modern Jazz Quartet and on his own, Milt Jackson created a hard-hitting style on the vibraphone which made it a contender in bebop. He built upon the foundation laid by Swing masters Red Norvo and Lionel Hampton by adding a more powerful attack and expanded the instrument’s role in an ensemble.

Adding his own blues-based approach, he was one of the first to slow the speed of the oscillator on the vibraphone, which created a more delicate timbre for the instrument. The robust power behind his performances changed the vibraphone into a prominent melodic and harmonic instrument in jazz.

Milton Jackson was born on January 1, 1923 in Detroit, Michigan. One of six children, Milt’s mother was a pious woman who was a devout member of the church, and his father was a talented amateur musician. In his early years, Milt sang in church and realized from an early age that music had a powerful effect on him.
When Jackson was seven years old he began to study the guitar. At age eleven, he began to play the piano as well. Upon entering Miller High School, Milt began to play the drums, xylophone and sing in the school’s glee club. When he was sixteen years old, Milt’s music teacher Mr. Goldberg persuaded the young man to give the vibraphone a try. Through his teens, Jackson gained valuable performing experience in a local gospel and dance groups.

At the time, Jackson had few idols on the vibraphone, following the examples instead set by the leading horn players involved in modern jazz. Milt had seen Lionel Hampton at Detroit venues such as the Michigan State Fairgrounds and the Graystone Ballroom, which further motivated him to study the vibes. However, while Jackson appreciated Hampton’s accomplishments, he chose not to emulate him but rather to find his own voice on the…..Read More

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