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Here’s a great Hard Bop album recorded in 1956 with the Clifford Brown and Max Roach quintet. A memorable album by the dual because unknown to them at the time, it would be the last time the quintet recorded together. Clifford Brown, along with the pianist, Richie Powell (His wife also), were tragically killed in a car accident a couple of months later (June 26, 1956). This young quintet was already considered to be a heavyweight Jazz band at the time. They were shooting for the stars and were well on their way there until it abruptly ended. I wonder how they would have sounded together in the 60’s, very scary! The name of this album is “Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street” will be featured here for a week or so. It is also considered by Jazz experts, as one of the most essential Hard Bop albums ever recorded! Check the schedule link for play times, ENJOY!

About the album:

At Basin Street album by Clifford Brown / Max Roach Quintet / Max Roach was released Oct 25, 1990 on the Emarcy label. Recorded in New York, New York on January 4 and February 16, 1956. Recorded mere months before Clifford Brown died in a car crash, 1956’s AT BASIN STREET finds the revered trumpeter in top form, co-leading an ensemble with drummer Max Roach that included saxophonist Sonny Rollins and pianist Richie Powell (who was also killed in the accident). Morbid associations aside, this record is a vibrant hard-bop outing with Brown’s amazingly agile horn lines always commanding attention even when compared to Rollins’s robust sax work…..Read More

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Biography of Richie Powell:

Richie Powell (September 5, 1931 – June 26, 1956) was an American bebop jazz pianist. He was born into a musical family in New York City, and was the younger brother of Bud Powell, also a pianist. Although sometimes considered less gifted than his bebop-icon brother, he was a respected musician and was beginning to achieve recognition at the time of his death.

Richie Powell studied at City College of New York. He played in the bands of Paul Williams (1951–52) and Johnny Hodges (1952-54), and from 1954 to 1956 was a member of the group co-led by Clifford Brown and Max Roach.

In 1956, after an informal gig at a Philadelphia store called Music City, Powell and Brown were being driven overnight by Powell’s wife Nancy to an engagement in Chicago. During the dark rainy night Nancy lost control of the vehicle on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, heading for Cleveland, and in the early hours of 26 June all three occupants were killed…..Read More

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On this Tuesday March 26th there will be a Hard Bop dedicated Jazz Presentation. Normally, I create a mixed playlist that is consistent and flows together. But this one will concentrate strictly on Hard Bop and will feature Jazz from the mid to late 50’s. This treat will include Donald Byrd, Dexter Gordon, Miles, Monk, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins, Lou Donaldson, Paul Gonsalves, Clark Terry and many more greats. From on now I will be covering a specific theme in my presentations. This and every “Super Tuesday Jazz Presentation” are always scheduled for three play times on every Tuesday, of course and reason being that it could be enjoyed on prime-time throughout the globe. Check the schedule link for play times. Enjoy!

Here’s Dexter Gordon:

And Sonny Rollins:

Rudy Van Gelder remastered two recording sessions with Sonny Rollins as the leader. The name of these two albums are “Sonny Rollins Volume 1” and “Sonny Rollins Volume 2.” I will feature both of these special albums but will not play all of the songs. I will take a few from each album and make sure it will be at least an hour long. After a week or so I will place all the songs from both volumes into the rotation and because of the nature of these albums, they will be placed into two separate playlists. Volume One will be in the Hard Bop and Volume 2 will be placed in the “G4” Playlist (Find out more). Volume one was organized as a complete band with members who played together with Sonny Rollins in the past. Volume two was more like a jam sessions and where you have two Jazz giant pianists, Horace Silver and Thelonious Monk, taking turns on different tunes. Sonny Rollins didn’t play with these artists regularly, it was more like a one-time occasion. Check the schedule link for play times, below are the songs I will feature and the order they will be played, ENJOY!

Tracks that will be featured:

1. (Vol. One) “Decision”  2. (Vol. One) “Plain Jane”  3. (Vol. One) “Sonnysphere”  4. (Vol. Two) “Why Don’t I”  5. (Vol. Two) “Misterioso” 6. Vol. Two) “Reflections”  7. (Vol. Two) “Poor Butterfly”

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About the Volume One album:

Sonny Rollins’ Blue Note years produced some of the quintessential recordings of the post-bop era. The simply titled VOLUME ONE is one such disc that exemplifies the classic swinging quintet format that defined small ensemble performance style from then on. Expertly recorded by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder, Rollins and his men–a young Donald Byrd (trumpet), the masterful Wynton Kelly (piano), Gene Ramey (bass) and bebop pioneer Max Roach (drums)–display expert improvisational skills on the bluesy opener “Decision” and the hard-swinging “Bluesnote.” Sounding very much like the famed Miles Davis quintet of the same period…..Read More

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About the Volume Two album:

The Rudy Van Gelder Edition of VOLUME 2 includes an essay by Bob Blumenthal. This is part of the Blue Note Rudy Van Gelder Editions series. Sonny Rollins’ VOLUME 2 for Blue Note is one of those timeless discs. It is a milestone in jazz history that gathered together some of the founding fathers of the post-bop era. Joining Rollins are Jazz Messengers Art Blakey (drums) and Horace Silver (piano), Miles Davis’ favorite bassist Paul Chambers, the quintessential trombonist J. J. Johnson and even Thelonious Monk himself. This is a swinging tour-de-force that begins with a bang and doesn’t let up until the last note has faded away. Sonny’s own up-tempo “Why Don’t I” kicks off the session with a rhythmic jolt before Rollins’ big tenor launches into a classic swinging solo followed by turns by Johnson, Silver and some heated exchanges with Blakey……Read More

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Most people who are just occasional Jazz fans do not dig in deeper into the song or album they are listening to. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, the love and respect for this unique brand of music, is still ever so present. It’s much different for me though and more of a challenge/necessity because of what Jazz Con Class stands for. It’s NOT Just “All that Jazz” means that you are not going to get bombarded with a mix of different eras (Example: Hard Bop Early, Jazz Funk and Free Jazz (Mixed Together) of Jazz music at the same time. I, by no means, feel that I am some kind of Jazz expert and for a matter of fact, am learning something new everyday. I enjoy this quite a bit, this investigative work and it never fails to fascinate me more, especially the musicianship behind Jazz. The more I learn, the more I have to offer here to the Jazz Con Class listeners. And this is how I learned about Horace Parlan and how much he has contributed to Jazz. This 1961 album “Up & Down” is a great example and if you read later below (Horace Parlan biography) you would see all this man has overcome to become an established Jazz pianist. This album is a great example of how Jazz derives from the Blues. Horace Parlan has a great supporting cast behind him, Booker Ervin (Tenor Saxophone), Grant Green (Guitar), George Tucker (Bass) and Al Harewood (Drums). Check the schedule link for play times, ENJOY!

About the album:

By adding guitarist Grant Green and tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin to his standard rhythm section of bassist George Tucker and drummer Al Harewood, pianist Horace Parlan opens up his sound and brings it closer to soul-jazz on 1961’s UP & DOWN. Green’s clean, graceful style meshes well with Parlan’s relaxed technique, while Ervin’s robust tone and virile attack provides a good contrast to the laid-back groove the rhythm section lays down. Stylistically, the music is balanced between hard bop and soul-jazz, tied together by the bluesy tint in the three soloists’ playing. All of the six original compositions give the band room to stretch out–not only to show off their chops, but move the music somewhat away from generic conventions and seek new territory. In other words, UP & DOWN finds Parlan at a peak and…..Read More

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Biography of Horace Parlan:

Horace Parlan (pianist) was born on January 19, 1931 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvannia.

As a child, Parlan was stricken with polio, resulting in the partial crippling of his right hand. The handicap, though, has contributed to his development of a particularly “pungent” left-hand chord voicing style, while comping with highly rhythmic phrases with the right.

Much of pianist Horace Parlan’s distinguished jazz life has been marked by an intriguing series of ebbs and flows. At times his artistry has received the attention and praise it deserves, while at others it has been curiously overlooked and neglected. All the more interesting is that amid these sometimes unnerving shifts, Parlan has remained a model of musical consistency.

Just flip through the pages of his accomplished career – between 1952 and 1957 he worked in Washington DC with Sonny Stitt and then spent two years with Charles Mingus’ Jazz Workshop, to his stellar ‘60s recordings for Blue Note, and on to his more recent work with Archie Shepp and Danish bassist Jimmi Pederson – and you’ll undoubtedly be struck by the singularity and cohesiveness of his approach.

Unlike most musicians, who study the fundamentals of their instrument before seeking out a distinctive sound and style, Parlan was compelled to address the piano from a unique direction all along. An early childhood bout with polio left his right hand partially paralyzed, forcing Parlan to compensate by developing a personal style largely reliant on the left -not only for the usual measures of accompaniment, but also to weave melodic phrases and swinging single-note runs.

Armed with this approach, Parlan left his hometown of Pittsburgh in 1957 to try his hand in the greener jazz pastures of New York. Almost immediately, he found a place in the Mingus Jazz Workshop – where he remained until 1959, playing on such seminal recordings as Blues & Roots and Mingus’ Ah Hum.

Between 1960 and 1963, Parlan went on lead a series of potent sessions for Blue Note (thankfully reissued by Mosaic Records as The Complete Blue Note Horace Parlan Sessions) – reinforcing his soulful, rhythmically inventive style…..Learn More

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Mal Waldron was an integral part of Hard Bop but later gravitated to Free Jazz. As you will read below this 1956 album “Mal-1” was the first of four with the similar title. He played with Mingus from 1954-56 and was very active throughout all the  New York City Jazz clubs.Very interesting career which ended in Munich, Germany (More on Bio below). The Jazz Con Class listeners will enjoy this very creative hard bop album, check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the album:

Digitally remastered from the original analog master tapes by Phil De Lancie (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley). This 1956 release was the first of Waldron’s four “Mal” titles (MAL-1, MAL-2, MAL-3, and MAL-4). At the time of these recordings Waldron was working as Billie Holiday’s accompanist–he was her piano player for the last two years of her life, and, like the legendary singer, he uses dramatic understatement rather than overt flash. This set is a mix of originals and standards. Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays” is stripped to its core components, with the bass setting the pulse, as a solo trumpet starts the melody, slowly joined by sax and finally the whole ensemble. “Bud Study” is a perfect encapsulation…….Read More

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Biography of Mal Waldron:

Born in New York City, Waldron’s jazz work was chiefly in the hard bop, post-bop and free jazz genres. He is known for his distinctive chord voicings and adaptable style, which was originally inspired by the playing of Thelonious Monk.

After obtaining a B.A. in music from Queen’s College, New York, he worked in New York City in the early 1950s with Ike Quebec, “Big” Nick Nicholas, and rhythm and blues groups. He worked frequently with Charles Mingus from 1954 to 1956 and was Billie Holiday’s regular accompanist from 1957 until her death in 1959. He also supervised recording sessions

for Prestige Records, for which he provided arrangements and compositions (including the jazz standard “Soul Eyes”). After Holiday’s death he chiefly led his own groups……Learn More

 

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Howard McGhee was an intricate part of the Bebop movement but is hardly ever mentioned. Dizzy gets most of the recognition but McGhee along with Fats Navarro and Idrees Sulieman were equally as important. They were all a strong influence to the Hard Bop trumpeters that came afterwards. Miles was, of course, was a great part of the Bebop era but entered into the picture a few years later. As you will read later on below, McGhee was an absentee in the 50’s because of drug problems and missed most of the Hard Bop era but came back in the early 60’s. Maggie’s Back in Town!! was the first of his first return album was recorded in 1961. It will be featured here on Jazz Con Class so the listeners can learn more of how great McGhee was. There’s no way to avoid noticing how much influenced he had on the greats that came up in the early 50’s, enjoy!

About the album:

Trumpeter Howard McGhee, after spending much of the 1950s only partly active in music (due to drug problems), made a full-fledged comeback in the early ’60s only to find his bop-oriented music out of fashion. This Contemporary set (reissued on CD in the OJC series) was McGhee’s finest recording of the period, a quartet outing with brilliant pianist Phineas Newborn, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Shelly Manne. Although tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards is not on the date, two of his compositions (his famous “Sunset Eyes” and a tribute to the trumpeter…..Read More

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Howard McGhee biography:

6 March 1918, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, d. 17 July 1987, New York City, New York, USA. During the late 30s, McGhee played trumpet in several territory bands in the Midwest before moving to Detroit, where he became well known in that city’s lively jazz scene. He first enjoyed major success with Lionel Hampton in 1941; however, he quickly moved on, joining Andy Kirk, for whom he wrote arrangements and was featured soloist. Although he was to work in other big bands of the early 40s, including Charlie Barnet’s and Georgie Auld’s, McGhee soon became most closely associated with bebop. From the mid-40s he could be heard playing in clubs and on records with Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro and others. He was present on the notorious Parker recording session for Dial Records that produced ‘Lover Man’ and was, in fact, largely responsible for salvaging the session from potential disaster when Parker broke down…..Read More

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Horace Silver was a major contributor towards the Hard Bop movement in the early 5o’s. He was Art Blakey’s pianist for a couple of years before they came up with the actual name “The Jazz Messengers.” For a matter of fact, the very first album of these Jazz Messengers was actually named “Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers” and which was previously featured here on Jazz Con Class (Check the Archives):

“A couple of years later I went into Birdland with Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, Curly Russell and Lou Donaldson for a few weeks. We made some live, unrehearsed records and they did pretty well. After that it was Horace who decided we should organize a group. He said, ‘We’ll call it the Jazz Messengers.’ So it was Horace who really put the name on it, and it stuck.” – Art Blakey, quoted by Herb Nolan in Down Beat, November 1979, p.21.

“I remember when I first met him. I used to call him ‘The Connecticut Yankee.’ We met at Birdland when he was with Stan Getz. I had broken up the 17 Messengers and when we formed the group with Horace, Hank Mobley, and Kenny Dorham, he said let’s call it the Jazz Messengers. It started out as a corporation. That didn’t work out too good. So we just went on with it. We just carried on and tried to get other musicians to play jazz and build names and get them out there because we need more groups out there to hold the joints open, the jazz joints throughout the United States. I wasn’t too successful at doing that but at least we tried and I had a ball doing it.” – Art Blakey, Radio Free Jazz, March 1977, pp.17-18

This album featured here “Horace Silver Live at Newport 58” was of course, afterwards and when he was well established already. He was in great demand, playing with many great but by 1956 was leading his own band. Silver alongside with Art Blakey followed through on the concept of discovering young talent, giving them the opportunity, increasing the demand for more talent and most importantly, continuing the tradition of Jazz. I encourage all the Jazz Con Class listeners to take some time out and learn more about Horace Silver. We all know how influential Art Blakey was but not much about Horace Silver’s enormous contributions. He was a great man, a great musician/composer and a major influence to Jazz! Checkout the schedule link for play times. This album will be placed afterwards on the “G4 Playlist”  and where almost all “Live” recordings are located, enjoy!

About the album:

The set opens with “Tippin’,” a hard swinger, then segues to “The Outlaw,” a composition in the classic Silver mode, incorporating exotic rhythms, complex melodic leads, and deep grooves. “Senor Blues,” a cool-toned blues, and “Cool Eyes,” a frenetic bop workout, are equally impressive. The tunes are extended, and feature plenty of top-flight improvisation from the musicians, making for a memorable live date worth picking up. Composer and pianist Horace Silver was one of the leading lights of the post-bop movement, and LIVE AT NEWPORT ’58 captures him in his prime. Leading a crack quintet (which includes trumpeter Louis Smith and saxophonist Junior Cook) through four slinking, swinging tunes, Silver turns in a wonderful set. Personnel: Horace Silver (piano); Junior Cook (tenor saxophone); Louis Smith (trumpet); Gene Taylor (acoustic bass); Louis Hayes (drums). Rolling Stone (p.58) – “[A] surprise from Silver’s early prime….[With] Silver leading a quintet in dynamic expansions of four tunes, including the cool brass glide and staccato-piano bite of ‘Senor Blues.'”…..Read More

As Jazz Con Class listeners already know, on every Saturday the “Contemporary Playlist” is showcased. The Jazz music on this playlist consists of mostly young aspiring artist and others who have been around but are still producing great Jazz. These artists have one thing in common in there style of play and it complies with the particular Jazz music that specifically plays here. They play traditional/classic Jazz and this playlist is named “Contemporary” because this music was recorded recently. These are a special breed of musicians who respect/admire classic/traditional Jazz and keep it current. Great music never gets old and these artists are proving it. This is a difficult task for them to prosper, in respect to the ideals of the few but very powerful music industries. It is a constant struggle for all these Jazz musicians, they need to take all sorts of different routes to obtain true recognition. Pop music dominates the billboard ratings and almost most of the times the great musicians are ignored. Maybe they are just too good or maybe they have more pride. This is why the “Contemporary Playlist” is featured here on Jazz Con Class, they belong right there with all the greats that came before them.

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This week I added Josh Maxey, a great Jazz guitarist from New York City. Here are some opinions of him:

“Josh Maxey is at the forefront of the continuing evolution of jazz and in particular the jazz guitar. In an era where there are so many truly gifted musicians, Josh stands out because of the feeling of his music and playing. His music reflects a deeper purpose and a more mature evolvement than many of the “Young Lion’s” of jazz today who garner so much media coverage. His music and playing reflect his awareness that it is not mechanics, or complexity that define great art, but the intent and awareness of the artist and the ability to reach the heart of the listener in a transformative way.”

Rodney Jones
Professional Guitarist
Professor of Jazz Guitar Studies – Juilliard School of Music
Professor of Jazz Guitar Studies – Manhattan School of Music

“Sophisticated yet demure…even sublime at times, Maxey has embodied the culture of his experiences into a captivating collection that reinvents the wheel, over and over again. This is one collection of beauty & art through jazz that will not disappoint. Even the most critical of ears will find that this is a must have.”

Cicily Janus

Author, The New Face of Jazz

Learn more about Josh by visiting his website here. Check the schedule link for play times of the “Contemporary Playlist” (Twice on Saturdays) and all the others featured playlists here on Jazz Con Class, ENJOY!

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Charles Mingus was amazing in my eyes. How ahead he was of everyone and how he stuck to his guns all his career, never giving in. Producing the Jazz he wanted and where the musicians would have total “liberty” to improvise on-the-fly. Here, in his own words, Mingus explains in great detail:

WHAT IS A JAZZ COMPOSER?

Each jazz musician when he takes a horn in his hand- trumpet, bass, saxophone, drums-whatever instrument he plays-each soloist, that is, when he begins to ad lib on a given composition with a title and improvise a new creative melody, this man is taking the place of a composer. He is saying, “listen, I am going to give you a new complete idea with a new set of chord changes. I am going to give you a new melodic conception on a tune you are familiar with. I am a composer.” That’s what he is saying.

I have noticed that there are many kinds of composers in this so-called jazz. For instance, there are musicians who simply take rhythmic patterns and very spare notes-very limited invention melodically-and play in a soulful swinging way. Some people in the audience, when asked what they think about jazz, say, “I just go by the feeling, I go by the feeling the guy gives me.” Now, whether there is feeling or not depends upon what your environment or your association is or whatever you may have in common with the player. If you feel empathy for his personal outlook, you naturally feel him musically more than some other environ-mental and musical opposite who is, in a way. beyond you.

I, myself, came to enjoy the players who didn’t only just swing but who invented new rhythmic patterns, along with new melodic concepts. And those people are: Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young, Dizzy Gillespie and Charles Parker, who is the greatest genius of all to me because he changed the whole era around. But there is no need to compare composers. If you like Beethoven, Bach or Brahms, that’s okay. They were all pencil composers. I always wanted to be a spontaneous composer. I thought I was, although no one’s mentioned that. I mean critics or musicians. Now, what I’m getting at is that I know I’m a composer. I marvel at composition, at people who are able to take diatonic scales, chromatics, 12-tone scales, or even quarter-tone scales. I admire anyone who can come up with something original. But not originality alone, because there can be originality in stupidity, with no musical description of….Continue Here

The Jazz Con Class listeners should take note and probably knew already, this is the reason why I created this Internet Jazz Station. Mingus couldn’t have been any more accurate! These two albums will be featured together in order, Jazzical Moods Volume One (Tracks: What Is This Thing Called Love, Stormy Weather, Minor Intrusion, Abstractions) and then Jazzical Moods Volume Two (Tracks: Thrice Upon a Theme, Four Hands, Spur Of The Moment/Echonitus). Check the schedule link for play times, ENJOY!

About the Albums:

Jazzical Moods album by Charles Mingus was released Jan 25, 1995 on the Original Jazz Classics label. Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1995, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). Jazzical Moods songs Originally recorded for Period Records in 1954, this fairly obscure early Charles Mingus session is a collaboration with composer John LaPorta, who is heard on clarinet and alto saxophone. Jazzical Moods album It’s a fascinating effort that shows Mingus’ awareness of both modern European classical composition and cool jazz. The set includes a mix of Mingus and LaPorta originals, plus freshly arranged standards like……Read More

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Here’s another exploratory album by John Coltrane (Soprano and Tenor Sax) along with the invaluable Eric Dolphy (Alto Sax and Flute), two bassists (Reggie Workman and Art Davis), Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet) and Elvin Jones (Drums). Overall they produce a rather relax sound that doesn’t let up and keeps the listener interested from begging to end. “Ole Coltrane” was recorded, in studio, May 25, 1961 and will be featured for a couple weeks exclusively for the Jazz Con Class listeners. Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the album:

Having explored all sorts of country cousins of the blues, John Coltrane evokes the spirit of mother Africa and Moorish Spain on this, his final Atlantic recording. Fellow crusaders McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones are joined by Reggie Workman as well as fellow bass virtuoso Art Davis, while Trane’s new front-line collaborator Eric Dolphy and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard give him an immense sonic canvas upon which to reinvent jazz. OLE COLTRANE extends the forms, anticipating the freedom and far reaching spiritual pilgrimages of the Impulse! years. Miles’ KIND OF BLUE and the music of Ornette Coleman suggested new improvisational possibilities. For Trane, they represented a way out of his harmonic labyrynth, a pursuit of simpler, more expressive modalities–offering even greater rhythmic/melodic complexity. “Ole” is electrifying, one of Coltrane’s greatest collective achievements. Elvin Jones’ hypnotic six-beat cymbal pulse, the strummed ostinatos of Workman and Davis, and Tyner’s murmuring chordal drone form a syncopated wall of sound–equal parts Iberian dance, desert sirocco and evening raga……..Read More

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In light of the recent death of Jazz great Donald Byrd (80 years old), I am featuring this album “Byrd in Hand.” This is not intended as a tribute because there’s plenty of Jazz tracks here on Jazz Con Class of Donald Byrd as either a leader or a sideman. The reason why I’m featuring this particular album is not solely because of its greatness but more importantly, because he was remembered more for his work on post 70’s records (Beginning of so-called “Smooth Jazz”). One must note that great music doesn’t ever “get old” by any means and Donald Byrd’s earlier accomplishments should be recognized even more. Its for this reason that I have created Jazz Con Class, so this music could have a place to be enjoyed on a 24 hour basis. “Byrd in Hand” will be featured for a couple weeks and then place in the “Hard Bop” playlist. Check the schedule link for play times.

About the Album:

Of the jazz trumpeters who blazed a trail during the 1950s and ’60s, Donald Byrd has never really gotten his due. He came into his own at the same time as Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Kenny Dorham, etc. were on the scene, unjustly diverting some attention away from Byrd. Yet a listen to a small part of his recorded output reveals a trumpeter with a well-developed penchant for lyricism and who, over time, learned to use space as effectively in his improvisations as Miles himself.

Byrd In Hand, Byrd’s second album for Blue Note Records, features him with his frequent collaborator, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams. The front-line is augmented with tenor man Charlie Rouse and the rhythm section includes Walter Davis Jr., Sam Jones and Art Taylor.

The proceedings kick off in elegant style with a gorgeous rendition of “Witchcraft” that makes expert use of a rhythmic suspension. Byrd’s sensitive rendering of the standard features forceful punctuations by Rouse and Adams that illustrate the orchestral possibilities of a three-man front-line and up the romantic quotient of the tune. Byrd then takes a two-chorus solo, a thoughtful improvisation full of memorable lines……..Read More

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Oliver Nelson was really known more for his arranging and composing but was never truly worshiped enough for his ability to master the tenor. He had his own distinct, precise and sweet sound that could get into your soul. His special sound seems to make one feel like they are in some dream-like state. This 1960 album, “Taking Care of Business” will take you there for certain but could be more of a testament of how bluesy Oliver Nelson’s sound really was. Every Jazz collection should consist of a “healthy” dose of Oliver Nelson, what a genius! Check the schedule link for play times.

About the album:

This special collector’s edition is digitally remastered from original analog master tapes. Oliver Nelson would gain his greatest fame later in his short life as an arranger/composer but this superior session puts the emphasis on his distinctive tenor and alto playing. In a slightly unusual group (with vibraphonist Lem Winchester, organist Johnny “Hammond” Smith, bassist George Tucker and drummer Roy Haynes), Nelson improvises a variety of well-constructed but spontaneous solos; his unaccompanied spots on “All the Way” and his hard-charging playing on the medium-tempo blues “Groove” are two of the many highpoints……….Read More

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Wayne Shorter’s classic album, The All Seeing Eye will be featured here for all the Jazz Con Class listeners to enjoy. This was a very advance album for 1964. It is categorized as an Avant-Guarde album and with a great supporting cast, James Spaulding (alto saxophone); Freddie Hubbard (trumpet, flugelhorn); Alan Shorter (flugelhorn); Grachan Moncur III (trombone); Herbie Hancock (piano); Joe Chambers (drums). A great album that can be considered to be Wayne Shorter’s best post Hard Bop and before Jazz Fusion success. Every tune is uniquely different from each other and takes its own special path of exploration. Check the schedule link for play times and enjoy!

About the album:

Digitally remastered using 24-bit technology by Rudy Van Gelder (2000, Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey). This is part of the Blue Note Rudy Van Gelder Editions series. Wayne Shorter’s epic THE ALL SEEING EYE can be compared in character to John Coltrane’s A LOVE SUPREME. It is the culmination of the first leg of Shorter’s artistic journey, which began in earnest in 1964 with his first solo recordings for Blue Note. Like SUPREME, it is a deeply spiritual work, with both the album and song titles referring to God’s creation of the universe. Also, unlike his previous efforts, EYE marks the first time Shorter commanded such a large ensemble, a feature that would mark many future solo outings. Compositionally, Shorter takes daring leaps here, greatly expanding his freer modal style. Traditional forms are bent and stretched beyond recognition as themes and solos meld into a continuous stream, projecting moods and varying intensities that reflect the album’s subject. The large horn section creates a massive sound on ensemble passages and a great variety of interpretations in solo jaunts. Also part of Shorter’s design is the role of the rhythm section, more an ebbing whirlwind than strictly a supporting unit. THE ALL SEEING EYE is one of Wayne Shorter’s boldest and most successful efforts……Read More

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Donald Byrd sure made his contribution to the Early Jazz Funk movement and this album “Ethiopian Knights” is certain proof. This is the album prior to the famous Black Byrd album and where he was heavily criticized by fellow Jazz musicians because of its total abandonment of traditional creative improvising and what Jazz really stands for. Donald Byrd created a new genre in the commercial musical world which was later named “Smooth Jazz.”  In my opinion, Black Byrd did harm traditional Jazz but this wasn’t the only reason. There are other factors involved but I will discuss this matter in the future. For now, let’s concentrate on this classic. To listen to this album featured here in its entirety, please go to the schedule link  for play times.

About the album:

At about the same time that Miles Davis’ crew was populating the jazz world with their revolutionary fusion-isms, trumpeter Donald Byrd had returned from a trip to Africa and undergone an artistic epiphany. His Afrocentric explorations resulted in a number of beautiful albums, including 1971’s ETHIOPIAN KNIGHTS, which postdated his incomparable hard bop work with the likes of Sonny Rollins and Pepper Adams, and landed just before his renowned album BLACKBYRD and later ventures into radio-friendly R&B. ETHIOPIAN KNIGHTS stretches into experimental BITCHES BREW territory with rock and soul-jazz rhythms, electronic keyboards, elastic structures and a battery of African percussion. Byrd employs a stellar line-up of West Coast jazz funkateers for these sessions, including the Jazz Crusaders’ Joe Sample and Wilton Felder, and Bobby Hutcherson with members of his band. The vibe here is loose and organic, with full doses of driving funk. ETHIOPIAN KNIGHTS fills in an……Read More

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The listeners of Jazz Con Class already know that on every Tuesday I present a special combination of Jazz tunes that I feel everyone will enjoy. But there are always new Jazz explorers that fall into this Jazz Trap here and are not aware, so this post is to help them familiarize themselves. This “Super Tuesday Jazz Presentation” lasts at least three hours total and plays three times (its repeated) during the day so that it could be heard in all parts of the globe. Check the schedule link to see the play times and when it would be best for you. I am also inviting anyone interested in having their own three-hour Jazz presentation placed here on Jazz Con Class. If you can put together at least three hours of Classic/Traditional Jazz together please let me know on the feedback link and we will work it out together. Thank you and ENJOY!

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Jimmy Heath was a great tenor saxophone player and can be categorized under the “Modal” type of style. He also composed and arranged quite a bit of tunes. This album consists of original tunes as well and includes his other two brothers, Percy Heath (bass) and Albert “Tootie” Heath (drums). Not to mention, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Cedar Walton on piano and an interesting addition of a French horn with Julius Watkins playing it. Great hard bop album with extraordinary improvising. Check the schedule link for play times.

About the album:

Quota album by Jimmy Heath was released Nov 27, 2001 on the Original Jazz Classics label. Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1995, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). Quota music CDs Jimmy Heath’s considerable talents are very evident on this fine hard bop title. His supple, Dexter Gordon-inspired tenor work shines throughout the album’s seven tracks, which range from the challenging yet fleet originals “Funny Time” and “The Quota” to attractive covers like “When Sunny Gets Blue” and Milt Jackson’s “Bells and Horns.” Heath also mixes it up stylistically with elements of both East Coast jazz (Philly native, vigorous ensemble work) and West Coast jazz (spry, vaporous arrangements), showing his flexibility amidst the music’s healthy, bi-coastal rivalry of the late-’50s and early-’60s California stars Art Pepper and Chet Baker would cover several Heath numbers on their excellent 1956 collaboration Playboys. The Quota also benefits from stellar solo contributions by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, French horn player Julius……Read More

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Biography of Percy Heath:

A product of one of jazz’s most illustrious families, Percy Heath and his sublime, swinging bass served as the cornerstone of the Modern Jazz Quartet for over four decades. Heath was born in Wilmington, NC, on April 23, 1930. The second of four children, he was raised in Philadelphia, receiving his first instrument, a violin, at the age of eight. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944, and assigned to fly P-4s and P-47s as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen. Heath managed to avoid combat, and after World War II ended, he purchased a standup bass and enrolled in Philadelphia’s Granoff School of Music. After a stint behind pianist Red Garland, he signed on with the house band at the local Down Beat Club. There he met bebop trumpeter Howard McGhee, and by 1947, Heath and his saxophonist brother Jimmy were touring as members of McGhee’s sextet, appearing the following year at the premiere Festival International de Jazz in Paris. The Heath brothers relocated to New York City in 1949, and there Percy collaborated with a who’s who of postwar jazz icons including Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and Sonny Rollins. From 1950 to 1952, he and Jimmy reunited as members of Dizzy Gillespie’s sextet…..Read More

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Charles Mingus, what a character and what a true Jazz musician. The whole idea why Jazz is so different from any other musical art form is because of the improvising aspect behind it. For a matter of fact, if there were no improvising taking place, Jazz would have never made it further than the swing era. There was plenty of improvising taking place in the swing era but not on the big stage, it was mostly found in small unknown clubs. Mingus was a true “Individualist” and taught many Jazz musicians to express themselves to the fullest. I of course, did not know Mr. Mingus but from all I have read about him, I learned of a great man! After all the racist obstacles he had to overcome on the West Coast and all the difficulties he had with the “organized” big band style and their leaders, he was able to “teach” the American listening audience about improvisation and how it works hand to hand with Jazz. Although Europeans were aware of this already, Americans were not! Jazz, which had originated in America was misrepresented and missing it’s main ingredient, improvisation. Charles Mingus and the musicians who joined his “movement” can be credited for the survival of Jazz. This album “Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus” and also known as the “5 Mingus,” exemplifies the end result of all the struggles he went through. We are talking about an 11-piece band here and with all its members improvising at the same time. Note, he had done albums like this before (Recorded with large ensembles of musicians) but not in a “Orchestra” type of manner. This album which was recorded in 1963 is a true MASTERPIECE and reflects what Jazz is really all about! Check the schedule link for play times and enjoy!

About the album:

Having completed what he (and many critics) regarded as his masterwork in The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Charles Mingus’ next sessions for Impulse found him looking back over a long and fruitful career. Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus is sort of a “greatest hits revisited” record, as the bassist revamps or tinkers with some of his best-known works. The titles are altered as well — “II B.S.” is basically “Haitian Fight Song” (this is the version used in the late-’90s car commercial); “Theme for Lester Young” is “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”; “Better Get Hit in Your Soul” adds a new ending, but just one letter to the title; “Hora Decubitus” is a growling overhaul of “E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too”; and “I X Love” modifies “Nouroog,” which was part of “Open Letter to Duke.” There’s also a cover of Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo,” leaving just one new composition, “Celia.” Which naturally leads to the question: With the ostensible shortage of ideas, what exactly makes this a significant Mingus effort?….Read More

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Here’s a great example of Jazz musicians collaborating and experimenting different combinations of instruments. This time you have two trumpet players and two alto saxophone players paired up and why the album was named “Pairing Off.” It was recorded in 1956 and will be featured here and exclusively for the Jazz Con Class listeners. Check the schedule link for play times.

About the album:

Pairing Off album by Phil Woods Septet was released Jul 01, 1991 on the Fantasy label. Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley). Pairing Off songs The title of this excellent CD reissue comes from the fact that the featured septet consists of two altos (Phil Woods and Gene Quill) and two trumpets (Donald Byrd and Kenny Dorham) in addition to a rhythm section (pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Philly Joe Jones). Pairing Off album Of the pairings, Woods and Dorham were more distinctive in 1956, but both Quill and Byrd get in some good licks. Pairing Off CD music The full group stretches out on four ……Read More

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Tommy Flanagan Biography:

Between 1975 and 1993, pianist Tommy Flanagan recorded six tribute albums featuring, in turn,  the music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn, Bud Powell, Harold Arlen, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Thad Jones. These albums—it seems a stretch to call them a series—were recorded for four different labels, with only two of them recorded back-to-back, and an eleven-year gap between the last two. They were neither the first nor last of Flanagan’s tribute albums: early in his career, he had recorded an album of Richard Rodgers songs from “The King And I” under the leadership of trumpeter Wilbur Harden, and an album of Leonard Bernstein music under his own name; immediately after the Thad Jones album, he recorded a tribute to his former musical collaborator, Ella Fitzgerald. Yet, the tributes discussed here are linked by their focus on compositions, and by their appearance during a very productive part of the pianist’s career. For all but one of these tribute albums, Flanagan used a traditional piano trio (the exception was the Bud Powell tribute, which had only piano and bass). While Flanagan’s bassists remained fairly steady, each of the five trio albums had a different drummer, and the style of the percussionists helped to define each album.

Since 1956, when he moved from Detroit to New York, Flanagan was a fixture on the recording scene. Fellow Detroiters Kenny Burrell and Thad Jones were the first to include Flanagan in their rhythm sections, and only four days after his New York recording debut, he recorded with Miles Davis. By the end of the year, Flanagan had participated in 17 recording sessions, which yielded classic albums like Davis’ “Collector’s Items”, “The Oscar Pettiford Orchestra in Hi-Fi” and Sonny Rollins’ “Saxophone Colossus”. He was a member of J.J. Johnson’s band until mid-1958, and in May 1959, he played on John Coltrane’s masterpiece, “Giant Steps”. Flanagan recorded two albums under his own name between 1957 and 1960, and co-led “The Cats” with Coltrane and Burrell in 1957. After working with Coleman Hawkins, and recording with a wide range of jazz giants between 1960 and 1963, Flanagan became Ella Fitzgerald’s accompanist and he would tour with her until the late 1970s.

When Flanagan recorded “The Tokyo Recital” in February 1975, it was the first album issued under his own name in 15 years. Despite the title, the album was recorded in the studio, not in a concert setting. The album was conceived by producer Norman Granz as a tribute to Strayhorn, and seven of the nine songs were composed (or co-composed) by him…..Learn More

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Here’s a solid Hard Bop fast-beat album that will certainly wake the listeners here. Johnny Griffin is at his finest and works wonders with Clark Terry. The name of this album is “Serenade to a Bus Seat” and is just another exceptional Keepnews remastered beauty. Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the album:

Serenade to a Bus Seat album by Clark Terry Quintet was released Sep 11, 2007 on the Fantasy label. Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1992, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). Serenade to a Bus Seat songs This CD reissue matches together trumpeter Clark Terry (before he switched to flugelhorn) with tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Serenade to a Bus Seat album Most notable about the music is that Terry wrote five of the eight selections (including the colorful title cut which pays tribute to life on the road with Duke Ellington); the other numbers are “Donna Lee,” a pretty version of “Stardust” and a slightly Latinized “That Old Black Magic.”…..Read More

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Clark Terry Biography:

Clark Terry’s career in jazz spans more than seventy years. He is a world-class trumpeter, flugelhornist, educator, composer, writer, trumpet/flugelhorn designer, teacher and NEA Jazz Master. He has performed for eight U.S. Presidents, and was a Jazz Ambassador for State Department tours in the Middle East and Africa. More than fifty jazz festivals have featured him at sea and on land in all seven continents. Many have been named in his honor.

He is one of the most recorded musicians in the history of jazz, with more than nine-hundred recordings. Clark’s discography reads like a “Who’s Who In Jazz,” with personnel that includes greats such as Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Ben Webster, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Barnet, Doc Severinsen, Ray Charles, Billy Strayhorn, Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Sarah Vaughan, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Milt Jackson, Bob Brookmeyer, and Dianne Reeves.

Among his numerous recordings, he has been featured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra, Dutch Metropole Orchestra, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Herbie Mann Orchestra, Donald Byrd Orchestra, and many other large ensembles……..Learn More

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About Orrin Keepnews:

“Listen,” Orrin Keepnews’ no-nonsense delivery tempered by a smile. “I’m 84 years old. I’ll take my legacies where I can get them,” referring to the Keepnews Collection, a series launched this year by Concord Records.

An astonishing study in longevity and ingenuity, the multiple facets and accomplishments of Keepnews’ career as label maverick, writer and producer need no rehearsal in these pages. His insight, wit and engagement with the music, its participants and history, so evident in his numerous writings, come through with even more clarity in the exhaustive and endlessly entertaining liner notes to these new Riverside and Milestone reissues.

“To me,” Keepnews muses in a recent phone conversation, “the fascinating thing is that I’m not having trouble finding things that were previously unsaid.” He then goes on, succinctly and perfectly, to sum up a major accomplishment of the Keepnews Collection: “You know, when you start out writing liners as a kid, its advertising copy; now, it’s history!”…….Learn More

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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 of 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.

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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

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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

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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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