Friday, October 9, 2015

Dennerlein flirts with Steinmeier organ ....

An almost completely filled church and an almost two hour solo concert: Barbara Dennerlein played a memorable concert on occasion of the 50th anniversary of Queen Mary Church in Kirchheim/Teck. The building's extraordinary concrete architecture, the positioning and illumination of the 2010 Steinmeyer-Orgel with it's unique design made a very special atmosphere. The Teckbote newspaper reported: "Barbara Dennerlein ... played in Kirchheim for the second time last Saturday. Not on her Hammond with which she started her world career but on the Steinmeyer in Queen Mary. ... This event got around quickly in the jazz scene.

So it was no surprise that fans from far as well as local audience filled the church's benches almost completely. ...the expectant visitors enjoyed two hours of organ music that captured them from the start until the end. This is not self-evident, even not for a musician with world-wide recommendation. Barbara Dennerlein could have arrived at the concert evening, coming up with her show just like that. No problem with the routine of hundred concerts per year. Instead, she had spent more than eight hours at the organ on Friday, to prepare the registration carefully, to become familiar with the instrument and the hall's acoustic characteristics. The jazz connoisseur may wonder if this is a contradiction to the jazz's freedom of improvisation. But the concert proved that in Dennerlein's music most conscientious preparation and spontaneity are not mutually exclusive at all.

Both were to sense in every moment, exactly set sound colours, perfect play and - the most important - this inalienable musical alertness in each second, which is essential for jazz musicians. ...melodies, as fresh as can be, born in the same moment... bass line on the pedal ... harmonies with rhythms in the left hand, ... the most agile solo lead with the right hand, frequently with interlinked swell. With this, the organist seemed to conjure a whole big band into the organ for the bluesy pieces. But what left hand and pedal work performed in the Latin compositions was simply witchcraft.

The artist unfolded a completely different world when she played one of her compositions that she originally has written for symphonic orchestra and now adopted to the pipe organ. We became witness of grand creativity that is willing to take risks. Barbara virtually flirted with the Steinmeyer organ, mumbling in the lowest and chirping in the highest notes, punching the pedals for bass guitar sounds. The wood of pipes turned into a roaring animal, so abominably persistent, that  one might have thought that this was the world's end. ...the enormous presence of the organist aroused a storm of enthusiasm after these extreme performance. 
It's no surprise that the Steinmeyer organ received the highest praise from the artist. Absolutely right! "You can demand almost everything from this organ", the virtuoso said. This was meant so thoroughly honest, so elated and far from any routine that this statement touched the hearts. But on the other hand the organ paid back for this: the organist had to work hard to actuate all the wires, rods, joint pieces, springs and valves. Heavy labour indeed! 

Barbara Dennerlein led through the concert evening with introducing explanations to each title with the same implicitness and gracefulness of her play. It was very pleasant that the organist was not - like in most other churches - separated from the listeners on a gallery but could talk face to face to her audience. ... I bet that Barbara Dennerlein did not play for the last time in Queen Mary Church.",-Dennerlein-flirtet-mit-der-Steinmeyer-Orgel-_arid,88807.html

Audrey Silver

Audrey Silver is one of the most elegantly creative singers in jazz today. Known for her smooth, effortless sound, sensitive interpretations, satisfying swing, and unique approach to the American songbook, Audrey sings with a style that radiates her warm, generous personality, Jazztimes’ Christopher Loudon writes, “…her voice is like pure sterling. Her phrasing is exquisite, her clarity and enunciation on par with the great Jo Stafford and her breath control—a talent so often, and so wrongfully, overlooked—rivals Sinatra’s."

Audrey’s steady stream of appearances—including recent performances at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival and New York’s prestigious JVC Jazz Festival—have made her more sought after than ever. Based in New York City, she regularly performs at numerous venues including 55 Bar, Bargemusic, Sweet Rhythm, Cleopatra’s Needle, and The Kitano Hotel. She has become a familiar face at the Metropolitan Room and recently completed a five-month engagement at Bruno Jamais Restaurant and Club. 

Audrey received critical praise for her “vocal prowess" in her debut album, Here In My Arms, in which she worked with an extraordinary line-up of musicians: pianist John Cowherd, bassist Doug Weiss, drummer Gerald Cleaver, guitarist Chis Bergson, percussionist Daniel Sadownick, and David Mann on flute and saxophones. In 2009, Audrey produced her latest CD, Dream Awhile, which features many of the players that have worked with her in New York clubs throughout her career, including pianist Joe Barbato, bassist Joe Fitzgerald, guitarist Chris Bergson, and drummers Anthony Pinciotti and Todd Isler. The recording wowed critics, who lauded her thoughtful, charming, and uniquely personal interpretations of 11 lesser-known jazz standards.
Audrey is a storyteller at heart, a performer who loves connecting with her audiences. She respects the power of lyrics, but is equally fascinated by how an artist can alter the mood, meaning and impact of a song through its arrangement. Audrey has an insatiable desire to learn, a vast repertoire, years of jazz piano studies, a well-developed ear for scat and improv, and a musically open mind. These elements combine to make Audrey a singer, bandleader and arranger who delights her audiences and fellow musicians. An avid researcher and broad listener, Audrey continuously adds to her distinctive musical vocabulary, and always surprises audiences with her delightfully original versions of jazz standards. Also inspired by the cabaret world, she enjoys sharing anecdotes between songs, offering an unusually friendly, intimate, and enlightening jazz atmosphere.

Audrey started studying classical piano and cello as a young child, but deep down she alway wanted to be a singer. Audrey explored her love of jazz and popular song by spending hours absorbing the styles of Fred Astaire (she also studied tap) and singing along with the various Broadway musicals—such as The Pajama Game and Guys and Dolls—that comprised much of her father’s record collection. Audrey finally began to explore her vocal skills while studying at Brown University, where she founded the school’s first co-ed jazz a cappella group, The Higher Keys, for which she transcribed and arranged for the first time. 

After graduation, her love of music led to employment in the marketing and A&R departments of CBS Masterworks (now SONY Classical) and then as the Director of Marketing for Chesky Records. She earned an MBA at Columbia Business School and worked as an account executive for advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather. But eventually her deep love for jazz drew her back to singing.

In 1998, Audrey met Jon Raney (pianist and son of jazz great, Jimmy Raney). He encouraged her to pursue a career as a singer, and worked with her on a demo in 2000 alongside drummer Ronnie Zito (whose rhythmic skills drove the bands of Woody Herman and Bobby Darin) and bassist Jay Leonhart (a Judy Garland and Tony Bennett favorite). Audrey has also studied privately with vocal priestess Sheila Jordan, as well as Mark Murphy, Grammy nominee and four-time winner of the Downbeat Readers Poll for Male Jazz Singer of the Year. According to Murphy, Audrey “has that rare quality of light infectious swing that lights up her tall willowy persona."

Audrey’s eclectic background and tireless curiosity continue to inform her understated, intelligent style. Inspired by numerous jazz greats including Joe Williams, Anita O'Day, and Bill Evans, she’s also influenced by an array of musicians and styles, including pop diva Annie Lennox, Yoruban chant, the Brazilian jazz guitarist/composer Djavan, and the atonal explorations of classical composer Arnold Schoenberg.

Ever the explorer, Audrey continues to expand her musical and creative horizons. She is currently working on numerous projects, including a show of her original songs, a recording of early jazz tunes, and a tribute to legendary vocalist Anita O’Day. Also driven by a desire to give back, Audrey regularly performs at senior and community centers throughout New York City, and acknowledges these programs have changed her as a musician and, interestingly, feels they have been among her best. 

Bill Evans: Last TV Show

Reprinted from
Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 4.13.43 PM
Less than three weeks before his death on Sept. 15, 1980, Bill Evans appeared on the Merv Griffin Show. He came out in a white suit, chatted with Griffin and then played his composition Your Story without improvisation. The show aired on Sept. 23, 1980. Reader Gregory Lee had told me about this appearance some time ago and yesterday emailed to let me know that Rob Rijneke had just put it up on YouTube. Here's Evans on TV on Aug. 23, briefly, followed by Evans playing the same song with his trio a few weeks earlier...

Used with permission by Marc Myers

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dick Berk: 1939-2014 - A Tribute

Published on Feb 26, 2014
Drummer Dick Berk performing "Sail Away" with his group, The Jazz Adoption Society," featuring:
Andy Martin, trombone
Mike Fahn, valve trombone
Dan Faehnle, guitar
Tad Weed, piano and,
Phil Baker, bass.

Johnny Meijer

Uploaded on Aug 2, 2009
Johnny Meijer (accordeon)
Manke Nelis (bass)
John Engels (drums)

Johnny Meijer

Johnny Meijer (born 'Jan Cornelis Meijer' 1 October 1912 in Amsterdam; died 8 January 1992 in Amsterdam) was an accordionist who played Jazz, classical and folk. He was known as one of the great jazz accordionist of his time. His 75th birthday was celebrated at the North Sea Jazz Festival. He was also the subject of a film. He is the grandfather of pop singer Eva Simons. From the 1950s onwards Johnny Meijer frequently toured abroad and earned the title King of the Accordion. Although the accordion is often associated with folk music, Meyer was versatile enough to play jazz and classical music.

Twice he was accordion world champion in 1953 and 1954. Besides the popular songs, he also played fast swing numbers, Romanian music and classical pieces and was widely recognized as a virtuoso jazz accordionist. In 1974 he recorded the Dutch Swing College Band Johnny Goes Dixie LP, which went gold.

He will be remembered primarily as a live performer of folk music in Amsterdam. He was typically seen during performances with a cigar in his mouth, and his accordion (which can be seen at the Gert Nijkamp Muziekhuis in Apeldoorn) shows several burn marks as a result of this. In the last years of his life, Johnny Meyer was rarely invited to play large performances, mainly in connection with his short temper and his drinking, and thus the King of the Accordion saw out his final days mostly in silence, occasionally playing at weddings and parties.

David Ostwald's

The legendary record producer George Avakian says it all in this description of the band: - "There has never been a band quite like David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band. Most groups, past and present, stick to one style. Some current groups attempt to recreate early recordings in their entirety. Inspired by divergent bands of the 1920’s and 30’s, you’ll hear them swing a variety of styles in music by a wide range of composers, always true to the joy and heart of the music.”

  "What we play is life.” – Louis Armstrong

SUNDAY, OCT 11, 7:30PM
Rockland Community College Cultural Arts Center
145 College Road, Suffern, NY