Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chuck Close + Mike Stoller

Reprinted from

I have two articles in today's Wall Street Journal that I think you'll enjoy. The first is a fascinating conversation with artist Chuck Close on his New York City loft and how he found the right red to paint his living room (go here or please buy today's paper—it starts on page 1 of the Mansion section). [Photo above of Chuck Close at home by Allison Michael Orenstein for The Wall Street Journal]
The other is my "Anatomy of a Song" column on the writing and recording of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's Kansas City.Mike [above] has become a dear friend and it's always a joy to chat with him about the history of rock and roll as well as his music (go here or please buy today's paper for the Arena section).
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I've always been a big fan of Chuck's work. I love the aggressive size of his pieces and how he has managed to turn ego into a still life. While you may think that Chuck's supersized portraits are merely large photos, in fact they are paintings. Chuck takes detailed photo portraits of his subjects and then paints the colors and dots he sees in the images. What's fabulous is that while the camera nearly upended painting when the technology was introduced in the late 19th century, Chuck has turned the tables on the camera, painting what the camera sees and doing so in a much more interesting way. But he's also a spectacular portrait photographer [Painting above: Chuck Close's Big Self-Portrait, 1967-68]
Several weeks ago, I floated the idea of a "House Call" with Chuck's media and gallery representatives. He rather liked the concept and agreed, inviting me to his apartment to tour around. I also had a chance to visit his studio to see the art he's working on now. It's absolutely fascinating. All I'll say is that his new massive portraits are less detailed in places, forcing you to look a little harder. I also had a chance to see him at the private opening of his new show—Chuck Close: Nudes 1967-2014—at New York's Pace Gallery and at the dinner that followed. Chuck is an exceedingly kind and generous guy who loves people and fun—the more the better. [Above, Kate by Chuck Close, 2007—a Jacquard data tapestry of model Kate Moss]
The same goes for Mike Stoller. He began in the music business with the late Jerry Leiber in 1950, when they started writing together in Los Angeles. Which means he's been in the R&B and rock 'n' roll business longer than almost anyone else around today—pre-dating Elvis and Chuck Berry by five years and the Beatles by 10 years. Mike is no stranger to jazz. He began by taking boogie-woogie lessons with James P. Johnson in the 1940s when his family still lived in New York. He's always had a deep love for jazz, swing and the blues.
When I was in L.A. in January, we had dinner and played a game. One hummed a few bars of a bebop tune and the other had to name the tune. Mike knows his bebop cold. And as you might expect, Mike is a very cool guy, razor sharp when it comes to the music's long history and as humble as can be. He'd rather shrug off a compliment than feed into it. His excellent memoir, Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography (Simon & Schuster), can be foundhere. [Photo above of the late Jerry Leiber, left, and Mike Stoller]
JazzWax extras: Here's a documentary on Chuck Close...
And here's a documentary on Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber...
Used with permission by Marc Myers Calendar

07/25 Fri Hiroshima Live@ Lake Terrace Ballroom at Lake Terrace Ballroom , LKWD,NJ 9:00 pm to 2:00 amStyle: Smooth Jazz, Cover: Tickets Available, Summer Smooth Jazz Series Proudly Presents The Best Fusion Smooth Jazz Band of all Time !!!! HIROSHIMA LIVE - ONE NIGHT ONLY @ Lake Terrace Ballroom. Lakewood , NJ 08701 Learn more Hear samples , (732/848)

07/25 Fri Jane stuart at New Leaf Restaurant and Bar 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm Style: Vocal, Cover: None, With Mark Minchello-kybds and Rick De Kovessey-drums -Ft. Tryon Park - 1 Margaret Corbin Dr NYC 212-568-5323 Free pkg on site Learn more Hear samples , (212/ )

07/25 Fri Joclyn Shannon Quintet at @ The Shrine, 2271 Adam Clayton Blvd., NYC, NY 100 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Style: Mixed, Cover: None, feauturing Joclyn Shannon -vocals; Greg Zwiebel-bass; Ed Pillion-perc. ; Tom Bender -trpt/flugel; Mark Cohn-pno.; Nice classic jazz atmosphere;<133rd>134th sts. Learn more , (212/ )

07/25 Fri Joclyn Shannon Quintet at @ The Shrine, 2271 Adam Clayton Blvd., NYC, NY 100 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Style: Mixed, Cover: None, feauturing Joclyn Shannon , (212/ )

07/25 Fri Joclyn Shannon Quintet at The Shrine", 2271 Adam Clayton Blvd., New York, NY 7:00 pm to 1:00 am Style: Mixed, Cover: None, Featuring Greg Zwiebel- Bass; Tom Bender- Trpt/Flugelhorn; Mark Cohn-Piano; Ed Pillion- drums song stylings of Carmen Macrae, Billie Holiday and others featuring music of Kurt Weil, Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Mercer and others. , (212/ )

07/25 Fri John Gatti Trio at Trumpets Jazz Club and Restaurant 8:00 pm to 11:30 pm Style: Cool Jazz, Cover:over $10, This dynamic trio makes its debut at Trumpets, featuring updated jazz standards, jazzy arrangements of pop classics, and compositions by keyboardist John Gatti. Gatti's vocals provide an extra layer of excitement to performances by this group of veteran NJ musicians. Two shows, at 8 and 10 p.m. $15 cover per person.Learn more Hear samples , (862/973)

07/25 Fri Lonnie Youngblood Performs at the Bonfire at Bonfire Bar & Grill 999 Market St Paterson NJ 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm Style: Mixed, Cover: None, For table reservations call 973.278.2400 Monday-Saturday between the hours of 1PM- 9PM Learn more Hear samples , (862/973)

07/25 Fri Lou Volpe Jazz Guitar at Villa Amalfi 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm Style: Cool Jazz, Cover: None, Lou Volpe plays solo at this beautiful restaurant in Cliffside Park, NJ. Learn more Hear samples , (Unknown)

07/25 Fri OPEN JAZZ JAM AND FISH FRY at Moores Lounge 189 Monticello ave.,Jersey City, NJ 8:30 pm to 12:00 am Style: Jam Session, Cover: None, Hosted by Winard Harper and Rosalind Grant. Musicians, Vocalists, Spoken Word Artists, Dancersand Jazz Music Lovers invited !! No Cover. No Minimum. Delicious Fish Sandwiches Available For Purchase . Support Jazz Venues ! Support Live Jazz. (201) 663-3214 , (201/551)

07/25 Fri Summer Jazz Room: The Heath Brothers Quintet at Shea Center for the Performing Arts 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm Style: Mixed, Cover: $10 or less, Jimmy Heath, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Freddie Hendrix, Jeb Patton, and David Wong. Learn more , (862/973)

Herb Moran

This old favourite about the delights of reefer smoking is given the New Orleans treatment by Herb Morand tpt and Albert Burbank clt, with Jim Robinson tbn, Lawrence Marrero bjo, Alcide Pavageau and white drummer Bill Matthews.

Recorded at a private party in 1949 it's given a real earthy flavour thanks to some fine Burbank clarinet and Morand's vocal ( he sounds as if he's on it). Apologies for the blurry photo it was the only one I could find of these two together.

Bob Shoffner (1900-1983)

Bob Shoffner November 29, 1934 – January 31, 2012 Bob Shoffner knew how to keep some fun secrets. As a piano technician for Elton John, Chicago, the Beach Boys, Earth Wind and Fire and countless others, he saw some interesting times in the Rock-N-Roll industry.

From a perch atop the Caribou Ranch recording studio in the 1970s, to his travels with Yamaha Pianos or tuning concert grands for the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra as recently as last year, Bob's music career spanned more than a half century. Bob died on Tuesday, January 31. He was 77. Born November 29, 1934 in Colorado Springs, Bob graduated from high school, enlisted in the Navy and met his wife, Celeste, on Guam.

They were married for 47 years. Bob was a Coast Guard Reserve officer and loved hiking near his second residence in Dove Greek. He also loved photography, woodworking, making jewelry and playing the guitar. When his children would ask about his times with famous musicians and the secrets he might know, he'd get a twinkle in his eye and say little.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pete Douglas, owner of renowned Half Moon Bay jazz club, dies

Photo: Courtesy Of Linda Goetz
Julian Guthrie
Published 5:03 pm, Monday, July 21, 2014
Pete Douglas, a lifelong lover of music who turned an abandoned beer joint into a renowned music and jazz club in Half Moon Bay, died July 12 in Miramar Beach at the age of 85. He was sitting at his desk, wearing his trademark beanie and smoking his pipe as he looked out over the Pacific Ocean.

Mr. Douglas ran the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society in Half Moon Bay for nearly 50 years, and became known to friends as the "original hipster."

Saxophonist David Liebman, a frequent performer at the Bach, said the club Mr. Douglas built had the perfect combination: "a nice meal and drinks; playing jazz for an appreciative audience; a great piano; complete care of the musicians; all with the Pacific Ocean at your doorstep; and of course Pete, who knew it all and would sit front and center listening like a hawk."

Mr. Douglas was born in Waukegan, Ill., in 1929, and he and his family moved to the Los Angeles area in the 1940s after his father died. As a teenager, Mr. Douglas loved the beaches of Southern California, and soon became involved in the local jazz scene, frequenting clubs such as the Lighthouse Cafe and listening to swing, early bebop and the sounds of West Coast jazz.

He attended UC Santa Barbara and graduated in 1955, after serving in the Army in the Korean War. He met his future wife, Pat Parslow, in 1953, and the two were married and moved to San Mateo County, where Mr. Douglas worked as a probation officer.

But music always called, and when Mr. Douglas took a day trip down the coast with his young daughter, Linda, he happened upon the abandoned beer joint that he would buy. He moved his family into the small building, and soon had musicians coming to play. By 1958, with improvements and expansions to the site, he had beatniks and local artists performing at the club, and he hosted private impromptu music jams.

Jazz luminaries
After becoming the nonprofit Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society in 1964, the club offered regular jazz and classical programs to the public, attracting local and national jazz luminaries, from Betty Carter, Bill Evans and Stan Getz to Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Etta James, Dexter Gordon and Dizzy Gillespie, to name a few. Notables in the classical music world such as the Kronos Quartet and Mariano Cordoba also performed at the club.

"Pete gave me my start in the jazz world in 1973 and has always been a mentor to me," said Tim Jackson, artistic director of the Monterey Jazz Festival and Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz, who worked as a ticket taker at the Half Moon Bay club.

"Pete was a pioneer in jazz presenting and presided over one of the longest-tenured jazz venues in the country. His passion for quality music and developing audience engagement-or a 'scene,' as Pete always said - was paramount and never diminished.

"I will miss that chiseled face with the pipe and Greek fisherman's cap (Etta James called him 'Popeye') and will always remember the spirit he brought to any conversation."
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NPR Music - You Must Hear This

First Listen: Jenny Lewis, 'The Voyager'

The Voyager's clever (but never too-clever) sound builds an open structure within which Lewis can explore her current fascination: the weight of full adulthood, and its paradoxical precariousness.
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Hamilton Leithauser: Tiny Desk Concert

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Wild Howls, Night Queens, and Surf Ragas

Here’s a riddle for you: Picture Yma Sumac, Mozart, some Western hippies looking for Indian enlightenment, a couple of blazing hot Bollywood stars, a surf rock guitarist with accompanying surf goddess, a jazz saxophone player, a soaring coloratura soprano, and a very troublesome coyote.

Got that?

Now, all of them walk into a bar and order the same cocktail. What do they order?

A Bombay Rickey, of course.
Welcome to the land of respectful re-imagining, of shaking up, muddling, then clarifying. Good cocktails, after all, are a sum of ingredients that you perhaps wouldn’t think about throwing together, and in the right hands mixing oddly disparate musical flavors can yield a pretty darn colorful sound.

Kamala Sankaram, Drew Fleming, and Jeff Hudgins have the right hands and the right vocal cords for the job. The trio is the nucleus of the five-piece Brooklyn-based ensemble known as Bombay Rickey, along with percussionist Brian Adler and upright bassist Gil Smuskowitz. Their upcoming release Cinefonia (Cowboys & Indian; release: September 13, 2014, or Yma Sumac’s birthday) runs wild, far beyond category but without losing sight of the sources of the many musics they love.
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