Monday, February 8, 2016

Julian "Cannonball" Adderley - The Barbara Gardner Interview

Steven A. Cerra
In the following interview, Cannonball brings out some interesting expectations on the part of Jazz club owners and patrons about the “working conditions” of the times.

When I first started playing Jazz clubs, the first set began at 9:00 PM and the last set ended at 2:00 PM because the venues had as their prime focus - not the music - but the selling of booze. 

Musician owned clubs like Shelly’s Manne Hole and Ronnie Scott’s in London, may have been exceptions to this rule, at least initially, but for the most part, the emphasis was not on the music or on the welfare of the musicians.

Under the circumstances, as Cannonball points out, there was simply no way that any musician could maintain a high level of creativity.

At the time of this its publication in the October 15, 1959 edition of Down Beat magazine Barbara Gardner was described as follows in the About the Writer insert:

“Barbara Gardner is a young Chicago writer who was born in Black Mountain, N. C. She was educated at Talladega College in Alabama, where she took a double major — English literature with a journalism minor, and education with a sociology minor.

In 1954 she moved to Chicago. She has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of jazz musicians. "I don't know how it happened. I just seemed to meet them all the time," she says. "And of course I was intensely interested in the music ever since I can remember."

Julian and Nat Adderley are her good personal friends, which adds an extra element of insight to her article on the gifted alto saxophonist. This is her first appearance in DOWN BEAT.”

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Jimmy Heath

Uploaded on Sep 10, 2010
Tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath performing his original composition "The Quota" with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Julius Watkins on French Horn, Cedar Walton on piano, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Al "Tootie" Heath.

Miami Jazz Cooperative

Valentine's Day Jazz Show

Valentine's Day Jazz Show

Hosted by WBGO's: Rob Crocker
An incredible evening of live Jazz performances by a star studded cast, in an intimate setting fit for an evening of love with that special someone over great food, drink, and specialty craft cocktails. (3) award winning acts performing (2) one hour sets of music each, let you design a night to remember. 
Joe Farsworth Trio feat Mike Dirubbo on Saxophone (4:00pm - 5:00pm & 5:30pm - 6:30pm)
Joe Farnsworth is now known as one of the most recorded drummers on the scene, with over 70 cd's behind him, for musicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Cedar Walton, Pharoah Sanders, Eric Alexander and Benny Golson. His first recording as a leader, "Beautiful Friendship" (Crisscross Records) featured pianist Cedar Walton and trumpeteer Eddie Henderson while his second, "It's Prime Time" (88 Records) included special guest artists Ron Carter, Curtis Fuller, Benny Golson and Harold Mabern, Jr.. 
For more info on Joe Farnsworth visit:
Gerry S. Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio feat Essiet Essiet on Bass & Alex Collins on Piano (7:00pm - 8:00pm & 8:30pm - 9:30pm)
In 2014 and 2015, all three trio recordings topped the national JazzWeek® radio charts, spending 15 weeks between the three CD’s at the #1 spot. The first one, Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio, received a GRAMMY Nomination in 2014.
For more info on Gerry Gibbs visit:
Lauren Henderson (10:00pm - 11:00pm & 11:30pm - 12:30am)
Lauren Henderson is a jazz and Latin jazz vocalist and composer from Massachusetts. Henderson's Caribbean and Latin Heritage are central themes in her original music and performanceHenderson's eclectic vocal influences spread across genres. Her Afro-Latin influence aids her in producing a distinct yet versatile sound. Lauren's diverse musical background is rooted in jazz and has been influenced by artists like Shirley Horn, Nancy Wilson, Anita O’Day, Chris Connor, Julie London, Sarah Vaughan, Astrud Gilberto, Omara Portuondo, and many others. 
For more info on Lauren Henderson visit:

Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 4:00 PM - Monday, February 15, 2016 at 1:00 AM (EST) - Add to Calendar

Bayonne - 24 PROSPECT AVE Bayonne, NJ 07002

The Quintessential Eddie Lang 1925 – 1932

by Sally-Ann Worsfold
(from the liner notes of The Quintessential Eddie Lang 1925 – 1932 on Timeless Records)

The guitar has become so firmly identified with every area of 20th century popular music – blues, jazz, country, rock – that many of its leading exponents, such as B.B. King, Django Reinhardt, Les Paul and Jimi Hendrix, are household names, familiar beyond the confines of their respective spheres.

Click Here To OrderYet it is highly unlikely that the instrument would have evolved in the way it did without two major factors, both of which occurred in the mid 1920s: the introduction of the electrical recording process and the arrival in New York of the Philadelphia born guitarist, Eddie Lang. His trail blazing achievements were made possible by this technological breakthrough. Until that time the banjo was the emblem of popular music, principally because out of all musical instruments, its percussive twang was best equipped to cut through the murkiness of the acoustic horn recording process. Indeed, the most popular early recordings were banjo solos, usually transcribed from piano rags, and often interpreted by such virtuosi as Fred Van Eps and Harry Reser.

Before the introduction of microphone recording, the guitar was seldom heard outside the concert hall, or in less formal folk circles, such as flamenco or gipsy. As early as 1922, just prior to the new recording process, when the singer Nick Lucas, The Singing Troubadour, began his studio career (which lasted over four decades) he accompanied himself on guitar, although his style was rooted in the ragtime tradition of the banjoists. Between them, the new technology and Eddie Langcreated an entirely fresh role for the guitar, and in the process helped change the sound of popular music.

Born in 1902 and baptized Salvatore Massaro, – he took his adopted name from a childhood basketball playing hero - the son of an Italian immigrant fretted instrument maker, Eddie Lang was involved in music making all his tragically brief life, long before he turned professional, aged 16 in 1918, and right up to his death in March 1933, aged 30, which resulted from complications following a tonsilectomy.

In a relatively short timespan, Eddie Lang accomplished more than most could hope to do given several lifetimes. This especially applied to his recording career which spanned almost a decade, between 1924 and 1933. The guitarist's output was not merely prolific; its volume was matched by the consistency and scope of his work. Therefore, this compilation is not intended to be a "best of" type package, a description which could fit almost everything from the Lang canon. Instead, it is a representative cross section of his artistry in a diversity of settings. 

Along the way, there are some familiar performances, many of them milestones in jazz and popular music, capturing Lang in company of such distinguished names as Louis ArmstrongBix Beiderbecke, Bing Crosby, Benny GoodmanLonnie JohnsonKing OliverBessie Smith and Jack Teagarden, as well as leading his own studio groups. The guitarist may be heard too enriching some recordings from such more or less forgotten names as those of bandleaders Roger Wolfe Kahn and Fred Rich, and the singers Noel Taylor and Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards, in some extremely rare items. Besides some solos and duets, as a bonus, included are some rare alternative 'takes' of otherwise well known recordings, Wild Cat and Doin' Things, which feature Eddie Lang alongside his lifelong friend and musical associate, the violinist Joe Venuti

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Joe Albany: Right Combination

Reprinted from
Joe Albany is a jazz footnote today. The late pianist, who began his career in 1943 and first recorded in 1945 with the Georgie Auld Orchestra, made remarkably few albums. Albany, who was deeply influenced by Bud Powell's attack and had smatterings of Thelonious Monk's and Lennie Tristano's abstraction, had terrible substance abuse problems throughout his life. The problems started soon after he began recording, and his drug addiction and range of accompanying legal issues that followed prevented him from recording between 1947 and 1956.
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His first leadership recording appeared in 1957 and was likely a rehearsal. The album, The Right Combination, was recorded in the Long Beach, Calif., living room of drummer Ralph Garretson in September of that year. It's hard to conceive of a better album title, since this is a powerful work for exactly that reason. Producer Orrin Keepnews had a knack for titles that cut to the chase, and this one is no exception. On this album, Albany is featured with the splendidly dry tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, bassist Bob Whitlock (who lived nearby) and Garretson, who plays on only a few of the tracks.
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What makes the combination special is that all four musicians are emotionally tender, each struggling in real life but completely at ease while playing. For many jazz musicians with issues, playing was shelter from the pressures of everyday life that they found hard to deal with. For many of us, there is a market for what we do, fortunately, and we're able to chart a life course. Jazz musicians of this era had to be highly sensitive and vulnerable to perform the way they did while at the same time struggled to remain married, support a family and live a quality life. Many jazz artists found many of the things that come normal to us today way too difficult. Not only was the pay and demand for their services constantly in decline but also the only ones who seemed to understand them and the life they loved and lived were other musicians. [Photo above of Warne Marsh]
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Joe Albany's life and addictions aren't to be pitied or analyzed. If his piano on this album speaks to you the way it speaks to me, then he has left behind an extraordinary gift that defies "why." The funny thing about most of these jazz greats is they just wanted to be left alone so they could share their hearts with fellow musicians and create a body of work that someday might touch a kindred soul. Nothing else mattered, not even the things that most of the rest of us hold dear. That's an enormous sacrifice for art, culture and the enrichment of other people's lives. So rather than try to make sense of the way artists like Albany lived, I urge you to listen instead to this album and just enjoy what Albany gave up to make it all possible.
JazzWax tracks:
 The Right Combination (Riverside) can be found under a different title here. For some reason, the only track missing is Daahoud (see below). It's also available to hear for free at Spotify. [Photo above of Miles Davis (at the piano), trumpeter Howard McGhee, pianist Joe Albany (standing in suit jacket) and guitarist Brick Fleagle (seated), by William P. Gottlieb, September 1947]
For more Joe Albany and Warne Marsh in 1957, dig Live at Dana Point (VSOP) here. They were backed by Bob Whitlock (b) and Red Martinson (d). My guess is the Riverside album was likely a rehearsal for this gig (in October 1957) and other local appearances by Marsh, Albany and Whitlock. Dana Point, Calif., is about 50 miles south of Long Beach.
JazzWax notes: It's unclear whether Riverside's Orrin Keepnews produced this session or came into the tape. The latter is more likely. What's also puzzling is why Ralph Garretson is not credited on the back of the Riverside album jacket when he's clearly playing on several tracks. Be sure to dig Albany's solos on Angel Eyes and I Love You.
If you love this album, you may want to track down the CD version, which seems to be fairly expensive at this point. The sound is much better than the digital samples online.
For more information on Warne Marsh, dig An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh by Stafford Chamberlain. As reader Peter Levin pointed out in an email, information on the session above can be found here.
JazzWax clips: Here's Daahoud from the CD...
Producer Tommy LiPuma sent along a link to A Jazz Life(1980), a harrowing documentary on Joe Albany's life directed by Carole Langer. Remember, don't judge. Just absorb the creative struggle, the artist's honesty and transparency, and the art that was produced...
Used with permission by Marc Myers

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Shorty Rogers Is Long On West Coast Jazz

by Steven A. Cerra
The definition of "West Coast Jazz?" You know, I've been asked that question so many times. It's a hard one. I'm not trying to evade the question, I'm just trying to figure it out myself. Maybe I was a practitioner of it, but as I think it over, all of us in music are products of our environment and heritage. Shelly Manne, Jimmy Giuffre and myself who are so distinctly associated with this sound...when I look back at our musical heritage, I remember that we all loved the Kansas City 7, a small unit out of the Basie band, and groups that you don't hear people speak about anymore. Bassist John Kirby, for instance, had kind of soft sounding group. 

Just to express ourselves and have fun, some of our tunes were in the softer groove. Lester Young played clarinet in the Kansas City 7 and created a sound much like Giuffre was getting later. If you research it and analyze it, you'll see a very strong similarity between the Kansas City 7 sound and what later became known as the "West Coast Jazz" sound. A quite similar sound coming out of the East Coast was called "Cool Jazz." They are kind of interrelated with each other. 

The bottom line is we're just a few guys trying to have fun, enjoying and expressing ourselves through playing.” - Shorty Rogers as quoted in Steven Harris, The Kenton Kronicles

Although not specifically credited, the following piece on Shorty Rogers appeared under the continually running “The West Coast of Jazz” series in the February 5, 1959 edition of Down Beat magazine. The Los Angeles Associate Editor at that time was John Tynan who more than likely penned the piece.

As you read about what was going on in Shorty’s career in 1959, please keep in mind that this is just one aspect of the vibrant and dynamic musical scene that was the world of many Los Angeles based Jazz musicians.

Doing movie studio calls, radio jingles and TV commercials during the day and playing Jazz gigs at night while interspersing recording sessions at all hours of the day and night was the norm. 

It was a marvelously creative time for all concerned.

Who knew that in less than a decade much of it, if not most of it, would all be over?! With the benefit of hindsight, there is an ironic twist to one meaning for the word  “long” in the title of this piece.
“Arms dangling, head bent and bobbing to the beat, fingers snapping and jaws chomping gum, the short, dark-bearded trumpeter stood alone in the center of the recording studio listening to a playback.

Shorty Rogers had left his horn at home for this particular record date. In his capacity as west coast supervisor for RCA-Victor jazz albums his job in this instance was in the booth, overseeing the performance of a small group, led by tenor-ist Jack Montrose, which included Red Norvo (Shorty's brother-in-law), Barney Kessel, Red Wooten, and Mel Lewis.

''Swell, fellas," Shorty drawled as the playback ended, "let's go on to the next one."

Back at his bench in the booth, Rogers lit his tenth cigarette since the session began, took a swig from a bottle of coke and, when the musicians were ready, cued them on the first take of the next number.

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