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Louis Armstrong

July 31, 2009 Leave a comment
Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

 

Louis Armstrong: ” The Word Jazz as far as I can see or remember, was when I was a little boy five years old, the year of 1905. In those days it was called Rag Time Musicand when ever there was a dance or lawn party the band consisted of six men, would stand in front of the place on the sidewalk a half hour of good Rag Time music, and us kids would stand or dance on the other side of the street untill they went inside. That was the only way that we young kids could get the chance to hear those great muscians such as Buddy Bolden, Joe Cornet Oliver MY IDOL, Bunk Cornet Johnson, Freddie Cornet Keppard, Henry CornetAllen Sr. & his Brass band, Old man Moret and his Ecxelsior Brass Band, Cornet Wonder and leader at 60 Frankie Dusen Trombone. Kid Ory,  Trombone and a whole lot of the other players who will live forever in my mind as the greatest that I ever heard since I was big enough to realize what was happening”.

Jazz Funeral March

Jazz Funeral March

Even to the Brass Bands down in my hometown New Orleans, to witness them playing a funeral march will make something inside of you just “tinkle”. Even to a 6-8 march, they always expressed themselves, and their very souls in the music. Joe CORONET Oliver ( MY IDOL) and Emanuel CORONET Perez had a brass band by the name of ONWARD BRASS BAND, And “My MY” how they could play in the street parade’s and funerals. Joe Oliver to me was always a sort of fantastic sort of fellow. And the greatest creator of them all. One Sunday Hustler and Pimps HUSTLER AND GAMBLERS in my neighborhood who had a good baseball team, and would go all over the city and play other teams in other neighborhoods, one Sunday they went over in Algiers a little town across the Mississippi River to play the team over there. Of course everywhere they’d go the neighborhood crowd would follow them. Even us kid’s would tag along. They’d only play for a large keg of beer, but it was lot’s of fun. And we kid’s would be thrilled to luck up on a glass of beer. Well Sir- McDonald cemetery was just about a mile away from where the “Black Diamonds” (MY TEAM) was playing the Algiers team. When ever a funeral from New Orleans had a body to be buried in the McDonald cemetery they would have to cross the Canal Street ferry boat and march down the same road near our ball game. Of course when they passed us playing a slow funeral march, we only paused with the game and tipped our hats as to pay respect. When the last of the funeral passed , we would continue the game. The game was in full force when the Onward Band was returning from the cemetary, after they had put the body in the ground, they were swingin It’s a long way to Tipperary.They were swinging so good untill Joe Oliver reached into the high register beating out those high notes in very high fashion, and broke our ball. Yea! the players commenced to dropping bats an balls etc, and we All followed them all the way back to the New Orleans side and to their destination. Of course there were many other greats even before my time, and my days of the wonderful music that every muscian were playing in New Orleans. But to me Joe “King” Oliver was the greatest of them all.
From Louis Armstrong, July 4th. 1960 his sixtith birthday,
Courtesy of Columbia Records.
Categories: Rag Time Tags: , ,

Dizzy Gillespie

July 29, 2009 Leave a comment

John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie born (October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, singer, and composer. Along with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz. Throughout the 1940s, Dizzy created new pitches of sound, tone, and demonstrated strong virtuosity with his trumpet. He also had great range and a large amount of control of his trumpet. His suppleness of rhythm, unevenly spaced phrases and complex, chromatically augmented runs played at breathtaking speed also described his playing style. Numerous people, from all generations, consider him the greatest trumpeter of them all. He along with other jazz musicians established bebop as a style of jazz for both small combos and big bands. He taught and influenced many other musicians including trumpeters Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, and John Faddis.

dizzy-gillespie-3Essential recordings are Sonny Side Up, Charlie Parker Dizzy Gillespie Town Hall, and Birks Works

The storyof Dizzy’s bent trumpet was that it happened during a birthday party he was having for his wife Lorraine. The comedians Stump and Stumpy were fooling around during intermission when one of them fell on his trumpet, bending it. When Dizzy saw the bent condition of the horn, he was concerned that if he tried to bend it back it would come off completely, so he figured he would play it the way it was. And when he played it, he loved the way it sounded, he could hear his own sound better while he was playing.  He ended up liking it so much that he had one of the instrument companies make a horn for him.

 

 

 

Town Hall

Town Hall

Sonny Side Up

Sonny Side Up

Birks Works

Birks Works

 

 

 

 

Categories: Bebop Tags: , ,

Ahmad Jamal essential recording

July 28, 2009 Leave a comment

One of the greatest trio’s ever. Jamal’s minimalist approach to jazz piano is cool jazz, Miles Davis cites Jamal as a major influence in his “Kind Of Blue” album. Israel Crosby an underrated bass player and drummer Vernell Fournier round out the trio. This is what a tight combo playing un-self-conscious jazz sounds like.

Cross Country Tour 1958-1961 Live

This is what a “Live” jazz set is like. Very close to Bill Evans Complete Village Vanguard 1961 recording. This music puts you there!! A must hear and own.

Ahmad Jamal Interview

Croos Country Tour 1958-1961

Croos Country Tour 1958-1961

Categories: Live Music Tags: ,

Rudy Van Gelder

July 27, 2009 Leave a comment

 

Rudy Van Gelder Studio

Rudy Van Gelder Studio

 

Rudy Van Gelder (born 2 November 1924, Jersey City, New Jersey) is an recording engineer and master audiophile.

Well known as one of the most important recording engineers in music history, Van Gelder is one of the legendary behind-the-scenes figures in jazz, recording several hundred jazz sessions, many are widely recognized as classics. Bringing an incredible clarity to jazz recordings .Rudy Van Gelder started recording artists such as Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley in the early 50’s, in the comfort of his parent’s living room. It wasn’t until 1959 that he opened his studio on Englewood Cliffs and along with Alfred Lion, changed the way Jazz was being recorded. In the fifty plus years that Rudy has been working it is estimated that he has recorded, mixed and mastered over 2000 albums not only for Blue Note but Verve Records, Impulse!, CTI and many others.

Van Gelder started recording musicians in his parents’ living room in Hackensack as a hobby. Overwhelming demand from musicians and producers forced him to quit his day job as an optometrist and record music full time. Before he started making his own records, Van Gelder simply wanted to re-create the audio experience of live music, his love for jazz and hearing it played back accurately led him to audiophile equipment stores. 

“When I first started, I was interested in improving the quality of the playback equipment I had,” Van Gelder explains. “I never was really happy with what I heard. I always assumed the records made by the big companies sounded better than what I could reproduce. So that’s how I got interested in the process. I acquired everything I could to play back audio: speakers, turntables, amplifiers.“When I started making records, there was no quality recording equipment available to me,” he continues. “I had to build my own mixer. These days, Van Gelder is also an enthusiastic supporter of digital audio and an avid learner of new gear and software. “I believe today’s equipment is fantastic,” he says. “I wouldn’t want to face a session without the editing capabilities of digital. There are still maintenance and reliability issues. Tech support helps. From my viewpoint, the essential difference between analog and digital is that analog does not like to be copied,” Van Gelder continues. “After the original is recorded, edited and mixed, then what? You need a digital delivery medium. In that sense, the final product can be much higher quality than in the ’70s.”

Rudy Van Gelder established the standard for sonic excellence on a par with that of the many great and legendary musicians he recorded over the decades. He has certainly done that. And it’s a legacy that Blue Note is preserving. The label has established “The Rudy Van Gelder Series,” which consists of more than 200 classic Blue Note albums remastered by him. And Blue Note recently released “Blue Note Perfect Takes,” a collection of essential tracks that Mr. Van Gelder picked for their sonic and musical excellence; the collection also includes an interview with him on DVD.

Master tape

Master tape

Rudy Van Gelder

Rudy Van Gelder

 

 

 

 

 

 

RVG albums on Amazon: LINK.  Allabout jazz interview: LINK.

Categories: Jazz Music Tags: , ,

Paul Desmond…”The Sound of the Dry Martini”

July 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Paul Desmond (November 25, 1924 – May 30, 1977) was a jazz saxophonist and composer. He came to prominence with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which lasted from 1951 until 1967. Desmond was the definitive “cool” alto saxophonist, with a style that slightly bore some resemblance to that of Stan Getz, except Desmond liked to milk the high notes more.   He indulged in counter-melodies with Brubeck (who played piano) and played witty, yet logical solos that really drove the Brubeck quartet.  He rarely played solos in double-time, preferring a cool, laid-back setting, but his solos contained surprising twists.  He is probably best known for his classic solo on his composition “Take Five.”

Paul Desmond was widely quoted as saying that he wanted his saxophone to sound like a dry martini. That quote could apply to the man himself: he was urbane, witty, sophisticated, and the music he made was intoxicating

Paul Desmond Quotes:

  •  I could only write at the beach, and I kept getting sand in my typewriter.
  • His reason for not pursuing a literary career
  • I hate the way he writes. I kind of love the way he lives, though.
    • On writer Jack Kerouac
  • I have won several prizes as the world’s slowest alto player, as well as a special award in 1961 for quietness.
  • I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini.
    • About his distinctive light sound
  • I tried practicing for a few weeks and ended up playing too fast.
    • About the value of practice
  • I was unfashionable before anyone knew who I was.
    • About his playing style
  • It’s like living in a house where everything’s painted red.
    • On Ornette Coleman’s playing
  • Not for me. If I want to tune everybody out, I just take off my glasses and enjoy the haze.
    • On contact lenses
  • Sometimes I get the feeling that there are orgies going on all over New York City, and somebody says, `Let’s call Desmond,’ and somebody else says,’Why bother? He’s probably home reading the Encyclopedia Britannica.’
  • Well, that I’m not playing better.
    • When asked by Gene Lees what accounted for the melancholy in his playing
  • Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can’t be taught.
Paul Desmond

Paul Desmond

Paul Desmond Gerry Mulligan

Paul Desmond Gerry Mulligan

Categories: Cool Jazz Tags: , ,

Jimmy Giuffre…overlooked innovator.

July 22, 2009 Leave a comment

James Peter Giuffre (April 26, 1921 – April 24, 2008) was an American jazz composer, arranger and saxophone and clarinet player. He is notable for his development of forms of jazz which allowed for free interplay between the musicians, anticipating forms of free improvisation.

“Jimmy Giuffre (pronounced “Joo-fray”) was not part of the “Free Jazz” movement of the mid 60’s, but his subtlety and understated music was part of the early creating process that lead to free improvisation. His goodwill and spirituality, good humor and lofty technique, soulful blues and classical influence combine to make his body of work unique. Jimmy Giuffre 3, The Jimmy Giuffre Clarinet and Free Fall are essential albums I highly recommend.

Categories: Avant Garde Tags: , ,

Jazz Videos

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment

I came across two very good  jazz video’s on “youtube” recently that I’d like to share.

The Lighthouse Cafe and Shelly Manne’s “Manne Hole”. Where West Coast Jazz history began.

Shelly Manne - Manne Hole logo

Categories: West Coast Jazz Tags: ,