Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ra Kalam Bob Moses on the DuPlex

Ra Kalam Bob Moses, my guest on the DuPlex of 6-15.17 has been playing drums, percussion and other instruments professionally since the mid-1960's. He has played with a long lost of top tier-and boundary-pushing-musicians and he continues to push those boundaries. He had a lot of interesting things to say about the music and the people, including Mingus, Rahsaan, Coryell, and guitarist-composer Tisziji Muñoz who is Ra Kalam's spiritual guide.

LISTEN HERE

PLAYLIST

Love Animals "Wholly Moses" from "Love Animals"1967 on Ra-Kalam Records

Love Animal "Dancing Bears" from "Love Animals" 1967 on Ra-Kalam Records

Ra Kalam Bob Moses "Bittersuite in the Ozone" from "Bittersuite in the Ozone" 1973 on Amulet Records

Ra Kalam Bob Moses "Ghosts and Spirits" from "Vintage Visionary Vignetttes" on Ra-Kalam Records

Ra Kalam Bob Moses "Sun shower" from "Vintage Visionary Vignetttes" on Ra Kalam Records

Ra Kalam Bob Moses "Radiating Heart Grace" from "Vintage Visionary Vignetttes" on Ra Kalam Records

Ra Kalam Bob Moses "Universal Folk Song" from "Universal Folk Song" 1998 on Ra-Kalam Records

Ra Kalam Bob Moses "Love Everlasting" from "Universal Folk Song" 1998 on Ra-Kalam Records

Ra Kalam Bob Moses "Sacred Secret" from "Universal Folk Song" 1998 on Ra-Kalam Records

Ra Kalam Bob Moses "Explode, Reform and Move On" from "The Illuminated Heart" 2007 on Ra-Kalam Records

Ra Kalam Bob Moses "Skyward Home (Leaving the Body Behind - Ascension Into Pure Spirit)" from "The Illuminated Heart 2007 on Ra-Kalam Records

Ra kalam Bob Moses Grege Burk "Radiant Heart Blossom" from "We Are One  2012 on Ra-Kalam Records

Tisziji Munoz "No Self, No Thought, No Mind (feat. Dave Liebman)" from "Scream of Ensoundment (feat. Dave Liebman)" 2017 on MRI

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Trumpet Miming in Film: Mostly Jive

No surprise that filmmakers want to feature trumpet players in their films. After all, we are a complicated, sometimes volatile and, ahem, sexy cohort. I've written here about the odd character-illogical bent that movies show toward the species, but in this post, I'll restrict myself to analyzing how well filmmakers pull off the act of shooting a character playing the trumpet or cornet.

Let me note that, technically, no one is actually playing for the soundtrack while scenes are being shot. Music is almost never recorded live on a soundstage, but is recorded in an audio studio and mimed during the shoot (I did this myself as a member of a polka band in the as-yet unreleased Jack Black film The Polka King). That's the only way to be able to isolate any dialogue in the scene and it gives many more editing options. So, even if someone knows how to play, in a feature film, they always have to try and synch with pre-existing audio.

Let's start with the one scene I know of featuring a woman. In The Jerk, Bernadette Peters does an excellent miming job. Before she plays, she lightly licks her lip in a very natural way. Then, she actually fingers the right notes on the valves for a melody in the trumpet key of Aflat. Her embouchure is a little too loosy-goosy and the dubbing is very close, but not exact. She looks like an example of someone who is comfortable with the trumpet and maybe even knows how to play, but is not playing it here.

Jack Lord of Hawaii 5-O fame is in Play It Glissando, an episode of Route 66. Just from the awkwardness of the title (you can play _a_ glissando, but you can't play _it_ glissando), you can see the writers are trying to get hip but can't quite get there. I find that a lot in Route 66, but I love them for trying. Lord is cast in the Chet Baker mold and has the basic look right, but, as in most miming attempts, he's trying too hard to look the tortured soul. He's too stressed, too tense. Also, there's no variation in his chops; no indication that he's actually playing high or low, loud or soft. The director is smart enough to have only one shot where you can see him fiddling with the valves and that's a quick long shot.


Whether or not Richard Gere in-Cotton Club plays the cornet himself is a subject of online debate. The most convincing story I read says he did; not live, of course, but that with Warren Vache's help, he pre-recorded his parts. The scene where Gere's character really plays is not online, but in this clip he does a good job; right stance, overall physical look, amount of tension, fingering the valves properly. Flirting with Diane Lane does break his concentration. I get that.


Denzel Washington in Mo Better Blues does a very credible job. It helps that he is photographed in dim light-makes it hard to see his chops. They put him in the classic Miles pose-hunched over, with little movement. Spike is smart enough to give him a simple riff to play in close up and to pull back in the brief time the solo gets more complicated. Also, they know when the horn should have a harmon mute-and when it's open, for the solo.


Jack Klugman in a Twilight Zone episode called A Passage for Trumpet was not well coached. Here I speak not of his playing (although that too) but what he does when he goes to pawn his trumpet. Watch at :48.


Did you see what he did? First, he slammed his mouthpiece into the receiver-a sure way to get the thing stuck. Then, he actually, put the whole mouthpiece in his mouth. Never happens.

Ok, nuff o that.

I had reservations about other aspects of Miles Ahead, but no question that Don Cheadle was serious about learning how to play and to do a good job synching to the soundtrack. Sorry I don't have a longer clip, but this clip should show how invested he was in getting it right. Keyon Harrold does the real playing.


Jack Just-the-facts-maam Webb, a big jazz fan, made Pete Kelly's Blues. The thing that made Jack's miming work credible is his intrinsic wooden-ness, which actually keeps him from engaging in the St Vitus dance that so many actors are subject to in miming a trumpeter. His valve work is not bad.


In Clint Eastwood's film Bird, Michael Zelniker does a pretty good Red Rodney, at least in terms of fingering. He does not get the embouchure. Red had fairly Dizzy-like puffy cheeks.


Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker in Born to be Blue does some things right. His general physical deportment and playing posture is right, but his embouchure is wrong and he also raises his shoulders and gears up a little too much for a breath. Careful video study of Chet would have shown that. As is the norm, his fingering for ballads is good and breaks down somewhat at higher tempos. Kevin Turcotte does the actual playing.


Probably the progenitor of the self-destructive trumpet player was Kirk Douglas in Young Man With a Horn, a film I talk about here. Kirk's performance varies, depending on how fast the music is. There are no clips up of him when he plays jazz, but here, apart from the usual excess physical movement, he does a credible job with a ballad (trumpet actually played by Harry James):


In A Man Called Adam, Sammy Davis Jr. takes on the part of yet another messed up trumpeter. I was a little disappointed in Sammy's miming attempts here, as he was a consummate musician who, I believe, actually played some trumpet. This just means that, although his embouchure is convincing, he didn't take the time to know what cornettist Nat Adderly was actually putting down and there's a lot of random fingering going on. He does a great job of carrying out one of a trumpet player's great fantasies: smashing up his horn on stage.


Montgomery Clift in From Here to Eternity has quite a challenge: to make Manny Klein's trumpet playing look like it came from a bugle. Of course, a bugle has no valves, so even though impossible to do, it's much simpler to mime. We only see him play in profile, so rating his chops is hard, but he has the correct look of a trumpet player who's had too much to drink, but has enough energy left to show off for 16 bars before he passes out.


Red Nichols and His Five Pennies has Danny Kaye taking the title role. Much of the musical slack is taken up by Louis Armstrong and Danny does a lot of singing (unlike Red himself). He comes onstage about halfway through the clip. Before that, you get to hear Pops. When he is playing, Danny is in long shot, with appropriately masking lighting, so not much pressure for cornet verisimilitude. Adequate, I guess.


SHORT TAKES/ ODDITIES  This post would take an eternity to load if I embedded all these, so I just provide the links where you can find the clips.

Amazing. At 29:15, Sugar Ray Robinson ("Biff") gets a lecture on the use of mutes in the TV series Land of the Giants(!) Later, Sugar and the actor play a duet on Give Me The Simple Life. "I hate to call a man a liar, but that's not the first mute I've seen." At the end, the actor has to charm a snake with his trumpet, using a few well-chosen minor scales. Now yer talkin'. BTW, writer Richard Shapiro's first writing credit is a script for Route 66. https://youtu.be/4ihHl2HadQI
 
Forrest Whittaker, in the production Lush Life does have the length of the phrases down, so that he starts and stops playing phrases at the right time;  points for studiousness. But, he also suffers from the same unnecessary rocking/excess motion that he had when he played Bird in Eastwood's movie. Some playing after opening credits and at 8:00: https://youtu.be/GSYfFE_BOMo

Burt Young plays another self-destructive trumpet player in Uncle Joe Shannon. Instead of showing us the tension in his chops needed to hit all those Maynard Ferguson high notes, Burt is in constant motion. Between that and the director shooting into lights and constantly moving the camera, attention is pretty much successfully diverted from how little effort Burt put into knowing anything about the music.
https://youtu.be/A_7z7CZZQlE

Thanks to FB friend Marty Krystall for reminding me about this, He wrote: "I worked on camera in a few shots with Kurt Russell in Swing Shift, with Goldie Hawn. Kurt studied the trumpet with Zep Misner for two months, and I heard him warming up on the set. He had a very nice, controlled sound. He was a natural trumpet man. I don't know if some of his playing ended up in the film or just his side-lining, but he could play." https://youtu.be/gMU8I4uMFIY 

Bryant Weeks sits in for Bix in Bix: An Interpretation of a Legend (Tod Pletcher is playing). Full credit to Weeks for knowing the music well enough to make the fingering look good. It is weird that he brings his fingers up so high, as if each valve needed the pressure of a tuba valve to go down. The actors all do a good job and music director Bob Wilbur makes sure there are no anachronisms and missteps. https://youtu.be/dlggYkTZkzo

For Love or Country; The Arturo Sandoval Story features Andy Garcia as Sandoval, who, of course, is actually playing. Garcia does a very good job, although we might note that since Arturo's valves are almost in perpetual motion, it makes miming fast sections easier than in solos that are less moto perpetuo. https://youtu.be/3c06RIkstto

In Blues in the Night, Jack Carson does a credible job. Plus, there's a certain fascination in watching an entire group of actors pretend to play jazz. https://youtu.be/BJG0ZimloMY

One of the most ridiculous efforts and certainly the most vertigo-inducing, Mickey Rourke in Passion Play: https://youtu.be/apwHygpBzus

In Memories of Me Billy Crystal plays trumpet and, albeit with too much head movement, does a credible job. https://youtu.be/eVvhSBO0NnE

Dingo, a little known film with Colin Friels as the trumpet player(Chuck Findlay playing). I give Friels an B- for his mime job, but worth noting is the fact that this is the only film I ever saw with POV shots of the valves; as if seen through the player's eyes-or nose. https://youtu.be/AG5gZjKaPyw

Nice little trumpet scene from The Black Glove with ok miming by Alex Nicol of nice playing by Kenny Baker (I think) https://youtu.be/jMbT7JABKW4

Playing two big band trumpet players, Fred Astaire and Burgess Meredith vie for the affections of Goddard in Second Chorus.  Fred does kind of a ragged job with the fingering, while Burgess is a little more precise with fingering but apt to twist himself up into some odd contortions. Bobby Hackett and Billy Butterfield are the real players. https://youtu.be/upO7v6T7O5c

In The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai, Peter Weller, who apparently actually plays trumpet, pulls out a pocket trumpet during a nightclub scene. I'll give it a mention just because, well how often do you see a pocket trumpet in a feature film? https://youtu.be/AbBMzGUlIRw

The Salton Sea has Val Kilmer (Terrence Blanchard playing) and the little I've seen on Youtube is disappointing; no effort to synch his valve work with the music and a laughable embouchure. Goo-ily romanticized bilge. https://youtu.be/swYBhpwTLAo

Dennis Leary in The Secret Life of Dentists does a credible job. They keep him in medium-long shot with low lighting. That helps. https://youtu.be/Zirk0GaE9fU

Unfortunately, I could find find no clips of Robert Wagner playing trumpet in All the Fine Young Cannibals, no trace of Syncopation by William Dieterle, 1942, that has Jackie Cooper as a jazz trumpet player and could not find clips of Antonio Banderas playing in Mambo Kings

There are many more scenes that could be analyzed, especially in episodic television, but I have evaluated my own level of obsessiveness and feel that things have gone far enough; at least for the moment. I'd ask any readers who can cue us in to other examples to leave a comment here rather than responding on Facebook, although I'm happy if you do that as well.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Harvey Diamond and Lennie Tristano on the DuPlex

Pianist and teacher Harvey Diamond guested on the show on 6.8.17.  The show is notable for the music we heard from Harvey and Lennie Tristano and because of the insights Harvey shared about Tristano (possibly the only eminence grise in jazz), with whom he studied for ten years.

LISTEN HERE

PLAYLIST

Harvey Diamond Trio "I Hear A Rhapsody" from "Harvey Diamond Trio" 2015

Harvey Diamond Trio "It's You or No one" from "Harvey Diamond Trio"2015

Harvey Diamond Trio "Sylvia's Dream" from "Harvey Diamond Trio"  2015

Harvey Diamond "Don't You Know I Care" Live  2015

Harvey Diamond Trio "Tenor Madness" from "Harvey Diamond Trio" 2015

Harvey Diamond "Sophisticated Lady" from "Unreleased"2017

Lennie Tristano Trio "Blue Boy"  1947 on Mercury

Lennie Tristano & Warne Marsh "Smog Eyes" 1949 on Capital

Lennie Tristano & Warne Marsh "Ear Conditioning" 1949 on Capital

Lennie Tristano Sextette "Wow" 1949 on Capital

Lennie Tristano "Blame me" from "Live at Birdland" 1949 on Jazz

Lennie Tristano "All The Things You Are" from "Chicago April 1951" 1951 on Uptown

Lennie Tristano "Descent into the Maelstrom" 1953 Private recording

Lennie Tristano "Line Up" from "Lennie Tristano" (Jazz, 1956) on Atlantic

Lennie Tristano "Requiem" from "Lennie Tristano" (Jazz, 1956) on Atlantic

Lennie Tristano & Warne Marsh/Henry Grimes. "Continuity" from "Continuity" 1958 on Jazz Records

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Jimmy Hamilton Radio Show

The Duplex Mystery Jazz Hour of 05/25/2017, WZBC, featured the work of clarinet-saxophonist extraordinaire Jimmy Hamilton.

LISTEN HERE

PLAYLIST


Billie Holiday ft Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra "Jim" 1941 on Okeh
Jimmy Hamilton, Yank Porter, Teddy Wilson "Chinaboy" 1940 on Columbia
Lena Horne & Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra "Out of nowhere" 1941)on Columbia
Billie Holiday "I Cover the Waterfront" 1939) on Columbia
Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra "Rockin in Rhythm" 1943 on Ember  Duke Ellington & His Orchestra "Hop Skip and Jump" 1943 ‪
Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra‬ "Flippant Flurry" 1947 on Capital 
Duke Ellington "Lady Of The Lavender Mist"  1948) on VJC
Duke Ellington "The Tattooed Bride" 1950 on Columbia
Duke Ellington "Monologue (Pretty And The Wolf)" 1950 on Columbia
Duke Ellington and His Orchestra "Mood Indigo"1952 on Snader
The Jimmy Hamilton Orchestra "Blues For Clarinet" from "Sweet But Hot" 954 on Jazz Kings
Jimmy Hamilton "Bohemia After Dark" from "Sweet But Hot" 1954 on Jazz Kings
Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn "Sonnet For Caesar" from "Such Sweet Thunder" 1957 on Columbia
Duke Ellington "Perdido" from "The Cosmic Scene" 1958 on Columbia
Duke Ellington "Clarinet Melodrama" from "Ellington Showcase" 1956 on MPL
Duke Ellington and His Orchestra "Toot Suite Pt. 1" from "Jazz at the Plaza"1958 on Columbia
Duke Ellington "Dance of the Floreadores (Waltz of the Flowers)" from "The Nutcracker Suite  1960 on Columbia
Jimmy Hamilton & His Orchestra "after You've Gone" from "Swing Low Sweet Clarinet" 1960 on Everest
Jimmy Hamilton & His Orchestra "I Didn't Know About You" from "Swing Low Sweet Clarinet" 1960 on everest
Duke Ellington "Never On Sunday" from "utube" 1965
Jimmy Hamilton "Mr. Good Blues" from "Can't Help Swingin'" 1961 on Prestige
Jimmy Hamilton "C Jam Blues" from "Live at St.Croix" 1985 on utube
Jimmy Hamilton "Pan Fried" from "Can't Help Swingin'" 1961 on Prestige

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Joe Gordon and Confreres

On the 4.11.17 edition of the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour, WZBC, guest Dick Vacca and I took a look at the work and life of trumpeter Joe Gordon. We seeded the program with the work of some of his influences, as you will see by the discography.

LISTEN HERE

DISCOGRAPHY

Charlie Parker "Scrapple from the Apple" from "Boston 1952" on Uptown

Joe Gordon "Lady Bob" from "Joe Gordon: Early Sessions" 1954 on Fresh Sounds

Fats Navarro "Barry's Bop" from "Vol. 2 Nostalgia" 1947 on BYG

Joe Gordon & Scott LaFaro "Evening Lights" from "Joe Gordon Early Sessions" 1954 on Fresh Sounds

Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie "Trumpet Blues" from "Roy and Diz" 1954 on Verve

Horace Silver "Shoutin Out" from "Silver's Blue" 1956 on Cbs

Dizzy Gillespie Big Band "A Night in Tunisia" from "Birks Works" 1956 on Verve

Clifford Brown "Stockholm Sweetnin" from "Metronome and Vogue Masters" 1953 on Definitive

Herb Pomeroy Big Band "Feather Merchant" from "Life is a Many Splendored Gig" 1957 on Fresh Sounds

Herb Pomeroy Big Band "Less Talk" from "Life is a Many Splendored Gig" 1957 on Fresh Sounds

Lambert Hendricks and Ross "Centerpiece" from "Hottest New Group in Jazz" 1960 on Columbia

Shelly Manne and His Men "Nightingale" from "Live At the Black Hawk" 1959) on ‪Contemporary‬

Thelonius Monk "Four In One" from "T. Monk at the Black Hawk"1960 on Ojc

Kenny Dorham "The Prophet" from "Live at the Cafe Bohemia Vol2" 1956 on Blue Note

Harold Land "Don't Explain" from "West Coast Blues" 1956 on OJCCD

Joe Gordon "Non-Vienese Waltz Blues" from "Lookin' Good!" 1961 on ‪Contemporary‬

Blue Mitchell "I'll Close My Eyes"  from Blues Moods, 1960 on Riverside

Joe Gordon "Mariana" from "Lookin' Good!" 1961 on ‪Contemporary‬

Jimmy Woods "Anticipation" from "The Awakening" 1961 on ‪Contemporary‬

Friday, May 5, 2017

May-nard.


The amazing technicolor Maynard Ferguson was featured on The DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour on WZBC on 5.4.17. On this show, we stuck to the years between 1949-1962.

LISTEN HERE

PLAYLIST

"All The Things You Are." Charlie Barnet  from "The Capital Big Band Sessions" 1949 on Capital

"What's New." Stan Kenton, 1951 on Capital

"Move"  Clark Terry, Clifford Brown, Maynard Ferguson, Trumpet, Herb Geller-Alto Sax Harold Land, Tenor Saxophone Junior Mance-Piano, Keter Betts, George Morrow - Bass, Max Roach - Drums; from "Jam Session" 1954 on Emarcy

Autumn Leaves "Maynard Ferguson Octet" Maynard Ferguson (tp, b-tp, v-tb), Conte Candoli (tp), Milt Bernhart (tb), Herb Geller (as), Georgie Auld (ts), Bob Gordon (bs), Ian Bernard (p), Red Callender (b), Shelly Manne (ds) Album:""EMarcy 1955

"Maiden Voyage" Maynard Ferguson Octet from "Maynard Ferguson Octet" Maynard Ferguson (tp, b-tp, v-tb), Conte Candoli (tp), Milt Bernhart (tb), Herb Geller (as), Georgie Auld (ts), Bob Gordon (bs), Ian Bernard (p), Red Callender (b), Shelly Manne (ds) 1955 on EMarcy

"Rhythm Changes" Maynard Ferguson  On Baritone Horn - Valve Trombone, and Trumpet; from "Timex TV Show" Maynard Ferguson - 1959 -

"I Feel a Song Comin' On" Chris Connor & Maynard Ferguson from "Two's Company" 1961) on Roulette

"Blues For Kapp"-Maynard Ferguson (tp, tb, Fr h), Chet Ferretti, Rolf Ericson, Bill Berry (tp), Ray Winslow, Kenny Rupp (tb), Lanny Morgan (as, fl), Joe Farrell (ts, ss, fl), Willie Maiden (ts, fl), Frank Hittner (bari, b cl), Jaki Byard (p, celeste), Charlie Sanders (b), Rufus Jones (d) form Maynard '61 on Roulette

"Let's Face the Music and Dance," Maynard Ferguson and Chris Connor, from Two's Company" 1961) on Roulette

"Straight Out," Maynard Ferguson–trumpet, Gene Arnold Goe, Natale Pavone, Donald Arthur Rader – trumpet, John C. Gale, Kenneth Harold Rupp – trombone, Lanny Morgan – alto saxophone, Willie Maiden – tenor saxophone, clarinet, Donald J. Menza – tenor saxophone, Frank J. Hittner, Jr. – baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, Michael Christian Joseph Abene – piano, Lincoln B. Milliman – bass, Rufus Jones – drums; from "Si Si MF"  1962 on Roulette

"Morgan Point," Maynard Ferguson–trumpet, Gene Arnold Goe, Natale Pavone, Donald Arthur Rader – trumpet, John C. Gale, Kenneth Harold Rupp – trombone, Lanny Morgan – alto saxophone, Willie Maiden – tenor saxophone, clarinet, Donald J. Menza – tenor saxophone, Frank J. Hittner, Jr. – baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, Michael Christian Joseph Abene – piano, Lincoln B. Milliman – bass, Rufus Jones – drums; from "Si Si MF"  1962 on Roulette

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Baritone Boppers

These are some of the slightly lesser-known folks who mastered the art of playing bop on the big horn early on. So, dig 2 hours of baritone sax on the DuPlex recorded on 4.27.17

LISTEN HERE

PLAYLIST

Blue Serge/Mad Monk-Serge Chaloff - baritone sax, Ralph Burns - piano, Chuck Wayne - guitar, Artie Bernstein - bass, Don Lamond - drums, Dial, 1946

Pennies from Heaven-Serge Chaloff - baritone sax, Nat Pierce, Pno, George Jones, Bass, Sonny Truitt, tbn, Joe MacDonald, dr. Boston 1950, Uptown

A Handful of Stars Serge Chaloff, baritone saxophone; Sonny Clark, piano; Leroy Vinnegar, bass; Philly Joe Jones, drums, Blue Serge, Dial, 1946.

Easy Street-Serge Chaloff (baritone sax), Boots Mussulli (alto sax), Russ Freeman (piano),Jimmy Woode (bass), Buzzy Drootin (drums), Storyville 1954

Leo's Bells Gene Ammons (ts), Leo Parker (bar), Howard McGhee (t), Junior Mance (p), Eugene Wright (b), Charles Williams (d) October 4, Savoy, 1947

Senor Leo-Charlie Rouse (ts), Leo Parker (bar), Joe Newman (t), Sir Charles Thompson (p), Al Lucas (b), Jack 'The Bear' Parker (d), Savoy, 1948

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes-Leo Parker, unknown piano, Parrot, 1953

Mad Lad Returns-Leo Parker (ldr), Bill Swindell (ts), Leo Parker (bar), Dave Burns (t), Johnny Acea (p), Al Lucas (b), Wilbert Hogan (d) 1961 Blue Note

Hippy Dippy-Cecil Payne (bars), Bruce Hinkson (ts), Irvin Stokes (t), Billy Kyle (p), Franklin Skeete (b), Heyward Jackson (dr), Decca, 1949.

Cynthia's In Love, Cannonball Adderly, also s, Jerome Richardson, tenor, flute, Cecil Payne, Bari, Nat Adderly, cornet, Jimmy Cleveland, tb, John Williams, P, Paul Chambers, b, Kenny Clarke, Dr,  Emarcy 1955

Chessman's Delight-Cecil Payne (bs), Duke Jordan (p), Tommy Potter (b), Art Taylor (ds)
Cecil Payne & Duke Jordan, 1956-1962 Sessions, Savoy

Man of Moods-Cecil Payne Quintet Kenny Dorham (tp), Cecil Payne (bs), Duke Jordan (p)
Tommy Potter (b), Art Taylor (ds), Signal, 1956,

Koko-Cecil Payne, Richard Davis, bass; Roy Haynes drums, Ted Dunbar, guitar., live. 1973

Baubles, Bangles and Beads. Pepper Adams : Baritone sax Stu Williamson : trumpet Carl Perkins : piano Leroy Vinnegar : bass Mel Lewis : drums, Mode records, 1957

Curro's-Donald Byrd -trumpet Pepper Adams - baritone saxophone Herbie Hancock - piano
Laymon Jackson - bass Jimmy Cobb - drums. Warwick 1961

Straight no chaser-Pepper Adams, baritone sax  Clark Terry, flügelhorn Lars Sjösten, piano Sture Nordin, bass Egil Johansen, drums, live

I Never Knew-Jerome Richardson -- Baritone Sax Richard Wyands - Piano George Tucker -- Bass Charlie Persip -- Drums. Roamin' with Richardson, New Jazz 1959

The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady,  Charles Mingus-bass, piano, composer, Jerome Richardson – soprano and baritone saxophone, flute, Charlie Mariano – alto, Dick Hafer – tenor saxophone, flute, Rolf Ericson – trumpet, Richard Williams – trumpet, Quentin Jackson – trombone, Don Butterfield – tuba, contrabass trombone, Jaki Byard – piano, Jay Berliner – Classical guitar, Dannie Richmond – drums, Impulse, 1963

No Problem-Jerome Richardson (baritone sax, piccolo), Les Spann (guitar, flute), Richard Wyands (piano), Henry Grimes (bass), Grady Tate (drums), Going to the movies, United Artists, 1962

Jamila, Sahib Shihab (baritone sax), Phil Woods (alto sax), Benny Golson (tenor sax), Bill Evans (piano), Oscar Pettiford (bass), Art Taylor (drums), Savoy, 1984

Chronic Blues, John Coltrane - tenor sax, Johnnie Splawn -trumpet, Sahib Shihab - baritone
Mal Waldron - piano, Paul Chambers - bass, Al Heath - drums, Coltrane, Prestige, 1957

Peter's Waltz- Sahib Shihab-Baritone Saxophone, Flute –Jimmy Woode, Drums – Kenny Clarke, Seeds, Young Blood, 1968

Dexter Gordon, Lars Gullin and Sahib Shihab playing The Flight-Dexter Gordon -ts, Lars Gullin-brs, Sahib Shihab-as, Harold Goldberg-p, Benny Nielsen - b, Alex Riel-dr recorded live at Copenhagen's Jazzclub Montmartre in 1962.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Q&A with Martin Torgoff


I recently reviewed Martin Torgoff's book Bop Apocalypse; Jazz, Race, The Beats and Drugs. Mr. Torgoff was kind enough to answer a few questions I sent to him via email.

One of the things that jazz people still try to understand is why so many players became heroin addicts in the 40's and 50's, even after it was clear that using junk would not make you the player Bird was. Did your understanding of this change before and after your research? Were you satisfied with the level of understanding you achieved about this question, or does it still seem puzzling? 

Drug use is always a very complex and challenging subject, always made more so by the ideologies and hot buttons contained therein. I find it useful to try and look at it from the vantage point of the concept of set and setting, set being all of the factors and ideas around the drug phenomenon and setting being where it happens. In this case the setting is the jazz culture of the 20th century to 1960, and the set is all of the cultural, racial, social and political currents swirling around it. And beyond that is the human element. The idea that so many of the artists got on to dope because of Bird was only prevalent at the beginning of the heroin scene from '45 to '47--that was when it was a critical factor, but it went so much deeper than that. My research made me realize how the story of jazz and heroin and the aspect of the jazz lifestyle during that time was a story that played out against a whole backdrop that encompassed everything from the mafia's organization of the global heroin trade, policies of the police and the US government, and what happened in Harlem as a result--really the first great modern drug epidemic and an American tragedy. Dizzy Gillespie pointed out that very few in the community of jazz musicians and the larger African American community of that time really understood the implications or ramifications of heroin at first. I learned a tremendous amount but I am still staggered by how these artists managed to produce such a remarkable body of classic American music despite being strung out. It really says a lot about them.

New York City was the center of most of the activity of the book. You spend some time on the San Francisco scene, very little on Central Ave., Los Angeles in general and nothing about activity around Big Sur-all places with a lot of drug use and alternative cultural activity. I was interested in why you didn't write more about that.

What I did in the book to a large degree was simply follow the marijuana. It arrived in New Orleans around 1910, just as jazz was coalescing, so it was a part of the story of jazz from the very beginning. It came up river to Chicago after the closing of Storyville in 1917; over the NY along with Pops and Mezz Mezzrow and also filters down to KC and the clubs during the 30s, and takes flight with swing. I mostly write about what happened in NY because of the culture of vipers at the Savoy and what happened when the early Beats intersected with the jazz scene, and then pick up the story of heroin. Of course this was happening elsewhere as well, as you point out in the case of LA and Central Ave (where Dexter Gordon hailed from). The drug scene in LA was quite robust, which produced Synanon, one of the first recovery communities. 

Homosexuality was addressed, and to some degree at least, validated among the Beats, although much paranoia justifiably still inhered. Among jazz musicians, it seems to have been much more on the down low. At least that is the "common wisdom" and the way Bop Apocalypse basically handles it, which is not to bring it up in the jazz context at all. What's your feeling about this-was the incidence of homosexuality so low it was not worth addressing, or was the taboo about talking about it just more intense? Also, since influence seemed to flow from the jazz world to the Beats and not at all the other way, might there in fact have been some lessening of the taboo because of the Beat influence?

Very interesting question. Beyond the homosexuality of the great Billy Strayhorn and the bisexuality of Billie Holiday, I confess that, like so many others, I know precious little about this in the jazz world of that time. It was such a taboo subject everywhere--so transgressive-- but especially in the black culture of the era. It must have been there, but forever hidden and now buried...Given that atmosphere, it's really quit astounding how open both Ginsberg and Burroughs were about the subject, but that appears to have had little or no impact on attitudes about it in the jazz scene. 

Two of the competing myths in America are: Rugged Individual-Wild West versus the Shining City on a Hill. The first says we should be free to pursue our own lives with little or no government interference. The second says we are members of a body politic, complying with an implied morality associated with the Puritan/Yankee tradition. In the history of drug use and enforcement we see the latter myth clearly dominating. Why do you think that was so?

I believe the prevalent reason was race. The whole regime of drug prohibitionism and the first drug laws were really about containing the "Other", whether ethnic immigrants, African Americans, or Mexicans, bohemians, sexual and cultural libertarians, etc. Fear of race-mixing was behind all of the early drug laws. It's stunning how the story of drugs so perfectly affirms the thesis of historian Richard Hofstadter in his classic essay The Paranoid Trend in American Politics. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Coaxing Spring

Why not take credit?  This show was meant to bring Spring out of its hibernation and the day after the broadcast, the weather took a decided turn for the better. Must be living right; or maybe it was the music.
LISTEN HERE

PLAYLIST

Sarah Vaughan "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year" 1953 on Columbia

Charlie Parker "April In Paris" from "Bird With Strings" 1950 on Verve
 

Blossom Dearie "They Say It s Spring" from "Jazz Masters 51"1956 on Verve

The Dave Pell Octet "Spring Is Here" from "Plays Rogers and Hart" 1954 on Pacific Jazz

Ella Fitzgerald "Spring is Here" from "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook, Vol. 2" 1956 on Verve
 

Clifford Brown & Max Roach "Joy Spring" from "Clifford Brown & Max Roach" 1954 on Emarcy
 

Tony Bennett and Bill Evans "You Must Believe In Spring" from "Together Again" 1976 on Columbia
 

Dave Brubeck "Spring In Central Park" from "Jazz Impressions of New York" 1964 on Columbia


Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald "I Got The Spring Fever Blues" 1936 on Decca
 

Bob Dorough "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" from "RIght on My Way Home" 1997 on Blue Note
 

Freddie Hubbard "Up Jumped Spring" from "Backlash" 1966 on Atlantic
 

The Four Freshmen "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring" from "The Freshman Year" 1961 on Capital
 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Katz and Gennari On the DuPlex

The 3.30.17 edition of the DuPlex Mystery Jazz hour had two segments. In the first, I played music by the group OddSong and spoke with its leader and composer Darrell Katz. In the second, I spoke with John Gennari, author of Flavor and Soul; Italian America at its African Edge.






LISTEN HERE

PLAYLIST

 Daryll Katz and OddSong "Prayer" from "Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Sock" (Jazz, 2016) on JCA Records
 
Daryll Katz and OddSong "Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Sock" f

 Daryll Katz and OddSong "Tell Time" from "Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Sock" 

 Daryll Katz and OddSong "Lemmings" from "Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Sock" 

 Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang "Stringing the Blues" from "Stringing the Blues" (1926) on Columbia

 Louis Prima "House Rent Party Day" from "House Rent Party Day" (1934) on Brunswick

 Louis Prima & Keely Smith "Oh Babe!" from "Oh Babe!" (1950) on Robin Hood

 Lenny Tristano "Lullaby of the Leaves" from "YouTube" (1965)

 Cab Calloway "Everybody Eats when They Come To My House" ( 1947) on Columbia

 Dean Martin "Until The Real Thing Comes Along" from "This Time I'm Swingin'!" (1960) on Capital

 The Rat pack "Birth of the blues live" from "YouTube" (1965)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The People's Ensemble on the Duplex

Guests on the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour of 3.23.17 were two members of the People's Ensemble, founder-composer-keyboard player Greyson Davison and spoken word performer Gus Johnson. We played some of their tunes and jammed a few things live in the studio.
LISTEN HERE


Atonal Boogie (live)


The People's Ensemble “Ontology” Music For A Better Tomorrow (private 2017)

Armastice (live)

The People's Ensemble “For Tomorrow” Music For A Better Tomorrow (private 2017)

Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas, "The Creator Has a Master Plan," (Impulse,  1969)

The People's Ensemble “Hermeneutics in Blue” Music For A Better Tomorrow (private 2017)

The People's Ensemble “Boston (In Three Movements)” Music For A Better Tomorrow (private 2017)

United Future Organization feat.Jack Kerouac "Poetry and All That Jazz" (1991)

The People's Ensemble “In the Sun" Music For A Better Tomorrow (private 2017)

Atonal Boogie #2

Friday, March 17, 2017

Jazz Soundtracks, II

Here's another DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour about sound tracks, recorded on 3.16.17. So, close your eyes and let the cinematic images float through your mind.
LISTEN HERE


PLAYLIST (Theme music from the film, unless otherwise noted)

Elmer Bernstein, "The Man With The Golden Arm"  1955 on Spectrum
 ‪
Elmer Bernstein/Chico Hamilton‬ "Sweet Smell Of Success" 1957 on Decca
 ‪
Henry Mancini‬ "‪Touch Of Evil ‬" 1958 on Sarabande
 ‪
Lalo Schifrin‬ "Bullitt" 1968 on Warner Bros

Ella Fitzgerald "Pete Kelly's Blues"  (Jazz, 1955) on Decca

Eddie Sauter "Mickey One" (Jazz, 1965) on Polygram

Martial Solal "A bout de souffle" (Breathless) 1959 on Classic Soundtrack Collector

Gato Barbieri "Last Tango in Paris" 1972 on United Artists

Ennio Morricone "‪The Cat O' Nine Tails‬" 1971 on Colonna Sonora

Miles Davis "Ascenseur pour l'échafaud" 1961 on Fontana
 ‪
Quincy Jones "Hanging Paper‬" from "In Cold Blood" 1968 on Colgems

Duke Ellington "Happy Anatomy" from "Anatomy Of A Murder" 1959 on Columbia

Sonny Rollins "Alfie's Theme"1966 on Impulse

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review of "Bop Apocalypse," by Martin Torgoff

The vilification and suppression of marijuana and narcotics in the U.S. was fueled in the 20th century by a campaign that whipped up fear of "the other"- Mexicans, Caribbean islanders, South Americans and African-Americans.  Bop Apocalypse limns the history of this campaign and uses it to frame the story of how our own American "others"- (black and white) jazz musicians and the (white) Beat movement-interacted with each other and with law enforcement.

Most of the key cast of musical characters in Bop Apocalypse will be familiar-Louis Armstrong, Mezz Mezzrow, Lester Young, Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday. So too, will the cast of Beats-Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassidy and William Burroughs. Others playing smaller parts are Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jackie Maclean and writers Antonin Artaud, John Clellan Holmes, Michael McClure, Herbert Huncke and a few others.

As chief antagonist, we have Harry Anslinger, for 30 years the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Anslinger was a master propagandist, willing to manufacture evidence in order to convince the public and Congress that, well, we know the litany: gateway drug, leads to violent crimes, corrupts youth. All the "facts" about marijuana that have dominated public opinion until recently were shaped by Anslinger. And yes, in some quarters, they continue to dominate.

For most readers, the story of the interaction between Anslinger, Congress, the law and the perps will be new. Details of Lester and Billie's stories will make for interesting reading, while the stories of Armstrong, Mezzrow and Bird as told here may serve to fill in parts of stories we already knew.

A few other aspects of the book stand out. First of all, I'm used to thinking of the Beats-Kerouac, Ginsburg, et al, as planets in eccentric orbits, interacting intensively but haphazardly. Torgoff shows there was a discernible flow of ideas and influences that bound the group together and shaped white beat/bohemianism in mid-century America. He shows there were clear literary and cultural through-lines: Club Des Hashichins, Gautier, Hugo, Balzac, Spengler, Rimbaud, Blake and that smoking pot, although useful sexually, was part of a shared ethic of drug use as spiritual exploration.

The author describes interplay between the Beats and jazz musicians that gives a sense of their relationship; for example, Lester Young turning Kerouac on to pot. Influence between these two groups seemed to flow pretty much in one direction-from jazz to beats.  One infers that jazz culture was not particularly interested in "new literature," although eventually collaborations arose between poetry and jazz.

The difference between the white and black experiences of being "outsiders" is noted. Historically, as I said, the campaign against drugs was a campaign against outsiders and jazz musicians were some of the first and most overt outsiders. The jazz world was a backdrop for the intermingling of races and the cultural center of pushback against the Yankee and Puritan ethics. The beats, too, were easy to peg as cultural outsiders, but they didn't have the added layer of racism to contend with.

Torgoff engages the question of whether Kerouac's romanticizing of jazz was another example of white de-dimentionalizing of the black experience. He seems to take it as it comes-a marker of Kerouac's genuine affection and empathy for the black jazz world. I've always had my doubts, in fact saw a cartoon-ish quality to some of Kerouac's writing on jazz and this book didn't change my mind, but Torgoff's presentation gives the reader a fair view of competing perspectives.

Torgoff tries to come to terms with why such a large number of jazz musicians became heroin addicts in the 40's and 50's, Of course, there was Charlie Parker's out-sized influence and Torgoff explores this and some other ideas. Ultimately, though, his approach is to tell a number of individual stories of addiction; to personalize it rather than trying to over-theorize about it. Even though part of me wishes to find more closure on this vexing question, I think Torgoff's approach is viable and useful.

Are there things in Bop Apocalyse that I don't like? Yes. The long exploration of Burroughs' life is fairly interesting, but I see it as an extensive footnote or an Appendix, not something that should be in the body of the book. So too, the story of the junkie-prostitute Ruby, who had crossed paths with Billie and Bird at a shooting gallery. I don't think there's enough there to spend as much time on the story as Torgoff does and see it as another Appendix. Speaking of structural aspects-the Notes and Bibliography are extensive, but the lack of an Index for a book of this scope and size is disappointing.*

Don't get me wrong. I think Torgoff does many things right and those who've read about this subject in a scattershot way will find in this well-written book a coherent exegesis of several important 20th century cultural currents. There is a great deal to ponder in Bop Apocalypse and what I read here will usefully inform my thoughts about how we are now dealing, or not dealing, with drugs, literature and jazz.

*I was contacted by Mr. Torgoff, who tells me that the review copy which I read didn't have an index, but that the released book does."

Friday, March 10, 2017

Take a Leap of Faith

Pek and Yuri guested on the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour on WZBC on 3.9.17. Pek is the evil genius behind the Evil Clown musical empire, which includes a number of smaller groups and the Leap Of Faith Orchestra. The boys were kind enough to play in the studio and to let me join in the fray.
LISTEN HERE

PLAYLIST

Live performance in studio

Necromancer's Binary Dance 1, Turbulence Doom Choir, Netherworld, Evil Clown Records.

Necromancer's Binary Dance 2, Turbulence Doom Choir, Netherworld, Evil Clown Records.

Necromancer's Binary Dance 4, Turbulence Doom Choir, Netherworld,, Evil Clown Records.

Leap Of Faith Orchestra, Supernova, Evil Clown Records.

Live performance in studio

Monday, March 6, 2017

Charlie Kohlhase Speaks

Actually, Charlie's a very good talker, as radio listeners know from his 20 year stint hosting "Research and Development on sister station WMBR. He also knows a few tricks vis a vis the saxophone, arranging, composing and bandleading.  Charlie fell by the DuPlex on 3.2.17 to brief us on his music and to submit to a few Blindford Test questions.
Chariie and John Carlson in conference
LISTEN HERE

Jelly Roll Morton “Hesitation Blues” (1938)

Harry “Sweets” Edison & Buddy Rich “You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me” from Buddy and Sweets (Verve 1955)

Jack Teagarden's Big Eight “Big Eight Blues” Single (Hot Record Society Originals 1940)

Charlioe Kohlhas Quintet “Deep Purple” from Dart Night (Accurate 1996)

Charlie Kohlhase Quintet “Buhaina Checked Out” from Good Deeds (Accurate 1992)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Music and Talk with Lorraine Feather

My guest on the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour of 2.23.17 was Lorraine Feather, a multiple Grammy and Emmy-nominated lyricist and vocalist. Lorraine grew up in a jazz hothouse-daughter of Leonard Feather and god-daughter of Billie Holiday-but traveled her own road to become the creator of a diverse, impressive body of work.
LISTEN HERE

PLAYLIST

From AGES, Jazzed Media, 2010
A Lot to Remember
Scrabble
I Forgot to Have Children

From ATTACHMENTS, Jazzed Media, 2013
I Hope I Never Leave This Place (ballad)
I Thought You Did

From FOURTEEN-Nouveau Stride, w. Stephanie Trick, Jazzed Media, 2012
Pour on the Heat

From FLIRTING WITH DISASTER-Jazzed Media 2015
Flirting with Disaster
Feels Like Snow
Disastrous Consequences

Monday, February 20, 2017

Phil Sims Live on the DuPlex

Phil Sims was my guest on the 2.16.17 DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour, WZBC.ORG, 90.3 FM. Phil is a fabulous trombonist, composer and arranger active on the very happening Buffalo jazz scene. He had some great stories about life on the road with the Dorsey Band and writing for and conducting the Buffalo Philharmonic  He played live and I joined him on Au Privave.

LISTEN HERE

PLAYLIST

Tommy Dorsey- "Well Git It" V Disc, 1943

JJ Johnson‬ "Time After Time"  1954 on Blue Note;

PHIL PLAYS LIVE: "Pennies From Heaven"

Carl Fontana "This is Always" from "The Great Fontana" 1987 on Uptown

Lawrence Brown w. Duke Ellington, "Blue Cellophane" 1945, on Circle

PHIL AND STEVE PLAY LIVE: "Au Privave"

Buffalo Brass "Song For Alexa" from ""It's Time"" 1988 on Mark Records

Bill Watrous and Manhattan Wildlife Refuge, "Spain" 1974 on Columbia

Buffalo Brass "Take The A Train" from "It's Time" 1988 on Mark Records

Buffalo Brass "I Got It Bad" from "It's Time" 1988 on Mark Records

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Music and Talk w. Kordalewski and Naidoo

On 2/2/17, the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour, WZBC.ORG, welcomed guests pianist/bandleader/arranger John Kordalewski and Kesivan Naidoo, drummer from South Africa. Kordalewski is the founder of the Makanda Project, which performs world premieres of music by Makanda Ken McIntyre. Naidoo was a first-call drummer in South Africa, now making it happen in the U.S. Both have interesting stories to tell-including how Ken McIntyre became Makanda Ken McIntyre-and brought great music to play.
 
                          
LISTEN HERE

Playlist 

The Gorgeous Ones, The Makanda Project. Private Recording
Mellifluous, Stone Blues. Prestige Records
Tafattala, from "Skyjack' Werkstatt Records
Struttin', The Makanda Project. Private Recording
 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Boston and Beyond

The DuPlex on 1/19/17 welcomed back Boston jazz historian Dick Vacca.  For this "Boston and Beyond" show,  Dick brought in material that illustrated the early work of a number of Boston artists and how that work evolved (BTW, Dick's blog has an interesting salute to Nat Hentoff). Check out the playlist, then:

LISTEN HERE
Playlist
Makanda Ken McIntyre “Smax” Stone Blues (Prestige New Jazz 1960)

Hal Galper “Blues Theme” Single (Private recording 1962)

Hal Galper “Villainesque” Windows (Steeplechase 1975)

Bill Berry “Till You” Shortcake (Concord Jazz 1978)

Bill Berry “That Old Devil Moon” Jazz & Swinging Percussion (Directional Sound 1961)

Toshiko Akiyoshi, Charlie Mariano “The Village” Single (youtube 2007)

Toshiko Akiyoshi, Charlie Mariano “I’m a Fool to Want You” Deep in a Dream (Enja 2001)

Carol Sloane “In a Sentimental Mood" Live at 30th Street (Columbia 1962)

Carol Sloane “Deep Purple" I Never Went Away (High Note 2001)

James Williams “My One and Only Love” Everything I Love (Concord Jazz 1979)

George Wein “Exactly Like You” Single (youtube 1985)

Joe Gordon “A Song for Richard” Lookin’ Good! (‪Contemporary‬ 1961)

Teddi King “Oh, You Crazy Moon” Nat Pierce Orchestra 1948-1950 (Zim Records 1950)

Teddi King “How Long Has This Been Going On” This Is New: Teddi King Sings Ira Gershwin (Inner city 1978)