Monday, September 11, 2017

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

                            Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah 

 Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah born March 31, 1983, is an American trumpeter, composer and producer. Scott was born, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Cara Harrison and Clinton Scott  and also has a twin brother, Kiel. At the age of 13 he was given the chance to play with his uncle, jazz alto saxophonist Donald Harrison.  By 14, he was accepted into the New Orleans Center of Creative Arts where he studied jazz under the guidance of program directors, Clyde Kerr, Jr. and Kent J ordan.

Once he graduated NOCCA, Scott received a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 2004. Between 2003 and 2004, while attending Berklee,  he was member of the Berklee Monterey Quartet, and recorded as part of the Art:21 student cooperative quintet, and studied under the direction of Charlie Lewis, Dave Santoro, and Gary Burton. He majored in professional music with a concentration in film scoring.

His debut album for Concord Records, Rewind That, received a Grammy nomination.  Scott received the Edison Award in 2010 and 2012.

Since 2002, Scott has released eight studio albums, and two live recordings.

This is the hundredth anniversary of the first commercial jazz recordings, and the trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is using the opportunity to revisit some of that history. His new album, “Ruler Rebel,” which will be available for pre-order on Friday and released on March 31, is the first of what Mr. Scott is calling his “Centennial Trilogy,” designed to take stock of the present moment while highlighting how much has not changed in the past 100 years.

“A lot of what was going on when those guys were making those documents, it’s happening right here right now,” he said, referring to the 1917 recordings by the Original Dixieland Jass Band. “If you’re honest, it’s very hard to differentiate between what was going on then socially, and what’s going on now socially.”

                     Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah playlist

Two-time Edison Award–winning and Grammy-nominated Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah—trumpeter, composer, producer, and designer of innovative instruments and interactive media—is set to release three albums to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the very first jazz recordings of 1917. Collectively titled The Centennial Trilogy, the series is at its core a sobering re-evaluation of the social and political realities of the world through sound. It speaks to a litany of issues that continue to plague our collective experiences: slavery in America via the prison–industrial complex, food insecurity, xenophobia, immigration, climate change, sexual orientation, gender equality, fascism, and the return of the demagogue.

Heralded by JazzTimes magazine as “jazz’s young style God” and “the architect of a new commercially viable fusion,” Adjuah is the progenitor of Stretch Music, a genre-blind musical form that stretches the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic conventions of jazz to encompass many musical forms, languages, thought processes, and cultures.

        Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

    October 09, 2015 by PATRICK JARENWATTANANON
Artists don't usually tell long, rambling stories at the Tiny Desk, and if they do, those stories don't usually make the final cut. But this one felt different. It was about the time Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, a young black man, says he was stopped by New Orleans police late at night for no reason other than to harass and intimidate him. And how his pride almost made him do something ill-advised about it. And how he finally channeled that pent-up frustration into a piece of music whose long-form title is "Ku Klux Police Department."

"K.K.P.D." was the emotional peak of the septet's performance, though it wasn't a new tune. That's notable, because Scott stopped by the Tiny Desk on the very day his new album came out. It was played by something of a new band, though: Flutist Elena Pinderhughes, saxophonist Braxton Cook and guitarist Dominic Minix are new, younger additions to the group. It had new textures, too: Drummer Corey Fonville (another new member) used a djembe as a bass drum, and also brought a MIDI pad so he could emulate the sound of a drum machine. The effect was something like an evocation of African roots, juxtaposed with a trap beat.

The first two numbers were, in fact, from Scott's new album Stretch Music. That's his name for the particular type of jazz fusion he's up to: something more seamless than a simple collision of genre signifiers; something whose DNA is already hybridized and freely admits sonic elements which potentially "stretch" jazz's purported boundaries. (You may note that he showed up in a Joy Division sleeveless T-shirt and gold chain.) It's sleek and clearly modern, awash in guitar riffs, but also bold and emotionally naked. Scott is particularly good at getting you to feel the energy he sends pulsing through his horn, and he never shies away from going all-in on a solo. The least we could offer was to let him explain himself in doing so.

     Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah - Interview (Gent Jazz Festival 2017)

     Christian Scott - Christian aTunde Adjuah

     Stretch Music - Behind The Scenes

     Christian Scott - Stretch Music (Full Jazz Album)

Information sources:
 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Friday, September 1, 2017

No BS! Brass Band: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

 Just southeast of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus in Richmond, Va., lies a compact neighborhood called Oregon Hill. Historically, it's been a (white) working-class part of town, affordable for students and various bohemian types. Recording engineer Lance Koehler was drawn to the place when he moved to Richmond from New Orleans; it's where he eventually found a two-story garage and converted it into his own recording studio and home. It didn't take him long to start doing business across the Richmond music map: Koehler is good at his job, and he's affordable. His business is called Minimum Wage Studios for a reason.

He's also a drummer, and though he grew up in Southern California, his time in New Orleans left a deep impression. Inspired by the Crescent City's modern brass bands, in 2006 he started the NO BS! Brass Band with trombonist Reggie Pace. They had a place to fit between 10 and 13 musicians for rehearsal, and they had the means to document their work. And, owing to VCU and its conservatory program — with a history of producing top-notch jazz players — they had plenty of great horn players at their disposal.

Funky and danceable, the NO BS! Brass Band takes after the full black-music continuum you hear in groups like Rebirth or the Hot 8. But it's also proggy, and a bit brutalizing, and full of pride in a different Southern outpost. The group's new album is called RVA All Day, after all. And about that jazz cred: In July, it'll release another album called Fight Song, so named because it features the band's arrangements of Charles Mingus compositions.

Recently, Koehler, Pace and nine other musicians piled into a bus and journeyed up the freeway to NPR Music's Tiny Desk in Washington, D.C. They blasted us with songs from the new album — it was so loud, you could hear the music on the other side of the building, a floor down. And this summer, when Pace isn't out with Bon Iver's touring band, they'll strike out from Oregon Hill to fly the Richmond flag up and down the East Coast.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Nina Simone: She Cast a Spell and Made a Choice

             Nina Simone: She Cast a Spell and Made a Choice
By Silverfoxx
When Nina Simone died quietly in her home in southern France on 21 April 2003, the spiritual essence of three generations of freedom fighters passed on to the otherworld the proverbial crossroads with her. With a voice that embodied the pain and power of the scattered African Diaspora and classic West African facial features that suggested a short distance between the Tyron, North Carolina of her birth and Ghana.

She was the voice of a movement. Deep blues, even darker hues, from the Delta to Dakar. When the old guard of the Civil Rights Movement talked about the “voice” of the movement, they always invoked Nina Simone, Ms. Simone to all those who couldn't wrap their minds around this woman, Black woman, protest woman, iconic woman, the one woman whose very voice summoned the spirits of the Middle Passage, of those under the overseer's lash, of that charred fruit hanging from southern trees, the sprits of blues whisperers, sacred singers, heavenly shouters and insatiable desires. This woman, Black woman, was the voice of a people.

In the early 1960s, Simone's music began to more directly echo the tenor of the times. Once the darling of the supper club set, Simone was more likely to be foundperforming at a Civil Rights fundraiser. It was because of her experiences with the movement that Simone wrote and recorded her most potent critique of American racism, “Mississippi Goddamn” She was dramatically moved by the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four little Black girls. Simone restrained her own rage and transformed it into the scathing political anthem, “Mississippi Goddamn”. The song was recorded live at Carnegie Hall in March of 1964. Simone's career and her access to the supper club set would be radically altered by the recording. The brilliance of the song lies in the way she initially destabilized the immediate reception of the song, by placing the song's lyrics on top of a swinging show tune beat as she speak truth to power.
                        “Alabama's got me so upset / Tennessee makes me lose my rest /
                                    And everybody knows about Mississippi, Goddamn /
                                                         Don't tell me, I tell you /
                                                Me and my people just about due /
                                                        I've been there so I know /
                                                       You keep on saying go slow”

                                  Sister Nina Simone: Our Duty

Literally all of the mainstream protest music recorded by Black artists in the late 1960’s and early 1970s, like Sly and the Family Stone's “Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”, The Temptations' “Ball of Confusion”, Freda Payne's “Bring the Boys Home”, Roberta Flack's “Compared to What?,” Marvin Gaye's ‘What's Going On,” and Stevie Wonder's “Innervisions,” were indebted to “Mississippi Goddamn”. Simone would record other Black protest anthems like Billy Taylor's “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free,” which had been a long-time favorite of protest marchers. As a Black woman, Simone also spoke to the burgeoning Black feminist movements.

Simone presented a portrait of Black femininity that spoke to various intersections of race, color, caste, sexuality, and gender. In the song “Four Women”, Simone discusses the different though linked realities of Aunt Sarah (“my skin is black…my hair is wooly, my back is strong”), Saphronia (“my skin is yellow, my hair is long. Between two worlds I do belong”), Sweet Thing (“My skin is tan, my hair in fine, my hips invite you . . .”), and Peaches (“My skin is brown, my manner is tough, I'll kill the first mother I see”). The four women represented the prevailing, controlling images of Black womanhood.

                            Nina Simone Why The King of Love Is Dead (live)

In the 1970’s a whole generation of Black youth were introduced to Simone via her classic “Young Gifted and Black”. For many people in the post-soul and hip-hop generation, their introduction to Simone’s music and songwriting came via hearing “Young, Gifted, and Black”, which became a mantra for the first generations to come of age after the Civil Rights era. Nina Simone was a messenger to our heart and conscience; there’s no telling how many lives she touched with the simple affirmation of the beauty of being “Young, Gifted, and Black”. The interest in Simone’s music by a generation of artists, largely born after her recording of “Mississippi Goddamn,” is just further evidence of the potency of her spirit. The title of Simone's autobiography, I Put a Spell on You, paid tribute to her rendition of the Screaming Jay Hawkins composition. In the hands of Simone, the song was transformed into a moment of high catharsis. Nina Simone put her own spell on us, one that serves those from the Delta to Dakar, and beyond, well into the future. She is and will forever be the ultimate songstress and storyteller of our times.

                                My skin is Black, My arms are long /

                               My hair is wooly, My back is strong /

                  Strong enough to take the pain / Afflicted again and again /

                                       What do they call me?
                             — Nina Simone, “Four Women”

                                      Early Nina Simond

                                      Nina Simone Life Soul Playlist

                                         Nina Simone - The Legend                              Nina Simone interviewed on The Wire

                                Nina Simone - Interview 1984

                         Nina Simone on Shock

                       A Sit Down with Nina Simone

       Ifeyinwa portraying Nina Simone during an interview

Friday, May 12, 2017

Miles Davis


           Miles Davis - So What

For nearly six decades, Miles Davis has embodied all that is cool – in his music (and most especially jazz), in his art, fashion, romance, and in his international, if not intergalactic, presence that looms strong as ever today.  2006 – The year in which Miles Davis was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on March 13th – is a land­mark year, commemorating the 80th anniversary of his birth on May 26, 1926, and the 15th anniversary of his death on September 28, 1991.  In between those two markers is more than a half-century of brilliance – often exasperating, brutally honest with himself and to others, uncompromising in a way that transcended mere intuition.
                         Miles Davis The Miles Davis Story 

                             Miles Davis: Walkin'
There's an eternal battle nearly every underground artist fights. In theory, achieving mainstream cultural acceptance and ubiquity for the art you create without having to change a note of it should be a major victory. But the taste is often bittersweet. You can't help but wonder what you've lost in becoming successful. Think of that little emocore trio from Seattle who's second album went on to become one of the most significant albums (and best selling) of all time despite being every bit as abrasive and-let's say-grungy as their first. But no originally revolutionary musical movement has gone so completely from the home of rebels to the toast of high society as the “Great American Art Form” known as jazz.

Jazz was originally the respite of absurdly talented musicians not welcomed by the white establishment in traditional orchestras. By the mid-60's the variant of jazz which emphasized small combos and long solos known as bebop wasn't just accepted by the establishment. It was the establishment. Codified in the “Real Book” and the “Fake Book;” two enormous volumes of simplified sheet music for the entire collection of traditionally accepted jazz standards. What in classical music and traditional theatre they call “the Canon.”
I often wonder what the heroin addicted rebel genius Charlie Parker would have thought had he lived long enough to see doctorate programs in jazz composition and performance and major universities, with his own music held up as the golden ideal. Though Parker may have lived fast and died young, one of his frequent collaborators, and another of the great innovators of bebop, Miles Davis survived to see his cultural victory was a Pyrrhic one. Witnessing the utter co-option of his art form at the hands of the mainstream Davis drew a line in the sand in 1970 when he released the landmark Bitches Brew.
He had been moving away from bop at that point for a decade at least, but his previous recordings (even the heavily electric In A Silent Way from 1969) still maintained a tenuous connection to the past. In A Silent Way, despite it's electric and free jazz leanings even borrowed the Sonata Form from classical music. Bitches Brew was a complete break from all this. It was an ugly, confrontational, emotionally brutal, noisy mess of an album.

Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion.
On October 7, 2008, his 1959 album Kind of Blue received its fourth platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of at least four million copies in the United States. Miles Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

 Davis was noted as "one of the key figures in the history of jazz". On December 15, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution recognizing and commemorating the album Kind of Blue on its 50th anniversary, "honoring the masterpiece and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure.

Miles Dewey Davis was born on May 26, 1926, to an affluent African American family in Alton, Illinois. His father, Miles Henry Davis, was a dentist. In 1927 the family moved to East St. Louis, Illinois. They also owned a substantial ranch in northern Arkansas, where Davis learned to ride horses as a boy.

Davis' mother, Cleota Mae (Henry) Davis, wanted her son to learn the piano; she was a capable blues pianist but kept this fact hidden from her son. His musical studies began at 13, when his father gave him a trumpet and arranged lessons with local musician Elwood Buchanan. Davis later suggested that his father's instrument choice was made largely to irk his wife, who disliked the trumpet's sound. Against the fashion of the time, Buchanan stressed the importance of playing without vibrato; he was reported to have slapped Davis' knuckles every time he started using heavy vibrato.  Davis would carry his clear signature tone throughout his career. He once remarked on its importance to him, saying, "I prefer a round sound with no attitude in it, like a round voice with not too much tremolo and not too much bass. Just right in the middle. If I can’t get that sound I can’t play anything."

In the fall of 1944, following graduation from high school, Davis moved to New York City to study at the Juilliard School of Music.

Upon arriving in New York, he spent most of his first weeks in town trying to get in contact with Charlie Parker, despite being advised against doing so by several people he met during his quest, including saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.

Finally locating his idol, Davis became one of the cadre of musicians who held nightly jam sessions at two of Harlem's nightclubs, Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's. The group included many of the future leaders of the bebop revolution: young players such as Fats Navarro, Freddie Webster, and J. J. Johnson. Established musicians including Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke were also regular participants.

Davis dropped out of Juilliard, after asking permission from his father. In his autobiography, Davis criticized the Juilliard classes for centering too much on the classical European and "white" repertoire. However, he also acknowledged that, while greatly improving his trumpet playing technique, Juilliard helped give him a grounding in music theory that would prove valuable in later years.

Davis began playing professionally, performing in several 52nd Street clubs with Coleman Hawkins and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. In 1945, he entered a recording studio for the first time, as a member of Herbie Fields's group. This was the first of many recordings to which Davis contributed in this period, mostly as a sideman. He finally got the chance to record as a leader in 1946, with an occasional group called the Miles Davis Sextet plus Earl Coleman and Ann Hathaway—one of the rare occasions when Davis, by then a member of the groundbreaking Charlie Parker Quintet, can be heard accompanying singers. In these early years, recording sessions where Davis was the leader were the exception rather than the rule; his next date as leader would not come until 1947.

Around 1945, Dizzy Gillespie parted ways with Parker, and Davis was hired as Gillespie's replacement in his quintet, which also featured Max Roach on drums, Al Haig (replaced later by Sir Charles Thompson and Duke Jordan) on piano, and Curley Russell (later replaced by Tommy Potter and Leonard Gaskin) on bass.

Despite all the personal turmoil, the 1950–54 period was actually quite fruitful for Davis artistically. He made quite a number of recordings and had several collaborations with other important musicians. He got to know the music of Chicago pianist Ahmad Jamal, whose elegant approach and use of space influenced him deeply. He also definitively severed his stylistic ties with bebop.

In 1951, Davis met Bob Weinstock, the owner of Prestige Records, and signed a contract with the label. Between 1951 and 1954, he released many records on Prestige, with several different combos. While the personnel of the recordings varied, the lineup often featured Sonny Rollins and Art Blakey. Davis was particularly fond of Rollins and tried several times, in the years that preceded his meeting with John Coltrane, to recruit him for a regular group. He never succeeded, however, mostly because Rollins was prone to make himself unavailable for months at a time. In spite of the casual occasions that generated these recordings, their quality is almost always quite high, and they document the evolution of Davis' style and sound. During this time he began using the Harmon mute, held close to the microphone, in a way that grew to be his signature, and his phrasing, especially in ballads, became spacious, melodic, and relaxed. This sound was to become so characteristic that the use of the Harmon mute by any jazz trumpet player since immediately conjures up Miles Davis.
               Miles Davis - Flamenco Sketches

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Davis recorded a series of albums with Gil Evans, often playing flugelhorn as well as trumpet. The first, Miles Ahead (1957), showcased his playing with a jazz big band and a horn section arranged by Evans. Songs included Dave Brubeck's "The Duke," as well as Léo Delibes's "The Maids of Cadiz," the first piece of European classical music Davis had recorded. Another distinctive feature of the album was the orchestral passages that Evans had devised as transitions between the different tracks, which were joined together with the innovative use of editing in the post-production phase, turning each side of the album into a seamless piece of music.

In 1958, Davis and Evans were back in the studio to record Porgy and Bess, an arrangement of pieces from George Gershwin's opera of the same name. The lineup included three members of the sextet: Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones, and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. Davis called the album one of his favorites.

Sketches of Spain (1959–1960) featured songs by contemporary Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo and also Manuel de Falla, as well as Gil Evans originals with a Spanish flavor. Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall (1961) includes Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, along with other compositions recorded in concert with an orchestra under Evans' direction.

                Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain (Full Album) HD

Sessions with Davis and Evans in 1962 resulted in the album Quiet Nights, a short collection of bossa novas that was released against the wishes of both artists: Evans stated it was only half an album, and blamed the record company; Davis blamed producer Teo Macero, whom he didn't speak to for more than two years.  This was the last time Evans and Davis made a full album together; despite the professional separation, however, Davis noted later that "my best friend is Gil Evans."


                                                                Miles 1

                Miles Davis In 1959 "Kind Of Blue"  
                  Nefertiti 1967

    Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams.

         Miles Davis - Around The Midnight (1967)

        Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (1970) - full album

               Miles Davis - Tutu. Live in Stuttgart 1988.

                 Miles Davis Time After Time Montreux 1988

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Motown Jazz | Smooth Jazz Saxophone | Jazz Instrumental Music | Relaxing...

Dr. SaxLove, and I love Motown and I love smooth jazz; I love jazz music and I love jazz saxophone. Put it all together and what have you got? A jazz instrumental video that you're going to love!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Gerald Albright

                                              Gerald Albright 

One of the biggest stars of R&B, contemporary and straight-ahead jazz, Gerald Albright has earned his reputation as a “musician’s musician.”

Gerald Albright born August 30, 1957 is an American jazz saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist. His self-produced music features him on bass guitar, keyboards, flutes, drum programming, and background vocals. Born in Los Angeles, Albright grew up in its South Central neighborhood. He began piano lessons at an early age, even though he professed no great interest in the instrument. His love of music picked up considerably when he was given a saxophone that belonged to his piano teacher. It was further reinforced when he attended Locke High School , a breeding ground for many young West Coast musicians.[citation needed] After high school, he attended the University of Redlands where he received a B.S. degree in business management, minoring in music. Already a polished saxophonist by the time he enrolled in college, Albright suddenly switched to bass guitar after he saw Louis Johnson in concert.

A few months after graduating from college, he joined jazz pianist/R&B singer Patrice Rushen, who was in the process of forming her own band. Later, when the bass player left in the middle of a tour, Albright replaced him and finished the tour on bass guitar.

During the ’80s, Albright became a highly requested session musician, playing on albums by a wide variety of artists – including Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Lola Folana, Atlantic Starr, Olivia Newton-John, the Temptations and Maurice White. He also toured extensively with Les McCann, Teena Marie, the Winans, Marlena Shaw,   and ,He has also toured with Jeff Lorber, Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, Johnny Hallyday, Anita Baker and many others. In addition to numerous appearances at clubs and jazz festivals, Albright had also been a part of the popular Jazz Explosion tours, which saw him teaming up with contemporary jazz stars like Will Downing, Jonathan Butler, Hugh Masekela, Chaka Khan and Rachelle Ferrell, among many others. Albright also went on to record numerous successful solo albums for Atlantic Records.
 Two albums hit the number one slot on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Chart, and were nominated for GRAMMY® Awards in 1989 and 1990. Phil Collins asked him to front a Big Band in 1998, and they toured together. The two of them also recorded one of Albright’s tunes, “Chips N’ Salsa” on Collins’ Big Band Project, entitled A Hot Night In Paris. Later that year, Albright released Pleasures of the Night with Will Downing on Verve Forecast, which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart as well. Albright was one of the ten featured saxophonists who performed at Bill Clinton’s inauguration. He was also featured at the Presidential Summit, as well as several private functions for the President.

Albright is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Albright now lives with his family near Denver, Colorado.
                  Gerald Albright Life, Love, Smooth Playlist

Albright moved to GRP in 2002 for the Groovology album, and continued to maintain his busy schedule as a session man. His second GRP album, Kickin’ It Up, followed in 2004. Two years later, he signed with Peak Records, which released the 2008 GRAMMY® nominated New Beginnings, and the 2009 GRAMMY® nominated, Sax for Stax; both in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album.

Over the years, Albright has appeared on numerous TV shows such as A Different World, Melrose Place and BET Jazz segments, as well as piloting a show in Las Vegas with Designing Women star Meshach Taylor. Albright was selected to be one of 10 saxophonists to play at President Clinton’s inauguration ceremony. Along the way, he has sold over a million albums in the U.S. alone and has appeared on nearly 200 albums by other artists.

Albright released Pushing The Envelope in June 2010 on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group. Pushing The Envelope is a showcase for Albright’s remarkably fine balance of songcraft and musicianship, and features special guest appearances by Fred Wesley on trombone, Earl Klugh on acoustic guitar and George Duke on acoustic piano. In December 2010, Pushing The Envelope received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album.

On June 19, 2012, Albright teamed up with GRAMMY®-winning guitarist Norman Brown for 24/7, their first album together. Featuring ten killer soul-jazz tracks, 24/7 includes updated versions of “Tomorrow,” a Brothers Johnson classic from 1976, and “Champagne Life,” from singer Ne-Yo’s album Libra Scale. 24/7 was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album.

On August 5, 2014, Albright releases Slam Dunk and continues his reign supreme as the genre’s most compelling and consistent artist. Fans will hear his searing and soulful sax lines on this twelve-track recording. And, they’ll be in for a surprise, as Albright shows off his chops as a bassist, along with his ebullient tenor, baritone and soprano saxophone arrangements on his own compositions, and his super covers of classics by Phil Collins (“True Colors”) and James Brown (“It’s a Man’s, Man’s Man’s World”), with special guest vocalist Peabo Bryson. In December 2014, Slam Dunk received a GRAMMY® nomination in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category.

Souces:, Wikipedia,,  

          Gerald Albright - Slam Dunk

      Will Downing & Gerald Albright - Full Concert - 08/15/99 - Newport Jazz Festival (OFFICIAL)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ma Rainey

Singer Ma Rainey was the first popular stage entertainer to incorporate authentic blues into her song repertoire and became known as the "Mother of the Blues."

"Ma" Rainey (born Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett, September 1882 or April 26, 1886 – December 22, 1939) was one of the earliest African American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of blues singers to record. She was billed as the Mother of the Blues.She performed during the first three decades of the 20th century and enjoyed mass popularity during the blues craze of the 1920s. Rainey's music has served as inspiration for such poets as Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown.

Ma Rainey performed at the Springer Opera House in 1900, performing as a singer and dancer in the local talent show, "A Bunch of Blackberries." On February 2, 1904, Pridgett married comedy songster William "Pa" Rainey. Billed as "Ma" and "Pa" Rainey the couple toured Southern tent shows and cabarets. Though she did not hear blues in Columbus, Rainey's extensive travels had, by 1905, brought her into contact with authentic country blues, which she worked into her song repertoire. "Her ability to capture the mood and essence of black rural southern life of the 1920s," noted Daphane Harrison in Black Pearls: Blues Queens "quickly endeared her to throngs of followers throughout the South."

Ma Rainey known as the "Mother of the Blues," enjoyed mass popularity during the blues craze of the 1920s. Described by African-American poet Sterling Brown in Black Culture and Black Consciousness as "a person of the folk," Rainey recorded in various musical settings and exhibited the influence of genuine rural blues. She is widely recognized as the first great female blues vocalist.

She began performing as a young teenager and became known as Ma Rainey after her marriage to Will Rainey, in 1904. They toured with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels and later formed their own group, Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues. Her first recording was made in 1923. In the next five years, she made over 100 recordings, including "Bo-Weevil Blues" (1923), "Moonshine Blues" (1923), "See See Rider Blues" (1924), "Black Bottom" (1927), and "Soon This Morning" (1927).

Rainey was known for her powerful vocal abilities, energetic disposition, majestic phrasing, and a "moaning" style of singing. Her powerful voice was never adequately captured on her records, because she recorded exclusively for Paramount, which was known for its below-average recording techniques and poor shellac quality. However, her other qualities are present and most evident in her early recordings "Bo-Weevil Blues" and "Moonshine Blues".

Ma Rainey was an eye-catching performer. Although not a conventionally attractive woman, she sported wild horsehair wigs on stage and wore gold coins around her neck (an early instance of what we might now call bling). She carried an ostrich plume and had capped gold teeth that would flash when she sang. For all of her visual appeal, however, what most captured audiences’ attention was her voice, which by all accounts was huge and commanding. When she sang a “moaning” song, which would soon be referred to as blues, she could captivate a room in no time at all.

While performing with the Moses Stokes troupe in 1912, the Raineys were introduced to the show's newly recruited dancer, Bessie Smith. Eight years Smith's senior, Rainey quickly befriended the young performer. Despite earlier historical accounts crediting Rainey as Smith's vocal coach, it has been generally agreed by modern scholars that Rainey played less of a role in the shaping of Smith's singing style. "Ma Rainey probably did pass some of her singing experience on to Bessie," explained Chris Albertson in the liner notes to Giants of Jazz, "but the instruction must have been rudimentary. Though they shared an extraordinary command of the idiom, the two women delivered their messages in styles and voices that were dissimilar and manifestly personal."

Separated from her husband in 1916, Rainey subsequently toured with her own band, Madam Gertrude Ma Rainey and Her Georgia Smart Sets, featuring a chorus line and a Cotton Blossoms Show, and Donald McGregor's Carnival Show.

By 1917 Ma was packing them in. The fact that her shows were integrated – half the tent reserved for whites, half for blacks – testifies to her drawing powers in the South. When whites outnumbered blacks – not an uncommon occurrence, according to witnesses – the overflow sat peacefully in the black section. The two-hour show typically opened with three jazzy numbers by the band. Then, with a crescendo and flash of lights, the curtains opened on a line of flashy chorus girls showing knees and laced-up high heels. Ma employed chorus boys too, who were almost invariably “light brownskins” or “yellows.” “I don’t care how good a real dark-skinned person could do something,” old-time musician Clyde Bernhardt explained to author Sandra Lieb, “they just couldn’t get the credit for it from the colored person like a brown-skinned or light-brown-skinned or yellow person would. Colored people have always been more prejudiced than white people.” Next up was a hilarious skit – one of them, for instance, involving trained chickens, a coop, a thief, and a shotgun-toting “brownskin” made up to look like a bearded cracker. After that, a soubrette sang a fast dance number such as “Ballin’ the Jack,” joined by the chorus boys and girls.

Already a popular singer in the Southern theater circuit, Rainey entered the recording industry as an experienced and stylistically mature talent. Her first session, cut with Austin and Her Blue Serenaders, featured the traditional number "Bo-Weevil Blues." Fellow blues singer, Victoria Spivey, later said of the recording, as quoted in The Devil's Music, "Ain't nobody in the world been able to holler 'Hey Boweevil' like her. Not like Ma. Nobody."

In 1923, Rainey also released "Moonshine Blues" with Lovie Austin, and "Yonder Comes the Blues" with Louis Armstrong. That same year, Rainey recorded "See See Rider," a number that, as Arnold Shaw observed in Black Popular Music in America, emerged as "one of the most famous and recorded of all blues songs. (Rainey's) was the first recording of that song, giving her a hold on the copyright, and one of the best of the more than 100 versions."

During an interview with musicologist John Work and poet Sterling Brown at Nashville’s Douglass Hotel during the early 1930s, Ma claimed that she heard blues for the first time around 1902, when she played a small Missouri town. “She tells of a girl from the town,” Work wrote in American Negro Songs, 1940, “who came to the tent one morning and began to sing about the ‘man’ who had left her. The song was so strange and poignant that it attracted much attention. Ma Rainey became so interested in it that she learned the song from the visitor and used it soon afterward in her act as an encore. The song elicited such response from the audience that it won a special place in her act.” Ma explained to Work that a 1905 fire had destroyed clippings describing her singing these strange songs and that although they were not yet called blues, she reported that she had often heard similar songs as she travelled the South.

Ink Williams introduced Ma Rainey to Thomas Dorsey, a skilled piano player and blues composer who’d later write “Precious Lord” and become the beloved “The Father of Gospel Music.” Dorsey found her “grand, gracious, and easy to talk with,” and agreed to direct her touring group, the Wildcats Jazz Band. At band’s first performance, at Chicago’s Grand Theater in April ’24, the curtain opened to reveal a large prop Victrola phonograph in the center of the stage. A girl put a big record on it, the band kicked off “Moonshine Blues,” and Ma’s voice resounded from within the box. After singing a few bars, Ma opened a door and stepped into the spotlight, her necklace of gold coins and diamond-studded fingers glistening in the stage lights. The crowd went wild, calling Ma back for seven curtain calls. “She clearly proved that she was far superior to any of her predecessors,” proclaimed the next issue of Chicago Defender, the nation’s leading black newspaper.

“Ma had the audience in the palm of her hand,” Dorsey remembered in Living Blues. “I travelled with her almost four years. She was a natural drawing card.” When Dorsey got married, Ma helped keep the couple together by hiring his bride as a wardrobe girl. According to Dorsey, Ma’s touring show featured acts such as one-man-band Stovepipe Johnson, tap dancer Jack Wiggins, and Dick & Dick, who specialized in singing, dancing and joking. But Ma did most of the blues singing: “She’d have these prima donnas,” Dorsey recalled, “but they didn’t sing blues on her shows. See, they’d sing something else, like hot pop or somethin’ like that. She was the only blues performer. Naturally, you wouldn’t put another blues singer on your show – may out-sing you.

Unlike many other blues musicians, Rainey earned a reputation as a professional on stage and in business. According to Mayo Williams, as quoted in the liner notes to August Wilson's 1988 play Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, "Ma Rainey was a shrewd business woman. We never tried to put any swindles on her. During Rainey's five-year recording career at Paramount she cut nearly ninety sides, most of which dealt with the subjects of love and sexuality—bawdy themes that often earned her the billing of "Madam Rainey." As William Barlow explained, in Looking Up at Down, her songs were also "diverse, yet deeply rooted in day-to-day experiences of black people from the South. Ma Rainey's blues were simple, straightforward stories about heart break, promiscuity, drinking binges, the odyssey of travel, the workplace and the prison road gang, magic and superstition—in short, the southern landscape of African-Americans in the Post-Reconstruction era."

During the good years Ma traveled in her own railroad car and was addressed as Madame Rainey. “Ma was the greatest,” Dorsey insisted. “She was very generous and kind. She paid you your money; she didn’t try to cheat you or pass you by. She was unselfish and always trying to help other performers. She didn’t worry about whether they’d become competition. Ma called everybody ‘sugar,’ ‘honey,’ and ‘baby’ – even white folks. People of both races loved her. She used to hold what she called ‘white folks night,’ and white people would overflow wherever she played. She was the biggest star of her time. There’ll never be another black woman like Ma Rainey.” By 1927, Ma was successful enough to buy a Mack bus with her name emblazoned on the side.

Though the TOBA and vaudeville circuits had gone into decline by the early 1930s, Rainey still performed, often resorting to playing tent shows. Following the death of her mother and sister, Rainey retired from the music business in 1935 and settled in Columbus. For the next four years, she devoted her time to the ownership of two entertainment venues—the Lyric Theater and the Airdome—as well as activities in the Friendship Baptist Church.  Ma  Rainey died in Rome, Georgia—some sources say Columbus—on December 22, 1939.

Wikipedia, Jas Obrecht Music Archive, 

           Ma Rainey Biography

       Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

   Gertrude Malissa Pridgett ('Ma'' Rainey) Full Double Album Vinyl

       Ma Rainey - Prove It On Me Blues (1928)

      Louis Armstrong & Ma Rainey (See See Rider Blues, 1924) Jazz Legend

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Jazzy afternoon

                    Jazzy afternoon playlist

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Marsalis family

   The Marsalis Family: (l-r) Ellis, Jr., Wynton, Delfeayo, Jason, and Branford

Delfeayo on why he plays the trombone:

"The trombone kind of suits my personality and when the band teacher came around with all the instruments, there was something about it that attracted me to it. I realized later that? the trombone is the peacekeeper in the band. In the New Orleans band the trumpet plays the lead. The saxophone's job, or the clarinet, is to make the trumpet sound good. The trombone's job is to make both the saxophone and the trumpet sound good, and it?s also the bridge between the rhythm section---the drums and the tuba---and the horns. So, the trombone player has to be very flexible, whereas, you know, the trumpet can afford to be more just singular thinking because their job is really just to play the melody. So that kind of suited the way that I function in our family."

Wynton on the importance of jazz:

"We want everybody to have jazz in their life...What is it about jazz that makes it important in peoples? lives? It tells people it's okay to be themselves. And then it tells you it?s okay for another person to be themselves too, even though it?s not like you."

Jason on innovation:
"There?s one thing that honestly troubles me a bit and it has to do with the need for innovation. There really should be an emphasis on quality more so than innovation. I think it is very important to realize that great music is timeless and that the original intent of music was not about innovation or doing the new thing, it was people that wanted to express themselves on the highest level possible that they could. And I think now there's this big concern about doing something new or doing the newest thing tomorrow, rather than developing your craft over many years and years and always see it as a evolving product....I think that if there was more of an emphasis on just quality and skill more so than new, I think that, overall, music and art would be in a much better place."

Branford on what he learned from playing with Sting:
"Sting?s people called and said, 'Yeah, we want you to join this band.' And what was really?great about it was all of a sudden I had to play 30-second solos, as opposed to these five-minute, really long-winded winding solos I was playing with Wynton's band. And I was using as few notes as possible, trying to employ space, and all of a sudden you've got to get in everything you have to say in 30 seconds. And you do that for about a year and a half and then you come back to play jazz and then all of a sudden there?s a sense of urgency that just wasn?t there before, where it was mostly cerebral. It had that kind of emotional energy that I wasn?t able to find in the music, because I had been spending so much time with the intellectual aspects of it."

Ellis Marsalis for the Marsalis Family

"I hope my sons and I continue to exemplify the quality of excellence in the work that is expected from the recipient of The NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship Award . I wish to thank all of those panel members who consider our family worthy of this award and assure them we will not disappoint them in the future."

     NEA Jazz Masters: Tribute to the Marsalis Family

The story starts in New Orleans, with the birth of Ellis Marsalis, Jr. in 1934. Although the city was noted for Dixieland and rhythm-and-blues, Ellis was more interested in the bebop sounds coming from Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. His first recording was modern jazz music performed with fellow New Orleans musicians Ed Blackwell (who eventually ended up drumming for Ornette Coleman), clarinetist Alvin Batiste, bassist Richard Payne, and saxophonist Harold Battiste as the American Jazz Quintet.

After earning a BA in music education from Dillard University in 1955, Ellis continued to play modern jazz with his local colleagues until enlisting in the Marine Corps the following year. He soon became a member of the Corps Four, a Marines jazz quartet that performed on television and radio to boost recruiting efforts.

After the Marines and a brief teaching stint in Breaux Bridge, Lousiania, he returned to New Orleans with his wife Dolores and four children to work in his father's motel business while freelancing at gigs around town, such as recording with the Adderley Brothers. From 1967-70, Ellis performed with trumpeter Al Hirt.

In the 1970s, he studied music education at Loyola University, eventually earning a master's degree. In 1974, he became the director of jazz studies at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts high school, mentoring such contemporary artists as Reginald Veal, Terence Blanchard, and Harry Connick, Jr. (Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason attended the center as well.) After three years teaching at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, he joined the University of New Orleans, where he spent 12 years heading the jazz studies department. To celebrate his retirement in 2001, the entire Marsalis family performed, captured on the release The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration. In 2008, Ellis was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

The eldest son, Branford, followed in his father's jazz footsteps, gaining initial acclaim through his work with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1980 while still a student at Berklee College of Music. He then joined his brother Wynton's quintet in the early 1980s before forming his own ensemble. Branford released his first recording as a leader in 1984, Scenes in the City, an impressive start to his career.

Known for his broad musical scope, the three-time Grammy winner is equally at home on the stages of the world's greatest clubs and concert halls. In recent years, Branford has been a featured classical soloist with such acclaimed orchestras as the New York Philharmonic and the Australian Symphony. He also spent two years touring and recording with Sting, and has collaborated with the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby. For two years during the 1990s, he was the musical director of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Branford is also dedicated to changing the future of jazz in the classroom. He has shared his knowledge at such universities as Michigan State, San Francisco State, Stanford and North Carolina Central.  In 2002, Branford founded his own record label, Marsalis Music, allowing him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world's most promising new and established artists.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Branford teamed with Harry Connick, Jr. and Habitat for Humanity to create Musicians' Village in the city's Upper Ninth Ward, a new neighborhood built around a music center—named the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music—where musicians can teach and perform to keep New Orleans culture alive.

Second son Wynton would eventually become the best-known Marsalis, and a staunch advocate for the music. He received his first trumpet from Al Hirt at age six, and by 14 was winning competitions playing with the New Orleans Philharmonic.  Splitting his time between jazz and classical, he eventually was admitted to Tanglewood's Berkshire Music Center at age 17, the youngest musician ever. In 1979, he moved to New York to study at the Juilliard School.

In 1981, Wynton joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and in the summer of that year released his first album as a leader. Three years later, he released his first classical album to major acclaim—he would continue to release classical recordings occasionally, in addition to his jazz works. His ability to excel in both fields—the only performer to win Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical releases in the same year (nine Grammy Awards altogether)—made him a major name in music.

In 1996, Wynton co-founded Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC), the world's first institution solely dedicated to jazz education and performance, becoming its artistic director and music director of the JALC Orchestra. JALC, under Wynton's leadership, has a strong focus on education, developing and administering 20 jazz education programs. Wynton also was a major presence in Ken Burns' documentary series, Jazz, in 2001. Like Branford, he too emerged as a New Orleans champion after the hurricane, organizing a benefit at JALC called Higher Ground, and participating in Spike Lee's documentary about the hurricane, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.

In 1997, he became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his work Blood on the Fields. In addition to numerous awards and honorary doctorates he received, Wynton was also awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2005.

The next son to take up the mantle of jazz was Delfeayo, who from an early age showed an interest in the recording technology required for preserving the acoustic jazz sound. He began playing trombone at age 13 and produced his first recording at age 17 for father Ellis.   Delfeayo attended Berklee College of Music, majoring in both performance and audio production.  His insistence upon recording without usage of the "dreaded bass direct" for Branford in the 1980s was the key element to the change in jazz recording techniques over the past 20 years.  His production work has garnered a Grammy Award and a 3M Visionary Award.

As a trombonist, Delfeayo has toured internationally with Ray Charles, Abdullah Ibrahim, Slide Hampton, Max Roach and Elvin Jones.  He has released four albums as a leader—all of which feature at least one family member.  He earned a master's degree in jazz performance from the University of Louisville and was conferred an honorary doctorate from New England College in 2009.

Committed to educating youth, Delfeayo founded the Uptown Music Theatre in 2000 as a means of preserving New Orleans' great cultural traditions.  To date, UMT programming has staged 12 of Delfeayo's musicals and impacted more than 2,500 New Orleans youth.  His Swinging with the Cool School, an introduction to jazz for parents and their children, premiered at Children's Hospital as an experimental music therapy program in 2006.

Jason, the youngest of the Marsalis sons, took up drumming at age six, taking lessons with legendary New Orleans drummer James Black. He began sitting in with his father's band at age seven and made his recording debut at age 13 on Delfeayo's Pontius Pilate's Decision. During his final year at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts high school, Jason joined Marcus Roberts' group and took to the road. At the same time, he continued his studies at Loyola University in New Orleans.

While he made appearances with jazz greats like Joe Henderson and Lionel Hampton, he stuck close to New Orleans, becoming a major force on the music scene there. He joined the band Los Hombres Calientes with Irvin Mayfield and Bill Summers in 1998, playing on their first two albums. At the same time, he began releasing albums under his own name, starting with Year of the Drummer (1998). Jason's interest in Latin music—in particular Brazilian—has permeated his recordings, and he has worked with local Brazilian dance group Casa Samba as well. In the 2000s, he began focusing on playing the vibes at the local jazz performances he hosted, and then used vibes on his third recording, Music Update.

The Marsalis family, together and individually, have made significant contributions to the preservation of jazz, the furthering of the art form, and the education of students of the music, leaving an important and distinctive mark on the world of jazz and this nation's culture.

      The Marsalis Family A Jazz Celebration

      The Marsalis Family - Jazz playlist 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Terry Callier

     Terry Callier, Keep Your Heart Right, live on Later With Jools Holland

               Terry Callier  Love  & Life Playlist

          Terry Callier - TimePeace

           Terry Callier - Lazarus Man

Artist Biography by Jason Ankeny

For far too long, folk-jazz mystic Terry Callier was the exclusive province of a fierce but small cult
following; a singer/songwriter whose cathartic, deeply spiritual music defied simple genre

categorization, he went all but unknown for decades, finally beginning to earn the recognition long due him after his rediscovery during the early '90s. Born in Chicago's North Side -- also home to Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, and Ramsey Lewis -- and raised in the area of the notorious Cabrini Green housing projects, Callier began studying the piano at the age of three, writing his first songs at the age of 11 and regularly singing in doo wop groups throughout his formative years. While attending college, he learned to play guitar, eventually setting up residency at a Chicago coffeehouse dubbed the Fickle Pickle and in time coming to the attention of Chess Records arranger Charles Stepney, who produced Callier's debut single, "Look at Me Now," in 1962.

The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier
In 1964, Callier met Prestige label producer Samuel Charters, and a year later they entered the studio to record his full-length bow, The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier; upon completion of the session, however, Charters traveled to Mexico with the master tapes in tow, and the album went unreleased
before finally appearing to little fanfare in 1968. Undaunted, Callier remained a fixture of the Windy City club scene, and in 1970 he and partner Larry Wade signed on with his boyhood friend Jerry Butler's Chicago Songwriters Workshop. There they composed material for local labels including Chess and Cadet, most notably authoring the Dells' 1972 smash "The Love We Had Stays on My Mind." The song's success again teamed Callier with Stepney, now a producer at Cadet, and yielded 1973's Occasional Rain, a beautiful fusion of folk and jazz textures that laid the groundwork for the sound further explored on the following year's What Color Is Love?

I Just Can't Help MyselfDespite earning strong critical notices and building up a devoted fan base throughout much of urban America, Callier failed to break through commercially, and after 1975's I Just Can't Help Myself he was dropped by Cadet; in 1976, he also suffered another setback when Butler closed the Songwriters Workshop. Upon signing to Elektra at the behest of label head Don Mizell, Callier resurfaced in 1978 with the lushly orchestrated Fire on Ice; with the follow-up, 1979's Turn You to Love, he finally cracked the pop charts with the single "Sign of the Times," best known as the longtime theme for legendary WBLS-FM disc jockey Frankie Crocker. He even appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival. However, when Mizell exited Elektra, Callier was quickly dropped from his contract; after a few more years of diligent touring, he largely disappeared from music around during the early '80s; a single parent, he instead accepted a job as a computer programmer, returning to college during the evenings to pursue a degree in sociology.

TC in DC
Although he had essentially retired from performing, Callier continued composing songs, and in 1991 he received a surprise telephone call from fan Eddie Pillar, the head of the U.K. label Acid Jazz. Pillar sought permission to re-release Callier's little-known, self-funded single from 1983, "I Don't Want to See Myself (Without You)." Seemingly overnight, the record became a massive success on the British club circuit, and the singer was soon flown to Britain for a pair of enormously well-received club dates. In the coming months, more gigs followed on both sides of the Atlantic, and in 1996, Callier even recorded a live LP, TC in DC. In 1997, he teamed with British singer Beth Orton, another of his most vocal supporters, to record a pair of tracks for her superb EP Best Bit;

the following year, Callier also released his Verve Forecast debut Timepeace, his first major-label effort in close to two decades. Lifetime followed in 1999, and two years later came Alive, recorded live at London's Jazz Cafe. Callier returned in 2002 with Speak Your Peace and 2005 with Lookin' Out. In May of 2009, Hidden Conversations, co-written and produced by Massive Attack, was released on Mr. Bongo in the U.K.; a release in the United States followed in the fall of 2010. Two years later, however, he died from cancer in Chicago on October 27, 2012. Terry Callier was 67 years old.

          Terry Callier - Just as long as we're in love

          Terry Callier - I'd rather be with you

         Terry Callier - What Color Is Love

            Terry Callier - Wings

         Terry Callier - Martin St. Martin (Tribute to Martin Luther King)