Friday, July 10, 2020

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's StLJN's latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:

* Drummer and educator Bernard Long Jr. has been named to the Percussive Arts Society's Education Committee for 2020-21. Long is band director at Normandy High School and also teaches at Lindenwood University.

* HEAL Center for the Arts, the not-for-profit organization founded by saxophonist and educator Harvey Lockhart (pictured), now has its own office space, having moved into the the former home of EarthWays Center, now known as Hansen House, at 3617 Grandel Square in Grand Center.

* Whatever Is Not Stone Is Light, the latest album release from bassist (and recent transplant to St. Louis) Damon Smith, was reviewed by AllAboutJazz.com's Mark Corrato.

* Voting in DownBeat's annual readers poll is now open. You can see the nominees, which this year include St. Louis natives Oliver Nelson and Grant Green in the "Hall of Fame" category, and cast your ballot (or write in any favorites not listed) here.

* Edgar Wilkinson, bassist and tuba player who worked in St. Louis in the 1950s with the Dixie Stompers and other bands, died at age 87 in Highland Park, IL.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Sunday Session: July 5, 2020

Freddy Cole
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* John Scofield Honors Steve Swallow on New Album (Jazz Times)
* Revisiting the lost recording of Pink Floyd jamming with jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli on ‘Wish You Were Here’ (FarOutMagazine.co.uk)
* Identifying a melody by studying a musician’s body language (News.MIT.edu)
* Freddy Cole, Singer Who Eluded the Shadow of His Brother Nat "King" Cole, Has Died at 88 (WBGO)
* How Jazz Is Coping with COVID-19 (Jazz Times)
* Pixar’s Upcoming “Soul” May Have a Problem: No Actual Soul Music, Most of the Artists Included So Far Are White (ShowBiz411.com)
* Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard Talk Scoring to Picture on ‘Da 5 Bloods’ (Watch) (Variety)
* In conversation with saxophonist Kamasi Washington (Bay State Banner)
* Making Music With Brain Waves And Heartbeats (AEON.co)
* Making A New Kind Of Scene: New York City's Five Spot (WFIU)
* Societal Reckoning Over Racism Encompasses The Jazz Community (DownBeat)
* Jacques Coursil 1938–2020 (The Wire)
* The car radio turns 90 this year. Here’s how it all came about (AJournalOfMusicalThings.com)
* 48 Hours With Backpack Jazz Producer Kassa Overall (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
* Who in their right mind would go to a "herd immunity" music festival? (Mic.com)
* Full Spectrum: Derrick Hodge Sees Endless Possibilities In Music (DownBeat)
* Reflections on unlocking live music by Tony Dudley-Evans (London Jazz News)
* Thurston Moore: Into the Out World (Jazz Times)
* The Kosmische Path Less Traveled: Nine Krautrock Rarities to Know (Bandcamp.com)
* Can the music take flight again? (Financial Times)
* Eddie Henderson On Maturity And Revisiting Bop Standards (DownBeat)
* The Short and Curious Life of Wade Legge (Buffalo Rising)
* Experiment Without Inhibition: A Celebration of Anthony Braxton (River Cities Reader)
* Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums (AllAboutJazz.com)
* A Conversation with Zappa, Vol. 1 (American Songwriter)
* An encounter with Keith Tippett (The Wire)
* With YouTube Music, Google is holding my speakers for ransom (Ars Technica)
* Georgia Anne Muldrow Finds ‘The Sound Of Mixed Emotions’ (DownBeat)
* The Summer Of ’70: What Was It Good For? Absolutely…American Top 40 (RadioInsight.com)
* Musicians and Composers Respond to a Chaotic Moment (The New Yorker)
* Plunge into the world of Sun Ra and the Outer Space Visual Communicator (CDM.link)
* Five Black Jazzworld Figures Detail How Racism Impacts The Industry (DownBeat)

Saturday, July 04, 2020

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
The Grant Green Story



This week, let's take a look at the legacy of another notable jazz musician from St. Louis, as seen in the documentary film The Grant Green Story.

Born in St. Louis in 1931, Grant Green was a popular jazz guitarist in the 1960s and '70s, recording for Blue Note and other labels and playing most of the major venues of the era. He was just 43 years old when he died of a heart attack in 1979, leaving behind six children and a discography that included more than 100 sessions just for Blue Note alone, plus numerous other recordings.

Though Green's musical legacy was underappreciated for some time after his death, he was rediscovered in the 1990s, thanks in part to the short-lived "acid jazz" phenomenon, and, more importantly, from his work being sampled by hip-hop artists and producers including A Tribe Called Quest, Cypress Hill, Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim, and most recently, Kendrick Lamar.

Directed by Charles F. Cirgenski and Sharony Green, who's the ex-wife of one of Green's sons, The Grant Green Story reveals details of Green's biography while it "follows the story of a son's search for his father," incorporating interviews with the likes of George Benson (who once called Green his favorite guitarist), Lou Donaldson, Blue Note recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, St. Louis drummer Kenny Rice, and others.

The film was an official selection for the 2016 Harlem Film Festival, and also was shown at a selection of film festivals that year. Now that it's been released to YouTube, you can see it right here, starting with part one up above and continuing after the jump with parts two and three.

After that, you can see what seems to be the only footage of Green performing that's available online, recorded in October 1969 in Paris, France. Specifically, the fourth video is a set of music featuring Green in a trio setting, backed by bassist Larry Ridley and drummer Don Lamond. In the fifth video, recorded as part of the same session, the trio is joined by guitarists Kenny Burrell and Barney Kessel for another short set.

For more about Grant Green, check out his page at the Blue Note Records site, and this 1972 interview with Green, unearthed and republished in 2015.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, July 03, 2020

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's StLJN's latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:

* The concert by singer and multi-instrumentalist Tonina that streamed live last Saturday from The Pageant now can be viewed online.

* The Kranzberg Arts Foundation has published the results of their survey asking audience members about what would make them feel safe returning to live performance venues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic..

* Upcoming outdoor concerts at The Dark Room and the National Blues Museum were previewed in a story from St. Louis Public Radio's Jeremy Goodwin.

* Pianist Adam Maness' arrangement of "America the Beautiful" has been recorded by singer Malena Smith and musicians from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as part of "Songs of America," a new patriotic-themed video series from SLSO. You can see the music video for the song here, and the rest of the "Songs of America" series here.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

It's the start of another new month, and that means it's time once again to check in on StLJN's sibling site Heliocentric Worlds, where each day there's posted a different music video, drawing on genres including jazz, blues, soul, funk, classic rock, prog rock, experimental and more.

The five most-watched videos added to the site last month were:

Leroy Jenkins - Live at the Knitting Factory
Moon Hooch - Live at Asheville Music Hall
Freddie King - "San-Ho-Zay"
Keith Jarrett Trio - "I Thought About You"

Bill Frisell - "St. Louis Blues"

Other recent posts have featured performances on video by Devo, Papa John Creach, Heatwave, Larry Carlton & Tal Farlow, Clark Terry Big Band, Leo Kottke, John Mayall, The Kinks, Kraftwerk, Grand Funk Railroad, Globe Unity Orchestra, Gong, Camel, Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Richie Cole's Alto Madness Orchestra, Captain Beefheart, Woody Herman and His Swingin' Herd, Yusef Lateef Quartet, Don Cherry & New York Total Music Co, Carlos Ward Quartet, Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die, and the Allman Brothers Band.

If you've somehow missed out on all this until now, you still can see all these videos, plus thousands more from the archives, by going to https://heliocentricworlds.blogspot.com/.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday Session: June 28, 2020

Sun Ra Arkestra
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* On identifying ragas, and how the intoxicating and often frustrating challenge for a lay listener can become an obsession (FirstPost.com)
* B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s ‘Riding with the King’ album like working with ‘blues royalty’ for Nathan East (San Diego Union Tribune)
* Bettye LaVette on Why She’s Singing ‘Strange Fruit’ Now (Rolling Stone)
* ‘He Made the World Bigger’: Inside John Zorn’s Jazz-Metal Multiverse (Rolling Stone)
* Watch Paul McCartney Play Trumpet With Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl (UltimateClassicRock.com)
* Charles Lloyd: “The thing is I want to share the music. I’m still on a mission and it can’t happen – this is plague time…” (Jazzwise)
* Sun Ra Arkestra Announce First Album in 20 Years (Rolling Stone)
* Drummer Sherrie Maricle On The 3D Jazz Trio And Developing DIVA (DownBeat)
* How Jazz Is Coping with COVID-19 (Jazz Times)
* Henry Grimes and Giuseppi Logan: Parallel Lives (Jazz Times)
* Montreal unlikely to rename Metro station after Oscar Peterson, despite petition (CBC)
* The Jazz Gallery, Which Built a Vibrant Online Community, Opens the Door to a Livestream (WBGO)
* Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, and 9th Wonder Form Supergroup Dinner Party, Share New Song “Freeze Tag”: Listen (Pitchfork.com)
* Music For the Movement on Jazz United (WBGO)
* Where did that love go? (Jazz Journal)
* Gregory Porter and Don Was: Before & After (Jazz Times)
* The Stranger-Than-Fiction Secret History of Prog-Rock Icon Rick Wakeman (Vanity Fair)
* Good vibrations: how Bandcamp became the heroes of streaming (The Guardian)
* Societal Reckoning Over Racism Encompasses The Jazz Community (DownBeat)
* Henry Kaiser, Mike Baggetta and the New “Live” (GuitarModerne.com)
* Whit Dickey :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview (AquariumDrunkard.com)
* We Insist: A Century Of Black Music Against State Violence (NPR)
* The history of the West Coast Get Down, LA’s jazz giants (DazedDigital.com)
* The Story Behind the Greatest Bob Dylan Parody of All Time (GQ)
* The Turtles run with the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ concept on their brilliant 1968 LP, ‘Battle of the Bands’ (DangerousMinds.net)

Saturday, June 27, 2020

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
We Insist! - Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite



This week, let's take a look back at an extended jazz composition of historical importance that, unfortunately, remains topical 60 years after its premiere.

We Insist: Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite is the title of a 1960 album by drummer Max Roach, featuring a five-part work composed by Roach with singer and lyricist Oscar Brown Jr.

Considered a significant work of protest during the Civil Rights era, the "Freedom Now Suite" reflects two important trends of its time: the continuing quest for equal rights under the law for Black people in the United States, and the then-new African independence movement that saw nations that once were colonies of European powers become self-governing.

Brown and Roach had began working together in 1959 on an extended composition that they hoped to perform for the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1963, but the times were moving too fast to wait. Sparked by developments in the civil rights movement, notably the sit-ins at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, Roach went ahead and used the ideas he and Brown had generated up to that point to create the "Freedom Now Suite," which was recorded on August 31 and September 6 of 1960 and released by Candid Records before the year ended.

While We Insist... unsurprisingly was considered controversial at the time and received a mixed reception from critics, it marked Roach as being among the first musicians to use jazz to address social issues. Over time, it has come to be considered a jazz classic, frequently included on critics' and historians' lists of essential and/or groundbreaking albums.

Today, you can see and hear two performances of music from "The Freedom Now Suite," separated by 50 years in time. At the top of this post, there's a video of a concert featuring the complete work that took place in 2014 at the New School in NYC. This concert was led by Roach's longtime trumpeter and New School faculty member Cecil Bridgewater, and featured musicians including bassist Reggie Workman, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, drummer Andrew Cyrille, trombonist Clifton Anderson, singer Brianna Thomas, and percussionist Neal Clarke.

After the jump, you can see the suite performed by Roach and his band, including singer Abbey Lincoln, for a TV program recorded in 1964 in Belgium. They are, in order, "Driva Man", "Freedom Day", "Tears for Johannesburg" and "Triptych: Prayer, Protest, Peace", and "All Africa."

For more information about the album We Insist... and the "Freedom Now Suite," check out this 2001 article from Jazz Times magazine and the liner notes from the original issue of the album.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, June 26, 2020

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's StLJN's latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:

* St. Louis magazine has published their annual "A List" of local attractions, organizations, people, and events, and the names of at least a couple of the winners will be familiar to StLJN readers.

The Red and Black Brass Band was mentioned for "Best Use of Brass," while Blue Strawberry was named "Best New Storytelling Venue." You can see a list of all the winners here.

* The current fund-raising efforts of radio station WSIE are the subject of a feature story from the Riverfront Times' Daniel Hill. Thanks in large part to budget cuts by the state of Illinois, WSIE must raise a total of $100,000 by the end of this month or the station may go off the air permanently.

* Job’s Trials: A Jazz Song Cycle, the latest recording from bassist and St. Louis native Dan Loomis, was reviewed by the UK magazine Jazz Journal.

* Singer and multi-instrumentalist Tonina (pictured) talked about what she's been doing during lockdown and discussed a couple of upcoming livestream performances in an interview with the Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson.

* Jazz in St. Louis has gotten some attention from NYC's Jazz at Lincoln Center recently, as last week JALC published a Spotify playlist of St. Louis jazz (accompanied by a short and rather sketchy history of our local scene) as part of a series called "City Soundscapes."

That was followed this week by a St. Louis-themed installment of "On the Road with Riley," an online video series featuring trumpeter Riley Mulkerhar that purports to take "viewers on a virtual road trip...to see how various #jazz scenes around the U.S. are coping with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis." The video features a brief chat with pianist Adam Maness and a streamed performance of "St. Louis Blues" by Mulherkar, Maness, bassist Bob DeBoo, and drummer Kaleb Kirby.

* Dr. Dorothy Steward, the mother of businessman, philanthropist and Jazz St. Louis board member David Steward and one of the namesakes of JSL's headquarters, the Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz, has died at age 92.