Saturday, April 04, 2020

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
A David Sanborn retrospective



With no upcoming live shows to preview during the ongoing big shutdown, the last two installments of this weekly feature have spotlighted two of St. Louis' most famous jazz musicians, trumpeters Clark Terry and Miles Davis.

This week, we're going for a trifecta of sorts, with a collection of clips looking back at various phases in the storied career of another local favorite, alto saxophonist David Sanborn.

Each video is a full show featuring Sanborn with a different lineup of musicians, presented in chronological order starting up above with a performance recorded in 1986 in Baden-Baden, Germany for the TV program Ohne Filter. The band includes the saxophonist's longtime associates, the late Hiram Bullock on guitar and Ricky Peterson on keyboards, along with bassist Steve Logan, drummer Tony Smith, and percussionist Steve Scales.

After the jump, you can see Sanborn's complete set recorded in August, 1998 at the Newport Jazz Festival. That's followed by a performance recorded in December of '98 for broadcast on ABC in the early hours of New Year's Day 1999, featuring Sanborn and his band along with guest performers including singers Cassandra Wilson and D'Angelo, hip-hop duo Gang Starr, and guitarist and singer Eric Clapton.

The fourth video features Sanborn with organist Joey DeFrancesco, with whom he made a couple of records around this time, and drummer Gene Lake serving up a bluesy, stripped-down set at the 2010 Jazzwoche Burghausen festival in Germany.

Next, it's a show from Sanborn's 2013 "Quartette Humaine" tour, co-led with pianist Bob James and also featuring drummer Steve Gadd and bassist Scott Colley, that was recorded in November at the Leverkusener Jazztage festival in Germany.

Last but not least, you can see a full show from the 2015 edition of Sanborn's touring band, recorded in April of that year in Budapest, Hungary. Along with Sanborn and Ricky Peterson, the group features guitarist Nicky Moroch, bassist Andre Berry and drummer Chris Coleman, with German saxophonist Jan Prax sitting in on a couple of tunes.

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

Friday, April 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:

* Drummer Dave Weckl will be doing a live interview and taking listener calls for an hour on the "Around The Kit" podcast starting at 8:00 p.m. EDT this coming Sunday, April 5.

* The late baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett (pictured) is the subject of a remembrance and tribute in the April issue of the New York City Jazz Record (.pdf link).

* Trumpeter Keyon Harrold was interviewed by AllAboutJazz.com's Aaron Paschal.

* An article by Dan Hardie in Syncopated Times makes the case for St. Louis-born pianist Gus Haenschen as the "missing link" between the ragtime of Scott Joplin and early jazz.

* Multi-instrumentalist and singer Tonina Saputo and the Mosaic Jazz Sextet were among the musicians seen - some very briefly - in a news story on local NBC affiliate KSDK about the effects of COVID-19 on the St. Louis music scene.

* In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the release of Miles Davis' landmark album Bitches Brew, Jazz Times asked 10 contemporary musicians for their thoughts on the recording's significance

* The Middle East English-language news site The National uses the recent documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool as a jumping-off point for an article about "9 Ways Miles Davis Changed the Music Scene Forever."

* In related news, the Davis documentary, which now is streaming on Netflix, was reviewed by TheArtsDesk.com's Tim Cumming.

* Last but not least, the latest episode of the Rhino Records podcast features an interview with Davis’ son Erin and nephew Vince Wilburn Jr. about life on the road with the trumpeter and the production of the recently released "lost album" Rubberband.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Fred Tompkins spans decades
with new album Stretching Time

Flute player and composer Fred Tompkins has released a new album called Stretching Time.

The CD (pictured) includes eleven tracks spanning more than 40 years (hence the title), including eight new works mixing free improv with composed material that feature Tompkins on C flute and bass flute with pianist Greg Mills, clarinetist Eric Mandat, and cellist Tracy Andreotti.

The other three compositions date back to the late 70s when Tompkins was living in New York, and are performed by an ensemble including bassist Harvie Swartz (aka Harvie S), guitarist Chuck Loeb, French horn player John Clark, drummer Rick Cutler, and other NYC-based players.

While Tompkins anticipates the CD being available on the usual digital music services in the near future, and for purchase as a physical CD at Vintage Vinyl and Euclid Records once they've fully re-opened for business, for now, you can hear some audio excerpts and order it from his website at http://tompkinsjazz.com/.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

April is Jazz Appreciation Month

It's time once again for Jazz Appreciation Month, the annual celebration of jazz music sponsored every April by the Smithsonian Institution.

Now in its 19th year, Jazz Appreciation Month (or JAM) was created "to draw greater public attention to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz and its importance as an American cultural heritage. In addition, JAM is intended to stimulate the current jazz scene and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz—to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and support institutional jazz programs."

This year, JAM "celebrates the dynamic impact of the often-overlooked contributions that women have made to jazz, both on and off the stage...highlighting a multitude of women artists on student-made posters from the Duke Ellington High School for the Arts" including Mary Lou Williams, the Sweethearts of Rhythm, Leigh Pilzer, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others.

The winning poster features pianist, band leader, and composer Toshiko Akiyoshi. Born in Manchuria, Akiyoshi moved to the United States in 1956 to study at Berklee School of Music in Boston. In 1973, she and her husband, saxophonist/flutist Lew Tabackin, formed the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra. Named an NEA Jazz Master in 2007, Akiyoshi has received fourteen Grammy Award nominations and was the first woman to win Best Arranger and Composer awards in DownBeat magazine's annual Readers' Poll.

At the end of the month, jazz fans worldwide also will celebrate the ninth annual International Jazz Day on Thursday, April 30. Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Jazz Day is designed to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.

Capetown, South Africa had been scheduled to be the "global host city" for 2020, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the all-star concert there and other in-person activities planned for the day have been canceled. However, according to the website, "International Jazz Day will nevertheless be celebrated on 30 April mainly online. Resources, information and ideas on how to mark International Jazz Day can be found on jazzday.com, where jazz lovers and practitioners are invited to post their videos and audio recordings."

If you'd like to plan your own festivities, the Smithsonian offers a list of "ways to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month," and has produced a poster (pictured) depicting Akiyoshi.

Created by Wynter Jackson, a senior visual arts student at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC, the 2020 posters were distributed for free to schools, libraries, music and jazz educators, music merchants and manufacturers, radio stations, arts presenters, and U.S. embassies worldwide, and are available to the general public as a downloadable PDF. You also can see and download commemorative posters from the previous 19 years of JAM here.

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

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

The most-watched videos added to the site last month were:
Stanley Turrentine - "Don't Mess With Mr. T"
The Police - Live on Beat Club
Gong - Live in Paris
Taylor Ho Bynum Quintet - "YX 6C/KID/mm(pf)"
Keith Jarrett Trio - Live in Spain

Other recent posts have featured performances on video by Harold Land and the Timeless All Stars, Robert Glasper, ZZ Top, Béla Fleck and The Flecktones, Allan Holdsworth Trio, Clark Terry Big Band, Ry Cooder, T-Bone Walker, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, El Chicano, The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, James Brown, Iron Butterfly, Ben Webster, Grand Funk Railroad, Jan Hammer & Al Di Meola, Mississippi John Hurt, Jethro Tull, Larry Harlow, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne, Bill Evans, Donald Byrd, Eddie Palmieri's Salsa Orchestra, and Chris Potter Circuits.

If you've missed out on all this up until now, not to worry - you still can see all these videos, plus hundreds more from the archives, by visiting https://heliocentricworlds.blogspot.com/.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Session: March 29, 2020

Hank Mobley
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* Remembering two Sun Ra disciples: Danny Ray Thompson and Leroy Butler (XPN.com)
* Musicians Across the World Face Daunting Situations (DownBeat)
* Ray Mantilla, Percussionist Who Blazed a Trail in Both Jazz and Latin Music, Is Dead at 85 (WBGO)
* ‘I’m selling my cello to keep my family afloat’ – coronavirus realities for musicians (ClassicFM.com)
* Overdue Ovation: Hank Roberts Is Back in the Game (Jazz Times)
* Mike Longo, Prominent Jazz Pianist Known For His Tenure with Dizzy Gillespie, Dies at 83 (WBGO)
* Mr. Bungle Re-Recording First Demo: Exclusive Studio Report, Part 1 (RevolverMag.com)
* Lee Is Free: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo And Raül Refree (TheQuietus.com)
* Manu Dibango: African saxophone legend dies of Covid-19 (BBC)
* As Americans Increasingly are Asked To Stay Home, Rudresh Mahanthappa Explores his Kitchen (DownBeat)
* The Archive of Contemporary Music (AllAboutJazz.com)
* Richard Thompson on Songwriting, Capturing Butterflies, Picasso & More (American Songwriter)
* For Sale: The Wooden Stage From The Beatles’ First Concert (Atlas Obscura)
* A History of Jazz Fusion in 30 Essential Albums (TrebleZine.com)
* ‘History needs to be set alight’: Shabaka Hutchings on the radical power of jazz (The Guardian)
* Legendary producer Larry Klein: my 12 career-defining records (MusicRadar.com)
* National Recording Registry Class Produces Ultimate 'Stay at Home' Playlist (LOC.gov)
* Bass legend Carol Kaye: “98% of bass parts cut in Hollywood in the '60s were done with a pick on flatwound strings” (Guitar World)
* The Haunted Jazz of Hank Mobley (The New Yorker)
* Lensing the Newport Mob: 60 Years Later, A Deep Dive Into 'Jazz on a Summer's Day' (WBGO)
* Marshall Allen Looks Back on Five Decades of Sun Ra Arkestra (Miami New Times)
* How Coronavirus Will Reshape The Concert Business (Billboard)
* Alice Coltrane: where to start in her back catalogue (The Guardian)
* Bob Dylan Releases 17-Minute Song About JFK Assassination (Variety)
* Montreux Jazz Festival Releases Free Streams Of Iconic Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone Performances (UDiscoverMusic.com)
* Radio, Don’t Blow Your Chance to Matter Again (Guest Column) (Variety)
* Gregory Porter Moves Past the ‘Gates of Genres’ (DownBeat)
* Ranky Tanky: Celebrating the Spirituality & Rhythms of Gullah Culture (Jazz Times)

Saturday, March 28, 2020

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Miles Davis - Live in Copenhagen 1969



This week, let's take a look at some vintage performance videos of Miles Davis that recently became available online for the first time.

Recorded in November, 1969 at the Tivoli Koncertsal in Copenhagen, Denmark, the videos feature Davis on trumpet along with Wayne Shorter on saxophones, Chick Corea on keyboards, Dave Holland on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums. This group has been referred to as Miles' "Lost Quintet," as the lineup was relatively short-lived and never made a studio album together in this configuration.

The entire performance previously was issued on DVD in 2010 as Miles Davis: Copenhagen Live 1969, but the individual tracks were posted to YouTube for the first time earlier this month, presumably to help promote the 50th anniversary re-release of Davis' landmark album Bitches Brew.

At the time of the Copenhagen gig in question, Davis was transitioning from the all-acoustic post-bop he had played for most of the 1960s to the electrified sound heard on albums beginning with In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. The setlist reflected that transition, featuring music from Bitches Brew along with some slightly older original material and one standard, the ballad "I Fall In Love Too Easily."

You can see and hear those performances starting up above with "Directions," followed after the jump by "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down" and "Bitches Brew."

Next up, it's "Agitation," "I Fall In Love Too Easily," "Sanctuary," and finally, "It's About That Time/The Theme." (If you'd like to watch all seven clips consecutively as a playlist, go here.)

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

Friday, March 27, 2020

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Stories, the new album from bassist Tom Kennedy (pictured), was reviewed by AllAboutJazz.com's Jim Worsley.

* Singer Ralph Williams Jr. was the featured guest on a recent episode of podcaster Brenda Moss' "All About That Jazz."

* Saxophonist Rev. Cliff Aerie and trumpeter Tim Osiek of the Oikos Ensemble have made ten of their "Worship Jazz" arrangements available as free downloads for use "in your worship streaming or for personal and group meditation."

The arrangements, along with YouTube links, lyrics (where applicable), and more, are available via individual posts on the "Worship Jazz" blog; go here and scroll down to see all the posts.

* The 50th anniversary of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew was the subject of a feature story on the website Get Into This.

* In celebration of that 50th anniversary, the Miles Davis Estate announced a vinyl reissue of Bitches Brew, and shared what seem to be some previously unseen video clips of a show by Davis from 1969 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

* And in related news, Consequence of Sound's podcast The Opus this week continued its season-long, in-depth focus on Bitches Brew with episode two, titled "Bitches Brew: The Indefinable Greatness of Miles Davis."

* Jazz Journal republished their original review from 1970 of Davis' In A Silent Way.