Tuesday, November 25, 2008

L.A. Emenari, III WHPK-FM Playlist

    L.A. Emenari, III "What Is This Thing Called Jazz? Adventures in Modern Music' . WHPK-FM Playlist for the week of November 23, 2008.


1.Carlos Franzetti- Film Noir- Sunnyside

2.Gunther Schuller-Journey Into Jazz-BMOP

3.Ofer Assaf-Alternate Reality-Summit

4.Wadada Leo Smith-Golden Quartet-Tabligh-Cunieform

5.Larry Gelb-America is Free 

6.Christian Howes-Heartfelt-Summit

7.Bill Heid-Asian Persuasion-Doodlin

8.Joey DeFrancesco-Joey D-Highnote

9.Roger Kellaway-Live at the Jazz Standard- IPO

10.Mike Wheeler-Mikey's Blues-Blue Bamboo Music

11.Mike LeDonne-Five Live-Savant 

12.Marc McDonald-It Doesn't End Here-

13.Odean Pope-Plant Life-Porter 

14.Sheila Jordan-Winter Sunshine-JustinTime

15.Henry Franklin-Oh, What A Beautiful Morning-Skipper




Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lee Young Dies

August 10, 2008
Lee Young Dies at 94; Jazz Man and Producer
Lee Young, who emerged from a family with musical roots deep in New Orleans jazz, drummed for greats like Ellington and Basie, became a pioneering black man in music’s executive suites — and survived his musician brother, Lester, by a half century — died on July 31 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 94.
The death was confirmed by his grandson Wren Brown.
In contrast to his brother, whose debilitating battle with alcohol and personal demons is almost as well known to jazz fans as his saxophone solos, Lee Young, a teetotaler, lived a long life of accomplishment in both performance and the music business.
His recollections, from touring in a carnival act as a child with Lester and their sister, Irma, in the 1920s; to playing drums and cutting his first records with Fats Waller in the 1930s; to helping forge a vibrant jazz scene in Los Angeles in the 1940s, were recorded by the oral history program of the University of California, Los Angeles.
His experiences included teaching Mickey Rooney to play drums for a movie and becoming the first black — and for several years the only one — to be a regular studio musician in Hollywood. He played drums and conducted for Nat King Cole.
Mr. Young played on literally thousands of records, said Phil Schaap, the jazz historian.
As a record producer, Mr. Young developed a reputation for knowing in advance what would sell, and discovered Steely Dan, the jazz fusion-rock band.
Mr. Schaap called Mr. Young “a most significant figure in jazz who directly connected us to the music’s early glories: the birth of jazz in New Orleans, the jazz age, the swing era and bebop.” Mr. Schaap also said that Mr. Young, who led an integrated band when that was unusual, was “a hero in the fight for integration.”
Leonidas Raymond Young was born in New Orleans on March 7, 1914, to parents who were both musicians and teachers. His father had learned to play instruments including the violin, trombone and bass as he traveled the deep South at the time jazz was sprouting in New Orleans.
Mr. Young’s father was a stern taskmaster, drilling music into his children by putting notes on a blackboard before they even started school. He made them into a novelty dancing act for traveling carnivals until they learned to play instruments. Lee, the youngest, had visited more than 30 states by the time he was 8.
Lee was different from Lester as a youth. Lester would practice his saxophone for hours; Lee would rather sneak off to play ball. Lester begged off some of the vaudeville gigs, particularly longer stays in cities like Minneapolis and Phoenix.
The family finally settled in Los Angeles, where Lee and his sister entertained at the dance marathons that were the rage during the Depression. By this time, Lee was performing most often as a drummer, having switched from the trombone; Lester had decided to specialize in saxophone instead of drums.
Lee attended high schools in Los Angeles. He began playing with Mutt Carey, a trumpeter and bandleader who had gotten his start in New Orleans, and also toured with Ethel Waters. He made his first records at 23 as Fats Waller’s drummer. He played with Lionel Hampton and others, and started his own orchestra, actually a smaller combo. His brother joined the band in 1941, and its stature grew exponentially. They toured for the U.S.O., broadcast with Billie Holiday and were a hit in New York.
LA Weekly said in 2004 that Mr. Young for years was the only black staff musician at a major studio. Mr. Schaap wrote that Mr. Young got his job by turning down a chance to be Stan Kenton’s drummer at a time when Kenton led the nation’s hottest band.
In 1953 Mr. Young became Nat King Cole’s drummer and conductor, Mr. Schaap said. From this pinnacle of the music world, he had new insights into the business side of music, and decided to join it. He produced for Vee-Jay, Motown and ABC/Dunhill Records.
Around 1937, Mr. Young met a teenager named Norman Granz on a tennis court and began playing against him regularly. Granz was enthralled when Mr. Young introduced him to jazz and went on to create Jazz at the Philharmonic, the all-star touring group that took the music out of smoky bars to jam in the concert halls; Mr. Young and his brother can be heard on some of the recorded jam sessions.
Lester Young died in 1959; Irma died in 1993. Lee Young is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Louise Franklin Young; his daughter, Rosalind Brown of Los Angeles; his son, Lee Jr., of Los Angeles; his half-sister, Vivian Johnson of Louisiana; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Mr. Young was interviewed for a book, “Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles” (1999) and said that when the music industry was segregated, white musicians were paid for seven nights of work, even though they were given one day off, while blacks had to work all seven days for their pay.
“I just loved to play so much, I went to different clubs and told the guys that if they wanted a night off, I would play in their place,” Mr. Young said. “So I got a chance to play all kinds of music, because I used to let these guys off.”

Thursday, August 7, 2008


* MarkElfConservatory.com offers students affordable, practical approach to learning jazz guitar with video lessons, narrated tutorials, music PDF and midi-files, access to critiques by Elf and much more *Master jazz guitarist Mark Elf, who has worked with the Jazz Giants, Dizzy Gillespie, The Heath Brothers, Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis, Jon Hendricks and many others, and has nine consecutive #1 national jazz radio CD hits, opens his revolutionary online Jazz Guitar Conservatory, www.markelfconservatory.com.His practical approach to learning jazz guitar is an online site that students can log on from anywhere in the world and study with this jazz guitar master 24/7. It features over 200 videos, music PDF & midi files students can view, download and print.Students can ask questions in the forum and have them answered promptly. They can enter the chat room and talk to Mark live. Students can upload videos of their playing to Mark and get prompt and direct feedback on their progress.Elf, who has over 35 years of teaching, performing, recording and writing experience, has been teaching students through the site since May of 2008. Members are already saying great things:"The fact that we see immediate, practical, and tangible results from this already, confirms to me that I'm at the right place here. I've noticed that after lifting his lines, internalizing it and making my own, not only are my note choices improving - but more importantly, my phrasing is getting better." - Michael B."Yup, great lines, great lessons. I am working on "what is this thing called love" memorizing Mark's lines and applying my own after getting the feel of Marks lines." - Robert M.Here's a list of some great perks when students enroll at www.markelfconservatory.com:o Mark Elf's 35-plus years of teaching, performing, recording and writing experienceo Step-by-step online videos sequenced to help you improve your playing at a rapid paceo Written on-screen music that goes along with some of the video lessons, in both notation and tablature that you can download and print.o On screen spoken tutorials explaining the on screen written music.o Students can interact with Mark & each other on the moderated Forum (Blog).o Chat Room - where you can talk with Mark and get answers to your questions.o Upload your videos for critique privately or publicly to Mark Elf. o Band In A Box midi practice files you can practice with and use as a back up rhythm section to shoot your videos and up load for Mark to critique.o Professional players wanting to improve their playing skills can do so by studying the advanced lesson videos on how to create musical fluent improvisations over chord changes & create harmonically rich chord solos.o Fusion Players, Blues Players and Rock Players can further their knowledge & skills with the content inside that can be applied for these and other formats of music as well.o New Videos and written music files will be added frequently. You will always have plenty of material to work ono Full access to the Mark Elf Guitar Conservatory 24/7 is $60 per quarter. That's $20 per month or about $5.00 per week.
With Special Thanks to Ann Braitewaite

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Your CD Reviewed Here!!!

If you would like to have your CD reviewed here at "What Is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music" or gain airplay on WHPK-FM please forward to...

L.A. Emenari, III
1637 East 87th St.
Chicago,Il 60617

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Marion Brown in Failing Health

MARION BROWN, Bay Pointe Terrace, 12OO Arthur St., Hollywood, FL 33O19, (954) 926~655O, ~56OO, , , ;

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mike Wheeler-Mikey's Waltz

Don't you just love the fact that cities across America are filled with pockets of really great jazz musicians. Unknown to wider audiences though some may be. All it points to is the fact that the music is alive and well.

In just about every major urban center there is jazz, breeding itself. Flourishing to large measure in the neighborhoods to the university. In fact, jazz education is greater now than its ever been in history. One such case is Houston based guitarist Mike Wheeler. He's worked in educations and in the 'streets', in the taverns, bars, lounges, etc. He's paid his dues along the way. And now we are entreated to the music that is...

"Mikey's Waltz" (Blue Bamboo) is one of the seasons true surprises. With rhythm mates pianist Pamela York (a one time student of Donald Brown); Tim Solook and David Craig, bass and drummer respectively. Wheeler and crew take on a full program of standards and originals with the title tune being the discs' magnum opus. And the closer 'Fair Trade' being the flag waver. Pianist York has a bright New 'York'ish touch and feel while the rhythm team is first rate. As for Wheeler's low key yet strident melodic lines, they are of classic bent. With nods to the illustrious legacy of jazz guitar Wheeler isn't flashy, just steady and heartfelt. No need to compare him to the greats, he's already there. This is a marvelously unflawed session that is sure to delight. A deeply intimate session filled with warmth, Mikey's Waltz is the ultimate kind of jazz session that is sure to pleasure after repeated listening.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Adrian Iaies-Vals De La 81st & Columbus

On first glance apprehension. Admittedly ashamed, I was prejudiced. For on the surface was an Argentine group, playing 'jazz', with an accordion no less! What could they possibly do with the music in this format setting? I would ask myself.

Suffice it to say, I found pianist/composer Adrian Iaies a world class virtuoso. World class with a capitol C. His compatriots Pablo Aslan, bass; Pepi Taveira, drums and Michael Zisman, a master of the bandoneon are unequalled as well. The group is augmented by the sanguine trumpet stylings of Juan Cruz De Urquiza.

Jazz Speak has become a universal language. And like the home grown variety State side, jazz round the world uses universal elements to furthers its methods. Be it a mandolin in Spain, a sitar in India, dumbeks in Northern Africa, or a taragoto of eastern Europe. Nothing, no instrumentation, save for probably piano, bass and drums is sacrosanct in jazz.

Decades ago when Astor Piazzolla introduced the bandoneon to wider audiences outside of Argentina we were aghast. His fluid mastery astounded audiences. The bandoneon's sound is less harsh than that of its big brother the accordion. It possesses a 'sweeter' sound.

Argentine native Adrian Iaies is no stranger to international audiences. Widely recognized for his deft touch and consummate command of the jazz idiom, only now American audiences are witness to this pure talent. His new Vals De La 81st & Columbus (Sunnyside), brings a lucidly responsive quartet session of warm and wondrous music.

Within his meager discography of only a handful of (domestic) recordings Iaies has paid homage to American masters such as John Lewis, Monk, Herbie Nichols, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis and Michel LeGrande. Here on Vals there are moments of euro-classical ardor, as on the stately, Juarez El Casamentero. To flat out New York fire, Astor Changes. Trumpeter De Urquiza shows mute skills on only two tunes, the title selections and the hauntingly lovely version of Nefertiti. And it would have been to their advantage to feature his brass fittings more. However, textually the music's touching momentum stirs the heart strings from beginning to end in the quartet. The horn adds a jazzy flavoring. This music soothes and satisfies. As if we are transported way south of the boarder.Way,way south of the boarder! Thanks for the trip...

Shame on me. I will never doubt again.

Monday, June 23, 2008

L.A. Emenari, III's Playlist Week of 6/22/2008

1. JD Allen - IAM, IAM- Sunnyside

2. Libby York - Here With You - Libby York Music

3. Sabir Mateen - Other Places, Other Spaces - NuBop

4. Yusef Lateef - 10 Years Hence- Wounded Bird

5. The Stein Brothers - Quixotic -Jazzed Media

6. Ed Reed - The Song Is You - Blue Shorts

7. Adrian Iaies Trio - Vals De La 81st & Columbus - Sunnyside

8. Cory Wilkes - Drop It-Delmark

9. Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra- Harriet Tubman-Noir

10. Saxophone Summit-Seraphic Light- Telarc

11. Janine Gilbert-Carter-A Song For You-Jazz Karma

12. Mike Wheeler-Mikey's Waltz-Blue Bamboo

13. Sabertooth - Dr. Midnight-Delmark

14. Alvin Queen-Goin Uptown-About Time

15. David Bond-Live at the Twins-C.I.M.P.

Friday, June 20, 2008

News Article Courtesy AllAboutJazz.com

The Jazz Journalists Association Announces 2008 Jazz Award Winners

The Jazz Journalists Association announces winners of the 2008 Jazz Awards, the non-profit professional organization's 12th annual celebration of excellence in jazz and jazz journalism, and induction of an “A Team” of activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz, The Jazz Awards are engraved statuettes, handed to attending recipients by jazz journalists and their supporters at a barbeque and beer lunch at the Jazz Standard, Wednesday June 18. For further information about the Jazz Awards and Jazz Journalists Association, visit Jazzhouse.org.


Lifetime Achievement in Jazz
Marian McPartland

Musician of the Year
Herbie Hancock

Up & Coming Musician of the Year
Lionel Loueke

Record of the Year
Sky Blue
Maria Schneider Orchestra

Reissue/Historical Release of the Year
Cornell 1964
Charles Mingus Sextet
Blue Note

Reissue/Historical Box Set of the Year
A Life In Time: The Roy Haynes Story Dreyfus Jazz

Record Label of the Year
Blue Note Records

Composer of the Year
Maria Schneider

Arranger of the Year
Maria Schneider

Male Singer of the Year
Andy Bey

Female Singer of the Year
Abbey Lincoln

Latin Jazz Album of the Year
Big Band Urban Folktales
Bobby Sanabria

Small Ensemble of the Year
Ornette Coleman Quartet/Quintet

Large Ensemble of the Year
Maria Schneider Orchestra

Trumpeter of the Year
Terence Blanchard

Trombonist of the Year
Wycliffe Gordon

Player of Instruments Rare in Jazz
Scott Robinson, reeds/brass/antiques

Alto Sax Player of the Year
Ornette Coleman

Tenor Sax Player of the Year
Sonny Rollins

Soprano Sax Player of the Year
Jane Ira Bloom

Baritone Sax Player of the Year
James Carter

Clarinetist of the Year
Anat Cohen

Flutist of the Year
Nicole Mitchell

Pianist of the Year
Hank Jones

Organ-Keyboards of the Year
Dr. Lonnie Smith

Guitarist of the Year
Bill Frisell

Bassist of the Year
Christian McBride

Electric Bassist of the Year
Steve Swallow

Strings Player of the Year
Regina Carter

Mallets Player of the Year
Joe Locke

Percussionist of the Year
Candido Camero

Drummer of the Year
Roy Haynes

Events Producer of the Year
Patricia Nicholson-Parker, Arts for Art, RUCMA, Vision Festival

Jazz Journalism Lifetime Achievement Award
Doug Ramsey, author, biographer, blogger

Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Broadcasting Award
Nancy Wilson, for “Jazz Profiles”
National Public Radio

Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Feature & Review Writing Award
Nate Chinen
New York Times, JazzTimes

Best Periodical Covering Jazz

Best Website on Jazz

Best Book about Jazz
Playing the Changes: Milt Hinton's Life in Stories and Photographs, by Milt Hinton, David G. Berger and Holly Maxson (Vanderbilt University Press)

Lona Foote-Bob Parent Photography Award
Milt Hinton (1910-2000)

Jazz Photo of the Year
(click to view larger image)

Time Stood Still for Andrew Hill
Laurence Donohue-Greene

The Jazz Journalists Association 2008 Award for the “A Team” Activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz

  • Dr. Valerie Capers, pianist, composer, emeritus chair of City University of New York Department of Music and Art at Bronx Community College;

  • Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts;

  • Lauren Deutsch, photographer and executive director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago;

  • Susan Muscarella, pianist-composer-arranger-educator, founder of JazzSchool (Berkeley);

  • Phil Nimmons, clarinetist, improviser, father of Canadian jazz education;

  • George Russell, conceptualist, composer, orchestra leader, educator (New England Conservatory)

  • Dick Wang, musician, educator (Univ of Illinois-Chicago), mentor, historian, archivist, co-founder, past president and current board member of the Jazz Institute of Chicago;

  • Dr. Herb Wong, founder of the Palo Alto jazz alliance and Berkeley public school jazz programs, broadcaster, record producer and annotator, past-president of the International Association of Jazz Educators, spirit of the Monterey Jazz Festival

  • Wendy Oxenhorn, executive director of the Jazz Foundation of America, founder of Street News, blues harmonica player

Return to the All About Jazz

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All material copyright © 2008 All About Jazz and contributing writers. All rights reserved.

Libby York-Here With You

Something's cool. Something's really cool.

June Christy's landmark album aside, Meredith D'Ambrosio, Laverne Butler, Ethel Ennis, are all jazz singers whom I'd consider true jazz singers. Singers of individuality, dexterity and above all an innate sense of jazz vocal history. They are also jazz singers who flew a bit under the jazz radar in terms of a wider audience. Add Libby York to that short list. And the comparison will arise no doubt. She sounds like...this. She sounds like that. Ms. York should'nt have that problem. She sounds like herself.

"Here With You" (Libby York Music), Ms. York's latest offering is further proof of her unique brilliance. Smooth and oh so cool under fire, Ms. York surrounds herself, as well she should with world class cats in Russell Malone, Howard Alden, and Warren Vache. Bassist Jon Burr along with drummer Vanderlei Pereira aren't slouches either (Kudos for the production work of pianist Renee Rosnes who was one Ms. York's preceding disc, 'Sunday In New York').

All true singers plumb the depths of the American songbook. Entreated we are to snug versions of 'For All We Know', 'You Go to My Head', 'But Beautiful', etc. With a gem in the clunky crying tender romance of Howard Alden's guitar, back dropped by Warren Vache's muted horn styling. And did you know Mr. Vache could sing? I sure didn't! He's got a few grains of gravel in his throat. His duet with Ms. York is straight out of Armstrong/Fitzgerald or Ray Charles/Betty Carter. Classic stuff. Also very nice is the soft passionate lilt of 'Flamingo'.

Each tune herein is engaging. But that's what the best of jazz singers are known for - making all songs their own! Libby York does it with unforced grace and ease. And she does it with something cool. Something really cool! Her own voice.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jazz champion Svensson dies at 44

The Swedish jazz pianist and composer Esbjorn Svensson has died in a scuba diving accident near the Swedish capital Stockholm. He was 44.

His Esbjorn Svensson Trio, known as EST, became renowned for bringing jazz to a younger audience.

They gained international acclaim playing in rock venues, using light shows and fog machines at concerts.

The music of EST drew on disparate influences, ranging from classical music to funk.

Burkhard Hopper, EST's manager, told Reuters news agency that Svensson had died on Saturday in Sweden's Stockholm archipelago.

"Musically, he was the light that lit the world because in what he did he was pushing boundaries," Mr Hopper said.

"His music inspired people in all corners of the world."


I had the privilege of seeing Esbjorn in concert twice. The experience was mesmerising on both occasions. This is an absolute shock.
David, Ireland

This is very sad. All the bright lights in jazz seem to go out too soon. First there was Bob Berg, Frank Mantooth, Michael Brecker and now Esbjorn Svensson. I will not forget the EST gig I saw in Leeds about 7 years ago, stunning playing. This is such a loss.
B, Northampton, UK

This is a very sad day. EST was a great light on the jazz circuit. I saw them twice in Manchester. Once in a small intimate venue when they were more low-key and acoustic, and again in the Bridgewater Hall, when they put on a fantastic show with lights, smoke, and the bass put through a distortion amp. Svensson was a true artist and will be missed.
Andrew Moffat, Gwangju, South Korea

EST was one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen. The intensity that they played with was second to none. I was one of the lucky Americans to get to see them live and it actually gives me nothing but great memories of a love that once was. Thanks EST and I wish the best to the family.
Mike Walker, Michigan, United States

I was fortunate enough to be able to see EST perform live a couple of times over the last two years. I was blown away by the fluidity and cohesiveness that they showed as an ensemble, they performed as one. Music has lost a young, vibrant and progressive voice, what a tragedy.
Solon McDade, Montreal

I only discovered EST about 18 months ago and they were a thrilling revelation. Playing jazz with a rock sensibility in a way that really works, they pleased both the jazz lover and the rocker in me. Virtuoso playing, with complex yet accessible tunes, they succeeded in a genre where lesser talents would have failed. Esbjorn death is a sad loss, and I will add him to the list of greats I was never fortunate enough to see in concert. Thanks for the music you have left us with.
Steven Perkins, Perth, Australia

Published: 2008/06/16 05:14:49 GMT


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Keefe Jackson - Project Project -Just Like This

The new music of Chicago is gaining higher and higher stratum's. Ending out the decade of the 90s into the 2000s has seen a marked red shift straight upwards going, going, and going! I'd be willing to say it is perhaps stronger than in the 70s when the avant garde legitimized itself across the broad face of jazz in America.

Keefe Jackson is a tall, gangly slight fellow. Soft spoken even. Don't let that fool you. You'd never tell it from his music. Its big, narly, ragged edged. They can be a noisy, snarly bunch. All this stands to reason that Jackson, himself a rather formidable soloist is surrounded by some of the brightest and best musical minds on the scene today. His new disc, 'Just Like This' (Delmark) by his Project Project will make a mark soon enough. If not before!

It still doesn't prevent some writers and pundits from force feeding us before the bands time has sprung.

One of the reasons I tend to stay away from reading into too many liner note assertions are the fantastic claims made by some writers, much to the embarrassment of the unknowing player/artists. Case in point are John Litweiler's wild declarations that, paired trumpeters "Jaime Branch and Josh Berman" (s) work somehow parallels that of (Duke) Ellington's Cootie (Williams) and Rex (Stewart)"!

That's just flat out irresponsible to compare perhaps the best trumpet duo in jazz history to, while awfully good two neophytes barely weaned off the spittle of Don Cherry's plastic toy cornet! Litweiler, who's writing I generally enjoy furthers this outlandish waist bowing by lavishing Jackson's 'Project Project' big band as being, "one of the liberated wonders of our century".

Wait one damn minute!

Somehow I can forgive him for the Williams/Stewart gaff, but one of the "wonders of our century?"

Hyperbole aside let these guys breathe some. Let them live a little of life in the big city. Get their jazzy nails, feet and faces dirty, reasonably gritty making more music before hoisting them unto Valhalla. This isn't to take anything away from Jackson and crew for they are more than able. But this is a work in progress. And they're awfully good, make no blankedy, blank doubt about it!

Jackson's got trombonist Jeb Bishop, who ain't no slouch on that big sliding thang! The aforementioned tandem trumpeters Branch and Berman, keep getting better and better at each hearing. In fact Berman is on the brink of notoriety. Frank Rosaly is the most versatile drum man around, he can go free, play time and swing. Check out the duo between him and altoist Dave Rempis on the cut, 'Which Well', they cut it up something fierce. But the star is the unsung clarinet force in James Falzone. In all fairness he reminds of his AACM counterpart Mwata Bowden. Yet Falzone has a sing song fluidity. A vocal phrasing that enthralls and delights the ear down to the soul. In the final analysis Jackson's writing will ultimately hurl itself around the talents and personalities of each of his players. Let's give them some time.

The disc's six compositions are each mini-travels into the landscape of Keefe Jackson's intellectually driven yet colorful and vibrant canvas of musical conceptions. And I'm more than confident he'll have more in store. A 'live' recording of this band would be hip! But just wait, fruit of the cornicopia is just beginning to spill forth.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Nicole Mitchell-Xenogenesis Suite

Visionary. Nicole Mitchell's flute calling has been the sine qua non of contemporary new music across America. If not the world in general. Coupled with a rigorously astute compositional aptitude and sheer ambition, the year 2007 entering '08 has found her stardom soaring - pitched at the preface of an assure fame. Suffice it to say 'hard work' has paid off as nothing else can.

Entering it's tenth year her Black Earth Ensemble is well seasoned, armed to the teeth with even newer music that doesn't hardly disappoint. Unprecedented music that plants seeds of forward motion. Attribute her musical lineage through the AACM for this flowering flourish. For she nestled neath the feet of many a master. She's had features in both Downbeat and Ebony magazines this year alone. It is truly her time as the new Xenogenesis Suite (Firehouse 12 Records), firmly establishes.

The woefully undervalued work of science fiction writer Octavia Butler is Mitchell's palette of offering. Butler's sui generis prose, oft times bizarre and profoundly ubiquitous even for science fiction writing, Mitchell valiently approaches the setting through her own lens of recognition. If anyone could make Butler's work palatable through music Mitchell can. And shes does! This is perhaps the best achievement on CD of the Black Earth Ensemble output thus far.

Mitchell states, "fascination with the unsettling nature of Butler's literary work led me to compose Xenogenesis Suite."

The music is weighty yet does not alienate. For the sake of artistic interpretation of Butler's prose Mitchell's track note narritives of each composition provide a penetrating saga of humanity's other worldly condition. The music augmented by the brazen luster of Mankwe Ndosi's vivid vocal tapestries (referring to her vocalise as merely 'vocalise' doesn't really capture the true essence of her abilities), is a wunderkind. The only other vocalist even approaching this parameter of uncharted territories could be Elizabeth Kontomanou. Ndosi's sorceress wail on the track, 'Smell of Fear' is eerily hypnotic and historically congers up the forlorn cry of African chattel in the rotten, stinking holds of a slave ship. However Mitchell's insightful track liner notes put things into perspective as to her musical intentions. This is the sort of music that can take you to just about any universe it will. The listener is hurled up in its might and power. As on the track 'Oankali' Ndosi shifts into sound vectors of almost unimaginable human capabilities. Darting and spreading landscapes of tension and daring. And Mitchell's writing makes for an even more mystical venture.

Mitchell also tells us in those liner notes that, "the process of writing this music allowed me to face the feeling of fear head on- to enter and explore it."

The Black Earth Ensemble is a living breathing whole. Organic and full of life Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble has created a celestial cosmos while fashioning a new music lingua franca. Extraterrestial or earth bound this music will ultimately take you on a journey even Sun Ra would heartily enjoy.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

"What is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music", continues with its time tested series of interviews and music. Coming Sunday, June 8th will be Chicago Jazz Orchestra band leader/arranger Jeff Lindberg; also on board will be new vocalist Libby York; Boston based saxist David Bond will talk about his new recording with Andrew White,"The Early Show-Live at Twins"; and ending out the show will be the legendary drummer Chico Hamilton. All with your host Lofton A. Emenari, III, The Jazzologist, the Dean of DJ's. Broadcasting 10 AM til Noon Central on WHPK-FM, 88.5 University of Chicago. We are streaming http://www.whpk.org/stream
"What is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music", continues with its time tested series of interviews and music. Coming Sunday, June 22nd will be saxophone legend Dave Liebman, talking about his new Saxophone Summit CD with Joe Lovano & Ravi Coltrane; also on board will be reed specialist Sabir Mateen, back from a European tour; and ending out the show will be 'Revolutionary Ensemble' veteran, All World percussionist/drummer Jerome Cooper. All with your host Lofton A. Emenari, III, The Jazzologist, the Dean of DJ's. Broadcasting 10 AM til Noon Central on WHPK-FM, 88.5 University of Chicago. We are streaming http://www.whpk.org/stream

Rave Tesar-You Decide

How many piano trio disc are issued during any given year? Who knows. Just like the abundance of unqualified singers who get plenty of face time piano trios are a dime a dozen with nothing distinguishing them other than piano, bass and drums.

I've pointed out in past writings that with any session its not the musicians but the music - how is it arranged? How are the compositions complimented by the arrangements of the musicians?

The latest pianist to throw his hat in the Ring is a guy by the name of Rave. Rave Tesar. Having never heard of the guy I was mildly interested in what he could do pianisticly. His new trio disc, "You Decide" (Tesar Music,LLC) begs the question.

According to his web page Rave, "established himself in the New York jazz scene. He became noted for both his adept keyboard technique and the spirited musicality of his improvisations. Over the years he was a member of several successful groups. Most recently he has invested much composition and performance time in the group, Avenues, which he founded with bassist, Mark Bernstein, over a decade ago. For Rave, jazz is fundamental. It is the soul of his artistry."

That's interesting. Never heard of the group 'Avenues' either. No big deal though. Maybe I'm just not in the loop! Also curious is the statement that, jazz "is the soul of his artistry". Obviously, meaning that jazz is just not the only component of his musical identity. And that's cool too.

With accompanists in bassist Kermit Discoll and drummer Bill Tesar (perhaps a relation?), we are entreated to a mild and ambiguous play list of originals much sounding akin to Elaine Elias (whom I love!) and a light hearted Chick Corea. Yet they don't seem to break a sweat in this overall mediocre session. Rave has given us the question of whether to decide or not. Right now its a hung jury.

Jimmy McGriff Dies

We are saddened at the passing of the great organist Jimmy McGriff. It was this past January when I spoke with fellow organ giantess Trudy Pitts that we learned that McGriff's health had taken a turn for the worse. He'd been interned in a nursing home for some five years it was said.

I met "Griff" in the mid 80s on one of his yearly Chicago visits. Always congenial and with a ready smile Griff would mail out each Christmas a seasonal card. As he did with many of his friends. He will be missed as one of the organ's imminent innovators.

Thanks for the music, Griff!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Houston Person w. Ron Carter- Just Between Friends

When two masters of their art meet it is always a cause for reveled acclimation. 'Just Between Friends (High Note)' is just one of those occasions where friends are more than just friends, but mutual minds that meet and greet each other, their worlds combine. They sit and pow-wow! They sip from a shared sacred chalice of smooth vermouth.

Carter and Person met, on record back in 1989, "for the first of four duo" recordings and the rest they say, 'is history'. Within this very intimate setting both men are quite relaxed and ready. They converse over a slate of tunes such as the wonderful treatment of 'How Deep is The Ocean' to a wild card in 'Blueberry Hill', tenderly touching is 'Always' and the unforgettable version of 'Alone Together' is a standout.

And while this recording may hide neath the radar for many of the average listener be fore warned, 'this is a valued recording not to miss'.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

CD Review/Mr. B & Bob Seeley- Back To Back

Boogie Woogie piano, called it barrelhouse, slide piano. Call it whatcha wanna is one of the dying art forms of African American music. All the great Willie 'The Lion' Smith, Little Brother Montgomery, Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson and many, many others all purveyors of the form set the path.

In 1982 I had a chance to meet the legendary Little Brother Montgomery. We struck up a nice friendship under his death in 1985. I'd go out to the blues clubs to hear him play. Even visited him in his Hyde park apartment on occasion. He was always very gracious and would impart bit of his wide knowledge - about life. I will forever be indebted to him. And while I didn't get to know another great pianist in Blind John Davis I did see him play many time and attended his funeral. He and Little brother died the same year. What a one two punch!

At the same time I did get to know and hear one of their students in Erwin Helfer. what a pianist he is. And in that tradition comes Mr. B and Bob Seeley. Their co-lab, "Back to Back" (Megawave), is a delight from beginning to end. Well schooled are these two so we get an ample treat in the tried and true classics, 'St.Louis Blues', C.C. Rider, 'After Hours' plus more and more. I won't get into their individual style, blah blah blah. This just stomp down blues and boogie with a vengeance. Thanks guys.

Up for note are a trio of new releases from some female singers. Admittedly, I'm hard on singers. basically cause the standard is so high and the valley so wide. A friend who owns a record shop in Chicago once told me that his store is the last stop for obscure singers of all stripe. He's got a glut of them. What kind of exposure do they receive and how? That's the question he asks. There is on the air waves of WHPK-FM radio a show featuring singers. So we know there is a place, a vaunted place for jazz singers. But in these days with so many to choose from some of them just might get glossed over.

About a decade ago I can remember listening to several new discs of some new faces one of which was particularly woeful. The girl just didn't have it. She was trying lord knows. But she needed more seasoning. Silly me, I wrote that she sounded no more than just a "bathroom warbler". This singer was from California mind you. As fate would have it one night I'm sitting at the bar at the New Apartment lounge, home of Von Freeman's legendary Tuesday night jam session talking with a friend about the disc I'd previously had heard. I was telling him about the glut of singers who weren't ready but trudged on out there anyway. Little did I know that seated right next to me was the same singer I had trashed in the review!

She over heard our conversation and introduced herself to me. My jaw dropped! Flabbergasted.

She went on to tell me that she ha in fact read my review and asked what was it I didn't like about it. I went on to say, rather awkwardly I might add and rather nervously that I thought she could use some more tenure, more experience. After all this was her first time out.

She took it well. And then went on to tell me that she was improving and would go to even greater heights that I would expect.

Only time would tell. And needles to say, she didn't. Only releasing a meager handful of recordings. Sadly, she would a decade later succumb to lung and breast cancer.

Our singers here are Robert Duchak, Karen Johns and Leanne Weatherly. All of whom we've heretofore have no knowledge. Duchak's 'Intersections (robertaduchak.net)' and Watherly 'Go and Find.. (leanneweatherly.com) are self produced efforts and Johns' 'Star and Season' is on the Ptarmigan Music label.

Ms. Duchak has a lithe coquettish tilt to her voice. Her sidemen are top notch with pianist Pat Coil being the only recognizable name. The date features a stable of standards.

Ms. Johns does the 'over dubbing' thing giving her a New York Voice kinda bent, especially on the discs' opener 'Carry Me Away'. Her 'Night and Day' wavers in between Mellisa Manchester and Maria Mulduar. With a great band behind her it readily apparent she's not really a jazz singer. But might find an audience in pop. And I can see her putting in time at a piano bar in some hotel somewhere. The bridge between Ms. Duchak and Ms. John is reedist Jim Hoke, who guest on both discs.

Ms. Weatherly on the other hand has more top side than the above ladies. She too has top flight accompanists. With Wayne Wallace and Melecio Magdaluyo. And speaking of Maria Mulduar earlier Ms. Weatherly does a nice version of 'Midnight at the Oasis'. Most of the material is geared toward FM urban soft jazz. But its good stuff with solid arrangements. Her voice is natural and unforced and she writes five of the discs 12 tunes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CD REVIEW? Sabetooth - Dr. Midnight-Live @ The Green Mill

CD - Review...Sabertooth - Dr. Midnight/Live at the Green Mill (Delmark)
What a fun group this is! Merriment abounds.
Sabertooth is a died-in-the-wool Chicago institution. Having been rooted in the hallowed halls of the Green Mill for over a decade
Sabertooth is comprised of joint saxists Pat Mallinger and Cameron Pfiffner; along with a wailing rhythm team of organist Pete Benson
and swing meister drummer Ted Sirota.
From the opening bell to the ending refrain the guys exude that refreshing buoyancy, washing every soul within earshot. Their repertoire is huge, whipping out a mixed bag of traditional ditties like, 'Mary Jane' where Mallinger Coltranes his way around to standard covers, "it's Surely Gonna Flop if it Ain't Got that Bop' based on the changes of Duke's 'It Don't Mean a Thing If it Ain't Got that Swing'. Beginning
with soul drenched 'Blues for C Piff' get things rip roaring. But the absolute 'killer' is their rendition of Cahn & Hefti's 'Odd Couple'. It a classic. Whenever in Chicago on a Saturday nite be sure to go by the Green Mill and catch these men in action. You won't be disappointed. Sabertooth is not your A-typical jazz organ combo and it is a danm mystery for all envolved that this is their first recording. And won't be their last!

CD REVIEW/ Jason Ajemian- The Art of Dying

Imagine a small group of friends getting together. All are musicians. They meet in someones front room, maybe the basement or perhaps in the garage. Its just an impersonal jam session. They share a few sodas, down some sandwiches, maybe even smoke a cigarette or two. Everyone is relaxed with no where to go but into the heavens of the music.
That's the unassuming calm that permeates this new recording by bassist Jason Ajemian. 'The Art of Dying (Delmark)' features Ajemian's group 'Smokeless Heat', a trio of Tim Haldeman, tenor sax and drummer Noritaka Tanaka (how cool is that name, especially for a drummer?!). And it is augmented by some more good buddies in Jaime Branch, trumpet; guitarist Matt Schneider and vibist Jason Adasiewicz (who incidentally is making quite a name for himself as well).
The disc begins with the somber 'With or Without the Universalator', where Branch's poignant but sour puss tone inflects a solid depth of feeling. The hippest thing about her playing is that she's not afraid of making mistakes or fracturing a note here and there. And that doesn't mean she plays 'wrong' notes. For it has been said by many that there are no "wrong" notes. She's the quite opposite of Haldeman who can be a whirlwind. He's no slouch and serves up a Dewey Redmanish workmanship through out. His waves of melodic candor make one wipe his brow-whew!
As a composer Ajemian pokes little vignettes of the title for us to nibble on. He does it thus....The...is 0:13; Art...is 0:17; Of is...0:13 and Dying is..0:22. He rounds out the entire title in one tune entitled '2,4,7,9' all titles that are numbered as 'The Art of Dying'. Clever eh? The title piece has an Ornette Coleman feel. His 'Peace' in particular. And the CD ends out with a 'live' session piece recorded on WMSE in Milwaukee, Wisc. It is here that the trio gets into the brass tacks of what they really can do once in full throttle. They carefully listen to one another. God! They've recalled the days of Henry Threadgill's AIR! This is thoughtful engaging music and Ajemian is a well rounded young master in the making.


For a man to declare unabashedly, 'I AM, I AM'! is a cry like none other! His humanity lays threadbare, naked to the world. Unequivocal, heart piercing. This bold new recording from saxophonist JD Allen reaches right to the core of our being. The mantle of our culture. The symbiotic basis of who we are as a society.
Allen has for the past decade or so been making a distinguishable name for himself. This writer became aware of Allen's musical universe through the recordings of drum master Winard Harper. Then came his debut disc "In Search Of..." on the Italian Red Records label. He also held down the sax chair on several Cindy Blackman's dates, acquitting himself valuably. The came Russell Gunn's 'Blue On The DL' and pianist Orrin Evans, 'The Band- Live at Widener University.' In the meantime he released, 'Pharoah's Children' his second date. This newest, 'I AM I AM' (Sunnyside), comes not a moment too soon. In fact I'd be willing to ask, 'where has JD Allen been all this time'?
In the trenches no doubt.
Allen is certainly equal to anyone of his generation. If not more than talented. For IAM IAM the saxist is joined by the protean bassist Gregg August, whose gut busting big chords strum and thunder. As for drummer Rudy Royston, he tips and trills, shuffling rhythms like a joyful kid on the street thumping a plastic paint pale. He floats and fills.
The over lay of each of the discs 10 tunes is actually an undercurrent of unmitigated melodic force. While his first disc, "In Search Of..."paid symbolic homage to Wayne Shorter in weight and measure, on IAM IAM Allen drinks from the fountain of Coltrane. And why not?!! We are not wont of thirst any more.
Each cut, such as 'The North Star' to 'Id' to 'Othello' imprint Allen's stark soulfulness. He is 'cutting up' as they say in the hood. And its high time we are entreated to more of his flair for urban interpretation of what's happening NOW! JD Allen is a baddd mother......! Now run and tell that!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jerome Cooper

Percussionist/Drummer par excellence Jerome Cooper has been added to the May 25th interview line-up!

Monday, May 12, 2008

WHPK FM May 25th Program Schedule

WHPK FM May 25th Program Schedule
"What is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music", continues with its time tested series of interviews and music. Coming Sunday, May 25th Tenor saxophone star JD. Allen talks about his new disc, 'I AM, I AM' (Sunnyside); Jazz Chicago web site owner Brad Walseth, and ending out the program will be legendary instrumentalist/composer great Brother Yusef Lateef. All with your host Lofton A. Emenari, III. Broadcasting 10 AM til Noon Central on WHPK-FM, 88.5 University of Chicago. We are streaming http://www.whpk.org/stream

Monday, May 5, 2008

Your CD Reviewed Here!!

Your CD Reviewed Here!If you would like to have your CD reviewed here at "What Is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music" or gain airplay on WHPK-FM please forward to...
L.A. Emenari, III

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

WHPK FM April 27th Program Schedule

"What is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music", continues with its time tested series of interviews and music. Coming Sunday, April 27, 2008 guests will include New Orleans based, European bred saxophonist Christian Winther, on the heels of his new release, Soul House and all world guitarist Dave Stryker, both Steeplechase recording artists; also the founder of the St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, in San Francisco ArchBishop Franzo W. King. And rounding out the show will be new Chicago sensation saxist Chris Greene. All with your host Lofton A. Emenari, III. Broadcasting 10 AM til Noon Central on WHPK-FM, 88.5 University of Chicago. We are streaming http://www.whpk.org/stream

"Young" John Young

"Young" John Young was a Chicago institution.
When one thinks of Chicago piano - the photo of John Young begins the chapter. His recent passing April 16, one month to the day of his 84th birthdate leaves our hearts heavy but not blue. For the music he gave to us will forever make our hearts and memories sing.
Having seen John Young play countless times over the past four decades I was always amazed at his sheer joy of playing. I used to call him a piano savant. With an ever ready smile sometimes vocalizing melodies and lyrics to other band members. His Monday nites with Von Freeman at the Club Enterprise are the stuff of legend. Freeman gave Young the 'title' of "Young" as he does with many of his peers, giving them all nicknames.
It was a crime that John Young didn't record as prolifically as his undisputed reputation would warrant. Who can forget his dates on Gene Ammons and Dexter Gordon's The Chase. Or the sessions with Etta James and Freeman. Not to mention his discs on the Chess label in the 50s. A time when Chicago piano was being defined by Ahmad Jamal. Other Chess roster mates included King Fleming and Ramsey Lewis.
Having attended his funeral April 23rd at one of Chicago's oldest baptist churches, Ebenezer I was struck by how few people were there. A little over a hundred tops. Oh yes many musicians, Von and George Freeman both, Eric Schneider, drummer Terry Ross, vocalist June Yvone; WHPK DJ's Sterling Watson, Gil Daspit and Lee Bailey to name a few. But I thought here lies the body of one of the greatest pianist on Earth! Why has not Mayor Daley declared this day "Young" John Young Days for all the city of Chicago?
One cannot forget John Young, with his always present Kangol caps hiding his balding dome. That twinkle in his eyes. Nor his encyclopedic piano language. A tongue which we all longed for and understood.
Pianist Bradley-Parker Sparrow put it this way.....

So fly,
The piano is in the sky with white and black pedal tones
And eternal standards…
The harp is like the heavens blessing so strong
And John Young has the perfect trio,
The tuned piano,
The everlasting audience
And god is jazz.
And food for the band.
The trio is in the holy city.
Now turn around and be with all,
In tune, on time and in key.
Sparrow 4-21-08

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Stein Brothers

A good trivial question is: 'What ever happened to the Hollyday Brothers'? Two infant terribles that were to set the jazz world aflame. This was back in the 80s mind you.
On the fast track comes The Stein Brothers sans the hype, nor as juiced as the Harper Brothers (who had a better run than the Hollyday boys). Their debut release, 'Quixotic' (Jazzed Media), is inauspicious enough. Its relative low edged mien sort of sneaks up on you and you suddenly 'realize these guys are under 30'!
From their web page 'steinbrothersjazz.com the brothers began their jazz jump, "in the Greater Newark / North Jersey Area with a growing New York presence, Asher and Alex are still in their twenties. They started their careers playing in the late lamented Tuesday jam session at the old Peppermint Lounge". Alex and Asher, tenor and alto sax respectively are more importantly students of the master Barry Harris. And he can be quite proud of his progeny.Close your eyes, listen to the music and you're transported back in time. It's the late 50s.
Their sound sings, literally! Asher, with a Gigi Gryce spiritedness. Alex, a Teddy Edwards sensibility of tone. Fronting a 'regular' working band the real kicker of the group is the woefully under recorded pianist Mferghu (nee Michael Ferghuson). The last this writer heard of the pianist was on a 1992 recording, Graham Haynes 'Parisian Nocture' (Muse). If he can be dubbed, 'Barry Harris, Jr.' or the heir apparent so be it. Mferghu has a deft accompanying touch, harmonic control and is the writer of three of the discs 12 tunes.
Rounding out the rhythm section is bassist Doug Largent and drummer Joe Blaxx, two able pros. Also guesting are trumpeter Duane Eubanks (who I'd like to hear more from), and trombonist Jonathan Voltzok.
Besides standards 'East of the Sun', 'Embraceable You' and 'This Time the Dreams on Me' the Stein Brothers band serves up their own recipe of tunes along with an old Barry Harris line, 'And So I Love You'. The music is tight with a lasting finish. It'll be interesting to hear what comes next. I'm sure it'll be on the upside

IAJE Files for Bankruptcy

Dear IAJE Family,It is with a great sense of loss that I inform you that despite drastic efforts to cut expenses and raise emergency funds, the IAJE Board has voted to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Federal Bankruptcy Law. I want to thank profusely those who responded with their generous donations and offers of assistance following my last communication. While over 250 individuals contributed just over $12,000, this, along with the many other efforts and contributions of IAJE staff, Board members, and association partners, was simply not enough to address the accumulated debt of the organization or its urgent need for cash relief.In the next few days, a Kansas bankruptcy court will appoint a trustee to oversee all ongoing aspects of the association. This includes the ability to examine IAJE's financial records and mount an independent inquiry into the causes of it's financial downfall as well as disposing of the remaining assets of the association with proceeds distributed to creditors in accordance with Kansas and Federal law. The board will no longer be involved in operation of the organization and will at some point resign. IAJE as it presently stands will no longer exist. Approximately a week after filing, all potential creditors of the association will receive notice of the association's filing from the court. Members who desire additional information regarding the petition, including a complete listing of association assets and liabilities, may retrieve this, as it is a public document, through normal court procedures. Undoubtedly, however, you will have more immediate questions deserving of responses I hope to address in this report.Since the first communication to the membership outlining this crisis, there has been considerable public speculation as to its causes. As noted in that communication, years of dependence upon the conference as a primary (but unreliable) revenue stream and the launch of a well-intentioned capital campaign (the Campaign for Jazz), which generated a meager response but required considerable expenditures in advance of contributions, drove the association into insolvency. Sadly, the attendance at the conference in Toronto (the lowest in 10 years) exacerbated an already critical situation, depriving the association of the cash-flow needed to continue daily operations as well as the time needed to seek alternative resources.While ultimately not able to skirt the financial land mines placed in its path, I want to assure you the IAJE Board has acted responsibly, ethically, and with a sense of urgency ever since it was blindsided last fall with the discovery of the extent of the accumulated association debt. Since that time, the board slashed spending, set specific performance targets for the Executive Director, sought outside consultations, and enlisted the services of several past-presidents and strategic association partners in attempts to raise funds - sadly, with minimal success.It goes without saying, the board you elected is comprised of very accomplished, intelligent, and dedicated educators and professionals who have given generously of their time in service to this association and care about it passionately. Likewise, our entire professional staff, led by Associate Executive Director, Vivian Orndorff, and Executive Producer, Steve Baker, has worked heroically in the face of declining resources to meet the needs of the association and its members. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank both the board and staff for their service. I have been privileged and honored to serve with them. While there may be those who question specific decisions or strategies in efforts to meet this crisis, the dedication and integrity of these individuals should never be in doubt.As we move forward, one of the most pressing questions is how the operations of individual chapters and affiliated associations will be affected by this filing. Since our chapters are either separate corporate entitles or voluntary associations with their own boards, constitutions and bylaws; IAJE views them as completely independent entities. Ultimately, however, the trustee and the court will make this determination and it is anticipated that the trustee may request certain information from the chapters in this regard.Sadly, the 2009 IAJE International Conference in Seattle has been cancelled. However, there has been some discussion of mounting a regional conference in its place. At the moment, Lou Fischer, U.S. Board Representative is fielding inquiries: ljazzmanf@yahoo.com.For the time being, the IAJE website will remain up. However, the international offices of IAJE will close their doors at the end of the day on Friday, April 18th. Should there be additional questions you may submit them to info@iaje.org and every attempt will be made to respond to these as staffing allows.Today, we, the members of IAJE and the global jazz community, face an extremely important task. For, as we all recognize, the opportunities, impact, and work of this association are too vital to simply disappear. Whether you were first drawn to IAJE for its conference, its magazine or research publications, its student scholarship programs such as Sisters in Jazz or the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Stars, its Teacher Training Institutes, the resources provided through its website or Resource Team, or any one of a number of other offerings; it is clear the mission of IAJE still resonates and its advocacy is needed today more than ever. We must, therefore, look at this as an opportunity to refocus the mission, scope, programs, and vision of IAJE (or whatever succeeds it) to better meet the needs of our members and the jazz community not only today but looking toward the future.I am, in no way, suggesting the membership turn a blind eye towards the need for an independent inquiry into causes and ultimately assigning responsibility for this situation. I ask you recognize the court appointed trustee, who will have access to all necessary documents and facts, is charged with that task. Our efforts and our passion, should be to collectively rally the community to recognize the importance IAJE has had and continues to have in the life and development of jazz and jazz education - seeking new strategic partnerships, new government structures, and a revitalized mission that embraces current needs.Already there are efforts to do just that. I know that Mary Jo Papich, who would have begun serving her term as President of IAJE beginning this July, is dedicated to recreating such an association. As many know, Mary Jo has been a tireless advocate for IAJE, serving it long and well. You will, undoubtedly, be hearing from her in the near future. When she does contact you, I urge you to join me in offering her every support and assistance. Of course, others may also seek to fill this void by promoting alternative visions for empowering, serving, and gathering the jazz community. While I generally believe such diversity is quite healthy, I would strongly encourage all such efforts and leaders to attempt to collaborate and seek ways to unite us in spirit and strength. Finally, I would encourage you to recognize and remember IAJE for all the tremendous good it has done in the past 40 years. Many individuals have contributed along the way, often at considerable personal sacrifice of their time and resources, to establish and advance the work of this association. Much has been achieved that can never be taken away! Therefore, the vision, effort, and shared passion that have fueled the growth of IAJE and its programs should not be forgotten or considered in vain. Rather, the spirit that is IAJE must be rekindled into a new vision for the future. Sincerely,The IAJE Board - Chuck Owen, President
This message has been sent to you by the International Association for Jazz Education, PO Box 724, Manhattan KS 66502, USA • info@iaje.org • (785) 776-8744

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Touch of Jazz at the Plaza Hotel

Several Jazz Musicians Recorded for Unique Music Installation

New York City – Ariel Blumenthal, Composer and Founding Director of Sentient Music for Media, today announces the completion of his customized, site-specific project for the newly renovated Plaza Hotel. This multi-faceted production combines Blumenthal’s original music and a sophisticated Meyer Sound system embedded into the hotel’s architecture. Blumenthal, an L.A.-based composer known for seasoning his traditional, acoustic sounds with digital and electronic elements, produced over three hours of music: 1.5 hours of big band, Sinatra-style music performed by large ensembles for the lobby and adjacent hallways; and two hours of electronica and chill-out remixes for the mezzanine bar and lounge areas. Recorded works include jazz pieces featuring members of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and soloists Avisahi Cohen (trumpet), Anat Cohen (sax and clarinet), and Misha Piategorsky. After composing new works for seven months, recording 73 varying musicians in Los Angeles, New York, Prague, Las Vegas and Israel, collaborating with both Gal Nauer Architects and Meyer Sound for six months, and completing a two-week mixing session at the hotel, this one-of-a-kind, $1 million project brings a dynamic, multi-mix musical experience to the hotel. Complementing the Plaza’s contemporary revamping, this marks the first hotel in the world to implement this highly advanced sound and design structure.
Using Sentient Music for Media’s original Layers & Loops system of composition, Blumenthal produced a dynamic audio track which reflects his exploration of different treatments in terms of space and perception of dimension. Delivery is handled by a Meyer Sound system comprised of 116 palm-sized MM-4 miniature loudspeakers, six UPM-1P loudspeakers, and a Matrix3™ audio show control system equipped with Wild Tracks™ hard disk playback and SpaceMap® multichannel surround panning. Matrix3 is a fully integrated digital audio environment that provides a flexible automated control structure for the soundscape which subtly enhances the hotel guests’ experience as they walk through the Plaza.
“When you enter the main lobby, you experience the full, more energetic arrangement,” explains Blumenthal. “As you walk by the desk, through the elevator lobby and towards the 58th street entrance, you gradually experience a more mellow, intimate arrangement, manifested in different instruments, levels and other musical properties, without ever losing the sense of continuity.“
For more info, visit http://www.sentientmfm.com.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wynton Marsalis - "Slavery Was Long!"

This is an excerpt from and interview with Wynton Marsalis and Charlene Hunter-Gault of PBS...It is really exceptional stuff.....

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So the story evolves, or you had that pretty much in your head as you went along, or did you get to a point--because jazz is about improvisation, and you're the master of that--was this a story that was improvised?
WYNTON MARSALIS: Well, no, the story is written down. You know, in jazz all the ensemble parts have to be written. What you do in jazz composition is you try to find a suitable framework to inspire improvisation in the reading of the parts and also when--you have to know when to use improvisation to give that feeling of freedom that's needed. But you also have to balance it with that arrangement because if you just improvise constantly, it can be exciting, but it can also be very boring. It can also lead to chaos.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: In the pantheon of jazz pieces, though, jazz subjects, this is very unusual, isn't it? I mean, aren't most jazz subjects about the here and now?
WYNTON MARSALIS: Well, I don't think that's--people write that but not in the history of jazz. Most of it--most music really is connected to memory, as just a characteristic that music has. I don't know--it could be the music of Bach, or it could be Duke Ellington's music, or, like John Coltrain is a good example, I think that's obvious, because he was known to be really in the avant garde or the vanguard of the 1960's. But the sound that he--when he really got his conception, he went all the way back to the spiritual, the sound of the spiritual.
Now he had--when the music--you can have the ancient and the modern at the same time. But the far back you can reach you reach back to something that's just human. And when you get to the--like a whale is a whale. When you get to that human element, it really--it exists outside of time.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Now speaking of time, this piece, three hours long, puts it in a class all by itself. I mean, why three hours, and is it going to stay three hours?
WYNTON MARSALIS: Yeah. I tried to cut it, but you know some stuff is just long. And slavery was long. We're still long, you know, in the human sense, it's still long, and it--is long. We all say that in the band, because we're playing it every night, you know, and everybody is like, this is long, and we say it's long. Well, let's try to cut it. But then when I would cut pieces out, they would say, no, don't cut that part out, keep this part in. So it's just one of those things that's long, and we have other pieces that are thirty minutes long and forty-five, but this one is actually three hours and fifteen minutes.

Amen Brother

Alicia Keys Lays the Blame on Rap

Keys Talks About Her Conspiracy Theories
Apr 11, 6:22 PM (ET)

(AP) U.S. singer Alicia Keys performs in Madrid, March 17, 2008. There's another side to Alicia Keys:...Full Image
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NEW YORK (AP) - There's another side to Alicia Keys: conspiracy theorist. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter tells Blender magazine: "'Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. 'Gangsta rap' didn't exist."
Keys, 27, said she's read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead," according to an interview in the magazine's May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.
Another of her theories: That the bicoastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing."
Keys' AK-47 jewelry came as a surprise to her mother, who is quoted as telling Blender: "She wears what? That doesn't sound like Alicia." Keys' publicist, Theola Borden, said Keys was on vacation and unavailable for comment.
Though she's known for her romantic tunes, she told Blender that she wants to write more political songs. If black leaders such as the late Black Panther Huey Newton "had the outlets our musicians have today, it'd be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself," she said.
The multiplatinum songstress behind the hits "Fallin'" and "No One" most recently had success with her latest CD, "As I Am," which sold millions.

Ozzie Cadena

From the Los Angeles Times
Ozzie Cadena, 83; recorded jazz greats
By Jocelyn Y. StewartLos Angeles Times Staff WriterApril 12, 2008Ozzie cadena, a producer for the famed Savoy Records who played a key role in recording a long list of jazz luminaries and later led an effort to commemorate the role of Hermosa Beach in the history of West Coast jazz, has died. He was 83.Cadena, who suffered a stroke last year, died of pneumonia Wednesday at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, said his daughter, Lori Cadena. The height of his career in recording came during the 1950s and '60s, but Cadena later owned record stores and booked acts for several clubs in Southern California -- including the legendary Lighthouse Cafe and the Sangria restaurant in Hermosa Beach -- a role he continued to play until shortly before his death."I think Ozzie must have lived and breathed jazz every day of his life," said jazz writer Don Heckman. "He obviously had an impact via his production work for Savoy. . . . But his biggest contribution was the love and support of jazz that impacted everyone who knew or had any contact with him." Born Oscar Cadena on Sept. 26, 1924, in Oklahoma City, Cadena moved with his family to Newark, N.J., where he spent his childhood. As a kid, he shined shoes on the street and made weekly trips to Harlem to hear music. His love for music also led him to regularly visit African American churches. After graduating from high school, Cadena enlisted in the Marines and served from 1941 to 1945 in the South Pacific. After the war, he studied bass and piano at a music school in New York. In the early 1950s, Cadena was working with a jazz radio show in Newark when the owner of Savoy hired him. Savoy Records has a storied role in jazz history. The label was the early recording home of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. The owner of Savoy was a businessman with a spotty reputation among musicians, who thought his contracts were unfair. Cadena took a philosophic view: "Whether you like the cat or not, at least he made the music available," Cadena said in a 2002 article in Newark's Star-Ledger. At Savoy from 1951 to 1959, Cadena was responsible for the early recordings of Cal Tjader, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, Donald Byrd, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, and many others, according to his resume.He also recorded or produced Kenny Clarke, Gillespie, Davis, Fats Navarro, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. "I was able to coordinate all these great talents, hear them make marvelous music," he said in the Star-Ledger article. He recorded vocalists Little Jimmy Scott, Esther Phillips and John Lee Hooker. Cadena also played a key role in the careers of artists working in other genres. In the world of gospel, he recorded Clara Ward, James Cleveland and a group that included Cissy Houston, the mother of Whitney Houston.After leaving Savoy, Cadena worked for other labels, including Prestige, Blue Note, and Fantasy Records. In 1974 he and his family relocated to Hermosa Beach, which he began visiting in the late 1940s."It was such a perfect place," he said in a 2005 issue of South Bay People magazine. "I could have the beach and the sunshine by day and jazz during the night."In Southern California he promoted jazz and booked talent at such clubs as the Hyatt on Sunset. Since the '70s he had promoted jazz and become involved with the Lighthouse, a club that is renowned for its role in the birth of West Coast jazz. In 2000 he began organizing free concerts on the plaza in Hermosa Beach every Wednesday. He also led the effort to place plaques on the city's Pier Avenue Plaza honoring the Lighthouse and the musicians who played there. In addition to his daughter, Cadena is survived by his wife, Gloria, of Redondo Beach; two sons, Pru of Madison, N.J., and Dez of Newark, who is a member of the punk band the Misfits; two grandsons, Kyle and Bret Cadena of Madison, N.J.; and two sisters, Victoria Shear and Beatrice Festagallo of Union, N.J. A daughter, Janus Cadena, died in 1959.Services are private. A public tribute is to be announced at a later date.jocelyn.stewart@latimes.com

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sachs Is Sacked

Got this little tid bit from the ezine newsletter, Southport News & Commentary...

Lost Jazz Man Lloyd Sachs...
See what happens when you write jazz and features for over 20 years for the Sun-Times? Well if you are our man Sachs, and you get "bumped" upstairs to the hallowed editorial board, you end up fired! All artists will miss the craggy humor of Mr. Sachs... after he was let go last month. Is this the same company that sold its riverside downtown land to Donald Trump and moved its printing plant? Hey corporate cats, ever heard of leasing to billionaires? Lloyd we hope you end up at The New York Times!
It was with a bit of angst that I digested this information. While in these times of being Bush-wacked no one wants to see anyone lose his or her j-o-b. But when it comes to Lloyd Sachs...hmmm. Certifiably, Sachs for my hard earned money was just about the worst jazz writer/reviewer I'd ever read. His reviews were always full of sanctimonious misgivings that often bespoke of what he didn't know about music, let alone jazz. I can remember writing an opinion piece back in the 80s for the Chicago Observer entitled, 'Let's Sack Sachs'. God only knows why we hadn't been privy to his so-called jazz criticism for the past decade. Could it be that the Sun Times finally realized he didn't know what the hell he was doing and kicked, not "bumped" Sachs 'upstairs'?
"Craggy humor?" You mean "craggy" as in 'full of holes?
Once he ceased reviewing jazz then it was onto the movies. Of all the nerve muscling in on the hallowed ground of Roger Ebert! But even that dalliance halted. Somebody at the Sun Times wasn't fooled.
Now we get the word that Sachs is being unceremoniously dumped by the Sun Times. Here's hoping he gets a job. I'll bet a stack of old Downbeat magazines it ain't being a jazz writer/reviewer. We've seen that act before and it wore thin. Woefully thin. Thin enough for a hole in the sachs.

You CD Reviewed Here

Your CD Reviewed Here!
If you would like to have your CD reviewed here at "What Is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music" or gain airplay on WHPK-FM please forward to...
L.A. Emenari, III
Email Contact: emenari3@myjazzmail.com

Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Revised Radio Program Schedule 4/13/2008

"What is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music", continues with its time tested series of interviews and music. Coming Sunday, April 13, 2008 guests will include Canadian saxist Richard Underhill, just off his new release 'Moment in Time' and John Cooper, Director of Jazz Studies at Western Illinois University will discuss his landmark recording, 'The Baecker Jazz Worship Service'. We'll also speak with Detriot veteran saxophonist/philosopher Faruq Z. Bey, on the heels of his new release, 'Journey into the Valley' DVD/CD and AACM bandleader Mwata Bowden will talk about the brand new, Great Black Music Ensemble disc, 'Sparx of Love-Sparx of Fire'. All with your host Lofton A. Emenari, III. Broadcasting 10 AM til Noon Central on WHPK-FM, University of Chicago. We are streaming http://www.whpk.org/stream

Death By Blogging???

As incredible as it seems I ran across this article....

April 6, 2008
In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop

SAN FRANCISCO — They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many
are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era
sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.
A growing work force of home-office laborers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones and wired to the hilt, are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.
Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a
love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media
outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting
to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among
their ranks have died suddenly.
Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.
Other bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies born of the nonstop strain of producing for a news and information cycle that is as always-on as the Internet.
To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging,
and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an
epidemic. There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to
their deaths. But friends and family of the deceased, and fellow information
workers, say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work
The pressure even gets to those who work for themselves — and are
being well-compensated for it.
“I haven’t died yet,” said Michael Arrington,
the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog. The
site has brought in millions in advertising revenue, but there has been a hefty
cost. Mr. Arrington says he has gained 30 pounds in the last three years,
developed a severe sleeping disorder and turned his home into an office for him
and four employees. “At some point, I’ll have a nervous breakdown and be
admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen.”
“This is not sustainable,” he said.
It is unclear how many people blog for pay, but there
are surely several thousand and maybe even tens of thousands.
The emergence of this class of information worker has paralleled the development of the online economy. Publishing has expanded to the Internet, and advertising has
followed. Even at established companies, the Internet has changed the nature
of work, allowing people to set up virtual offices and work from anywhere at any
time. That flexibility has a downside, in that workers are always a click away
from the burdens of the office. For obsessive information workers, that can mean
never leaving the house. Blogging has been lucrative for some, but those on
the lower rungs of the business can earn as little as $10 a post, and in some
cases are paid on a sliding bonus scale that rewards success with a demand for
even more work. There are growing legions of online chroniclers, reporting
on and reflecting about sports, politics, business, celebrities and every other
conceivable niche. Some write for fun, but thousands write for Web publishers —
as employees or as contractors — or have started their own online media outlets
with profit in mind. One of the most competitive categories is blogs about
technology developments and news. They are in a vicious 24-hour competition to
break company news, reveal new products and expose corporate gaffes.
To the victor go the ego points, and, potentially, the advertising. Bloggers for such
sites are often paid for each post, though some are paid based on how many
people read their material. They build that audience through scoops or volume or
both. Some sites, like those owned by Gawker Media, give bloggers retainers
and then bonuses for hitting benchmarks, like if the pages they write are viewed
100,000 times a month. Then the goal is raised, like a sales commission: write
more, earn more.
Bloggers at some of the bigger sites say most writers earn
about $30,000 a year starting out, and some can make as much as $70,000. A
tireless few bloggers reach six figures, and some entrepreneurs in the field
have built mini-empires on the Web that are generating hundreds of thousands of
dollars a month. Others who are trying to turn blogging into a career say they
can end up with just $1,000 a month.
Speed can be of the essence. If a blogger is beaten by a millisecond, someone else’s post on the subject will bring in the audience, the links and the bigger share of the ad
“There’s no time ever — including when you’re sleeping — when you’re
not worried about missing a story,” Mr. Arrington said.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we said no blogger or journalist could write a story between 8 p.m. Pacific time and dawn? Then we could all take a break,” he added. “But that’s never going to happen.”
All that competition puts a premium on staying awake. Matt
Buchanan, 22, is the right man for the job. He works for clicks for Gizmodo, a popular Gawker Media site that publishes news about gadgets. Mr. Buchanan lives in a small apartment in Brooklyn, where his bedroom doubles as his office.
He says he sleeps about five hours a night and often does not have time to eat proper meals. But he does stay fueled — by regularly consuming a protein supplement mixed into coffee.
But make no mistake: Mr. Buchanan, a recent graduate of New
York University
, loves his job. He said he gets paid to write (he will not
say how much) while interacting with readers in a global conversation about the
latest and greatest products.
“The fact I have a few thousand people a day reading what I write — that’s kind of cool,” he said. And, yes, it is exhausting. Sometimes, he said, “I just want to lie down.”
Sometimes he does rest, inadvertently, falling asleep at the computer.
“If I don’t hear from him, I’ll think: Matt’s passed out again,” said Brian Lam, the editor of Gizmodo. “It’s happened four or five times.”
Mr. Lam, who as a manager has a substantially larger income, works even harder. He is known to pull all-nighters at his own home office in San Francisco — hours spent trying to keep his site organized and competitive. He said he was well equipped for the torture; he used to be a Thai-style boxer.
“I’ve got a background getting punched in the
face,” he said. “That’s why I’m good at this job.”
Mr. Lam said he has worried his blogging staff might be burning out, and he urges them to take breaks, even vacations. But he said they face tremendous pressure — external, internal and financial. He said the evolution of the “pay-per-click” economy has put the emphasis on reader traffic and financial return, not journalism.
In the case of Mr. Shaw, it is not clear what role stress played in his death.
Ellen Green, who had been dating him for 13 months, said the pressure, though
self-imposed, was severe. She said she and Mr. Shaw had been talking a lot about
how he could create a healthier lifestyle, particularly after the death of his
friend, Mr. Orchant.
“The blogger community is looking at this and saying:
‘Oh no, it happened so fast to two really vital people in the field,’ ” she
said. They are wondering, “What does that have to do with me?”
For his part, Mr. Shaw did not die at his desk. He died in a hotel in San Jose, Calif., where he had flown to cover a technology conference. He had written a last e-mail
dispatch to his editor at ZDNet: “Have come down with something. Resting now
posts to resume later today or tomorrow.”
The New York Times Company

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Nancy Wilson Hospitalized

Grammy winner Nancy Wilson hospitalized

The Canadian Press
Nancy Wilson, 71, won a Grammy in 2007 for best jazz vocal album for Turned to Blue.

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. (AP) — Grammy-winning jazz singer Nancy Wilson was hospitalized early Monday for treatment of a collapsed lung, a spokeswoman said.
Wilson, 71, was expected to recover but will not be able to make a performance scheduled in Memphis, next weekend, said Devra Levy, wife of Wilson's manager, John Levy.
Wilson's lung was being reinflated at Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree and she was in good spirits, Devra Levy told The Associated Press.
Wilson, who lives in the Southern California high desert, began experiencing pain and was taken to the hospital by her husband, Wiley Burton.
Devra Levy said she did not know the cause of the collapsed lung. She said Wilson has had some respiratory problems over the years.
Wilson has been singing professionally for more than 50 years and is semiretired.
Last year, her album Turned to Blue won the Grammy for best jazz vocal album. She also won that category at the 2005 Grammy Awards for the album R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal). In 1965 she was presented the Grammy for best rhythm & blues recording for How Glad I Am.
Wilson had been scheduled to perform April 5 at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Memphis.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.