Archive for the In Memoriam Category

Jazz Artists We Lost in 2014 – Part II

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2015 by curtjazz

To yesterday’s list we add another group of jazz great who passed on in 2014. We remember them and we celebrate and forever cherish their artistry:

  • John Blake 
  • Joe Bonner 
  • Jackie Cain (Jackie & Roy) 
  • Roy Campbell 
  • Paul Horn 
  • Herb Jeffries 
  • Ronny Jordan 
  • Idris Muhammad 
  • Frank Strazzeri 
  • Kenny Wheeler 
  • Joe Wilder 

May they all Rest In Peace

Memories of You – Jazz Artists We Lost in 2014: Part 1

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2015 by curtjazz

Before we totally immerse ourselves in the New Year, I want to look back and remember some of the great jazz artists that we lost in 2014. While they may have left this place, we are so blessed that we are able through today’s technology, to look back a fondly remember why their art will live forever.

May they all rest in peace.

  • Buddy DeFranco 
  • Kenny Drew, Jr. 
  • Charlie Haden 
  • Wayne Henderson (The Crusaders – trombone) 
  • Tim Hauser (Manhattan Transfer) 
  • Joe Sample 
  • Jimmy Scott 
  • Horace Silver 
  • Gerald Wilson 

Please not that this is not an exhaustive list. There will be additional remembrances in Part 2.

Horace Silver – A Video Memorial

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , on June 20, 2014 by curtjazz

Horace Silver (1928 – 2014)

horace silverThough Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva (which he later changed to “Silver”) penned and performed some of the most enduring compositions in jazz history, I don’t think that during his lifetime, he received the respect that he deserved.  Perhaps it was because many of his compositions, while they used interesting time signatures and complex rhythms, were also often infused with a good dose of soul and R & B influence; something which immediately makes many so-called “serious jazz scholars” turn up their collective noses. But Horace Silver did something that many of the more lionized critical darlings could never do; he made uncompromising jazz that also was able to speak to the masses.

From his days alongside Art Blakey in the original Jazz Messengers right into the early part of this century, Mr. Silver continued to create music that could reach the head, the heart and in many instances, even the feet. He recorded for Blue Note Records from 1952 until the label went into a temporary hiatus in 1979, longer than any other artist in the label’s history.

And what a rich partnership it was; with classic albums such as A Night at Birdland; Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers; Finger Poppin’; Tokyo Blues; Serenade to a Soul Sister and Song for my FatherHis compositions during that time included, “Sister Sadie”; “Peace”; “The Preacher”; “Senor Blues”; “Strollin'”; “Nica’s Dream” and so many more. Like Blakey, Silver also nurtured the careers of many young players in his bands, who then went on to make their own mark on jazz. Over the years, Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd, Blue Mitchell Bennie Maupin and Louis Hayes all spent part of their formative years working in one of Mr. Silver’s groups.

Though slowed by ill-health and dementia over the last five years, Mr. Silver’s art still made him a formidable presence in the jazz world. I will refer you to the excellent New York Times obituary by Peter Keepnews for an in-depth retrospective of the man and his career and to Mr. Silver’s informative, if occasionally inscrutable 2006 autobiography Let’s Get to the Nitty Gritty for additional details. I will leave you with a few performance clips from his prime in the ’60’s and my undying gratitude to a man whose music will always be a part of my life.

Video Memorial: Ronny Jordan (1962 – 2014)

Posted in In Memoriam with tags , , , , on January 14, 2014 by curtjazz

ronny jordanI just heard that Ronny Jordan has passed away. The British guitarist was one of the leading lights of the Acid Jazz movement that caught fire in England in the early nineties and because of his work with Guru and other American hip-hop artists his cool, Wes Montgomery influenced lines were soon heard on many tracks in U.S. clubs as well.

I really dug his first two U.S. releases, The Antidote (his best album) and The Quiet Revolution, which were released at the height of Acid Jazz’s popularity in the U.S. Ironically most people in this country probably know him for a track on The Quiet Revolution that was popularized by a scene on a television show in which Jordan was never mentioned by name. The show is The West Wing and the song is “The Jackal” to which the character “C.J.”(Allison Janney) performs a quirky, yet compelling lip-sync of Dana Bryant’s spoken-word vocal.

Jordan continued to perform and record into the 21st Century but he never again reached the popularity stateside that the last decade of the 20th Century brought him. 

For those unfamiliar with his work, I’ve included a few clips, including The Antidote in its entirety and a couple of cuts of Jordan playing live, showing off his chops.

Rest in Peace, Ronny Jordan

Jazz Artists We Lost in 2013 – Part II

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2014 by curtjazz

Though I never intended my previous post to be a comprehensive record of fine jazz artists who passed away in 2013, I realize after reviewing JazzTimes‘ list that there were so, so many that I left out.

So although this is still far from all-inclusive, here’s another video clip memorial to some of the fine jazz musicians who left us in 2013.

Many of these names are not as familiar as the ones from Part I, but if you’re not familiar with them, it will be worth your while to do some research.

The masters are leaving us very quickly friends, please support and appreciate them while they are here.

Sathima Bea Benjamin (voice)

Oscar Castro-Neves (guitar, voice)

Boyd Lee Dunlop (piano)

Ricky Lawson (drums)

Gloria Lynne (voice)

Sam Most (flute)

Jimmy Ponder (guitar)

Melvin Rhyne (organ)

Ben Tucker (bass)

Johnny Smith (guitar)

Ed Shaughnessy (drums)

Gone Too Soon – Jazz Artists We Lost in 2013

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2013 by curtjazz

As 2013 draws to a close, I want to look back and remember some of the wonderful jazz artists we lost this year. Some had long, illustrious careers, others were cut down in their musical primes. In either case we are so grateful that they were here long enough to share some of their art with us. We are grateful to live in an age where video makes it possible to always have great memories of how their music touched us.

May they rest in peace.

Dwayne Burno (bass)

Donald Byrd (trumpet)

George Duke (keyboards)

Jim Hall (guitar)

Chico Hamilton (drums)

Yusef Lateef (reeds)

Marian McPartland (piano)

Mulgrew Miller (piano)

Cedar Walton (piano)

Butch Warren (bass)

Frank Wess (reeds)

Happy Birthday – Bird, Dinah and Michael

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , on August 29, 2013 by curtjazz

Charlie “Bird” Parker, Dinah Washington and Michael Jackson were all born on August 29th. That they were all extremely influential musical talents who died way too young, is obvious. All I want to do today is post a clip from each of them in performance which will attest to their greatness.

Charlie Parker (1920 – 1955) / With Coleman Hawkins “Improvisation”

There aren’t too many film clips of Bird playing live. This one with Coleman Hawkins is pretty good. Even on an off day, Charlie Parker was better than most cats on their best day.

Dinah Washington (1924 – 1963) –  “Send Me to the Electric Chair”

Like Bird, there aren’t a lot of Dinah Washington clips out there. Also like Bird, she never made it to 40. She should have been a bigger star. Born Ruth Jones, she has always held a special place in my heart because my mom was one of her biggest fans.

Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009) – “Who’s Loving You” / “Remember The Time”

And of course, there’s Michael Joseph Jackson.  He called himself “The King of Pop”. I was never fond of that moniker but I always admired his brilliance. He gets two clips; one from the beginning and the other from later in his career, of a song (and video) that I always liked.

I mean how can you not love Eddie , Iman, Magic and Michael in the same video!

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