Archive for the Video Vault Category

“Goodbye” – Jazz Musicians We Lost in 2015 (Part 2 of 2)

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , on December 31, 2015 by curtjazz

As the year comes to a close, let’s remember a few more of the jazz  musicians that passed away this year. Instead of my insufficient words, we will let their artistry speak for them:

Mark Murphy (Vocals)

Lew Soloff (Trumpet)

Clark Terry (Trumpet, Vocals)

Allen Toussaint (Piano, Vocals, Composer)

Phil Woods (Saxophone)

We will be playing the music of these great artists throughout January 2016 on Curt’s Cafe Noir. Click HERE to listen.

 

“Goodbye”: Jazz Musicians we lost in 2015 – Part 1 of 2

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , on December 31, 2015 by curtjazz

As the year comes to a close, let’s remember a few of the jazz (and influential blues) musicians that passed away. Instead of my insufficient words, we will let their artistry speak for them:

Bob Belden (Saxophone, Composer, Arranger, Producer)

Marcus Belgrave (Trumpet)

Ornette Coleman (Saxophone)

Wilton Felder  (Saxophone, Bass)

B.B. King (Guitar, Vocals)

We will be playing the music of these great artists throughout January 2016 on Curt’s Cafe Noir. Click HERE to listen.

Classic Christmas Clips

Posted in The Jazz Continues..., Video Vault with tags , , , , , on December 19, 2015 by curtjazz

For today’s post, I went on a hunt for some clips of some of the greats performing their classic Christmas Songs. I found some good ones. I know that some of these are lip syncs but they are still fun to watch.

Hope you enjoy them as well. Merry Christmas!

Nat “King” Cole: “The Christmas Song” from his television show

Eartha Kitt: “Santa Baby” from New Faces

Lou Rawls: “Merry Christmas, Baby” from Soul Train Christmas

Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby: “Christmas Medley”

A New Gift from JLCO: “Big Band Holidays”

Posted in New on the Playlist, The Jazz Continues..., Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2015 by curtjazz

Big Band HolidaysMy late father often said “The best thing to do in a hurry, is nothing.” As I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to truly appreciate the enduring wisdom in those words – for I’ve so often discovered that I make my biggest errors, when I do things for speed and not for pleasure. Such is the case with my post a couple of days ago about my favorite new Holiday Jazz Albums.

Since I decided last weekend that I was going to write something every day for the rest of the year to atone for my lack of activity over the last six months, I’d became totally focused on putting something out there, even if I hadn’t really thought it through. So when I completed the post on new Christmas Jazz, I dropped a few words and a couple of videos, and declared my mission accomplished, even though I felt as if I was missing something…it didn’t matter; at least I was making my self-imposed deadline.

I was missing something. Something that I had heard and enjoyed more, , than most of the albums in the original post – it was the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Big Band Holidays; an album far richer and more complex than its simplistic title (and pedestrian cover art) would suggest.

Every December for over a decade, Wynton Marsalis, and the JLCO have come together with some of the great vocalists in jazz to perform their arrangements of some of the classic songs of the season. Thankfully many of these concerts were recorded. This year, Blue Engine Records, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s house label, assembled some of the choice selections from 2012 – 2014 concerts and released them as a compilation – featuring three of the best vocalists in jazz today, Rene Marie, Gregory Porter and Cecile McLorin Salvant and strong arrangements from some of the bands in house pros like Victor Goines, Sherman Irby and Ted Nash, plus a nod to the new testament Basie Band by including Ernie Wilkins classic arrangement of “Jingle Bells”. Big Band Holidays is a terrific jazz album first and a good Holiday album second, which is why I will probably be listening to it beyond next Friday night.

As you can see, these performances were also caught on video, so we can share a few of them with you. May these performances prove to be as timeless as my dad’s words.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

 

A Little Love for Joe Williams

Posted in The Jazz Continues..., Video Vault with tags , , , on December 16, 2015 by curtjazz

Francis Albert Sinatra is not the only great singer born on December 12. Born that same date, three years later (1918) in Crisp County, GA was a boy named Joseph Goreed. Three years after his birth, his mother and grandmother would take him to Chicago, where he would grow up.

By the early 50’s, Goreed was calling himself Joe Williams and struggling to make ends meet singing in Chicago area clubs, when he met Count Basie, who was in the process of putting his band back together. Williams, cool urbane baritone was the opposite of Basie’s prior vocalist, blues shouter Jimmy Rushing but he was perfect for the new Basie sound.

From 1954 to 1961, Williams was known as Basie’s “Number One Son” and recorded hits such as “Alright, Okay (You Win)” and “Every Day I Have The Blues”. Williams officially left Basie in ’61 but their musical partnership continued of and on the rest of the Count’s life.

In the ’80’s Williams gained fame with a new generation, as he played “Grandpa Al”, Claire’s father, on The Cosby Show. But he never stopped singing and recording. Unlike Sinatra, time (and care) had been kind to Williams’ vocal gifts and he continued to make critically acclaimed, relevant jazz albums well into his seventies.

Joe Williams died in Las Vegas in 1999. And of late, time seems to be forgetting one of the great jazz vocalists of all time. Hopefully, three years from now, there will be at least a few Williams centennial celebrations on December 12.

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.

Unburied Treasure – Dave Lambert’s “Audition at RCA”

Posted in Never on CD, Uncategorized, Under The Radar, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2014 by curtjazz

lambertIf you read my posts regularly, you know that I’m a fan of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, the great jazz vocal group that influenced so many others, from the Swingle Singers to New York Voices to their most successful progeny, The Manhattan Transfer. Hard as it is to believe, the trio of Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross only recorded together for five years (1957 – 1962). Unlike many others, I’m even quite fond of the work of Lambert and Hendricks with Yolande Bavan, the Ceylonese soprano who replaced Ms. Ross in 1962 and recorded three albums with the group for RCA.  Dave Lambert’s untimely death in an accident on a Connecticut highway in 1966, put an end to the talk of the original trio’s reunion that had been buzzing at the time.

There’s a handful of film footage of both of the group’s incarnations, in qualities that range from grainy but historically relevant; to clear, fun and eminently watchable. And until recently, I thought that I had seen pretty much all that was publicly available. Then a few months ago, I stumbled upon something that had been hiding in plain sight for many years – a short film from 1964, by D.A. Pennebaker, who would go on to create some of the best rock documentaries ever made. It was called simply, Audition at RCA. It features a post L, H & R (or B) Dave Lambert, as he has formed a new group, called Dave Lambert and Co., as he is trying to convince the suits at RCA Records, who had last recorded Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan; to give one more shot to the art form known as vocalese.

In the documentary, you not only see and hear Lambert as he works through “the process” but there’s also legendary jazz producer George Avakian (who was ready to produce the album if RCA signed on) and the great bassist George Duvivier among those providing musical support. The quartet of vocalists supporting Lambert, were all unknown and although they were quite capable, none went on to very prominent careers in the jazz world. The tunes are catchy, especially “Blow The Man Down” and “Comfy Cozy” (which sounds tailor-made for L, H & R). I would have liked to have heard what the finished product sounded like.

Unfortunately, it was not to be, as the RCA execs didn’t go for the project. The tapes of the music were erased and this cool, swinging music by a jazz master, ceased to exist anywhere, except for the snippets that are a part of this documentary short. To my knowledge these tunes have never been recorded again and I’m not sure if any complete, written versions of the compositions and arrangements exist. If they do, what a great project it would be to finally let them be heard, more than half a century later.

Until then, we have this unburied treasure to enjoy as we wonder what might have been…

 

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.

Song for My Father – Double Dose

Posted in Video Vault with tags , , , , , on June 15, 2014 by curtjazz

song for my fatherWithout a doubt “Song for My Father” is the most well-known composition and performance of Horace Silver’s illustrious career.

For Father’s Day, I’m not going to say much. I’ll just let Mr. Silver have the floor. First, in the famous studio version and then in an excellent live take from 1968, when Silver’s working group included Billy Cobham, Bill Hardman and Bennie Maupin.

Nothing else to say here but Happy Father’s Day to my fellow Dads! Hope that your day was a great one.