Archive for jazz in charlotte

“Juan’s an ‘Old Problem'” (Duke fires Mingus)

Posted in Jazz in Charlotte, JazzLives!, The Jazz Continues... with tags , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2019 by curtjazz

For those of you who weren’t with us in Charlotte on February 22-23, 2019; well, you missed some amazing jazz, as Neil Caine honored Charles Mingus. I was fortunate enough to be the MC for the weekend and in that capacity, tell a few stories related to one of the greatest bass players in the history of jazz. Due to time constraints, I only made passing mention to one of my favorites – one from Mingus’ fascinating autobiography, Beneath the Underdog. I did promise to post the story in full, because it is a classic.

Charles Mingus idolized Duke Ellington from his youth. He always considered the Duke to be one of his greatest musical influences. So it had to be a thrill for Mingus, when, in 1953, he was hired to fill the bass chair in the Ellington Orchestra. It was a short-lived honor, however, as Mingus, who was known for his irascibility, almost as much as his prowess on the bass, almost immediately butted heads with Ellington’s famed valve trombonist, Juan Tizol (the composer of “Caravan”).

The “disagreement” was so heated, that Ellington, who almost never terminated anyone from his band, felt that someone had to go and that someone, was Charles Mingus.

Mingus gives an account of his firing, in his autobiography. Over the ensuing years, some have questioned the veracity of parts, or all, of Mingus’ version of the facts but it is so entertaining and, for those who knew Ellington, so plausible, that it has become the accepted account. Below is that story. Please note that Mingus wrote much of the book in the second person, and we will not make any revisions to his preference:

Tizol wants you to play a solo he’s written where bowing is required. You raise the solo an octave, where the bass isn’t too muddy. He doesn’t like that and he comes to the room under the stage where you’re practicing at intermission and comments that you’re like the rest of the niggers in the band, you can’t read. You ask Juan how he’s different from the other niggers and he states that one of the ways he’s different is that he is white. So you run his ass upstairs. You leave the rehearsal room, proceed toward the stage with your bass and take your place and at the moment Duke brings down the baton for “A-Train” and the curtain of the Apollo Theatre goes up, a yelling, whooping Tizol rushes out and lunges at you with a bolo knife. The rest you remember mostly from Duke’s own words in his dressing room as he changes after the show.

“Now, Charles,” he says, looking amused, putting Cartier links into the cuffs of his beautiful handmade shirt, “you could have forewarned me—you left me out of the act entirely! At least you could have let me cue in a few chords as you ran through that Nijinsky routine. I congratulate you on your performance, but why didn’t you and Juan inform me about the adagio you planned so that we could score it? I must say I never saw a large man so agile—I never saw anybody make such tremendous leaps! The gambado over the piano carrying your bass was colossal. When you exited after that I thought, ‘That man’s really afraid of Juan’s knife and at the speed he’s going he’s probably home in bed by now.’ But no, back you came through the same door with your bass still intact. For a moment I was hopeful you’d decided to sit down and play but instead you slashed Juan’s chair in two with a fire axe! Really, Charles, that’s destructive. Everybody knows Juan has a knife but nobody ever took it seriously—he likes to pull it out and show it to people, you understand. So I’m afraid, Charles—I’ve never fired anybody—you’ll have to quit my band. I don’t need any new problems. Juan’s an old problem, I can cope with that, but you seem to have a whole bag of new tricks. I must ask you to be kind enough to give me your notice, Mingus.”

The charming way he says it, it’s like he’s paying you a compliment. Feeling honored, you shake hands and resign.

[Bottom photo; L to R] Your humble blogger; Neal Caine; Will Campbell; Annalise Stalls; Ocie Davis; (not pictured – Orlando Fiol)

And that’s the way it happened, according to Charles Mingus. And who are we, to doubt him. Thanks again to the fantastic musicians, who made Mingus proud, through their efforts in The Jazz Room last weekend: Annalise Stalls; Will Campbell; Orlando Fiol; Ocie Davis and of course, Neal Caine.

Until the next time, the jazz continues.

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A “Blowin’ Session” in the QC

Posted in Jazz in Charlotte, JazzLives!, Unsung Saxophone Masters, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2019 by curtjazz

Jazz lore is filled with stories of the “Blowing Session”; where the great instrumentalists who played the same instrument, would gather on a stage and demonstrate their prowess. Usually this would begin with the basic head arrangement of a well known standard and from there, the combatants would take things to the next level, in their solos, each vying to outdo the last. Often, these were friendly completions; other times, if some of the cats had “beef” with each other, this could be a battle nearly to the death.

Sometimes, the cats would take these battles to the studio. There, we would get a mixed bag; the constraints of studio time costs and realizing that the results would have to fit onto at least one side of an LP, could dampen some of the fancier flights. However, we still have some classic and near classic recordings, and many of these, to no surprise, involved tenor saxophone players. I’ll drop a list of some of the best at the end.

Right now, you need to know about a little bit of the revival of that tradition that will be happening in Charlotte, NC on January 17 – 19, in Jazz Arts Initiative’s THE JAZZ ROOM. We will have have some of the finest tenor players from the area, coming together to do battle. Each will appear with our all-star rhythm section (Lovell Bradford – piano; Aaron Gross – bass; Malcolm Charles – drums) and in various combinations on stage together. The musical sparks are bound to fly!

Juan Rollan

Over the weekend, our lineup will change from night to night and it includes the following sax masters: Chad Eby; Greg Jarrell; David Lail; Brian Miller; Juan Rollan; Annalise Stalls and PhillipWhack

Chad Eby

The accompanying clips are samples of a few of our tenor masters, smokin’ their way through some of their prior gigs. Now, image what we will get when we bring all of these ingredients together.

Phillip Whack

Two sets nightly, from Thursday, January 17 – Saturday, January 19, means you will have six opportunities to be a part of JAI’s Tenor Madness. Thursday and Friday, the times are 6:00 pm and 8:15 pm; Saturday sets are at 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm. THE JAZZ ROOM is located at The Stage Door Theater at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. I will be your MC for all sets but please don’t let that stop you from coming!

Annalise Stalls

Tickets are a true bargain! $14 in advance and $16 at the door, until there are no more. To get them, go to CarolinaTix.org

For further info about Jazz Arts Initiative, visit their website thejazzarts.org

Oh yeah, I did promise a list of recordings that include some great tenor battles. Here are five to get you started, in no particular order:

Boss Tenors – Gene Ammons & Sonny Stitt [Verve]

A Blowin’ Session – Johnny Griffin (w/ John Coltrane & Hank Mobley) [Blue Note]

Tenor Conclave – Al Cohn; Zoot Sims; Mobley; Coltrane [Prestige/OJC]

Tenor Madness – Sonny Rollins (w/Coltrane on the title track) [Prestige/OJC]

Alone Together – Tough Young Tenors (Walter Blanding Jr.; James Carter; Herb Harris; Tim Warfield; Todd Williams) [Antilles/Verve]

Jazz Clip of the Day: Sasha Masakowski

Posted in Best Jazz Albums of 2018, CD Reviews, Unsung Women of Jazz, Video Vault with tags , , , , on January 13, 2019 by curtjazz

I’ve been fortunate to work with this delightful and gifted young vocalist, a number of times, over the past few years, as she has been a frequent guest/headliner at jazz events, produced by the Jazz Arts Initiative (the organization I am associated with), here in Charlotte.

My musical introduction to Ms. Masakowski, came through her Wishes album, in 2011. I loved the eclectic feel of the disc; the fact that it included tracks penned by Brazilian stalwart Baden Powell, Ellis Marsalis (the Marsalis family patriarch, and one of Sasha’s teachers) and renowned guitarist/educator Steve Masakowski (Sasha’s dad), as well as her own, contemporary based work.

In 2018, Sasha released Art Market, a captivating, eclectic set, that creates a perfect blend of her New Orleans roots, her jazz education and the downtown, electronic New York scene that also has a considerable affect on Sasha’s artistry. I loved what I heard. I loved it so much, that Art Market is on my list as one of the Best Jazz Albums of 2018.

I’ve learned that I am not alone in my appreciation of Ms. Masakowski’s artistry. In 2015, Vanity Fair, listed her as one of the top young jazz musicians on the scene. And already in 2019, Paste Magazine has tabbed Sasha as one of the 12 New Jazz Artists to Watch, in this year.

As an introduction to Sasha, I’ve included two clips, that will show you two of her multiple facets: the enjoyable, official video for “Sister”, one of her compositions included on Art Market and her performance of Marcos Valle’s Brazilian classic “Summer Samba (So Nice)”.

Of course, you can hear “Sister” and several other tracks from Art Market, in regular rotation on CurtJazz Radio, throughout January of 2019. Click HERE to listen now.

JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz: Interactive Playlist 5/18/17 (Final Show)

Posted in Charlotte Community Rado, CLTC Playlists, Jazz in Charlotte, JazzLives!, Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2017 by curtjazz

JazzLives_Logo225Our final show on Charlotte Community Radio was Thursday, 5/18/17. I decided to have no guests that evening and just to concentrate on sharing the music with the audience one more time. It was truly, a bittersweet occasion.

Though Charlotte Community Radio is no more, JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz will be back. We are working on a couple of avenues right now and we expect to be back on the air, either terrestrially or on the web, by the fall. Until then, I will be with you in this space, stepping up my blog game again and doing all that I can to keep jazz alive.

As with the previous playlists, this one includes a recording of the show, a full list of the tracks played and some video clips of the songs played that caught my eye.

Keep swingin’, y’all!

 

TRACK TITLE ARTIST(S) ALBUM LABEL
The Common Ground Kenny Burrell Blues – The Common Ground Verve
Yes or No Wayne Shorter Juju Blue Note
Tu, Yo Y Mi Flauta Adrian Crutchfield Private Party CD Baby
Billie’s Bounce George Benson Giblet Gravy Verve
On the Sunny Side of the Street John Michael Bradford Something Old, Something New CD Baby
I Know You Know Esperanza Spalding Esperanza Heads Up
Searching Roy Ayers Evolution: Polydor Anthology Polydor
I Just Wanna Live Buff Dillard (feat. Nicci Canada) I Just Wanna Live (single) Self-Release
Dizzy’s Dashiki Poncho Sanchez / Terence Blanchard Chano y Dizzy Concord
Chitlins Con Carne Kenny Burrell Midnight Blue Blue Note
Brother Thelonious Helen Sung Anthem for a New Day Concord
Easy Going Amos Hoffman Back to the City Self Release
The Party’s Over Leslie Odom, Jr. Leslie Odom, Jr. S-Curve
Sweet Summer Love Eugenie Jones Come Out Swingin’ Self-Release
Killer Joe Quincy Jones Walking in Space A&M
Sonny’s Playground George Coleman A Master Speaks Smoke Sessions
Love You Madly Natalia M. King Bluezzin’ ‘til Dawn Challenge
I’m an Old Cowhand Sonny Rollins Way Out West Contemporary
Freight Trane Amanda Monaco Glitter Posi-Tone
This Here Theo Hill Promethean Posi-Tone
Isfahan Dayna Stephens Gratitude Self-Release
Everything I’ve Got Belongs to You Nicki Parrott Dear Blossom Arbors
Project S Jimmy Heath Big Band Turn Up the Heath Planet Arts
It’s You Or No One Joris Teepe & Don Braden Conversations Self-Release
Arietas Farnell Newton Back to Earth Posi-Tone
Song for My Father (feat. Gregory Porter) Louis Hayes Serenade for Horace Blue Note
Tell Me Something Good Deep Blue Organ Trio Wonderful! Origin
Nefertiti Joel LaRue Smith The Motorman’s Son Self Release
Blind Man, Blind Man Herbie Hancock My Point of View Blue Note
Why Don’t You Do Right? Jeanie Bryson Some Cats Know Telarc
E Preciso Perdoar Sasha Masakowski Wishes CD Baby
Doc’s Holiday Sean Jones Live from Jazz at the Bistro Mack Avenue

JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz: Interactive Playlist 3/30/17 (with Amos Hoffman)

Posted in Charlotte Community Rado, CLTC Playlists, Jazz in Charlotte, JazzLives!, The Jazz Continues..., Video Vault, Who's New in Jazz with tags , , , , , on June 2, 2017 by curtjazz

amos hoffman collageOn the March 30 edition of JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz, on Charlotte Community Radio, we were fortunate to have as an in-studio guest, the brilliant guitarist/oudist, Amos Hoffman.

We discussed Amos’ influences, the jazz scene in his native Israel, New York and in the Carolinas, where he currently resides. We also played most of the tracks from his most recent album, Back to the City and as a special treat, Mr. Hoffman played some live in studio performances.

In this interactive playlist, we have included a link to the entire broadcast, the full list of tunes for the evening, clips of three of the in-studio performances and the official video for “Brown Sugar”; an infectious and compelling track from Mr. Hoffman’s 2010 album, Carving 

For more information on Amos Hoffman and his upcoming performances, visit his website: www.amoshoffman.com  To purchase a copy of Back to the City (CD Baby), click HERE. To purchase Carving (iTunes) click HERE.

 

TRACK TITLE ARTIST(S) ALBUM LABEL
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Amos Hoffman Back to the City CD Baby
Easy Going Amos Hoffman Back to the City CD Baby
After Lazy Noon Amos Hoffman Back to the City CD Baby
Alone in South Carolina Amos Hoffman Back to the City CD Baby
Little Pigs Amos Hoffman Back to the City CD Baby
Pannonica Amos Hoffman Back to the City CD Baby
Back to the City Amos Hoffman Back to the City CD Baby
Blue Silver Pat Bianchi A Higher Standard Self-Release
Senor Blues Giacomo Gates Fly Rite Sharp Nine
The Outlaw Blue Note 7 Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Blue Note
Monie (feat. Donald Harrison) John Michael Bradford Something Old, Something New CD Baby
Fortress Mark Whitfield Grace Self-Release
Soul Sister Warren Wolf Convergence Mack Avenue
My Shining Hour Tia Fuller Decisive Steps Mack Avenue
Doodlin’ Manhattan Transfer Vibrate Telarc
Homecoming Shamie Royston Portraits Self-Release
Hi-Fly (feat. Jon Hendricks) Sachal Vasandani Hi-Fly Mack Avenue
Fred’s Blues Brent Rusinow Old Guy Time Self-Release
Wake-up Call Jesse Davis As We Speak Concord
Music in the Air Jon Hendricks A Good Git-Together Pacific Jazz
Taiji Camp Keith Davis Trio Still CD Baby
Day Dreaming Roy Ayers Red, Black and Green Polydor

JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz: Interactive Playlist – 5/4/17

Posted in Charlotte Community Rado, CLTC Playlists, Jazz in Charlotte, JazzLives!, Video Vault, Who's New in Jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2017 by curtjazz

Jazzmeia-Horn-A-Social-Call 225The penultimate edition of JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz on Charlotte Community Radio, featured mostly new releases. There has been a lot of great new music released in 2017 and I wanted to share as much of it as possible before wrapping it up. I had to drop in a Sonny Rollins classic and a few others, like the one from a few years back from my man, Etienne Charles and Chaka with Echoes of an Era ’cause they were totally in my head. But the majority of the love went to the new stuff, such as the sublime debut disc by Ms. Jazzmeia Horn and the striking groove of Nightintales, the latest release from that daughter of jazz royalty, Ms. China Moses.

There’s a link to the entire program below and video clips of a few of the tracks as well. Hope y’all dig it!

 

 

TRACK TITLE ARTIST(S) ALBUM LABEL
Sweet Georgia Brown Ori Dagan Less Than Three Self-Release
Karma Joey DeFrancesco Project Freedom Mack Avenue
Disconnected China Moses Nightinales MPS
I Told You I Love You Giacomo Gates Centerpiece Origin
La Cancha Eddie Palmieri Sabiduria Ropeadope
Old Men Sing the Blues Kevin Mahogany The Vienna Affair Cracked Anegg
The Aviator Bobby Watson Made in America Smoke Sessions
Take the Coltrane Kevin Eubanks East West Time Mack Avenue
Spanish Steps LCJO (feat. Jon Batiste & Wynton Marsalis) The Music of John Lewis Blue Engine
Tight Jazzmeia Horn A Social Call Prestige
Armando’s Song Christian Sands REACH Mack Avenue
Tatra Hermon Mehari Bleu Unlabeled
Soy Califa Allegra Levy Cities Between Us SteepleChase
O Pato Eliane Elias Dance of Time Concord
Black Enough Somi Petite Afrique Okeh
Take the A Train Echoes of an Era Echoes of an Era Elektra
Little Sunflower Ed Cherry Soul Time Posi-tone
Haitian Fight Song Akua Dixon Akua Dixon Self-Release
What a Difference a Day Makes Akiko Tsuruga Sakura American Showplace
Straighten Up and Fly Right Nnenna Freelon & Take 6 Soulcall Concord
Pandora’s Box Jeremy Pelt The Talented Mr. Pelt HighNote
Cinderella Poncho Sanchez Ultimate Latin Dance Party Concord Picante
Camera Eyes Behn Gillece Dare to Be Posi-tone
Surrey with the Fringe on Top Sonny Rollins Newk’s Time Blue Note
That’s Not Your Donut Champian Fulton Speechless CD Baby
Kitch’s Bebop of Calypso (feat. Lord Superior) Etienne Charles Kaiso Culture Shock
Down By The Riverside Christian McBride Trio Live at the Village Vanguard Mack Avenue
RED! Josh Lawrence Color Theory Posi-tone
Make America Great Again! Delfeayo Marsalis Make America Great Again! Troubador Jass
Breathless Terence Blanchard Breathless Blue Note
Central Line Art Hirahara Central Line Posi-tone

JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz: Interactive Playlist from 4/6/17

Posted in Charlotte Community Rado, CLTC Playlists, The Jazz Continues... with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2017 by curtjazz

Dawn Anthony 225

Dawn Anthony

As a reminder of the wonderful programs that we were blessed to produce for CLTC Radio, we are instituting a new feature on this blog –  the interactive playlist. It will include not only a listing of the tracks but also a recording of the program and a couple of video clips of the songs we played that evening.

On the 4/6/17 edition of JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz, on Charlotte Community Radio, our in-studio guest was my friend, the gifted, Charlotte based jazz vocalist, Dawn Anthony, in a return appearance on the show. As usual, Dawn and I had a great time chatting about her influences and playing some her (and my) favorite tracks.

So, below is a list of the tracks that Dawn and I spun, plus a couple of nice performances of the tunes you heard, by Cassandra Wilson and Cyrille Aimee. And a link to a recording of the entire broadcast.

I hope you enjoy listening even half as much as we enjoyed making the show!

TRACK TITLE ARTIST(S) ALBUM LABEL
Stolen Moments Carmen McRae / Betty Carter Duets Verve
Breaking Point China Moses Nightintales MPS
Resolution Kurt Elling Man in the Air Blue Note
Clap on the 2 and the 4 Ori Dagan Clap on the 2 and the 4 Self-Release
Lonesome Lover Gregory Porter Liquid Spirit Blue Note
Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year Abbey Lincoln Devil’s Got Your Tongue Verve
What a Difference a Day Makes Rene Marie How Can I Keep From Singing? MAXJAZZ
Perdido John Pizzarelli/Kurt Elling Rockin’ In Rhythm Telarc
Mosaic Vanessa Rubin Pastiche Novus
Off The Wall Cyrille Aimee It’s A Good Day Mack Avenue
Pretty Eyes Dee Dee Bridgewater Love and Peace Verve
Spain (I Can Recall) Al Jarreau This Time Warner Bros
Listen to Monk Jon Hendricks Freddie Freeloader Denon
Dixie/Strange Fruit Rene Marie Vertigo MAXJAZZ
Things Are Getting Better Eddie Jefferson Vocal Ease 32 Jazz
Mary Take 6 Take 6 Warner Bros
California Soul Melissa Morgan Days Like This Self-Release
My One and Only Love John Coltrane / Johnny Hartman John Coltrane / Johnny Hartman Impulse
Bonita Cuba Kurt Elling Passion World Concord
Go Away Little Boy Marlena Shaw It is Love Verve
I’m Glad There is You Gloria Lynne The Greatest Hits Pickwick
Justice Cassandra Wilson Belly of the Sun Blue Note
Cottontail Lambert, Hendricks and Ross The Hottest New Group in Jazz Columbia
Children, Your Line is Draggin Original Broadway Cast It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues MCA
Cool Breeze Roberta Gambarini and Hank Jones You Are There [EP] Emarcy
The Duck (O Pato) Jon Hendricks Salud! Joao Gilberto Reprise
You Must Believe in Spring Tony Bennett / Bill Evans The Complete Recordings Concord