|THE ANSWERS TO LAST MONTH’S JAZZ TRIVIA QUIZ (CHOPS)
1. B) Bassist Bill Johnson led the groundbreaking Original Creole Jazz Band which included cornetist Freddie Keppard.
2. D) Benny Goodman was never a member of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra.
3. C) Lionel Hampton was the first musician to fill in on drums after Gene Krupa left the Goodman big band.
4. A) Dick Cary was the original pianist with the Louis Armstrong All-Stars.
5. True. John Coltrane recorded on alto during a pair of Gene Ammons sessions.
6. B) Herbie Hancock played piano on the original version of Victor Feldman’s “Seven Steps To Heaven.”
7. A) Michael Brecker was not a member of Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House.
8. C) Wynton Marsalis appeared in the film Tune In Tomorrow.
9. B) Cecile McLorin Salvant was the winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition.
10. False. Bria Skonberg was never a classical violinist.
For more information on the 1,000 question jazz trivia quiz (CHOPS), which is available for $25, please contact me at scottyanowjazz@yahoo.
THE TOP JAZZ RECORDINGS OF 2016
As has been true of every year since 1917, and particularly since 1923, there have been an excess of great jazz recordings released in 2016. No
“best of” list can include every memorable recording unless it lists several thousand. Since I’ve limited myself to 40, one can certainly come up
with other jazz sessions that deserved to be included. However every of the ones that I’ve listed, which cover a wide variety of styles, are special
in their own way and deserve your attention. I have listed the 25 new and 15 reissue/historic CDs in alphabetical order by the leader’s name.
Get them all!
25 TOP NEW RELEASES
Melissa Aldana - Back Home - Wom Music
Eric Alexander – Second Impression – High Note
Alyssa Allgood – Out Of The Blue - Jeru Jazz
Ehud Asherie – Shuffle Along – Blue Heron
Corina Bartra - Tribute To Chabuca Granda - Blue Spiral
John Beasley – Presents MONK’estra, Volume 1 – Mack Avenue
Lori Bell – Brooklyn Dreaming – Self-Released
Brian Bromberg – Full Circle – Artistry Music
Derek Brown – Beatbox Sax – Self-Released
Rose Colella – Cocktail - Lola Bard Productions
George Coleman - A Master Speaks - Smoke Sessions
The Cookers – The Call Of The Wild and Peaceful Heart – Smoke Sessions
The Fat Babies – Solid Gassuh – Delmark
Erwin Helfer – Last Call – The Sirens Records
Dyan Kane – Dyatribe – Interplay
Brad Mehldau – Blues & Ballads - Nonesuch
Hendrik Meurkens – Harmonicus Rex – Height Advantage
Jean Luc Ponty/Stanley Clarke/Bireli Lagrene – D-Stringz - Impulse
Rent Romus’ Life’s Blood Ensemble – Rising Colossus – Edgetone
Andy Schumm/Enrico Tomasso – When Louis Met Bix - Lake
Dr. Lonnie Smith - Evolution - Blue Note
Stryker/Slagle Band – Expanded - Strikezone
Allen Toussaint – American Tunes – Nonesuch
Various Artists - Jazz Loves Disney – Verve
Peter Zak - Standards - Steeplechase
15 TOP REISSUES AND HISTORIC MUSIC
Count Basie and Lester Young – Classic 1936-1947 Studio Sessions – Mosaic
Red Callender - The Complete RCA Victor Sessions 1951-1952 - Fresh Sound
Christian Chevallier – His Orchestra and Small Groups 1955-1961 – Fresh Sound
Erroll Garner – Ready Take One – Legacy
Lars Gullin – The Liquid Moves Of Lars Gullin – Sonorama
Tubby Hayes – Live At The Hopbine 1968, Vol. 1 – Gearbox
James P. Johnson - Classic Sessions 1921-1943 - Mosaic
Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra – All My Yesterdays – Resonance
Blue Mitchell & Sonny Red – Baltimore 1966 - Uptown
Sal Mosca – The Talk Of The Town – Sunnyside
Woody Shaw/Louis Hayes – The Tour, Volume One – High Note
Lucky Thompson – Bop & Ballads – Sonorama
Lennie Tristano – Chicago, April 1951 – Uptown
Weather Report – The Legendary Live Tapes – Legacy
Forrest Westbrook – The Remarkable – Fresh Sound
RON CARTER TRIO
Bassist Ron Carter has appeared on over 2,000 recording sessions during the past 55 years and has been part of a countless number of
ensembles for live dates. He has led his own regular trio on a part-time basis since at least 2002. Originally it featured guitarist Russell Malone
and the late pianist Mulgrew Miller. After Miller’s passing in 2013, he was succeeded by Donald Vega.
The Carter-Malone-Vega group performed several nights before enthusiastic crowds at Catalina’s. The trio was tight in their ensembles, the
arrangements were colorful and swinging, and there were many fine solos from all three players. Oscar Pettiford’s “Laverne Walk” began the
night with a long piano solo by Vega, a fine statement by Carter, and an often-witty improvisation by Malone who at one point quoted “The
Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.” After a trading of eight-bar phrases, Carter took the melody out.
Other highlights from the night included a tribute to the late guitarist Jim Hall (“Candlelight”) that featured the ballad artistry of Malone, an
inventive reworking of “My Funny Valentine” that included a long passage from “Who Can I Turn To” during the piano solo, a showcase for
the bassist on “Morning Of The Carnival,” “Soft Winds” (which included some furious double-time playing) and a gently swinging “There Will
Never Be Another You.” Throughout the set, Ron Carter often smiled at his sidemen, and rightfully so. This is one of the finest groups that he
has led and the music was consistently exquisite.
TAMMY MCCANN RETURNS TO CATALINA’S
A year ago, Tammy McCann made her debut at Catalina’s. The Chicago-based singer returned recently and once again put on a memorable
performance. She has a very attractive voice, a large range, and always swings. Ms. McCann also has impressive stage presence, telling
concise and interesting stories between songs.
Joined by pianist Tamir Hendelman, bassist John Clayton and drummer Clayton Cameron, Tammy McCann was outstanding on an
adventurous version of “Blackbird,” a beautiful slowed-down rendition of “As Time Goes By,” “Let’s Fall In Love” (which had Hendelman
sounding a bit like Oscar Peterson), “Something To Live For” (on which Cameron played the famous rhythm from “Poinciana”), a medium-
tempo “On Green Dolphin Street,” an unusually slow and dreamy version of “I Thought About You,” a scat-filled “Straight No Chaser,” Freddie
Cole’s arrangement of “A Lovely Day,” and a few fine originals. The music was consistently inspired. The singer clearly enjoyed performing
with the masterful musicians, and vice versa.
The very talented Tammy McCann deserves to be famous in the jazz world. It seems only a matter of time.
JAZZ HIDDEN AWAY IN HOLLYWOOD
Quite by accident, I happened to wander into the Sassafras Saloon in Hollywood on a Tuesday night and was surprised to hear a fine vintage
jazz band performing. I suspect that there is a great deal of jazz hidden away in Hollywood and throughout the L.A. area that does not get
much publicity, particularly since there are so many talented musicians living in Southern California.
On this particular night, Marissa Gomez and the Ghosts of Echo Park were performing. Ms. Gomez is a fine singer who displayed a strong voice,
versatility, and a real feeling for vintage jazz and blues. In her repertoire were such songs as “Whatever Lola Wants,” “Fever,” a lowdown
Bessie Smith blues and some of her originals. The singer was joined by keyboardist Reseda Mickey, bassist Leslie Baker, drummer Princess
Frank and a fine guitarist whose name (other than James) I missed. The music was quite fun and the surroundings, an attractive venue that
looked as if it were built in 1910, made for an enjoyable hangout. For more information about Sassafras (located at 1233 N. Vine Street), call
JIM MARSHALL’S JAZZ FESTIVAL
Jim Marshall (1936-2010) was a major music photographer who was responsible for classic photos of the greats from many genres of music.
Fortunately he loved jazz and took extensive photos at the Monterey Jazz Festivals of 1960-61 and 1963-66 plus the 1963 Newport Jazz
Festival. These black and white shots, nearly all of which have never been previously published, comprise the recent book Jazz Festival which
has been put out by Reel Art Press, edited by Amelia Davis and Tony Nourmand, and made available from www.reelartpress.com.
There is a brief forward by President Bill Clinton, a piece on jazz’s importance in the racial integration of the 1950s and ‘60s by Nat Hentoff,
Dave Brolan’s memories of Marshall, and an article by Graham Marsh about the typical jazz wardrobe of the era. There is also a list of the
remarkable lineup of the musicians who appeared at each of these festivals. Otherwise there is extremely little text in the book. Most of the
musicians are simply identified without comment and the many crowd scenes speak for themselves. There is one error (a photo of a male
harpist says that it is Casper Reardon but that is impossible since Reardon died in 1941) and some omissions, but those are minor. It would
have been nice to have someone write brief summaries of what took place at the seven festivals (which included historic performances by
Charles Mingus, John Handy, Charles Lloyd and Don Ellis), but what is included in this large 336 book is special.
Among the many artists who are seen in previously unknown photos are John Coltrane (including a shot with Wes Montgomery), Ornette
Coleman, Scott LaFaro, Annie Ross, Duke Ellington, Gerald Wilson, Laurindo Almeida, Jack Teagarden, Miles Davis with Harry James, Miles
with Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk with Allen Ginsberg, Sonny Stitt, Charles Mingus, John Handy, Mary Stallings, Mary Lou Williams,
Don Ellis and even Jefferson Airplane and the Butterfield Blues Band plus many others.
One can immerse themselves in these photos and imagine being at these classic events, seeing the young greats and veterans of the time, most
of whom are no longer around. All jazz collectors will want this wonderful book.
CLASSIC JAZZ FROM THE NEDERLANDS JAZZ ARCHIEF
The Dutch Jazz Archive Series (www.jazzarchief.nl) has released 11 CDs of music that was performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam
during the 1950s and ‘60s. All but one of the discs in this series features top American jazz musicians on either radio broadcasts or privately
recorded live performances. These releases are quite attractive, very well recorded and add to jazz’s rich history.
Count Basie’s Blues Backstage, the tenth CD in this series, featured the Basie Orchestra on Sept. 22, 1956. While all but one of the 13 selections
(a worthy obscurity called “Oink”) was recorded in the studios by the band during this era, these live renditions are quite spirited and feature
fresh solos. Trumpeters Joe Newman and Thad Jones, tenors Frank Foster and Frank Wess (doubling on flute), baritonist Charlie Fowlkes,
trombonist Benny Powell and Basie are among those featured. Drummer Sonny Payne is showcased on “Dinner With Friends.” On such
numbers as “You For Me,” Be My Guest,” “Flute Juice” and “Blee Blop Blues” along with the hits “Shiny Stockings” and “April In Paris,” the
Count Basie Orchestra is heard in prime form, just four years into the life of the “New Testament” band.
Cannonball Adderley’s One For Daddy-O not only features fine playing but an unusual setting for the brilliant altoist. The first four selections,
taken from Nov. 19, 1960, puts the spotlight on Adderley’s quintet of the time which included cornetist Nat Adderley, pianist Victor Feldman,
bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes. They are particularly rewarding on “One For Daddy-O” and the uptempo “Bohemia After Dark.”
For the second half of this CD, Cannonball is featured on June 3, 1966 fronting a quintet filled with younger Dutch musicians: pianist Pim
Jacobs, guitarist Wim Overgaauw, bassist Ruud Jacobs and drummer Cees See. Rather than perform new material with the group, Adderley
plays a blues and three standards including excellent renditions of “Work Song” and “Tune Up.” It is a treat to hear the great altoist in this
freewheeling setting. His sidemen rise to the occasion.
Ben Webster’s Johnny Come Lately is part of the Dutch Jazz Archive Series although it was not recorded at the Concertgebouw. In 1973, the
year that he passed away, the veteran tenor-saxophonist was in erratic health. While he usually played well, his solos tended to be brief and
predictable. However his performance of Feb. 2, 1973 was on a different level. He was playing with a fine local rhythm section (pianist Irv
Rochlin, bassist Rob Langereis and drummer Tony Inzalaco) when altoist Piet Noordijk, who was a bit drunk, pushed his way onstage. He said
to Webster, “Hi, Ben, what are we going to play?” Webster was amused by his brashness, let him play during the final two sets, and was
inspired by his presence. Noordijk was a skilled modern soloist who could also hint at Johnny Hodges or Phil Woods. His competitive nature and
high energy pushed Webster to play at his best and fortunately the music was recorded. On such numbers as “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Just
You, Just Me” and “The Theme” (which is similar to “Cotton Tail”), Ben Webster does some of his finest playing of his later years.
All three of these CDs plus the nine previous sets in the Concertgebouw series are easily recommended and well worth acquiring.