"Steve Cerra is the proprietor of the endlessly informative and entertaining JazzProfiles. ... Cerra excels at creating a montage of portraits and constructing them into videos that serve as musical examples of his features."
Dado Moroni and Tom Harrell - "Poinciana"
The Victor Feldman All-Stars - "Polyushko Polye"
Frank Rosolino - Sings!
Shelly Manne and His Men - "Goofin' at the Coffee House"
Much like the Universe, the miracle of Jazz lies in its variety. Hearing Jazz played by one musician or by one group is just that; hearing Jazz played once. Jazz is infinite and only falls into two, broad categories: good Jazz and bad Jazz. We only feature the former on JazzProfiles.
What little of value or interest it may contain, this blog is my gift to my friends.
May 16th is the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Woody Herman
Happy Birthday, Woody - Many Thanks for All You Did For Jazz and Jazz Musicians
Congratulations to Graham Carter at Jazzedmedia.com
Winner of the 2013 Hermes Creative Award - Gold in the Documentary Category [exceeds the highest industry standards].
Boy, I sure miss
Woody Herman, no less so after viewing Graham Carter’s brilliantly conceived
and executed documentary DVD - Woody Herman: Blue Flame – Portrait of a Jazz Legend.
Graham is the
owner-operator of Jazzed Media through which he periodically issues CD’s by and
DVD’s about Jazz musicians like
composer-arranger-big band leader Bill Holman, alto saxophonists Phi Woods and
Bud Shank, tenor saxophonist and big band leader Don Menza, trumpeter and big
band leader Carl Saunders, vibraphonist and big band leader Terry Gibbs, and
vocalists Jackie Cain and Roy Kral and Irene Kral.
You can review his
catalogue as well as locate order information by visiting Graham’s website at www.jazzedmedia.com.
I have been a fan
of Graham and his efforts on behalf on Jazz for many years. I have no idea why he keeps issuing such high
quality digital products devoted to Jazz subjects and personalities, but I
suspect that in large measure, what he does is a labor of love as very few
people have ever become wealthy due to their involvement with Jazz.
Graham skillfully scripts, produces and narrates Jazz documentaries and also
produces recordings of high audio quality and artistic merit.
By way of analogy,
he reminds me of the developers and builders who constructed the attached homes
in what is commonly referred to as “The Avenues,” the western part of San Francisco where most of the people who work in the
city’s hotels, restaurants and shops live and raise their families.
After the land was
purchased and the construction funds were borrowed from the bank, these homes
were generally put up two at a time. When both houses were sold, the real
estate developers would use the funds from the sale to start the process all
These homes, which
have come to be known as “railroad Victorians,” were custom-crafted in much the
same way that Graham approaches his projects.
Victorians were made for working people and their families and Graham’s CD’s
and DVD’s are made to honor the Jazz musicians who
make the music and the fans who appreciate it. He covers his costs through his
sales and uses some of his proceeds to pay for his next project.
scale and attention to detail that he applies to his films, in particular,
makes them really deserving of a wider audience than one made up of Jazz fans
documentaries are as much social and cultural histories as they are musical
tributes and they will offer a lasting legacy of knowledge and information to
future generations curious about the subject of Jazz in the 20th
whose firm is handling the media relations for Woody Herman: Blue Flame –
Portrait of a Jazz Legend, has prepared a fact sheet to accompany the DVD’s release and its details are copied below.
As usual, Michael
has put together an informative synopsis that covers the significance of
Woody’s career and what you can expect to see as you view the documentary DVD.
In addition to
this information, I wanted to share some personal thoughts and feelings about
After viewing it,
my primary impression was how little I really knew about Woody Herman’s
contributions to Jazz over his fifty years as a bandleader from 1936-86.
Some Jazz fans
grew up with Woody’s various bands – often referred to as “Herds – I didn’t. I
came in somewhere in the middle and never knew much about Woody’s origins in
the business. And make no mistake about it, Woody was in the Jazz “business,”
and, as Graham explains, it’s a good thing he was as a lot of young Jazz
musicians got their start in the music thanks to Woody perseverance with the
business side of things.
The trials and
tribulations that Woody endured over the years are all portrayed in the film.
century in Jazz is an amazing accomplishment from a commercial standpoint, let
alone an artistic one.
And while it was
never easy for Woody [or anyone else, for that matter] to make a buck in the
business, some of the tragic circumstances that undercut and dogged him
throughout his career are no less painful to recall 25 years after his death in
Yet, Graham never
makes Woody an object of sympathy. Instead, he emphasizes a term of endearment
that many used when referring to him – “Road Father.”
Graham helps us
understand that what Woody endured on behalf of the many musicians who were on
his bands over the years are what the patriarch of any family is traditionally
expected to undertake, let alone withstand.
his family of musicians: he provided for them, nurtured them and helped them
grow and develop both as people and as artists.
One look at the
following chapter sequence tells you all you need to know about the
comprehensiveness of Graham’s movie.
- Opening Title –
- Road Father
- The Early Years,
- The Band That
Plays The Blues, 1936-1943
- The First Herd,
1944-1946 – “Who Dat Up Dere?”
- The Second Herd,
1947-1949 – “I’ve Got News For You,” “Lemon Drop,” “Early Autumn”
- The Third Herd
- The Fourth Herd
1956-1959 – “The Preacher,” “Your Father’s Moustache”
- The Swinging
Herd, 1960-1967 – “Caldonia,” “Woody’s Boogaloo”
- The Thundering
Herd, 1968-1979 – “Blues in the Night”
- The Young
Thundering Herd, 1980-1986
- Early Autumn,
- The Chopper –
The Legacy of Woody Herman
Watch them in
chronological order or click on each chapter individually and you are in for a
celebratory feast of music, commentary, interviews, photographs, film and TV
clips including many with Woody himself modestly reflecting on some of the
highlights of his career.
And although it’s
main theme has to do with one of the central figures in contemporary Jazz
history, Graham has put together a heartwarming and enduring story that will
reach out to anyone interested in the human experience.
The technical part
of the film never intrudes.
It’s a fun film to
watch and is an example of the informal “art” of storytelling at its best.
Woody’s story to unfolds at a pace that is an entertaining as it is
has had a number of caring, conscientious and talented people “tell its story” over
Thanks to his work
Herman: Blue Flame – Portrait of a Jazz Legend, let alone the many,
other projects that he has undertaken on behalf of the music, you can add
Graham Carter’s name to that list of notables.
“In recognition of
the Centennial celebration of Woody Herman's birthday in 2013, Jazzed Media
will release "Woody Herman: Blue Flame", a feature length documentary
film by award winning producer & director Graham Carter, produced in
association with The Woody Herman Society. It provides an in-depth look at
Herman's 50+-year career as a big band jazz leader and features rare film and
video performances of The Woody Herman Orchestra including broadcasts from The
Ed Sullivan Show and Iowa Public Television.
Woody Herman led
his big band for over 50 years, starting in 1936 and all the way to his death
in 1987. His story is one that parallels the changes in jazz, from the Swing
Era in the 1930s through bebop and cool jazz in the 40s and 50s, and the
emergence of jazz/rock fusion in the 60s and 70s (Woody returned to his
straight-ahead jazz roots in the 1980s). Considered one of the greatest big band
jazz leaders, Herman is fondly remembered by his fans and by the many musicians
and friends associated with his various bands.
Herman was also
responsible for helping bring to fame many jazz stars who got their start on
his band - to name only a few: Pete Candoli, Conte Candoli, Flip Phillips, Neal
Hefti, Terry Gibbs, Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Sal Nistico, Bill Chase,
Frank Tiberi, Alan Broadbent, Joe Lovano, and Jeff Hamilton.
Essential to the forward-thinking and always contemporary music of the Herds
were some of the finest jazz composers/arrangers of the past seven decades
including Ralph Burns, Neal Hefti, Shorty Rogers, Gene Roland, Gerry Mulligan, Bill
Holman, Nat Pierce, John Fedchock, Gary Anderson, John Oddo, and Alan Broadbent.
includes almost 400 rare photographs and images of Woody and his various bands
over a 50+-year career. Features interviews with 35 musicians and jazz
historians associated with Woody Herman (including Phil Wilson, Joe Lovano,
Terry Gibbs, Jeff Hamilton, Sonny Igoe, Frank Tiberi, Dr. Herb Wong, Dan Morgenstern, and Bill Clancy) and extensive filmed
interviews with Woody. Film and video performances of the Woody Herman
Orchestra are also featured. DVD Total Viewing Time: 110: 00.
Dedicated to releasing new and previously unreleased jazz media of the highest
possible musical integrity and production standards.
Jazzed Media, a
jazz record label and film production company, was founded in the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area in 2002. Jazzed Media's
owner Graham Carter is a multi-Grammy nominated record producer (The Bill
Holman Band "Live" and The Bill Holman Band "Hommage") and
award winning jazz filmmaker (Phil Woods: A Life in E Flat, Bud Shank: Against
the Tide, and Stan Kenton: Artistry in Rhythm). Jazzed Media owner Graham
Carter has recently produced & directed a documentary film on big band jazz
legend Woody Herman titled Woody Herman: Blue Flame.
offers both newly recorded jazz sessions and historic recorded jazz not
available previously. Newly recorded jazz offerings are performed by the
world's greatest jazz musicians coupled with state of the art recording
facilities. Historic jazz recordings are thoroughly restored to the best sonic
condition via computer software programs and dedicated engineering talent.
Extensive liner notes and photographs are utilized whenever possible to
increase the musical listening experience. A recent
Jazzed Media CD
release, Lorraine Feather's Ages, received a 2011 Grammy nomination for Best
Jazz Vocal Album.
Jazzed Media also
produces and distributes jazz documentaries utilizing leading edge production
techniques and extensive interview segments of jazz greats.
Carter has received the following awards for films released through Jazzed
Phil Woods: A Life
in E Flat- Portrait of a Jazz Legend
2005 Telly Awards
- Silver 2005 Videographer Awards - Award of Excellence
Bud Shank: Against
the Tide- Portrait of a Jazz Legend
2009 EMPixx Awards
- Gold Award
2008 Aurora Awards - Gold
2008 Telly Awards
Awards - Award of Distinction
Artistry in Rhythm- Portrait of a Jazz Legend
It’s not everyday
that a new Jazz label is announced and certainly even rarer still that such a
label will focus on previously un-issued music by Jazz Giants such as Gerry
Mulligan, Benny Goodman and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, to name just some
artists from the label’s initial release.
Thanks to the
information contained in a recently received press release by Michael Bloom
Media Relations, it looks as though such a cause for celebration is on its way,
March 27, 2012.
For on that date, Naxos
of America and ArtHaus Musik will launch JazzHaus with the first quarterly
release of CD’s by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, the Gerry Mulligan Sextet
and the Benny Goodman Orchestra featuring vocalist Anita O’Day.
CD/DVD series will include a first quarterly
release [March 27] of CDs by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet recorded in
performance at Liederhalle, Stuttgart, Germany, March 20, 1969, the Gerry
Mulligan Sextet recorded in performance in the same venue on November 22, 1977
and the Benny Goodman Orchestra in performance at Stadthalle-Freiburg, Germany,
on October 15, 1959 featuring vocalist Anita O’Day.
Michael’s press information, in its future issues, JazzHaus will continue to
bring forth audio and video discs featuring “an indefinite number of audio and
video jazz programs taken from live radio and television recordings from the
archives of Sudwestrundfunk Stuttgart, Baden-Baden and Mainz in southwest Germany.
Jazz broadcasts by
Sudwestrundfunk (SWR) started in the summer of 1947 with young impresarios
Joachim-Ernst Berendt and Dieter Zimmerle. Today, almost 65 years later, the
archives contain about 1,600 audio and more than 350 television recordings of
all major modern jazz artists - probably the biggest collection of unpublished
live jazz recordings in the world: 3,000 hours - and almost all of it has never
been released before. More than 400 ensembles and soloists are listed - many of
them recorded three, four, five or more times over the decades.
For the last three
years, the JAZZHAUS team has been thoroughly researching the vaults, carefully
making the final selections. The old tapes are currently being re-mastered to
high-end technology standards and will be released on CD, DVD, vinyl, and as audio /video-on-demand
additional background information about the project.
Post-War Europe - Germany in particular - gave American jazz artists
a warm reception. Following the nightmare of Nazism, Deutschland was a
devastated country and culturally in ruins. The people warmly welcomed U.S. soldiers who brought jazz to the
nightclubs of their cities and later the big bands and ensembles to the major
venues of their towns.
Many of the
performers felt accepted and understood with their art for the first time in
their lives - and needless to say, these circumstances improved the quality of
their playing. Many of them remained in Europe, finding new homes in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Baden-Baden.
People flocked to
the concert halls in Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Mainz, Ludwigshafen, and Sindelfingen. It took the expertise of young Stunde
Null jazz editors at the radio stations not only to invite top artists and ensembles
but also to ensure excellent audio and (later) video results from the public
performances. The superb acoustics of the newly built Liederhalle-Stuttgart
turned many performances into an unforgettable experience.
In the vaults, we
find exuberant music treasures (to name just a few): a jam session with Duke
Ellington, Lester Young and The Modern Jazz Quartet (1954), a riveting
recording of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers made shortly after their first Blue
Note recording (1958); a Quincy Jones big band television recording (1960).
All major big
bands traveled extensively through Germany's southwest and set the standard for the
radio big bands from Stuttgart and Baden-Baden. Stunning audio recordings feature Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, The Modern Jazz
Quartet, Zoot Sims, Ben Webster, Joe Henderson, Cannonball Adderley, Roland
Kirk, Max Roach, Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Thelonious Monk, and
are upcoming European performers like Hans Koller, Albert Mangelsdorff, Klaus
Doldinger, Joe Zawinul, Joachim Kiihn, and Attila Zoller. Mainz also holds superb hitherto unknown Volker
Kriegel recordings from 1963. From France we hear Kenny Clarke, Martial Solal, Andre
Hodeir, Barney Wilen, Rene Urtreger, and Pierre Michelot.
All the most
influential performers of free jazz and the so-called Third Stream are
extensively recorded. We are gripped by the voices of Nina Simone, Carmen
McRae, Ella Fitzgerald, Abbey Lincoln, or Cassandra Wilson. Blues artists are
featured, with all the leading performers from B.B. King to Olu Dara. We
experience the breakthrough of John Mclaughlin, Chick Corea, Gary Burton,
Eberhard Weber, Jan Garbarek, Pat Metheny, and Bobby McFerrin and crossover
artists like Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.”
Each of the
“Legends Live” JazzHaus CD is formatted in a six-pack: a tri-fold paper sleeve
with cover art, tray plate information and a photo of the artist by Jorg Becker
on the outside and insert notes in English and German plus the disc itself on
The sound quality
of these recordings has to be experienced to be believed. The re-mastering has complemented the
original acoustics in which the performances were made to the point that the
music almost jumps out at you.
And the artists
respond to the obvious adoration that these German audiences put on display by
bringing forth a series of first-rate performances. There is nothing like the experience of
“live” Jazz and these JazzHaus CDs go a long way toward
underscoring this fact.
The late Jazz writer
and essayist Mike Zwerin once said that after the Second World War, Jazz went
to Europe to keep from dying.
If the music on
these JazzHaus CDs is any example,
Mike’s argument is well-substantiated as they leave little doubt that
Jazz was alive and well in Germany from 1959 – 1977.
Recorded live at Liederhalle Stuttgart on
March 20,1969 Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (as), Nat Adderley (tp)
Joe Zawinul (p, key), Victor Gaskin (b), Roy McCurdy (dr)
Total Time: 60:12
immortality in the Miles Davis Quintet with Kind of Blue - and his album
Something Else is possibly the best of the Blue Note albums. That was the late
1950s. Ten years later, Adderley was touring Europe with his own quintet and gave a
performance at Stuttgart's Liederhalle. Even during the sound check, the musicians
must have sensed the concert hall's unique atmosphere; that evening would go
down as a landmark performance. From soul jazz, and blues ("Sweet
Emma", "Why Am I Treated So Bad"), to free-form contemporariness
("Somewhere") and lollipops infused with canny commerciality
("Work Song", "Walk Tall"), the listener is treated here to
the sublime art of the quintet - even at a time when that classic bebop
formation was already on the wane.
And then there is
Zawinul! If truth be told, it was his concert. A jet-black figure at the
keyboard ("Oh Babe"), swinging and quirky on the piano
("Rumpelstiltskin," "The Painted Desert"). A kobold stoking
the flames - as if trying to shed the state of hypnosis that had gripped him a
month earlier while recording In A Silent Way. Something stopped
to make way for the new. Things are getting better. The following year Zawinul
formed Weather Report and stormed to worldwide celebrity. But the concert of
March 1969 remains: the legacy of a unique quintet. Soulful and swinging, a
timeless classic even today.”
Recorded live at Liederhalle-Stuttgart on
November 22,1977 Gerry Mulligan (bs), Dave Samuels (vib), Thomas Fay (p) Mike
Santiago (g), George Duvivier (b), Bobby Rosengarden (dr) Total Time: 68:32
“The youngest of
four brothers, New Yorker Gerry Mulligan spent his teenage years in many
different parts of the United States, learning in succession to play piano,
clarinet, alto, tenor, and finally baritone sax. Together with Gil Evans and
Miles Davis, the 20-year-old worked on the revolutionary nonet compositions for
of the Cool in 1948. The gangly sandy-haired musician with his big Conn baritone made his recording debut as a
leader in 1951 and moved to Los Angeles as arranger for the Stan Kenton Big Band.
With Chet Baker, he formed a popular piano-free quartet and worked as a sideman
on numerous recording sessions. He never liked the label West Coast Jazz:
"My bands would have been successful anywhere."
In 1960, he put
together the successful Concert Jazz Band and around 1968 began a sporadic but
sustained partnership with Dave Brubeck. In Stuttgart, now aged 50, he was already looking back
on a career spanning almost 30 years and was much in demand at that time as a
soloist for symphonic saxophone concertos. Mulligan presents his handpicked
sextet at the Liederhalle, where the opening number "For An Unfinished
Woman" shows that far from being tinged with nostalgia his approach is
still a contemporary work in progress - albeit one that never abandoned its
Cool School roots. The irrefutable evidence is to be found in inspired, elegant
versions of classics such as "Line For Lyons" and "My Funny
Valentine", as well as in Mulligan's sense of theatre.”
Recorded live at Stadthalle-Freiburg on
October 15,1959 Benny Goodman (cl, arr), Anita O'Day (voc), Russ Freeman (p),
Red Norvo (vib), Jack Sheldon (tp), Flip Phillips (ts), Bill Harris (tb), Jerry
Dodgion (fl), Jimmy Wyble (g), Red Wootton (b), John Markham (d)
Total Time: 76:07
for the King of Swing that Thursday in Freiburg back in October 1959 remains an
intoxicating experience. A tight and sprightly band in top swinging form, the
elegant tones of Benny Goodman's clarinet and the sensational Anita O'Day.
O'Day's sensuality and mellow phrasing in Fats Waller's impudent
"Honeysuckle Rose" and Earl Bostic's somewhat frivolous, leisurely
version of "Let Me Off Uptown" make these sets spark and crackle with
energy even 50 years on.
reveal the warmth and enthusiasm with which the King of Swing was received on
his tour of Germany. The tumultuous applause was merely a
foretaste of the liberating effect that rock 'n' roll was about to unleash - a
new genre which before long would steal the limelight from those in the jazz
world who had made it possible. Goodman's orchestra, effectively a band of
bandleaders, showcases one of the finest line-ups of the post-war era and
underpins the evening's success with solos that are sharp and savored to the
generation separated Jack Sheldon and Jerry Dodgion from Goodman and the
idiosyncratic Red Norvo, but the ensemble playing is superb. A real highlight
is the medley based on "Not For Me" featuring the scatting O'Day.”
And thanks to the
assistance of the crackerjack graphics team at CerraJazz LTD, we are able to be you an example of the
music on offer in this series with this video tribute to JazzHaus.
The audio is from
the Gerry Mulligan Legends Live CD with Gerry’s sextet performing Duke
Ellington’s Satin Doll.
"This is the stuff
collectors dream of. The numbers induce salivating: a literal trove of
never-before-released live jazz recordings dating back to 1947, some 3.000
hours of music. In all, there are 1.600 well-preserved, German-made audio
recordings and 350 TV broadcasts by more than 400 artists and groups... That's
three down, 1,597 to go. Bring 'em on!"
- Jeff Tamarkin, JazzTimes
With the October
30, 2012 JazzHaus release of 3 more performances from the archives of the
Südwestrundfunk [a regional public broadcasting company based in southwestern
Germany], I think this may have brought the Jeff Tarmarkin’s yet-to-go number
down to 1,594, but who’s counting!
Michael Bloom, a
long-time friend of Jazz whose firm is handling the media relations on behalf
of the US distributors for the series - Naxos of America, Inc. – caringly
referred to these previously unreleased treasures from the Südwestrundfunk
vaults “… an embarrassment of riches.”
Michael went on to
say: “I met the JazzHaus guys at a Naxos sales conference this summer and got a peek at the future releases
Perhaps it is just
as well that these recordings are being periodically released in small batches as
each contains so much great Jazz that it takes multiple listening sessions to
absorb it all.
Here’s a closer
look at the recordings in the latest series.
The Lost Tapes: Zoot Sims in Baden-Baden[JazzHaus #101710]
recording lay long forgotten and lost to Jazz enthusiasts. A pressing issued in
1988 was flawed and of relatively poor quality. That alone was reason enough
for allowing Zoot Sims and others one more opportunity to be heard.
What you get with
Zoot Sims in Baden-Baden, recorded on June 23, 1958, is a single jam session with each number
featuring a different line-up and instrumentation:
Zoot Sims (as, ts,
cl), Hans Koller (as, ts, cl), Willie Dennis (tb), Adi Feuerstein (fl), Gerd
Husemann (fl), Helmut Brandt (fl, bs), Hans Hammerschmid (p), Peter Trunk (b),
Kenny Clarke (dr).
“In 1958 Sims
played with Benny Goodman at Expo '58 in Brussels, where he met the Viennese-born Hans
Koller, then Europe's coolest tenor sax. Two years earlier
Sims had made a Blue Note recording with the German pianist Jutta Hipp and he
was keen to meet other European jazz musicians. So Joachim-Ernst Berendt, head
of the jazz department at the then SWF, invited the two to a studio concert,
supplementing the horn section with Adi Feuerstein and Gerd Husemann, Willie
Dennis and Helmut Brandt. The ensemble also featured Hans Hammerschmid on
piano, Peter Trunk on bass and on drums Kenny Clarke, who had quit the Modern
Jazz Quartet and moved to Paris.
What you get with
Zoot Sims in Baden-Baden is a single jam session in which each number features a
different line-up and instrumentation: Sims and Koller on tenor sax get in the
frame with All The Things You Are, before switching to clarinet for Minor
Meeting For Two Clarinets. Sims' brilliant interpretations of Allen's Alley and
Tangerine are met with the nimble, elegant ripostes of Koller's Fallin' In Love
and Brandt's I Surrender Dear. Blue Night (featuring a six-piece horn section)
is a number which beguilingly alternates between big band and ensemble jazz.
The same goes for Open Door, in which Kenny Clarke urges the ensemble
inexorably onwards with every bar, and the alto saxophone of Zoot Sims briefly
opens the door to allow the sound of the day - bebop - to flood the studio.”
Legends Live: The Albert Mangelsdorff
Quintet [JazzHaus #101706]
Recorded live at Freiburg on June 22,1964 with Albert Mangelsdorff (tb), Heinz Sauer
(ts, ss), Gunter Kronberg (as), Gunter Lenz (b), Ralf Hiibner (dr)
“It is hard to
believe this concert lay all but forgotten in the archives for almost 50 years
- particularly as it marks the breakthrough of Albert Mangelsdorff as Germany's one true international jazz star. At the
insistence of Joachim-Ernst Berendt, head of SWF's jazz department, the Goethe
Institut dispatched Mangelsdorff and his quintet on a tour of Asia in 1964. Nobody had reckoned on concert
sell-outs, a frenzied media circus, and prestigious honors. Back home and
swinging from their encounters with Asian folk and dance music, the Quintet
guested in Freiburg with a performance of pure avant-garde: a
tense, frantic bop, shifting playfully between musical styles from Mali ("Burung kakak"), Thailand ("Ramwong") and Japan ("Sakura Waltz"), and ultimately
reaching the point of entry to free jazz.
For five soloists
at the top of their game the formula was a simple one: Heinz Sauer's tenor is
Trane-like in quality (Theme from Father
Panchali)-, Glinter Kronberg's alto (Set
'em Up) develops rugged, edgy figures in the style of a young Wayne
Shorter; Gtinter Lenz on bass and Ralf Hiibner on drums combine to form a
heart-lung machine that provides oxygen for the horns and oceans of space for
improvisation. This material later gave rise to Now Jazz Ramwong, the quintet's best known recording. It would
launch the ensemble to the top of the "downbeat" polls (Talent
Deserving Wider Recognition). It also assured Albert Mangelsdorff a place in
the pantheon of jazz greats.”
Legends Live: The Dizzy Gillespie Quintet [JazzHaus #101711]
Recorded live at Stuttgart, November 27, 1961 and FrankfurtNovember 29, 1961 with Dizzy Gillespie [tp], Leo Wright
[as/fl], Lalo Schifrin [p], Bob Cunningham [b] and Mel Lewis [d].
surprise here is Mel Lewis, who supposedly, at the time, was a scion of the
more laid back “West Coast” style of drumming, making these gigs with Dizzy and
playing his backside off.
away from Kenny Clarke and Charlie Persip, who always did a magnificent job of
booting Dizzy Big Bands along in the 1940’s and 1950’s, respectively, I always
wondered what Mel, whom many consider to have been the ultimate big band
drummer, would have done with that band.
Thanks to the
addition of Argentinean pianist Lalo Schifrin, who also composed and arranged
Dizzy’s masterful Gillespiana around this time, Dizzy is once again playing with
fire and brio during these concerts.
“The Mooche was written by Duke Ellington
in 1928 for the trumpeter Bubber Miley. In his long version, performed in Stuttgart, Dizzy Gillespie explores it at length.
Lalo Schifrin's piano solo uses block chords to further heighten the dramatic
intensity of this soul remake. Schifrin had had doubts in 1960 whether Dizzy
even wanted him in his band; he could never get hold of him by telephone and
almost returned home to Buenos Aires. "I've had many mentors in my life,
but only one master - Dizzy," Schifrin explained. "Dizzy is always
hungry for new musical food. Calypso today, bossa nova yesterday, tomorrow -
loved the open form above an Afro-Cuban rhythm, such as in Con Alma, the number he had composed back in 1956. He engaged the
versatile saxophonist and flautist Leo Wright after a sensational concert at
the Monterey Festival. Willow Weep For Me
provides a reminder of his enormous talent on flute. Dizzy's hipster
contribution is Oops-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be,
a humorous pastiche on scat, from which Dizzy launches his solo like a fountain
gushing skywards. In I Can't Get Started
he throws in quotes and saunters through the upper registers as if it were
child's play. The Frankfurt versions ofKush and Con
Alma demonstrate how the Quintet is able to inject new life even into these
familiar themes. The manner in which a muted Dizzy, without piano accompaniment,
dances with bass (Bob Cunningham) and drums (Mel Lewis) in Kush remains an audio adventure even today.”
The holiday gift
season is right-around-the-corner; perhaps you can add one or more of these new
JazzHaus CD’s to your Wish List?
It’s always a
great occasion when more of Duke Ellington’s music is made available through
recordings, especially when these are made “in performance” [I hate the word “live;”
what’s the alternative – “dead?”].
To my ears,
nothing beats the sound of Jazz recorded as it is happening [recording studios
can be such sterile places].
I have always
enjoyed the simple lyricism and vivid gracefulness of the music composed by Duke
and his close associate, Billy Strayhorn.
Duke and Billy
wrote some of the most instantly recognizable melodies in the history of Jazz.
You hear it, you hum it.
Needles to say,
then, that the editorial staff at JazzProfiles was thrilled when JAZZHAUS
released Big Band Live: Duke Ellington Orchestra [They didn’t ask our
opinion on their choice of titles.]
“JAZZHAUS is the
new music label featuring audio (and video) jazz programs taken from live radio
and television recordings from the archives of Sudwestrundfunk. Jazz broadcasts
by Sudwestrundfunk (SWR) started in the summer of 1947. Today, 65 years later,
the archives contain about 1,600 audio and more than 350 television recordings
of all major modern jazz artists - probably the biggest collection of
unpublished live jazz recordings in the world: 3,000 hours - and almost all of
it has never been released before. More than 400 ensembles and soloists are
listed - many of them recorded three, four, five or more times over the
For the last three
years, the JAZZHAUS team has been thoroughly researching the vaults, carefully
making the final selections. The old tapes are currently being re-mastered to
high-end technology standards and will be released on CD, DVD, vinyl and as audio /video-on-demand
Recorded at the
Liederhalle in Stuttgart on March 6, 1967 Big Band Live: Duke Ellington Orchestra [#101703]
contains thirteen  previously unreleased performance fFrom the
Sudwestrundfunk Archives with an Ellington band that features Cat Anderson,
Cootie Williams, Paul Gonsalves, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney,Russell Procope,
Jimmy Hamilton, et al.
firm is once again handling the media relations for Naxos of America, the north
American distributors of the JAZZHAUS series and he sent along a press release that
contains the following review by Jonathan Woolf which appeared on MusicWeb
road show hit Stuttgart in March 1967. Cootie Williams was back in the serried
ranks but Billy Strayhorn was nearing the end; he died a few weeks after the
concert. The tunes played reflect a diverse range of Strayhorn and Ellington
and beyond - beyond being represented by Raymond Fol's tune Salome. According to W.E. Timmer's
massive Ellingtonia, a number of other songs were performed but aren't
presented in this 73-minute disc, including long time favourites such as Blood Count and Things Ain't, as well as, Mount
Harissa and Drag.
We must be
grateful for the material that has been preserved and presented in such good
sound here. Procope and Hamilton form a formidable clarinet choir, echoing
the late 20s days in Swamp Goo with
the former taking an extensive cadential passage. Knob Hill is a sinuous Latin American swinger with hints of Horace
Silver. Gonsalves rips through it. One can hear Ellington's very ducal piano
prompts in that genial finger snapper, Eggo,
whilst Cat Anderson's trumpet, like a dazzling Bird of Paradise, is peculiarly
iridescent in La Plus Belle Africaine.
We also hear Harry Carney's evocative lowing, Jimmy Hamilton's famously
'straight' clarinet and the fine bass playing of John Lamb, often overlooked in
discussions on the subject of Ellingtonian rhythm sections.
Lawrence Brown has
his feature on Rue Bleue whilst
Carney's is on A Chromatic Love Affair where
he displays his incredible tonal variety - at points, you'd swear he was
playing tenor and not baritone. Anderson finally goes stratospheric on Fol's Salome, whilst his desk partner Williams
arrives for a preaching outing on the Gospel-drenched The Shepherd and stays to turn up the heat on his well-loved
Tuttifor Cootie. At long last Johnny Hodges casts his hypnotic spell on Freakish Lights before drummer Rufus
Jones has an animated, though occasionally tawdry, bash during Kixx.
Ellington kept up
a mighty schedule, of which this single concert (or part of it) forms a useful
element. The band seldom slipped lower than great. What a privilege it would
have been to have seen them in the flesh.”
In his insert
notes to the disc, the recording’s producer, Ulli Pfau, offered these
observations about the music on Big Band Live: Duke Ellington Orchestra [JAZZHAUS
“NEVER NO LAMENT
considered two topics to be off-limits: illness and death. It was for this
reason he refused to make a will to the last, fearful of tempting fate and
provoking his own demise. He was able to maintain his orchestra ("the
most important thing in my life") with the millions he earned from Tempo,
his music publishing company - always conscious of the need to surround himself
with individualists; some players stayed with him for decades. Almost
constantly on the road following his comeback in Newport in 1956, his career staging posts were
largely marked by the studio recordings. He released around 35 albums between 1960
and 1967 alone, including adaptations of classical works, the "Far East
Suite" and the "Sacred Concerts".
1967 was a year of
triumphs: the outstanding trumpeter Cootie Williams, unbelievable in "The
Shepherd" and "Tutti for Cootie", was back on board; but then
tragedy struck again a few weeks after the Stuttgart concert with the death of Duke's alter ego
to the wind and refusing to rely solely on time-served hits, Duke and his 14
musicians launch themselves into the new adventure. "Johnny Come
Lately" breaks the ice, "Swamp Goo" featuring clarinettist
Russell Procope has the magical "Jungle Sound", Paul Gonsalves' tenor
sax dances though "Knob Hill", Cat Anderson's trumpet hit the stratosphere
and Harry Carney's baritone horn gives a close-up account of "A Chromatic
Here’s a sample
track from Big Band Live: Duke Ellington Orchestra [JAZZHAUS 101703].
Ivory "Dwike" Mitchell: 1931-2013 R.I.P. - "The Catbird Seat"
I’m always asking Jazz
musicians and Jazz fans what they are listening to or for their opinions about
my current listening and/or favorite recordings.
It’s a fun way to
get differing opinions about the music.
But when I asked
Italian Jazz pianist Dado Moroni what he thought of Dwike Mitchell’s
performance on The Catbird Seat from
the Atlantic album of the same name, I was momentarily surprised by his answer.
“I cried,” he
Although I was
taken aback for an instant, I intuitively understood why Dado would react this
way to Dwike’s playing on this piece on which he is joined by bassist Willie
Ruff and drummer Charlie Smith.
As George T. Simon
describes it on the album’s sleeve notes:
“The Catbird Seat, a slow, swinging
blues, gets its title because, as bassist Willie Ruff points out, ‘it has such a groovy feeling.
There's an old Southern expression, “sitting in the catbird seat” which means
you're sitting pretty and everything is groovy, and that's how we felt on this
number. In fact, it's how we feel most of the time when we're at home in the
club [Dwike and Willie owned The Playback
Club in New Haven, CT].’ The piece projects a tremendously funky
feel, but it's also full of musical polish, such as Willie's marvelous articulation,
Dwike's tremendous technique and Charlie's beautifully controlled brush
shadings. Note too the contrast between the long, tremulous, two-chorus
build-up into the lovely, relaxed statement of the theme.”
The Catbird Seat is a slow burn all the way. The very unhurried tempo at which it is
played is one that is rarely heard today and very tricky to execute because
there is a tendency to rush or drag.
The intensity is
there but you have to let it quietly capture you. The track builds and builds
and builds until it reaches an exciting climax. And just when you think it is
finished, Dwike offers a different ending from the one that “your ears” are
Elsewhere in his liner
notes, George T. Simon has this to offer by way of background information on
what came to be known as the Mitchell-Ruff trio.
“This is thrilling
jazz. I know you read such superlatives in almost every liner note, but believe
me, the music herein is really something special.
It's modern jazz
with the emphasis on the jazz. Like many modernists, both Dwike Mitchell and
Willie Ruff are thoroughly-schooled musicians. But, unlike most modernists,
they haven't forgotten the basic romping, swinging beat of jazz, and the results
here are pretty electrifying.
Maybe, like me,
you remember Dwike and Willie when they were just the Mitchell-Ruff Duo. They
achieved international fame in 1959 when, as members of the Yale Russian Chorus
that was touring the USSR, they temporarily tossed aside their tonsils,
hauled out piano and bass, and proceeded to regale the Russians with American
At that time the
group's jazz feeling was highly personal - almost
completely implied. Now though, with the addition of Charlie Smith's drums, you
can't possibly miss it. Before his advent, what they were playing had
relationship to themselves only, just as in modern art a painting on an
infinite canvas can only relate to itself. But now, thanks to Charlie, they
have been supplied with a rhythmic framework inside which they are able to
create jazz masterpieces with a spatial, or rhythmic relativity that all of us
can feel and understand.
Floridian who graduated from the Philadelphia Musical Academy, and Ruff, an
Alabaman who earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Music at Yale (they once
played together in Lionel Hampton's big band) joined forces last year with
Smith, a New Yorker, who has played for Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and
Billy Taylor, at a New Haven club called The
Playback. It was founded by Ruff himself, ‘because we needed a place in
which we could work out things the way we wanted to, and just stay on until we
felt we were really ready to show the rest of the world what we could do.’
For close to a
year, the trio worked, played, and, in the case of Ruff and Smith and their families,
even lived together. ‘We got so that each of us could feel what the others were
going to do without even looking,’ says Smith. By early autumn of 1961 when
they felt they were ready, they brought portable recording equipment into the
club and recorded the numbers heard herein. The first Artist and Repertoire
man to hear the tapes, Atlantic's astute jazz-loving V.P., Nesuhi Ertegun,
flipped, and - well, here's the result.”
passed away on April 7, 2013 at the age of eighty-three.
staff at JazzProfiles wanted to remember him on these pages with this feature
and the following video tribute on which the music is – what else but - The Catbird Suite.
Jazz Writers and Critics
Over the years, the editorial staff at JazzProfiles has benefited from the knowledge and opinions of a whole host of learned and informed Jazz writers and critics. Whenever possible, we attempt to repay this debt of gratitude by featuring their work on the blog. It’s our small way of thanking those whose writings have enriched our appreciation of the music and its makers.
Big Band Jazz from St. Petersburg, Russia
The Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra's CD is now available for order through CD Baby. Just click on the image above to be redirected to the CD Baby order information.
Remembering Gene Lees: 1928-2010
"In the past few years, I have been only too aware that primary sources of jazz history, and popular-music history, are being lost to us. The great masters, the men who were there, are slowly leaving us. I do not know who said, "Whenever anyone dies, a library burns." But it is true: almost anyone's experience is worth recording, even that of the most "ordinary" person. For the great unknown terrain of human history is not what the kings and famous men did — for much, though by no means all, of this was recorded, no matter how imperfectly — but how the "common" people lived. When Leonard Feather first came to the United States from England in the late 1930s, he was able to know most of his musical heroes, including Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. By the end of the 1940s, Leonard knew everybody of significance in jazz from the founding figures to the young iconoclasts. And when I became actively involved in the jazz world in 1959, as editor of Down Beat, most of them were still there. I met most of them, and became friends with many, especially the young Turks more or less of my own age. I have lived to see them grow old (and sometimes not grow old), and die, their voices stilled forever. And so, in recent years, I have felt impelled to do what I can to get their memories down before they are lost, leading me to write what I think of as mini-biographies of these people. This has been the central task of the Jazzletter."
Steppin' Out With Ludwig's Speed King
What Heaven Looks Like to a Drummer
"Jazz is only what you are." - Pops
Here at JazzProfiles, we make every effort to memorialize or honor those who have given us pleasure in the music and those whose writings have taught us more about it
Alain Gerber - "Portraits En Jazz"
"En Jazz comme alleurs, le plus difficile ne se distingue pas du plus simple: c'est de jouer comme on respite." "With Jazz as with anything else, the most difficult and the easiest are one and the same; the whole thing is to play as your breath." [translation by F. Le Guilloux]
A Note of Appreciation
"I am always amazed by the fact that intelligent people with better things to do offer me their time and expertise." Martin Cruz Smith, Three Stations, p. 243.
The editorial staff at JazzProfiles echoes this sentiment and wishes to express its gratitude to all those who assist with and contribute to its efforts in hosting this blog.
Something To Think About
"Writers about jazz are often notable for an ill-concealed jealousy and a sullen conviction that they alone know anything about the subject, that it is or should be their exclusive domain." - Gene Lees
The Drums in Jazz
"The basis of Jazz has always been rhythmic. The development of jazz and its innovation from the early days of ragtime at the turn of the century to the many highly sophisticated, exciting and challenging styles of jazz that can be heard today, has always derived from that basis. In the European concert tradition, the drums serve as a noise-making device, aiming to create additional intensity or dramatic fortissimo effects. They do not effect the continuity of the music and could even be left out without creating the breakdown of a Beethoven or a Tchaikovsky symphony. In Jazz the drumbeat is the ordering principal which creates the space within which the music happens. The beat of a swinging drummer forms the basis of the musical continuity of a jazz performance." - Introduction to the Properbox set - THE ENGINE ROOM: A History of Jazz Drumming from Storyville to 52nd Street."
The Piano in Jazz
"At the turn of the century-before the age of radio, television, high-fidelity recording, and computerized video games-the piano was one of the focal points of American family life in the home. The image of Mother seated at the keyboard with the children gathered around her and Father in his pinstriped shirt and suspenders looking on proudly epitomized the American dream. White American families purchased moderately priced "uprights" at the rate of nearly 250,000 per year. In black family life the piano was one of the first major purchases made by those who could afford it. Although they were less likely than white families to own instruments, blacks frequently heard piano music in churches, which were the center of community life, or in the urban "tonks" and "juke" houses (the ancestors of the jukebox). Indeed, black pianists were largely responsible for the instrument's acceptance as "part of the family." The music they played and composed during the late 1890's, eventually known as ragtime, was a major source of the piano's popularity in the two decades that followed."
Noal Cohen - Jazz Historian and Discographer
Noal is the owner-operator of one of the best Jazz discographies out there and he's recently made some changes and additions to his website which you can checkout directly by clicking on the photo of him.
"The hardest thing about this music is getting it from the head into the hands."
"The thing you need most to play this music is concentration." - Bud Shank
Search This Blog - Type in Name of Musician to Retrieve Previous Features Posted to the Blog
“In a way, the entire act of music is mind put into sound. It has to go through some sort of physical medium in order to be heard. I chose the saxophone, but the whole issue is to have such control over the instrument and over what you hear that the instrument physically doesn't get in the way of visualizing sound. Technique to me means dealing with an instrument in the most efficient manner possible so that it's no more than peripheral to expression." – Ralph Bowen
Click on the above image to be redirected to David Palmquist of Canada and Carl Hallstrom of Sweden's new site featuring Steve Voce's marvelous essays on Duke and His Men.
Typographical Mistakes [aka "typos"]
I could claim that like the age-old Chinese newspaper trick, I include typos intentionally so that you will read more closely to find them.
The fact is that I edit the entire site myself and the years are rolling by.
Please excuse any mistakes that you find on the blog and just let me know about them so that they can be corrected.
I'd appreciate it.
The "Editorial Staff" at JazzProfiles
Victor Feldman with Louis Hayes and Sam Jones
Our five-part feature on Victor Feldman is archived on AllAboutJazz. Please click on the image to be redirected to the AAJ site.
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Any and all aspects of the presentations, features and photographs as set forth on this website are protected under The Copyright Act of 1976, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107 and no portion of these copyrighted presentations, features and photographs may be used in any fashion without the expressed, written permission of Steven A. Cerra or the guest authors and photographers whose work appears on this site. At JazzProfiles, we frequently cite or include information from other authors or sources. When works are copyrighted, we attempt to secure permission from the author(s) or copyright owner whenever possible. If you are a copyright owner or author and believe your work is being displayed here without your express permission or consent, please contact the webmaster at JazzProfiles, and we will be happy to remove the work(s) from the site.
I started playing drums when I was 14 years old and was largely self-taught until I began taking lessons from Victor Feldman and Larry Bunker during my last year in high school. Through their connections, I ultimately found work in movie and TV soundtrack recording, doing jingles and commercials and subbing for both of them at jazz gigs in the greater L.A. area. I was a member of a quintet that won the 1962 Intercollegiate Jazz Festival held at The Lighthouse Cafe. Everyone in the group was also voted "best" on their instrument. Performed with the Ray and Leroy Anthony Big Bands and the Les and Larry Elgart Orchestras. I also worked with Anita O'Day at Ye Little Club in Beverly Hills, CA, with Juliet Prowse on a number of occasions in Las Vegas and with Frank Zappa on his 1963 film score for "The World's Greatest Sinner" which starred cult actor and director Timothy Carey.