"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."
Mike Barone Big Band - "Grand Central"
Charlie Barnet Big Band - "Eugipelliv"
Shelly Manne and His Men - "Goofin' at the Coffee House"
The Victor Feldman All-Stars - "Polyushko Polye"
Michael Treni 18-Piece Big Band
Coming June 25, 2013 [Click on image to be redirected to Michael's site.]
Michael Treni Big Band Preview Track
Braithwaite & Katz Media Release on Michael Treni's Forthcoming Big Band CD
With Pop-Culture Blues Composer/Arranger Mike Treni Delivers A Thrilling & Thoughtful Jazz Journey Through America's Quintessential Musical Form
Featuring an 18-piece orchestra with saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi & trumpeter Freddie Hendrix
Like a trickster in a West African folk tale, the blues can come in a multiplicity of guises, from a soul-bearing lament on a bottleneck guitar to a buoyant blast of brass on a ballroom bandstand. TrombonistMike Treni, a well-traveled composer who has reemerged in recent years as one of the most resourceful arrangers on the jazz scene, knows that above all the blues is a communal celebration, and he gives the stellar cast of improvisers on his new album Pop-Culture Blues plenty to party with. Slated for release on June 25, 2013, Treni's fifth big band album offers a sweeping historical overview of the blues' pervasive presence in post-World War II American jazz, while suggesting that we need look no further for the soul that's absent in so much contemporary culture.
"I've always been fascinated with the blues from a player's perspective; there are so many different things you can do with the form," says Treni, who composed all the pieces to evoke or pay tribute to jazz masters who have fruitfully explored the blues. "The title isn't exactly a commentary, but a lot of artists and musicians don't want to know the accomplishments of the past. I don't have a problem with people doing their own thing, but not with ignoring the craft."
A savvy concept album that wears its theme with grace and style, Pop-Culture Blues is a 10-movement suite that explores modern jazz's rapidly evolving compositional styles through the lens of the blues. A project devoted to investigating the elasticity of the blues is promising to begin with (see: Coltrane, John Coltrane Plays the Blues). What makes Treni's music so enthralling is that he has attracted a jazz orchestra laden with world-class section players and improvisers who can express themselves with authority in an array of blues idioms.
The album opens with Treni's "One for Duke," a piece inspired by the Maestro, Duke Ellington, who found an inexhaustible well of inspiration in the blues. A swaggering polytonal number that provides tenor sax legend Jerry Bergonzi with a lush but indeterminate harmonic field over which to gambol, the tune gets things started with a rush of adrenaline. From the heady opener Treni charges headlong into the suite with the raucously riffing "BQE Blues," a tribute to Count Basie's powerful New Testament Band, featuring a searing tenor saxophone solo by Frank Elmo (a versatile New York cat who should be heard more in jazz contexts).
"The closest band I can think of where you have this kind flexibility are early Thad Jones/Mel Lewis bands," Treni says. "The breadth of ability to cover various styles is mind blowing."
As no modern jazz composer made more vivid use of the trombone than Charles Mingus, Treni picks the perfect spot to step forward with a lowdown gritty solo on his Mingusian "Minor Blues." He tips his hat to Coltrane on "Summer Blues," a modal vehicle for two of the ensembles most potent players, Bergonzi and powerhouse trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, who's recorded widely with George Benson and performed with heavyweights such as Lou Donaldson, Slide Hampton, Wynton Marsalis, Rufus Reid, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Michael Brecker.
The Brecker Brothers inspired Treni's "Mr. Funky Blues," a sassy, brassy modal workout featuring some appropriately tough tenor work by Frank Elmo and a pungently expressive solo by the great Bob Ferrel on a fearsome buccin trombone. Treni closes the album with the title track, a wide-ranging and supremely hip chart that breaks the orchestra up into various units and then regroups in full force.
Just when it seems like the band must have revealed all its treasures, a new array of solos highlights masters such as tenor saxophonist Ken Hitchcock (whose credits include recordings with several of the legends evoked on this album, namely Charles Mingus and Gerry Mulligan), and the supremely swinging drummer Ron Vincent, a longtime Mulligan collaborator who's also recorded with Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Bill Charlap, John Lewis, and Slide Hampton, among many others.
"Each guy has a niche, and on every tune someone can stand up and play with complete authority," Treni says. "It's like having a baseball team with a deep bench. I thought a lot about which guys to feature, and put them in spots that showed off their strengths."
Pop-Culture Blues is the latest and most ambitious missive from an artist in the midst of a sensational resurgence. After a promising start on the New York scene as part of a cadre of brilliant young improvisers, Treni eventually walked away from music in the late 1980s to pursue an entrepreneurial vision as the founder of a company specializing in innovative wireless audio and language interpretation systems (he holds two patents in wireless technology).
A decade ago he returned to jazz, his first passion. Working in partnership with his equally gifted producer, Roy Nicolosi, who's also an accomplished reed player, he gradually assembled the Michael Treni Big Band, a jazz orchestra loaded with heavyweight players. With critically acclaimed albums such as 2007's Detour, 2009's Turnaround, and 2012's Boys Night Out, Treni has taken his rightful place in the jazz firmament. As Mark Gilbert wrote about Boys Night Out: "5 out of 5 starsŠ. Smartly played swinging set of standards and originals with Jerry Bergonzi. Outstanding." While his reemergence is a welcome development, given his background it's not a surprise.
Treni earned a full scholarship to Boston's Berklee College of Music, but instead enrolled at the University of Miami, where he displayed such prowess that the school recruited him for the faculty at 19. Before long, he launched the band Kaleidoscope with classmate Pat Metheny. By the mid-1970s he was a rising player in New York City keeping company with other prodigious young artists like Tom Harrell, John McNeil, Paul McCandless and Earl Gardner. But when Treni lost the opportunity to tour Europe with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, his ambition took him in another direction. Recommended for the Messengers by his University of Miami buddy Bobby Watson, Treni impressed Blakey at an on-stage audition at the Village Vanguard.
"After the set Art came up and gave me a bear hug and said, 'Damn man, you can play!'" Treni recalls. "I finished the week with him and everything seemed set for the European tour, but when I didn't hear anything I called Bobby. It turned out that Curtis Fuller heard about the tour and asked if he could do it, so I didn't get to go. That snapped something in me. If I wasn't going to play with Blakey, I was going to pursue a career as a writer and commercial arranger."
Treni brings all his far-flung experiences to bear in Pop-Culture Blues, a tremendously rewarding and entertaining album that highlights the enduring wisdom of Art Blakey's first impression.
Making Jazz and making Art
require infinite dedication, skill and love. Thank goodness for the dedication
of those few who bring it all to a level of genius for the rest of us to marvel
- the editorial staff at JazzProfiles
Some of our Jazz
and Art features may be inspired, while others are somewhat of a stretch. You
be the judge.
I see the world
this way from time-to-time and obviously have fun developing video montages of
great works of Art set to great Jazz.
and all-around good guy, Bill Crow is always saying that “Jazz is fun” and I am having fun combining
these mysterious and magical worlds of artistic and musical creation.
I never know when
The Muse is going to strike, but when it does, I run with it – hence the title
of this piece which came about after a recent viewing of a museum exhibit of the
work of the famous jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé, maker of the sumptuous Easter
Eggs for the Russian Imperial Family.
And since I am not
a believer in coincidence, the fact that Bobby Shew’s version of Joy Spring was next up when on turned on
my car’s CD player after visiting the Fabergé museum exhibit pretty much
decided the matter for me.
For Spring is the
season for Easter, a holiday whose importance rivals that of Christmas in the
Russian Orthodox Church, and the joyous celebration of this festive season gave
birth to the fabeled Fabergé jeweled eggs. How’s that for a stretch?
All of this is
explained in detailed below in an annotation excerpted from the current House
of Fabergé website.
In his insert
notes to the 1988 CD he recorded with Holland’s famed and illustrious Metropole Orchestra, trumpeter Bobby Shew described
himself this way:
"I've been referred to as an
'incurable romantic." I don't know ... MAYBE! I can tell you that there is
a part of me that does, in fact, seek out moments of romance in the music ...
no matter what tunes, where or with whom. When I was a child first being
exposed to Jazz, I loved the 'feel' of it. I loved the energy of it ... the
beauty of it. I wore out copies of Clifford Brown with strings, Stan Getz's COOL
VELVET, the soundtrack album to the movie THE SANDPIPER with Jack Sheldon playing
those gorgeous Johnny Mandel charts. I guess if I am an incurable romantic,
it's because I dreamt, as I think most horn players have, of doing a string
album someday before we leave this earth. This recording with the outstanding
Metropole Orchestra under the direction of Rob Pronk exceeds my wildest dreams.
The real bulk of the credit here go to Lex Jasper whose arranging is absolutely
Bobby is a great
soloist but he is also an excellent lead trumpet player; a rare combination in
He has appeared on
numerous recording dates and has a number of albums out under his own name,
none better, in our opinion, than his 1988 Mons CD with The Metropole Orchestra
under the direction of Rob Pronk with its finely orchestrated arrangements by
“Bobby Shew, (born
March 4th, 1941, Albuquerque, New
Mexico) began playing the guitar at the age of eight and switched to the
trumpet at ten. By the time he was thirteen he was playing at local dances with
a number of bands and by fifteen had put together his own group to play at
dances, occasional concerts and in jazz coffee houses. He spent most of his
high school days playing as many as six nights a week in a dinner club, giving
him an early start to his professional career. During his 3 year tenure as jazz
soloist for the famed NORAD band, he decided to make music his career. In 1964,
soon after his discharge, he became a member of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
After his stint
with Tommy Dorsey, Bobby was asked to play with Woody Herman's band upon Bill
Chase's recommendation. He then spent some time playing for Della Reese and
Buddy Rich, who's big band had just been formed. Many other similar
situations followed and Bobby played lead trumpet for a number of pop stars.
This brought Bobby to live in Las Vegas where he became prominent in various
hotels and casinos.
By this time Bobby
was widely known for his strong lead playing rather than as a jazz soloist. So
late in 1972 he decided to make a move to the Los Angeles area in order to get re-involved in
developing as a jazz player. He landed a lot of studio work and many
jazz gigs, working with Bill Holman, Louie Bellson, Maynard Ferguson,
and a sustained period with the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin big band.
His spell with the band produced many fine albums, notably Kogun (1974), Tales
Of A Courtesan (1975) and Insights (1976). During that time he played in
many Los Angeles-based rehearsal bands as well, including Don Menza's and the
In the late 70s,
Bobby toured Europe and the UK with Louie Bellson's big band, appearing
on some of the live recordings, including Dynamite! (1979) and London Scene (1980). In the 80s Shew's playing
was mostly in small groups, as both sideman and leader. Shew has also recorded
many of his own albums. Several of these received very high accolades including
his albums "Outstanding In His Field" which was nominated for a
Grammy in 1980, and "Heavy Company" which was awarded the Grammy for
Jazz Album Of The Year in 1983.
Shew has become
one of the jazz community's most in-demand clinicians and concert soloists.
Bobby is well known for his fiery bebop trumpet and for over three decades has
performed and recorded with the elite of the jazz world.
As an educator,
he's made his mark as Trumpet Chairman of the International Association of Jazz
Educators (IAJE) and as the author of numerous articles and books on trumpet
performance and technique. Bobby is also on the Board of Directors of the
International Trumpet Guild. An important influence through his teaching
activities, Shew is ensuring that, in a period when dazzling technical
proficiency is becoming almost commonplace, the emotional qualities of jazz are
As for Joy Spring, Ted Gioia’s wonderful new book The Jazz Standards: A Guide to
the Repertoire [New York/London: Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 213]
offers this background information on the tune.
“Now that more than a half century has passed
since his tragic death in an automobile accident at age 25, Clifford Brown has
fallen into the unfortunate obscurity that seems to afflict many great jazz
artists who never lived long enough to make stereo recordings. Jazz fans today
do not enjoy listening to tracks that lack clean, crisp,
seems-like-you're-in-the-same-room sound quality. The cut-off-point is around
1957. If artists recorded fine music in
1958 or 1959—as did Mingus, Miles, and Monk— they are widely celebrated today,
but if they left the scene in 1956, as did Clifford Brown, they risk becoming a
forgotten footnote in the music's history.
Yet the new
millennium jazz fans who don't know about Brownie really must acquaint
themselves with this artist, who was the most breathtaking trumpeter of the
mid-1950's. There's no better place to begin than with "JoySpring," his most famous and oft-played
composition. Brown left behind two studio recordings, and both are worth
hearing, although I have a slight preference for the version made with Max
Roach at the August 1954 sessions that did much to establish the new hard bop
sound of the period.
The song is aptly
named. Brown's music captures a more jubilant and optimistic worldview than
one encounters with many of the later hard bop players, who aimed for an edgier
and grittier sound. His trumpet technique furthered this sense of positive
energy: he had a full and beautiful tone, and even at the fastest tempos hit
each note cleanly and with what my old philosophy professor would call
"intentionality." But not antiseptically, as with so many virtuosos:
his playing is as notable for its warmth as it is for its flawless execution.
The melody line of "Joy Spring" furthers this life-embracing vibe,
with its phrases that constantly return to declamatory chord tones, and the
modulation up a half step for the second eight bars—a common arranger's device
for making a chart seem brighter and more insistent, but one that is rarely
written into the lead sheet of a modern jazz combo tune. …”
And we located
this synopsis of Fabergé’s career on the current House of Fabergé website.
“The series of
lavish Easter eggs created by Fabergé for the Russian Imperial family, between
1885 and 1916, against an extraordinary historical backdrop, is regarded as the
artist-goldsmith’s greatest and most enduring achievement.
Easter eggs are certainly the most celebrated and awe-inspiring of all Fabergé
works of art, inextricably bound to the Fabergé name and legend. They are also
considered as some of the last great commissions of objets d’art.
The story began
when Tsar Alexander III decided to give a jewelled Easter egg to his wife the Empress
Marie Fedorovna, in 1885, possibly to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their
It is believed
that the Tsar, who had first become acquainted with Fabergé’s virtuoso work at
the Moscow Pan-Russian Exhibition in 1882, was inspired by an 18th century egg
owned by the Empress’s aunt, Princess Wilhelmine Marie of Denmark.
The object was
said to have captivated the imagination of the young Maria during her childhood
in Denmark. Tsar Alexander was apparently involved in
the design and execution of the egg, making suggestions to Fabergé as the
project went along.
Easter was the
most important occasion of the year in the Russian Orthodox Church, equivalent
to Christmas in the West. A centuries-old tradition of bringing hand-coloured
eggs to Church to be blessed and then presented to friends and family, had
evolved through the years and, amongst the highest echelons of St Petersburg society, the custom developed of
presenting valuably bejewelled Easter gifts.
So it was that
Tsar Alexander III had the idea of commissioning Fabergé to create a precious Easter
egg as a surprise for the Empress, and thus the first Imperial Easter egg was born.
Known as the Hen
Egg, it is crafted from gold, its opaque white enamelled ‘shell’ opening to
reveal its first surprise, a matt yellow gold yolk. This in turn opens to
reveal a multi-coloured, superbly chased gold hen that also opens. Originally, this
contained a minute diamond replica of the Imperial Crown from which a small
ruby pendant egg was suspended. Unfortunately these last two surprises have
delight at this intriguing gift with its hidden jewelled surprises was the
starting point for the yearly Imperial tradition that continued for 32 years
until 1917 and produced the most opulent and captivating Easter gifts the world
has ever seen. The eggs were private and personal gifts, and the whole
spectacular series charted the romantic and tragic story leading up to the end
of the mighty Romanovs.
Each egg, an
artistic tour de force, took a year or more to make, involving a team of highly
skilled craftsmen, who worked in the greatest secrecy. Fabergé was given
complete freedom in the design and execution, with the only prerequisite being
that there had to be surprise within each creation. Dreaming up each complex
concept, Fabergé often drew on family ties, events in Imperial Court life, or
the milestones and achievements of the Romanov dynasty, as in the Fifteenth
Anniversary Egg of 1911, commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of Nicholas
II’s accession to the throne, or the Romanov Tercentenary Egg of 1913 that
celebrated 300 years of the House of Romanov, showing portrait miniatures of
the Russian dynastic rulers.
Although the theme
of the Easter eggs changed annually, the element of surprise remained a
constant link between them. The surprises ranged from a perfect miniature
replica of the Coronation carriage - that took 15 months to make working
16-hour days - through a mechanical swan and an ivory elephant, to a
heart-shaped frame on an easel with 11 miniature portraits of members of the
Alexander III presented an egg each year to his wife the
Empress Marie Fedorovna and the tradition was continued, from 1895, by his son
Nicholas II who presented an egg annually to both his wife the Empress
Alexandra Fedorovna and to his mother the Dowager Empress Marie Fedorovna.
However, there were no presentations during 1904 and 1905 because of political
unrest and the Russo-Japanese War.
The most expensive
was the 1913 Winter Egg, which was invoiced at 24,600 roubles (then £2,460).
Prior to the Great War, a room at Claridges was 10 shillings (50 pence) a night
compared to approximately £380 today. Using this yardstick, the egg would have
cost £1.87 million in today’s money.
The Winter Egg,
designed by Alma Pihl, famed for her series of diamond snowflakes, is made of
carved rock crystal as thin as glass. This is embellished with engraving, and
ornamented with platinum and diamonds, to resemble frost. The egg rests on a
rock-crystal base designed as a block of melting ice. Its surprise is a
magnificent and platinum basket of exuberant wood anemones. The flowers are
made from white quartz, nephrite, gold and demantoid garnets and they emerge
from moss made of green gold. Its overall height is 14.2cm. It is set with
3,246 diamonds. The egg sold at Christie’s in New York in 2002 for US$9.6 million.
Of the 50 eggs Fabergé
made for the Imperial family from 1885 through to 1916, 42 have survived.”
trumpet playing and the stunning Fabergé jeweled eggs along with other works of
art by his studio are all on display in the following video tribute to both of
Making Jazz and
making Art require infinite dedication, skill and love.
Thank goodness for
the dedication of those few who bring it all to a level of genius for the rest
of us to marvel at.
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.
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."
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
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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.