Monday, May 22, 2017

R.I.P.: Mickey Roker (1932-2017)

R.I.P.: Mickey Roker (March 9, 1932 - May 22, 2017)

Fabulous drummer. Saw him live with Dizzy and later with the Pablo All-Stars.
Roker performs in some of my favorite albums by Duke Pearson (How Insensitive with Andy Bey, Bebeto Castilho, Dorio Ferreira, Airto & Flora, the Christmas project Merry Ole Soul, and specially It Could Only Happen With You, on which he performs alongside Hermeto Pascoal and Flora Purim), Donald Byrd (Electric Byrd - with Airto and Hermeto - and Kofi, with Airto and Dom Um Romao), Milt Jackson (Olinga), Herbie Hancock (Speak Like A Child), Astrud Gilberto (Now).

Plus many many sessions with Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins, Bob Cranshaw, my friends Randy Brecker and Mike Longo, Stanley Turrentine, Shirley Scott, Horace Silver, my late friends Art Farmer and Joe Shepley, Blue Mitchell, Clark Terry, Harold Vick, Horace Silver, Frank Foster, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Mann, Cedar Walton, Albert Dailey, Roy Ayers, Zoot Sims, Mary Lou Williams, Blue Mitchell, Benny Carter, Jon Faddis, Hank Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Joe Pass, Ray Brown, Ray Bryant, J.J. Johnson, Al Grey, Joe Williams, Hank Jones, Dusko Goykovich, Nat Adderley, Hank Jones, Gigi Gryce, Gene Ammons, Jim Hall, McCoy Tyner, Ben Webster...The list goes on and on.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Molly Holm to perform in San Francisco!

Molly Holm's Upcoming Concert at The Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco!
Saturday June 24th, 2017, 7:30 pm - 10 pm 
2698 Folsom St. @ 23rd St.
San Francisco, CA Ph: (650) 731-5383
http://redpoppyarthouse.org/events/

$20 - $25, Doors open at 7 pm
Tickets are only available at the door. Payable by cash or check -- no credit cards.]

Featuring: Molly Holm, vocals; Frank Martin, piano; Jeff Chambers, acoustic bass; Deszon Claiborne, drums

Vocalist/composer Molly Holm, with her all-star jazz trio, makes her Red Poppy debut exploring the multicultural crossroads of improvised music through original compositions, straight-ahead and modal jazz tunes and traditional folk songs. Molly's music, often intertwined with the elements of North Indian raga, experimental vocals, or playful free-form improvisation, also reveals the rhythmic and note-bending influences inherited from the music of the African diaspora.

R.I.P.: Morris "Butch" Stewart (1953-2017)

(born on January 13, 1953 in Evanston, Illinois;
died on May 19, 2017 in Evanston, Illinois)

I was introduced to him in 1986 by Chuck Mangione, when Morris produced Chuck's "Save Tonight For Me" album. He also played keyboards, sang, and co-wrote most of the songs on that project.

At 64, Stewart died last Friday due to complications from surgery and a long battle against cancer. The man behind familiar theme songs to the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Tom Joyner Morning Show, also wrote jingles for Coca Cola, McDonald's and many other companies. B

Stewart grew up in Harvey, Illinois and later attended DePaul University. He soon married his sweetheart, Brenda Mitchell and began to build a budding career working as background vocalists for Ramsey Lewis and later Earth, Wind and Fire.

He also produced for The O'Jays, Howard Hewett and Danniebelle Hall. Stewart was the founder of JoyArtMusic, creating jingles for some of the top creative agencies becoming a one-stop destination for television and radio shows, helping to cultivate multiple careers including his sons’ group, the Rich Kidz.

Rest in Power.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Marius Preda presents "Mission Cimbalon" with Arturo Sandoval, Mike Stern and Dennis Chambers

"Mission Cimbalon" features a cavalcade of top-notch jazz royalty, including Arturo Sandoval, Mike Stern, Dennis Chambers, Tom Kennedy, Teymur Phell, Sanah Kadoura, Taco Gorter, Robin Koerts & Kiba Dachi. It is Preda's life ambition to expose the world to this glorious instrument and to bring into focus its history and cement its place it the jazz canon.

The cimbalom is a concert hammered dulcimer: a type of chordophone composed of a large, trapezoidal box with metal strings stretched across its top. It is a musical instrument commonly found in Hungary and throughout the group of Central-Eastern European nations and cultures which composed Austria-Hungary (1867-1918), namely contemporary Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is also popular in Greece. The cimbalom is (typically) played by striking two beaters against the strings.

The steel treble strings are arranged in groups of 4 and are tuned in unison. The bass strings which are over-spun with copper, are arranged in groups of 3 and are also tuned in unison. The Hornbostel-Sachs musical instrument classification system registers the cimbalom with the number 314.122-4,5. Moreover, the instrument name "cimbalom" also denotes earlier, smaller versions of the cimbalom, and folk cimbaloms, of different tone groupings, string arrangements, and box types.

In English, the cimbalom spelling is the most common, followed by the variants, derived from Austria-Hungary's languages, cimbál, cymbalom, cymbalum, țambal, tsymbaly and tsimbl etc. Santur, Santouri, sandouri and a number of other non-Austro-Hungarian names are sometimes applied to this instrument in regions beyond Austria-Hungary which have their own names for related instruments of the hammer dulcimer family.
Marius Preda, born in 1977 comes from a musical family, where at the age of four, he received his first big toy from his grandmother. It was a Cimbalom! He immediately fell in love with this toy and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! He spent all of his days and nights playing the new instrument.

In 1993, Marius was invited to the Netherlands, and in '95 he began to study the Vibraphone at the Jazz Department of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, The Netherlands, where he graduated with a distinction. With the skills, he accumulated over these years, Marius was able to develop a new way of playing the cimbalom. As a result, he became the first cimbalom player in the history of Jazz.

Over the years, Marius has played with and contributed to: Arturo Sandoval, Mike Stern, Vladimir Cosma, Dennis Chambers, Tom Kennedy, Teymur Phell, Sanah Kadoura, John Patitucci, Andreas Oberg, Lewis Nesh, Leonid Ptashka, Dave Kikoski, Didier Lockwood, André Rieu, Flairck, Anne Ducros, Philip Catherine, Rosenberg Trio, Nolwen Leroy, Richard Sanderson, Gheorghe Zamfir, Robby Lakatos, Decebal Badila, Tudi Zaharescu, The Basily's, Taco Gorter, Robin Koerts, Kiba Dachi and many more!

Respected and lauded by other musicians for his mastery, Arturo Sandoval explains it best, "Marius is a gift from God for our own enjoyment," which Sandoval and Vladimir Cosma both were involved with the production Mission Cimbalon. Cosma explains, "Marius is one of the best musicians that I have worked with during my entire music career."

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Single of the Month - "Idris Muhammad: Could Heaven Ever Be Like This"

12" Single of the Month
Idris Muhammad: "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This / Tasty Cakes / Turn This Mutha Out" (Kudu 3318P) 1977/2017

Rating: ***** (music performance and sonic quality)

Produced, Arranged & Conducted by David Matthews
Composed by David Matthews & Tony Sarafino

This is NOT a bootleg, it's an official Kudu release licensed by Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited to be pressed & distributed in UK by www.primedirect.co.uk as a "Record Store Day 2017" very special release.

And this is NOT a jazz session, but a first-class disco-funk effort. These 3 tracks originally appeared on Idris Muhammad's most commercially successful album ever, "Turn This Mutha Out." Produced, written & arranged by the criminally underrated maestro David Matthews for Creed Taylor's Kudu label, a subsidiary of CTI Records, the album features an all-star cast: Michael Brecker, Hiram Bullock, Clifford Carter, Will Lee, Jeremy Steig, Brazilian percussion master Rubens Bassini, Sue Evans, and many more.

Beyond CD of the Month - "Carlos Franzetti & Allison Brewster Franzetti: Luminosa"

Beyond CD of the Month
Carlos Franzetti & Allison Brewster Franzetti with City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra: "Luminosa" (Sunnyside) 2017

Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)
CD release date: May 26, 2017
Total Time 56:12

Produced by James Fitzpatrick
Executive Producer: François Zalacain
Recorded @ Smecky Music Studio (Prague, Czech Republic) on Sept. 15 & 16, 2016
Recording Engineer: Jan Holzner
Mixed & Mastered by Gareth Williams
Cover Photo: Alain Picq
Liner Photo & Graphic Design: Christopher Drukker

Piano: Allison Brewster Franzetti
Conductor: Carlos Franzetti
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

Excerpts from the liner notes by James Fitzpatrick:
"Carlos Franzetti is that rare Renaissance Man, partnered in his musical entrepreneurship by his colorful wife, concert pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti. With this release we find Carlos once again bridging that supposed gap between contemporary classics and the jazz and "easy listening" world. It also shows a more reflective Carlos with the title track, "Luminosa," which is seemingly contemplative yet has a strict Bach-like classical structure. "Tango del Eco" by Horacio Salgan, arranged by Carlos, is more playful yet has quirky harmonies that are not expected. In his music you can hear the influence of Shostakovich and de Falla, Dave Grusin and Piazzolla, George Gershwin and Cole Porter... "anything goes." Therefore, a work such as "Concierto del Plata" is both challenging (both for listener and soloist) and yet totally accessible but, most importantly, memorable in this age of forgettable and "throwaway" downloadable music. The three interludes from the ballet, "Dante Porteño" are just a taste of more to come from the ubiquitous and prolific pen (and mind) of Carlos Franzetti... a true original."