Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Spiritual Side of Jazz: An Interview with Jazz Pianist Pete Malinverni

Pete Malinverni photo by Abigail Feldman
The pianist, composer and educator Pete Malinverni has been on the New York City jazz scene since 1981. He has developed a style that has incorporated the be-bop elements of a Bud Powell, the harmonic sophistication of a Bill Evans and the quirky, angularity of a Thelonious Monk. As a young man he realized that he could more rapidly improve his skill by seeking out people to play with who were better than he was. He began to make inroads and establish himself as player to be taken seriously. At the same time Malinverni also maintained a presence in the world of musical education. He has contributed to the teaching and mentoring of up and coming musicians and students at William Patterson University, New York University and now Purchase Conservatory of Music where is currently the Director of Jazz Studies. His close experiences with jazz luminaries like the drummers Mel Lewis and Vernel Fourier, the bassist Dennis Irwin and the saxophonist Ralph Lalama, among others, has shaped his voice and been instrumental in moving him in his own distinct direction.

The most consistent thread that has run through the fabric of this talented musician's life has been his continued affinity for sacred music. Mr. Malinverni has been making the connection between worship and music since his early days in his hometown of Buffalo, NY, where he at first listened to his mother sing solos in the local Pentecostal church choir and where he later played piano for the congregation.

After relocating to New York City, where he attended school for his master's degree in music at Purchase Conservatory, Mr. Malinverni found a rich supplement to his education in the thriving jazz scene of NYC. There on any given evening he could listen to the very best pianists on the scene. Pianists like Barry Harris, Walter Bishop Jr, Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones were all actively playing around town and infusing Mr. Malinverni with ideas and wisdom. He started playing in trios with Mel Lewis and Dennis Irwin and was on his way to becoming a well respected pianist and composer.

For Mr. Malinverni the bond between sacred, gospel and jazz music needed further exploration and he eventually became a musical coordinator for the Devoe Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn. The spirited African American community gave life to the music that he played with them and he served there eighteen years from 1993 through 2011. It was during this period that he  found inspiration from the Psalms of David to create his wonderful gospel and jazz album with the Devoe Street Choir titled Joyful from 2007. In 2009 Pete release The Good Shepard a six movement, experimental big band piece with choir and orchestra, again based on Psalms.

On the personal side Mr. Malinverni met and married the jazz singer Jody Sandhaus with whom he had a rare symbiotic working relationship. The couple had a son Peter Luca and helped raise two other children, Hayes and Guss from Ms. Sandhaus's previous marriage, Mr. Malinverni produced four albums with Ms Sandhaus, who possessed a beautiful, incandescent voice. She also had an authentically genuine delivery. Sadly Ms. Sandhaus succumbed to breast cancer in 2012.

Along with his duties as the Director of Jazz Studies at Purchase Conservatory of Music, Mr. Malinverni has also found time to continue his involvement in spiritual music working as musical director for both the Westchester Reform Synagogue in Scarsdale, NY and the Pound Ridge Community Church in Pound Ridge. In recent years Mr. Malinverni has also recorded his  Invisible Cities with a quartet  that included the trumpeter Tim Hagans, the saxophonist Rich Perry, the bassist Ugonna Okegwo  and drummer Tom Melito . His latest release  A Beautiful Thing is with bassist Lee Hudson and drummer Eliot Zigmund. He gracious took the time to answer our questions.

NOJ:. You grew up around Niagara Falls, New York and started studying piano at the age of six. Were you a child prodigy or did you have an affinity for the piano?

PM: I don’t know about “prodigy”, but I know I took to the piano and music in general pretty quickly.  I always heard music very deeply, even silly things like TV theme songs (which were, some of them, pretty hip in those days), which I’d pick out on the piano.

NOJ:. Which of your parents encouraged your musical education?

PM:  Both of them did.  We were lucky to get a piano when I was six and there was a great teacher, Laura Copia, in town, with whom I studied until I was eighteen and left home. My Mom ended up with the job of keeping me at the piano practicing daily but my dad was also very supportive and proud as my abilities progressed.

NOJ:  Your mother was a soloist in the local Pentecostal church choir. Do you attribute this early influence to the subliminal linkage that your career has had between music and religion?

PM:  Well, I think the connection has been more than subliminal.  I grew up playing in church and when I was around 16. I went to Europe on a tour of Pentecostal churches with a group of musicians, including my guitarist cousin. We played every night in very emotional settings where I saw the direct connection music can have to humanity.

NOJ:  I have read that you were strongly influenced as a young man by Soul, R&B, gospel and funk artists like James Brown, Sly Stone and Andrae Crouch.  Did the juxtaposition of this earthy, free feeling , bacchanalian music against the more rigid, parochial music of the Pentecostal church make it all the more attractive to you?

PM: I’m not sure I knew it at the time, but Sly’s music is directly descended from music of the church, as was James Brown’s. And Andrae’s music is great, too, but overtly religious lyrically, of course. I heard his group several times and the chords and time feel were like those I was hearing and loving, especially in Sly’s music. The thing about Sly’s music is the positivity of it, the appeal to the good in people – and I see no disconnect between that and music of the church at its best. I think the real difference here was that I was appreciating music played by African-Americans.  The music of the Pentecostal Black church is pretty free-wheeling too, by the way. This particular cultural approach to music struck me then and still strikes now as somehow the most authentic I can hear and feel.

NOJ:    How did you make the transition from sacred and gospel music, to R & B, to funk and eventually to jazz?

PM: When looked at historically, it’s clear that the Black church in no small part gave rise to at least some elements of Jazz -- so really, the leap is not so large.  But, as I grew more skilled as a musician I sought a vehicle for both my artistic and emotional voices.  I’d studied Classical piano through my whole life (and still do), and I found that the requisite musical skills of Jazz music offered the greatest challenge and largest rewards for me.

NOJ:    As a contemporary jazz artist what do you think of the artists like Robert Glasper who are being heralded for integrating hip-hop with jazz? Is this just the next evolutionary step?

PM: I don’t really have any opinions on the work of other musicians.  I think everyone should do what makes the most artistic sense to him or her.

NOJ:  You yourself have done some interesting integration in your compositions using elements of gospel, classical, chamber music and jazz. Do you believe this type of cross pollination opens new directions for the music or does it dilute the tradition as some traditionalists believe?

PM: Bix Beiderbecke, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, John Lewis of the MJQ, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and many others have found inspiration from Classical and other forms of music.  I think that “Jazz” is a term used to more or less categorize music of a certain bent but it’s important that each artist do what his/her path says is the right one.  The task of categorization, as Aaron Copland once told me, is for the writers, critics and historians.
Pete Malinverni photo by Ralph A. Miriello

NOJ:    You studied at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam , New York.  During that period what do feel was the most important part of your musical education and who was you major influence there?

PM: The most important part of my education in Potsdam was that which I learned OUTSIDE the school, playing with several bands, cutting our teeth in the many pubs and rathskellers in that town during that time.   The classes I enjoyed the most and from which I took the most were not music courses but were, in fact, the many literature classes I took.  The way great writers have looked at life and their ability to describe its many turns in beautiful ways remains an inspiration to me.   Don’t get me wrong, for someone who wants to study Music Education, Crane is a great school.  And one of the most important things college can do for a young person is show him or her what he DOESN’T want to do.  In my case, while I finished the Music Ed degree, I learned that performance -- and not public high school music education -- would be my path.

NOJ:     You came to New York and started studied for your Master’s of Music at Purchase Conservatory of Music Was this where you concentrated on your compositional skills?

PM: Yes, I’d been thinking of composition for a very long time and had received some grants, including from the NEA, for that work, but learned an awful lot studying Counterpoint with the great composer/keyboardist Anthony Newman.

NOJ:   By 1981 you were gigging in and around New York, How difficult did you find it to become a viable working musician?

PM: It was very difficult, of course, but I learned perseverance and the most important life-skill of finding something, anything, to learn from any and every situation.  I also made it a point to always take the risk of working with musicians who were better than I.  In that way, I learned well and quickly (if painfully).

NOJ: .  What were some of the obstacles that you encountered when you started your musical career  in NYC?

PM: I didn’t know a soul when I moved to NYC, had no idea where the clubs were, who the players were or how to meet them.  But I soon learned and made it a point to get to know people, to play as often as possible and to continue to push, knowing that if my destiny were to strike out I wanted it to be while swinging the bat, not watching the third strike with the bat on my shoulder.

NOJ: Drugs were a known element that seemed to find a haven in the jazz world especially post Parker, what were your experiences with this culture when you were gigging in New York?

PM: Then, and now, I think that business people and youngsters in suburbs with access to disposable money and without satisfying life paths are far more prone to developing out-of-control drug problems than musicians with a love for music and a desire to learn its many difficult intricacies.

NOJ: .  There have been some books written about race and jazz that claim there exists what they call a reverse racism in jazz. As a white musician in a predominantly black musical genre have you encountered this and how has it affected you?

PM: I guess I wouldn’t know if I’ve encountered such a thing.  I’ve always gotten along well with people of all races, with music as the important, common denominator.  And, my eighteen years as Minister of Music at the (African-American) Devoe Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn went a long way toward making sure my son grew up in as open a relationship with all people of good will as I’ve been blessed to have.

NOJ:  You mentioned that some of your piano influences included Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Herbie Nichols and Bud Powell . With so many disparate voices influencing your music mind how were ultimately able to find your own voice?

PM: When we find our influences, we are actually recognizing some part of our true voice in each of those whose music we love.  So, just in the same way each of us has a multi-faceted personality, each musician does as well.  Each of those you name (and more) have said things in ways that ring true to me and that I’ve sought to emulate.  The combination of those many voices, spoken in my own musical “accent” is what I’d call my voice.

NOJ:   Getting back to your early days in NY, you met drummer Mel Lewis and became friends with him, ultimately making a few albums with him and your friend the bassist Dennis Irwin. How did this relationship come to pass?

PM: As I sought the best players in NYC I was led to the Village Vanguard where I heard Mel’s group.  I learned that Mel was from Buffalo and I’m from Niagara Falls so that was something we had in common.  As I said, my goal has always been to play with better players than I -- and Mel and Dennis were greats and sounded beautifully together.  So, whenever I got work I called them.  We got to play quite a bit and eventually recorded together, my first, Don’t Be Shy. I called Rudy Van Gelder and was shocked when he agreed to engineer the date out at his famous studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ

NOJ: .  Did you play piano with Mel’s Village Vanguard Orchestra?

PM: I did sub there on several occasions.

NOJ:  Was this your first experience with a big band?

PM:  No, I played with a couple in college and then several rehearsal bands after I moved to NYC.

NOJ:  Then in 1989 you released your second album The Spirit with a quartet that included Mel, Pat O’Leary on bass and saxophonist Ralph LaLama. This turned out to be Mel’s last recording date.
How hard was it for you to loose such an important musical comrade and what did you take away from your experience with Mel?

PM:  Yes, this was Mel’s last recording and he was courageous on that day.  He was very sick at the time, in the middle of chemo and radiation treatments, but played like the youngest and smartest guy in the studio.  I learned a lot from Mel that day about the power of music to lift us all up.  Also, more generally, he taught me to trust my own rhythmic instincts.  He encouraged me, saying he liked what I was doing.  That meant everything to me.

NOJ: .  You then started working regularly with New Orleans drummer Vernel Fournier.  I read somewhere that it was he who made you aware of how much freer you played when you were in church playing sacred music.  Is this when you reconnected to your sacred music roots?

PM: Vernel was a great drummer and great man.  He invented the famous “Poinciana” beat when he played with Ahmad Jamal and that trio greatly influenced the group of Miles Davis at that time, so his shadow is large over the music that came after him.  He, too, encouraged me to feel the music as I did naturally.  And he taught me a lot about professionalism, too, as we traveled together, sometimes he in my group, sometimes I in his.  He used to come and play with me at Devoe Street and we found an even deeper connection there.

NOJ: .  How did Vernel’s drumming differ from Mel’s and how did it affect your music?

PM: Their playing was, I think more alike than it was different.  They both played off beat “one”, making the music more dance-able, more closely related to the human body. I learned the value of the “one” from both of them and, since then, every other great drummer with whom I've played has further solidified that idea.

NOJ: .  In 1993 you started playing at the Devoe Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY as its musical director. You have stated that you were less self-conscious and found a new freedom when you played sacred music in this predominantly African American church. What was the difference between this congregation’s attitude toward music and the way your hometown Pentecostal church celebrated with music?

PM: I guess the difference is a cultural one.  But also, I have to admit that when I was young I was much less a musician than I was when I got to Devoe Street.  I’m sure, had I been better and more the agile musician I became, I would have been better able to play appropriately to the situation in which I found my young self.

NOJ:  You have stated that when you play music in church it allows you to act as a vessel for the message that it brings to the congregation.  Does that transformation happen when you play for an audience in a club or at a concert?

PM: Absolutely.

NOJ: .  Can you separate the musical experience from the spiritual experience or are they un-separable?

PM: I suppose one could do that, but I fail to see why!

NOJ: .  I read somewhere that you met your late wife the singer Jody Sandhaus when playing a gig for a friend of hers.  Where you aware that she was a singer before you met?

PM: No, I was not.

NOJ: You produced and played on both of her records Winter Man from 1997 and I Think of You 
from 2001. Jody had a very emotionally evocative voice, I especially loved the way she did “It’s A Lazy Afternoon” which you posted on You Tube. Where did she study and develop such a warm and sincere delivery?

PM: Jody Sandhaus made four recordings with me, Winter Moon,  I Think of You,  A Fine Spring Morning and Afterglow.  They are all available on iTunes, through CD Baby and from my website,   The sincerity and warmth to which you refer pretty much describe the way she lived her life.  She never did a song she couldn’t genuinely feel. As for the amazing vocal skills Jody possessed, she worked very hard at developing her range, her dynamics and her phrasing.  The beauty of it was that, to a non-musician, the effort was invisible.  She was a truly great artist.  We made one last recording, yet to be mixed and released, of music she chose from the World War II era and which will be released along with Jody’s transcription of many letters her Dad wrote home to her Mom from the European Theater of war.

NOJ: .  How much has Jody’s singing style affected your own playing style?

PM: She made me a better accompanist. She also proved to me that honesty, phrasing and time are the true essentials to music.

NOJ:   You’ve had to endure the loss of people who you were very close to you both in your personal and musical life Mel Lewis, Vernel Fournier, Dennis Irwin and most recently your wife Jody.
How has your faith and your connection to sacred music helped you deal with these challenges?

PM:  Not sure that religious music has proven any different from any other kind of music in helping me heal.  It’s all the same and enormously important to mental and spiritual health – if it’s honest.

NOJ:  In keeping with you affinity for sacred music, how have your experiences as Musical Director with the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale and your more recent duties as Musical Director of the Pound Ridge Community Church changed your musical vision?

PM: I’ve very much enjoyed learning the beautiful musical language of the Synagogue.  Of course, once you get the specifics it’s all about the heart and the soul, just like every other form of real music.

NOJ:   Your repertoire includes many spiritual compositions.  In 2007 you release Joyful a gospel choir work based on the Psalms of David.  You once said that you believe Gospel and Jazz were twins separated at birth. It seems as if Gospel is a  visceral “feel”  based music and jazz especially post be-bop  can be characterized as more of a “mind” music. How did you manage to make both work together?

PM:  Any seeker of a personal spiritual truth would indeed be foolish to forego the visceral for the intellectual or vice-versa. Those are both wonderful parts of the human experience and I want it all.

NOJ: .  In 2008 you released another ambitious album The Good Shepherd which was a six movement  work for Gospel choir and Jazz Orchestra. Is it more difficult to integrate voices as opposed to instrumentation into your music?

PM: No, I believe it’s the same idea.  I always think of music in a vocal way, that each line of music should flow horizontally.  The only obvious difficulty is in putting melodic lines with a lyric.  But, of course, my choice of the Psalms of King David solves that problem.  They are beautiful poetry, made for music.

NOJ: One of you recent  releases  is titled Invisible Cities which was a collection of songs that represent your musical vision of famous cities and is based on a novel by Italo Calvino. Perhaps the most interesting songs are two of your compositions, one about Salem, Massachusetts and inspired by Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter and the other “A City Called Heaven.”  How did you come to write these two pieces?

PM: ... for “Salem – Hester Prynne”, on Invisible Cities, I was so moved by Hawthorne’s great book that I wanted to write something as a sort of note to the heroine, expressing sympathy for her plight.  I didn’t write “A City Called Heaven”.  It’s actually a Spiritual, with my own arrangement of it featured on “Invisible Cities”.

NOJ:  You have worked in choir, gospel, jazz, classical and folk-inspired traditional sacred music and are now working with the saxophonist Steve Wilson and the Leipzig String Quartet on integrating jazz with string oriented chamber music.  Your repertoire of sacred or spiritual music continues to grow and is a clear guiding force in your music, but you made it clear you do not consider yourself a evangelical musician using music as a tool to convert or convince.  Why do you think find such inspiration in the sacred rather than the secular side of music?

PM:  I really don’t see any separation there. Open, human expression has found many inspirations over time and I’m equally inspired by a Bach Chorale as I am one of his Preludes and Fugues. I like Aretha Franklin singing Spirituals as well as “R E S P E C T”. I like Thelonious Monk performing “Abide With ME” as much as I like “Round Midnight”. Again, if it’s honest, it speaks.

NOJ:   As an Italian American musician who has studied in Italy I was fascinated by your connection to the Devoe Baptist Church which had originally been an Italian American Baptist Church that first integrated their congregation with the growing African-American community as their neighborhood cultural makeup changed. Although a little known fact, Italian Americans were instrumental in bringing western European music and musical education to the general public in this country since as far back as the Revolution. Do you feel the musical connection between African American music and the Italian American musicians and musical educators they encountered along the way is often underestimated by jazz and music historians?

PM: I’m not as familiar with that history as I should be.  It sounds like something very beautiful. I do have some old Italian hymnals and am aware (Vernel Fournier told me) of the importance in new Orleans of Italian-Americans in the development of Jazz but it sounds like there’s a hole in my education.

NOJ:  You have spent a good deal of your career as an educator at institutions like William Paterson University, New York University and presently Purchase Conservatory of Music. I looked up your rating as a teacher on line and found that you were rated highly for knowledge and well liked but were considered a pretty tough task master.  What does it take to be an effective educator to fellow musicians?

PM: Thanks for asking.  I’m Director of Jazz Studies at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music and have an abiding respect for my students. Important, in my view, is to be generous in sharing the knowledge gained from one’s experiences.  But the most important thing is, once again, to be honest.  It’s better they hear constructive criticism from me than NOT to hear it from some potential colleague/employer later – that person will just lose his/her number and will not spend the time or take the chance of “enlightening” the young person.

NOJ:.  Finally what can we expect from Pete Malinverni in the near future?

PM: All kinds of things going on – I’m building a curriculum for a Jazz Singing Concentration to be introduced in the Purchase Jazz Studies program in Fall 2014, I’m working on music for a new trio recording and am writing arrangements of American Spirituals for a project for choir and Jazz band.  My latest album is “A Beautiful Thing”, a trio date with Lee Hudson and Eliot Zigmund (another great drummer, by the way. ) Oh, and I’m practicing a lot!

NOJ: Thanks Pete.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jazz Up July: The Brubeck Brothers in Columbus Park in Stamford July 17 2013

The Brubeck Brothers Band in Stamford

On a hot, steamy Wednesday evening in July, the sons of piano jazz legend Dave Brubeck entertained a dedicated group of jazz lovers from the Columbus Park stage in downtown Stamford. The Brubeck Brothers band was the second major act in the Jazz in July series. The series brings top notch jazz artists to downtown Stamford. The previously free outdoor concerts now have a nominal ten dollar cover charge. The confusion over the entry charge could have conceivably prevented some people from attending the concert which appeared to be a free event since there was no assigned seating. The concert was somewhat sparsely attended. In addition the public parking garage took advantage of  the event to charge a flat fee of seven dollars whether or not you were attending the event. This less than inviting extra charge sends a mixed message about Stamford's commitment to bringing jazz to the public in an open air event. If these extraneous charges discourage people from coming to these events, it will also discourage top rated performers from committing to  play a venue like Stamford when they play to less than overflowing crowds.

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet featured Chris Brubeck on electric bass and trombone, Dan Brubeck on drums, Chuck Lamb on keyboards and Mike DeMicco on guitar. The first song I heard was a song written by their father Dave titled "Kathy's Waltz." Chris explained that their father was inspired to write this song seeing his daughter Kathy prance around as a young girl in her dance tutu. While most waltz's are in 3/4 time this one was played mostly in 4/4 . The song started out with DeMicco's delicate sounding guitar playing the melody and with Chris on electric bass. Pianist Lamb played a beautiful solo on the black baby grand as the Brubeck brother's carried the rhythm.  Chris played a thoughtful bass solo and guitarist DeMicco finished playing the dancing melody to a bright ending.

Chris introduced the next tune, relating that it was the most recorded song of his father's vast repertoire.
 " In Her Own Sweet Way." was written for Dave's wife Iola, who he was married to for an amazing seventy years. Chris played a mournfully, poignant trombone over the famous melody. Chris Brubeck is a superb trombone player who manages to evoke great emotion through his use of bellowing runs and emotionally laden slurs. Guitarist DeMicco's solo filled the space with beautifully fluid arpeggios. Pianist Lamb and drummer Dan Brubeck anchored the melody throughout.

Before the next song Chris talked about a song not often associated with their father titled "Jazzanians."
The "Jazzanians" was a group of disparate African musicians, some from normally warring tribes, that the eldest brother Darius Brubeck brought together to play music in a school where he taught music in Africa. The Afro-Cuban beat was driven to perfection by Dan Brubeck as he played the complex, dancing rhythm in the most stirring piece of the show. Pianist Lamb seemed to be released from his role as a complimentary musician and played a rousing solo building dramatically to a towering crescendo of sound. Guitarist DeMicco took his turn and was equally torrid in his approach to soloing.The climax of the tune was a series of bombastic, rhythmically diverse solos by the younger Brubeck who demonstrated a intuitive sense of drive and used his entire kit to the delight of the briefly mesmerized crowd.

The group did a beautiful ballad where Chris Brubeck played his most soulful solo on trombone. They followed with the Brubeck classic "Blue Rondo a la Turk," with Lamb, DeMicco and Brubeck playing the staccato melody rapidly in precise 9/8  time. The bluesy 4/4 break in the song, allowed  DeMicco and Chris Brubeck to solo in an extended blues-tinged mode. DeMicco was particularly inventive during his solo. At times he ripped into a rock inspired tirade where he just shredded on his electric guitar in a very gutsy performance that gave the old classic a fusion-like energy.

The finale was topped off with the Paul Desmond classic "Take Five," a tune that single-handedly introduced odd time signatures to the general listening public. The composition's readily identifiable signature line immediately caught the attention of the audience. Chuck Lamb played a ruminative solo that introduced elements of Gershwin's "Summertime" into the piece,  as he wandered in an exploratory excursion.The talented pianist delved into harmonically rich territory that was barely connected to the tune's driving 5/4 line. Guitarist DeMicco took his turn at soloing over the driving time signature that the Brubeck Brothers maintained throughout. Once DeMicco gets started he can create streams of guitar lines that just seem to flow like electrons arcing through the humidity drenched air.

The night air turned out to be appreciatively cooler than when it started, with the music being the most incendiary part of the evening's event. It is certainly laudable that Stamford is attempting to bring top named jazz artists to the City, one would hope that the confusion over the entry and parking fees will be cleared up before the next concert.

The sponsors, which include People's United Bank, Stamford Town Center, Purdue Pharma and Bud Light should be applauded for their generous support of the arts and jazz in particular. The series has a stellar line-up remaining with Poncho Sanchez bringing in his Latin-jazz band to the Park on Wednesday July 24th, the inimitable chanteuse Dianne Reeves brings her wonderful jazz vocals to the Park on Wednesday July 31 and the series ends with the incomparable pianist Chick Corea, bassist Christian McBride, drummer Marcus Gilmore and guitarist Charles Altura.

If we want these world class performers to continue to view Stamford as a vital and thriving community receptive to jazz artists then I truly hope music lovers from the area will turn out in droves to support these musicians and ensure the success of this effort.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chuck Owen's & The Jazz Surge Take You Down the Rapids in River Runs

I have never had the opportunity to listen to Chuck Owen’s music so as is my usual practice I placed the cd on my changer and plopped myself down on my couch clutching the liner notes that I usually read as I listen.  As I started to read Mr. Owen composer’s notes , where he will go on to describe the genesis of his creation for those who wish to have a more enhanced  understanding of his creative process, I quickly come across his “spoiler’s alert” shrouded appropriately  in white water rafter’s language “For those who prefer a single-person kayak to a guided raft or who simply want the experience of their first trip to be as pristine as possible…I understand, Meet you at the take out point.”  Translation: forget where it comes from or how you got there just enjoy the ride! I immediately put the notes down and settled a little more comfortably into my well-worn couch and immersed myself in Owen’s fantastic river journeys.
Chuck Owen conducting

A little background on Mr. Owen,  he is currently a distinguished professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Southern Florida, Director of the USF  Center for Jazz Composition and  Director of the USF Jazz Ensemble for the last twenty-two years. He has over fifty published compositions and has composed for orchestras as diverse as the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra to the Tonight Show Orchestra  to Dave Liebman’s Big Band. 

Apparently Mr. Owen has also done his share of white water kayaking and rafting and his experiences on various trips and down several rivers are the grist from which he has made this delicious work of art. The five piece movement is a Concerto for jazz guitar, saxophone and orchestra and Mr. Owen has created a masterpiece of aural sounds; a dazzling array of prismatic colors and textures that envelop the listener in a splendidly evocative way.

The prologue starts your aquatic journey and is titled “Dawn at River’s Edge”, a reference to the early morning breaking camp ritual of most white water expeditions.   As the yawning bowed bass of Mark Neuenschwander stirs this pre-dawn scene, Owen brings in the rest of his strings, what sounds like a celeste, some willowy reeds, a harp and a tingling triangle. The orchestra is awakening just like the rafters are awakening to the day’s journey ahead.

The First movement is entitled “Bound Away” and is a reference to a one time journey down the Greenbriar and New Rivers of West Virginia.  The title is a reference to a line from the American folk song “ Shenandoah”  which the composer says is a source for some of the melody  in the piece.With a crash of drummer Danny Gotlieb’s cymbals , dancing chimes, piccolo’s , flutes and some violin accents, composer Owen’s introduces the dual lead voices of tenor saxophonist Jack Wilkins and guitarist LaRue Nickelson. The melody takes on a distinctive Americana feel with the addition of some tasteful fiddle-style violin accenting of Rob Thomas. The orchestra charges forward  like a boundless river in a determined path down from its source to its mouth, never to be thwarted only to be marveled at and given over to.  This orchestra is amazingly tight and yet marvelous supple to Owen’s demands. Wilkins has a hard-driving sound that darts up, down and around in flurries of eddy-like currents, typical of any river route that only shows you it’s hidden mysteries when you dare to release yourself to it. About ten minutes into the piece guitarist Nickelson, with his Metheny-like sound, creates a sense of wonderment with his probing and melodic runs.  His mellow toned sound is like a brief calm a midst the rush. A deceptive calm appears, just like when a river widens for a stretch giving you a sense of peace that lulls you for a bit before it reveals its next series of trickery. Nickelson switches to a more searing guitar sound and trades licks with Wilkins. Mayhem occurs as the travelers go down a particularly rough spot. The piece builds with an escalating sense of urgency, brilliantly paced by Gotlieb’s driving drums and the tautly controlled orchestra.

The Second Movement is titled “ Dark Waters, Slow Waters” inspired by the Hillsborough River in Florida. He describes it as  a spring fed waterway that lazily snakes through swamps that are covered with Spanish moss and drooping Cypress.  The delicate guitar of Nickelson  and the poignant violin of Rob Thomas pierce the shadowy scenery created by Owen’s hauntingly eerie orchestration. A journey that is decided more languishing but filled with apprehension and mystery that  abounds around every bend in the river.  The movement eventually takes on a Latinized beat which allows Nickelson and Wilkins to trade ideas over the resplendently lush orchestration. Owen’s masterfully creates his cinematic music in such a way as to seamlessly meld modern jazz improvisation with more traditional orchestrations and the result is a marvelous amalgam of the two.

The Third Movement “Chutes and Wave Trains” is a reference to terms well known by white water rafters.  In this case Owen is referring to his experience on the Chattanooga River in Georgia and South Carolina. Chutes are rock formed narrows that concentrate the water from a large body of water to a more narrow body of water creating an increase in flow and rapid acceleration through the chute. Waves trains are a series of bumps or waves that occur at the end of a rapid and give the rider a pleasant roller coaster type ride.  Owen starts the piece with a series of pizzicato strings and Gotlieb’s crisp snare. The excitement of the upcoming cascade through the chute is built up by a series of string and bass created ostinato lines over which Rob Thomas plays an urgent and compelling violin solo. Funky guitar accents by Nickelson add to the delight of the sound. Saxophonist Wilkins trades lines with both electric bass and electric guitar building the tension to the musical pinnacle of the piece. Rob Thomas’s poignant violin is deftly inserted to release tension before the pizzicato violins create a series of waves in sync with Gotlieb’s snare drum. Brass and reeds slowly enter building the tension once again as bass and cellos create a dark, foreboding background over which Wilkins and Nickelson create modernistic counterpoint. The interjection of such seemingly disparate sound elements work to great effect in the most dramatic piece on the cd.

The Fourth Movement “Side Hikes-A Ridge Away” is a beautifully conceived representation of the composer’s experience of floating down the Colorado and Green Rivers in Colorado, Utah and Arizona to find himself in hereto for unreachable places, climbing to the top of a ridge along the way and experiencing the magic of unknown vistas and natural beauty. The piece is played with emotional power by Jack Wilkins whose tenor soars atop Owen’s lush orchestral arrangement.  For anyone who has exerted the effort to  climb a peak to experience the unparalleled feeling of mystery, excitement and accomplishment one has in reaching the top, Owen’s music will surely ring true.

The final movement in this suite is titled “Perhaps the Better Claim,” a reference to a line from one of my favorite poems, Robert Frost’s “ The Road Not Taken,”  a copy of which is printed in the liner notes. The poem ponders on the choices we make in life and how they ultimately affect our outcomes. This is perhaps the most dazzlingly orchestrated piece in the concerto. The orchestra is remarkably precise as it navigates the quick changes in tempo and color that is demanded of them by Owen’s marvelously powerful score. These talented musicians weave in and out of their parts never muddying each other’s roles, working like a precision time piece and producing as beautiful a piece of music as Mr. Owen’s fertile memory has composed. To anyone who believes that great orchestras don't exist beyond the big city markets this talented orchestra dispels any such notion.

For anyone who has experienced the beauty and awe of white water rafting, kayaking or even just climbing a peak, Mr. Owen’s concerto is the next best thing to being transported there. With River Runs Mr. Owen has proven himself to be a compositional force to be reckoned with.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Jazz Forum Arts Brazilian Afternoon Free Concert in Harrison,NY

Mark Morganelli, Nanny Assis and Vic Juris
photo by Ralph A. Miriello ©2013 
Impresario and trumpet player Mark Morganelli has been presenting jazz concerts since 1979 when he presented concerts at 50 Cooper Street in New York at his Jazz Forum Loft. Under the banner of  Jazz Forum Arts, which he started in 1985, this non for profit production company has brought jazz to many interesting and diverse venues to the delight of music lovers in the tri-state area. I was fortunate to see some of the great jazz shows Morganelli has produced each year at the venerable Tarrytown Musical Hall in Tarrytown , New York. My most memorable concert was one the late, great Dave Brubeck gave at the concert hall during his ninetieth year, one I shall not forget.

In addition to ongoing music at Tarrytown, this summer Jazz Forum Arts will provide Westchester County residents a series of free summer concerts, the Dobbs Ferry Summer Music series, sponsored by Chase Bank, and held at Mercy College. The series will run every Wednesday  from June 19 through August 21, 2103.

Morganelli  is an accomplished trumpet and flugelhorn player who has performed at numerous festivals and venues both in this country and in Europe. His Jazz Forum All Stars can be seen performing weekly at the Rainwater Grill in Hastings on the Hudson or in a duo format at Orissa in Dobbs Ferry.

As part of another Chase sponsored free summer jazz series, Morganelli is performing  a series of weekly afternoon concerts at the Chase corporate offices at 106 Corporate Drive in Harrison, New York. I got a chance to see a trio he assembled to perform on Wednesday afternoon July 3rd for an intimate hour long
program of Brazilian jazz.

Mark Morganelli
photo by Ralph A. Miriello©2013 

In the shade of the trees around the outdoor picnic tables adjacent to the office building's cafeteria, the trio set up to entertain anyone who cared to sit down and listen. Morganelli was joined by his long time friend and musical collaborator, the guitarist Vic Juris and the effervescent percussionist Nanny Assis. Bassist Nilson Matta was scheduled to appear but got stuck in pre fourth of July traffic. Mr. Juris had a blond custom acoustic guitar with a deep cutaway that he played through a small amplifier with no electronics.
Mr. Morganelli played his copper finished flugelhorn and some hand percussion instrument. Mr. Assis played a silver Timbau ( pronounced Chimbau), on which he demonstrated he could reproduce the sound of three congas on one drum, a percussive box that served as his seat, a hi-hat and two cymbals and his panderio.

Nanny Assis
photo by Ralph A. Miriello©2013 
With this sparse but effective set of instruments, the trio started the set with the Jobim classic "The Girl from Ipanema" made famous by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz. The music seemed to send a warm breeze through the air as the infectious Brazilian bossa brought the small crowd to a far away beach. Mr. Morganelli stated the melody briefly but beautifully and Mr. Juris embellished on it with his own fleet runs and gentle chording. Mr. Assis smiled broadly as he kept the floating beat with his authentic rhythmic time.
The group continued with song titled "Amore and Pace" ( Love and Peace) Mr. Assis played his silver Timbau, an instrument which gave him a remarkable range of tones depending on how and where he played on it. Mr. Juris accompanied softy as the sound of Mr. Morganelli's warm, melodic flugelhorn wafted in the air.

The trio continued with another samba by Mr. Jobim. Mr. Juris started it out with a deft display of harmonics on his guitar. Mr. Assis stood up on this one using just his panderio. A a tambourine like instrument that looks limited in its use, Mr Assis proved that in the right hands it could be made to create  an astonishing variety of percussive rhythms. Mr. Juris started to really warm up on this one, creating interesting and unexpected harmonies. He would elevate on his heels as ramped up the speed and complexity of his solo to the delight of the gathering.
Vic Juris
photo by Ralph A. Miriello©2013 

Another Jobim classic "Dindi" ( pronounced Gingi) was sensitively played by Mr. Morganelli on his honey toned flugelhorn. Mr. Morganelli principally played the melodies of these Brazilian classics throughout the concert,  leaving the improvisations to Mr. Juris .  Mr Juris is an accomplished played with a reservoir of interesting ideas. His sense of time was impeccable as he floated through some rapid single note improvisations that skillfully fit between Mr. Assis's beats. Mr. Assis for his part served as the focal point of the trio. Originally form the  Bahia area of Brazil, Mr. Assis  brought a palpable exuberance to the music of his native land. His smile radiated the joy that the music brings to those who allow themselves to fall under it's spell. His marvelous sense of rhythm carried the tunes like a wave of warm surf enveloping a sun drenched beach.

 The last song was titled another Jobim classic  "Live to Dream"  or "Vivo Sonhando" another song made
famous to American audiences by Stan Getz  from his "Getz/Gilberto" album from 1963. Again the easy sway of this evocatively sensual melody was played lovingly by Moragnelli. Mr. Juris took a graceful and measured solo and Mr. Assis kept the rhythm of the tune in perfect tempo.

Mr. Moganelli and company provided a wonderful afternoon respite for all those who came to hear them.
A chance to experience the easy listening, sensual sounds of Brazilian samba on an otherwise hectic workday is surely the formula for a happy start to the fourth of July weekend. Check here at Jazz Forum Arts  for upcoming shows.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Notes on Jazz Annual 4th of July Living Legends of Jazz Celebration

Jimmy Cobb photo by Lena Adasheva ©2013 
Another year has passed since Notes on Jazz published its annual Living Legend of Jazz feature. This is the fourth annual compilation; a yearly reminder and a joyful celebration of the artistry and longevity of jazz artists that have been living in our midst. With each year we marvel at some familiar new members who have entered into the ranks of the Living Legends. The criterion is uncomplicated, simply induct any musician, working or retired who has reached their seventieth birthday and has contributed to the canon of the music, keeping the spirit and tradition of the music alive. They could be relatively obscure or internationally recognized, but in their own way they made a difference.  Many of us grew up with these artists and have followed their careers through the years. As this is an organic list, ever-changing, like the music, it’s ranks are added to and depleted each year. Sadly, since last July 4th, ,we have continued to lose some of these great artists to the ravages of time. It is only right that we take a moment to document and recognize their passing. Their spirit lives on in everyone who has ever had the privilege of hearing them play; either in live performance or on recordings. Their work will continue to inspire those who follow in their footsteps.The passing of some truly venerable legends include musicians, performers, innovators, teachers, producers and mentors who made an indelible mark on society at large and on the music in particular. Some were famous, some infamous and all will be missed.
Dave Brubeck photo by John Abbott ©2013  
Undoubtedly the most recognizable musician we lost from the fraternity of Jazz Legends since last July was the iconic pianist/composer Dave Brubeck, who passed one day prior to his ninety-second birthday on December 5, 2012.  Brubeck’s music crossed over to beyond the jazz audience with his ground breaking album from 1959 titled Time Out and it’s time transcendent song “Take Five.”  Another recognizable pianist, more famous in rock but clearly steeped in jazz influence, was the Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek who passed in Germany at the age of seventy-four.  His keyboard work on “Light My Fire” turned many rock listeners onto jazz sensibilities. The jazz world mourned the untimely passing of the great pianist Mulgrew Miller, on May 29, 2013 from a stroke at the alarmingly young age of fifty-seven.  Miller who worked with many famous artists was the well-respected Director of Jazz Studies at William Patterson College.  
Mulgrew Miller
Photo by Fran Kaufman©2013  
Ninety-two year old trombonist Herbie Harper, who passed in January 2012, once played with Benny Goodman and backed Billie Holiday. Two legends who passed in their ninetieth year left rich legacies. Guitarist Johnny Smith was so versatile he could sight read in the pit of the NY Philharmonic Orchestra or be just as comfortable jamming in a trio at the Birdland jazz club.  His guitar designs are still prized by players of the instrument. Guitarist Pete Cosey, who was the electric sound behind many of Miles Davis later works passed in May at the age of sixty-eight. Trombonist Eddie Bert was so prolific his sound could be heard in the bands of Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Woody Herman and Stan Kenton; he passed in September 2012. Two other trombonist that passed last year included Edwin Marshall and Santo “Sonny” Russo both eighty-three. Eighty-two year old bassist Ben Tucker, who was killed in an automobile accident this past year, played with saxophonists Art Pepper and Warne Marsh.

Two trumpet players of note were lost this past year. Donald Byrd who pioneered the use of funk and soul in jazz died at the age of eighty on February 4, 2013. One time Mingus trumpeter Ted Curson passed in November at the age of seventy-seven.

Several notable saxophonists were lost last year; they include Chicago stalwart Earle “Von” Freeman who was playing actively until he passed in August at the age of eighty-eight.  Tenor saxophonist Dick Hafer, an alumnus of the Charles Mingus, Charlie Barnet and Woody Herman bands, to name a few,  passed in December at the age of eighty-five. Seventy-nine year old English soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill passed in July and Danish free saxophonist John Tchicai passed in October in France at the age of seventy-six. The sweet sound of Sam Most’s flute will be heard no more; the prolific studio musician who was on countless albums passed this year at the age of eighty-two.

The drummer Pete LaRoca Sims, who played with saxophone titans Sonny Rollins, Jackie McClean, Charles Lloyd and John Coltrane passed in November at the age of seventy-four. Drummer and influential teacher Freddie Gruber passed in October at the age of eighty-four. Drummer Sonny Igoe who worked with Woody Herman and Benny Goodman passed at the age of eighty-eight.  Ed Shaughnessy, who was the mainstay drummer of the big band on Johnny Carson’s tonight show left us this year at the age of eighty-four. Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitar player that introduced the Carnatic rhythms of his homeland to Western artists, influencing musicians from the Beatles to John Coltrane, (Coltrane named his son Ravi after Mr. Shankar) was ninety-two.  Just last month we lost the beautiful baritone of Bobby “Blue” Bland at the age of eighty-three. Melvin Ryne whose B3 organ sounds accompanied the great Wes Montgomery passed at the age of seventy-six. Pianist Paul Smith passed on June 29, 2013, he worked with Bing Crosby,Nat Cole and Dizzy Gillispie, he was 91. I was recently informed that pianist BeboValdes passed away a few months ago athe the age of ninety four.

The music has proven time and again that despite losing its legends to the inevitable vagaries of time, it is a durable art form. As some pass through, there are always others who enter our world introducing new ideas and fresh musical concepts. The music continues to expand, organically thriving with every generation. New musicians create from the infrastructure laid down by those who have blazed the path before them ensuring that the music, however mutated it becomes, still is built from the Terra-firma of the tradition.
I continue to believe that Jazz is an art form that has become the most internationally cooperative means of communication in the world today. As artists and listeners alike have found out it can be a tremendously spiritual medium allowing us to transcend everyday life with beauty and connectivity.

On this fourth of July let our passion for the music continue with this yearly celebration of these communicators, those who have been and continue to be so instrumental in bringing us this music we love so much. 

Here is my expanded list of veteran players, all at least seventy years of age, who in some way helped shape the music. I am sure to have missed some worthy contributors. I apologize in advance for any inadvertent omissions. This is the fourth year I have complied this list and with each year, with the help of readers like you, it has become more expansive. I welcome comments from readers who may know of deserving musicians who  should be added to this list. Finally a great big thank you to each and every one of this year’s celebrants.

Gary Bartz photo by
Lena Adasheva ©2013

Frank Wess
photo by Fran Kaufman ©2013

                                             Saxophonists/ Reed Instruments:
Maceo Parker (70), Eddie Daniels clarinet and saxophone (71);Pharaoh Sanders, Gary Bartz, Peter Brotzmann, Roscoe Mitchell and Bennie Maupin (72), Masabumi Kikuchi,Arthur Bythe, Hamiet Bluiett,Wilton Felder, Joe McPhee,Charles McPherson, Carlos Ward, Paul Winter and Lew Tabakin (73),Odean Pope,Zibigniew Namyslowski,Charles  Gayle, Sonny Fortune and George Braith (74)
Lee Konitz photo by John Abbottt ©2013  
Gunter Hampel,James Spaulding, Charles Lloyd,
Carlos Garnett, Joseph Jarman (75)
Archie Shepp,Nathan Davis,Frank Strozier
and Jim Galloway (76) Klaus Doldinger, ,
Gary N. Foster, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre
and Don Menza (77) Giuseppi Logan,Jimmy Woods, Houston Person,George Coleman, Kidd Jordan and Bunky Green (78), Lanny Morgan,and Wayne Shorter (79),Sadao Watanabe, Charlie Davis, Jerry Dodgian,
Gato Barbieri and John Handy III (80) Phil Woods and Plas Johnson Jr.(81) Sonny Rollins (82), Ornette Coleman and Gabe Baltazar (83) Joe Temperley, Harold Ousley,Herb Geller and Benny Golson (84) Carl Janelli, Lee Konitz and Bob Wilber (85), Big Jay McNeeley,Med Flory, Lou Donaldson and Jimmy Heath (86),Marshall Allen (89), Frank Wess (91), Yusef Lateef (92), Harold Joseph “Hal”“Cornbread” Singer (93)

George Coleman photo by Lena Adasheva ©2013 
 Fred Staton (98).
Fred Staton
Photo by Ralph A. Miriello ©2013 

Wayne Shorter photo by
John Abbott ©2013

Chick Corea
photo by Fran Kaufman©2013  
Herbie Hancock photo by
Fran Kaufman©2013 
Kenny Barron, Mike Ratledge, Dave Greenslade and Ben Sidran, (70) ,Connie Crothers, Stanley Cowell,
Cedar Walton  photo by Lena Adasheva ©2013  
Armando“Chick”Corea, Mike Nock, Sergio Mendes, Irene Sweizer and David Burrell (72), Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Charles Brackeen and Roger Kellaway (73), McCoy Tyner,
Mike Longo, Joe Sample, Gap Mangione,Jon Mayer, Joanne Brackeen and Warren Bernhardt (74) Denny Zeitlin,
Steve Kuhn and John Coates Jr. (75),Eddie Palmieri and
Kirk Lightsey (76), Les McCann, Carla Bley and
Harold Mabern (77),Ramsey Lewis ,Pat Rebillot, Ran Blake,
Don Friedman, Oliver Jones, Ellis Marsalis Jr and Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand), Dave Grusin and Misha Mengelberg (78)Pat Moran (McCoy) and Cedar Walton (79), Paul Bley, and Larry Novak (80), Bengt Hallberg, Jack Reilly, Derek Smith and Michel LeGrand (81),Muhal Richard Abrams and Horace Parlan (82)Amhad Jamal, Frank Strazzeri, Claude Bolling, Barry Harris and Toshiko Akiyoshi (83),Cecil Taylor,
Horace Silver and Junior Mance (84) Freddie Redd, Martial Solal, Richard Wyands and Mose Allison (85),Dick Hyman and Claude Williamson (86), Randy Weston and Boyd Lee Dunlop (87), Reynold "Zeke" Mullins and Barbara Carroll (88), Marty Napoleon (92),  Marian McPartland (95).
McCoy Tyner photo by Lena Adasheva ©2013 
Buster Williams photo  by Lena Adasheva ©2013 

Jack Bruce (70); Charles "Buster" Williams (71) Glen Moore and Steve Swallow (72), Ed “Butch” Warren, Don Thompson and Eberhard Weber (73), Mario Pavone (74), Larry Ridley, Reggie Workman and Charlie Haden (75), Ron Carter, Chuck Berghofer, and Chuck Israels (76), Buell Nedlinger and Henry Grimes (77),Gary Peacock and Cecil McBee (78), Bob Cranshaw, John Ore and Jack Six (80) Ron Crotty and Richard Davis (84), Bill Crow (85), Jymie Merritt (87) Eugene "The Senator “Wright (90), Howard Rumsey (95), Coleridge Goode (98).

Marvin Stamm photo by
 Ralph A. Miriello©2013 
Trumpet/Cornet/ Flugelhorn:
Jim Hall photo by
Fran Kaufman©2013 
Jimmy Owens and Michael Mantler (70); Charles Tolliver (71);Eddie Henderson, Palle Mikkelborg and Chuck Mangione (72), Enrico Rava (73), Marvin Stamm and Hugh Masekela (74), Guido Basso (75), Ed Polcer (76), Bobby Bradford (78), Jack Sheldon and Dusko Gojkovic (81), Alphonso “Dizzy” Reece, Louis Smith and Ira Sullivan (82), Sam Noto and Kenny Wheeler (83), Carl “Doc” Severinson (85), Joe Wilder (91), Clark Terry (92) Thomas Jefferson (93),Gerald Wilson (94 ); Lionel Ferbos (101) (102 0n July 17th)

George Benson, Larry Coryell and Philip Catherine (70) ; James Blood Ulmer and John McLaughlin (71), Jerry Hahn (72), Ralph Towner (73), Gene Bertoncini and Joe D’Iorio (76), Sonny Greenwich (77), Ed Bickert (80) Kenny Burrell (81), Jim Hall, Joao Gilberto and John Pisano (82),Martin “Marty” Grosz (83) Eddie Duran and, Bucky Pizzarelli (87), Mundell Lowe (91).

 Dick Griffin photo by Lena Adasheva ©2013 
Fred Wesley (70):James “Dick” Griffin , Wayne Henderson and Billy Watrous (73)), Grachan Moncur III, Phillip Elder Wilson and “Big” Bill Bissonnette (76), Roswell Rudd (77), Julian Priester and Curtis Fuller (78) Locksley "Slide" Hampton (81); George “Buster” Copper (84), Harold Betters and Conrad Janis (85), George Masso and Urbie Green (86).

Billy Hart photo  by Lena Adasheva ©2013 
Jack DeJohnette, Barry Altschul and Michael Gils  (70 ) Han Bennik, Milford Graves and Malcolm Pinson(71),  Billy Hart (72), Andrew Cyrille, Ginger Baker,  Pierre Courbois, Ron Free  and Idris Muhammad (73), Bernard Purdie, Issac “Redd” Holt, Nesbert “Stix” Hooper (74) and Tony Oxley (75), , Horace Arnold, Paul Ferrara and Daniel Humair (75), Louis Hayes, Pierre  Favre, James “Sunny” Murray, Charly Antolini, Colin Bailey and Roy McCurdy (76), Muhammad Ali (77), Albert “Tootie” Heath and Chuck Flores (78), Donald “Duck” Bailey, Ben Riley, Colin Bailey and Ray Mosca (79), Mickey Roker Frank Capp and Grady Tate (81 Ronnie Bedford (82),) John Armatage (83), Hal Blaine, Jimmy Cobb, Charlie Persip (84);,Frankie Dunlop(85);  Joe Harris (86), Roy Haynes and Samuel “Dave” Bailey (87), Armando Peraza (89), Percy Brice and Al Harewood (90), Foreststorn “Chico” Hamilton and Candido Camero (91)

Roy Haynes
photo by Fran Kaufman ©2013 

Mac “Dr John” Rebennack (72)“ Papa” John De Francesco), Brian Auger (73), Rhoda Scott (76), Reuben Wilson (78), and Sir Charles Thompson (95).

Tony Bennett
photo by John Abbott©2013
     Jazz Vocalists:
Joni Mitchell (70); Gilberto Gil (71) ,Janet Lawson (72), Astrud Gilberto, Al Jarreau and Mary Stallings (73), Andy Bey (74), Ruth Price and Ellyn Ruker (75), Nancy Wilson, Carol Sloane, Karin Krog and Sathima Bea Benjamin (76) Marlene Ver Planck and David Frishberg piano/vocals (80), Freddy Cole and Mark Murphy (81), Gloria Lynne (81), Annie Ross and Helen Merrill (82), Sheila Jordan and Ernestine Anderson (84), Cleo Laine, Jackie Cain and Ernie Andrews (85),Tony Bennett (86) Bill Henderson and Jimmy Scott (87) Bob Dorough (89) Jon Hendricks (91), Herb Jeffries (99).
Andy Bey photo  by Lena Adasheva ©2013 

George Wein photo by Lena Adasheva ©2013  
Artists on Other Instruments:
Gary Burton, vibraphone and Michal Urbaniak, violinist (70); Jean Luc Ponty, violinist (71); Bobby Hutcherson and Roy Ayers, vibraphonists and Lonnie Liston Smith, keyboardist (72) and Hubert Laws, flautist (73) , Perry Morris Robinson, clarinetist , Gunter Hampel, multi-instrumentalist,
Toots Thielmans photo
by John Abbott ©2013
Charlie Shoemake, vibraphonist , Dave Pike, vibraphonist/marimba and Mike Maineri, vibraphonist (75) Hermeto  Pascoal, accordion & keyboards (77) Reuben Wilson, organist (77) Joe Licari, clarinetist,(78); Sonny Simmons sax and English Horn, Warren Chiasson vibraphonist (79), Emil Richards, vibes and percussion (80) David Baker composer/cellist (81), Frank Marocco, accordion, Pierre "Pete" Fountain, clarinetist (82), Michael White, violinist, Rolf Kuhn, clarinetists and Paul Horn, flautist (83), Bernard “ Acker” Bilk, clarinetist, Peter Appleyard, vibraphonist and Andre Previn conductor/pianist (84), Terry Gibbs, vibraphonist, George Wein, Pianist/ Concert Promoter and Rudy Van Gelder, recording engineer (88), Sammy Nestico pianist/arranger and Buddy DeFranco, clarinetist (89) Lorraine Gordon music producer and Owner of the Village Vanguard(90), Jean “Toots” Thielmans, harmonica/guitar/whistler (91), Svend Asmussen, violinist (97).

 Many thanks to photographers Lena Adasheva, Fran Kaufman and John Abbott  for graciously allowing me to use their wonderful photographs.