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The Creators Of Jazz Appreciation Month Start Celebrating

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A group of musicians and major donors pose with Lionel Hampton’s vibraphone at the 2013 Jazz Appreciation Month launch. Photo: Patrick Jarenwattananon/NPR

By Patrick Jarenwattananon

A group of musicians and major donors pose with Lionel Hampton’s vibraphone at the 2013 Jazz Appreciation Month launch. From left: Mark Dibner of The Argus Fund, drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Fran Morris Rosman of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, pianist Randy Weston, Richard Rosman of the Ella Fitzgerald foundation and Smithsonian American History Museum Director John Gray.

The 12th official Jazz Appreciation Month began when April did. But today, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, which founded the JAM campaign, kick started its own celebration with a series of performances, discussions and ceremonies.

A morning gathering for invited guests was highlighted by the official delivery of two musical artifacts to the Smithsonian’s collection. Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, a Cuban-born percussionist known for his translation of Afro-Latin rhythms to the drumset, signed over a purple drum kit with special modifications for cowbells. And Randy Weston, the 87-year-old pianist whose time in Africa informs his musical vision, officially donated the long flowing garment he wore when he was honored by the King of Morocco in 2011.

“It’s not only an honor, but like an impossible dream,” Weston said, regarding his inclusion in a collection with artifacts from Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie.

The ceremony also recognized a financial gift from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, creating an endowment to support JAM. A quintet drawn from the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra performed to open the day, making use of the vibraphone donated to the museum by Lionel Hampton.

The Smithsonian has planned additional events for JAM, including tribute concerts to baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, pianist Dave Brubeck and the artist manager (and bassist) John Levy.

Many other organizations are hosting events branded with Jazz Appreciation Month. The Jazz Journalists Association recognized 25 Jazz Heroes of regional music scenes as part of its JazzApril umbrella campaign. (Disclosure: I am a member of the JJA, but did not participate in selection of Jazz Heroes.) And at the end of the month, the second International Jazz Day launches with a April 30 concert in Istanbul, Turkey.

Esperanza Spalding at the Academy Awards

Video of “In Memoriam” performance:

Just in case you missed it here is a Link to Esperanza Spalding’s marvelous performance at last night’s Oscar Academy Awards.  “What a Wonderful World” is a song written by Bob Thiele (as George Douglas) and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong and released as a single in 1968.What a delight to see and hear the song in the care of Esperanza and The Southern California Children’s Chorus!  I’m sure Pop’s would approve!

Billie Holiday – Day In Day Out

Jazz highlights from the February 23rd show with your host Geo Warner:

Day In Day Out is from a 1957 Verve release titled “Songs for Distingue Lovers” that was produced by Norman Granz.  The sessions reunited Billie Holiday with trumpeter Harry Edison and saxophonist Ben Webster, both of whom the singer had worked with during the 1930’s and 1940′s: Edison as a member of the Count Basie Orchestra during her brief stay as the band’s girl singer, and Webster from the recordings she made under her own name for Vocalion Records and Okeh Records.

Ben Webster (tenor saxophone)

Harry “Sweets” Edison (trumpet)

Jimmie Rowles (piano)

Barney Kessel (guitar)

Red Mitchell (bass)

Larry Bunker or Alvin Stoller (drums)

Check out the complete Playlist for 02/23/12 using the Link on the right >

The entire radio show is available for your listening pleasure 24/ 7 through March 1st on the – KUSP Music Show Player.

 

Vince Mendoza – Otoño

Jazz highlights from the February 23rd show with your host Geo Warner:

Otoño is the first track on Nights On Earth, a 2011 release from arranger, composer, conductor, keyboardist Vince Mendoza.  He has received six Grammy Awards for producing and arranging for a diverse group of artists: from Joni Mitchell to Randy & Michael Brecker.  John Kelman – All About Jazz, wrote: “on “Otoño,” its breezy, Mediterranean opening gradually evolves into something more complex, with guitarist Nguyên Lê‘s scored melody the perfect transition to organist Larry Goldings’ solo, which impressively and effortlessly winds its way through Mendoza’s constantly shifting harmonic backdrop.”

Check out the complete Playlist for 02/23/12 using the Link on the right >

The entire radio show is available for your listening pleasure 24/ 7 through March 1st on the – KUSP Music Show Player.

 

 

Charles Lloyd Quartet – The Water Is Wide

Jazz highlights from the February 23rd show with your host Geo Warner:

A subtle, but tasteful 2010 reprise of Charles Lloyd’s 2000 CD release of the same name: The Water Is Wide – a traditional gospel classic with Scottish/ English origins that go as far back as the 1600’s.  This track is from the ECM release Mirror and is the second recording by this amalgamation of virtuosic musicians, the first being 2008’s Rabo de Nube, which was a stunning live concert performance recorded in Basel, Switzerland also worthy of your attention.

http://youtu.be/6PIHzgfbYSg

Charles Lloyd (ts)

Jason Moran (p)

Reuben Rogers (b)

Eric Harland (ds)

Check out the complete Playlist for 02/23/12 using the Link on the right >

The entire radio show is available for your listening pleasure 24/ 7 through March 1st on the – KUSP Music Show Player.

 

Gary Burton/ Pat Metheny Quartet – Sea Journey – Umbria Jazz Festival – 2008

Jazz highlights from the February 16th show with your host Alan Mertens:

Sea Journey is a Chick Corea composition that performed within this context harkens back to Gary Burton’s seminal late 60’s fusion work with guitarist Larry Coryell. Pat Metheny was 19 when he joined the original Gary Burton Quartet in 1973, making it one of the finest and most distinctive bands of the day. Burton and Metheny have worked together a lot over the years, but this performance is from the 2008 tour which was a revival of that original quartet, with Steve Swallow, an original member, on bass, and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Dave Gelly of The Observer wrote: “Burton’s vibraphone and Metheny’s guitar conduct a dialogue that reaches beyond virtuosity and quick thinking to achieve a level of empathy that is simply inspiring.”

Pat Metheny (g)

Gary Burton (vib)

Steve Swallow (b)

Antonio Sanchez (d)

Check out the complete Playlist for 02/16/12 using the Link on the right >

Getz Meets Mulligan: In Hi-Fi – I Didn`t Know What Time It Was

Jazz highlights from the February 16th show with your host Alan Mertens:

Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan recorded some lasting music in the latter half of 1957. On August 1, they participated in an all-star septet that came to be known as Jazz Giants ’58.  Their compatibility of the Giants session made this follow-up In Hi-Fi, recorded less than three months later – inevitable. Sources reveal that it was Getz who chose the rhythm section, while Mulligan had the idea of swapping horns on the final three titles recorded. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was is the final track from the original sessions that were produced by Norman Granz.

Recorded October 12, 1957

Stan Getz (Tenor & Baritone Saxophone)

Gerry Mulligan (Baritone & Tenor Saxophone)

Lou Levy (Piano)

Ray Brown (Bass)

Stan Levey (Drums)

Check out the complete Playlist for 02/16/12 using the Link on the right >

Cannonball Adderley Quintet Plus New Delhi

Jazz highlights from the February 16th show with your host Alan Mertens:

Julian “Cannonball” Adderley plays alto saxophone and brother Nat Adderley plays cornet for this session recorded in New York in May of 1961 not long after Cannonball had left the great 1959 sextet of Miles Davis.  New Delhi is a composition by British born Victor Feldman who is best known as a pianist, but performs admirably here on the vibes.  Wynton Kelly is the pianist, with Sam Jones on bass and Louis Hayes playing the drums to complete the rhythm section.

Check out the complete Playlist for 02/16/12 using the Link on the right >