Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sam Rivers R.I.P.

Mr. Sam Rivers passed away yesterday. Funkmusicnews has a brief overview of the Man's career here.

More to come.

Rest in Peace Mr. Rivers.

Friday, December 23, 2011

R.O.I.O. of the Week : Miles Davis - Live in Berlin (1969) [Gambit 69331]

Here's some real nice music for the holiday season. Enjoy it, and of course Tune Up wishes you a Merry Christmas.

Miles Davis
Live In Berlin & Montreux (1969)
[Gambit 69331]

1 - 6 :  Philharmonie, Berlin,  1969.11.07
7 - 9 : La Pinède, Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, 1969.07.25

1. Introduction
2. Directions
3. Bitches Brew
4. It's about that time
5. I Fall in Love Too Easily
6. Sanctuarry - The Theme
7. Milestones
8. Footprints
9. Round Midnight

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sonny Rollins

From the Register Star Online :

Sax great Rollins reflects on recent Kennedy honor

By Jeff Alexander
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Saturday, December 17, 2011

GERMANTOWN — From New York's smoke-filled clubs to the national stage, legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins' fire still burns as he recently received top awards under the brightest of spotlights.

"Getting that National Medal of Arts award from President Obama was a very important moment for me, but I felt it was more about the art form of jazz being recognized. I think the genre has been underappreciated in America, but I feel it has now made a significant impact," said Rollins.

Rollins was presented the National Medal of Arts in 2010 and was formally recognized at the Kennedy Center Dec. 4.

Rollins left the mark of a trailblazer on jazz, nurturing the vibrant New York scene with luminaries like Charlie Parker.

"My first job as a musician was on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx when I was 13. Clubs were really hopping," said Rollins.

He has lived in Germantown since 1972, but only full-time since 2001.

"I was in the city during 9/11. My wife and I had a place only 6 blocks from the towers. We left because of the contamination after the buildings collapsed," he said.

Rollins spoke fondly of his old neighborhood and recalled jazz's New York City roots, as well as the resistance artists faced as they struggled to make the art form into a legitimately recognized genre.

"My idol was Charlie Parker and he was the Bebop prophet. At that time, the political part of jazz, people did not respect it and did not accept it as a legit form of music. People tried to halt its development. "

Rollins stated that the growing music scene certainly had its share of danger, including substance abuse.

"Nobody ever told me to use drugs, but us younger guys at that time had witnessed Parker doing drugs. We all thought if he was doing it, it was ok. A lot of lives and careers got wasted from it," he said.

Ironically, Rollins credits Parker for helping him conquer substance abuse.

"I was recording with Charlie in 1953 and I told him I wasn't using anymore. After I saw the look on his face when someone told him I was still on the hard stuff, it was very tragic and it was then that the light bulb went off in my head. Charlie was really against people using drugs and he didn't want any of the young guys following him," reflected Rollins.

To capitalize on his desire and willingness to accept treatment, Rollins checked into New York's Lexington treatment facility in 1954.

"Back then, there really weren't many choices for treatment. Part of what makes treatment important is being treated like a patient and not a criminal because in doing so, you just reinforce part of the person's problem and that's no good. I really think Lexington was the precursor to the Betty Ford Clinic. I worked at my treatment and was there for over four months and I haven't used heroin since."

Successfully completing treatment was only the beginning for Rollins, as temptation soon stepped out from the shadows.

"I came out and I had to go back on the music scene. My life was there, in the clubs, but I had to go out to Chicago. I worked menial jobs until I thought I was strong enough to go back into clubs. People asked me to get high with them. It was the biggest prize fight of my career. I escaped, but I would go home with my hands shaking and sweating. It got a little easier each time I went back, but as things are in life, nothing is easy."

Author James Baldwin wrote Sonny's Blues in 1957, a short story depicting a jazz musician estranged from his brother. The powerful story, among other themes highlighted the important role music played while easing an individual's suffering. Despite the title, Sonny Rollins has not been definitively linked to the story, though the time frame did coincide with his fight for sobriety.

A self-imposed exile in 1959 came during the height of Rollins' career, but he stated its importance was immeasurable.

"I took a break because I felt I wasn't playing as well as I could. I had a lot of people praising me and I felt I wasn't able to live up to it. I have pride in what I do. You have to have strength with your convictions. When I came back from hiatus, people said I didn't sound any different. That did not matter to me because I did learn something whether or not they heard it. I listened to my inner voice and that was the main thing," said Rollins.

Three years later, Rollins released one of his most critically praised records, The Bridge. Capitalizing on his newfound clarity, Rollins continued collaborating with musicians and transcending barriers. It is noted that he worked with the Rolling Stones on Tattoo You, playing three uncredited tracks on the record.

"While doing that recording I was aware that we were crossing some bridges and I always hoped it would bear fruit and bridge differences. "

According to Rollins, Mick Jagger had seen him play a set and drummer Charlie Watts was an avid jazz fan.

"I was playing in London at the time and the group was looking for a saxophonist and my name came up. It was such an experiment for me at the time. My wife was a fan of them and really urged me to do it," laughed Rollins.

Tattoo You was well-received and Rollins viewed the opportunity as a big success.

"That record was made in England, so I did not record with the entire group. I got to work very closely with Mick Jagger and he was a nice fellow. It was a really good experience for me," said Rollins.

Whatever genre a musician may play, Rollins firmly believes that music is the universal language.

"It really rises above all the foolishness and politics of the world. For me, there's the idea that anyone can enjoy music, no matter what may seemingly stand in the way."

Rollins continues to embrace yoga and eastern philosophies as a means to reconnect with himself and have a broader, more universal understanding of the world.

"Originally, it was my quest to find out about life and make myself a stronger person. When I first got into it way back in 1957, I was reading a lot about Buddhism. I worked to make myself a better human being."

As a renowned jazz musician, Rollins' path to greater self-worth and transcendence has been riddled with detours. His passion has spanned through decades of change, but his self-discovery continues to grow daily.

"You really have to work at things and let your inner voice develop. Sometimes, it can take a lifetime," said Rollins.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bob Brookmeyer R.I.P. update

This was posted on his official website :

BOB BROOKMEYER (1929-2011)
12/18/2011 5:51:37 AM - It’s with great sadness that we share the news that Bob Brookmeyer passed away last night, just three days shy of his 82nd birthday. Bob was an integral force in music, making some of the greatest groups in jazz history what we know and admire today. Whether as a composer, arranger or trombonist, his voice is immediately discernible from the very first note, always bringing a smile and one word: "Brookmeyer."

For many of us, Bob has always been a tremendous inspiration and an overflowing wealth of knowledge. You'd be hard to find a large ensemble composer that doesn't have Bob's name on the top of their list of favorites. For those lucky enough to have the opportunity to study with him, we were given more than just an education in the art of being a great composer, we were given a level of both love and support that expanded far beyond the classroom. He had a wonderful ability to cultivate our inner strengths, yet pull us out of our comfort zones and stretch us farther than we could have ever imagined possible.

Bob's newest album, STANDARDS, which was officially released a few weeks ago, was a record Bob was incredibly proud of.  It is a true masterpiece in every sense of the word, with each arrangement encompassing everything that is "Bob Brookmeyer."

Bob, you were an amazing force and a fearless leader to all jazz composers. Thank you for your years of inspiration, support, and for leaving a legacy of music to continually inspire us for years to come.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Night with John Coltrane

France Musique has a good present for us these days. Tonight from 1.00 AM till 7.00 AM it will broadcast a whole special program dedicated to John Coltrane.
Here's the program :

Nuit John Coltrane
par Eric Dahan
dans la nuit du 17 au 18 décembre 2011, de 1h à 7h
L’existence de John Coltrane fût brève, mais elle n’en a pas moins été déterminante pour l’histoire du jazz, car durant les deux décennies couvertes par sa carrière, soit de 1946 à 1967, année de sa disparition à l’âge de 40 ans, Coltrane a successivement embrassé le be bop, le hard bop, le jazz modal et le free jazz. Des styles musicaux qu’il n’a pas à proprement parler inventés mais à l’éclosion desquels il a parfois contribué et qu’il a définitivement marqués de son empreinte.
Pendant six heures, Eric Dahan, retracera chronologiquement le parcours exceptionnel de ce géant du jazz, qui collabora entre autres avec Thelonious Monk et Miles Davis, livra des disques majeurs, et qui fit de sa musique une véritable quête de l’absolu, au risque, après l’avoir enchanté un temps de son soprano extatique, de se couper totalement de son public.
Durant cette nuit Coltrane, Eric Dahan évoquera les différentes facettes - le virtuose, le rebelle, le gourou, le visionnaire - de John Coltrane pour comprendre pourquoi il incarne, plus que jamais, le modèle du musicien intègre et inspiré.

> première partie : L'enfance d'un maître
Contrairement à nombre de ses pairs, John Coltrane a mis très longtemps à trouver sa voix. De Johnny Hodges à Coleman Hawkins, et de Lester Young à Dexter Gordon, sans oublier Charlie Parker dont il clona littéralement le style à ses débuts, cette première partie propose d'écouter les nombreux saxophonistes qui l'ont influencé.
John coltrane
® DR

> deuxième partie : L'éclosion d'un génie
Entre vingt et trente ans, John Coltrane joue dans de fameux orchestres dont celui de Dizzy Gillespie. Mais c'est au contact de Thelonious Monk et de Miles Davis —le légendaire "premier quintet" — qu'il se dépasse et devient le plus sidérant saxophoniste de son temps, éclipsant Charlie Parker, vieillissant, mais également Sonny Rollins, pas moins virtuose ou musicien que lui.

> troisième partie : La quête d'absolu
Passionné par l'astrophysique, la spiritualité orientale, la musique extra-européenne, c'est à dire avant tout africaine et indienne, le dernier Coltrane est en quête de l'énergie cosmique à la source de toutes celles qui animent le vivant. Il cherche à éclater les cadres de sa musique et de l'improvisation, en termes de style, de langage, de durée, et embrasse autant qu'il l'inspire la révolution du "free jazz".

John coltrane

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bob Brookmeyer R.I.P.

News, apparently confirmed by Larry Applebaum states that Mr. Brookmeyer passed away this night probably from congestive heart failure.

More news to come.

One can always go to France Musique and listen again at the Matin des Musiciens episode dedicated to Bob Brookmeyer here.

21:03 P.M. edit :
Terry Teachouts memories of Bob Brookmeyer are available here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yasuhiro Fujioka - Coltrane Chronicle

Got this from the Coltrane-L.



Any additional info is more than welcome!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sir Thomas Pickton

From the Daily Mail Online :

Portrait of Waterloo hero that has hung in a court for generations 'must be removed as he approved torture as colonial governor'

Solicitors call for painting of Sir Thomas Picton, which hangs behind the judge's chair, to be taken down

Say reputation as a cruel colonial governor – he was accused of torturing a slave girl - mean his image should not be associated with modern justice

By Liz Hull

As one of the Duke of Wellington’s most skilful generals, he fought on the frontline of some of the bloodiest Napoleonic wars and was the highest ranking officer to die at the Battle of Waterloo.

So it is perhaps unsurprising that, to celebrate Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton’s military heroism, a large portrait of the Welshman hangs inside the court house in Carmarthen, South Wales.

But today it emerged that a row has broken out about the painting, which lawyers claim is offensive and should not be displayed behind the judge’s chair in Carmarthen Crown Court.

They say Sir Thomas’s reputation as a cruel and brutal colonial governor – he was military governor of Trinidad at the turn of the 19th century, where he was accused of torturing a young slave girl - mean his image should not be associated with modern equality and justice.

The portrait of Sir Thomas Picton, Lawyers say Sir Thomas's reputation as a cruel and brutal colonial governor - he was military governor of Trinidad at the turn of the 19th century, where he was accused of torturing a young slave girl - mean his image should not be associated with modern equality and justice.

However, Carmarthenshire Museum, who own the 8ft x 4ft portrait, disagree and say it was specifically commissioned for the court house, where it has lived for the past 182 years, and should stay.

Criminal lawyer Kate Williams, who is among those calling for the painting to be taken down, said: 'I appreciate the painting for historical purposes and that he (Picton) was a figure of note.

'But I find it very offensive that someone who was not only a known slaver, but also allegedly tortured a slave, should have his picture in a place where the values of justice are served.

'It’s fair to say he has a murky past and it is inappropriate to have his picture in a modern court of law, where we are supposed to represent the principles of equality and justice for all.

'I think people might misread the prominence of the picture as saying he has done something worthwhile to contribute towards justice, which really isn't the case.'

Sir Thomas, who was born in Poyston, Pembrokeshire, in 1758, was appointed military governor of Trinidad following the British victory in 1797 where he oversaw the production of sugar by slaves on the island’s plantations.

But he operated a brutally authoritarian regime which lead to accusations of slave torture, false imprisonment and execution.

In 1806 he was called back to Britain and faced trial in London over claims he authorised the torture of a 13-year-old girl, Louisa Calderon, who was accused of robbery, by forcing her to stand on a sharpened wooden peg while suspended from the ceiling.

This form of torture was dubbed 'Pictoning' at the trial and, although he was found guilty, Sir Thomas later overturned his conviction on appeal and went on to resume his military career.

His greatest successes came in Spain, where he was instrumental in the Battle of Vitoria, helping Wellington eventually claim victory in the Peninsular War.

Sir Thomas was killed after being was shot through the temple by a musket ball at the Battle of Waterloo, where, Welsh folklore contends, he fought in his top hat and tails because his uniform had not arrived at the frontline in time.

The portrait, by Sir Martin Archer Shee, was presented to the former Carmarthen Borough Council on September 2 1829. It was placed in the town¿s Guildhall (pictured) ¿ which is now used as a court ¿ and has been hanging in the same spot ever since.

Sir Thomas was killed after being was shot through the temple by a musket ball at the Battle of Waterloo, where, Welsh folklore contends, he fought in his top hat and tails because his uniform had not arrived at the frontline in time.

His military reputation was so high after his death that several colonial frontier towns in Canada, Australia and New Zealand were named after him and he remains the only Welshman to be buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.

His statue is among 12 'Heroes of Wales', in Cardiff’s City Hall, a comprehensive school in Pembrokeshire is named after him and there is also another monument to him in Carmarthen.

The portrait, by Sir Martin Archer Shee, was presented to the former Carmarthen Borough Council on September 2 1829. It was placed in the town’s Guildhall – which is now used as a court – and has been hanging in the same spot ever since.

Ann Dorset, a spokeswoman for the museum, said that although Sir Thomas was a 'cruel and brutal' governor of Trinidad, he was a 'a man of his time' and should not be judged by today’s standards.

'I think it would be a shame to move the painting from its original home,' she said.

'Picton was a very well respected general but on the other hand he was regarded as a rough and tough man and a great disciplinarian.

'He was a great leader of men and these wars were tough.

'It was hand to hand fighting and they were not like the battles of today. He would have been right in the middle of it.

'I think we have to accept Picton warts and all and not judge him by today's standards.'

Richard Goodridge, former mayor of Carmarthen, said removing the painting would be churlish.

He said: 'Louisa Calderon suffered no ill effects from the treatment she received and required no medical attention afterwards.

'After she was released from custody she walked more than a mile to the store where the crime took place, smoking a cigar.

'In February 1810 the court ordered Picton's recognisance and no further action ever took place. He was, and remains to this day, innocent of all the charges.

'Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton, despite what history may think of his unconventional ways, was an extremely popular officer and was killed in action at the battle of Waterloo in 1815 — the most senior officer to die for his country.'

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Mosaic Project

Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding form an all female Jazz Trio which performs this weekend at Scullers.

More info can be found at  The Boston Globe.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dexter Gordon : Complete Columbia Albums Collection

Dexter Gordon - The Complete Columbia Albums Collection

The best of Dexter Gordon's Columbia albums all in one bundle!
  • 6 great albums on 7 CDs!
  • Each individual album is packaged in a replica mini-LP sleeve reproducing that album’s original cover art.
  • The booklet  includes full discographical info., rare photos, and liner notes!
  • Box set produced by Michael Cuscuna, co-directed by Woody Shaw III, with liner notes by Cuscuna and Gordon's widow and long-time manager, Maxine Gordon.
There are no second acts in American lives” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald, a man who never would have put those words to paper had he lived to see Dexter Gordon’s triumphant late career revival.  Actually, the great tenor saxophonist had a number of “second acts” during his lifetime. Yet the late 1980’s flourish that found Gordon (1923-1990) an international star and an Oscar nominee could hardly be topped for a dramatic finale.

Gordon may have come of age in the Swing Era worshipping the dual tenor deities Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, but he made his mark during the subsequent rise of bebop, translating Charlie Parker’s revolutionary rhythmic and harmonic language to the tenor saxophone.  From 1945 to 1962 “long tall Dexter” (LTD) maintained his status as one of the unimpeachable tenor titans, notwithstanding prison spells that somehow never stalled his momentum. Relocating to Europe, Gordon, his ear ever open to stylistic changes in jazz, retained his celebrity.
On returning Stateside in 1976, Gordon was signed by Columbia Records, who documented him on the celebratory Homecoming: Live At The Village Vanguard.  Subsequent albums found Gordon, still in fighting shape and now receiving higher public visibility than ever before, turning out a series of acclaimed recordings that united him with younger associates including Bobby Hutcherson, Woody Shaw, and George Cables.

Gordon’s ultra hip manner and regal bearing made him a natural for films, and in 1986, he starred in Round Midnight in a role loosely based on both Bud Powell and Lester Young, ultimately garnering a deserving Academy Award nomination. (Gordon also appeared in the posthumously released Awakenings alongside Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams.)  He went out a “star, ” a role he had already embodied in the jazz world for some five decades.

Albums included:

  1. Homecoming: Live At The Village Vanguard [2 CDs] (1976)
  2. Sophisticated Giant (1977)
  3. Manhattan Symphonie (1978)
  4. Live At Carnegie Hall (1978)
  5. Gotham City (1980)
  6. Bonus Tracks ( a new compilation disc of bonus material)
Available here 

Edit : don't forget to check out the Official Dexter Gordon website with lots of additional information and interviews!