Little did I know that after finishing my junior year in college in 1967 when my parents gave me $1000 cash and a book called “Europe on Five Dollars A Day” that I would be going there countless times since. It was truly an adventure with tenor in hand, landing in
As anyone familiar with my schedule is aware of, I go to
WYNTON MARSALIS ON THE CASE
I have never had any direct contact with Marsalis but of course like anyone in the business have observed him for decades, being at times exasperated with some of his remarks, but admittedly also agreeing more than not with some of his points. Not withstanding some negative side affects that have resulted from Wynton’s utterances, I still have a lot of respect for HIS respect of jazz and the fact that he tirelessly serves as a great role model for young people everywhere, African Americans particularly with his educational activities. I came across an article that appeared in US Today earlier this year titled “Hot Corporations Know How to Swing.” In a question and answer format Wynton makes some great points about jazz, how a group resembles a finely tuned business and more. Some excerpts:
“When you listen to great jazz musicians, you hear the respect they have for each other’s abilities. During a performance most of the musician’s time is spent listening to others and making adjustment, improvising based on what someone else does.”
“…jazz music always stood as a fortress of integrity. The musician’s skills were so hard earned that they did not easily sell out. Once the musicians decided to be less—for notoriety, publicity or money—our art began to face challenges:dearth of leadership reducing human labor to a line item on a budget and so on.”
“In jazz, hierarchy is determined by your ability to play, not your position in the band. It is rooted in the elevation and enrichment of people. The reason that jazz is the most flexible art form on the planet is because it believes in the good taste of individuals…in the human power to create wonderful things….”
“Swing is …a world view.. a belief in the power of a collective ability to absorb mediocre and poor decisions. When a group of people working together trust that all are concerned for the common good, then they continue to be in sync no matter what happens. That is swing—it’s the feeling that our way is more important than my way.”
I recently came into possession of live recordings from
Sony Legacy records is releasing all the tracks that were recorded in the period 1970-75, including “On The Corner” “Get Up With It” and many unreleased studio recordings in a five CD boxed set this fall. As part of their promotion, they gathered bassist Michael Henderson (who traverses the entire period), guitarist Pete Cosey and me to speak about Miles. They somehow procured the garden in back of Miles’ former residence in
BBC RECORDING FOR COLTRANE ANNIVERSARY
July 17 will be the exact date of Coltrane’s passing forty years ago. In commemoration of that I was asked to organize a recording session for the BBC which we did in
BADAL ROY AND STEVE GORN
Talking about Miles, it was after all through the “On the Corner” sessions that I met tablaist Badal Roy who became part of my first group “Lookout Farm” in the mid 70’s. We have maintained our friendship over the years and I had the pleasure of joining his band which features bansurai master Steve Gorn and guitarist Kenny Wessel at an event sponsored by National Geographic Magazine (which I avidly subscribe to by the way) publicizing India. We had a great time and though I cannot say I am intimate with the incredible intricacies of Indian classical music, when a situation like this comes up with people basically “jamming” on the sound and feel of that style, it is a lot of fun—and for sure it sets a mood on an audience that is very powerful. Listening to Steve play the long bamboo bansurai flute is a thrill in itself.
A Dixieland rendition of Giant Steps, that is amazing:
August: 20th Anniversary of Lieb’s Saxophone/ Chromatic Master class at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, USA celebrating John Coltrane with a performance for multiple saxophonists doing the “Meditations Suite” joined by Evan Gregor on bass, Mike Stephans on drums and Phil Markowitz on piano; performance of “Sketches of Spain” at the Marciac (France) Festival with the Toulouse Conservatory Orchestra under the direction of Jean Charles Richard; workshop and premiere of chamber piece written for Lieb by Ronan Guilfoyle in Dublin, Ireland; Red Sea Festival in Eilat, Israel with Saxophone Summit doing Coltrane program; workshop and performance at trumpeter Paolo Fresu workshop in Nuoro, Sardinia.
September: Birdland in New York City with Dave Liebman Group featuring Mike Stern and Anthony Jackson doing music from “Back on the Corner” (Shrapnel Records); Festival in Delaware Water gap, PA with Bobby Avey, Matt Vashlishan, Evan Gregor, Mike Stephans and Lydia Liebman; Saxophone Summit with Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra doing “Meditations Suite” at Symphony Space, NYC on Coltrane’s Birthday.