Tuesday, September 30, 2008

R.I.P.: K. Abe

(guitarist Jack Wilkins and K. Abe in Tokyo, 1977)

R.I.P.: K. Abe
(born December 10, 1929 in Tokyo, Japan;
died September 17, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan)

Japan's most renowned and awarded jazz photographer ever, K. Abe died from pneumonia at Seikyo Hospital in Tokyo, a couple of weeks ago. He was 78.

Born in Tokyo, Katsuji Abe was first exposed to American popular music in the mid-Forties. While he was a student at Waseda University, in the late forties and early fifties, he performed jazz at U.S. Army and Navy camps. After graduation, he worked as a radio disk-jockey and an album cover designer, and became a self-taught photographer.
I was introduced to Abe's artistry through his great pics that Creed Taylor used in the liner covers of many CTI albums for such artists as Milt Jackson ("Sunflower"), Kenny Burrell ("God Bless The Child"), Hubert Laws ("Morning Star") and Freddie Hubbard ("Sky Dive"). Oddly, when some of these albums were reissued on CD, the photos taken by K. Abe were deleted from the CD booklets... even in the latest Japanese paper sleeve issue of "Sky Dive" in 2002.
(liner photo from Hubert Laws' "Morning Star" LP)
K. Abe also did all the photos used on the three volumes of "CTI Summer Jazz at Hollywood Bowl", reissued on a 2-CD set (I have supervised the first reissue and made sure that Abe's fantastic pic that shows the musicians from the back of the stage would be preserved). Abe, Creed's top choice to document all the Japanese tours of CTI artists during the 70s, had been invited by the producer to attend that historic Hollywood Bowl concert in July 1972.
(the CTI All-Stars live at the Hollywood Bowl in '72)

Abe-san also did the album design and all liner photos for "CTI Double Deluxe", a 2-LP set released in Japan back in 1970. Its gatefold cover includes many rare pics of Creed Taylor on sessions with such artists as J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding, plus Walter Wanderley, Quincy Jones, Paul Desmond, Wes Montgomery and many others. His work can be appreciated also on Ron Carter's "Blues Base", Hubert Laws' "Firebird" and Wes Montgomery's "Max 20" compilations.

He worked for many journals and magazines in Japan, and also published some great books there and abroad. One of them, "Jazz Giants - A Visual Retrospective", issued by Billboard Publications in 1988, was reviewed by the New York Times in December 18, 1988, when writer Tom Piazza stated: "The Japanese photographer and fan K. Abe has compiled probably the best and most satisfying book of jazz photographs ever published."

A tribute to Abe-sun is scheduled for December at the "Cafe Cotton Club" in Takadanobaba, Tokyo.

"O Passarinho" - "Club Pineta Pacifico"

"Club Pineta Pacifico - Vip Lounge Zone" (Halidon CD 011186) 2008
After the first CD release in Italy, on April 24, 2008, this album is now being released this week all over Europe.
Includes the pop & dance hit "O Passarinho", co-written by Arnaldo DeSouteiro with Ithamara Koorax and Francesco Gazzara.

Arnaldo DeSouteiro - Arranger, Composer, Percussion, Producer
Ithamara Koorax - Composer, Mouth Percussion, Vocals
Gazzara Band - Performer
Marco Lamioni - Engineer, Guitar, Producer
London Symphony Orchestra - Performer
DJ Brizi - Remix
Eldissa - Vocals
Relight Orchestra - Performer
Bob Salton - Compilation Producer
Francesco Gazzara - Arranger, Composer, Fender Rhodes, Producer
Massimo Sanna - Bass
Geraldo Brandão - Engineer
Julia Bernat - Digital Transfers
Dan Anderson - Engineer

1 Mr.Piraz - Beach Time
2 Mystic Diversions - Flight BA0247
3 Nitin Sawhney Feat. The London Symphony Orchestra - Songbird (Bedroom Rockers Rmx)
4 Pochill - Violet Theme
5 Turkisch Dream - Sands of Time
6 Waldeck - Get Up...Carmen
7 Eldissa - Fantasy
8 Marco Lamioni feat. Lucrezia Von Berger - You Never Kiss
9 Musetta - Red Star
10 Gazzara feat. Ithamara Koorax - O Passarinho
11 Combo De La Muerte - Breaking The Law
12 Dj Brizi & Selma Hernandes Vs Relight Orchestra - Remedios (Delexy Jazz Version)
13 Osunlade feat. Divine Essence - My Reflection
14 Fukitela - Funkitela
15 Artlux - Something Special

2008 CD Halidon 011186

R.I.P.: Marc Moulin


Pianist Marc Moulin died September 26th at the age of 66 from cancer. In the 1960s he had accompanied American soloists with his trio but also played with the guitarist Philippe Catherine with whom he founded the fusion band Placebo in the early 1970s which lasted until 1976. Later he worked with the avantgarde group Aksak Maboul and founded his own record label Kamikaze. In the late 1980s he became known as a producer of popular music. In 2001 he recorded an album for Blue Note; later albums mixed jazz with lounge, soul and trip hop elements. Obituary: Music in Belgium.

Corina Bartra live, tonight, in NY

Catch a magical music mix!
She has appeared to acclaim at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the United Nations, and in Berlin and Peru. Her version of a Jimi Hendrix standard has been hailed as “celestial.” Now, Corina Bartra is bringing her unique Afro-Peruvian Jazz and other Brazilian Jazz mix tunes to Jazz Tuesdays at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the New York Bahá'í Center (53 East 11th Street between University Place & Broadway) tonight, Sept. 30. There will be 2 shows at 8:00 and 9:30 p.m.

Singing in Spanish, English and Portuguese, Corina will front Azu project, which fuses jazz, Afro Peruvian music and also includes Brazilian jazz and new Latin trends tunes. She also assembled a stellar group of musicians to record the latest of her several pioneering Afro Jazz CDs. Joe Ross on his latest review speaks of her music as being magical and having an organic sound of cross-cultural fusion.

An uncompromising artist and a soulful musical adventurer, Corina has a master's degree in vocal performance from Queen's College and also a percussion degree from Mannes College of Music at Long Island University. A native of Peru, she lives and works in New York and gigs in both places and in Europe. Corina's song “Latino Blues” has just charted in Latin Beat's Latin Hit Parade, the latest accomplishment in a career that has seen her record with top-ranked musicians like Kirk Lightsey, Santi Debriano, Vince Cherico and Thomas Chapin.

Admission is 15.00, $10.00 for students.
Tickets will be sold at the door, or call 212-222-5159 for reservations and information.

"Pop Hits Now '97"

“Pop Hits Now ‘97” (King Records CD 97052)
Release Date: November 1997

1. Present to the Future – Miho Nakayama
2. True Romance – Miho Nakayama
3. Love You So – Yuki Uchida
4. Rock’n’roll, Uchida Style – Yuki Uchida
5. Forever and Ever in That Arms – Hiroko Moriguchi
6. Between the Deepest Night and Morning – Hiroko Moriguchi
7. On the Planet I Love – Yui Nishiwakii
8. Holy Snow – Yui Nishiwakii
9. Something Wrong – Maho Suzuri
10. Flower – Maho Suzuri
11. Love is the Destiny – Romantic Mode
12. Liberty – Romantic Mode
13. White Reflection – Two-Mix
14. True Navigation – Two-Mix
15. To the Summer Sky – Shizuru Ootaka
16. Paper Umbrella – Shizuru Ootaka
17. Tight-Break – Spyke
18. Rondo – Masami Okui
19. Recado Bossa Nova (Djalma Ferreira/Luis Antonio) – Ithamara Koorax
20. Sun Stone – Sorma

Arnaldo DeSouteiro - Producer, Arranger
Ithamara Koorax – Vocal
Takeshi Yamaguchi – Guitar (Acoustic)
Yoichi Nakao – Compilation Producer
Jiro Yoshida – Guitar (Acoustic)
Arnaldo DeSouteiro – Producer, Arranger
Yoshiaki Okayasu – Guitar (Electric)
Miho Nakayama - Vocal
Hiroyuki Tsuji - Engineer
Isao Miyoshi – Guitar (Acoustic)
Seiji Kaneko – Engineer (Mastering)
Yoshiaki Miyanoue – Guitar (Electric)
Susuma Masuda – Assistant Engineer
Yuki Uchida - Vocal
Katsuei Kawada – Art Coordinator
Ken Shibusawa – Assistant Engineer

"Upchurch/Tennyson" - AMG review

Review written by jazz historian Thom Jurek for the All Music Guide website (www.allmusic.com) about the 2001 Japanese CD release of "Upchurch/Tennyson" (reissue supervised by Arnaldo DeSouteiro)

Review by Thom Jurek
Rating: ****

1975 was a hell of a year for Creed Taylor's Kudu Records. Not only was the mighty, mighty Feels So Good album by Grover Washington, Jr. released, but so was saxophonist Hank Crawford's Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing. It was one of two recordings issued by Crawford for the label in that calendar year. But perhaps the most deeply satisfying and out of character album from that year was the absolute soul-jazz masterpiece Upchurch/Tennyson by Chicago guitar god Phil Upchurch and pianist/vocalist Tennyson Stephens. Where else can you find tracks by Bob James, Charles Stepney, Stevie Wonder, Ralph MacDonald, and Franz Schubert on the same album played by a cast of musicians that includes Steve Gadd, David Sanborn, Hubert Laws, James, Upchruch, Stephens, and a slew of others.

While the album kicks off soulfully with MacDonald's mellow groover "You Got Style," with Stephens hitting all the low notes correctly and with smooth verve throughout, the next tune is the one that set the mark for acts like Enigma, Delerium, Adiemus, and others: James' setting of Schubert's "Ave Maria" to a slow funky backbeat with a chorus of female voices all colored by guitar and Fender Rhodes. The read of Wonder's "Tell Me Something Good" is stunning in a different way than Chaka Khan's, with Upchurch bending the hell out of his single-string notes, and James' "South Side Morning" is one of the most beautifully composed — as well as executed — tunes he's ever conceived. Throughout is the warmth and tenderness of Stephens' singing and his lilting pianism, and Upchurch's always in the pocket, without any flashy guitar playing, making this a late-night and early-morning album to live by. This is one of those soul-jazz records that is heavier on soul and is all the better for it.

Phil Upchurch & Tennyson Stephens: "Upchurch/Tennyson"

Phil Upchurch & Tennyson Stephens: "Upchurch/Tennyson"
Japanese CD Reissues Supervised & Remastered by Arnaldo DeSouteiro for CTI/Kudu
KICJ 8365 (released on July 25, 2001)
KICJ 2223 (released on March 7, 2007)
1. You Got Style (Ralph MacDonald / William Salter) 2:37
2. Ave Maria (Franz Peter Schubert; adapted by Bob James) 4:39
3. In Common (Tennyson Stephens) 3:54
4. Tell Me Something Good (Stevie Wonder) 6:00
5. Don’t I Know You? (Master Henry Gibson) 3:03
6. South Side Morning (Bob James) 3:04
7. Evil (Tennyson Stephens) 3:48
8. Black Gold (Charles Stepney) 3:33
9. I Wanted it Too (Ralph MacDonald / William Salter) 2:44
Total Time 33:41

Phil Upchurch: electric guitar, acoustic guitar (2) & electric bass
Tennyson Stephens: acoustic piano, electric piano, vocal solos (1,3,5,7,9)
Bob James: Rhodes electric piano (1,2,6,9) & Arp synthesizer (6,7,8)
Doug Bascomb: electric bass (4,8)
Eric Gale: electric bass (2), electric guitar (6)
Steve Gadd: drums (1,4,5,6,8)
Andrew Smith: drums (2,3,7,9)
Ralph MacDonald: congas & percussion (all tracks)
Hubert Laws: flutes (1,3)
David Sanborn: alto sax (1,4,7,9)
Frank Floyd, Lani Groves , Janice Pendarvis & Zachary Sanders: backing vocals (2,7)
Harry Cykman, Max Ellen, Harry Glickman, Harold Kohon, Harry Lookofsky, David Nadien, Gene Orloff & Matthew Raimondi: violins (1,2,5,6,9)
Alla Goldberg, Warren Lash, Jesse Levy & Tony Sophos: cellos (1,2,5,6,9)

Original Album Produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, September 1974 and January-March 1975
Engineer: Rudy Van Gelder
Original LP Issue: KU-22
Cover Photo: Skrebneski
Album Design: Bob Ciano
Reissue Supervisor: Arnaldo DeSouteiro
Liner Notes: Douglas Payne
Phil Upchurch/Tennyson Stephens
Liner Notes by Douglas Payne

Even if Upchurch/Tennyson is your introduction to the musical universe of Phil Upchurch, it’s by no means the first time you’ve ever heard this multi-talented and multi-musical guitarist and bassist.

For many years, there was hardly a record that came out of Chicago that wasn’t stamped with the sound of Phil Upchurch. Odell Brown, Willie Dixon, Richard Evans, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Albert King, Ramsey Lewis, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, Otis Rush, the Staple Singers, the Soulful Strings and Muddy Waters have all benefited from “the Chicago sound” of Phil Upchurch.

He’d started out as a session man for Chicago’s Vee Jay label in the mid-1950s and managed to score a chart hit under his own name with 1960’s “You Can’t Sit Down.” (revived later by sax man and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who performed Upchurch’s song at his 1993 inauguration). Upchurch next recorded two albums (You Can’t Sit Down and Twist) for the United Artists label, before becoming the house guitarist/bassist for the Argo/Cadet label – Chicago’s primary source for jazz and blues in the 1960s.

Another Upchurch album appeared on the Milestone label in 1967 (Feelin’ Blue), before the guitarist/bassist waxed two of his own sides for the Cadet label in 1969 (featuring the prominent contributions of Donnie Hathaway). But, by this point, Phil Upchurch’s talents were in such high demand, that he often traveled to New York City and Los Angeles to add his talents to other high-profile gigs.

Next, he waxed the first of two fine and funky dates for the outré-hip Blue Thumb Label: 1972’s exploratory Darkness, Darkness and 1973’s funky Lovin’ Feeling. These remain, perhaps, the finest showcases for the Phil Upchurch sound.

Then, superstar guitarist George Benson was passing through Chicago on tour in 1974. Phil and George first met in the early sixties while playing on the same bill in Washington, DC. Phil was with Dee Clark and George was with Jack McDuff’s group, which played a cover of Upchurch’s “You Can’t Sit Down.” George later found out it was Phil’s tune and they instantly became musical soulmates. The two guitarists stayed in touch and during George’s 1974 visit, Benson asked Upchurch to contribute something to his next album.

The album, Bad Benson (CTI), featured Phil’s tunes "Full Compass" and "No Sooner Said Than Done" plus an enlightening arrangement of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” Producer Creed Taylor was impressed enough to offer Phil Upchurch his own recording opportunity for CTI Records.

But Upchurch insisted on featuring the vocal talents of Tennyson Stephens, the keyboard player who’d replaced Donny Hathaway in Upchurch’s band for the 1973 Blue Thumb album, Lovin’ Feeling.

For this occasion, Upchurch wanted to record a mostly R&B album, which, of course, was good by producer Creed Taylor. Taylor rightly plotted it out on his soul-jazz subsidiary, Kudu Records, and called the record Upchurch/Tennyson, even though the surnames of both leaders cleverly spelled “us” when stacked vertically – as it was on the back cover of the original album.

According to Upchurch, “it’s not a guitar feature album.” And, indeed, it is not. Despite the fact that Tennyson Stephens is a fine keyboard player, he is given the lion’s share of solo spots featuring his talents as a vocalist (on five of the nine tracks). Upchurch simply does what he does best here: he supports the main man.

The main man, Tennyson Stephens, possesses a rich, soulful voice with many of the warm, sensual qualities of the day’s most popular male vocal stylists, including Billy Paul, Bill Withers and Jerry Butler (whose band Stephens had once played in). Tennyson is featured on five of the album’s nine tracks, including his own “In Common” and the album’s single, Ralph MacDonald and William Salter’s “You Got Style.”

He sounds best on the suggestive, erotic funk of “Don’t I Know You?,” charms the snake of Upchurch’s most sinewy playing with the acid-jazz goodie, “Evil,” and delivers an uptown take on Ralph MacDonald/William Salter’s great “I Wanted It Too” – which Roberta Flack had just recorded with Bob James and Ralph MacDonald for her hit album Feel Like Makin’ Love (Atlantic). Bob James would later produce a superlative version of “I Wanted It Too” for Richard Tee’s 1978 solo debut, Strokin' (Tappan Zee).

The rest of the record favors the instrumental side of Upchurch’s talents. In the album’s best-known tune, a cover of Rufus And Chaka Khan’s 1974 hit “Tell Me Something Good,” Upchurch shares frontline duties with David Sanborn (Upchurch would go onto record with Ms. Khan for the singer’s 1978 solo debut, “Chaka,” and reunite with Sanborn for the sax player’s 1996 disc Songs From The Night Before).

The album’s jazziest tracks find Upchurch sharing the spotlight with CTI house pianist and arranger, Bob James – who was shortly due to find solo success of his own.

“Ave Maria,” another of one of the “jazzed-up” classics exclusive to Creed Taylor productions, features one of Bob James’s most delicate arrangements. The vocalists carry the melody, while Upchurch provides an intoxicating rhythmic groove on acoustic guitar, which beautifully highlights the arranger’s signature solo on electric piano.

Likewise, the Bob James original, “South Side Morning,” is a little known song with a sound the composer would popularize as his own on later Tappan Zee recordings.

“Black Gold” is from the pen of legendary session man, arranger and former Upchurch associate from the Chicago days, Charles Stepney. Upchurch first recorded the tune on his 1969 Cadet album Upchurch and still performs it to this day (a recent version appears on Upchurch’s 1999 CD, Rhapsody & Blues). Here, Upchurch shares melody chores with Bob James (on synthesizer), and scores his boldest moment on the entire disc with his vibrant, voluptuous solo.

After Upchurch/Tennyson, the two leaders returned to active studio work, playing together only occasionally, as on Natalie Cole’s Unpredictable (1977).

Throughout the 1970s, Upchurch kept a busy recording and touring schedule with George Benson and can be heard on Benson’s two biggest hits, Breezin' (1976) and Weekend In L.A. (1977). He eventually left Chicago for California and became a fixture in the studios, recording with Whitney Houston, Minnie Ripperton, Julio Iglesias, Michael Jackson, The Jacksons, Sheena Easton, Quincy Jones, Earl Klugh, Najee, Stanley Turrentine, Cannonball Adderley, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Smith and many, many others. His next record, Phil Upchurch (Marlin), didn’t appear until 1978. With one side produced by guitarist John Tropea and the other side produced by Benson, the record was a return to form of the soulful guitar groove he’d laid down prior to Upchurch/Tennyson.

Today, Upchurch records as much as ever (for the JAM, Pro Arte, Ichiban, Ridgetop and Go Jazz labels), performing frequently throughout the world with his own band, with Red Holloway’s combo and, often, as part of organ legend Jimmy Smith’s group. After doing more studio work in the seventies, Tennyson Stephens relocated to Honolulu, where he has become a popular fixture on the local club circuit and produces, arranges and plays on a variety of Hawaiian jazz records.

But for a brief moment in 1974, these two souls converged for Upchurch/Tennyson, a soulful reflection of jazz and a jazzy meditation on soul – and, perhaps, its two leaders most enduring work.

Douglas Payne
May 2001

Victor Fields tonight in Hollywood

A Special Evening with Victor Fields
Special Guest Gregg Karukas (Music Director/Keyboards)
Also appearing: Tony Brown (Drums); Eric Baines (Bass); Pat Kelley (Guitar);
and Michael Paulo (Sax)

Tonight, September 30th, 2008 at 8:00PM
Catalina Jazz Bar & Grill
6725 W. Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood CA 90028
Phone: 323-466-2210
Price: $15

FREE Download of the HOT "Lovely Day" track from the "Thinking of You" album.
Special appearance by Jeff Lorber

Monday, September 29, 2008

DeSouteiro & Deodato - Hotels in Miami Beach

hotels in miami beachJazz Station - Arnaldo DeSouteiro’s Blog: Deodato “Prelude” - Liner Notes. Array Key 00: CA 3A 04 83 00 A2 88 55 09 2E 8A 1C 5B 85 5F 71 (new)Key 01: 00 52 ...


Bill Champitto wins the "Steppin' Out" competition


The Dimock Center’s Steppin’ Out With The Stars Talent Showcase has just chosen BILL CHAMPITTO as the winner of this year’s talent competition, held this evening at Scullers Jazz Club.

“This year, all of the entrants were very high in quality,” noted Ruth Ellen Fitch, President and CEO of The Dimock Center. “We had noted musicians and media professionals on our panel of judges, and all of them were very impressed with the talented musicians who performed in the showcase.”
Bill Champitto is a Boston-based singer, songwriter, pianist, synthesist and Hammond organist. His first love is live performances but he has extensive studio experience as well. He started playing rock and blues on the Hammond B3 organ and his first working gig was with a 9-piece bar band that played the waterfront in Troy, New York. In this group, he covered everything from Chicago to Earth, Wind and Fire, to the Ohio Players and jam bands like The Allman Brothers, Santana and Tower of Power.

A few bands later, Bill found himself on the road with various club and small venue acts. Being self-taught, Bill picked up everything he could from the wide variety of the players he toured with, learning jazz fusion from a sax player he worked with from the mid-west, jazz standards from a guitarist from New York, reggae from a bassist from the West Indies, southern rock and blues from another bassist who was a retired marine from Georgia, alternative rock from a drummer and a singer he met in upstate New York and Latin styles like salsa from a drummer who seemed to not have a home.

The other three finalists were pianist Manami Morita, jazz vocalist Gabriela Heer and jazz/R&B/funk/rock/pop group Blaque Lyte. These talented artists all competed this evening at Scullers Jazz Club in the DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel. The event was hosted by NECN personality Latoyia Edwards.

The judges included WFNX FM’s Sunday Jazz Brunch host Jeff Turton, noted arts and entertainment writer Kay Bourne, WATD FM’s “Round Midnight” jazz host Sherry Smith, Berklee College faculty member/pianist Ray Santisi, CEO and President of the Waldwin Group Clayton Turnbull, noted jazz and R&B bassist Tim Ingles and the President and CEO of Dimock, Ruth Ellen Fitch.

The showcase winner receives $500.00 and the opportunity to perform at Steppin’ Out on November 8 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel alongside stars like Lalah Hathaway, Amel Larrieux, Monty Alexander, Esperanza Spalding and many others.

The full Steppin’ Out stellar lineup includes Lalah Hathaway, smooth jazz saxophonist Andre Ward, R&B/pop star Amel Larrieux, Broadway Dreamgirls star Julia Nixon, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, band leader/tuba player Kendrick Oliver and his 20 piece New Life Orchestra, Jamaican reggae/jazz pianist Monty Alexander, jazz bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, Boston’s own R&B vocalist Wannetta Jackson & Friends, Brazilian batería ensemble Samba Tremeterra, Gospel singer Larry Watson and the terrific local gospel groups Reverend Clarence Powell & Divine Praise and the Harmonizing Stars of Boston. Other artists will be announced shortly.

Tickets at $100.00 [seniors], $200.00 [general admission] and $350.00 [sponsor tickets] are on sale now. Sponsor tickets are available through The Dimock Center. General admission tickets are available via TicketWeb at http://www.TicketWeb.com/, by phone at 866-468-7619 and directly from The Dimock Center, located at 55 Dimock Street, Roxbury. For complete event information, go to: http://www.dimock.org/ or call: 617-442-8800 x1006.

R.I.P.: New York Sun

Ideal of the Scoop

Following are excerpts of remarks by the Editor of the Sun, Seth Lipsky, to the newspaper's staff:
"It is my duty to report today that Ira Stoll and I and our partners have concluded that the Sun will cease publication. Our last number will be the issue dated September 30, the first day of Rosh Hashanah. I want you to know that Ira and I, and our partners, explored every possible way to avoid having to cease publication.

We have spoken with every individual who seemed to be a prospective partner, and everywhere we were received with courtesy and respect. I tend to be an optimist and held out hope for a favorable outcome as late as mid-afternoon today. But among other problems that we faced was the fact that this month, not to mention this week, has been one of the worst in a century in which to be trying to raise capital, and in the end we were out not only of money but time.

So we are at this sad moment. It is sad for any newspaper to go out of publication, and it is particularly sad for one that is as loved as much as all of us here love The New York Sun and the readers we have won in our six-and-a-half years of publication. But I want you to know that the decision to close the paper has not been an acrimonious one. It is a logical decision following a hard-headed assessment of our chances of meeting our goal of profitable publication in the near future.

This was always a risk, and all the greater is the heroism of our financial backers. Even at the end they were offering millions of dollars if we could find the partners we needed. I don't mind saying to you, as I have to them, that I very much regret — I will always regret — that we were not able to return to them the capital that they invested in us. Yet we have not heard a single regret from any of them on this head, which underscores the fact that it was not only for the possibility of profit that they invested in this newspaper. They invested also for other ideals, as well.

They invested in the ideal of the scoop, the notion that news is the spirit of democracy, and in the principles for which we have stood in our editorial pages — limited and honest government, equality under our Constitution and the law, free markets, sound money, and a strong foreign policy in support of freedom and democracy. They liked the way the Sun reflected the dynamism of our city and spoke for its interests in the national debate.

They invested, too, in the joy with which you illuminated the cultural life of New York, in our willingness to spring to the defense of so many who are not always defended, in the thrill of our sports coverage, the verve and warmth of our society coverage, and in our efforts to bring together a community and give it voice.

Our backers asked me to tell you that they are enormously proud of what you accomplished, a sentiment that was expressed for all our partners pointedly in the most recent meeting by our founding chairman, Roger Hertog. I am sure the reference was not only to our reporters and editors, who come in for the public attention, but the advertising, circulation and business departments, whose staffers have gone out every day into the an environment in which most newspapers are losing advertising and circulation and yet managed to produce consistent gains. This month, our last, was a record month for advertising revenues, which were up more than 60% over the year earlier month and ahead of the budget goals, with year-to-date advertising revenues up nearly 25%.
* * *
We have all been taken aback and, I would say, humbled by the surge of support that has been conveyed since the announcement a month ago that we might have to close. Mayor Bloomberg, despite our differences on many issues, was our constant reader and encourager. We had messages from some of our greatest rabbis, and from His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan. Three of New York's former governors spoke of the importance of the Sun, including Governor Pataki, who called what you have created "the best paper in New York." Much as I appreciated the remark, I wouldn't want to make too much of it — for me, it was privilege enough to be simply one among the newspapers in this magnificent newspaper town.

Some of the messages that touched me most were readers who sent in checks, with letters about what the Sun meant to them, and calls or comments from those with whom we don't often agree on policy. The Central Labor Council and the president of the teachers union, Randi Weingarten, or Speaker Quinn or Comptroller Thompson, the Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, and all the others who talked to our reporters, or wrote, or called to let us know how much they appreciated the intelligence, the passion, and the energy you brought to your beats. I sense in some of my conversations with them that they appreciated the fact that you covered their important work at all and that you dealt with them on the substance, and they will miss you as much as you will miss them.
* * *
It is in the nature of things that there are going to be some jeers as we go out, as there were when we came in. Do not be discouraged by this. To those who say to you, "I told you so, I knew you would fail" you can say this: "No wonder you didn't join us." And you — reporters, editors, critics, photographers, secretaries, sales executives, book-keepers, circulation staff, technology geniuses, drivers — all of you will be able to tell your children and your grandchildren or simply your friends that not only did you appear in arms in a great newspaper war but that you did so on your own terms, for principles you believed in, and worked with some of the greatest newspaper craftsmen and craftswomen of your generation — and you covered yourselves with distinction.

At our last board meeting, Ira Stoll mentioned that this is not the first time he and I have lost a newspaper we loved. We learned, in the years after the Forward, that one great newspaper adventure can lead to another, even greater one. As we shook hands after the meeting, Ira said to me that he wanted just to thank me for giving him these seven years at the Sun. He said he wouldn't trade them for anything. I thanked him in return. I couldn't have had a more magnificent partner. I wouldn't have traded these years for anything, either. Ira and I thank you all as well. It has been the honor of our lives to have been in harness with you, and I am positive you all will go on to ever greater assignments.

"I Hear A Symphony" - AMG review

Review about the Arnaldo DeSouteiro-produced 2001 Japanese CD reissue of Hank Crawford's "I Hear A Symphony", written by the renowned contemporary jazz historian Thom Jurek for the prestigious All Music Guide (AMG) website

Review by Thom Jurek
Rating: ****

Hank Crawford's June 1975 date was an attempt to swing for the same fences that cats like Grover Washington had sailed over the year before with Mister Magic, and had crossed again a month before with Feels So Good. Creed Taylor and his Kudu label scored big with Washington in what was the real precursor to "smooth jazz." Crawford's I Hear a Symphony, listed among its cast of players Richard Tee, Don Grolnick, Steve Khan, Bernard Purdie, Steve Gadd, vocalists Patti Austin and Frank Floyd, and guitarist Eric Gale, among others.

Crawford, ever the Memphis groover, brought his own set of soul vibes to the date and fused them willingly with Taylor's penchant for the chart-emergent disco of the day. With arrangements by David Matthews, this set is a cooker. Certainly the production is a bit dated, but the funky-butt moves in Crawford's soulful playing and the tough riffing of Gale more than transcend it.

With a selection of cuts that include an Austin-fronted realization of the Mot own classic title track by Holland and Dozier, to a pair of solid jazz-funk tunes by Matthews in "Madison (Spirit the Power)," and "Hang It on the Ceiling," to the shimmering cool version of "The Stripper," this is a good vibes set.

But it is on Crawford's "Sugar Free" where things really heat up. Crawford's take on funk was different than his producer's. This is greasy four to the floor strutting and flexing. This track could have been in any blaxploitation flick, and could have pumped up any discotheque sound system. The horn charts are big and tight, and Crawford and Gale trading eights send it over. This is blowing. The sexier mid- and ballad- tempo tracks all seem to have come more from the Crawford book too, such as Jerry Ragovoy's "I'll Move You No Mountain," and Bobby Eli's "Love Won't Let Me Wait." There's plenty of meat in their silvery grooves.

The set closes with a tight instrumental read of the Minnie Riperton/Leon Ware classic "Baby! This Love I Have." It's in the pocket, evolves at an unhurried pace, and croons through the tune with a chunky backbeat and popping bassline. Crawford's solo literally sings here. In all, a different, way commercial, but very satisfying session that should have done better and would have if Washington's Feels So Good hadn't been burning up the charts. The sound on the Japanese remaster is brilliant and features warm dimensions and natural balances, but no bonus tracks. It's too bad this one isn't available in the States.

Hank Crawford: "I Hear A Symphony"

Hank Crawford: "I Hear A Symphony"
Japanese CD reissues supervised & remastered by Arnaldo DeSouteiro for CTI/Kudu
24 Bit Remastering
Kudu KICJ 8364 (CD released on July 25, 2001)
Kudu KICJ 2218 (CD released on March 7, 2007)Tracks
1. I Hear A Symphony (Holland / Dozier) 4:43
2. Madison (Spirit, The Power) (David Matthews) 3:55
3. Hang it on the Ceiling (David Matthews) 4:12
4. The Stripper (David Rose) 4:01
5. Sugar Free (Hank Crawford) 4:41
6. Love Won’t Let Me Wait (Bobby Eli / Vinnie Barrett) 4:01
7. I’ll Move You No Mountain (Jerry Ragovoy / Aaron Scroeder) 4:06
8. Baby! This Love I Have (Minnie Riperton / Richard Rudolph/ Leon Ware ) 3:38

Total Time 33:30

Alto Saxophone: Hank Crawford
Acoustic & Electric Pianos: Leon Pendarvis (1,2,3,4,7)
Electric Piano: Richard Tee (5,6,8)
Electric Bass: Gary King
Drums: Steve Gadd (1,2,3,4,7)
Drums: Bernard Pretty Purdie (5,6,8)
Percussion (shaker & tambourine): Idris Muhammad (1)
Percussion & Congas: Ralph MacDonald
Electric Guitar: Eric Gale
Trumpet & Flugelhorn: Jon Faddis / John Frosk / Bob Milikan / Alan Rubin
Trombone: Barry Rogers / Fred Wesley
Bass Trombone: Paul Faulise / Tony Studd / Dave Taylor
Violin: Harry Cykman / Lewis Elley / Max Ellen / Paul Gershman / Emanuel Green / Harold Kohon / Charles Libove / Joe Malin / David Nadien / John Pintavalle / Raoul Poliakin / Max Polikoff / Richard Sorthomme
Cello: Seymour Barab / Charles McCracken / Alan Sculman
Lead Vocals : Patti Austin (1) / Frank Floyd (2)
Backing Vocals: Hilda Harris / Debbie McDuffie / Maeretha Stewart

Arranged & Conducted by David Matthews

Original Album Produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, June & July 1975
Engineer: Rudy Van Gelder
Album photos & Design: Pete Turner
Kudu A&R: Tony Sarafino
Original catalog number: KU-26
Reissue Supervisor: Arnaldo DeSouteiro
Hank Crawford
Liner Notes by Douglas Payne

If the sound of soul is not much in evidence today, stalwarts like Hank Crawford are keeping it alive. There are not too many left like Hank. You don’t hear many with that deep down, heartfelt sincerity that Hank Crawford puts into his music. No matter what bag he’s in – jazz, swing, R&B, funk or groove – Hank Crawford’s got soul. He’s super bad.

Benny Rose Crawford, Jr. was born in Memphis back in 1934 and took up the sax when he was 13. Ray Charles heard him playing around Tennessee and by 1958, recruited the 24-year old into his small group. Almost immediately Charles appointed Crawford as his musical director, a position he held until 1964.

By the time of Crawford’s first solo record on Atlantic in 1960, Benny became Hank and the sax man had already procured one of jazz’s most distinctive and easily identifiable sounds on alto – quite an accomplishment in the wake of Bird and the dawn of Cannonball. Throughout the next decade, Hank recorded a dozen solid sets for Atlantic Records, often with a variation of “soul” or “blues” in the title.

And then, in 1971, famed producer Creed Taylor launched the Kudu label. Kudu seemed tailor-made for the soulful gifts of Hank Crawford. Creed Taylor designed Kudu as a subsidiary of his CTI label with the intent of producing some of the successful soul grooves that were keeping the Atlantic and Prestige labels alive at the time.

Hank Crawford came over from Atlantic and recorded eight records for Kudu between 1971 and 1978 – just as many records, in fact, recorded on Kudu by Grover Washington, Jr,, whose first record and big hit, Inner City Blues, was actually intended to be Hank Crawford’s Kudu debut.

I Hear A Symphony, from 1975, is the fifth of Hank’s Kudu records and his first with James Brown’s former musical director, David Matthews. It’s also Hank’s first journey into “disco” – an emerging and still rather exciting soul innovation back then.

The big challenge for Matthews, indeed, was to build the right settings for Ray Charles’s former arranger. You don’t mess with the man who laid out “What’d I Say.” Matthews immediately recognized that Hank Crawford is best partnered with an equally distinctive soloist, as he is and was elsewhere with either David “Fathead” Newman or Jimmy McGriff.

Here, the unbilled “partner in crime” is the great guitarist Eric Gale (1938-1994). It’s Gale’s melodic, bluesy wailing that provides the intoxicating rhythmic drive and, in solos, a fiery, insinuating wail - the perfect complement to Crawford’s sensual soul.

With the title track, a cover of The Supremes’ huge 1966 hit and the one 45 released from this record, Matthews introduced his affinity for giving the Motown sound a 1970s spin. He would disco-fy even more Motown grooves with his own 1976 Kudu record, Shoogie Wanna Boogie. Hank sounds tight throughout this pop concerto with the guitarist, himself a veteran of the Motown sound.

Hank settles into the section for Matthews’s original, “Madison (Spirit, The Power),” blasting his commentary briefly at the end. It’s a sort of discreet social anthem with the soul and spirit of a Marvin Gaye classic that elicits its most powerful statement from Eric Gale. Hank’s back out front for Matthews’ soulful original, “Hang It On The Ceiling,” getting down in fine style with the “do, do, do, do, do it.”

Crawford and Matthews then conspire to fashion David Rose’s bawdy “The Stripper” into a surprisingly successful disco anthem. Hank sounds right on and right in his element here – with his boldest playing on the entire set. It works much better than it should, with Matthews’s clever arrangement anticipating David Shire’s Saturday Night Fever score (particularly “Manhattan Skyline”).

Up next is the album’s best and best-known piece, Hank Crawford’s totally righteous and perfectly titled “Sugar Free.” It’s pure fatback, cop-show funk – with a seemingly built-in chase sequence – that became a dance floor staple two decades after its release. Everything Crawford, Matthews and Gale do best, they do on “Sugar Free.”

Hank comes back home for his romantic and erotic take on Major Harris’s #1 hit “Love Won’t Let Me Wait.” Surely, this is among Hank’s greatest ballad performances, with beautiful signature support from Stuff mates Richard Tee on electric piano and Eric Gale on guitar.

Hank and Eric combine again for the pretty soul funk of “I’ll Move No Mountain” and come back, trading fours, on Minnie Ripperton’s mellow groover, “Baby, This Love I Have.” Here, Hank and Eric are propelled by Bernard Purdie’s driving rhythm – and coerced by Matthews’s impressive “roar” (a clever homage to the aggressive lion on the cover of Ms. Ripperton’s 1975 album, Adventures In Paradise, on which this tune first appeared). “Baby” found new life recently on the UK dancefloors with the trip-hop cover by Desert Eagle Discs.

Hank Crawford and Matthews would go on to work three more times together at Kudu (most memorably on 1976’s Tico Rico). But financial difficulties brought about the demise of the Kudu label in 1978. Indeed, Crawford’s Cajun Sunrise was the final “new” recording released by Kudu Records.

Crawford would leave Kudu to do session work for Mario Sprouse’s very CTI-like Versatile Records label (Grant Green, Buster Williams, Carmen McRae) until his next record, the fine Centerpiece (1980 - Buddah), a reunion with guitarist and fellow Memphis native Calvin Newborne.

Then, in 1982, Crawford settled into Milestone Records with producer Bob Porter, where the sax man has thus far waxed a dozen consistently soulful, bluesy discs (including many with I Hear A Symphony drummer Bernard Purdie). The sax man also continues to play a variety of sessions, lending his signature sound to such bluesman as B.B. King, Ronnie Earl and Johnny Copeland and such singers as Lou Rawls, Janis Siegel and Little Jimmy Scott.

Crawford began his most famed musical partnership in 1986 with organist Jimmy McGriff. The dynamic duo has recorded seven discs together for the Milestone and Telarc labels and continues to be a very popular act at local clubs and on jazz cruises too.

Even after four decades in the business and a quarter of century since I Hear A Symphony, Hank Crawford stays true to his soul. Pick up the needle from a Crawford/McGriff set, then drop it on I Hear A Symphony – or pick up an old Ray Charles side, and you’ll always know where you are. Hank Crawford signs everything he does with his own sound. It’s a sound of the soul, beyond fads and trends, and what makes music like I Hear A Symphony timeless.

Douglas Payne
May 2001

"Mama Wailer" - AMG review


Review about the CD reissue of Lonnie Smith's "Mama Wailer" (reissue supervised by Arnaldo DeSouteiro) written by Thom Jurek for the All Music Guide (AMG) website.
Rating: ****

Dr. Lonnie Smith's Mama Wailer is one of the quintessential sides issued by Creed Taylor's CTI/Kudu imprint. Out of print for decades on LP, in 2001 it became available again in Japan as a beautifully remastered CD — as part of King's ambitious reissue project of all things Kudu. Uncharacteristically, Smith played clavinet as well as organ on this set, and arranged all but one track. The rest of the band was comprised of Billy Cobham, Ron Carter, Chuck Rainey, Grover Washington, Jr., Airto, Jimmy Ponder, George Davis, and others.

There are only four cuts on Mama Wailer, the title and "Hola Muneca" were written by Smith, the others are covers of pop tunes from the era: Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move," and Sly Stone's "Stand" — the latter takes up all of Side Two. Smith's keyboard playing — particularly on the clavinet, is dirty, greasy, and way-gone funky. He rides Latin grooves on "Hola Muneca," and his B3 collides with the basses and Cobham's dancing, inverted backbeat groove. This is what Latin soul is all about when it meets jazz. The improvisations are in the pocket, but, at the same time, off the page. Here is where boogaloo and hard bop meet headlong.

On the King tune, soul-jazz reigns supreme as the B3 administers groove therapy to the rhythm challenge. Elsewhere, as on "Stand," (arranged by Washington), Smith's overdubbed B3s create a wondrously complex harmonic melody as the band moves in behind the beat. A few minutes in (it's almost 20 minutes in length), the ensemble picks up the tempo, and falls into the groove pocket from which all things are possible improvisationally. Two-and-a-half minutes into the tune, the jam unfolds, a soul-jazz deep funky grit that streams and sweats call-and-response lines from one player to the next.
For anyone who's ever had reservations about Washington's ability to cut loose as an improviser, they need only to give this track a listen and then apologize to his ghost. As guitars weave in and around the slinky, deep-groove basslines, Smith and Washington trade fours, and then Ponder turns his guitar into an overdrive machine to match Smith line for line, interweaving and intercutting before the whole mutha lifts off at eight-minutes-thirty-seconds and into a James Brown and His Famous Flames riot of soulful funky badness that nonetheless allows for Washington to solo outside on the edges of an over-amped rhythm section. Whew!

Lonnie Smith: "Mama Wailer"

Lonnie Smith: "Mama Wailer"
Kudu KICJ 8361 (released on July 25, 2001)
Kudu KICJ 2211 (released on March 7, 2007)
Reissues Supervised and Remastered by Arnaldo DeSouteiro for CTI/Kudu
1. Mama Wailer (Lonnie Smith) 6:14
Screem Gems-Columbia Music/BMI
2. Hola Muneca (Lonnie Smith) 6:29
Screen Gems-Columbia Music/BMI
3. I Feel the Earth Move (Carole King) 5:00
Screen Gems-Columbia Music/BMI
4. Stand (Sylvester Stewart) 17:22
Daley City Music/BMI

Total Time 35:13

Lonnie Smith: organ (all tracks), clavinet & vocal (1)
Ron Carter: electric bass (1,2,4), acoustic bass (overdub on track 4)
Chuck Rainey: electric bass (3)
Billy Cobham: drums
Airto Moreira: percussion (caxixi on track 1, tambourine, chimes & afoche on track 3)
William King: bongos (1)
Richard Pratt: congas (1)
Robert Lowe: electric guitar solo (1)
Jimmy Ponder: electric guitar (3,4)
George Davis: electric guitar (2,4)
Marvin Cabbel: tenor sax solo(1)
Grover Washington, Jr.: flute (2), tenor sax solo (4)
Dave Hubbard: tenor sax (1,3)
Danny Moore: trumpet / flugelhorn (1,2,3,4)

"Stand" arranged by Grover Washington, Jr.
All other tracks arranged by Lonnie Smith

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios (New Jersey), on July 14 & 15, 1971
Engineer: Rudy Van Gelder
Album Photos: Duane Michals
Album Design: Bob Ciano
Original catalog number: KU-02
Original sessions produced by Creed Taylor
Reissue Supervisor: Arnaldo DeSouteiro
When I was called to produce the CD reissue of Lonnie Smith's "Mama Wailer", back in 2001, I invited my dear friend and CTI jazz historian Doug Payne to provide the liner notes. His top-class text follows:

Lonnie Smith: "Mama Wailer"
Liner Notes by Douglas Payne

If Lonnie Smith considers himself “the doctor of groove,” then Mama Wailer is certainly his doctoral thesis. This 1971 record was only the second of Creed Taylor’s Kudu productions and, surprisingly, the only Kudu or CTI session Lonnie Smith ever participated in. But the record has become a jazz-funk classic; one of the rarest of rare grooves and still highly sought after by young dancers and DJs alike.

All in all, it’s a superb collection of long, exploratory ideas on the nature of groove and the real “turning point” in Lonnie Smith’s musical thinking.

Only six short years before, Lonnie Smith got his start in music when George Benson handpicked him to man the Hammond B-3 in the guitarist’s first group. Benson and company also backed Smith on the organist’s solo debut, Finger-Lickin’ Good (Columbia-1967).

By 1967, Lonnie had joined Lou Donaldson’s band, creating one of the bop saxophonist’s most popular groups and yielding such acid-jazz classics as “Alligator Boogaloo” and “Peepin.” Lou Donaldson secured a recording contract for Lonnie Smith at Blue Note records, where the organist waxed four fine slices of Hammond B-3 soul (and one live session from the period that was released many years later). When Francis Wolf left Blue Note, Lonnie left too. Famed producer Creed Taylor tapped the soulful funk organist right away for Mama Wailer.

By this time, Smith was gradually emerging from the chock-a-block funk and R&B settings of his Blue Note days and beginning to explore a keyboard’s potential to enhance or color the grooves. Larry Young had also begun doing this a few years earlier. By the time of Mama Wailer, Young was already charting the subversive territories of Lifetime. Smith, on the other hand, seemed more of a rhythmic colorist, one intent upon communicating through the groove. Mama Wailer is one of his first experiments in this direction.

Indeed, the title track begins the record without any organ to be heard at all. Smith takes a giant leap of faith, comping and soloing with the limited capabilities of the clavinet, an electronic keyboard that sounds dulled and drained of any resonance whatsoever. Still, Smith stretches the instrument’s limitations and delivers a strong, thoroughly affecting urban funk. The ostinato riff is carried by the horns and highlighted by Marvin Cabell’s urbane tenor solo and Robert Lowe’s metallic guitar.

Smith’s own feature, “Hola Muneca” follows. If there is such a thing as funky drone, this is it. First performed by Smith in 1967 on his Columbia debut, this new version is funk in the raga sense. Smith slices and dices the groove rather imaginatively here on his more familiar organ, offering more of a signature sound than he has ever displayed before. He hints at something avant garde while clearly never distracting from what might move your feet.

Carole King’s “I Feel The Earth Move” follows. This song and others from the writer’s landmark album Tapestry (Ode – 1971) really did shake the earth back in 1971. There were certainly few places in America you could go that summer without being totally aware of this album and all the hits it generated. Here, Grover Washington, Jr., treats the organist to a highly charged funk arrangement, propelled by the electric bass of Chuck Rainey. Note the poetic tremors Smith employs here and the way he really makes the ground swell.

The album’s centerpiece is surely “Stand,” one of the bold social statements from Sly And The Family Stone’s monumental album of the same name (Epic – 1969). Originally, Lonnie’s version took up a full side of an LP. But he made every minute count, sculpting a panoramic view of urban America. In a great tribute to the song’s author, Sly Stone, Lonnie Smith treats us to a summer day in the ghetto. He gives the main theme a nervous beat, then grinds the funk to a slow burn for the solos – which find the organist weaving in and out of spots featuring Grover Washington’s tenor and Jimmy Ponder’s guitar. Then, just as suddenly, a sort of chase ensues, driven by Ron Carter’s hot-as-asphalt electric bass (astute listeners might recognize how Smith revisited this section in his own “Jimi Meets Miles” from 1994’s Foxy Lady). Grover yields to a scorching solo that wends into a stoned groove from Ponder’s guitar and finally segues into the kaleidoscopic finale of Smith’s solo. A masterpiece of social groove.

Lonnie Smith seemed to disappear after Mama Wailer. His next record, Afrodesia (Groove Merchant), didn’t appear until 1975. Similar in many ways to Mama Wailer, Afrodesia offered long, exploratory funk vamps and adroit contributions from Smith, George Benson and tenor titan Joe Lovano very early in his career.

While at Groove Merchant (and later, LRC), Smith – like fellow organist and occasional musical partner, Jimmy McGriff – participated in nearly a half dozen of Brad Baker’s disco orchestras, playing an arsenal of synthesizers, electric keyboards and adding his own brand of vocals to some of the more insinuating dancefloor classics of the disco age.

By the early 1980s, Lonnie Smith had become turbaned and called himself “the Doctor.” But Dr. Lonnie Smith disappeared from records again. Disco died and his style of soul seemed to fall out of favor in the ultra-conservative Reagan era. Smith relocated to South Florida, where he still resides, and to this day has contributed mightily to the local scene, playing and recording prolifically (and with increased authority) with such local talent as Terry Myers, Turk Mauro and Jesse Jones, Jr.

As the 1990s dawned, acid jazz broke open and many of Lonnie Smith’s old records, like Mama Wailer, were suddenly highly-prized collector’s items. People were grooving to Lonnie again. He toured extensively in acid jazz groupings and resumed recording in such soul-jazz collectives as the Jazz Funk Masters (P-Vine), Chartbusters (Prestige), Secret Agent Men (Paddle Wheel) and the Essence All Stars (Hip Bop).

Dr. Lonnie Smith also re-ignited his own recording career in the 1990s, waxing some of the finest work he’s ever done. So far there’s been The Turbanator (32 Jazz – 1991) and the exceptional trios for his John Coltrane tribute, Afro Blue (Venus – 1993), and the awesome Jimi Hendrix tributes Purple Haze (Venus – 1994) and Foxy Lady (Venus – 1995). He continues to record and tour the world extensively with Lou Donaldson and has become, even at this point in his career, a first-call session man in New York for a variety of organ dates.

However, Mama Wailer endures as the cornerstone in Dr. Lonnie Smith’s journey to the groove.

Douglas Payne
May 2001

"The Bonfá Magic" @ Walmart

Walmart.com: Music: Latin Jazz: Luiz Bonfa... Nilson Matta, Pascoal Meirelles, Thiago De Mello, Marcio Montarroyos, Tavio Bonfa, Sonia Burnier, Gene Bertoncini, Eumir Deodato, Arnaldo De Souteiro. ...

Luiz Bonfa's "The Bonfá Magic" album, produced by Arnaldo DeSouteiro and originally released in the USA on the Milestone label (now part of the Concord Music Group) is available at the Walmart. To order, please click on the link below:

Return to Forever auction!

Bid on Authentic Return To Forever Autographed Concert Memorabilia and Help Support the VH1 Save the Music Foundation!
Continue to check Return2Forever.com for further details!
This is your chance to bid on and own an Authentic piece of Concert Memorabilia from the historic 2008 Return to Forever Summer Tour personally signed by RTF music legends Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White, and Al DiMeola!

Furthermore, ALL of the proceeds from the winning auction bids will go to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation to help support their efforts in restoring music education programs in elementary schools. In Addition, the winning bidder will also receive one of every style of t-shirt and one of every other item available and in-stock (at the time of the close of the auction - pending availability and size selection) in the Official Return to Forever online store found at Return2Forever.com (excluding items found under the "Autographs" and "From Amazon" categorie s).

Look for the RTF Concert Memorabilia Auctions! Further information on the items to be made available for auction to follow. Visit Return2Forever.com for details and to bid on the auctions that started on Saturday, September 27th!

To learn more about the VH1 Save The Music Foundation Program and their efforts in your community please visit their website found HERE.

"Steppin' Out" Finalists, tonight at Scullers Jazz Club

Pianist MANAMI MORITA, Singer/Keyboardist BILL CHAMPITTO,
Jazz Vocalist GABRIELA HEER and Jazz/R&B/Funk/Rock/Pop Group BLAQUE LYTE

The Dimock Center has just announced the names of the four finalists for this year’s Steppin’ Out With The Stars Talent Showcase.

“It was very tough to choose the finalists . . . this year, all of the entrants were very high in quality,” noted Ruth Ellen Fitch, President and C.E.O. of The Dimock Center. “We had noted musicians and media professionals on the panel and all of them were very impressed with the level of talented musicians who submitted their materials.”

The four finalists are pianist Manami Morita, singer/keyboardist Bill Champitto, jazz vocalist Gabriela Heer and jazz/R&B/funk/rock/pop group Blaque Lyte. These young, talented artists will all compete at Scullers Jazz Club in the DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel on Monday, September 29 beginning at 6:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Final competition judges include WFNX FM’s Sunday Jazz Brunch host Jeff Turton, noted arts and entertainment writer Kay Bourne, WATD FM’s “Round Midnight” jazz host Sherry Smith, Berklee College faculty member/pianist Ray Santisi, CEO and owner of the Waldwin Group Clayton Turnbull, noted jazz and R&B bassist Tim Ingles and the President and CEO of Dimock, Ruth Ellen Fitch. The showcase will be hosted by NECN personality Latoyia Edwards.

The showcase winner will receive $500.00 and the opportunity to appear at Steppin’ Out on November 8 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel alongside stars like Lalah Hathaway, Amel Larrieux, Monty Alexander, Esperanza Spalding and many others.

The full Steppin’ Out stellar lineup includes Lalah Hathaway, smooth jazz saxophonist Andre Ward, R&B/pop star Amel Larrieux, Broadway Dreamgirls star Julia Nixon, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, band leader/tuba player Kendrick Oliver and his 20 piece New Life Orchestra, Jamaican reggae/jazz pianist Monty Alexander, jazz bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, Boston’s own R&B vocalist Wannetta Jackson & Friends, Brazilian batería ensemble Samba Tremeterra, Gospel singer Larry Watson and the terrific local gospel groups Reverend Clarence Powell & Divine Praise and the Harmonizing Stars of Boston. Other artists will be announced shortly.

Tickets at $100.00 [seniors], $200.00 [general admission] and $350.00 [sponsor tickets] are on sale now. Sponsor tickets are available through The Dimock Center. General admission tickets are available via TicketWeb at http://www.TicketWeb.com/, by phone at 866-468-7619 and directly from The Dimock Center, located at 55 Dimock Street, Roxbury. For complete event information, go to: www.dimock.org or call: 617-442-8800 x1006.

Manami Morita, a native of Saitama, Japan, started playing classical piano at 4. At the time, she hated piano lessons because she wasn't attracted to classical piano. She loved to play but wanted more musical freedom. At 13, Morita discovered jazz and became addicted, even learning improvisation on her own. In 2004, Morita put aside thoughts of becoming a flight attendant or English teacher to follow her dream of playing jazz when she received a scholarship to study at Berklee. She was recently awarded the Mary Jane Earnhart Endowed Scholarship. Morita appears on the latest Jazz Revelation Records CD release, Common Ground, with the track “Going Home.”

Bill Champitto is a Boston-based singer, songwriter, pianist, synthesist and Hammond organist. His first love is live performances but he has extensive studio experience as well. He started playing rock and blues on the Hammond B3 organ and his first working gig was with a 9-piece bar band that played the waterfront in Troy, New York. In this group, he covered everything from Chicago to Earth, Wind and Fire, to the Ohio Players and jam bands like The Allman Brothers, Santana and Tower of Power.

A few bands later, Bill found himself on the road with various club and small venue acts. Being self-taught, Bill picked up everything he could from the wide variety of the players he toured with, learning jazz fusion from a sax player he worked with from the mid-west, jazz standards from a guitarist from New York, reggae from a bassist from the West Indies, southern rock and blues from another bassist who was a retired marine from Georgia, alternative rock from a drummer and a singer he met in upstate New York and Latin styles like salsa from a drummer who seemed to not have a home.
Bill came to Boston to attend Berklee and learn more about his trade from the best and decided to make Boston his home.

Gabriela Heer, who is from Germany, was on stage for the first time at the age of five, and she was a singer in various choirs (from classical music to gospel), a youth musical The Radio Heroes and with almost famous (a funk group). After a year at London’s Vocaltech Music College, she started her professional studies in singing at Musikhochschule Luzern (MHS) in 2006. Currently she is a singer with Talking Loud, Soulvirus, Hot Pink Bliss (pop / rock), not to help (a cappella) and her own jazz duo featuring Luzia von Wyl. With Gölä producer Thomas J. Gyger, she is also working on her own songs.

Blaque Lyte is a Boston-based band playing a wide range of music styles and featuring Brent Hebert on alto sax, Nick Estrela on guitar, Kyle Sousa on keyboards Jonas Imbert on drums, Alex Bailey on bass, Mark Dacruz on trumpet and Henry Baptista on tenor sax. Each musician in the group comes from a different musical background and so the band incorporates styles of jazz, R&B, funk, rock and pop into their writing and playing. Brent, Nick, and Jonas are currently attending Berklee College of Music, while Kyle, Mark and Henry have been surrounded by music from an early age. The main attribute of the band is that they play all their music by ear which allows for being spontaneous and entertaining.
Steppin’ Out for The Dimock Center is Boston’s liveliest and most highly anticipated annual gala fundraising event. Staged to mimic Boston's legendary and historic jazz clubs of the 30’s through today, this one-of-a-kind charity music-fest-party attracts some 3,000 of the city’s glitterati for an evening of music, dancing, food, cocktails, friends and fun. Steppin' Out will transport this year's partiers to a world of toe-tapping and head bopping music. Partiers will be dazzled by the array of nationally-recognized jazz and R&B headliners, who set toes a-tapping, lift audience members out of their seats to join the crowd dancing in the aisles and all for a vital cause!

Proceeds from the Steppin’ Out Gala will go to support The Dimock Center’s many health and human services programs. Originally founded in 1862 as the New England Hospital for Women and Children, The Dimock Center is nationally recognized as a model for the integrated delivery of comprehensive health and human services in an urban community. From its historic nine-acre campus in Roxbury and satellite locations throughout Boston, The Dimock Center provides vital services and programs to thousands of Boston City residents and families annually. The Center’s programs cover a range of services that include adult & pediatric medicine, eye & dental care, HIV/AIDS services, child & family development, behavioral health, and adult basic education. For more information about The Dimock Center, please visit www.dimock.org.

NECN is the official television sponsor for Steppin’ Out for The Dimock Center 2008.
WGBH 89.7 FM is the official radio station for Steppin’ Out for The Dimock Center 2008.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"The CTI (That) Never Sleeps"

After Doug Payne's monumental CTI website (http://www.dougpayne.com/cti.htm) and Creed Taylor's own www.ctirecords.com, we salute the new blog "The CTI Never Sleeps" at http://cti-kudu.blogspot.com/

CD of the Day - "Art of Drumming - Batuka!"

CD of the Day
"Art of Drumming - Batuka! International Drum Fest" (VFP 065.654) 2004
Produced by Vera Figueiredo
Featuring: Dave Weckl (on "Spontaneous Combustion", a fantastic solo number recorded in Brazil), Aquiles Priester ("Judgement Day"), Virgil Donati (a duo with Vera Figueiredo, "Double V"), Robby Ameen "Yo! Yogi" (a short track but an infectious groove dedicated to the late Yogi Horton, Luther Vandross' longtime drummer who also played with Grover Washington Jr. and recorded on Claudio Roditi's debut LP for CTI, "Red on Red"), Yuri Prado, Igor Wilcox, Sandro Moreno, Ebel Perrelli ("Mandinga", maybe the album highlight), Valmir Bessa, Turquinho Filho, Marquinhos Fê, Paganini, Gledson Meira, Cláudio Félix et al.
A must-have item for all the lovers of... the "art of drumming"!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Diana Krall's extra concert in Singapore

Due to popular demand, an extra concert by Diana Krall was booked for September 29 in Singapore, as part of her Asian 2008 Tour.
Marina at Keppel Bay
Last concert in Singapore!

CD of the Day - "Gary McFarland & Bill Evans"

CD of the Day
"The Gary McFarland Orchestra - Special Guest Soloist: Bill Evans" (Verve) 2008

Limited edition, with DSD technology and on Mini-LP sleeve reproducing the original gatefold cover with all credits and liner notes, reissued only in Japan. A masterpiece recorded in two sessions on Dec. 18, 1962 & Jan. 24, 1963, under the production of Creed Taylor. Gorgeous compositions and challenging scores by Gary McFarland featuring Gary himself on vibes, Bill Evans on piano, Jim Hall (guitar), Richard Davis (bass), Eddie Shaughnessy (drums), Phil Woods (clarinet) and Spencer Sinatra (flute & alto flute), plus a string quartet. Forever modern, forever timeless. A good companion to McFarland's DVD.

DVD of the Day - "This Is Gary McFarland"

DVD of the Day
"This is Gary McFarland" (Century 67 Films) 2008
A great film written & directed by the talented Kristian St. Clair, this is one of the most brilliant, creative & provocative music documentaries ever made! Haunting but never mellow, moving but never dramatized; fearless but subtle in revealing the details of McFarland's premature (and till then) mysterious death - actually, he was "accidentally murdered". Smart & clever edition, mixing interviews, historic images, album covers and rare pics. Time flies and you wanna see it once again. In so doing, you'll note more details and you'll feel even more fascinated by both McFarland's personal & musical lives, as well as by St. Clair's lissome direction.
Subtitled "The Jazz Legend Who Should Have Been A Pop Star", produced by Wendy Harris, Joel Ozretich & Kristian St. Clair, with jazz historian Douglas Payne serving as creative consultant, it made the official selection of several Film Festivals around the world, including the ones of Seattle, Mar del Plata, Tallgrass and the Santa Cruz Film Festival 2007. "An adorable homage to creativity", like the San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote.
Featuring appearances by Airto Moreira, Stan Getz, Bill Evans (playing "Gary's Tune", an excerpt from that famous "Jazz at the Maintenance Shop" 1979 concert with Marc Johnson & Joe LaBarbera), Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Grady Tate, Joe Beck, Emile Charlap, Bob Brookmeyer, Sy Johnson, Steve Kuhn (whose masterpiece album was produced and arranged by McFarland in 1971), Gene Lees, Richard Davis and the Wendy & Bonnie duo.
Airto, who recorded on McFarland's "Today" album and had his debut solo LP, "Natural Feelings", produced by the vibraphonist/arranger/composer for the Skye label (co-founded by Gary, Gabor Szabo & Cal Tjader), reminds about his playing on McFarland's memorial service. Joe Beck has the courage to tell how much Gary and himself (along with other musicians) were robbed by a famous producer. And the sequence with Grady Tate and NY's top musical contractor Emile Charlap reading the credits of an album, and finding out that most of the musicians are dead now, is a masterpiece on black humor.
I've only missed Creed Taylor, who should have been interviewed (maybe he declined the invitation), since he produced some of McFarland's most memorable albums for Verve, such as "Big Band Bossa Nova" (his pairing with Stan Getz) and the sublime "The Gary McFarland Orchestra - Special Guest Soloist: Bill Evans", both recently reissued.
Bravo, Kristian!

Vinyl of the Day - "Best of Deodato/Airto"

Vinyl of the Day
Eumir Deodato & Airto Moreira: "The Best of Deodato/Airto" (CTI/Continental 342404026 ) 1978
Produced by Creed Taylor
Featuring: Flora Purim, Ron Carter, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham, Ray Barretto, Keith Jarrett, George Benson, John Tropea, Gilmore Digap, John Giulino, Rick Marotta, Hubert Laws et al.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pat Metheny & Anna Maria Jopek - "Upojenie"

"Upojenie", an album that guitar wiz Pat Metheny did six years ago with Polish songstress nymph Anna Maria Jopek was previously only available in Poland. This new CD version, which includes three previously unreleased tracks, will be now available world-wide, released by Nonesuch Records on October 7, 2008.
1. Cichyzapada Zmrok (Here Comes The Ilent Dusk)
2. Mania Mienia
3. Biel (Whiteness)
4. Przyplyw, Odplyw, Oddech Czasu...(Tell Her You Saw Me)
5. Are You Going With Me?
6. Czarne Slowa (Black Words)
7. Lulajze Jezuniu (Polish Christmas Arol)
8. Upojenie (Ecstasy)
9. Zupelnie Inna Ja (Always And Forever)
10. Piosenka Dla Stasia
11. Letter From Home
12. Me Jedyne Niebo (Another Life)
13. By On Byl Tu (Farmer's Trust)
14. Polskie Drogi (Polish Paths)
15. Tam, Gdzie Nie Siega Wzrok (Follow Me)
16. Na Calej Polaci Snieg (The Snow Falls All Over The Place)
17. Szepty I Lzy (Whispers And Tears)
Pat Metheny wished this album to have world premiere with his "One Quiet Night". Five years ago some legal problems with contracts didn't allow to it. But it was worth waiting! "Upojenie" is going to be released in October by Robert Hurwitz's Nonesuch label as a Pat Metheny & Anna Maria Jopek album! It is extraordinary distinction. Up to now only Charlie Haden, Jim Hall and Brad Mehldau have had the opportunity to occur on Pat Metheny's album covers, linked with the mark "&"!

International edition of "Upojenie" includes lyrics translated into English by Marcin Kydryński and Pat Metheny, short Pat's, AMJ's and Marcin's texts, and what is the most important - three not released songs (two of them from a memorable concert in Congress Hall). Also the track sequence is different, as suggested five years ago by producer Matt Pierson. This edition of "Upojenie" is priceless treasure for collectors. But perhaps the most priceless will be the first Polish edition, which may soon disappear from the market...

"Anna is original, unique, different. She's brave, she's modest, she's open. She's a great musician. What she's been doing all her life is just trying to play the best notes. Trying to sound good. In that particular sense she's a lot like me and that's why I decided to work with her - because she just cares for the music." - Pat Metheny on Anna Maria Jopek
"I couldn't think of anything more inspiring, motivating and ear opening than working with Pat Metheny. He's been my first and most important mentor for years, but to actually make music with him was the most thrilling experience in my life..." - Anna Maria Jopek commented on their project.

The Universal recording artist is a classically trained pianist and graduated from Chopin's Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland. After briefly studying in Manhattan School of Music's Jazz Department Anna decided not to play Mozart concertos anymore and trade her beloved Ravel for Keith Jarrett. Philharmonic Hall for a small, smoky clubs and theatres.

I embrace a lot of influences. Jazz is by far the most important in its freedom, its harmony and its sense of time, but I was brought up with the old Polish folk songs. So I'm kind of rooted here in all these Slavic landscapes and sounds".

With 10 albums of her own Anna Maria Jopek performed and recorded with all the important artists in Poland including numerous concerts and recordings with an ECM-based trumpeter Tomasz Stako. During the Jazz Jamboree International Festival 40th Anniversary Gala in 1998 she performed with the one of the greatest jazz musicians of our time: Joe Lovano. In 2003 at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, invited by the First Family Anna gave a small recital broadcasted live and dueted with the pop icon, former King Crimson frontman, Gordon Haskell.

Although she plays open air gigs for 5,000 fans, as happened in Warsaw in June 2001 and 8,000 in Augustów in July 2003, Anna prefers an intimate setting to a huge concert hall and performs about 100 concerts each year, from Toronto to Vienna, London to Berlin. Yet her Carnegie Hall appearance on January 4, 2004, remains one of the most cherished and memorable thrills of her professional life.

Yes, she has been given awards, including Michel Legrand's Personal Award in Witebsk in 1994, not to mention literally all of the Polish prestigious awards and Gold and Platinum records. Nevertheless Anna Maria Jopek is known for saying: "Music itself is the highest award for me. And the greatest challenge. With so many questions remaining to be answered".