Monday, April 20, 2015

Ira Sullivan Pays Tribute to Red Rodney in NY

Legendary multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan makes a rare appearance this week (April 22-23) at New York's Zinc Bar (82 West 3rd Street) to celebrate the life of the late jazz trumpet great Red Rodney.

Sullivan, who turns 84 in May, was a longtime colleague of Red's since the early 50s and co-led the Red Rodney/Ira Sullivan Quintet during the 80s recording a handful of critically acclaimed records while touring extensively throughout the US and abroad.

Beside Sullivan, the tribute will feature some of New York's finest musicians including trumpeter John Bailey, pianist Dave Kikoski, bassist Ed Howard and drummer Anthony Pinciotti. Showtimes on Wednesday, April 22 are at 8 pm & 10 pm and on Thursday, April 23 at 9 pm and 11 pm. For reservations, please call (212) 477-9462 or visit Zinc Bar.

A splendid jazz improviser who performed with the swing groups of Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Woody Herman, and Benny Goodman before joining (1949-51) Charlie Parker's bebop quintet, Red Rodney, recognized by his flaming red hair, was also the first white bebop trumpeter. His innovative playing style was marked by his brilliant technique and purity of tone.

After a long absence from the stage, Rodney made a triumphant comeback in the early 70s returning to his former glory as a skilled balladeer and later reconnecting with his erstwhile bandmate Ira Sullivan. Their collaboration led to a fruitful and much-heralded association during the 80s releasing five albums one of which garnered a 1982 Grammy nomination.

In 1988, Rodney served as a consultant on director Clint Eastwood's film "Bird" on the life of Charlie Parker and he also performed on its soundtrack. Rodney continued recording and touring into the early 90s with various bands and was inducted into the Down Beat Hall of Fame in 1990.

On May 27, 1994, Red Rodney died of lung cancer. His death marked the end of an era as he was one of the last living links to Charlie Parker and bebop.

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