Daily Archives: February 9, 2014

WHEN FOUR MUSICIANS MAKE A BRILLIANTLY VERSATILE ORCHESTRA

The four musicians are Colin T. Dawson, trumpet; Chris Hopkins, alto saxophone; Bernd Lhotzky, piano; Oliver Mewes, drums: “ECHOES OF SWING,” caught here live performing DIGA DIGA DOO that segues into the Benny Carter variant KRAZY KAPERS with a percussive detour into SING SING SING territories:

Chris Hopkins tells me that this video “was from a big concert in Erlangen, Germany, on October 21, 2013. Colin filmed it himself (for the first time) with 3 cameras and is crazy about learning all the video stuff at the moment. He’s having fun digging into it. You find a picture of the hall on the Echoes Of Swing Facebook page.”

This wonderful quartet also has a new CD, called BLUE PEPPER . . . details to come soon.

May your happiness increase!

THE ROSSMOOR JAZZ CLUB CONTINUES “THE GOOD WORKS” IN 2014

I’m happy to tell JAZZ LIVES readers about another place where hot jazz and ragtime are flourishing — monthly concerts at a comfortable space in Walnut Creek, California.  It’s the Rossmoor Jazz Club, which has been going strong in 2013.  I’m told by my friend and fellow enthusiast Bob Burch that the theatre is comfortable, seating 500, and dancers are welcome.

Admission for each concert is $10 (members) and $15 (non-members), and one can become a member with an annual payment of $30.  Their 2014 series features these bands (it began with the Natural Gas Jazz Band on January 22):

Feb. 26: Ted Shaefer’s Jelly Roll Jazz Band

March 11: Stephanie Trick, Paolo Alderighi, Marty Eggers, Danny Coots (7:30 PM start)

April 23: Ken Brock’s Jambalaya Jazz Band

May 28: Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band

June 25: Jim O’Briant’s Zinfandel Stompers

July 10: Ray Skjelbred and his Cubs

August 20: Chris Bradley’s Jazz Band

September 19: Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra

October 20: Mike Slack’s San Francisco Feet Warmers

The November and December concerts are (at this writing) TBA, but TBA always swings, too.

The concerts will be held at the Tahoe Room of the Rossmoor Event Center, 1061 Stanley Dollar Drive, Walnut Creek, California.  The concerts begin at 7 PM and end by 9:30, with a short intermission.

Tell your jazz-loving friends.

May your happiness increase!

PENTHOUSE SERENADES, CONTINUED (January 1968)

A few days ago, thanks to my friend Superheidi, I posted this about film documentation of a famous gathering — with music.  Thanks to the Ruby Braff scholar Thomas P. Hustad (whose book BORN TO PLAY has everything we’d ever want to know about Ruby’s musical life), here’s the invitation:

BG 1968 invite

Here is Tom’s usual meticulous history of the event:

January brought an exciting opportunity. . . . a party held in the Penthouse of Benny Goodman’s apartment in New York to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the famous Goodman Carnegie Hall Concert. Ruby reports that January 16 was “freezing cold.” Benny Goodman phoned him and asked if he wanted to stop by and play. Ruby asked who would be there, and was told that it would be Jess Stacy, Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, and a few other guys. Ruby’s impression was that it was just an informal gathering for fun; however, when he arrived the doorman directed him to the Penthouse. When he left the elevator, Ruby saw many people present and then decided that Goodman had invited him informally in order to avoid paying for his appearance. Ruby repeated much of this story in a radio interview March 2, 1991, with Rob Bamberger.

A copy of the engraved invitation to the party is available, directing people to the Roof Garden at 200 East 66th Street for cocktails and a buffet dinner from 6 p.m. This location is one floor above Goodman’s apartment. There is a photo by John McDonough showing Benny Goodman with Ruby Braff from this occasion. Also visible are George Avakian and John S. Wilson.

January 16, 1968, New York taped by D. Russell Connor and broadcast on WNEW, January 27, 8:05–10 p.m.

Benny Goodman (cl), Ruby Braff (tp), Lionel Hampton (vib), Jess Stacy (p), George Simon (cymbal while Krupa’s drums were being set up)

Unknown blues (warm-up)

Sweet Lorraine

Add Gene Krupa midway through “I Want to Be Happy” after the pedal was attached to his bass drum.

I Want to Be Happy

If I Had You

Avalon

Someday Sweetheart

Rosetta

Body and Soul (trio only: Goodman, Stacy, Krupa)

I Would Do Anything for You

Don’t Be That Way

Stompin’ at the Savoy

NOTE: An audio recording of these tunes is available but remains unissued. A video recording of “Avalon” also exists as filmed by CBS on this occasion.

The invitation and text above appear courtesy of Thomas P. Hustad, from BORN TO PLAY: THE RUBY BRAFF DISCOGRAPHY AND DIRECTORY OF PERFORMANCES, published by Scarecrow Press 2012.  And here is my review of Tom’s book — soon to be a collector’s item, as only a few copies remain for sale.

I wonder who picks up the phone at 1.212.TE-8-5280 these days.

May your happiness increase!

MEET DESTINY MUHAMMAD, SOUND SCULPTRESS

After the recent screening of THE GIRLS IN THE BAND in San Rafael, Calfornia, a panel discussion took place, featuring the director, producer, and women jazz musicians.  It was engrossing, but everyone was entranced by a woman who spoke with great gentle feeling — the jazz harpist Destiny Muhammad.  I’d like you to meet her, too.  Here are videos from our get-together a few days ago in her Oakland, California studio.

I expected her to be a winning musician and a melodic improviser, but she is so much more, as you will quickly find out.

In the first video, Destiny plays modern jazz classics — by Coltrane, Ellington, and Davis — and explains herself a bit:

Here, she sings and plays a medley of a folk song and a Gershwin lullaby:

And here she speaks about one of her inspirations, Dorothy Ashby, and a tribute concert that will take place in June 2014:

Destiny has a warm spirit, and it comes out in her playing and her point of view. Her sincerity, energy, and humility are evident from the start.

You can see why she’s a busy creator of beautiful melodies!  To learn more about her, visit her site.

May your happiness increase!