Daily Archives: October 12, 2015


Scott Robinson is a courageous artist, someone not hemmed in by narrow conceptions of what sound should sound like, how music should behave . . . so when he has news that the ordinary media are asleep on, I feel I should share it with you.  Here’s what Scott wrote to those paying attention:


Roscoe Mitchell/Scott Robinson at Pioneer Works this Friday, Oct. 16!


I will be appearing with the Roscoe Mitchell trio and quintet this Friday Oct. 16 at 8 PM, at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn. This is a major event that should absolutely not be missed by fans of creative and adventurous music. Please come out!

The other great musicians for this evening will be Tom Buckner, Gerald Cleaver and Tani Tabbal… all longtime collaborators of Roscoe Mitchell. This will be my first live appearance with Mr. Mitchell in the NYC area, and it is going to be an unforgettable night. Pioneer Works is sending a truck here to the Lab for all the instruments! Among the highlights of this evening:

— First-time gathering of this amazing group of players

— First live appearance of the incredibly rare low Bb sub-contrabass sarrusophone (only three known in the world), along with bass and contrabass sax

— First appearance of a very strange and unusual double-reed instrument belonging to the great Rahsaan Roland Kirk, which I recently brought back to playability… never before seen or heard in public, to my knowledge

— First live appearance in this century of the incredible bass marimba played by Sun Ra on Heliocentric Worlds

— World premiere of a new composition co-written by Roscoe Mitchell and Scott Robinson, Deep World

For some reason the press has been extraordinarily silent on this event. It does not seem to be listed anywhere, except in the “Highly Selective Music Listings” at Brooklyn Rail, which states:

“October 16: AACM and Roscoe Mitchell at Pioneer Works. Through time, endurance and sheer brilliance, Roscoe Mitchell (a founder of the AACM) has proved himself to be one of the towering figures in creative jazz and contemporary classical music. His playing and thinking use what seems the most natural means to explore the deepest and most abstract ideas. At Pioneer Works, he’ll be performing with winds player Scott Robinson, baritone Thomas Buckner, and percussionists Tani Tabbal and Gerald Cleaver. Expect greatness.”

Please come out, and please tell your friends about this extraordinary evening of creative music. Thank you.


May your happiness increase!


Many people in the United States celebrate today in honor of Christopher Columbus.  (My college does not.)  I’m not planning to enter into charged historical dialogue except to say that we now know most of what we learned in elementary school was wrong or intentionally misleading, a pattern that continues onwards in education.  But that is a dark subject, which I will forego.

This is one kind of historical representation:

Portrait of a man said to be Christopher Columbus

Portrait of a man said to be Christopher Columbus

But I prefer this kind, created by Leon “Chu” Berry and Andy Razaf, music and words, in 1936:


A Roy Eldridge small group, a rejected take from 1936, with Roy (tp) Buster Bailey (cl) Chu Berry (ts) Teddy Cole (p) John Collins (g) John Kirby (b) Sidney Catlett (d):

The Fletcher Henderson band’s hit version in the same year, with Dick Vance (tp,arr) Joe Thomas, Roy Eldridge (tp) Fernando Arbello, Ed Cuffee (tb) Buster Bailey (cl,as) Scoops Carey (as) Skippy Williams, Chu Berry (ts) Horace Henderson (p,arr) Bob Lessey (g) John Kirby (b) Sidney Catlett (d):

and the 1937 attempt at a follow-up hit, with Dick Vance (tp,arr) Emmett Berry, Russell Smith (tp) John McConnell, Albert Wynn, Ed Cuffee (tb) Jerry Blake (cl,as,vcl,arr) Hilton Jefferson (cl,as) Skippy Williams, Chu Berry (cl,ts) Fletcher Henderson (p,arr) Lawrence “Larry” Lucie (g) Israel Crosby (b) Pete Suggs (d) Chuck Richards (vcl) Horace Henderson (arr):

A Buck Clayton Jam Session, 1953, with Buck, Joe Newman (tp) Urbie Green, Henderson Chambers (tb) Lem Davis (as) Julian Dash (ts) Charlie Fowlkes (bar) Sir Charles Thompson (p,celeste) Freddie Green (g) Walter Page (b) Jo Jones (d):

(I love that this record has a click in it, early and often.  Seems like old times.)

and the classic 1936 version by Fats Waller, with Herman Autrey (tp) Gene Sedric (cl,ts) Al Casey (g) Charlie Turner (b) Yank Porter (d):

and just to cool down, Maxine Sullivan in 1956, with Charlie Shavers (tp) Buster Bailey (cl) Jerome Richardson (as) Dick Hyman (p) Wendell Marshall (b) / Milt Hinton (b) Osie Johnson (d):

Professor Razaf tells us, “He used the rhythm as a compass.”  That’s something I can celebrate, as I hope you can.

May your happiness increase!