Tag Archives: Scott Hamilton

GOODBYE, DAVE McKENNA, HAIL WAYNE WRIGHT

The extraordinary pianist Dave McKenna, who had been ill and unable to play for some time, died peacefully on October 18.  McKenna’s playing seemed to synthesize all the jazz piano that had come before him: the romping left-hand, both violent and precise, that summoned up the great stride players and the Boogie Woogie Trio at once — balanced against ricocheting treble lines that swerved and darted.  A McKenna solo in high gear (I think of his Chiaroscuro “C Jam Blues”) was a swinging juggernaut, but the McKenna locomotive was so smooth that the glasses of water in the dining room never sloshed.  He was a remarkable player who dazzled Oscar Peterson, and someone who had an immense affectionate recall for the best American popular songs, which he strung together in great thematic melodies (the Street medley, the Rain medley).  The Chiaroscuro, Shiah, Concord, and JUMP recordings he left behind — mostly solo, but some with Dick Johnson, Scott Hamilton, Ruby Braff, and Zoot Sims (not bad company) are imperishable.  And what more can anyone say about Dave except to recall that he was Bobby Hackett’s favorite pianist.

News also comes of a memorial service — with music, of course — celebrating the life of guitarist Wayne Wright.  Produced and organized by Chris Ambadjes of the American Guitar Museum, the concert will be held on Tuesday, November 11, 7:30-9:30 P.M, at Five Towns College in Dix Hills, New York. Center for Performing Arts – Main Stage. _

A SCOTTISH JAZZ PARADISE, AUGUST 2-7

Forres Gazette
Published:  30 July, 2008

NAIRN Festival, which this year runs from August 2 to August 7, makes no bones about how it organises its annual event programme – if the audience has loved a gig or an artist then they are brought back for more! And trumpeters take the centre stage throughout this year’s event.

And despite funding cash being short and airfare soaring, a full programme of American stars have been lined up.

Duke Heitger has been on the bill with Evan Christopher for a number of years – but this year he flies into the event to take residence for the whole Festival and feature in all sorts of new line-ups – including introducing fellow New Orlean vocalist Topsy Chapman for his Paddleboat shuffle, and for the first time in the Festival programme, Engelbert Wrobel on clarinet, for an interesting History of Jazz.

He has also brought in a red-hot selection of other horns including Randy Reinhart (cornet/trumpet) and Bill Allred (trombone) – in the Wild Bill Davidson Legacy Band. Australia’s finest Bob Barnard (trumpet), performs together with Reinhart and Jon-Erik Kellso (cornet/trumpet) in the Nairn Trumpet Summit and the later as a special guest of the Swedish Jazz Kings, adding a fresh note as they both make Nairn Festival debuts.

And even on a more reflective note… the death of cornet legend Ruby Braff in 2003 has not stopped this year’s event recalling his now historic final live performance in Nairn 2002. Ruby opened the first ever Festival of Food and Jazz as it was then billed in 1990 and it is his long-time friend Scott Hamilton (who also featured in the programme that year) who pays tribute to him along with John Bunch, piano and Dave Green, bass, reprising their roles, and US cornet player Jon-Erik Kellso – in what is set to be one of the usual flagship exclusive concerts within a slightly more humble, but yet packed, programme.

The Knockomie Hote, one of the staunchest supporters of the jazz festival in Forres, will again be hosting a concert. The Classic Jazz Quintet, featuring Bent Persson on lead trumpet and special guest Dan Barrett on trombone, will be playing a late night concert, starting at 9.30pm, on Tuesday, August 5.

Funding has been much more difficult this year and along with late awards and the soaring cost of US airfares, which make the budgets even tighter than usual, the organisation decided to be a bit more frugal and invest in what it could deliver well, rather than continue on the wider development and growth plan of the last few years.

But even this did not stop organiser Ken Ramage revisiting his own personal highlight concert of 2007, which featured pianist Larry Fuller, and with the support of The Davidson Trust, he has managed to bring him back for another exclusive, the Nairn International Piano Trio line-up featuring Nairn’s favourite bassist Andy Cleyndert and Basie drummer Butch Miles.

Ken said: “We have received continued significant local sponsor support from Hawco Volkswagen and Gordon Timber and decided to go ahead with what I am billing as a reflective programme, filled with the essential elements that have become synonymous with the brand style now known as Ramage Jazz.”

Of course the key to making any event a success is not only the programming but ticket sales and the event is hoping that along with its loyal audience, now from all across the UK, it will hit the right note with locals when it strongly needs their support.

 

All content copyright 2008 Scottish Provincial Press Ltd.

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This piece comes from the FORRES GAZETTE: thanks so much for making me wish I was going to be in Scotland for these hot festivities!