Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jazz YouTube channels 2

YouTube is a great educational resource for anyone wanting to learn about jazz. Building off of my first Jazz YouTube Channels post, I wanted to share some more of my favorite jazz channels.


Jazz YouTube channels 2

1. Jazz Video Guy

Jazz Video Guy is a channel created by jazz videographer Bret Primack. Primack compiles concert clips, interviews and historical information to make original videos. Primack has great content about musicians such as Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Roy Haynes and Dr. Billy Taylor and often hosts Google hangouts with jazz musicians.

Sonny Rollins: What Jazz Is, and What Being a Jazz Musician Means To Me

2. irockjazzmusictv

irockjazzmusictv is another channel that interviews jazz musicians. This channel covers topics such as jazz culture, history, education and the current scene. Musicians such as Robert Glasper, Russell Malone, and Wayne Shorter have been featured on this channel.

Russell Malone - Learning from The Masters

3. Jazz on MV

Jazz on MV is a channel that posts full length concerts from the Newport Jazz Festival, among other festivals. These full length concerts are an incredible resource, since you can see how the musicians interact with each other and with the crowd. It is also a great resource to watch masters that have passed on, and Jazz on MV has videos of Elvin Jones, Dave Brubeck and Michael Brecker.

Watch Carmen McRae:

4. WBGO

WBGO is a public radio station that broadcasts jazz music from Newark, NJ. WBGO also does a live broadcast called the "Checkout" and oftentimes posts videos of the performances on this channel, featuring artists such as Steve Coleman, Kendrick Scott and Avishai Cohen.

Watch the Kendrick Scott Oracle play "Cycling Through Reality":

5. Blank on Blank

Blank on Blank is becoming my favorite YouTube channel. Blank of Blank is part of PBS digital studios, and takes interviews and animates them. The interviews oftentimes include jazz musicians such as John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck and Louis Armstrong, but have also included luminaries such as Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury. The quality of the animation combined with the educational content forms an dazzling, entertaining video.

Dave Brubeck on Fighting Communism with Jazz

Final Thoughts: 
The rise of technology, apps and smartphones has brought amazing educational resources.

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem and my musician website.

Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Jazz Book Club - John Hammond

Recently I finished reading, The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music by Dunstan Prial. 



My 'jazz book club' series of posts include: Miles DavisChet BakerHerbie Hancock, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker and Sidney Bechet

Instead of doing a traditional book review, I wanted to share what I learned along with some music. 


A Jazz Book Club - John Hammond

John Hammond was a 20th-century critic, journalist and producer. Hammond grew up as part of the Vanderbilt family - one of the wealthiest families in America during the Gilded Age. While he was young Hammond became obsessed with music, and would sneak into Harlem to listen to jazz and blues performers like Bessie Smith. 

Watch Bessie Smith sing, "St. Louis Blues":

John Hammond is known for discovering many of jazz's great performers and recording them: Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Charlie Christian, Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and George Benson, among others. 

Hammond was deeply involved with desegregation, and pushed for Benny Goodman to hire Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday and Charlie Christian. Hammond saw Goodman's popularity as a bridge into having mixed bands not only on recording, but in tours throughout the country. Hammond eventually played an active role in the NAACP.

Watch the Benny Goodman Quartet perform, "I Got I Heartful of Music":

It is amazing to think how many jazz legends met each other through Hammond. Some iconic pairings in jazz, such as Freddie Green and Count Basie, Lester Young and Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson and Benny Goodman, were caused by Hammond's work as a producer and impresario.

Watch Billie Holiday perform, "Fine and Mellow":

Hammond worked for many record labels, including Columbia Records.  In addition to his work with jazz, Hammond discovered such greats as Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bruce Springsteen. 


Watch Aretha Franklin sing, "I Say A Little Prayer":

It was interesting to hear that Hammond pushed for Bob Dylan even though Columbia wanted to drop him from the label. Going against the popular opinion, Hammond was able to discern talent and help many artists achieve success. 

Final Thoughts:
Learning about John Hammond allowed me to put some great milestones in American music in context.

John Hammond

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem, and my musician website, gracemaryburega.com

Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene. 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Revive jazz


This past week I was able to travel to New York to attend Jazz Connect and Winter Jazzfest, and visit many jazz clubs.

I wanted to share some of the great memories, along with some music from my time there.

Birdland Jazz Club

Revive jazz

The main reason for my trip to New York was to attend Jazz Connect, which is a two-day conference for jazz musicians, presenters, promoters, booking agents and more to come together.

At the conference I attended different panel sessions with topics such as New Challenges to Impact Social Media, Jazz on Screen, the Youth Movement, What's Your Marketing Plan?, Licensing Music for Film and Television, among others.

The keynote presentation of the conference was by vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, who talked about how her journey to success came with many obstacles. It was eye-opening to hear how Dee Dee conquered any limitation set forth, from bad record deals to getting told 'no' many times in her life. While speaking of gratitude, Dee Dee urged, "No matter what you do you're going on the shoulders of somebody else."

Watch Dee Dee Bridgewater sing, "Bye Bye Blackbird":

Jaco screening panel (L to R) Christian McBride, Randy Brecker,
John Pastorius, Paul Marchand, Bill Milkowski, Mike Stern

The conference also included a screening of the recent documentary, "Jaco," about the life of bassist Jaco Pastorius. The screening was augmented by a panel discussion including Christian McBride, Randy Brecker, John Pastorius, Paul Marchand, Bill Milkowski and Mike Stern.

Watch the trailer to "Jaco":

Hearing Jaco's friends and his son speak about him allowed me to see the humanity behind Jaco's legend. Jaco pioneered the bass as a melody instrument, and was able to play in front of a band like a horn. 

Watch Jaco Pastorious perform, "Portrait of Tracy":

Maceo Parker

In addition to the conference, I was able to visit New York jazz clubs including Birdland, Blue Note and Jazz Standard to see Maceo Parker, Joshua Redman's 'Still Dreaming', Oran Etkin and David Ostwald's Louis Armstrong Eternity Band. The multitude and diversity of venues to hear live jazz in New York City amazed me.

Watch Maceo Parker perform, "Make It Funky":

Joshua Redman's 'Still Dreaming' band is based on the music of his father, Dewey Redman, and his group with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell. Joshua's group was telepathic, and brought to the music of Dewey Redman and Ornette Coleman to life in a joyful, melodic way.

Listen to Dewey Redman play, "Guinea":

Theo Bleckmann Elegy

Each year Jazz Connect coincides with the annual Winter Jazzfest. This festival presents jazz stars along with up and comers across several New York City clubs. With one ticket you can travel across the city to see your favorite acts at the New School, Le Poisson Rouge, Subculture and Judson Church, among other venues. This revolutionary concept draws packed crowds to each venue.

Chris Potter Quartet

The founder and co-producer of the Winter Jazzfest, Brice Rosenbloom, received the Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award at Jazz Connect. It was amazing to hear how his college passion for booking and presenting music evolved to working for SF Jazz and Jazz at Lincoln Center, to eventually starting the Boom CollectiveWinter Jazzfest and being a music director at Le Poisson Rouge. His breadth of knowledge and commitment to presenting live jazz inspired me to bring this kind of passion back to Boston.

Watch Chris Potter perform, "The Wheel":

I spent most of my time at Winter Jazzfest at the ECM stage, seeing acts such as the Mark Turner Quartet; Craig Taborn solo; Avishai Cohen Quartet; Ches Smith, Craig Taborn, Mat Maneri; Theo Bleckmann Elegy; and the Chris Potter Quartet. ECM, or 'Edition of Contemporary Music,' is a record label dedicated to presenting the best in creative, improvised music.

Mark Turner Quartet

Sun Ra Arkestra

In addition, I went to Judson Memorial Church to see Cory Henry as well as the Sun Ra Arkestra directed by Marshall Allen. At 91 years old, alto saxophonist Marshall Allen led the band into the cosmos, evoking the freedom and wonder of Sun Ra when he first started the orchestra around 60 years ago. 

Watch the Sun Ra Arkestra play, "Face the Music / Space is the Place":

What amazed me about Winter Jazzfest was how each generation came together as an audience. I saw elders rubbing shoulders with college kids - a vast difference in the typical jazz audience, which often consists of older adults. However, Winter Jazzfest exploded with youth, as well as the young at heart.

(L to R) Craig Taborn, Mat Maneri, Ches Smith

Final Thoughts: 
From learning about music marketing, to hearing inspired stories, to seeing the pictures on the walls of each jazz club, to experiencing the energy of live music - I am so grateful for my all-encompassing trip, and the chance to learn so much about the music I play. And because of this trip my love and hope for jazz is revived as I begin 2016.

Sun Ra Arkestra

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem.

Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A jazz book club - Charlie Parker

Recently I finished reading Kansas City Lighting, a biography of Charlie Parker by Stanley Crouch.



My jazz book club series of posts include: Miles DavisChet BakerHerbie HancockSidney Bechet and Charles Mingus

Instead of doing a traditional book review, I wanted to share what I learned from the book along with some of Charlie Parker's music.


A jazz book club - Charlie Parker

Kansas City Lightning is the first installment of Stanley Crouch's biographies about Charlie Parker. In particular, Kansas City Lightning depicts Charlie Parker's early life in Kansas City, including his childhood, first marriage and his early musical career. 

Listen to "Yardbird Suite":

Crouch brought up many interesting points about Charlie Parker's upbringing and noted that in Kansas City, young musicians would be pat on the head if they imitated their local hero, yet they would be welcomed as a man if they developed their own sound and style. This comparison to sound as a rite of passage was a new concept to me, and helps me understand the pride musicians have in their sound.

Listen to "Donna Lee":

Before reading this book I didn't realize exactly why Charlie Parker's sound was so groundbreaking. I learned that at that time Johnny Hodges from Duke Ellington's Orchestra and Benny Carter were the most popular alto saxophonists, and they played with a wide vibrato. Charlie Parker developed a straight, bright, cutting sound without vibrato that pierced through a band. This new sound allowed Parker to play faster lines, which also broke from traditional melodic playing. 

Listen to Johnny Hodges play, "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)":

Charlie Parker grew up in the nightlife of Kansas City, playing all night into the morning. Crouch asserts that Charlie Parker's inclination to practice all day came from the initial embarrassment he had at a jam session with Papa Jo Jones. At the session Jones threw his cymbal on the ground to make Parker stop playing since Parker had gotten lost within the structure of the song. This failure made Parker focus on becoming the best musician he could be, often to the detriment of his relationships.

Listen to "Now's The Time":

Charlie Parker was influenced by many musicians including Roy Eldridge, Lester Young, Buster Smith, Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins and Chu Berry, among others. Learning Parker's inspirations allows me to understand the chronology of the music, and how one artist informs another. 

Listen to Lester Young play, "Lester Leaps In":


I read Kansas City Lightning as an audio book, and highly recommend the experience. Crouch combines historical facts with a narrative to make Charlie Parker's life read with lively dialogue. 
The reader's enthusiastic tone and Crouch's storyline livened train rides, time spent at the gym and chores.

Final Thoughts:
Learning more about Charlie Parker's upbringing helps me put his music in context, which is especially helpful while learning his music. 


Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, "Without a Poem."

Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Freedom - New Years Resolutions

A couple weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to see the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra perform music from Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts. I was also able to interview Mark Harvey for the JazzBoston newsletter.

I was so taken with Ellington's Sacred music that I wanted to base my New Years resolutions off of some of the words Duke said of his companion Billy Strayhorn in the song, "It's Freedom."

Lena Horne and Duke Ellington perform his first Concert 

Listen to Duke Ellington's "It's Freedom" from the Sacred Concerts:

Freedom - New Years Resolutions

In "It's Freedom," Duke Ellington says that Billy Strayhorn lived by four moral freedoms: 

1. Freedom from hate unconditionally.

2. Freedom from self pity.

3. Freedom from the fear of passively doing something that might benefit someone else more than it would him.

4. Freedom from the kind of pride that could make a man feel that he was better than his brother.

The way Duke Ellington says these words hit me so strongly. Religious background aside, these are moral traits that we all strive for. What struck me about the song "It's Freedom" was the realization that freedom isn't just an external, socio-political ideal - it's within us morally. We strive to be a better person, and simultaneously being a better person makes us free. 

I would like to echo these freedoms for my New Year's Resolution. Making a new mantra for myself, I would like for us all to strive for self love, peace, acceptance and freedom by lessening hate, self pity, ego, jealousy and pride.

Listen to Strayhorn's composition "U.M.M.G. (Upper Manhattan Medical Group)":

Final Thoughts:
Happy New Year! 

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, "Without a Poem." 

Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer/ editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene.