Before & After: Jimmy Heath

IMG_9105You can learn a lot about jazz hanging with Jimmy Heath. The saxophonist, arranger and bandleader has worked with nearly every important jazz musician of the post-war period, and his many compositions, including the jazz standards “Gingerbread Boy” and “C.T.A.,” are performed and recorded around the world. The Philly-born, NEA Jazz Master spent many years teaching, and he’s shared a lifetime of behind-the-scenes stories in his recent autobiography, I Walked With Giants. He is still actively playing and recording, and his latest release with his younger brother Tootie is The Heath Brothers: Endurance (JLP). This B&A was conducted in front of a live audience at the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival.

1. James Moody

“I’m In The Mood For Love ” (from The Very Best of Prestige). Moody, alto sax; Leppe Sundwal, trumpet; Thore Swanerud, piano; Yngve Akerberg, bass; Jack Noren, drums. Recorded 1949. Continue reading

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Before & After: Paquito d’Rivera

1. Charlie Parker with Machito and his Orchestra
“Mango Mangue” (from Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve). Recorded in 1948. Charlie Parker, alto saxophone solo

BEFORE: (immediately starts singing along with the intro) C’mon in, Bird. I think that’s Mario playing the lead alto in the orchestra. I never get tired of listening to this. My father was a personal friend of Mario Bauzá, and he always told me Mario went to the States and made it big there. He also said Bauzá was an alto saxophonist and clarinetist in Cuba, and learned the trumpet only after he came to the States. Of course that’s Mango Mangue. Continue reading

David Goloshchokin talking about jazz during Soviet times

David Goloshchokin, musician, professor and Artistic Director of Jazz Philharmonic Hall, talks about George Wein, Willis Conover, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and jazz during Soviet times. My meeting with David took place this afternoon June 8, 2011 at Jazz Philharmonic Hall in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He also showed me a very interesting museum exhibit on the history of Saint Petersburg jazz.

Before & After: Marc Cary

photo by Larry Appelbaum

Emerging from the Washington D.C. go-go scene, pianist, composer and bandleader Marc Cary cut his teeth with Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, Abby Lincoln, Arthur Taylor and other veterans. He’s since established his own identity as a leader mixing straight ahead sounds with East Indian, West African and hip-hop flavors. Cary sat for this JazzTimes B&A session following his set at the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival.

 

 

1 Abdullah Ibrahim

“Green Kalahari” (from Bombella, WDR). Ibrahim, piano. Recorded in 2008. Continue reading

Before & After: Kurt Elling

photo by Larry Appelbaum

Kurt Elling sat for this JazzTimes B&A one winter afternoon just before his 2004 New Year’s Eve show at the Kennedy Center. We began by listening to one of his favorite singers.

1. Mark Murphy
“Charleston Alley” (from Jazz Standards, 32 Jazz). Murphy, vocal; David Braham, piano;
Harry Leahy, guitar; Gerry Niewood, sax; Ted Curson, trumpet; Ed Caccavale, drums; Larry Killian, percussion. Recorded 1984, reissued 1998.

I love everything about the way Mark approaches all this Lambert, Hendricks & Ross stuff, and I know this recording really well. The thing about vocalese is that by its nature it has a tendency to be re-creative in a way. I mean, you’ve copped somebody’s solo or arrangement or whatever. But Mark comes on with his personality and his own musical identity so strong that it recreates a vocalese in a way that is totally Mark, and in a way that I have a real hard time imagining anybody else really accomplishing. It’s a completely unique artistic thumbprint. I mean, Jon [Hendricks] writes the grand lyric and performs with such a stately and magnificent representation of that which he’s apprehended. Then Mark comes on and he doesn’t need three people or a choir or whatever to do it–it’s just Mark and it’s totally whack, and it’s a totally new experience again. I’ve always thought that’s one of the greatest ways that Mark displays his ingenuity. Because he’s not hindered by the intricacies of somebody’s solo, and he can even recreate that and cast it in his own image.

Have you ever talked with him about this?

Mark doesn’t really take compliments very easily. You have to catch him in the right mood and be in the right place. And this [interview] is an ideal opportunity because I think he probably takes a lot more stuff in from what he reads. We’re friends and I know he’s been very generous about my thing and coming on the road with me and trusting me. It humbles me and makes me want to live up to that trust. I love talking about great singers. I hope you don’t give me any tragic ones [laughter].

Continue reading