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Gavin Walker's "The Jazz Show" - January features
Gavin Walker's "The Jazz Show" is heard Mondays 9PM to midnight on CITR 101.9 FM and online.
Recent shows are also available as Podcasts. Subscribe
Each show features an entire album at 11PM.
Album features for January:
Jan. 8: Happy New Year to all of our listeners and the best to you for 2007! We begin our 2007 odyssey with one of the most intriguing and creative figures in all of jazz: bassist/pianist/composer and musical shit-disturber, the one and only Charles Mingus. Mingus was born in the border town of Nogales, Arizona on Apri8l 22, 1922 and was raised, educated and grew to adulthood in the Watts district in Los Angeles and died at age 57 of A.L.S. in Cuernavaca, Mexico on January 5, 1979. Much has been written about Mingus and two books are good references on Mingus’ life. The best is Brian Priestly’s “Mingus: A critical biography” and the other is the flawed but sometimes interesting “Myself, When I’m Real” by Gene Santoro. Santoro’s book excels in detailing Mingus’ ancestors and early family life. Mingus was a complicated and volatile human being and perhaps was bi-polar even though that term was not invented when Mingus was alive.
The music tonight reflects a temporary stable time in Charles’ life. He was happily married to Celia, a strong and attractive woman with a good business head and a love for music. Mingus also had a permanent working band with some long standing good players that knew him and understood his music. This coupled with important critical recognition in the jazz press and a growing audience for his sometimes iconoclastic repertoire added to this short-lived stable period. Tonight’s feature called “East Coasting” was originally released on the Bethlehem label and the music reflects this stability referred to but also has the restlessness and the intensity and anger that is always evident with the Mingus Workshop. The compositions are all Mingus’ except for a reflective version of Eubie Blake’s ‘Memories of You’. Mingus wrote most of these tunes in hard keys so that the horn players wouldn’t fall back on their easy ‘licks’. With Mingus is the great and underrated Clarence “Gene” Shaw on trumpet who was a Mingus discovery and the most recent member of this band. Mingus liked Shaw because he was a true original. On tenor saxophone (and a bit of alto) is Curtis Porter or as he became know, Shafi Hadi, again a fine player with his own sound and phrasing who seemed to disappear in the sixties only to turn up on an unissued Mingus Big Band recording in 1972 only to vanish again. Dead or alive.....where is Shafi Hadi? Last but not least on the front line is trombonist Jimmy Knepper who sound defined so many of Mingus’ important records. Knepper was one of the true giants of the trombone. Dannie Richmond was a converted ‘R and B’ tenor saxophonist who became the only drummer to fully understand Mingus’ music and also became Mingus’ closest friend. Charles’ regular pianist was down with the flu when this session was slated in August 1957 and a young studious piano player by the name of Bill Evans came in and sight read the music and played solos that impressed Mingus so much that he paid Evans double scale for the gig! “East Coasting” stands as one of Mingus’ most overlooked recordings but as you’ll hear.....one of his best.
Jan. 15: Miles Davis hardly needs any introduction to jazz fans and to people who listen to ‘The Jazz Show’ but this edition of the Miles Davis quintet is one of his more underrated bands and does not reserve to be. It is really the beginning of his second “great” quintet. In late 1962 and early 1963 Miles toured the west coast and played in Vancouver at “The Inquisition” Coffee House on Seymour Street (where the Telus Building is now located) for a couple of nights with a new sextet featuring the ‘Gang from Memphis’: Frank Strozier on alto saxophone, George Coleman on tenor and Harold Mabern on piano plus newly recruited bass great Ron Carter and one holdover from the old band, drummer Jimmy Cobb. Sadly this band never recorded and when Miles returned to New York in 1963, he let Strozier, Mabern and Cobb go, but kept Coleman and Carter and brought in pianist Herbie Hancock and a teenage drummer who he heard with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean by the name of Anthony “Tony” Williams. With this new rhythm section in place Miles’ playing took on a new freshness and fire especially with the innovative drumming of Williams behind him. Miles liked Coleman on the front line as they blended well and George Coleman was much more than a good journeyman player. Harmonically sophisticated with his own sound, George could stand on his own with anybody. Miles really wanted Wayne Shorter at that time and they had done a little playing together as Shorter was not only a fine player but Miles was also interested in his writing. However, Shorter was committed to Art Blakey and was quite happy to be a Jazz Messenger. So with the rhythm section in placer and Coleman on the front line Miles repertoire stayed the same but had taken on a new and exciting turn. Shorter’s entrance was two years away, then Miles’ repertoire would change as Shorter’s writing came to the fore. Meanwhile this was a fine band and tonight’s music is culled from a three night concert gig in France at the Antibes Jazz Festival at Juan-Les-Pins in July of 1963. Columbia issued the results of one of the nights called “Miles in Europe” but what we hear tonight has never been issued in North America and it’s from one of the other concerts. The music is strong and creative and inspired and is well-recorded even though this band was not called a “Great Quintet” it was! Proof? You ask.....listen tonight on the jazz feature.
Jan. 22: If Carl Fontana is not the best trombonist in jazz he is damn close! Fontana was born in Monroe, Louisiana on July 18, 1928 and died in Las Vegas on October 10, 2003. Fontana is considered by many musicians and fans to be the most fluent and innovative trombonist since J. J. Johnson. When you hear him tonight you may agree. Amazingly this man did not make a recording under his own name until 1985 after a career in music over 40 years. Fontana played with Woody Herman’s band for years and also Stan Kenton’s orchestra and for over 15 years lived and played in house band in Las Vegas and backed all the major stars like Tony Bennett, Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Paul Anka, etc. Fontana made good money and was able to raise a family and didn’t have to travel and was able to play the odd pure jazz gig and make some recordings as a sideman but his amazing abilities were unknown to most jazz fans. Finally he was asked to do this recording called simply “The Great Fontana” at age 57. Carl asked for and got the great tenor saxophonist/arranger Al Cohn on the front line and they make a beautiful blend. fontana picked his fhythm section with the always lucid and flowing ex-SanFranciscan, Richard Wyands on piano, Ray “The Bulldog” Drummond on bass and he always swinging Akira Tana on drums. A fine program of standards and lesser known jazz tunes were selected by Cohn and Fontana. When you hear tonight’s feature you’ll know that “great” as regards Carl Fontana is not an exaggeration.
Jan. 29: Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair is a name that will probably draw a blank from even the most devoted of jazz fans. Tonight on the jazz feature you’ll find that Jamaican born “Bogey” is one heavy tenor saxophonist with his own sound and style. He’ll remind you a bit of Johnny Griffin and Sonny Stitt and he has the smoothness of Hank Mobley but Bogey is his own man. One of the reasons that you’ve never heard of Bogey is that he has only two albums under his own name and he has never played in North America. Bogey is still alive and lives somewhere in Europe but he really is an ‘underground’ figure in jazz. Gavin Walker (the Jazz Show host) thinks Bogey is in Germany where he obtained his music degree and did much of his early studying. Wilton Gaynair was born in Kingston, Jamaica on January 11, 1927 and went to school with trumpeter, Dizzy Reece (recently featured on the Jazz Show) and the late alto saxophonist/composer Joe Harriott. Bogey emigrated to England at Dizzy'’ suggestion in 1955 and impressed everyone in London with his great sound and chops but decided to leave for the continent and play all over Europe. He returned to London in August of 1959 and once again checked out the London scene and sat-in around town impressing all the London ‘heavies’ and it was at this time that he recorded his first record which is tonight’s feature and it’s called “Blue Bogey”.
Bogey had at his service one of England’s best rhythm sections and if they lacked the drive and fire of an American section they made up for it in musicality. Terry Shannon is a fine pianist who had listened to Horace Silver, Kenny Knapper is solid on bass and plays good notes, Bill Eyden is a tasteful and swinging drummer and they give Bogey the backdrop that he needs to speak his piece. The program is made up of a couple of Bogey’s tunes and a few standards and a great interpretation of Clifford Brown’s “Joy Spring”. This will probably be your introduction to the tenor saxophone majesty of Wilton ‘Bogey’ Gaynair but you’ll not forget him so be sure to listen tonight!
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|Gavin Walker's "The Jazz Show" - January features||Brian Nation||Jazz on the Air||0||Jan 1, 2006 08:23 PM|