The 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters media reception and concert at Jazz at New York's Lincoln Center last week were every bit as exciting as you'd imagine. If you love jazz legends, as all JazzWax readers do, this was akin to Cannes for film fans. In the media room prior to the concert, virtually every living jazz giant was laughing, dancing, joking and catching up. I suspect the only event that's comparable as a concentration of talent was the Newport Jazz Festival back when it was in Newport, R.I. [Photo at top, from left: Adam Rudolph, Marc Myers and Yusef Lateef © Alan Nahigian]
As for the event, the speeches ran a little long and the music didn't have much connection to the honorees. But then again, so what? High points: Frank Wess and Benny Golson playing together with Kris Bowers on piano driving the JALC Orchestra on Wess' Magic—originally recorded by the Count Basie band on April in Paris. Bobby Hutcherson and Kenny Barron playing Dave Brubeck's In Your Own Sweet Way. And Sheila Jordan, who sparkled with enthusiasm, wit and that full-moon smile of hers. [Photo of Benny Golson, left, and Frank Wess by Michael G. Stewart]
Want to watch the concert? Go here.
Corky Hale. In my post last week on harpist Dorothy Ashby, I detailed the history of the harp in jazz recordings. One angelic plucker I overlooked (but included later) was West Coast studio musician Corky Hale. Here she is on The Tonight Show with Tony Bennett. Apologies, Corky!
Horace Silver radio. On Sunday, my boy "Symphony" Sid Gribetz will host a five-hour Jazz Profiles radio show on hard bopper Horace Silver. Sid plans to scatter the platter by showcasing Silver's formative years and then surveying his classic recordings from the late 1950's and 1960's. The show on New York's WKCR-FM runs from 2 to 7 p.m. (EDT). Listen in from anywhere in the world on your computer here.
Satchmo at the Waldorf. Wall Street Journal theater critic and Louis Armstrong biographer Terry Teachout tells me that his play Satchmo at the Waldorf will be produced by Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Mass., in August. John Douglas Thompson has been cast both as Armstrong and Armstrong manager Joe Glaser. This will be quite a challenge, to be sure. Go here for Terry's account of the news.
Clark Terry radio. Tonight at 10 p.m. (EDT), Celine Peterson, daughter of pianist Oscar Peterson, will host a tribute show showcasingthe music of trumpeter Clark Terry. The show will air on Jazz.FM91, which syndicates JazzWax and has started a Host Your Own Show series. Listen in from anywhere in the world on your computer at www.Jazz.FM or via your iPhone or iPad by downloading the Jazz.FM91 app at iTunes.
Prof. Gary Burton. Gary is teaching an online improvisation class for the Berklee College of Music. The class is for all budding musicians, not just vibes. So if you fool around on the piano or sax and want tips, Gary will be talking about voicing, harmony and other related subjects. The winter semester is sold out. But the spring semester that begins in April has plenty of slots open. For more information, go here. And here's a promo video from Gary telling you what it's all about...
Barney Bigard. JazzWax video sleuth John Cooper has come up with another gem. Here's clarinetist Barney Bigard in 1968 with Art Hodes (piano), Rail Wilson (bass) and Bob Cousins (drums) on Rose Room...
One-man big band. JazzWax reader Kurt Kolstad loves his big bands. But this time Kurt has outdone himself with this clip of Australian multi-instrumentalist James Morrison. Yeah, that's Morrison playing every instrument except the drums...
Albert Collins. JazzWax reader Steve Feldman loves the blues. He sent along a terrific clip of guitarist Albert Collins in 1992...
David Fishel. If you're looking for great audio jazz interviews, David Fishel, host of the Jazz Scene, has posted many of his one-on-ones, including chats with Stan Getz, Jim Hall, Abbey Lincoln, Phil Woods and others. You'll find David's Jazz Scene site here.
Gordon Beck. JazzWax reader Colm O'Sullivan wrote a lovely, heart-felt guest tribute to the late British pianist Gordon Beck at Ethan Iverson's blog Do the Math. Beck was most notably a member of Tubby Hayes' groups in the 1960s and recorded on Herbie Hancock's Blow-Up soundtrack in 1966. Go here to read.
CD discovery of the week. When the Rolling Stones' Some Girls was released in the summer of 1978, stores in New York that specialized in 12-inch disco singles were well stocked with Miss You. It was a rather surprising thing to hear given the other vinyl spinning in there. Which brings me to a rather interesting phenomenon that occurred at the time—one that hadn't really happened before: Everyone hated what they heard—initially.
Stones fans thought the boys had gone glitter, disco fans thought Miss You was lame and clumsy, and young punk rockers thought Shattered was a feeble rave effort by an aging band. And then, just like that, everyone fell in love with the album as it managed to get under your skin. Some Girls went on to become the band's best-selling album, and it has just given the big box treatment by Universal.
The two-CD set's remastering sounds great. It's warm and round, with a high impact. The first disc is the original album while the second CD is made up of country-blues themed tracks by the same band of Stones—including an exaggerated You Win Again, in the style of Jerry Lee Lewis. For some odd reason, the booklet stinks. It's 22 pages of mostly art, with very little devoted to recording dates, production and other information. Oh well. You'll find Some Girls: Deluxe Edition at iTunes and Amazon.
Oddball album cover of the week. The naked man who is supposed to be singer Eddie Fisher is perched in what appears to be a giant oyster shell. And from the looks of things, he has only one way out of being consumed like a mollusk: to leap up into the giant woman's nostril. Why a stripped down Fisher on the half shell would be appealing at the time to anyone but Elizabeth Taylor is beyond me. I'm also not quite sure why the designer chose Matura MT font or some Persian variation. Pretty racy stuff overall, but I'm sure that if we were to flip over the European cover of Hot Lunch, we'd come face to face with equally hot numbers like Oh! My Pa-pa, Lady of Spain and Cindy Oh Cindy.