"It’s an unbelievable feeling to know that so many people love me. So beautiful to know that friends all over the world are constantly helping me. Sending donations for my 24-hour care at home. I’m grateful every day. Grateful to everyone! I feel blessed beyond imagination. I thank God. Every breath I take, I’m thanking God. And I appreciate my dear friends Maxine Gordon (Dexter Gordon’s widow), you and Jimmy Owens for spearheading this whole thing to help me, at 92, to be able to stick around.
"I’m still teaching, writing, and doing interviews. The other day, 64 of Gary Pratt’s students were sitting in a classroom in California when he called me from a speakerphone. Gwen and Gary had set the call up, but I was in the dark about it. As soon as I said, 'Hello,' the students cheered and applauded and stomped on the floor for a good 60 seconds! Man, I was speechless.
"Then one of the students asked me, 'How did you develop your sound?' We hung out on the phone for almost an hour! It was so beautiful, and Gary said the students really dug it. What a gas! Now, I want you to know that I couldn’t have done any of that without you and the grace of God. I wish He’d give me the faculties to come back and play! Then I could play how much I love you and how much I thank you and how much you all mean to me.
"So, until I can play again, I’ll just simply say, God bless each and every one of you. Thank you a million times. I’m really excited about my 93rd birthday on December 14th. You’ve given me more reasons to push forward. I love you with all my heart!"
To donate to Clark Terry's care, go here. It takes just seconds.
Barcelona jazz. Last week I posted about my glorious trip to Barcelona to deliver a series of jazz talks based on my book. I also told you about the Barcelona Voll-Damm Jazz Festival and how it has a long tradition of featuring American and European jazz greats—dating back to 1966. Here's a book with photos that you can view by using your arrow to turn the pages. It's really cool. Go here.
"It was nice to read about your trip to Barcelona. It's a city I know well. I lived in Madrid for a number of years so I visited Barcelona quite a few times. Here is a video of Duke Ellington with the great Catalan artist Joan Miro (go here)...
And here's Miles Davis and B.B. King in Barcelona...
Sonny Rollins on Don Cherry. Bret Primack recently visited with Sonny Rollins and recorded a series of video interviews. Here's one of them on pocket-trumpeter Don Cherry...
Daniel Humair. While in Barcelona, I posted about a midnight dinner with about a dozen people, including drummer Daniel Humair. Artist Ton van Meesche emailed a recent video of Daniel and his band at the Junas Festival of the Arts. Go here.
Evening jazz radio. Maine's own June Sendrowski hosts a tasteful jazz show Tuesday evenings called Jazz Alchemy, from 6 to 8 p.m. (EST). The show streams, so you can listen on your computer while you work. Go here.
While you're there, roam around. The station has more than 70 hosts who cover music from Appalachian, bluegrass and African to Latin, punk, metal and Hawaiian. The station is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
The Hang. Bret Primack is hosting a new weekly YouTube talk show called The Hang. Last week he released a schedule for December and early January. All shows start at noon (EST). Watch live or on demand here.
- December 14—A Master Class with Hal Galper, featuring the outspoken pianist and composer.
- December 21—Why Can’t Musicians Make Money from Spotify, Pandora and Apple Radio, with attorney Alan Bergman.
- December 28—A Chat with the King of Jazz Email, Jim Eigo. Mr. Eigo has worked in all aspects of the jazz media business and runs Jazz Promo Services.
- January 4—Horace Silver Tribute, featuring musicians who played with Silver, including trumpeter Randy Brecker, bassists Jon Burr, Todd Coolman and Larry Ridley, and drummer Alvin Queen.
To visit The Hang's Facebook page, go here.
Time for a Dave Pell break, thanks to reader John Cooper. Go here.
Want the rest of that fabulous Dave Pell album? Go here.
Jazz photographer. Sánta István Csaba, a documentary and jazz photographer from Transylvania who's based in Hungary, dropped me an email last week. He's a terrific jazz photographer (his photo of the late Chico Hamilton is above). Have a look his work here.
CD discoveries of the week. Pianist Denny Zeitlin and flutist Jeremy Steig's Flute Fever is back in print. Thanks to Jonathan Horwich of International Phonograph, this 1963 album for Columbia has been remastered and reissued. This was Denny's and Steig's first album as recording artists. The music is spirited and free-flowing, with Steig's ripping flute leading the way and Denny's meaty chords shaking up the rear. Ben Tucker was on bass and Ben Riley was on drums. So What and Oleo are particularly noteworthy for their ambitious unraveling and reworking of both jazz standards.
Two new ones out from Robert Sunenblick's Uptown label: The first is The Duke Pearson Big Band: Baltimore 1969. It was recorded at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore and features a terrific all-star band, including trumpeters Burt Collins and Donald Byrd, trombonists Eddie Bert and Julian Priester, saxophonists Jerry Dodgion, Frank Foster and Pepper Adams, and Bob Cranshaw on bass and Mickey Roker on drums. Pearson had a lyrical, harmony-rich arranging style in the Tadd Dameron tradition. Sample New Girl and Straight Up and Down. The second new release on Uptown is Illinois Jacquet and Leo Parker: Toronto 1947. This is powerful jump-boogie stuff, though the sound isn't studio-pristine. Nevertheless, you can still hear the kind of energy and stamina that was required to play hot in the late '40s—when bop's popularity was rising and R&B was gaining ground. You also get to hear the crowd, which is loving it all. Joe Newman was on trumpet, making for a powerful front line, with Jacquet on tenor sax and Parker on baritone. Sample Body and Soul and Robbins' Nest.
On Acoustimania, pianist Don Randi and guitarist John DePatie don't need a bass or drums. While Don plays, DePatie covers the rhythm and bass line. When it's DePatie's turn, Don handles the missing feel. These are seasoned pros. Don started out as a jazz musician but in the 1960s became a member of the Wrecking Crew, the Hollywood studio band that recorded many of pop-rock's hits recorded in Los Angeles. John DePatie has been a guitarist for more than 20 years and has been a member of Nancy Sinatra's band. This album consists of originals by Don.
Alto saxophonist Bobby Watson has recorded a gem of an album dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington in 1963. Check Cashing Day is a delightfully upbeat hard-bop concept album that features beautiful original melodies and tight unison lines. Every instrumental track is fresh and sophisticated, trumping the spoken-word tracks, which can be a bit heavy to hear more than once. Nevertheless, important music from a jazz artist whose soul spans the decades. Sample Progress, Sweet Dreams and The Triad.
If you stopped off at a Texas bar for a cold one in the 1960s, chances are you'd hear Buck Owens on the jukebox. Owens had a forceful, yodely singing style and compelling storytelling approach that worked best with a meowing pedal steel guitar and sirloin bass line behind him. Buck 'Em!: The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967), a two-CD set, captures many of his best recordings. The music has been beautifully remastered and is distinctly C&W—when country music had a cowboy partner. Many others, like Johnny Paycheck, followed in Owens' path. The only thing missing from these recordings is the ding-ding-ding of a pinball machine.
Singles of the Week. Since download sites let you purchase individual tracks, I wanted to pass along a couple of beauties. The first is Suzanna Smith's Lady Bird/Half Nelson. I only wish her entire album was comprised of vocalese tracks like this hybrid. She has a jazz-smart voice that's agile and crafty... Pianist Jim Clayton plays Neal Hefti's Flight of the Foo Birds with enormous skip and swing. Here again, I wish he had devoted the entire album to Hefti covers instead of songs his daughter knows—as sweet as that sentiment may be.
Oddball album cover of the week.
Are we dreaming or is she? If it's us, I guess we've been transported to a County Fair where the woman with the Betty Page haircut who normally has knives thrown at her on the rotating wheel behind her has decided to slip on a chicken-wire Picasso head that was won at an S&M midway attraction. Hard to tell if it's actually Ethel in the blurry image.