As a Board member of PDX Jazz, the organization that produces the Portland Jazz Festival, I get to do a lot of very cool things. I wrote recently about my opportunity to present a program, “Jazz in the Schools,” to local high school students that combined a short history of jazz with its influence on art, photography, and graphic design.
After seeing classic film of Louis Armstrong and viewing a variety of album and jazz festival photography, art and graphic design, participating photography students went into the Portland community and took original photographs of any subject, person, object or setting that demonstrated their personal vision for jazz. They then collaborated with students from the graphic design class and combined their artistic visions, with each team creating a poster for the Jazz Festival.
The result is 39 outstanding contributions – all created by students who knew little (or nothing) about jazz music, but now do, and who now have an appreciation for its art and history, which is all we can ask for.
The four winning entries (as chosen by a panel of distinguished Board members and artists) are pictured on this page. To see all the entries, […] Continue reading »
In honor of the late jazz photographer Lee Tanner, Jerry Jazz Musician presents a number of editions of “Master of Jazz Photography,” featuring a work by one of the photographers featured in Tanner’s book The Jazz Image.
This edition: Esmond Edwards […] Continue reading »
Club Havana was known for hosting decent Afro-Cuban jazz bands. There was dancing Thursdays through Sundays, and Sunday afternoons, the management handed out free cigars. Hector became close to the house band, whose rhythm section inspired him. He thought the drummer Manny was off the charts. Completely bald, he wore leather bands that cinched his pump wrists as if to keep his hands from flying off his body whenever he played fast and furious. A skinny, short guy played bongos, and a drunk worked the tumbadoras. Jorge, Carlos and Javier, all dapper guys, played horns. As if to distinguish themselves, one wore a mustache; another, a hat; and the other, wire rimmed glasses. Additionally, there was a young Julliard graduate on piano, a white-haired Cubano on flute, and a sax player who looked exactly like Lester Young. One afternoon, before their gig, Manny and Hector got to talking, and Hector started messing around on the tumbadoras, imitating what he had so often seen and heard. Manny raised his eyebrows and cocked his head. He liked this kid, and his sound was good.
“Why don’t you come hang with us this weekend. A few of us like to jam at Columbus Circle. Come along and let’s see how you work those congas in a group.”
Over the course of the summer, Hector hung out in the park. It was there he met […] Continue reading »
This pianist wrote his first ragtime composition (“The Charleston Rag”) in 1899, became a songwriter of Broadway shows in the 1920s, and, before dying five days after his 100th birthday, became known as “the last living link to ragtime.” Who is he?
James P. Johnson
Jelly Roll Morton
Go to the next page for the answer!
[…] Continue reading »
Tonight, NBC presents a 40-year anniversary show on Saturday Night Live, which, during that time has presented many cutting-edge (and let’s face it, at times very drab) comedic moments and personalities. While the show is known for its comedy, musical performances have at times made the show staying up past normal bedtime hours a worthwhile option. One of those moments was a December, 1976 SNL hosted by Richard Pryor, who hand-picked his musical guest, the soul/jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron. That memorable appearance is reported on by Marcus Baram in this excerpt from his biography Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man:
In the fall of 1975, Gil got a call from Richard Pryor, who invited him to be a musical guest on an upcoming episode of Saturday Night Live, which Pryor was going to host in a few weeks. Pryor invited him after hearing a story about Gil that impressed the comic: A few months earlier, Gil had been invited by singer Roberta Flack to perform on […] Continue reading »