Concerning yesterday’s passing of the great pianist Horace Silver, others much more qualified than I will write of his musical brilliance, and communicate his importance to the music’s growth. (To that end, there is an excellent life remembrance of Silver by Peter Keepnews in today’s New York Times that you can read by going here). I would just like to devote a couple paragraphs to my own introduction to his music, and what it meant to me at the time.
When I moved from Berkeley to Portland in the summer of 1978, I was already a pretty passionate listener of jazz, but I was still in the “101″ phase. I knew and loved the “A Team” – Basie, Ellington, some early Armstrong, Monk, Bird and Miles. Coltrane’s ballads were gorgeous, and I loved his playing on […] Continue reading »
Still tingling with Basie’s hard cooking,
between sets I stood at the bar
when the man next to me ordered
scotch and milk. I looked to see who had
this stray taste and almost swooned
when I saw it was the master.
Basie knocked his shot back,
then, when he saw me gaping,
raised his milk to my peachy face
and rolled out his complete smile
[…] Continue reading »
The visual artist Jazzamoart of Guanajuato, Mexico has long enticed serious jazz collectors with his uncommon, audacious, and joyful paintings. Possibly the most important expressionist artist interpreting jazz, the critic Antonio Rodriguez wrote that Jazzamoart’s paintings “are reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s style and the expression takes from the horrorific elements of Willem de Kooning’s work,” while Jose Luis Cuevas describes it as “if he were a mad jazz dancer who discovers the origins of the earth every time his toe dips into it.” His colorful, creative work […] Continue reading »
In the mid-1950′s, after a failed audition for the Benny Goodman band, this drummer found work in New York, toured with Charles Mingus’s band, and performed on J.J. Johnson’s J Is for Jazz. Who is he?
Philly Joe Jones
Jack De Johnette
[…] Continue reading »
Besides doing his best to help raise three kids, during my 1960′s childhood my father worked his heart out at two jobs — one of which was as owner of a restaurant on Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue, and the other as a musician, playing trumpet and viola throughout the San Francisco Bay area, mostly on evenings and weekends in “casual” jobs. For years he was part of a strolling quartet that entertained San Francisco’s elite at the World Trade Club — an ensemble that at its peak toured the Philippines, playing to an audience that included “strongman” Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda.
Prior to that, in the 30′s he traveled the country and led his own band in Sacramento. In the 40′s, he spent the war years as a member of the Winged Victory Orchestra. And, in the late 40′s and 50′s, among many musical pursuits (although toned down once he married my mom in 1947), he played in the Jack Fina Orchestra, as well as in Ernie Heckscher’s orchestra, which famously played at the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill.
He loved his music, and part of my own early appreciation for music came as a result of hearing his practice sessions. To this day I can still very clearly hear the sound of his viola […] Continue reading »