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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Young talent for Steel Pan and Jazz Festival

A primary objective of the Trinidad and Tobago Steel Pan and Jazz Festival (TTSJF) continues to be the showcasing and development of TT’s talented young musicians.
On Friday and Saturday TTSJF will present several of the country’s finest young artistes at the Steel Pan and Jazz Festival at Queen’s Hall, each demonstrating that TT’s musical future is in gifted hands.

Etienne Charles leads a new generation of bandleaders displaying innovative approaches to jazz and traditional Caribbean music genres. The winner of the 2006 National Trumpet Competition in the US, this New York City based jazzman has plied his expressive phrasings at festivals throughout the world.

Described by as possessing “the fire and spice that emanated from African roots, to the Caribbean and, ultimately, to the womb of jazz, New Orleans,” Charles’ many achievements include writing the arrangements for Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander’s celebrated “Lords Of The West Indies” presentation at NYC’s prestigious Jazz At Lincoln Center. Consistently a TTSJF favourite, Charles and his quintet will perform pieces from his critically lauded CD “Folklore” on Friday.

Also appearing on Friday will be Élan Parlé, led by keyboardist/composer Michael Low Chew Tung, aka Min. Élan Parlé is a Trinidad-based ensemble that effortlessly blends local rhythms with global influences, in a sonic delivery aligned with the meaning of their name: spirited conversations. Since their formation in 2000, Élan Parlé has independently produced/released six CDs and has produced music for other artistes through their company Parlemusik. They have also taken their contemporary jazz interpretations of TT’s musical traditions throughout the Caribbean, including an appearance with Dave Samuels and the Caribbean Jazz Project in the Virgin Islands and a celebrated 2006 set at the TTSJF, opening for Terence Blanchard.

Pianist Chantal Esdelle, a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, founded Moyenne in 1998 with pannist Glenford “Kevin” Sobers; shortly thereafter they recruited percussionist Donald Noel and bassist Douglas Redon. On Saturday, the group will deliver their distinctive Caribbean jazz-fusions, incorporating calypso, bossa-nova and Cuban son into compositions described by veteran pannist Earl Rodney as “the African experience in the Americas”. Moyenne will also preview selections from their sophomore CD “Imbizo Moyenne”, a live recording to be released on November 15.

Natasha Joseph began playing pan when she was a 15-year-old student at the Malick Secondary Comprehensive School and before long she was the arranger for the school’s steel orchestra. In September 2010 Joseph, who plays double second pan with Tobago’s Carib Dixieland Steelband and is their stage side arranger, was a special guest performer at Fall Into Jazz: Kim Waters in Concert in Delaware. She also led a music workshop for over 350 students at Delaware’s WT Chipman Middle School. Joseph will assist keyboardist Jeremy Ledbetter and trumpeter Alexis Baró with the First Citizens sponsored Young Musicians Workshops series to be held in various locations throughout Trinidad with an expected 400 participants. “These workshops help young musicians to appreciate jazz by showing them how much fun it is to play,” Joseph observes.

- T&T Newsday

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sounding Dizzy

he was known to be a bit of a clown in his heyday, but John Birks Gillespie has left a serious musical legacy. Bebop. Afro-Cuban. The United Nations Orchestra are but a few of the gems. There was his uptruned trumpet bell, now copied by adherents the world over. And who could forget those bubblegum cheeks.
But beneath the jocularity was a master musician and a man with serious concerns for all humanity. Though his 1964 US presidential bid started out as a stunt, Dizzy soon took it seriously. His agenda did have some wacky items, but he was a champion for free health care (and free education)   long before anybody ever heard of Obama. see this link for more

Our good friend, the Petchary   did pretty all the legwork but kindly allowed us to share her post in honour of the late trumpet legend's birthday 

At the Monterey Jazz Festival there is a venue called “Dizzy’s Den.” It’s named after the one and only Dizzy Gillespie, who would have been 93 years old today (October 21). Dizzy died in 1993 at age 75. But today Google did something delightful, a great doodle with Dizzy’s famous inflatable cheeks, puffing out as he played his trumpet with verve and gusto.

Google's delightful Dizzy doodle

John Birks Gillespie was born in 1917 in Cheraw, North Carolina.  His father was a band leader and music was all around.  He learnt to play piano at age four, and trombone and trumpet by age twelve.  Music was fused into his being from a very early age.  He made his first recording, “King Porter Stomp,” with the Ted Hill Band in the late 1930s.  He went on to join Cab Calloway‘s band the “Cab Jivers”, but their relationship was sour, ending in a nasty little fight in which a knife “came into play” over a spitball thrown on stage.   Calloway was a bit of a bully, it appears.

Dizzy Gillespie with a picture of Cab Calloway, 1939
Dizzy looking as sweet as pie with a cartoon picture of his boss Cab

But that’s just a naughty piece of gossip.  Let’s just state it plainly:  Dizzy was one of the “kings of bebop.”  No doubt about that.
One other nice fact:  He met his wife Lorraine in 1940 and they were together until his death.  Their only daugher, Jeanie Bryson, is a jazz singer and is currently working on a “Dizzy Gillespie Songbook” in honor of her Dad.

Jeanie Bryson
The lovely Jeanie, Dizzy's daughter

Salt Peanuts.”  ”A Night in Tunisia.”  Jamming with Charlie Parker and John Coltrane in smoky jazz clubs.  There is too much to write about his career.  He became involved in Afro-Cuban jazz, a genre which is really still flourishing, and became close friends with the Latin trumpeter Mario Bauza.  He discoveredArturo Sandoval while traveling in Cuba.
In 1989 Dizzy gave 300 performances in 27 countries and 100 cities in the U.S.  Amazing energy.  Other little facts about the great Dizzy:
Did you know he became a follower of the Baha’i faith in 1970?  No more knife fights or drinking after that.
He was the inventor of the “bent” trumpet – which apparently came from someone sitting on it.  But he liked the sound.

Dizzy Gillespie
The ineffable Dizzy, with his famous puffed cheeks and his bent trumpet
Above all, there was his serious musicianship mixed with a kind of brimming-over humor.  Just beneath the surface.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Barbados, Jamaica in the new Year

The annual renewals of the Barbados Jazz and the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival take palce as customary in January.

watch for our previews starting soon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Herbie to play for Peace in Oslo

If you’re wondering where Herbie Hancock and his Imagine Project band will be on December 11, well, they’ll all be in Oslo, Norway, performing a concert during the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. Academy..

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Taking Cities for Jazz....with your support

Thanks to Jim Eigo for drawing my attention to this great initiative. Will be pursuing similar project here soon.

Jazz in the City is a group for local jazz aficionados, which introduces you to the finest musicians performing at some of the most elegant venues in cities around the globe.

The group’s organizers manage, book and produce both established and up-and-coming recording artists, so we have our finger on the pulse of the jazz scene!

We started this group because we want to share our passion for jazz with other fans. However, the group is not exclusively for jazz connoisseurs. Anyone who has an interest or would like to just sit, listen, and maybe sway to some great jazz tunes, can join us as well.

We will endeavor to offer our members live jazz events without a cover. However, in cases when we can’t, we will try to broker with clubs and venues special reduced admission fees for our members.