Jazz Jottings October 2018

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Vince Giordano has received the New York Hot Jazz Festival’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. September also marked the fifth anniversary of Vince and his Nighthawks’ Monday and Tuesday night performances at the Iguana Tex-Mex Restaurant at 240 West 54th Street (between 8th Avenue and Broadway) in New York City. Reservations are recommended, and there is an admission and cover charge.

On Sunday, November 18, the Nighthawks will be taking a benefit “Up-the-River” cruise to raise funds for the planned $14-million Sing Sing Prison Museum. The maximum security prison was originally built in 1825, and today houses 1,700 inmates. The slang expression “up the river” originated when criminals sentenced in a NYC court were shipped 30 miles up the Hudson River to Sing Sing.

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The good news is that clarinetist Ron Hockett has been accepted into the lung transplant program at the Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. In February, Ron received a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is a chronic and progressive scarring of the lungs that eventually leads to respiratory failure. There is no cure; the only real treatment is a lung transplant.

Ron and his wife have relocated from their home in Charlotte to Durham. He underwent a five-day evaluation in August to be listed for a transplant. According to his stepdaughter, Alexandra Foley, “As you can imagine, the cost is enormous, and we have just started a $25,000 Go-FundMe campaign to help with their relocation expenses.”

Reedman Ron Hockett could use some help with expenses. His stepdaughter has launched a fundraiser to help defray costs: www.gofundme.com/my-stepdad-needs-a-lung-transplant.

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You’ve really made it as a writer when your book is translated into the Korean language. Such is the case with Ted Gioia’s The Jazz Standards, originally published in 2012. The Jazz Standards, a comprehensive guide to the most important jazz compositions, is a unique resource, a browser’s companion, and an invaluable introduction to the art form. This essential book for music lovers tells the story of 250 key jazz songs, and includes a listening guide to more than 2,000 recordings. As one reviewer observed, “This is a really remarkable musical history, a collection of anecdotes, observations, reviews and performance tips for classic tunes in the jazz repertoire. In many cases, the context that Gioia shares about the creation and history of songs adds a new dimension to one’s appreciation of the music.”

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Adrian Cunningham is taking over from Ed Polcer as musical director of the Colorado Springs Jazz Party. Adrian holds a similar position with the North Carolina JP. Dan Barrett handles that function for the San Diego JP, and Johnny Varro does likewise for the folks in West Texas.

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Peter Bullis, who passed away last month, was the longtime banjoist and business manager for the New Black Eagles Jazz Band. The Eagles maintained much the same personnel for over 40 years, about which Peter commented in an interview, “We like each other and are a compatible group. We work well together and take a professional approach to the music. We have a band meeting at least once a month. If we don’t solve the problems, at least we know what they are.”

Related: Peter Bullis, Banjoist for the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, has passed.

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Banu Gibson is directing a production of Dames at Sea, scheduled to open Oct. 19 at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. Never one to turn down a challenging role, Banu says, “I’m looking forward to pretending I’m Warner Baxter in a 1930s black-and-white film.”

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Pianist Brian Holland relates a heartwarming episode that happened when he and drummer Danny Coots were on their annual West Coast tour. As Brian tells the story, “We were performing at a free concert in late August at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley. The Church doors were wide-open, so the music permeated the night air. Right after intermission, a homeless man wandered in and sat down. We found out later that he put a dollar in the musicians’ tip jar. Without a doubt, that had to be the most meaningful and thoughtful dollar we ever made.”

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Alan Shelton has retired as leader and trumpeter of the Royale Garden Jazz Band because of ongoing health issues. His replacement is veteran cornetist Jay Rice.

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What started as a casual get-together of three banjo player has evolved into an annual Banjo Summit, which this year will be held in the Gas Light Music Hall in Oro Valley, Arizona on Oct. 9, starting at 6pm. The three strummers are Howard Alden, Rob Wright, and Tyler Jackson, aided by bassist Evan Dain and drummer Ray Templin. The gang also has a 17-tune CD entitled The Great Banjo Summit. . . and Other Things with Strings.

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A highlight of the 29th Arizona Classic Jazz Festival (Nov. 1-4) is bound to be when local keyboard whiz Nicole Pesce teams up with Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi for a six-handed romp of stride piano favorites. Nicole’s group, We3 +1, will wrap up the weekend festivities with a tribute to the Ink Spots. Vocalist Renee Grant Patrick’s father was a member of George Holmes’ Ink Spots in the 1980s.

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If you’d rather be a participant rather than a spectator when it comes to jazz, there are four camps that have announced their dates of 2019. Kicking off the new year will be the San Diego Adult Traditional Jazz Camp (Jan. 17-20), followed by the New York Hot Jazz Camp (April 23-29), and the New Orleans Jazz Camp (June 23-29). The Teagarden Jazz Camp in California has two sessions for young musicians, July 29-Aug. 4 and Aug.6-12.

See: Traditional Jazz Camps for Adults- A Guide

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The annual Whitley Bay International Classic Jazz Party at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK the weekend on Nov. 2-4 will find eight musicians from the United States among the international roster of world-class performers. The USA delegation includes Andy Schumm and Mike Davis (tr), Dan Levinson (reeds), Jim Fryer (tb), Jeff Barnhart and David Boeddinghaus (piano), Josh Duffee (drums) and Joan Viskant (vocals).

Founded by the late Mike Durham in 1990, the party takes the form of a series of special-themed sets drawn from the canon of the first 40 years of jazz. The concert themes run the gamut from “What would Buddy Bolden’s band sound like?” to “A Coon-Sanders Nighthawks radio broadcast” to “A history of hot drumming”. Also scheduled are tributes to such jazz legends as Frank Teschmacher, Jean Goldkette, Tiny Parham, Red Nichols, Chick Webb, the New Orleans Owls, and the Mound City Blue Blowers.

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The 19th Newport Beach Jazz Party will bring together five big bands and 130 artists February 14-17, 2019 at the Marriott Newport Beach Hotel. Jack Jones is the headliner, and among the artists that music director Ken Peplowski has corralled for the event are Harry Allen, Wyclffe Gordon, Scott Hamilton, Justin Kauflin, Butch Miles, Barbara Morrison, Roger Neuman’s Rather Large Band, Houston Pearson, Chuck Redd, Tierney Sutton, Katie Therox, and Scott Whitfield.

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The fourth International Jazz Composers’ Symposium, co-sponsored by the University of Northern Colorado and the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC), will be held in the new School of Music facilities at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO from May 16-18, 2019. The Symposium is designed as a forum to bring jazz composers of all ages and nationalities together for an informal exchange of ideas, information, and inspiration.

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The four series of summer concerts produced and performed by Peter and Will Anderson and their fellow musicians and featuring music composed by Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Hoagy Carmichael and Jimmy Van Hessen garnered highly favorable reviews by the New York press. Present at one of the Berlin concerts was the composer’s daughter and granddaughter.

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“I feel like there are more reasons to be excited about improvised music today than at any time during my 41 years on the planet.” – Jazz critic Nate Chinen

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