Thursday, April 29, 2010

BACK TO BLOGGING

Well its a been a long long time since I have made a blog entry. Its for several reasons really. One, now that I'm a family man, finding the time to consistently post has become increasingly difficult. Two, I felt that because of my position I couldn't really be as honest as I want to be. I landed myself into a bit of hot water from earlier posts and felt like if I couldn't be honest then what was the point. Three, and perhaps the biggest one is I got confused about what the purpose of a blog is. Do I need to write stuff that people are interested in? Should I do record reviews? What if people don't read it etc. etc. I can't honestly say Im no longer confused but I think I have a better idea of what I want out of writing a blog and am not so concerned with what the reader gets out of it. People don't have to read it if they don't want.

So why the return? Well, my friend James Danderfer has a blog and he posts every Saturday. I enjoy reading it and it made me realize how much I missed writing posts. I'm not sure if he has purposely written with a specific 'style' in mind but I like his style. Honest, from the heart and funny. He has lots to say and writes it in a way that I think is kind of cool.

Time is going to continue to be an issue but I'm going to do my best to make sure I take a few minutes each week to post even if its short. The honesty thing....well, Im not quite sure how that is gonna play out but I will certainly be careful, thoughtful and factual when criticizing something. Having said that, criticizing and being negative is far from what this blog is about anyways. As for whether or not my posts are interesting or not....well, I'm not going to care. I will write and hopefully you will get a laugh, go buy a recording that I recommend, check out a show I talk about or want to enter into a dialogue about some of the things I talk about. Or you might gather that I'm an idiot and write me off completely. That's okay to!

Another reason that I wanted to return to posting is I really get excited when I hear a new record that I really like and I want to share it with as many people as I can. I am taking a hiatus from my 'Chasin The Train' radio show so I don't have that outlet in which to preach about new recordings etc. Talking about the latest recordings that I get is something that was very prominent in my previous blog posts and will continue to be very prominent in my new posts. There are such few places now you can find out about or get personal recommendations about recordings so hopefully you will check something out that I recommend or at least have your interest peaked.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

2 WORDS FOR YOU! HAROLD MABERN


Photo: Steve Mynett

I don't even know where to begin! Last night was so unbelievable. Harold Mabern got sounds out of our piano that no one else ever has. His touch is beautiful and his tone is really unbelievable. If you are not doing anything tonight you have to come and check it out, you just have to. Mike DiRubbo is an amazing alto saxophonist as well and for a guy that has basically spent the better part of two days travelling to get here he played so beautifully. They played Blue Train, Whats New, So What, Edward Lee (Mabes' tune), Rakin and Scrapin (Mabes' tune), Clarity (a great DiRubbo tune based on Giant Steps), To Late Now and a few others that I didn't recognize. Another colossal night at The Cellar.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Strozier Mania


Last Sunday night I was preparing to do my radio show featuring Harold Mabern. I wanted to choose some music that maybe lot of people hadn't heard. I perused my collection and pulled out some great stuff for sure but I came across a find on iTunes of all places that has lit up my world for the last few days. Its a record that was issued on Steeplechase Records and despite doing some extensive research I can't really figure out when it was recorded. It says 1997 which I suppose is possible but getting any kind of info on Strozier is tough. The last I heard he was alive and well but concentrating mostly on playing piano, not alto saxophone. It is definitely a later recording so perhaps 1997 is correct. Its on Steeplechase as I mentioned and the number is SCCD 31420 and the title is "What's Goin' On." The lineup is absolutely fantastic: Louis Hayes (drums, Stafford James (bass), Harold Mabern (piano) the late Danny Moore (trumpet) and of course Frank Strozier (alto sax. I have in many ways been unable to put Mabern's playing characteristics into words but listening to this record pretty much sums it up totally! His comping is driving, swinging, unrelenting, urgent, constant and its clear on this session that Strozier is clearly spurred on by his Memphis counterpart. Strozier is in fine form. His tone is a lot brigher and harsher than that of his earlier recordings but this isn't a bad thing. Its also great to hear Danny Moore who is somewhat of an 'institution' in NYC amongst musicians and he sounds great throughout this CD.
They do a great version of Marvin Gaye's 'Whats Going On' that is just killing! Strozier also flexes his flute chops on the record exhibiting his gorgeous sound and technique. A great record. Check it out at www.jazzloft.com

I just dropped Harold Mabern off at his hotel and got the facts. This record he suspects was done in the early to mid 80's as Strozier quite playing saxophone right after this recording sighting 'bad reeds' as his reason. Strozier is alive and well living in Westchester New York practicing piano!

Long Time No Post

What a whirlwind the last few months has been! Holy cow. Between moving into our condo, getting married and the fast approach of jazz festival its amazing I'm still standing. The jazz festival has been outstanding and although we still have 4 days left I think its safe to say that we have had record attendance this year. Its been truly spectacular which is fantastic. To add to Thai we didn't have the slow down leading up to jazz festival that we usually experience. In fact it wa the complete opposite with sales actually picking up which once again is fantastic! Musically so far its been amazing but what do you expect? The local musicians in this town are wonderful!

Im really really excited about Harold Mabern coming to Vancouver in a few days! Actually he arrives tonight and plays tomorrow and Saturday. I really think Mabes is one of the unsung heroes of post bop piano and continues to nurture some of the finest young talent including alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo with whom he'll be playing with this weekend and tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander with whom he has appeared on over 20 records with. He also carries the torch of musicians from Memphis like Frank Storzier, Phineas Newborn Jr., George Coleman and many more. I interviewed him on my radio show last Monday and am thinking that Brian Nation at www.vancouverjazz.com will post it on their soon!

The club is going down to 4 days a week starting July 5th which is great news as myself and all the staff need a big break for a while. That doesn't mean however that there isn't great music coming up in the next few months: Judy Wexler (great singer from Los Angeles) July 6th / 7th, Ron Small - July 20th / 21st, Miles Black Trio doing a live record on August 3rd / 4th etc. etc. Gonna be some great music! Unfortunately I'm going to miss a bit of it because Im going to be in Mexico with my beautiful wife on our honeymoon. We are heading to Mexico, the Mayan Riviera to be exact and we can't wait to do some serious relaxing. I really understand why people go on honeymoon's right after their wedding. God how I wish we could've done that!

Im hosting a tour of THE HAVANA JAZZ FESTIVAL from February 10th - 18th, 2008. Im very excited about it as I have never been before. Its gonna be a blast. If you can get the time off and have some money to burn, check it out! www.jazzcuba.com

Monday, June 11, 2007

CHASIN THE TRAIN - June 11th

1. DAYNA STEPHENS - Beginning Of An Endless Happy Monday, THE TIMLESS NOW, CTA RECORDS
2. DAYNA STEPHENS - Smoking Gun, THE TIMLESS NOW, CTA RECORDS
3. DAYNA STEPHENS - Teeth, THE TIMLESS NOW, CTA RECORDS
4. DAYNA STEPHENS - On The Trail, THE TIMLESS NOW, CTA RECORDS
5. DAYNA STEPHENS - Lost And Found, THE TIMLESS NOW, CTA RECORDS
6. DAYNA STEPHENS - Contagious, THE TIMLESS NOW, CTA RECORDS

Friday, June 08, 2007

Dayna Stephens, a saxophonist to watch



Kudos to Downbeat for doing a feature on Brooklyn based tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens. We will definitely be hearing more from this young musician and that’s a very good thing. ‘A Timeless Now’ is a beautiful record from start to finish. It’s rare that I listen to a record more than twice and I’m already on my fourth run through of this one, discovering new things on each listen.

Dayna’s big, robust, yet sweet sound and beautifully melodic lines make you think he is twice his age. He is only 27. After just one listen however you do hear his youthful exuberance but its disguised with so much musical maturity it confuses you. His debut release as a leader is a wonderful collection of originals; a gorgeous reading of 'On The Trail' and an equally gorgeous turn on 'But Beautiful.' Featured throughout the album is young piano phenom Taylor Eigsti who shines on every track. It’s hard to pick a highlight. I particularly enjoy his Rhodes work on 'Teeth' and more specifically the sound he coaxes out of the Rhodes. The rhythm team of bassist Ben Street and Eric Harland are rock solid with the latter turning in some of the more creative drumming on record that I have heard recently. The addition of John Scofiled on the date is no doubt a coup for the young saxophonist but in my opinion is unnecessary. That’s not a dig on Sco but more a compliment to this band being able to stand on its own. Having said that Sco turns in some really swinging solos especially on “On The Trial.” The thing I enjoy most about Sco’s playing on this record is that he for the most part is using a dry guitar sound at least more dry than I have heard in many years.

The one thing that stands out about Stephens' overall performance is his complete focus on making great music and not relying on flashy technique or impressive saxophone tricks. You can hear that his technique is flawless but I re-iterate he keeps 'music' in the forefront of his mind. Its modern jazz but its very rooted, which I think, is missing in a lot of the young players these days.

A highly recommended release! You can check it out on MONDAY, June 11th on CHASIN THE TRAIN, 102.7 CFRO, 11:00 am to Noon.

Check out Dayna Stephens on the web and purchase his 'The Timeless Now' CDBABY

Wednesday, May 30, 2007



This is Alana and I at The Diamond Alumni Center at SFU right during our reception!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

WILD YEARS - May 29th, 2007

I have listed ARTIST, SONG NAME, ALBUM NAME and RECORD LABEL and have provided links where possible.

1. TUBBY HAYES - 100% PROOF, 100% PROOF, UNIVERSAL MUSIC
2. HAROLD LAND - CHEROKEE, JAZZ @ THE CELLAR 1958, LONEHILL JAZZ
3. JIM ROTONDI - ON Y VA, PLEAURE DOME,SHARP NINE RECORDS
4. JIM ROTONDI - HUSH, PLEAURE DOME,SHARP NINE RECORDS
5. DAN PRATT - GRAPPLE WITH THE APPLE, SPRING LOADED, SUNNY SKY RECORDS
6. DAN PRATT - 20/20, SPRING LOADED, SUNNY SKY RECORDS
7. SONNY ROLLINS - WHY WAS I BORN, HERE'S TO THE PEOPLE, MILESTONE
8. MICHAEL ZILBER - SUITE MONTEREY, CROSSROADS,INDEDEPENDANT
9.MICHAEL ZILBER - SOULSTICE SONG, CROSSROADS,INDEDEPENDANT
10. HANK MARR - ONE FOR DADDY'O,ITS ABOUT TIME, DOUBLE TIME RECORDS
11. JEREMEY MANASIA - C'S SONG, WITCHERY CELLAR LIVE
12. GRANT STEWART - SOUL STATION, ESTATE, VIDEO ARTS MUSIC
13. JODI PROZNICK - ALL TOO SOON, FOUNDATIONSCELLARLIVE
14. IAN MCDOUGALL - IAN LEAPS OUT, NO PASSPORT REQUIRED,BARBARIAN RECORDS

Wedding

Well, I finally got hitched and the whirlwind weekend that was my wedding is over. It came and went so fast I can't even believe it. All in all it was a spectacular few days with very little drama to report and just a whole lot of fun. It was great having so much family and so many great friends there to celebrate our day. Im posting this from the COOP Radio computer so I don't have access to any pictures at the moment but I may post some a little later. Its amazing how much preperation there and then how quickly it all ends! Wow! Alana my wife did a wonderful job and everything came off without a hitch!