Sunday, October 30, 2005

Benny Carter

Benny Carter's autograph Posted by Picasa

I’m back, after a too long absence. I hope I didn’t lose too many of my dozen readers! My time has been spent on getting my genealogy website online. It’s at, dedicated to my great-great-great-great grandfather, James Bowie, free man of color and his descendants. The web site is still in the formative stages, but I’ll be trying to get back to weekly entries here at Blog-O-Jazz.

Back to the music….

One of the cool things about Los Angeles is that you can run into celebrities without really trying. For me, those of movie and TV fame don’t impress me that much and I would never care enough to ask one of them for their autograph. But as you know, a jazz musician is a totally different matter.

Back in 1979, at an Ellington tribute concert, I happened to turn around to find the great Benny Carter [1907-2003] seated directly behind me. Benny Carter was a great arranger and composer and pretty much played every instrument. His specialties were alto sax and trumpet. He was an amazing musician with an amazingly long career, with recordings from the 1920s to the 1990s!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Diz, Bird, Monk & Trane

Diz, Bird, Monk & Trane Posted by Picasa

There are two newly discovered, previously unknown, never before issued live concerts that you MUST own. Get them today!!!

The first is by Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker, recorded in June of 1945. The ‘be-bop’ movement was in its infancy. The songs they played were new, each one destined to become a standard. The group even has trouble recalling the title of ‘that Tadd Dameron tune’ (Hot House).

The sound is great for a 1945 live session. Most importantly, the group really gets to stretch out – the average song is 7 minutes, twice that available on the 78 rpm records of the time. Bird does things here that you don’t hear on the studio recordings. He even makes several excursions into the altissimo register. The rhythm section is Al Haig, Curly Russell and Max Roach. Tenor saxophonist Don Byas and drummer Big Sid Catlett guest on a song each.
The second captures the Thelonious Monk quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall in 1957. This group burns! This concert is extra significant because of the limited amount of material documenting the Monk/Coltrane collaboration. Supporting cast: Ahmed Adbul-Malik on bass and Shadow Wilson on drums.

On Tuesday, 11 October, our local jazz radio station KKJZ (88.1 FM) will present a one hour program on the Monk/Coltrane connection at 7:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time). For those of you outside the area, go to for their stream broadcast.