Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kenny Burrell's 75th Birthday Celebration

Guitar legend and educator Kenny Burrell turned 75 on July 31st of this year. He’s had a nearly 30 year association with UCLA as a performing artist, professor and now, head of the jazz studies program. (The photos were taken at a concert on May 19, 1979 in front on UCLA’s Janss Steps. In addition to Kenny, the group featured Teddy Edwards-tenor sax, Ernie Andrews-vocals, Art Hillary-piano, John B. Williams-bass, and Sherman Ferguson-drums.)

This Saturday, December 2nd, Kenny’s 75th birthday is being celebrated at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus with a concert. Featured artists include Pat Metheny, The Gerald Wilson Orchestra, The Jazz Heritage All-Stars, The Kenny Burrell Trio, Russell Malone, Lalo Schifrin, Jeff Clayton, Hubert Laws and some very special surprise guests! Go to for more information.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sonny Rollins/Metropolis Books!

I’ve been busy lately trying to get our bookstore put together (see the next paragraph). While Julie and I were putting together bookcases, I happened to hear a Sonny Rollins song on local radio station KKJZ that was new to me. The announcer confirmed what I had suspected; Sonny has a new CD out! It’s entitled Sonny, Please. A couple of days later, I went to Tower Records and then Borders to find it; no luck. Then I tried to get it online at Amazon. Again, no luck. It took going to Sonny’s website to find out that he had started his own record label, Doxy Records. The album, his first studio recording in five years, is only available through his website. I think it’s great when an artist takes control of their business like that. Please support them! (I can’t wait for it to arrive!)

A Shameless Plug: My wife and I are in the process of opening an independent bookstore that will serve downtown Los Angeles (440 S. Main, between 4th and 5th). Oddly enough, no one else is serving this market. It will be called Metropolis Books. I have a place marker of a website here. We’re hoping to open early in December. Wish us luck!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Art Tatum 1909-1956

One of the things that made Phil Woods celebration of 75 years of life so notable is that so many jazz musicians don’t get to log that many years. 50 years ago on this date, Art Tatum passed away in Los Angeles at age 47. Some would say he was the greatest pianist ever, without including the qualifier "jazz." Classical greats like Rubinstein and Horowitz were fans. Unfortunately, there are not very many visual examples of Tatum in action. But through the magic of You Tube, you can watch him play Humoresque and Yesterdays. (Notice the economy of movement; he’s very efficient.)

The picture is from one of my favorite Tatum albums. It features him with the great Ben Webster in a sublime program of standards. If you don’t have it, you should get it!