Adept drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath dies At 88
New York Amsterdam » Jazz Notes
by Ronald E. Scott
3d ago
Albert “Tootie” Heath, the humorous, innate drummer, who was adept in playing any style of jazz and influenced musicians for over seven decades died on April 3, at CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was 88. The cause was leukemia, said his wife Beverly Heath, to Philadelphia radio station WRTI. Heath was stationed in the jazz tradition but never stopped pursuing the expansion of the art form that led him to explore elements of African percussion, North Indian beats and other rhythmic styles. This along with his uncanny intuitiveness made him an elite firs ..read more
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D-Composed, Shine, Harlem Is Music
New York Amsterdam » Jazz Notes
by Ronald E. Scott
1w ago
In the unyielding world of classical music, African Americans make up only 2.4% of American orchestras, and two-thirds of orchestra repertoires continue to feature compositions primarily from deceased white men. Meanwhile, in Harlem, there are the Harlem Chamber Players, who offer West Harlem diversity in classical music.  The classical ensemble D-Composed started in 2017 in Chicago—the only all-Black ensemble and the only ensemble that focuses exclusively on the works of Black composers. While reflecting on what the classical world could be, they refer to James Reese Europe’s (the Clef ..read more
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Sista’s Place, VTY, Cobi Narita Memorial
New York Amsterdam » Jazz Notes
by Ronald E. Scott
2w ago
When the spoken-word performance of recording artist Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin and her group grace the stage of Sista’s Place on March 30, expect an evening of fiery inspiration (two shows at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.).  The Grammy-nominated actress and self-empowerment speaker most recently appeared in the Appel Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center in collaboration with Senakwami’s Studio, with pianist Julius Rodriguez  The Detroit native’s nomination was a result of her collaboration with percussionist Jeff Haynes, who produced her CD titled “Storm King  featuring the life, stories and mus ..read more
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Arts for Art, Haynes, Schomburg, Puddin,’ Harlem Stage, Gallery
New York Amsterdam » Jazz Notes
by Ronald E. Scott
3w ago
Arts for Art, a long-standing nonprofit organization located on the Lower East Side, is known for its vast music programs (festivals and panels). In other words, they are one of the few who promote musicians whose creativity soars beyond the stars into that far-away Land of Oo-Bla-Dee, the altar of avant gardism.    Their Artist Series Thursdays at 62 Avenue C continues on March 21 when Devin Brahia Waldman curates NuBlu Classic. The multi-instrumentalist’s bio indicates it will be a most intriguing evening. The native New Yorker, who leads the group BRAHJA, is the co-founding ..read more
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Renowned jazz radio personality Rob Crocker dies at 78
New York Amsterdam » Jazz Notes
by Ronald E. Scott
1M ago
Rob Crocker, whose smooth, distinctive voice was a mainstay for more than five decades on a variety of radio stations, both in New York City and abroad, died on March 7 at his apartment in Manhattan. He was 78. Crocker’s transition was confirmed by his brother Steve Crocker. No cause of death was given.   The jazz radio host, programmer, and producer’s broadcasting career stretched across three continents (Japan, Europe and United States). He is best known for his last three decades as the hip on-air host of Newark’s 24-hour jazz radio station WBGO-FM. He inspired his listening audi ..read more
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Village Vanguard, Transart, Room 623, Book/Albums
New York Amsterdam » Jazz Notes
by Ronald E. Scott
1M ago
Guitarist Peter Bernstein’s crisp, punctuated melodies are what caught the ear of organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, earning him a regular chair in his band. Dr. Smith often referred to Bernstein as his favorite guitarist. His masterful playing has earned him stints with Lou Donaldson, Mike LeDonne, and Larry Goldings, having recorded more than 30 albums as a leader and more than 50 more as a productive group member.     The Bernstein Quartet will make its way to the Village Vanguard stage for what will be an exciting five-night stand from March 5-10. He will be joined by pianist ..read more
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Paula West, Wycliffe at Vanguard, Sankofa Danzafro
New York Amsterdam » Jazz Notes
by Ronald E. Scott
1M ago
The West Coast vocal stylist Paula West hit my radar screen, making me a West head for ever more during the period she was accompanied by the brilliant young pianist Eric Reed. That was quite a trio/quartet that performed often in New York City, with performances at the Jazz Standard and prestigious Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel.  West earned a reputation for turning lost songs in the back bushes, most often not even associated with jazz, but her song interpretations and musical curiosity brought attention to such non-standard songs as Bert Williams’s turn of the (20th) centu ..read more
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LINES Ballet, Plummer tribute, Khaliq at Joe’s Pub
New York Amsterdam » Jazz Notes
by Ronald E. Scott
1M ago
A most intriguing event will take place at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall (60th Street & Broadway): The Alonzo King LINES Ballet will perform “Deep River” with singer Lisa Fischer and pianist/composer Jason Moran. There will be three performances, February 22–24, at 7:30 p.m. each night.  Both Fischer and Moran represent fearlessness in music. They are continuously in search of new platforms. “I love working with Jason—we have done eight ballets together,” said King, “and I love working with Lisa—her humility, power, and beauty of her voice is amazing. She is a masterpiece.”  ..read more
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Rhapsody in Blue Reimagined
New York Amsterdam » Jazz Notes
by Ronald E. Scott
2M ago
This month’s centennials include Max Roach, James Baldwin and the pianist and composer George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” that premiered in New York City’s Aeolian Hall, in February 1924. Gershwin proclaimed “Rhapsody,” “a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America—of our vast melting pot.” The composer relied on familiar harmonies, melodies, and the colorful early jazz sounds influenced by Louis Armstrong and Harlem stride pianists James P. Johnson and Willie “the Lion” Smith. Though his performance barely touched these Black musical influences, at intervals the heightened melody of horns, st ..read more
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Hunter College, Dizzy’s, FAMU Adderley Brothers
New York Amsterdam » Jazz Notes
by Ronald E. Scott
2M ago
Even words like icon, legend, or most influential jazz singer in history don’t come close to acknowledging the vocal supremacy of Billie Holiday. Her voice was so fluid, listeners never knew whether to cry or rejoice, shout or dance. She, unlike any other singer jazz or otherwise, exhibited her heart and emotions in her vocal delivery. Even on tongue-in-cheek tunes like “Comes Love,” one will still clutch their heart as if to hide it from a bewildered lover on a dark night. Even her name Billie Holiday causes folks to stop and pay attention: Billie Holiday, what about her, what about Lady Day ..read more
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