December 31, 1992 |
In Bird, Clint Eastwood considered Charlie Parker and a paradox that recurs all too often in the lives and deaths of legendary jazz musicians: The incandescent fire of genius and creativity proved to be the very thing that destroyed them. Drug-addicted, self-destructive artists such as Parker, Thelonious Monk or Chet Baker offer such a strong dramatic profile that their enduring music becomes as much a metaphor as an expression of their anguish. Sometimes, it's refreshing to just kick back and listen to what they left us, and there is a literally priceless opportunity to do just that in An Evening at Birdland.
September 20, 1991 |
If George Coleman's approach to the tenor saxophone on a given number can be many things, there is good reason. Over the course of his career, there have been many influences on Coleman's music. That is why he can take a classic romantic ballad, such as "Body and Soul," and do the most unexpected things with it. Oh, sure, he starts out traditionally enough, playing warm, deep tones that do total justice to the mood of the piece. Suddenly, though, Coleman can be off and running on blues riffs, high-speed be-bop flights and all manner of other instrumental gymnastics, before settling back into that warm, cozy groove.
November 27, 1992 |
Two jazzmen, Ted Curson and John Simon, who used to be from here, are back in the city briefly and can be experienced tonight performing as guests with the Mickey Roker Quartet at Ortlieb's Jazzhaus. It is a collaboration that should make for an exceptional evening of music. This appearance is a warm-up of sorts for an European tour planned for Curson's newly formed septet, which features Simon on tenor saxophone. The outing in Europe is especially appropriate for Curson. As is the case with so many American jazz artists, he is at least as well appreciated abroad as on his home turf.
November 18, 1989 |
Although it's been two years since Philadelphia hosted the blowout of vanguard sounds known as New Music America (NMA), the annual festival is indirectly responsible for tonight's gig by Edward Wilkerson and 8 Bold Souls at the Painted Bride Art Center. The 36-year-old Wilkerson - who plays alto and tenor saxophone and alto and B-flat clarinet, and whose skills as a soloist, composer and band leader put him on equal footing with such better-known New York contemporaries as Anthony Davis, David Murray and Henry Threadgill - played at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Wednesday as part of the current NMA. Wilkerson was eager to line up other East Coast jobs for his Chicago-based 27-piece orchestra, Shadow Vignettes.
March 8, 1991 |
John Simon plays the tenor saxophone with that fine passion that is born of a will to succeed. South Philadelphian Simon, 31, is at the point of an upwardly spiraling career at which he has gained a foothold in New York. It took more than buying a bus ticket to get there. Part of the price was several years of playing with organ trios here and on the road, a regimen Simon says he doesn't regret for a second. "My four years in the house band at Gert's Lounge at 15th and South was like graduate school," he related the other day. "It was a very important part of my career and my life.
April 26, 1990 |
Dexter Gordon, who died early yesterday in Philadelphia, was an imposing figure in jazz, and not merely because he stood 6-foot-5. He was idolized by jazz fans for his big sound and harmonic complexity. In his prime, his playing had a deep, full sound that vibrated off the walls of small clubs and even large concert halls. It was a sound as massive as his influence on countless other tenor saxophonists, including Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. Gordon, 67, of New York, who was the star of the 1986 film 'Round Midnight, died of kidney failure at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
May 20, 1988 |
Ron Carter, who brings his group to Memphis on Wednesday, anchored the innovative rhythm section in the Miles Davis Quintet during the mid-'60s. During that same period, Carter was among the virtuoso bassists responsible for giving new credibility to what had traditionally been thought of as a supporting instrument. But if this were a Dewars profile, Carter's most recent accomplishment would be learning how to score for medieval instruments so he could write the sound track for Bernard Tavernier's Beatrice.
April 24, 1998 |
Saxophonists Sam Reed and Stan Wilson carry strong Philly credentials. Reed hails from South Philadelphia, where he hung out with friends such as drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, trumpeter Ted Curson and pianist Bobby Timmons. Wilson, comes from North Philly, a product of the Simon Gratz High School band, friend to players like trumpeter Lee Morgan and bassist Reggie Workman. On Sunday, Reed, 62, and Wilson, 60, are the focus of "Last Man Standing," a show billed as "a stomp-down, drag-out, call-the-cops Battle of the Tenor Saxes.
February 5, 2013 |
As 16-year-old Alex Wood plays the jazz standard "Misty" on the piano, bassist Buster Williams hangs on every note. But it is the absence of sound he is listening for. "Allow the space and the air in the music to be part of the improvisation," says Williams - brow furrowed, bass resting on his shoulder - in the auditorium of Abington Friends School. Williams, 70, is a living legend of jazz, a sideman who has jammed with the likes of Miles Davis, Count Basie, Herbie Hancock, Sarah Vaughan, and Nancy Wilson.
January 12, 1994 |
First impressions of Trudy Pitts and Mr. C: She is quiet, reserved, smiles a lot and makes you conscious of your manners. He's a bulldog - confrontational, arrogant, boastful, a name-dropper, bad cop to her good. Second impressions of Trudy Pitts and Mr. C: She is quiet, reserved, smiles a lot and makes you conscious of your manners. And he's nothing like you thought at first (except for the name-dropping part). Mr. C is cautious, but personable. He's someone who, after nearly 40 years in the music business, meets new situations by coming out punching.