“I got a poster from Columbia Records, and there’s Miles Davis, Charlie Mingus, Ellington, Count Basie - everybody in that poster has died, I’m the only one left. And great players like Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan, it’s hard to believe they’re gone because we were all so close. But I believe in the future and the tradition will go on.” - Dave Brubeck [December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012]
Ahmad Jamal (piano) - 1930 :: Many happy jazziversary returns to Ahmad Jamal. Ahmad is an innovative and influential jazz pianist, composer, and educator. For five decades, he has been one of the most successful small-group leaders in jazz.
According to American music critic Stanley Crouch, Jamal is second in importance in the development of jazz after 1945 only to Charlie Parker.
His Pittsburgh roots have remained an important part of his identity (“Pittsburgh meant everything to me and it still does,” he said in 2001) and it was there that he was immersed in the influence of jazz artists such as Earl Hines, Billy Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams, and Erroll Garner.
Jamal also studied with pianist James Miller and began playing piano professionally at the age of fourteen, at which point he was recognized as a “coming great” by the pianist Art Tatum.
He moved to Chicago in 1950 (where he legally changed his name to Ahmad Jamal), and made his first sides in 1951 for the Okeh label with The Three Strings (which would later also be called the Ahmad Jamal Trio, although Jamal himself prefers not to use the term “trio”): the other members were guitarist Ray Crawford and a bassist (at different times, Eddie Calhoun (1950–1952), Richard Davis (1953–1954), and Israel Crosby (from 1954)). The Three Strings arranged an extended engagement at Chicago’s Blue Note, but leapt to fame after performing at the Embers in New York City where John Hammond saw the band play and signed them to Okeh Records.
Hammond, a record producer who discovered the talents and enhanced the fame of musicians like Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, and Count Basie, also helped Jamal’s trio attract critical acclaim. Jamal subsequently recorded for Parrot (1953–1955) and Epic (1955) using the piano-guitar-bass lineup. The trio’s sound changed significantly when Crawford was replaced with drummer Vernel Fournier in 1957, and the group worked as the “House Trio” at Chicago’s Pershing Hotel.
The trio released the live album But Not for Me which stayed on the Ten Best-selling charts for 108 weeks. Jamal’s well known song “Poinciana” was first released on this album.
In 1964, Jamal resumed touring and recording, this time with the bassist Jamil Nasser and recorded a new album, Extensions, in 1965. Jamal and Nasser continued to play and record together from 1964 to 1972. He also joined forces with Fournier (again, but only for about a year) and drummer Frank Gant (1966–1972), among others.
He continued to play throughout the 1970s and 1980s, mostly in trios with piano, bass and drums, but he occasionally expanded the group to include guitar. One of his most long-standing gigs was as the band for the New Year’s Eve celebrations at Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. from 1979 through the 1990s
Since the 1980s Jamal has been regularly touring the major clubs of the United States and the large European jazz festivals. He is generally accompanied by bassist James Cammack and drummer Idris Muhammad. He has also performed regularly with saxophonist George Coleman.
Now in his eighties, Ahmad Jamal has continued to make numerous tours and recordings. His most recently released album is Live at L'Olympia. 2012-2 CDs/1 DVD (Jazzbook Records/Bose/Jazz Village).
Jack Hylton - 1892-1965 :: was an English band leader and impresario who rose to prominence during the British dance band era. His early career involved moving to London as a pianist in the 400 club and playing with the Stroud Haxton Band.
During the First World War, he moved to be a musical director of the band of the 20th Hussars and the Director of the Army Entertainment Division. After World War I Hylton played with the Queen’s Dance Orchestra, wrote arrangements of popular songs and recorded them under the label ‘Directed by Jack Hylton’.
He then formed his own band, recording the new style of jazz-derived American dance music under the Jack Hylton name from 1923.
Hylton became a respected band leader with a busy schedule. He became a director and major shareholder of the new Decca record label.
His band developed into an orchestra and toured America and Europe into the 1940s, when it disbanded due to World War II. Hylton adopted Oh Listen To The Band as his signature tune.
Richard Wyands (piano) - 1928 :: Jazziversary greetings to pianist Richard Wyands. Richard is recognised as a hard
bop pianist best known as a side-man.
He began playing in his teens in San
Francisco, but later moved to New York City. He worked with Kenny Burrell in
the 1960s and also played in Gigi Gryce’s quintet. He has headed a few trios.
In the early 1950s Wyands was part of Vernon Alley’s group that was the house band at the Black Hawk club in San Francisco. In this role, the pianist was part of the rhythm section that accompanied visiting soloists.
The year after leaving this role in 1954, Wyands was an intermission performer at another San Francisco club, before becoming music director for vocalist Ella Fitzgerald during a 3-month period in 1956.
During 1957 he toured with vocalist Carmen McRae for three months, and arrived in New York with her in 1958. In New York, he played with Roy Haynes, Charles Mingus (1959), Jerome Richardson (1959), and Gigi Gryce. In the 1960s Wyands was a member of Illinois Jacquet’s band.
Wyands worked with guitarist Kenny Burrell from 1965 to 1974.
Teodross Avery (saxophone)- 1973 :: Jazziversary greetings to Teo Avery, At ten, his father started him with classical guitar lessons. Jolted by the sound of John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps,’ Teo switched to the saxophone.
As a testament to his young promise, the great Wynton Marsalis purchased a saxophone for him. Teo eventually won a full music scholarship at 17 to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. While at Berklee, renowned A&R exec, Carl Griffin of GRP/Impulse Records, heard of Teo’s new cutting edge sound and eventually signed him at 19, stating, “I was so thoroughly impressed with his lyricism and writing talent”.
In 1994, Teo launched his first album In Other Words, which was welcomed by critical acclaim, including a five star review in USA Today.
Still an undergraduate, Teo was now feverishly in demand by the likes of Aretha Franklin and Ramsey Lewis. He balanced all of these demands and completed college while on the road in 1995.
He then launched his second album, My Generation, under the GRP/Impulse label, in 1996. He performed with the likes of Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove, Leela James, Roy Ayers, Mos Def, and the late great Betty Carter, among many other great musicians.
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West Found Trio Enter to the West
Teodross Avery - Tenor Saxophone John Schutza – Piano Hide Nakanishi – Bass
Ska, Latin, and everything Jazz These were the ingredients chosen To create the perfect little band But Toh Kay accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concotion – PUNK ROCK Thus, The Streetlight Manifesto was born