Jazz and Blues

News about jazz, blues, Studio Sessions, and music samplings from jazz artists in the northwest and around the world.

This deceptively simple blues song is a masterpiece of restraint and execution. Recorded first in 1964, it features the voice of Muddy Waters and the piano of Otis Spann in call-and-response. Buoyed by composer Willie Dixon’s bass, Waters slide guitar speaks only twice in the entire song, with bone-chilling results.

wikipedia

Pianist and composer Cedar Walton died this week, at the age of 79.

He was perhaps best known for his years with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1961-1964), where he presented some of his compositions that became jazz standards, like Ugetsu (Fantasy in D), Firm Roots, Bolivia and Mosaic.  He also recorded with John Coltrane on the famous Giant Steps album, but his alternate take of the title track was not released until a CD reissue many years later.

Seth Wenig / AP

Update: Marian McPartland died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. As a remembrance, we are rerunning this piece, which first ran in October 2012. 

A new book chronicles the life and illustrious career of jazz piano legend Marian McPartland. She's known for her role as host of Piano Jazz on NPR for more than three decades, but her fans have known little else about Marian McPartland. Until now.

Big Joe Williams was part of the first generation of blues players, and lived to help spark the blues revival of the 1960’s. An active performing and recording musician, he traveled the country starting in the 1920’s, and by the 1970’s, had become very popular on the folk circuit as well. He is best known for the songs “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Crawling King Snake” which he recorded in 1941.

“Summertime” is considered one of George Gershwin’s finest songs. Collaborating with his brother Ira and lyricist DuBose Heyward, Gershwin composed the piece for his 1935 “folk-opera” Porgy and Bess.

David Belove

Wayne Wallace is a trombonist, a five-time Grammy nominee, a respected proponent of African American-Latin music, and an accomplished arranger, educator, and composer.  His playing and recording credits are impressive, too:  Pete Escovedo, Santana, Tito Puente, Steve Turre,  Max Roach and more.  The San Francisco native took some time from his busy schedule last week to talk with me about his latest CD, Latin Jazz-Jazz Latin and an upcoming project.

Elmore James is a giant of the blues. His work as a songwriter, singer and guitarist put him near the top of the short list of greats. The songs he wrote and revived—  “Dust My Broom”, “Cry For Me Baby” and “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” —are revered as blues standards.

Johan Broberg

Master drummer and percussionist Steve Berrios died last week at age 68. He leaves a legacy of inspirational jazz and Latin music, and a large number of devoted friends who call him their musical father.

In the span of Howlin’ Wolf’s life and career he saw virtually the entire progression of blues from a rural, acoustic music through the birth of modern rock music. As a young man, he learned guitar from Delta master Charley Patton, and as an elder statesman performed with Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones. In between he sang some of the most compelling and memorable songs in all of American music, including “Back Door Man”, “Killing Floor” and “Spoonful”.

Atael Weissman / Latin Jazz Network

This Sunday, July 28, the award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra presents a dance concert in the Sculpture Garden of the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA.

It’s one of the most widely played songs in the blues, but not much is known about Robert Petway, the man who recorded the definitive early version of “Catfish Blues”. The scant information that exists tells a familiar story of a Delta musician who headed to Chicago to make records. But after recording a mere 16 songs in 1941 and 1942, Petway seems to have disappeared from view.

Centrum Foundation

Grammy Award winner and Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement honoree Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band return to Seattle's Jazz Alley tonight through Sunday, July 21. 

Skip James was one of the first influential blues players. Although he came from the same Mississippi culture that produced Delta blues, James had a unique sound, built around unusual guitar tunings and his eerie falsetto. Robert Johnson based his song “32-20 Blues” around James’ lesser known “22-20 Blues”, and Cream famously covered his song “I’m So Glad” on their 1966 debut Fresh Cream. (a future BTM episode)

The misunderstood drum

Jul 11, 2013
ehow.com

The Name

What North Americans call conga drums are actually "tumbadoras." 

Blind Lemon Jefferson was one of the defining guitarists of Texas Blues of the 1920’s. Influenced by the country and gospel music of Texas, he also heard Mexican music played by farm workers. His unique guitar style and high, eerie voice were memorable; he recorded over 100 songs and was one of the best known bluesmen of his day. Some of his other well-known songs are “Black Snake Moan” and “Matchbox Blues”. He recorded “Broke and Hungry “ in 1926.

Lane Pederson

Looking over the list of the recently announced 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters prompted me to search through the history of the awards for any Latin Jazz artists who have been so honored.

Chances are you know the song “My Babe”, made popular by Little Walter in 1955. Except for the lyrics, “My Babe” is nearly identical to the gospel song “This Train is Bound For Glory”, a song that reaches back to the 1920’s.

latinjazznet.com

Puerto Rican-born valve trombonist Juan Tizol was a major force in Duke Ellington's orchestra.  With his classical training, an ability to transpose on the spot, skills as a copyist, sight-reader, proofreader of scores and as a composer, he was indispensable to the band.  

wikipedia

Known as the "Lion of the Blues" or the "Sinatra of the Blues," for his ability to sing smooth ballads as well as shout the low-down blues, Bobby Blue Bland started singing gospel in Memphis.  

Tampa Red was a slide guitar pioneer who helped create the template for modern blues. His distinctive use of single-string slide melodies in the 1920’s would go on to influence virtually every slide player who followed him, including Big Bill Broonzy and Muddy Waters.

In the days before amplification, he played a steel-bodied resonator guitar, the loudest and showiest guitar available. And he was one of the early adopters of the electric guitar, making the switch in the 1940’s.

Steve Korn

Two Seattle natives have been honored by the Jazz Journalists Association Awards for Journalism and Media. 

Seattle author Paul de Barros was presented with the Best Book About Jazz award for his in-depth biography Shall We Play That One Together? The Life and Art of Jazz Piano Legend Marian McPartland.

KPLU's Summer Jazz Brunch Cruise is Sunday, August 25.   Join us for a relaxing, two-and-a-half hour cruise on Elliott Bay aboard the Royal Argosy. 

Enjoy a scrumptious all-you-can-eat brunch, spectacular views, and great music from this year's special guest artist--one of the finest up-and-coming international jazz talents and freshest voices to come along in years--Halie Loren--performing with her quartet.

KPLU's Jazz Brunch Cruises are a summertime favorite for Northwest residents and out-of-town guests. 

This year's cruise will be emceed by KPLU jazz host Kevin Kniestedt.  The boat leaves Seattle's Pier 56 at 10:30 a.m. and returns at 1 p.m.  Tickets are $65.

Get detailed information and purchase your tickets HERE.

Thanks to the LaConner Chamber of Commerce for their support.

Otis Rush brought such passion and emotion to his singing and guitar playing that his music has been called “frighteningly intense”. Rush never achieved the commercial success that he might have, but along with Buddy Guy and Magic Sam, he is acknowledged to be one of the architects of the Chicago blues sound of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

youtube.com

Latin Jazz pianist Hilton Ruiz died in New Orleans in 2006 from unexplained injuries.  He left behind an unfinished musical project that was to have benefited Hurricane Katrina victims.

Marco Matute has launched a PledgeMusic project that will produce the CD that Hilton intended, along with a documentary film about Hilton Ruiz.  Here's a preview of the film.  And here's some of Hilton's music:

Ken Thomas

The Legend of John Henry is an iconic myth of American railroad history, a battle between man and steam drill. One of the intriguing things about the legend is that no one knows for sure if John Henry existed. At least part of the myth is based  on historical events from the mid-1800’s; some say the source lies in Alabama, others point to West Virginia, both places where significant railroad tunnels were dug.

Sonny Boy Williamson was a blues originator who helped shape the sound of modern blues. In his life, he knew the first generation of Delta bluesmen, and would go on to see the birth of modern rock music. He played with Robert Johnson in the 1930’s, and with Eric Clapton in the 1960’s.

He was a major radio star in the 1940’s on King Biscuit Time, America’s first live blues radio show. He wrote dozens of songs that became blues standards, notably “Help Me” and “Eyesight to the Blind." He recorded “Bring It On Home” in 1963, but didn’t release it until 1966.

wikipedia

To be released this spring (date TBD): Gonzalo Rubalcaba's Volcan

This band is comprised of musical masters, experienced bandleaders and good friends:  Jose Armando Gola-bass, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez-drums, Giovanni  Hidalgo-congas and Gonzalo Rubalcaba-piano.

Charley Patton

Charley Patton is considered by many to be the father of Delta Blues. What does that actually mean? A combination of location, timing and talent, put him at the leading edge of the new musical direction of the 1920s. He was one of, if not the first, to play what we might recognize as blues.

Kathleen Gillette

Two upcoming not-to-be missed performances of Latin jazz, Seattle-style:

Thursday May 16 (tonight)  Tula's, 2214 Second Avenue  Fred Hoadley's Sonando

Essentially Ellington's Facebook page

Three area high schools jazz bands are in New York this weekend to compete in the 18th annual Essentially Ellington Festival, the most prestigious high school jazz band competition in the country. 

Edmonds-Woodway High School, as well as bands from Seattle's Garfield and Roosevelt high schools are among the 15 national finalists from across the U.S. and Canada. 

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