Pure Jazz Magazine Vol 7 Issue 1 Horace Silver-PJM 2016


Pure Jazz Magazine is a semi annual magazine featuring in depth Jazz stories, interviews plus other information you may find interesting. Based in Brooklyn, USA for the world.

www.purejazzmagazine.net SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Horace Silver

Hard Bop Pioneer

The Helen Morgan Story

The Lady Who

Shot Lee Morgan Part II

US$14.95 / CanC$ 15.50



Jazz Griot’ Among Illustrious


Randy Weston

- In Retrospect -

June 2015 - June 2016


Dr. Randy Weston

in his 90th Year

Randy Weston is one of the greatest living jazz musicians, an innovator and visionary who has performed on five continents, formed

partnerships with the likes of Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, and forged a unique sound that has brought African rhythms to

the foreground of contemporary jazz. “It’s so important to teach the history of our music and the origins of our music, which comes

directly from the African continent,” Weston says. “It’s so important to reach our young people. Musicians have to be historians, too.”

Weston shared that history, as well as his wisdom and expertise, with students when he joined the School of Jazz as its artist-inresidence

last semester. During his residency, the jazz guru participated in a lecture series exploring his music and the development

of American jazz and its roots in Africa, lead an improvisation ensemble program, mentor students, and perform live. Throughout

these activities, Weston was a strong conduit to the past, channeling the golden era of jazz in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the

genre’s African origins. “In many cases, students aren’t taught the history of Africa or African music,” says Weston, a lifelong student

of the continent’s culture and history. “I always say, if you want to learn the language, you have to learn the alphabet.”

Mr. Weston was joined by other illustrious professional artists.

Naila Al Atrash, a Syrian-born stage director and actor known for her challenging plays, which explore

society, economics, and politics. She will guest-direct a play in the Eugene Lang College Theater Program.

Imani Winds, a genre-defying Grammy-nominated wind quintet entering the second year of its residency

at The New School. The group will conduct master classes, perform concerts, serve as guest lecturers in

classrooms, and teach entrepreneurship in the performing arts.

Nami Yamamoto, a renowned Japanese dancer and choreographer. She will create a new work for Eugene

Lang College dance students, to be performed in their end-of-semester Fall Dance Performances.

The Orion Quartet, a critically acclaimed string quartet that has been an artist-in-residence at The New

School for the last decade. The group will lead master classes, perform concerts and offer private one-onone

instruction to students.

Andrew Balio, principal trumpet of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. During a daylong residency in

October, he will conduct a master class, participate in a panel discussion on the future of classical music and

of orchestral music, and perform a recital.

African American Classical Music

Spring/Summer 2016

Volume 7 Number 1


Jo Ann Cheatham


Agneta Brewster-Ballesteros

-Editor in Chief-

Fikisha Cumbo

-Contributing Writers-

Playthell Benjamin

Dwight Brewster

Ed Dessisso

Elizabeth Faulk

Arlene Hayes

Mike Howard

Patricia Kelly

Sierre Monk

Larry Reni Thomas


Harold Valle

Abiodun Oyewole



“Hard Bop


Page ........... 30

-Graphics/Internet Com-

Direct Communications


Danyelle Ballesteros


Ed Stoute

Randy Weston

Chester Lewis Jr.

Gil Scott-


“The Jazz In

His Music”

Page ........... 44

This magazine was made possible with public

funds from BAC the Brooklyn Arts Council

and the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Page 4 - Pure Jazz Magazine

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Growing Up Monk .... 8

Reflecting On Our Founder .... 13




With The Music In Mind .... 6

Now Showing .... 21

The Los Angeles Jazz Scene .... 18

“The Lady Who Shot Lee Morgan”

The Helen Morgan Story

Part II .... 24

Celebrating “The 90s” ..... 40

Martin Piecuch

and Jazzical Fusion .... 52

PJM Book Review .... 29

Space Is The Place .... 35

PJM Archives:

A Musical Harvest In

12 Sessions .... 36

Jazz a la Mode .... 49

PureJazz Magazine

This Issue

Photo Credits

P.O. Box 22101

SPECIAL: Jazz Empress’

Photo Gallery .... 38

Dwight Brewster

Jo Ann Cheatham

Marvin Cohen

Fikisha Cumbo

Pure Jazz is published semi-annually with editorial and advertising

headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. staff@purejazzmag-

Visit Us Online

Del Edwards

Brooklyn, NY 11202

Carol Friedman

azine.net. All rights reserved. The authors and editors have


Lauryn Jackson

taken care to insure that all information in this issue is accurate.

Nevertheless, the publisher disclaims any liability loss

Visit Patricia Us Online A. Kelly

or damages incurred



Prince Moore

as a consequence directly or indirectly

of the use and application of any contents.

Mel Wright

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 5

With The

Music In Mind

Publisher’s Statement

Hello subscribers and readers of Pure Jazz Magazine,

First let me say there will NEVER be another Jo Ann. My family and I are honored and yet humbled by the task

Ms. Brewster-Cheatham our sister laid out for us. Armed with the knowledge of her long-range plans we can

begin to push on. As the Interm MD overseeing the PJM transition has been difficult. The staff at PJM requests

your continued support for Jo Ann’s baby while our new publisher gets up to speed We are expanding our

distribution area(s), primarily focusing on the East Coast. Continuing with Brooklyn as our base we believe

the magazine has its best chance to continue publishing and telling the American Classic Music story from a

Brooklyn style and point of view. Without you we cannot reach this goal.

Our cover story features HORACE SILVER “Bebop Originator”. Horace Silver gave 65 plus years of his life to the

music we identify as Jazz. A pianist and composer, Silver created a rhythmic sound known as “hard bop”, which combined

R&B, gospel and Caribbean Jazz. It meshed perfectly with his eclectic style of piano playing; his invented style

endures today. We love and revere the Jazz music of Mr. Silver because it touches all the right bases. PJM celebrates

this Jazz master’s genius that recently made his transitional journey home to the ancestors.

This issue of PJM also takes a reflective look at our founder and publisher Jo Ann Brewster-Cheatham. As a low key

but forceful woman we wanted to take one more look at our sister, partner and mentor. Playthell Benjamin gives

us that very insightful view. Jo Ann started PJ magazine almost 20 years ago and poured her heart and soul as well

as her money into its production. Many who knew Jo Ann also knew her as a prolific photographer and a mentor

to so many on that path. As a tribute to Ms. Cheatham we are moving our production into the digital world, which

enhances PJM’s ability to expand. This move includes photographs taken by Ms. Cheatham as a feature in Pure Jazz


The Helen Morgan Story Part 2- continues the story we all wanted to hear for years. It was about that evening when

Lee Morgan was shot at Slugs. PJM continues with part 2 of the saga “The Lady Who Shot Lee Morgan-- The Helen

Morgan Story”. We get more answers. Sit back and relax for the remaining information inside this phenomenal story.

The genre of Jazz is changing so fast that we must keep our eyes on who’s doing what these days. This can be a good

thing but not at the expense of a fantastic group of master talent available. Technology certainly has something to do

with listeners getting exposed to different music. In this issue we take a look at two sides of the same coin. First we

take a close look at master talent in our story of “Let’s Celebrate The 90’s.” Next we look at some of the next generation

talent, Esperanza Spaulding and Christian McBride. They are really interesting as they position themselves to carry

on for the elders. Check them out in “Space Is The Place”.

This issue’s “Movie Marquee” takes a look at the film “Miles Ahead”. A vision of Don Cheadle, it takes a look at the

legendary trumpeter Miles Davis. This controversial movie invites opinions which run the gamut… Playthell Benjamin

explains why he did not like the movie, “Miles was no gangster! I knew Miles and there was plenty of other stuff

he could’ve used to make a movie…”

Check it out!


Dwight Brewster

Interim Managing Director

Page 6 - Pure Jazz Magazine

Listen to Dwight @

World of Jazz

Radio/Web Program

www.wbai.org - 99.5 FM NYC

Every Tuesday at 10pm EDT


International Jazz at its best!


from PJM

Founded in 1964 by National Endowment for

the Arts Jazz Master, composer, pianist, educator,

jazz legend Dr. Billy Taylor and arts administrator

Ms. Daphne Arnstein, Jazzmobile’s

mission is to present, preserve, promote

and propagate America’s classical music Jazz.

We are the oldest not-for-profit organization

founded with this as it sole mission.


“The concerts are FREE

but we pay the


Dr. Billy Taylor


Robin Bell Stevens

Executive Director

154 West 127th Street

New York, NY 10027

Tel: 212-866-4900 Fax: 212-666-3613


For the past 24 years!


The National Endowment for the

Arts has announced the 2017 NEA

Jazz Masters Fellows, recipients of

the nation’s highest honor in jazz.

The five Awardees:


Dee Dee Bridgewater;

Author, Editor, Producer and Educator

(winner of the A.B. Spellman

Award for Jazz Advocacy)

Ira Gitler

Bassist, Cellist, Composer

and Bandleader

Dave Holland;

Keyboardist, Composer

and Arranger

Dick Hyman


Dr. Lonnie Smith

All were recognized for their exceptional

contributions to the advancement

of jazz. Each will receive

a $25,000 award. They will be

honored at a tribute concert, April

3, 2017 at the Kennedy Center in

Washington, D.C.

To order copies contact

Duke University Press

Box 90660

Durham, NC 27708-0660


“Live Jazz

Needs your



It keeps us

moving forward

Pure Jazz Historic Moment

James Reese Europe

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 7

Growing Up Monk

By Sierre Monk

Sierre Monk is a freelance makeup

artist, who resides in New Jersey

with her family. She’s currently

studying English, with hopes to

further her education at Rutgers

University. Sierre considers her

animal companions to be family

members, and she has a great

respect for nature and all living

things. This is Sierre’s first interview

for PJM

I’ve always been fascinated with my father’s

ability to tell a story. As a child I would love

to listen to him speak. The rumbling bass

in his voice, the eloquent words he would

choose, even his animated hand gestures

entertained me. Growing up, he would talk

to me about politics and history. He’d say,

“the stuff they’re teaching you in school is

bullshit, lem’me give you the real deal”, and

that is how the story would always begin.

He’d talk for hours and I loved every bit of

it. And I wasn’t alone. My friends shared the

same sentiments. They would come over

and on warm evenings, we would all sit on

the patio and listen, while Dad smoked cigarettes

and talked. Presently, although we

don’t get to spend as much time together, if

I have a doctor’s appointment, or something

that requires distance driving, I always opt

for my dad to take me. Just so I can listen to

him talk, like I did when I was a kid. Transcribing

the audio content for T.S. Monk’s

Pure Magazine piece was a real treat for me.

I felt nostalgic and content throughout the

entire process. I know the stories, I know the

answers to most of the questions however, I

was able to learn new things about T.S. and

I’m grateful for that. He reveals himself in

layers, each piece peeled back like an onion.

He never tells the same story the same way

twice, be it verbally or expressed through

Third Generation Monk

his music, and I think that is what makes

him a great entertainer. I can almost hear

his passion through his words while reading

this interview. He has the ability to take

you to the exact time and place with his descriptions.

You truly feel like you are there,

with him, in that moment.

Who influenced your career?

My earliest influences were obviously the

guys that were hanging around with my

father, who were in fact some of the greatest

drummers that ever lived. Art Blakey,

Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Philly Jo Jones.

These guys were basically all of my father’s

contemporaries except for Tony Williams

TS Monk

who was younger. Their impact on me was

more personal, in terms of philosophy and

their approach to the drums. The root philosophy

was play your own shit. Come up

with something of your own. Find a way

to distinguish yourself. In terms of what I

actually play, these guys all influenced me.

Although, I will say Max Roach was my

teacher so he was the primary influence. I

liked his technicality and the order in which

he played. I’m a Capricorn and I like order.

Max’s thing was easy to see, easy to hear.

Who did you listen to?

Since my father didn’t have any hard rules,

it wasn’t like I could only listen to Jazz; I

listened to a lot of Rock and Roller’s like

Buddy Miles, Ringo Star, and particularly

Ginger Baker of The Cream. Ginger Baker

is probably the most unique of the Rock

and Roll drummers and when I first heard

him, I detected that right off the back. I

said, “Wow, well this guy is different from

all of these other Rock and Roll guys”. And

then, subsequently I came to find out that

the reason he was different was because he

had been a Jazz drummer before he joined

The Cream… so Ginger Baker’s primary

influences were people like Max Roach and

Elvin Jones, so these are the same people

that influenced me so it made sense. Since I

was a child of the 60’s, I even got influenced

by the Motown drummers ‘cause I liked the

grooves that they set up. Probably the one,

unique characteristic that all of the guys I’ve

named as influential to me is that they all

had their own groove. They were all groove

drummers as opposed to willy-nilly drummers.

You know, the guys that play a whole

lot of stuff but you don’t really know where

the groove is so you just clap for them.

Who influences you now?

Myself. The reason I say that is because

when you get to a certain juncture in Jazz,

as a Jazz player, after you’ve amassed a lot of

technique, and you’ve had all of these influences,

then you don’t want to listen to anybody

anymore. ‘Cause now you’re trying

to take all that information-- for me it’s 40

years’ worth of information-- and you want

to create your sound. So most Jazz musicians

will tell you, once they get mature, they

listen to others for enjoyment, occasionally,

but they don’t listen for information the way

you would when you were younger. Now I

have to take techniques from Max Roach

and reformulate them into something that I

can say, well this is how TS Monk hears that.

So, today, I don’t listen to a lot of people.

I am on my own quest now to distinguish

myself from my competition.

Who are the influential artists

that you’ve played with?

Who is most notable?

Well of course there is the great, great, tenor

player, Clifford Jordan. He was a close

friend of my father’s and he really got me

back in the game. I mean there is no doubt

that Thelonious was a profound influence on

me, musically, because that is who I started

playing with. But in terms of someone really

pushing me forward, I would have to

say it was Max Roach and Clifford Jordan,

who happened to be really tight friends as

well. When I got back into Jazz, after 1992,

Clifford Jordan was the guy that gave me a

break. He was the guy that put me out there

and allowed me to perform with his big and

for the last year, before he died, and I think

that is critical for whom I am today. Had

I not been given that opportunity, I don’t

know if I would’ve been the band leader that

I am today.

In terms of people I’ve played with, god,

over the years I have played with so many

people. Herbie Hancock, Christian Mc-

Bride, Roy Hargrove, Ron Carter, Clark

Terry, Geri Allen, Wallace Roney, Paul Jeffrey.

Like most Jazz band leaders, if your objective

is to establish your own identity as a

band leader, that tends to limit who you can

play with because you have to do your own

thing. When one makes a decision to become

a band leader in Jazz, or in any genre

of music, for that matter, then you can’t play

with everybody. I’ve never been like a sideman

kind of guy, so I wasn’t looking to play

with everybody. I was more so looking for

people to play with me. So in that regard,

there are a lot of people that I haven’t played

with, simply because of the track I chose

which was to be a band leader. You can’t play

with everybody and you can’t take every

gig. It’s like politics. Most of the people that

I’ve named so far, are band leaders as well.

We tend to play with each other an awful

lot when we’re young but it changes when

we become established. I’m doing my own

thing, approaching 35 years of band leading,

so that doesn’t leave you a whole lot of room

to play with other people.

What are your career plans?

(Laughs) Hmmm, my career plans? Well

right now I have to tell you my career plan is

to really establish myself as a premier soloist.

There aren’t very many of us in Jazz, playing

the drums. When we think of premier soloists

in Jazz, we tend to go all the way back

to Chick Webb and Buddy Rich and Art

Blakey. If you look around Jazz today, there

aren’t a lot of drummers that people run

out and say “Oh I gotta go see so and so”.

I’ve been in

what we call

“the woodshed”

for the

past 5 years

now and actually,

I just

had a breakthrough


my instrument


will only be


when people

listen to me.

I’ve sort of

gotten to a

place where I

didn’t think I

was going to

get to. But,

ya’ know, if

you practice

hard, study

hard and really

put your

nose to the


all of a sudden


can happen.

TS Monk

So I am really looking forward to achieving

my goal as a premier soloist. I want to

establish myself to a place where people

say “Man I really love when TS solo’s”. It’s

a really difficult thing to do. You’ve got to

understand that people don’t really understand

the drums because they really don’t

understand rhythm. They understand 1, 2,

3, 4, you know, disco and pop music. When

you get into the areas of polyrhythm and all

of the colors that come from the instrument,

people are not very astute as to what that is.

In fact, if you look at pop culture, there have

been two drum solo’s that people recognize

and remember. Back in the 1930’s, Cozy

Cole had “Topsy”. The other one was by a

group called “The Ventures”, in the 1950’s

and that’s called “Wipeout”. So to make an

impression as a drummer is probably the

hardest task in instrumental music. And

that’s really what I’m into right now and

that’s what my goal is right now. I’m totally

immersed in it and I will make it come to

fruition and I will accomplish this goal.

How do you write music for other

instruments besides the drums?

Interesting question,

it really, really

varies. You

have great classical


from years ago

who didn’t even

have access to an

orchestra. They

were completely

tied to the paper.

In other words,

they had to write

everything out,

then if a benefactor,

such as a king

came along, an

orchestra would

be hired and

then they could

hear the music

back. But it’s

very, very different

today, there

are many ways

that you can hear

the music back.

But more importantly,


modern composers,

it depends on

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 9

where you are coming from. For example,

a bass player might hear bass lines first. He

might hear a new composition, but the first

part he hears is the bass line. So he writes a

bass line and then he says, this is the drum

part that will go with that, and now this

melody will sit on top of that. Sometimes

I will come up with a rhythm, and then I

will come up with a bass line to go with that

rhythm, and then I have some chords to go

over that bass line, then maybe I have a melody,

and then ultimately, there’s my composition.

Sometimes, I may hear a melody

first. Sometimes, I hear a chord progression.

It comes all different kinds of ways.

I just recently wrote a tune for you! With

that one, the melody came first. But then I

wrote a tune for your brother, and with that,

the rhythm came first. So you never know

where your inspiration is going to come

from and I kind of like that because it keeps

everything interesting.

How are you coping with the

changes in the record industry?

Well you know that’s an easy question. The

changes in the record industry really refer

to the changes in the music business. There

are some things that go to the issues of production

and marketing, but those things are

basically dependent on what’s happening in

the marketplace. How things are being sold

today. Used to be you went to the record

store, now you run to a website or maybe

social media to find out what’s going on.

Advertising used to be in a newspaper or a

magazine. Now, 70 percent of advertising is

done on social media. In that regard, that’s

ever changing. But in terms of the music

changing itself, that’s the easiest area for a

Jazz musician because we are in the business

of ever changing music. I’m not looking.

The objective of Jazz is to find something

new constantly. So the fact of the matter is

that most of the changes that you find musically,

in popular music, come from Jazz.

The basic ideas come from Jazz. This is why

I say things, in regards to my father, such as

“No Monk, No Funk”. The chords and the

melodies that Thelonious brought to the

table, that he made common, that he made

familiar to everyone are the minor chords

and the extended harmonics that you hear

in funk. And had it not happened in Jazz,

you wouldn’t have all this funky music.

So for me, when the music changes, that’s

a good thing. I’m looking for the music to

constantly change. I don’t like to play a song

Page 10 - Pure Jazz Magazine

the same way twice; it has to be slightly different.

I think for Jazz musicians, the actual

changing music is never a threat. The music

has been changing for me since day one.

And it will always do that. And if I’m not

embracing an ever changing musical landscape,

then I’m not really living up to my

full potential as a Jazz musician. That part

of it is not a problem for me. I’m not tied to

the trend. I’m not tied to what’s popular. The

music that I create influences what’s popular,

and not the other way around.

Where can we find you?

You can find me on Facebook, as Thelonious

Monk Jr., and my TS Monk fan page.

You can find me on YouTube. I’m creating

two new websites, later on this year. One

for myself and a centennial website for my

father. I’m probably one of the most interviewed

Jazz musicians so I have a paper trail,

whether you’re talking The New York Times

or The Wall Street Journal. I’ve done a lot of

work with Downbeat and Jazz Times. So I’m

a pretty easy guy to find (laughs). I will be

expanding my social media presence with

a few more platforms including Instagram

and Snapchat. I just set up a Twitter account

as well. You know Jazz is very modern, very

forward leaning so good Jazz musicians do

not get caught up in the past. That’s not to

say that there aren’t good Jazz musicians

in the past, but my music isn’t confined to

straight-ahead jazz. I try to do what I can to

stay current and desirable to many different

generations. I also spend a lot of time talking

about my father. For the first 20 years,

my interviews were probably 75 percent

about my father and 25 percent about me.

Then I did an album called Monk on Monk,

and everyone was waiting to see if I was really

Monk’s son and if I could handle this. I

handled it so well that the dynamics of my

interviews changed and the focus became

TS Monk. I got a lot to say, I just did a couple

of very well received blogs for The Huffington

Post, which has inspired me to start

podcasting, so look out for that soon. And

of course, I have my association with the

Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, of which

I have been the Chairmen for 28 years. We

are the largest non-profit Jazz educational

organization, and that gives me high visibility

as well. So, (laughs) I ain’t hard to find at

all. I’m a very social guy.

Anything else you’d like

to share with your fans?

I would like to inform everyone that Jazz is

extraordinarily healthy; the rumors of Jazz

death are highly exaggerated. Yes, the market

has been shrinking in one way, but it also

has been expanding in quite another way.

There are a number of incredible young Jazz

musicians, right now, who will come to the

floor in the future. I think they’re going to

make a lot of noise. In the 1980’s, we had a

policy in the American educational system

called austerity. That was my generation, the

baby boomers. We took all of the arts out

of the schools. Since 1995 we got religion

and we decided, hey our kids need art. The

interesting thing about music coming back

to the schools is that this generation, Gen X

and beyond, is not interested in Beethoven

and Mozart, and all of the Euro-classical

artists. So what you find in the high school

level, music departments nationwide are

taking on Jazz as the preferred discipline for

music. So we have a whole new generation

of Jazz musicians and listeners that will create

a whole new audience for Jazz and Jazz

will be very, very healthy.

We at the Monk Institute have “International

Jazz Day”, which involves 196 countries,

the virtual civilized world. There is no other

musical genre on the planet that is played in

every single country in the world. I will submit

to you that in certain countries, if you

play Michael Jackson, you might get your

head cut off, because they don’t want to hear

that kind of “Devil Music” (laughs) but Jazz

is the most human. Our rule is that everyone

has something to say and the world really

likes that. Jazz is alive and well and it’s

really growing and I think that the future for

Jazz is spectacular.

By Sierre Monk

TS Monk




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Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 11

Jo Ann Brewster-Cheatham

























With Fondest Memories,

Harold Valle ©

Jazz Poet

January 2016

Page 12 - Pure Jazz Magazine

Jo Ann Brewster-


Jazz Empress is resting

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 13

Jo Ann Cheatham

Jazz Evangelist


Pure Jazz Magazine

A Remembrance

“Jo Ann was born

in the same year as

me, but she was one

of a kind; when the

Gods made her they

broke the mold.”

Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, April 15, 2016

According to religious convention an evangelist

is the “bearer of good news.” Hence

when it comes to the art of Jazz, I place Jo

Ann Cheatham right alongside such great

Jazz proselytizers as Jackie McLean, Betty

Carter, Dr. Billy Taylor and Wynton Marsalis.

However while all the others were musicians

and used their notoriety as performers

to gain a platform, Jo Ann was a connoisseur

of the art and created her own platform: Pure

Jazz Magazine – which she brought into existence

and sustained with wit, grit and determination.

And through this literary vehicle

she spread the good news about the triumphs

of Jazz and the virtuosos who play it.

Pure Jazz is a unique voice in the world of

music criticism: It was black owned, offered

a unique forum for black critical voices, and

was founded by an extraordinary woman

of boundless energy and creativity. Jo Ann

was a photographer, writer, editor, videographer,

and educator. And she was a very good

friend who extended a helping hand to many

writers and musicians. Her effect on my life

was profound, although I didn’t know her for

very many years.

From the moment I met her it was apparent

that she followed the works of others and was

quick to offer compliments and encouragement.

It was at the memorial for the master

percussionist and innovator Max Roach, who

had lately danced and joined the ancestors

that we had our first encounter and it was

clear from “jump-street” that it could be the

start of something big. I made a speech at the

memorial, talking about the great influence

that Max had on my life. As a boy in Florida

studying the drums, Max was a giant figure

larger than life.

Page 14 - Pure Jazz Magazine

I recalled how my Aunt Marie, a music teacher,

had bought me a set of white mother of

pearl drums that was an exact replica of the

drum set Max was playing at the time. They

were all set up when I walked in my living

room, where a surprise party was awaiting

me. Those drums quickly became my prize

possession and I spent many hours listening

to the Max Roach / Clifford Brown Quintet.

I recounted how I had originally started out

trying to play the trumpet, but when I heard

Clifford Brown I became so demoralized I

quit the instrument. Hearing Max had the

opposite effect.

As I spoke I noticed a lady who was very animated

by my talk, and when I was finished I

played a bit on congas, recounting how I had

grown up to become good friends with the

Master and had even played a couple of gigs

with him on conga drums. When the program

was over she made her way over to me

and announced that she was such an avid fan

of my radio show, “Round ‘Bout Midnight”

on WBAI that she had retired from a job a

year early just so she could stay up and listen.

I was flabbergasted!

She also told me that she had been reading

me for years and asked if I would write

some pieces for her magazine, Pure Jazz. I

was delighted because she was the first Afro-

American I had ever met that published a

magazine on our Classical music. I had written

on Jazz for a wide array of publications

both here and abroad especially for the great

British publications, The Guardian Observer

and the Sunday Times of London, but I was

more excited about the opportunity to write

for Pure Jazz. For some time I had come to

the conclusion that Jazz was the premiere

artistic achievement of the African World in

the modern era.

Jo Ann usually answered

her phone, “Cheatham”

Furthermore I also considered Jazz the most

original contribution of American civilization

to world culture. And I had argued

in writing and lectures that Jazz embodies

the purest expression of the most cherished

American values. Jazz is democratic, values

individual freedom, promotes innovation,

and moves to the rhythms of our machine

age milieu. Hence it always puzzled me that

although the American cultural apparatus

controlled by Euro-Americans chose to glorify

the classical arts of Europe – the symphony,

opera and ballet – due to their racism,

Afro-Americans themselves didn’t do more

to promote this great art.

Hence Jo Ann Cheatham was a cultural hero

to me. She was not a woman of great personal

wealth, nor did she have extensive backing

from philanthropists, yet she managed

to publish a quality magazine dedicated to

a complex art form. Her main assets in this

venture from what I observed was her enthusiasm

for the project, boundless energy and

imagination and a winning personality that

made serious Jazz lovers want to pitch in and

help. When I asked the Senior Editor Fikisha

Cumbo how she became involved with Pure

Jazz Magazine, the story she told mirrored my

own. Jo Ann just walked up to her at a public

affair and simply beguiled Fikisha with her

inimitable charm; she told Fikisha that she

was a fan of her television show on BCAT, introduced

herself and they were soon talking

about their

mutual love

for Jazz and

their individual


to document

and preserve

this priceless


Thus began

a friendship

that produced

a body

of very valuable


Looking over

the course of

Jo Ann’s life

one can easily

see how she became dedicated to the project

of preserving our cultural legacy. Even before

she earned a degree in communications

from Hunter College, graduating Magna

Cum Laude, she was involved in important

cultural work. For several years she worked

as an administrative assistant to Joan Maynard,

Founder of the Society for the Preservation

of Weeksville and Bedford Stuyvesant

History, which evolved into the Weeksville

Heritage Society.

It was here that she learned the critical importance

of preserving the Afro-American

cultural heritage, and she also discovered

the difficulties of disseminating that vital

information to Afro-American youths who

desperately needed this kind of cultural literacy

as equipment for living. Jo Ann could

see that black youths needed cultural enrichment

as much as the economic stability that

comes with employment. She understood

that while jobs were essential to make a living,

they needed a rich cultural experience in

order to make a life. In this sense her attitude

echoed that of Dr. DuBois who noted that

Booker T. Washington’s idea of education,

with its single-minded focus on the acquisition

of wealth would produce “money makers

but not men.”

The things Jo Ann learned from working on

the Weeksville project and her later work as

Circulation Manager for Unique New York

Magazine, published by radio personality/

entrepreneur Vy Higgenson, converged in

the founding of Pure Jazz Magazine, whose

publication was a labor of love and a testament

to what one can accomplish with dedication

and hard work. Over the course of 17

years she published the most unique magazine

dedicated to covering the

art of Jazz. Unlike much better

financed and broadly distributed

publications like Jazz Times

or Downbeat, there is no debate

about whether Jazz is a complex

art music invented by Afro-

Americans, who also produces

virtually all of the art’s major innovators.

As the San Francisco based sociologist

and Jazz D.J. Frank

Kovsky pointed out in his insightful

book Black Nationalism

and the Revolution in Music,

whites that are not involved in

Jazz readily admit that it was

invented by black people but it

is not art. While whites that are

involved in Jazz admit that it is art but black

people didn’t invent it. There was none of

that nonsense at Pure Jazz Magazine, and

that was purely the result of the vision of its

publisher. Although I had published essays

about Jazz in a wide array of publications,

writing for Pure Jazz was a special pleasure.

Jo Ann shared my vision of the importance

of the art form, and she was especially enthusiastic

about my essays on black women

performers. These include essays on the incomparable

Valadia Snow, “Forgotten Genius;

Jean Carn, Arise and Shine; Abbey Lincoln,

The Death of Sister Soul; etc.

In looking over the life and work of Jo Ann

Cheatham several things stand out: her desire

to preserve and pass on the best of our

cultural traditions; her commitment to

teaching the youths in ways that will help

them become the best that they can be; and

her dedication to working with and raising

up other women. The best of what she was

came from her tutelage under strong black

women, and her good works represented the

fruits of their labors. And in her dedication

to teaching young people places her squarely

in the tradition of such great black women

as Mary McCloud Bethune, Dr. Anna Julia

Cooper, Marva Collins, et al.

Nowhere is Jo Ann commitment to helping

black journalists develop or improve their

skills more apparent than my own experience

with her. I had begun taking pictures

with very small ambitions. I did not think of

myself as a photographer and with no aspirations

of becoming anything approaching an

artist. I only wanted to be able to take clear

pictures to accompany articles I was writing.

But one day Jo Ann, a highly skilled photographer,

looked at some of my pictures and

told me that she thought I had a “good eye

for capturing an image.”

However she told me that I needed a better

camera, and then she gave me a Nikon as a

gift and bade me to go forth and do something

special. That was about eight years

ago. On March the 6 th , this year, my first solo

photographic exhibition opened in the gallery

of the beautiful Dwyer Cultural Center

in Harlem. Since I had been living mostly

in California for the last two years - where

I am working on a book length photo-essay

on the work of San Francisco Bay Area Ceramic

Sculptors, under the auspices of the

Oakland Museum of Ceramics – I had been

out of touch with Jo Ann.

Alas, when I called her excitedly to inform

her about my forth coming exhibition, “The

Elegance of Afro-America: Black style as a

Weapon of Liberation,” I was informed that

she had lately danced and joined the great

ancestors in that place which the poet William

Cullen Bryant call “That mysterious

realm where each shall take his place in the

silent halls….” Jo Ann was born in the same

year as me, but she was one of a kind; when

the Gods made her they broke the mold. I do

not believe we shall see her likes again.

Playthell G.


Harlem, NY

April 15, 2016

More from Playthell at:


Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 15

The Los Angeles

Jazz Scene

Featuring Bassist

Henry “The Skipper” Franklin

By Arlene Hayes

Is Jazz alive and well in Los Angeles, California? A good

question coming from those of you who luckily inhabit

the cold streets of New York City where there is no question

about jazz being alive and well!!! According to The

Skipper, “Los Angeles was once a center of jazz. The bustling

Central Avenue Jazz Scene, the Jazz Mecca, ended in

the late 50’s but 30-40 jazz clubs were alive and well. Musicians

were working 5-7 nights a week during this great

era you might call the Renaissance of Jazz.”

But that was then. This is the reality of now! A completely

different scene. Jazz clubs that we knew and loved have

closed and continue to close. Jazz lovers are holding Jazz

Salons in their homes. There are a few functioning jazz

clubs but many of our favorites are gone. Those of us

who love jazz are strategically trying to figure out a planwhich

will happen! The tenacious lovers of jazz in this city

will not give up because Los Angeles is still the proud city

of great, and I mean great, jazz players. We love to hear

them play and will go anywhere to hear them. I could give

you a long list of names-players you may or may not have

heard of… great players…straight ahead players…make

you think you’re listening to former greats such as Miles

and Coltrane.

We’ll start with one great player, a bassist, named Henry

Franklin, “The Skipper”. The Skipper was born Oct. 1,

1940, which he says was “the perfect time to be born in

that city.” He graduated from Manuel Arts High School

in 1958 and he immediately immersed himself in the jazz

culture of the city along with colleagues in his age group:

Bobby Hutcherson, William Henderson, Roy Ayers,

Herbie Lewis, Carl Burnett, Albert Stinson, to name

just a few. The local pace setters were: Harold Land,

Billy Higgins, Frank Morgan, Hadley Caliman, Herman

Riley, Leroy Vinnegar, Red Mitchell, Horace Tapscott,

Shelly Manne, Hampton Hawes, Lawence Marabo, Scott

LeFaro, Curtis Amy, Teddy Edwards, Elmo Hope, and

more. According to The Skipper, “Back in my day all

the young cats would go listen to learn from the elders.

I’m not so sure that this is still happening! Anyway, in

those days bands came from the East to work in our city

and I made it my business to go hear every bass player

who entered the city, to observe and hopefully ask questions”

and consequently the players from the East and

West Coasts developed a rapport and friendship. The

guys in Henry Franklin’s age group began getting calls

from East Coast band leaders to come and work in their

bands. The Skipper got a call in 1963 from Willie Bobo

to come and join his band.

“With blessings from my family I packed my bags and

moved to The Big Apple to seek fame and fortune. I fortunately

was able to move in with my good friend Roy

Ayers, who got his call a few years earlier from Herbie

Mann. As it turned out Mr. Bobo was not working

regularly so it gave me time to hang out with ‘The Cats’

and work a little bit. The highlight for me was working

with Archie Shepp at the Fillmore East! “

Page 18 - Pure Jazz Magazine

If I may digress a bit, this was when I

met Henry, The Skipper. I was lucky

enough to be in NYC with someone

who knew Roy Ayers so I was thrown in

to the jazz scene…heard everyone there

was to hear. Went everywhere there was

to go…You name it…I was there and

heard them. There were Betty Carter

and Elvin Jones at the Five Spot, Sun

Ra and Herbie Hancock at Slugs, Count

Basie at Count Basies’

uptown, right next to

Wells ,where you could

eat great food and listen

to music. There were

great horn players like

Joe Henderson, Wayne

Shorter, and of course

Miles at the Vanguard.

And of course…there

was Coltrane. I am so

blessed to have been

a part of the most remarkable

era in jazz

there ever was, or ever

will be, in my humble


So back to The Skipper,

“I stayed about one year

with Willie and when

we got to Los Angeles

to work in a club there I

gave him my two week

notice. Ironically, the

last night Hugh Masakela

was in the audience

and he pulled me

aside and asked me if

I’d like to join the new

band he was forming!

Of course I said “Yes”

and for the next four

years I saw The World

through Rose Colored

Glasses. We had a platinum

record, Grazing in

the Grass, which kept

us in ‘tall cotton’ for a long time.”

“It’s now 1969 and time to move on. I

free lanced around home, working with

Bobby Hutcherson, John Carter, Bobby

Bradford, Shelly Manne, Teddy Edwards,

etc., doing a lot of recording and

working with my own band. In 1970

my pianist friend, Gene Russell, formed

a record company, Black Jazz Records,

and asked if I would be the house bassist.

I did two albums with him, one with

Doug and Jean Carn and two with Calvin

Keyes. I recorded my first album

‘The Skipper’ on that label, with Oscar

Brashear, Charles Owens, Michael

Carvin and William Henderson.

Henry “The Skipper” Franklin

“In 1971 I got a call from Sonny Rollins

to work The Monterey Jazz Festival

with him and after that work a couple

of other appearances. Shortly after that I

joined Gene Harris-The 3 Sounds- with

Carl Burnett and, back on the road for

another fun three years. We recorded

three albums for Blue Note. Then I

got my first call to go to Europe…with

Hampton Hawes Trio. We started in

Montrouex and worked throughout

Europe for three months. I worked

on and off with Hamp until his death

about four years later, in 1975. I was

also working with another giant, Freddie

Hubbard! I’ve really

been fortunate to have

worked with such geniuses

throughout my


“Around that time I was

disappointed with the

recording companies

and I decided to form

my own company, SP

Records. I have released

28 CD’s and I have 24

CD’s/Albums of my

own so far on this label.

I’ve been lucky to have

travelled to 60 countries

with Dutch pianist

Rene Van Helsdringen,

violinist Luluk Puwanto

and Los Angeles drummer,

Donald Dean. I’ve

worked in Japan seventeen

times so far and

worked in China three

times with Bill Heid and

Danny Woody. In Oct.

2015 I worked in Yervan,

Armenia, with Willie

Jones III and Louis

Van Taylor.”

“Although there are a

very few clubs left to

work in Los Angeles,

I find myself keeping

busy with Azar Lawrence

West Coast Band,

Theo Saunders’ band, my band, recording

sessions and record company

business. My latest CD is “Three More

Sounds” and watch out for the upcoming

“High Voltage”.

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 19

The Skipper just returned from a very

successful journey on the West Coast

with the great East Coaster Sonny Fortune

and some great West Coasters,

pianist Theo Saunders and drummer

Marvin Smity Smith, whom you can

hopefully hear about in the next article

from The Great West Coast! You

can sometimes, early Saturday evening,

catch The Skipper with singer Thisbe

Vos at the Marriott Hotel in Woodland


I repeat, jazz is alive and well in the

great city of Los Angeles. There are

places to catch the greats. For example,

you can catch us jazz lovers raptly listening

to Azar Lawrence and his band

at The Seabird Lounge in Long Beach,

which might include, along with The

Skipper, Marvin Smitty Smith and Theo

Saunders, the great trumpet player Nolan

Shaheed,(who incidentally holds the

world record in the 800 meters for those

50 years and older), sometimes the

trombonist, George Bohannon, drummer

Alphonse Moussant, bassist Jeffrey

Littleton. Or if you go downtown to The

Blue Whale you might catch pianist Josh

Nelson, or mind blowing, pipes-smashing

singer Dwight Trible, whom you

will definitely see at The World Stage in

Liemert Park, the last remaining vestige

of African American culture (dedicated

to the late, great Billy Higgins), where

you are also certain to see bassist Trevor

Ware, possibly Michael Sessions and

Phil Ranelin, and, if you’re lucky, singer

Barbara Morrison, commonly referred

to as The Queen, in her own Performing

Arts Studio.

And not to forget LACMA on Friday

nights all summer where you will hear

any number of great West Coast musicians.

There are always concerts where

you might hear the great pianist / vocalist

Patrice Rushen with drummer

Clayton Cameron and possibly Bennie

Maupin or Hubert Laws. And of

course Kamasi Washington, currently

on tour, I am sure, with his epic band

and, if you’re lucky, you might catch

him in the summer time at the annual

summertime Hollywood and Highland

Page 20 - Pure Jazz Magazine

Wine and Jazz Event held every Tuesday

evening. If you feel like a stroll on

the beach on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon,

go to The Lighthouse, in Hermosa

Beach, one of the oldest jazz venues

in the greater LA area, where you

will listen to three hours of great jazz.

There are many more. There’s Catalina

in Hollywood, the Typhoon near Santa

Monica, The Home in Beverly Hills, and

a new club, DTLA, organized and run

by Cathy Segal Garcia, another great LA

musician. As I write this I see that drummer

Donald Dean will be there tonight,

another well known LA musician! And

of courses, there’s the renowned Kenny

Burrell, not a native of LA, Detroit born,

but currently teaches at UCLA. And if

you are in the right place at just the right

time you might see the great piano player

William (Bill) Henderson.

If you’re coming to LA for a visit, click

on to LA jazz.com and you will find all

of the upcoming events in the area.

However, the most “heard around the

world cry” took place when Charlie O’s

closed down about five years ago. That

was the hang. Open until the magical

hour of 1:00 AM (early closing time for

New Yorkers, late for us) … John Heard

was the house bassist and every musician

played there. Often when their sets

were over somewhere else they would

show up there and sit in. What a place.

Bartenders were also musicians, art

work was displayed, and pictures of jazz

musicians were beautifully and artfully

placed over the walls. All true aficionados

were there as well as musicians, listening.

That was the place. But all good

things come to an end and that one did.

And then Spazio LA on Ventura Blvd.

closed shortly after that which seemed

like the beginning of the end. The Jazz

Bakery…gone…but probably reopening…

major hotels which featured jazz

on a weekly basis closed their doors to


But as I stated in the beginning, the

great jazz artists are still alive and well,

playing wherever they can. And the jazz

lovers still find them and will continue

to do so. LA is still a cultural Mecca for

jazz because the sound lives on!!! And it

will never die. We have combinations of

father/son musicians here, even grandfather/

grandson musicians who continue

the sound of great jazz. To name

a few: father and son drummers Billy

and Lorca Hart, saxophonist and flautist

Rickey Washington currently featured

in his son, Kamasi Washington’s band,

drummer Donald Dean and grandson,

piano player Jamael Dean, horn player

Michael Sessions and his drummer

son, brothers bassist Jeff Littleton and

drummer Don Littleton,…..

We are a jazz family here in LA just as

you are in NYC and anywhere else in

the world where jazz survives. So ‘hats

off ’ to The Skipper and all of our beloved

players in this city. May the sound

of true jazz forever be the transcending

music in our Universe!!!

Henry Franklin

“The Skipper”

Freelance writer Arlene

Hayes is a high school

English teacher in Los

Angeles whose love

of Jazz began in NYC

after seeing John Coltrane




MILES AHEAD is not just about the music. It’s about what we all face at one time or another in our lives; questions about who

we really are, what we have to say and how will we say it. How will we ultimately be defined and who gets to say so? --

(C) Official Site Rating: R (for strong language throughout, drug use, some sexuality/nudity and brief violence)

Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Special Interest.

Directed By: Don Cheadle - Written By: Steven Baigelman, Don Cheadle

In Theaters: Apr 1, 2016 Limited Runtime: 1 hr. 40 min... Crescendo Productions

Critic Reviews

Don Cheadle pays tribute to the

imagined life and times of Miles Davis.

Mark Kermode ·The Guardian

It’s a near miss, but you can’t help

applauding the passion behind it.

Peter Travers · Rolling Stone

Purists may howl, but they’ll also miss

the pleasure and point of this playfully

impressionistic movie.

Manohla Dargis · New York Times

If you’ve seen (screened) MILES AHEAD how

about writing your own review. PJM would be

very interested in what you have to say about

the movie.

Forward your review to:


Click the link below and watch the trailer:


Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 21




Abiodun Oyewole

azz has been a great influence in my life especially when it comes to writing poetry.

When The Last Poets first got together, we had a loft on 125th St. between 5th and

Madison. The name of the loft was The East Wind. There we would conduct workshops

political workshops theatrical workshops and writing workshops. National Black Theater

was developed there by Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. I conducted the writing workshop. I

would use Jazz compositions by Trane or Miles or Lee Morgan and others to motivate

and inspire the participants to write poetry. This was the same process I used to write

my poetry. I always felt that Jazz artist are really poets of sound. The Last Poets actually

chronicled that by doing an album entitled JAZZOETRY. The Jazz artist didn’t usually

write words down on paper like a poet would, but they would give you a title like


SPAIN by Miles. A poet could easily transcribe those sounds into words. Of course we

have had some greats who did use the word and the sound in concert. Eddie Jefferson

King Pleasure John Hendricks and Oscar Brown Jr and we can’t leave out the incomparable

Nina Simone. These artist could easily go down in history as Jazz poets. Gary

Bartz , Yusef Lateef and Charles Loyld used poetry to inspire some of their compositions.

Two of the most prolific and profound artist were Sun Ra and Rasshan Roland

Kirk. They were masters of their craft. One of my favorites being Kirk’s THE INFLATED

TEAR. Sun Ra was very much influenced by the late great Henry Dumas. Most if not

all Jazz titles are lead-ins to a poem. If you listen closely you can see the images you can

taste the fruit you can smell the flowers and you can feel the passion of life itself. Often

when I’m writing I have some Jazz as my background music to relax my mind and help

me concentrate on the subject. Most recently I wrote something to Herbie Hancocks’s

SPEAK LIKE A CHILD. I hadn’t planned to. I was supposed to be writing something

else but the music moved me and I couldn’t stop my pen from flowing with it.

Sometimes I’ll just ride with the rhythm and cadence of a Jazz track to write a poem.

Carlos Jobim is also another favorite. I love that Brazilian sound. It is medicine to me.

Jazz for a long time has been the soundtrack of my life. Not a day goes by without me

singing a Jazz track listening to some great Jazz or recalling where I was when I first

heard a great piece like Infant Eyes. I had heard earlier Wayne Shorter’s original version

of it some years before I heard Doug and Jean Carn’s version with words. I cried

the first time I heard the track. I am also very proud of the relationships I have had with

some of our Jazz singers like Jon Lucien . Leon Thomas and the incomparable Nina

Simone. For many years I had a Jazz ensemble called GRIOT. In the last twenty years

The Last poets have been up and running. The poets now are Umar Bin Hassan and our

drummer Donald “Babadon” Eaton and myself. We have been a little too busy for me to

have another group right now but I miss it so much. I have often compared what Umar

and I are doing is very much like Miles and Bird. There is even a physical resemblance.

They took jazz to another level like what we’ve done and are doing with poetry. We

have in recent years made collaborations with Jazz artist like David Murray. We did a

series of European tours with him and his band called TONGUES OF FIRE. Umar and

I wrote poetry. The Black Panthers were the theme. David wrote Jazz compositions to

our poems. We had tremendous turn outs and performances. All and all I don’t think

Black poetry would be as profound and as powerful if not for Jazz. After all it is the only

American classical music we’ve got.

Page 22 - Pure Jazz Magazine

© Copyright Fikisha Cumbo ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



Abiodun Oyewole














Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 23

The Lady

Who Shot

Lee Morgan

The Helen Morgan

Story Part II

Lee Morgan, the fiery-hot, extremely

talented jazz trumpet

player, died much too soon.

His skyrocketing career was cut

short at age 33, one cold February

night in 1972, at a Manhattan

club called Slug’s when he

was shot to death by his 46 year

old common-law wife Helen. At

the time, Morgan was experiencing

a comeback of sorts. He

had been battling a serious heroin

addiction for years and by

most accounts, was drug free.

“She was a sucker for

people who were suckers,

and “he was a sucker

for heroin.” ...

Larry Reni Thomas

Page 24 - Pure Jazz Magazine

By Larry Reni Thomas

There was also a young reedman named

Frank Mitchell, who Mrs. Morgan said

they found in the Hudson River. She

was sure that somebody killed him but

she didn’t say why she thought that way.

Frank wrote

the tune “Expoobient”

from the hit

album of the

same name.

Helen managed


band business

and kept

them touring

on a regular

basis to places

like California

for a

month, with

two weeks in

Los Angeles

at Redondo Beach and two weeks in San


Lee Morgan

The band was also booked in Chicago for

two weeks and Detroit for two weeks, on

their way back to the East Coast where

she had work arranged at most of the

major clubs in New York and other cities.

She also set up an engagement on the

Caribbean island of Antigua that went

very well. From roughly 1965 to 1970,

Helen was Lee’s true and trusted confidant,

manager, and spokesperson. If

anyone called their apartment and asked

him about work, he handed the phone

to her. She did the negotiating with the

employers, the arranging of airline flights

and transportation needs and Mrs. Morgan

was the one who made sure they had

hotel rooms.

Meanwhile, Lee concentrated on practicing

with his band and recording. He let

her handle the business end. No doubt

he loved and respected her, so much

so, he wrote a composition called “Helen’s

Ritual,” which was inspired by Lee

watching her take hours getting ready

to go out and rubbing generous portions

of lotion on her legs and the rest of her

body in the process. She was not only

the band’s manager, she was their cook,

coach, cheerleader and probably their

best critic.

Her favorite

phrase when

the band was

really playing

well was “Go

head Morgan!

Go head

Morgan!” She

said Lee would

laugh and the

people, including


band members

would laugh at

her, too. Helen

didn’t care.

She kept on saying “Go head Morgan!

Go head Morgan!” because it made the

band members feel good to know someone

was listening and, most importantly

because it made her feel good. There

was one summer engagement in Rhode

Island at the ritzy Newport Jazz festival

when the music didn’t feel so fine.

“We was at Newport. And they were

drinking. All this drinking. I said, you’all

ain’t doing nothing out there. All you

sound like little children up there. And

I…..And they used to say if I didn’t say

nothing they knew they wasn’t doing

nothing. And I was just sitting right there

looking at them. I said, all you’all sound

like little children up there. And then

Miles told them and Morgan said, “Yeah,

that’s what my wife just told me–that I

sound like a little child and that we sound

like little children.” Miles said, “Well, she

told you right!’”

The good years for the Morgans were

when Lee was working and on methadone.

Helen was meeting and greeting

people who were mostly high-profile,

show business personalities who she

and Lee would sometimes entertained

at their Bronx apartment. They both enjoyed

a good party. It was at one of their

early morning after-the-set parties that

she met an interesting guest. She met the

baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan,

a tall, crew-cut, white boy sitting on a

pillow in her living room amid a sea of

black faces.

Given the time and the place, the late

1960s, during the latter stages of the nonviolent

civil rights movement and the

start of the violent end of the movement,

Mulligan was more than a bold white

boy. He was out of his mind and out of

his place. Especially to Helen Morgan, a

fast-talking, former farm girl from North

Carolina who was definitely at that time,

when she and Lee were doing well, living

large and in a very fast lane.

“I’ll never forget I had a party and Gerry

Mulligan came to my house. I didn’t

know who he was. I didn’t know nothing

about no Gerry Mulligan, you know.

And he was sitting out there….And I

seen this white boy sitting out there in

the corner. And you know, we have a

habit, you know how we say, ‘Nigger!’

You know how we call each other Nig-

ger, you know. (Laughs) In a minute, you

know. And think nothing about it “cause

it was love with us! So I didn’t even know

when he came in there. But somebody

said something and I said, Nigger is you

crazy? And I turned around and looked

in this white guy’s face. And I cut me off.

And I said, “Well, I done said it now. I

said, Well, who are you? And somebody

said, “That’s Gerry Mulligan.’ And I said,

So! (Laughs). And then Morgan came

over there and said,”

This is my wife Helen.’ I was not one of

nicest persons either. I will not sit here

and tell you that I was so nice because I

was not. I was one who will cut you. I was

sharp. I had to be. I had to be sharp. And

Gerry Mulligan sat over there and I said

well make yourself at home, you know.

And he sat over there because in my

front room I didn’t have no chairs. You

sat on pillows and things like that. And

he sat and had food. I always had plenty

food. You served yourself because I partied

too. I was no waiting on nobody. I

cooked the food, you know. But it wasn’t

no waiting on nobody.” “One time, a trick

I pulled,” she continued. “I got some snuff

(Laughs) and it was some kind of snuff.

And I had this party. (Laughs) and I told

JAZZ TRUMPETER Lee Morgan and wife

Helen in one of their happier moments. Mrs.

Morgan now has been charged with the pistol

slaying of her famous husband. (Photo

By Del Edwards)

them that it was Nigerian coke. They lied

and said that they were high.

And it would burn them. I said, hold

your head back. Aw, they would jump on

it. And it was brown–Nigerian coke. Nigerian

coke. And I laughed. Me and my

friend did this. And I’d catch them. And

they’d never been– because some people

had never been in my house before and

they had been coming… I remember

seeing two of the people. I didn’t even

remember them. They remembered me

and how much of a good time they had

at my house and had I gotten anymore of

that coke? And I said, what coke? coke?

They said, “that Nigerian coke, you had.’ I

said, Oh no. (Laughs). I say, now you see

how people’s minds. They weren’t high.

You know. We had wine. They was high

off the wine and smoking reefer.

And we had some coke before, but I

wasn’t giving them all my coke and they

didn’t have any.” Helen laughed when she

talked about the happy times when Morgan

was making a little money. He made

money from the hit LP Sidewinder, but

she insisted that he wasted it all on drugs.

Mrs. Morgan contended that during that

period (roughly 1965 to 1970), Lee was

shooting “tremendous” amounts of cocaine.

He had taken the usual path of

some former heroin addicts, who when

placed on methadone, shot cocaine instead

because they figured it wouldn’t

hurt since the white powder was not


Most of the time it turned out to be like

jumping from a boiling pot to a frying

pan or exchanging one bad habit for

another. In the case of Lee Morgan, it

turned out to be, according to her, exactly

that and much, much more. He started

to run the streets a great deal and sometimes

he wouldn’t come back to their

Bronx apartment for days. She began to

wonder if their wonderful, fun-filled fast

times were about to end. It was around

that time that Helen began to ask herself

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 25

“Did I love him (Lee)? Or did I think he

was my possession? And I think part of

that might have been my fault because I

might have stopped being..I might have

started being too possessive or too much

like a mother to him.

I was much older than Morgan because

he was in his thirties when he died and I

was in my forties or late forties. I thought

about it because it was like to me, I

thought about it. Like I made him. You

know. I brought you back. You belong

to me. And you are not supposed to go

out there and do this. He started seeing

this girl and as I understand it now. See

I was on him about using so much cocaine.

She was using cocaine with him.

She was shooting cocaine with him. And

you know how long that is. That’s pop,

pop, pop! with that because it ain’t going

to last you but a hot minute snorting it

and less than that when you shoot it.

So I knew that because he’d be there with

me when he’d get it. And I said, You using,

you shooting, you using too much

cocaine, you know. You using too much.

You not eating, you know. And your

nerves, you using. And I guess I was beginning

to sound like a mother. And this

girl, she had been after him for a long

time. But when he was out there strung

out she wasn’t. But once he got himself

straight she wanted him. And then they

were hanging out, you know. He had

somebody (his age) to play with.

I saw her hanging around and I’d go to

the bathroom and they would be there,

you know. And I said, You better be careful,

girl, you know. And I told her, You

better be careful, you know.” Shortly afterwards,

Helen stopped going to the

clubs to see Morgan perform. She was

still handling his business and they were

still living together.

They were still going out together in public

and when he was invited to be on several

TV specials she accompanied him,

Page 26 - Pure Jazz Magazine

not his new girlfriend. This situation

perplexed Mrs. Morgan so much that she

tried to commit suicide by swallowing

poison. Lee was home the evening it happened.

He called a cab and took her to

the hospital to get her stomach pumped.

Once she completely recovered from that

ordeal, she sat down to have a heart-toheart

talk with Lee about their shaky future.

“The thing we need to do is separate,”

she told him. “You go ahead and be

with her and I’ll still do your business.

But what you are doing is not right. I’m

not one of those woman that can talk

about I’m the main woman and you got

somebody else out there. I’m not built that

way. That’s not me. I’m no main woman

if you leaving me here every night by

myself and you out there with somebody

else!” Mrs. Morgan said she asked Lee

to leave and he wouldn’t. He was not secure

enough to go and live with his new

girlfriend, Helen contended, because he

had sense enough to know that what he

was doing with her would do nothing but

bring him down. She was convinced that

she brought him his much sought after

stability. She told him that if he wouldn’t

go then she would and that she was going

to Chicago to visit some old friends.

Helen also informed Lee that she didn’t

know when she was coming back and

that maybe when she came back he would

“have his act together.” “I even sat down

and talked to the girl at the club,” she explained.

“I said, I don’t want you to think

that..I don’t know what he is telling you.

But you sitting here and I’m telling him

to go with you. I’m not keeping him. Begging

him to stay. I’m telling him that it’s

best for everybody around because I feel

like something bad is going to happen

out of this. And that Sunday he begged

me not to go. He said, “Helen, don’t go.

Don’t go to Chicago. I don’t want you to

go. I don’t want you to leave me.

I said, we can’t live like this. It’s not me.

And I didn’t go to Chicago. And I told

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him, you know, Morgan, I’m making the

biggest mistake of my life.” That turned

out to be a profound and a prophetic

statement because it would lead to her

making an uncharacteristically dumb

move for a lady who had been doing

the right things up until that point. She

continued to stay at home and Lee even

came home a night or two after their discussion.

But that didn’t last long. Before

the weekend, he was back in the streets,

hanging out with his friend and shooting

cocaine until the wee hours of the morning.

He was working at Slug’s, a downtown

club she had booked him in all

week that second week in February 1972.

She had promised the club owner, like she

had done many times in the past, that he

would be there and Lee was there, with

his quintet. sounding good and making

the news as the act to catch, oblivious to

what was about transpire, unaware that

this much-heralded, routine gig at Slug’s

would be his last. “On that Saturday, I

don’t know what possessed me. I said,

I’m going to Slug’s.

He was working down there that whole

week. I hadn’t been down there that

whole week. And I had a gun. He was the

one who bought me the gun because he

said he don’t be home and he wanted me

to protect myself. And I put the gun in

my bag. And a fellow was staying with me

named Ed, Ed was gay. And Ed knew all

the musicians and everything you know.

And I said, Ed come on and go with me

and Ed said no. He said, “Don’t go, Don’t

go down there.’ I said, no I’m going down

there. He said, “I just don’t want you to

go!’ I said, I’m going to stop in Slug’s and

say hello and then I’m going over to the

Vanguard and hear Freddie.

I got a cab and went down there and went

in Slug’s. And Morgan came around there

where I was and we was talking and the

girl walked up and she said, ” I thought

you wasn’t supposed to be with her anymore.’

And he said, “I’m not with

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Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 27

Lee Morgan and John Coltrane

this bitch, I’m just telling her to leave me

alone.’ And about that time I hit him. And

when I hit him I didn’t have on my coat

or nothing but I had my bag. He threw

me out the club. Wintertime. “And the

gun fell out the bag,” she continued. “And

I looked at it. I got up. I went to the door.

I guess he had told the bouncer that I

couldn’t come back in. The bouncer said

to me, “Miss Morgan I hate to tell you

this but Lee don’t want me to let you in.’

And I said, Oh, I’m coming in! I guess the

bouncer saw the gun because I had the

gun in my hand. He said, “Yes you are.’

And I saw Morgan rushing over there to

me and all I saw in his eyes was rage.” It

was at that point that Mrs. Morgan shot

Lee and her whole world changed the

moment that shot went off. She said she

became extremely panicky and threw the

gun on the counter on the bar. Pure pandemonium

broke out and the bar’s occupants


The police and an ambulance arrived on

the scene. Helen sat there in the middle

of all this in a complete daze, wondering

if this was a dream, or was it a nightmare?

“I ran over there and said I was

sorry. And he said to me, he said, “Helen,

I know you didn’t mean to do this. I’m

sorry too.’” “I can remember the cops

throwing me out. I went into hysterics

and I don’t know. It seem to me like everybody

must have left. And I don’t know

where the girl went.

Page 28 - Pure Jazz Magazine

I ain’t never seen that girl since. I think

she thought she was next. But she never

entered my mind. You know, it’s a funny

thing, she didn’t enter my mind. When

that gun went off it snapped me back to

reality to what I had done. I didn’t have

a coat. I didn’t have a bag. I didn’t have

nothing. I was just sitting there, you know.

Seemed like it hadn’t registered. I said, I

couldn’t have did this. I couldn’t have did

this. This must be a dream and I’ll wake

up. I couldn’t be sitting here. And then I

just went to jail and sat there. “And the

next morning I had to go to court. My

kids was upset. They don’t know what

to think. But the musicians were there.

They were there. Everybody kept saying,

“Don’t worry. Don’t worry. Don’t worry.

We behind you. Don’t worry. We’ll get

you a lawyer. Don’t worry.’

I was just going back. Worry about what?

And the lawyer told me do not plead

guilty. Plead not guilty. I didn’t understand

that, I said, “Well I killed him. I’m

guilty, you know.”

So I did what he said–not guilty. And

then I went on back. And when they had

the hearing, my mother came up. Then

that was another…She was in trauma because

she couldn’t believe it. This is my


I said, “well, Helen, you got to get yourself

together. It’s done. You done put

yourself in it now. So, you got to get yourself

together. You got to get your mind

together. You got to get yourself together

mentally to accept what you have done.”

Helen said she spent several weeks on

Riker’s Island in jail before she realized

no one was going to help her except herself.

She fired her lawyer after he paid her

only one visit and failed to say anything

to her after their initial meeting. Her

supporters had dwindled down to family

members and close friends who stuck

with her in and out of prison.

It wasn’t until she had been out of New

York for almost 20 years, in failing health,

back down south in North Carolina near

where her life began, that she decided to

grant an interview and talk about the sad,

tragic event that had shaped her fall from

being “Lee Morgan’s woman,” a possessive

lady in the fast lane, to the devoted,

loving, church-going mother and grandmother

known as Ms. Morgan. Less than

a month after she gave this interview in

February 1996, Helen’s song came to its

coda, its final note, when her weak heart

gave out and she died at a hospital in

Wilmington, North Carolina, surrounded

by her loved ones.

Lee Morgan performing with Art

Blakey and the Jazz Messengers:



Larry Reni Thomas, a native

of Wilmington, North

Carolina, is a writer/radio

announcer/lecturer based

in Chapel Hill, North

Carolina, who has worked

at seven radio stations and

whose journalistic work

has appeared in downbeat

and The New York Times


Click for another

view on this subject


Pure Jazz Historic Moment

Original Tuxedo Jazz Band

Book Review

Indigenous Pop:

Native American Music

from Jazz to Hip Hop

Review by: Bobby Gonzalez

“All the credits gone to the African for the wonderful rhythm in

jazz, but I think a lot of it should go to the American Indian.”

Those words were said by Ruth Ellington, long-time business manager

and sister of Duke Ellington. Duke and Ruth’s grandmother

was half-Cherokee, and they grew up listening to her singing traditional

Native tunes. Logically, Duke must have internalized these

songs and passed them on in his own music.

“Indigenous Pop” is a groundbreaking collection of essays that

brings to light remarkable stories about the influence of Native

Americans on jazz. One such account is that of the American Indian

Reservation Orchestra which performed from 1929 to 1933.

This unique ensemble was led by Joseph Bayhlle Shunatona, a

“seasoned Pawnee-Otoe bandleader who established a career as

a musician and humorist that would extend for several decades.”

The orchestra presented an amazing sight on stage as they were

dressed fully in traditional Native clothing including buckskins,

eagle feather headdresses and moccasins. They had learned to play

Euro-American instruments in federal Indian boarding schools

where they were forbidden to play indigenous music and were coerced

to assimilate into the dominant culture. No recordings exist.

Mildred Bailey (1907-1951), one of jazz’s first female vocalists, was

a member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe of Idaho. She pioneered the

vocal “swing” style later adapted by many singers including Ella

Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Among jazz aficionados Ms. Bailey

was known as “Queen of Swing” and “The Rocking Chair Lady.”

Among her many hits were “Small Fry” and “I Let a Song Go Out

of My Heart.” She was so highly regarded that during her final

days, her medical bills and mortgage were paid for by Bing Crosby

and Frank Sinatra. “Bailey not only left an enduring imprint on

America’s collective consciousness, her Spokan/Coeur d’Alene

voice helped mold its most distinctive musical art form.”

Jim Pepper (1941-1992), was the giant among Native American jazz

musicians and composers. His father was Kaw, and his mother was

Creek. Jim was a tenor saxophonist whose band “The Free Spirits”

included guitarist Larry Coryell. The sound they created was a fusion

of jazz and rock. Jim Pepper grew up in the Oklahoma Kaw

Reservation and was very much influenced by intertribal dances of

the pow-wows and the music he heard in the Kaw Peyote Church.

Before recording and performing compositions that were jazz

transformations of traditional Peyote Church chants, he requested

permission of the Church elders. They granted it. His most memorable

tune from that collection was “Witchi Tai To” which was later

covered by Brewer and Shipley, Yes, and the Supremes (though never

released). In 2000 Jim Pepper was voted into the Native American

Music Awards Hall of Fame.

Reviewing this book led to an email interview with Pura Fe, a renowned

Tuscarora/Taino singer and musician. Her mother Nancy

Lund (Tuscarora) sang in Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert Series.

Ms. Lund collaborated with Duke until his death. Pura Fe hooked

up as a vocalist with Duke’s son, Mercer, and the Mercer Ellington

Orchestra. She recalls that Lena Horne and Danny Glover were in

the audience for her first performance with the band. Pura Fe also

pointed out that Clifford Shenandoah of the Oneida Nation played

guitar for Duke Ellington, and she also remembers Duke reminiscing

often about his Native heritage.

“Indigenous Pop” covers a lot of ground from jazz to contemporary

hip hop. It’s all great music, but its main thrust is that the Native

American influence on American jazz music is a mostly untold

story that is just beginning to be revealed.

Bobby Gonzalez is multicultural motivational

speaker, storyteller and poet based in New York City.

Edited by Jeff Berglund, Jan Johnson

and Kimberli Lee. 250 pp. University

of Arizona Press. $35

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 29

Horace Silver

At My


Hard Bop Originator

Musically, there was a time when I

reveled in my R&B childhood of Doo

Wops and all that Motown/Philly

wonderfulness, but then came a day

when I ‘heard’ the music of Horace Ward

Martin Tavares Silver and I mark it as the

‘Crossroad into Jazz’, for my life. One day

I was a child, the next day I was a musical

adult. The music of Horace Silver is that

demonstrative in my life. He was literally

the coolest person on earth for me and

the college bound set of people I stalked

at that time. Yes, cooler even than Miles

Davis. Horace Silver had the sound, the

beat, the sidemen, the tunes, and the

sophistication to lead a generation into

the magical regions of Modern Jazz. He

did that with the humble grace of a man

possessed by his muse: Funky Jazz.

The Silver sound is your classic driving

piano, pushing songs to completion with

chords and breaks all over the scale.

He adds to high energy, the virtuoso

ability of solo with

block chords that

bring to mind

that less than

perfectly tuned

church piano,

while holding

down musicians

of the caliber of

Blue Mitchell

and Junior Cook,

Doug Watkins

and Gene Taylor.

When one listens

to Horace Silver, one remembers that he

was an original founder, along with Art

Blakey, of the Jazz Messengers, possibly

the seminal

Jazz group of

the Hard Bop

period. Swing,

drive and

that ‘ole good

time feeling’

are essential

ingredients to

every Silver


He kept these


as signature

elements from

his earliest to his latest compositions and

everyone who ever played with Horace

Silver came knowing that hard swing

and middle of the note excellence would

be the bottom line to their presence

By Ed Dessisso

along with Master Silver. So profound

is the Silver touch that his tunes are

standard fare for anyone playing any

style of Jazz and a necessary addition

to the playbook of musicians who want

to hold the attention of Jazz audiences


Is there somewhere someone who has

not dedicated a listen to SONG FOR MY

FATHER without thanking Horace Silver

for saying what words could not say?

Who has never encountered FILTHY

McNASTY without the requisite smile

of recognition? Silver is the enigma that

extracts complexity from the simplest

approach, weaves intricacy from the


When Jazz heads of

my generation speak

of “back in the day”,

they are referring to

the times when Silver

ruled with a stomping,

rollicking (remember

that word?) joyousness

that painted the

world in the colors

of possibility and

hopefulness. Decency

and presenting the

best of oneself was the order of the day.

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 31

Presidents and racial statesmen had

not been assassinated yet and the

political cynicism of our current

national landscape was yet to be

created. There was pride in the

country as the place where the most

incredible music on earth was born.

Maestros the level of Horace Silver

were sharkskin clad ambassadors

all over the planet and because of

the music alone, everybody in the

world loved America. The times

regarded cool and ability over

money and hype. The whole world was

ready for the new directions Silver and

others were taking the Parker/Gillespie

invention of Bebop. True to his muse,

Horace Silver always kept the feeling

of party music in his artistry. His hits

had the dance music feel of ‘let your

hair down and get some sweat on that

mohair suit’. Funky Jazz lived in the

forefront of the music scene right beside

Rhythm & Blues, contesting for radio

air play through artists like Ray Charles,

Jimmy Smith, the Adderley Brothers,

Shirley Scott, McDuff & Stitt, and the

Jazz Crusaders.

Silver pioneered data-mining different

musical scales, cultural rhythms

templates, and interesting time

signatures as the foundations for many

of his most popular tunes. His own

background as a descendent of Cape

Verdean soil provided him a folkloric

spine for his greatest hit, SONG FOR

MY FATHER. The Silver ability to hear

great Jazz from mundane circumstances

gave him a hit record based on the

oratory style of THE PREACHER,

another tune that went classic as soon as

Silver recorded it. Horace Silver found

hot party music in every direction. The

relevance of his musical skills is proven

by the many references Jazz heads make

to “back in the day”. The good feelings

that came with Horace Silver’s music

is what they are talking about. It is not

enough to say it was a simpler time.

It is closer to the truth to say people

were better then. People meant you

well, enough to acknowledge universal

humanity. Silver’s music reflects that

Horace Silver

kind of universality; the birthright of a

good time, for everyone. Fierce populist

that he was, most Silver solos include

‘folk-riffs’ that allowed inclusion to

even the least Jazz listener. A listener on

YOUTUBE. commented about hearing

“…coming round the mountain” in a

Silver solo. How democratic is that?

Which is no contradiction to the same

truth that Horace Silver is the creator of

some of the most complex and intricate

piano solos in the Hard Bop era. Horace

Silver could play piano with and for

anybody swinging music.

The Silver exploration of ‘Le Jazz

Hot’ was most often conducted from

the platform of the quintet, with

trumpet and saxophone as the front

line supported by a rhythm section of

piano, bass and drums. Big Band Swing

music is the parent of Bebop and give

a stage to the great soloists who could

shine against the full sound of the

surrounding members of the whole

band ensemble. Outstanding, hard

blowing, full sounding soloists became

known as ‘Cookers’ because they raised

the temperature of the music with solos

improvised from creativity and musical

expertise. The Silver Quintet is always

and only composed of ‘Cookers’. In

addition to the wide open, all out party

direction of Silver’s compositions, is the

blended precise unison note execution

from the front line of ‘Cookers’. Blue

Mitchell and Junior Cook were a

signature tandem extending the cooker

tradition at the same time that they

helped the Silver Quintet to maintain

Page 32 - Pure Jazz Magazine

the excitement and atmosphere of a big

band. It is interesting to me that unison

‘front line’ stayed a major feature of

Art Blakey’s Messengers from the time

he was associated with Silver and after.

Blakey’s Messengers project, as well, the

atmosphere of a big band ensemble, led

by cookers. The big band ambiance from

a small group is one of the advances that

Silver, Blakey and others of this musical

period afforded the Jazz listening world.

The Hard Bop feeling and sound is its

own template and division of the Jazz


of his work, with different sidemen,

inclusive of European concerts and

foreign recordings. There is much

pleasure in watching the old tapes from

the 50’s and 60’s. The music is grand

and the players a joy to witness in their

exuberance and precision. I surf the

Jazz on YOUTUBE as often as possible.

It teaches me about artists I have little

real experience of and refreshes my love

for others I know well. Perhaps the best

element I enjoy the most is the fact that

the videos come to me free.

The only cost is the time it takes to see

these marvels. I thought I had a pretty

good collection of Horace Silver, until

I began to experience YOUTUBE

selections I did not own. It was like

widening my vision to hear how much

of his works had escaped my notice. The

Internet re-captured the Silver magic

in an array of situations and locations

I will remain grateful to have seen and

heard. I recommend everyone tune in

to the opportunity while it is still free


Silver is the master of the cookers. His

solos, framed in tempo by bass and

drum, are single finger musings that

wander his artistry up and down scales,

telling stories of simplicity, elegance,

and humor. There is such a powerful

element of concentration in Silver’s

solos that he seems to lead the listener

by dropping musical bread crumbs

along the trail of the tune. Never banal,

Horace Silver solos as if he is allowing

others to hear his personal engagement

with the music. Entranced, he plays

under his own spell as if communicating

back to the tune. The resulting music

is always fresh and in the moment, no

matter how often Silver has played the

tune. Generations of Silver Quintet

alumnus speak of how Horace Silver’s

approach to SONG FOR MY FATHER

kept the tune new to his audiences

every performance, for decades.

That alone is testament to the artistic

dedication involved with preserving a

wonderful musical experience. That he

continuously invented differing solos

for the same song is to elevate that

tune to the realm of ‘living music’. Each

rendition is an individual wonder in

itself, yet the tune remains the one we all

know and love, no matter the number of


I must praise YOUTUBE and their

Jazz archivists for a terrific collection

of performance videos and album

recordings of Horace Silver’s work.

There is a virtual education to be had

on him at their site and it is not limited

to a few samples. There are generations

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Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 33

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I confess that my attention to Horace

Silver and the ground breaking music

he and his bands created for us hasn’t

been as rapt as they might deserve.

There’s a lot of music out there and no

one hears everything. Filling my head

with Silver’s music in preparation to

write this article introduced me to a

masterpiece by the title of IN PURSUIT

OF THE 27TH MAN. It is a later day

example of how Silver retained his hard

charging aesthetic while remaining

relevant to questing contemporary

rhythms. This jam flies and Silver

pushes it like gasoline on a fire. There

is an Eddie Gladden drum solo on

the tune that is a marvel by itself. The

whole tune is to be appreciated but

is an example of music developed

from a difficult time signature and the

Japanese tonic scale as a showcase for

the group’s drummer. On the subject

of drums, Horace Silver kept an affinity

with the drums as the ‘other’ percussion

instrument in his ensembles. Silver

consistently interlaced his fingering

with the stick patterns of his drummers

to form conversations. Listening to the

piano/drum interchange is one more

refinement inside his music. Silver had

this feature with each of his drummers,

wherein they dialogued inside the

music underneath the melody.

Horace Silver will always be as timeless

as Jazz itself. The brilliance of his legacy

is re-created in the many classics that

bear his name; but for me, his most important

gift was to be the musical face of

the world I discovered coming through

my musical crossroad. Horace Silver

introduced me to Jazz and am I forever



Page 34 - Pure Jazz Magazine


Ed Dessisso is a Free Lance

writer and is the author of

Vinyl Man, which is a regular

column in this publication

This edition of “Space Is The Place”

takes a look at two of the world renowned

bass performers who are

at the top of their game. Make sure

to surf the links to the destinations

where they can be seen performing

on the web.

Where the Music & the Universe Meet

By Dr Mambo

Esperanza Emily Spalding (born October 18, 1984) is an American Jazz

bassist, cellist and singer, who draw upon many genres in her own compositions.

Spalding was raised in Portland, Oregon and was a musical prodigy,

playing violin in the Chamber Music Society of Oregon at age five. She was

later both self-taught and trained on a number of instruments, including

guitar and bass. Her proficiency earned her scholarships to Portland State

University and the Berklee College of Music. What make this album so

compelling is how many different formats the music is available in. Additionally

Ms. Spaulding is marketing her materials as an independent performer

reaching out through social media as well as an excellent website.

Finding her music is very easy.

Ms. Spaulding has won four Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Award

for Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards, making her the first Jazz

artist to win the award. As Space is the Place is now on line we can upgrade

our artists with direct links on the web to more information about the artists

we bring to your attention here. Various viewpoints describing her music

makes for interesting reading.




Ms. Spaulding new recording, Emily’s D+Evolution is more than a recording

project; it’s an awakening of her inner child. It’s an audio portrait stretching

Spalding beyond music and into storytelling through acting, staging, and

movement.”--Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. Follow the links below to peruse

Esperanza Spaulding’s musical career.

Christian Lee McBride (born May 31, 1972) is an American Jazz bassist.

He is considered a virtuoso, and is one of the most recorded musicians of

his generation; he has appeared on more than 300 recordings as a sideman.

He is also a five-time Grammy award winner. PJM staff members

noticed Mr. McBride performing at the White House, on NPR, at Lincoln

Center and on tour with almost everybody. In the staff meeting it all

came together to include Christian in this section. We’ve had a contact

resulting in a conversation on World of Jazz Radio.

The ground he is moving with his music put Christian McBride leading

the charge for a new generation of performers the Jazz community needs

to know about. Follow the links to learn more about this talented musician.




Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 35



CBJC Awards Ceremony 2001

Ed Stoute, Leonard Gaskin, Mensah Wali,

Randy Weston, Viola Plummer, Bob Myers

-by Mike Howard

A tree grows in Brooklyn, smack dab in the middle of the Borough

a luxuriant tree that bears delicious musical fruits and

attracts a special breed of songbirds. The seeds were planted by

the many fine musicians native to the borough and nurtured by

their admirers. When it blooms in April, what you’ll hear are the

sounds of live performances from world-class musicians, emanating

from a bevy of music emporiums, schools and churches.

The 2nd Annual Central Brooklyn Jazz festival boasted 13 nights

of fine Jazz. Here is a brief note of what happened each night:

The annual opening gala conducted at the Sugar Hill Supper

Club featured two bands, one for each floor, with the Ronnie

Mathews Trio upstairs and a jammin’ session downstairs with

Benny Powell, Ahmed Abdullah, Stanley Banks, Talib Kibwe, and

Andrei Strobert. Lifetime achievement awards were presented to

Randy Weston, Betty Roche, ‘Leonard Gaskin, Ed Stoute, and Al

Vann. Proprietor Eddie Freeman was a gracious host as he smiled

and greeted guests all night long.

Night two found Fred Wright hosting us at Brown Sugar, where

Jeff King held court with Andrei Strobert, Sulaiman Akim,

Charles Carrington, and Talik Abdullah. City Council member

Annette Robinson spoke, embracing the efforts of the consortium

and pledged support.

Night three was ladies night, at Bed-Stuy Restoration ‘s Skylight

Gallery featuring five females artists who discussed their travails

in the entertainment indus try. Sharing anecdotes and impressions,

both lasting and fleeting, these ladies discussed

what men (and some women) do to maintain the status quo

in the industry. Dottie Anita Taylor, from the executive office

of the JVC, offered serious discourse. And then they

performed! Vocalists Melba Joyce and Karen Taylor split

the microphone chores, and were superbly accompanied by

Bernice Brooks on drums, Kim Clark on bass, and Joanne

Brackeen on piano . The evening was dedicated to the late

Rosalind Blair, consortium member and creator of Jazz: The

Woman ‘s Viewpoint.” Torrie McCartney served as commentator

during the panel discussion. Do you remember

Mrs.Jones? Renowned vocalist Billy Paul, reminded us all on

night four as he took center stage Saturday night at Medgar

Evers College. His voice, captured in time, let every single

patron know how he felt. At 65, he had a story to tell, and

energy to bring to it. His classics

“Billy Boy” and “Ebony Woman” had timeless appeal. The

performance was conducted in part by the Billie Holiday

and Jazzy Jazz Festivals, co-produced by Alma Carroll and

the Jazzpaz azz Historical Society founded by her late husband

Joe be-bop” Carroll. Night five found us nestled under

the Williamsburg Bridge at the Williamsburg Music Center,

where we hung out with guitarist/bassist/ owner Gerry Eastman

. The quaint old railroad flat has been tastefully rest ored

to prov i de the perfect ambiance to go along with Joe Ford

Page 36 -Pure Jazz Magazine

on soprano sax, Newman Taylor Baker, drums

and Sayuri Goto on piano. An enjoyable evening

given to gather one’s thoughts and prepare

for the u pcomi ng roar of the subsequent festival

dates. Enter James Spaulding, on night six,

with his alto sax roaring, at Sista’s Place with

Eric Lemon Holding sway on bass, with a

drummer from Chicago, so good you can‘t let

him go back. Why even the vocalist reminded

us of Billy Eckstine.

Spaulding himself sang a few bars. Man! Nostrand

and Jefferson Avenues served up several

heated nights during the festival, but this was

special! Night seven at the Akwaaba Cafe on

Lewis Avenue (owned by Glen Pogue an d Monique

Greenwood) displayed why it is becoming

quite popular. We relaxed ourselves there,

enjoying fine cui sine and the Chardavoine

Band, with Gene Chardvoine on guitar leading

a fine quartet... Cliff Lee Plus Three entertained

us on night eight, at Club Traci’s on Tompkins

s Avenue. Cliff was on trumpet and vocals, accompanied

by t he John son Brothers. Ask for

Aphrodite when you drop by.She makes you feel

right at home. Night nine took us to Pumpkins

on Nostrand Avenue where host Bill Rutherford

featured the Louis Hayes quintet. The pumpkin

really glowed that night.

Night ten was really Friday the 13th but was

“super-not-stitious” as two venues played on

Concord Baptist Church presented Barry Harris

and featured his composition based on the

23rd Psalm. You thrilled to the collaboration

of Dr. Harris and the 100-member Jazz choir.

Pastor Gary Simpson is represented on the consortium

by music minister Phil Bingham and

Richard D’ Abreu, who joined the group on

piano and tenor sax. We didn’t skip a beat as

Jazz 966 returned to the days of swing dancing,

reminiscent of the Savoy Ballroom’s legendary

gatherings . The Benny Russell Big Band kept

things swinging, (and yes we had a winner in

the swing dance contest) Jazz 966 founder Sam

Pinn selected two consortium members, Jitu

Weusi and Torrie McCartney, to serve as judges.

Night eleven...whew! I’m out of breath just remembering

the pace . This was also a doublebill.

We began at Bed-Stuy Restoration with bass

guitarist Stanley Banks and vocalist/saxman

Lonnie Youngblood leading an eight-member,

get-down and funk group. Consortium consultant

Jacqui Woods hosted the event and had a

ball doin’ it. We finished off the night at the Up

Over Jazz Cafe where the Billy Harper Quintet

made its annual return to the Central Brooklyn

Jazz Festival. Owner Bob Myers had his staff

don the festival t-shirts emblazoned with the

CBJC logo, (they’re still available if you’d like


Number twelve on the list of events was The

Five Spot on Myrtle Avenue, which served up

music and cuisine with a brunch featuring Brass

Monkey, a Dixieland blues ba nd, culminating

with feverish percussionist Eric Frazier and

his group. Last event, number 13: Kudos to

St. Philips Episcopal Church and the October

Club as they concluded this 2nd annual Central

Brooklyn Jazz Festival. The Drake Colley Quartet

opened , and guess who was on drums--w

hy of course, Andrei Strobert. Spirited vocalist

Torrie McCartney, in fine fettle, closed out this

installment of what is sure to become a fixture

in the Brooklyn community, Veteran bassist

Bob Cunningham joined Torrie on the sa after

he received a citation from the Brooklyn Borough

President’s office acknowledging his Contributions

to the Jazz community. This 13-nite/

day fete clearly demonstrates that the ideas, and

commitment of the consortium members to

move jazz to the next level in Brooklyn is right

on key.

As CEO of United Music

Makers, an arm of CBJC

(a member since its inception)

he recently completed

16 years as facilitator

of the Jazzy Jazz Festival

held at Medgar Evers

College. Mike has written

several articles for the

Black Star News and Pure

Jazz Magazine.

This article is a reprint

from a 2001 edition of:


Jazz Festival

April 13th to May 13th






Social Media


For a





Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 37

The Empress’ Gallery

In her travels pursuing the operation of Pure Jazz Magazine, Jo

Ann realized she needed photos. During that time it was next

to impossible to get photos for a start up magazine much less

take them yourself. But that’s exactly what Jo Ann did. Working

her passion for Jazz and the magazine she created an extensive

library. PJM shares photos from her collection.

Thank you for your support.


“The 90’s”

My initial assignment from PJM was to

research music technology in the 90’s

and report on the progress from that

era until now. So the request from

PJM seemed reasonable enough. Since

I’ve written about 90’s music technology

and its significant advances before,

so I thiought “piece of cake”. However,

that’s not where this article wound up

going. Instead I found myself taking an

excursion to a place where musicians

pay homage to their musical elders.

In that world it’s a regular occurrence

to hear professional players say, “we’re

standing on the shoulders of those who

come before us”. But as music and computer

technology merged in the 90’s, I

can remember words from technologists

who said, “The future is here now!

FYI: the past is still here too!” These

two key powerful ideas present another

perspective view of the 90’s.

As far as conscious music (also called

Jazz) is concerned during the last century

there have been many performers

following the “Jazz” tradition. But

there’s only a precious few musicians

who’ve made a substantial impact on

the music they performed, the musicians

who played with them, the media

who reported on them as well as the

fans who came to dance and generally

enjoy the music… Most of these legendary

professionals are no longer with

us as they’ve made their transition, going

home to the ancestors. There are

however a precious few of the “originals”

who are still performing into and

well past their 90th year on the planet.

Considering medicine technology from

the 20’s through the early 50’s much is

By Dwight Brewster May 2016

left to be desired. Add a few world and

regional wars, sprinkle in a little political

upheaval and a whole bunch of racial

and economic strife make surviving until

one reaches 2016 and his or her 90th

birthday a major feat in itself.

Back in the day (the early 1980’s) I didn’t

give this subject much thought until I

noticed a media blitz focusing its cameras,

microphones and print media on

Mr. Eubie Blake. Born in 1887 Eubie

Blake was the personification of music

performance excellence and strong

business acumen. What many music

professionals are striving to achieve in

2016, Eubie Blake and his writing partner

Noble Sissle were DOING 100 years

ago! Understanding their story and reviewing

their accomplishments started

me on a quest to identify other musicians

who attained the unique stature of

performing into their 90’s…

I’ve taken this opportunity to revisit this

subject. I’ve really got the bug. With

my research complete I created a list of

my top five musicians who are preforming

in their 90’s. I thought it wouldn’t

be fair if I didn’t include an honorable

mentions list, so there’s one of those as

well. That list is of musicians who are

on the cusp of entering their 90th year if

they not there already.

To get started we pay homage to a “Giant”

in the music called Jazz; he also

graced the cover of the first PJM in 2000:

Randy Weston:

(Born on April 6, 1926

in Brooklyn, New York)

Randy Weston is one of the world’s finest

pianists and composers. His brilliant

work is rooted in the music cultures of

Africa. For the last four decades Randy

has researched African music and

its link with American music. Born

in Brooklyn on April 6th, 1926 Randy

was introduced to music very early in

his life by his parents. His father gave

him books by J.A. Rogers and strategically

placed maps of Africa around the

house to counteract the nonsense Randy

was exposed to in school. Randy was

also required to take piano lessons as a

child and was exposed to many different

types of music growing up. The next

part of his early education came from

his neighborhood. Most of his friends

had pianos in their homes so they

would go from house to house; hang

out playing and listening to music. It is

from this environment the genius of Mr.

Weston springs; his impact on the “Jazz

community has been immense. After

contributing seven decades of musical

direction and genius, Randy Weston

remains one of the world’s foremost

pianists and composers today, a true

innovator and visionary. The National

Endowment named Mr. Weston a NEA

Jazz Master for the Arts, United States’

highest honor in jazz music.

Lots more information on Randy

Weston is available. To increase your

knowledge of this award winning pianist,

composer and all around music

futurist, follow the link to our interview

with Mr. Weston conducted by Jitu

Weusi and Jo Ann Brewster-Cheatham

in the first issue of PJM / CLICK HERE.

Page 40 -Pure Jazz Magazine

Roy Haynes:

(Born March 13, 1925)

As a student of the music I’ve known

about Roy Haynes for most of my life. I

heard his records and read reviews of his

performance in “Down Beat” magazine.

However it was at the Central Brooklyn

Jazz Festival 2012 that I finally got

a chance to meet and hear Mr. Haynes

up close and personal performing with

his “Fountain of Youth Band.” Ironically

Mr. Haynes who has played every major

Jazz club and Jazz festival in the world

looks like he’s in his 60’s and still plays

with the ferociousness of an eager lion

on the Jazz prowl. “Waiting for my next

gig is still exciting,” said Haynes. He reflects

on Jazz history going back to the

swing era and his first gig with the Luis

Russell Big Band in 1945 at the Savoy

Ballroom in Harlem, to Be-Bop, Post-

Bop, and Avant Garde. Plenty of additional

information about Mr. Haynes

is available; you can start with a feature

from a back issue of PJM where we explore

the life and career of Roy-alty with

Roy Haynes. To view CLICK HERE:

Randy Weston & Candido


(Born in Havana, Cuba in 1921)

So well known and respected by his first

name alone, “Candido” is all that is necessary

for Jazz aficionados to know who

he is. He is well known for being the first

percussionist to bring conga drumming

to Jazz. Candido Camero is also known

for his contributions to the development

of Mambo and Afro-Cuban Jazz.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Candido began

making music as a young child, beating

rhythms on empty condensed milk

cans, in place of bongos, that his uncle

made for him around 4 years of age. In

his teen years Candido worked with the

CMQ Radio Orchestra and at the famed

Cabaret Tropicana in Cuba.

Soon after he came to the United States

in 1946 with the dance team Carmen

and Rolando, Candido was playing with

Billy Taylor who wrote in 1954, “I have

not heard anyone who even approaches

the wonderful balance between Jazz and

Cuban elements that Candido demonstrates.”

He has recorded and performed

with seemingly everybody in

the Jazz field, including such luminaries

as Tony Bennett, Miles Davis, Dizzy

Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Slide Hampton,

Charles Mingus, Wes Montgomery,

Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Parker, Sonny

Rollins, and Clark Terry. Among his

many awards are the Latin Jazz USA

Lifetime Achievement Award (2001)

and a special achievement award from

the American Society of Composers,

Authors and Publishers as a “Legend of

Jazz” (2005). The National Endowment

named Camero a NEA Jazz Master for

the Arts, United States’ highest honor in

Jazz music. Candido in his 90s continues

to perform throughout the world.

Jon Hendricks

(Born September 16, 1921)

When I was growing up and REALLY

listening to music recordings, attempting

to learn something, one of my favorite

radio shows was Symphony Sid.

On Sid’s show you’d hear at the very

least 3 times a week and sometimes

more, “Moody’s Mood for Love”. That

song flat knocked me out! I totally fell

in love with King Pleasure’s taking Jazz

solo horn phrasing and apply words to

them… making it fit like a glove, Fantastic!

It was searching for other artists

that used Vocalese skills when I discovered

the “Double Six of Paris” and vicariously,

Jon Hendricks. The Double Six

was actually an extension of Mr. Hendricks’

group, Lambert, Hendricks and


Jon came to New York as a Law student

and part-time drummer in the early

1940s. That’s when Jon’s life changed

forever. Charlie Parker heard him scat

and urged him to dedicate himself to

singing. His career crystalized in the

late 50s with the formation of vocal

Jazz trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.

Their first album, “Sing a Song of Basie”,

was a masterpiece of Vocalese; the technique

elevated the skill to top tier status...

The National Endowment named

Mr. Hendricks a NEA Jazz Master for

the Arts, United States’ highest honor in

jazz music.

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 41

Eugene Wright

(Born May 29, 1923)

Given an opportunity to hear and learn

about Eugene Wright for the first time, I

had no-clue on the first go-around who

I was listening to. The music he was creating

was part of an “earth shattering,

really upsetting the apple-cart”--- as a

member of Dave Brubeck’s “Time Out”

recording. Eugene also known as “The

Senator” set the tone for a commercial

success that didn’t have to be “dumbed

down”. Mr. Wright worked with Sonny

Stitt, Gene Ammons, Charlie Parker,

Billie Holiday and many others during

his extensive career. He is the only

living member of the classic Brubeck


The five musicians mentioned next were

selected because they’ve had a gigantic

impact on the Jazz music industry as

well as on me personally, as a producer/

musician. They also contributed to the

team’s mindset when making music selections

for the radio show, World of

Jazz on WBAI. Having a wide interest

in the music is always a plus, being able

to pick up cues from these masters and

the wide range of music they cover is a

bigger plus.

Pure Jazz Historic Moment

My Honorable Mention List:

Toots Thielemans

Jimmy Cobb

Jimmy Heath

Sonny Rollins

Lou Donaldson

There are many others that deserve a

mention who are almost 90 or are 90

plus like Toots Thielemans. He is a

monster of a musician who, many performers

and media types over the years

have consistently passed over. As a

whistler and harmonica player his impact

on “Jazz” is enormous. I think it

would be a big mistake to discount Mr.

Thielemans’ music.

Toots Thielemans

Also on my list is drummer Jimmy Cobb

who is approaching 90 years of age. Jimmy

was the drummer on Miles’ “Kind of

Blue” album. That recording is considered

one of the greatest Jazz recordings

of “all time”. Jimmy keeps himself busy

working regularly. I recently reviewed a

Joey DeFrancesco recording featuring

Mr. Cobb on drums; still very exciting.

Jimmy Cobb

Jimmy Heath a one-third portion of the

famous Heath Brothers Family. NPR did

a special on Mr. Heath “Sax Great Jimmy

Heath ‘Walked with Giants,’ And He’s

Still Here” There’s so much that can be

said about this gentleman. You can begin

your research journey HERE.

Jimmy Heath

Sonny Rollins: “To me, jazz has always

been about politics,” Sonny said. “You

can read philosophy – and, believe me,

I have – but no matter what you do, you

can’t take the music out of life in the

street.” That thought process is one of

the reasons Mr. Rollins makes this list.

When my father introduced me to Jazz

the first record he played was Sonny Rollins,

“Friday the 13 th” with Monk. Mr.

Rollins was born into a musical family.

Rollins’ father played clarinet, his sister

piano, and his brother violin. When he

was eight, his parents encouraged him

to play the piano, but he preferred baseball.

“All West Indian parents wanted

children who could entertain by playing

something at tea time on Sundays,” said

Rollins’ sister, Gloria Anderson.

In 1951 Miles Davis invited Rollins to

join his band and Rollins subsequently

played on Miles and Horns, Dig, and

Conception. His association with Davis

led to his first contract with Prestige Records,

where he recorded Sonny Rollins

with the Modern Jazz Quartet, an album

that gave notice to the Jazz world; a new

tenor had arrived. With a start like that,

its no wonder after decades, Sonny Rollins

is still in the top tier. Sonny Rollins

awards: Guggenheim Fellowship, 1972;

Down Beat, Jazz Artist and Tenor Saxophonist

of the Year, 1997.

The Cotton Club Harlem, NY

Page 42 - Pure Jazz Magazine

Sonny Rollins

Finally my honorable mentions get to

Lou Donaldson. Mr. Donaldson lived

in my neighborhood growing up in the

Bronx, NYC. I still remember hanging

around his house (outside) with my

music buddies hoping to hear a sound

or two. We never did, but we did get to

say hello and good-bye as he travelled in

and out of town… I’m sure we bugged

him to death but he never dismissed us.

Mr. Donaldson performed with the bop

emissaries Milt Jackson and Thelonious

Monk in 1952, and he participated in

several small groups with other Jazz luminaries

such as trumpeter Blue Mitchell,

pianist Horace Silver, and drummer

Art Blakey. He also worked with trumpet

virtuoso Clifford Brown, and Philly

Joe Jones. As a member of Art Blakey’s

Quintet he appeared on some of the

groups best albums, including an album

recorded at Birdland in February 1954,

“Night at Birdland”. In 2012 the National

Endowment named Mr. Donaldson a

NEA Jazz Master for the Arts, United

States’ highest honor in jazz music.

Lou Donaldson

I’m sure there will be other musicians

entering my prestigious list soon

enough. As the world’s population

starts to live longer this list will expand

exponentially. Please do your best to

support the music called Jazz and keep

an eye on these luminaries so you can

send a congratulations note as they enter

and excel in “The 90’s Club”.

Dwight Brewster is a

working musician and

host of World Of Jazz on

WBAI Radio 99.5 FM

NYC. You can find him

on Twitter, FaceBook or

his website:


Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 43

JAZZ in the




By Patricia A. Kelly

Gil Scott Heron “LIVE” with the band

Jazz defined as, “American music characterized by improvisation, syncopated

rhythms, and contrapuntal ensemble playing” in Black homes during the 50’s,

60’s, and beyond are some of the earliest sounds recorded in our memory. Innovators

like Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, and the great Ray Charles being

among them. Born in Chicago, reared in Tennessee, moving to New York City

as a teen, Gil Scott-Heron was a poet/songwriter pianist who gave “The Word”

his prophetic edge. His biting lyrics as a 19 year old set him apart as a novelist,

and wordsmith. The Artist left us an exhaustive catalog of songs, and albums

critics then, and now found difficult to label. However, in reviewing his body of

work, one thing is certain—the influence of the jazz idiom is here, in the music.

His first recording, “Small Talk on 125 th and Lenox”, portrayed him as a “Black

troubadour” spilling the beans on the hypocrisy, and ills in society, Republican

presidents in particular. He was called, “The most dangerous musician in

America” only because of what he said, not because he carried a GUN. We’d like

to also name the musicians who worked to create the sound from Gil’s vision.

When he joined the ancestors on May 21, 2011, he left numerous albums, and

songs behind. In fact, too many to comment on here, but we’ll focus on how one

genre, particular albums, songs, or ‘offerings’ stands out, and it’s jazz. A pivotal

point in that development came when Gil asked Ade Knowles; a percussionist/

drummer who’d transferred to Lincoln (and was an older student), to join his

group. Ade was 21, Gil, 18 when he agreed to play percussion as Gil read his

poetry. Due to his 6 foot, 4 inches in height, big Afro, and charismatic presence,

Professor Knowles said he couldn’t ignore this brother-- “He was lanky, highly

vocal, and I liked that about him.” Their conversations ignited an affinity, and

Ade not only became his mentor, but someone, who influenced his composition

of “Pieces of a Man,” an unforgettably poignant Jazz Ballard. Shortly afterwards,

Gil, David Barnes, Victor Brown, sister Jackie Brown, Brian Jackson (due to his

young age was nicknamed, “Baby McCoy”), Ade Knowles, a trap drummer they

can’t remember, Danny Bowens, and Bob Adams (also from Lincoln), became

the nucleus of his first group, Black and Blue.

“I have no idea how many

times I’ve been asked what I

call my music. Or how many

jokes I have thought up to

substitute for a serious answer:

I call it collect, I might say, ‘I

call it mine’ was another. Collectively,

at various times, we

have what we did MIDNIGHT




MUSIC…but what do you call

reggae, blues, African vibration,

jazz, salsa, chants, and poetry?

In truth I call what I have

been granted the opportunity

to share, ‘gifts.’ “ –Liner notes,

Spirits, 1994

Page 44 - Pure Jazz Magazine

At Lincoln University, before SMALL

TALK AT 125 TH & LENOX was released,

Gil sought out talented musicians,

beginning with this brilliant

percussionist/activist, Ade, and others

who became the foundation of his vocal

sound. That’s how it began. His words

blended African rhythms and improvisations

of his ideas with talented musicians.

This is how the transition was

created, from spoken word poet/writer,

to singer/songwriter. Gil shared where

the idea came from-

included Ade Eddie Knowles, and

Charlie Saunders/percussion and African

rhythms. “Shot in the head, but

he can’t be buried…come on, come on,

come on, this can’t be real….”

This tune, with accompanying piano,

and drum beats, reminds us of the death

of Emmitt Till, and brings full circle

meaning of this genre. It continued

with FREE WILL (1972), WINTER IN


“That the music was an orchestrated,

vocalized, hummed, chanted, blown,

beaten, scatted corollary confirmation

of the history…. That the music was explaining

the history as the history was

explaining the music.”-Amiri Baraka


NEW DAY (1975), is another portrait

of socially conscious, outstanding jazz

compositions such as the beloved OF-


“Well, I knew ‘The Vulture” was coming

out, and that meant I’d be getting some

radio play. But I figured I’d rather play

some music (rather) than just talk about

writing. I thought of Bob Thiele because

I read in a Philadelphia newspaper that

Lois Wyse had recorded some of her poetry

for him…so I went to see Thiele,

and he was responsive. In the first album

(“Small Talk…”), I do some of my poetry,

and a couple of songs. In the second, I’ll

be singing some of my own songs, and

some that Brian Jackson, and I wrote together.

“People,” he said, “were more into

listening to music, than reading.”----

Beginning with “Small Talk….” in 1970,

which is 95% spoken word poetry, the

Jazz inspired collaborations began with

the second recording, PIECES OF A

MAN (1971). In fact, the haunting lyrics


SAID? were the beginning of things to

come… The instruments carrying the

word here are: Gil on piano and vocals;

Brian on vocals, electric, and acoustic

piano; “ Pretty” Purdy on drums; Hubert

Laws, flute, and piccolo; and Gerry

Jermmott, bass. David Spinozza,

and Horace Oti were arranger/conductor.

All of the remaining compositions

Gil Scott Heron



OLINA (1976), BRIDGES (1977),


(always a warm response from live listeners.)


SECRETS (1978), REFLECTIONS SUPERMAN (definitely an upbeat Jazz

(1981), featuring “Grandma’s Hands”, tune), and ALL/US/WE, it’s all Jazz!

and the light soul Jazz arrangements of

Inner City Blues (Poem: The Siege of

New Orleans), from BRIDGES, and

continued with SPIRITS (1994). The

music on these albums is the clearest

examples of the power of ancestral Jazz

spirits upon Gil, and his bands. The

groups always consisted of a least twokeyboardists/piano

VICTOR BROWN, a Boston native,

and fellow Lincoln classmate, immortalized,


“A Toast to all Black mothers…a toast

to all Black fathers who shouldered this

life in pain.” At clubs in America, and

later, internationally, Gil’s jazzy tunes

players, two bass once considered “underground” --now

guitars, electric guitar, flute, horns, and

without a doubt, some drums and percussion.

viewed as progressive Jazz because

it captured the history of struggle in

The original Midnight Band America, and worldwide. According

had nine members, similar to Earth,

Wind, and Fire.

to Gil, his music was inspired by several

‘heavyweights.’ Primary on his list

was the late El Hajj Malik El Shabazz,

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 45

--Malcolm X. Malcolm X ‘s impact

on the masses of young black students

growing up during the 60’s is evident in

WINTER IN AMERICA (1974), as an

enduring example of his touch. “We

call ourselves Midnight because Midnight

is the first minute of a new day.

Winter is a metaphor…” very poetic…


was released on the Strata-East label,

and became an “underground classic”.

Charles Tolliver and Stanley Cowell

founded Strata-East in 1971. The label

released over 50 albums in the 1970s.

We called it “spiritual Jazz” due to the

melodies, and the fade in, fade out, repeat

of the opener, “Peace Go with you,

brother.” His journey continued with,

Rivers of My Fathers, A Very Precious

Time, Back Home, The Bottle, Song for

Bobby Smith, Your Daddy Loves You,

and, Peace, Go With You, Brother, all

Jazz tunes embellishing sentiments of

love, rebirth, reflections, and renewal

in addition to the humor in the spoken

word piece, the H20gate Blues. Gil’s

collaborator, and arranger, Brian Jackson,

was also on flute, and piano, Bob

Adams on drums, and Danny Bowens,


Heron’s impressive rendition of, “I

Think I’ll Call It Morning,” and his duet

with Victor Brown, on “Must Be Something

We Can Do” always received

standing ovations at the live shows.

This was due to the collective improvisation

of vocals, piano riffs, drums, and

percussion creating something beautiful

in their sound. It remains a favorite

liberation song, complete with the sax’s

highlight, and chorus.

Page 46 - Pure Jazz Magazine

“There must be something we can

do. Must be something we can do…

We didn’t come all this way, just to give


“A Toast to the People” features Sunni-

Ali on horns, the late “Doc” Barnett

Williams on percussion, vocals by Victor

Brown, and remains a touching

melodic Jazz tributes to the ancestors.

“Rivers of My Father’s piano, and vocal

solo by Gil can be compared to, “I’ve

known Rivers” by Langston Hughes.

Thematically, and incorporeal there’s

a connection. Wilfred Cartey wrote

in Whispers of a Continent, a chapter

entitled, “Separation of Mother and

Child”- a definitive theme in Gil’s life,

and song when sent to live with his

grandmother. Perhaps this is in his version

of Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands”.

These tunes are the most beloved.

On “A Very Precious Time” when we

listen to it, we are hearing a piano solo,

and words describing a first love, as

uplifting as spring. So on the flip side,

it’s also a misnomer to think Gil made

only ‘protest songs.’ He wrote about nature

(Lovely Day), he wrote about first

love in “A Very Precious Time” an old

favorite. Speaking of other artists who

incorporated Jazz into their writing,

we know Langston Hughes was also

an inspiration to this up, and coming

Black troubadour. Langston was

a MASTER POET, who Gil met when

he was younger. Brother Langston was

bilingual, and wrote operas, short stories,

plays, as well as poetry with Jazz.

Among the favorites, his “I’ve Know

Rivers” if put to music would sound

very much like, “Rivers of My Father.”

The political mood of WINTER IN


FREE WILL, and later SPIRITS, were

all reflected in the arrangements of the

tunes in full Jazz mode, and solidified

Gil as an artist ahead of his time, and a

poet for, and of, the people.


written by Bilal Sunni-Ali, and featured

his distinct solo sax. Essex stings with

the memory of Mark Essex.

“Let me see what life will bring,

let me see a further thing,

Let me see the kings of old r

ecrown themselves…”

The dramatic impact of a dying young

Black Navy Officer, one is a smiling

serviceman’s photo, the other of him

sprawled atop a New Orleans’ Howard

Johnson’s roof, surrounded by a group

of men who tore a hail of bullets into

his body. The question then, as is the

question now…. was this necessary?

“See Mark Essex smile…” wrote brother

Sunni-Ali. You feel Coltrane’s vibe

when Bilal plays. In both tunes, Sunni-

Ali invokes the courage of John Coltrane.

During the Midnight Band days,

as now, Bilal Sunni-Ali is known as

“The Spirit of the Midnight Band”.

FELL TOGETHER is an up-tempo,

Latin/ Jazz flavor mix on the level with

17 th Street, with congas, and bells, and

the improvisations continue… Other

songs touched by the genre include-




LOVELY DAY, and by popular club re-

quest… IS THAT JAZZ? Gil absorbed

these political/social upheavals most

of us witnessed during this time. Our

powerful ancestors shaped him. Fellow

artists and others inspired his vision,

especially, drummer Max Roach.

Back In the 1970’s program directors

wouldn’t play Gil, or Amiri Baraka, and

the Spirit House Movers, Wanda Robinson,

Camille Yarborough, and Oscar

Brown, Jr., unless you tuned in to a progressive

Jazz radio station. The music

of these artists could NOT be found on

urban radio stations, popular during

the day, but now, he’s EVERYWHERE,

and all is not good.

The song, New Beginnings opens with

the melodic ‘humming’ by Brian as he

opens the song. But it is the sound of

the fender Rhodes, as it became the signature

mark of Heron’s Jazz, along with

the drums, percussion, bass, flute, piano

solo, and musicians who played, and

they all stood out. Between the sounds

of Jazz (and blues), growing up in Tennessee,

and after moving to the Chelsea

neighborhood at 12, Gil was surrounded

by the elements of Jazz in all its raw

beauty, and pain.



and the most popular, WE


shared the title with the John

G. Fuller book of the same

published in 1975 recount

the story of the nightmare

nuclear meltdown in Monroe,

MI at the Fermi Atomic Plant

nearby in 1966. Credits include Sunni-

Ali on Saxophone, Joe Blocker, drums,

Danny Bowens, bass, Reggie Brisbane,

drums, Tony Duncansen, percussion,

Mario Henderson, guitar, Fred Payne,

guitar, Delbert Taylor, trumpet, Barnett

Williams, percussion, and Larry Fallon,

was the arranger.


TROIT, also featured Ed Brady on

guitar, and Larry McDonald on percussion,

begins with the fluid flow of

Brady’s instrument. It’s highly featured

throughout the song, and at various

points there’s a call, and response between

the wordsmith, and the player.

Brady’s soulful guitar riffs cascade

higher as the urgency in the singer’s

voice rises. He’s GENTLY breaking

news of potential nuclear disaster, so

close. Gil called out the facts, and Ed’s

guitar answers with melodic ‘wa, wa’

sound call, and response. Give credit

to Gil’s drummer, Tony Green who introduced

both Ed Brady, and Robbie

Gordon to him. Also, Larry McDonald’s

percussion solo impressed with

the ancient energy felt. Ed Brady’s style

of playing, as well as Robbie Gordon,

is reminiscent of the late Jimi Hendrix.

© Copyright Fikisha Cumbo ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Their artistic input on these compositions

continue to stand out on wax to

millions as we ask this question…

“How would we ever get over

losing our minds?”

ANGEL DUST came out with flute

solos, and heavy horns, pacing evenly

with the poem while the flute plays as a

bird chirping for air.

INNER CITY BLUES is another example

of Gil’s Jazz interpretation of Marvin’s

masterpiece. The screaming saxophone

solo, here is Carl Cornwell on

tenor, Ed Brady, guitar, Robbie Gordon,

bass, Vernon James, composer, flute,

sax (alto), sax (soprano), with his late

brother, Denis Heron as Production

Assistant; Clydene Jackson, and Lydene

Jackson, vocals (background) and Malcolm

Cecil, Producer.

“Make me wannna holler, throw up

both of my hands…”

On BRIDGES, critics cited Heron’s

coming into his own as a Jazz singer,

and less on the poetry.

17 th Street, Trane, and group arrangements

with “Must Be Something”,

and “Home Is Where the

Hatred is,” have been rerecorded,

and musicians

credited with their individual

input. Even the

song GUN, in comparison

to the events of the

21 st century mass shootings,

he demonstrated vision,

and clairvoyance in

the music. GUN, brought

to you by the NRA.

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 47







We don’t have sufficient time, nor space

to cover all of Gil’s songs. That would

take a book, currently in the works.

Despite overt acts of historical racism

against Jazz infused songs, people often

forget Gil included compositions of

love where one finds the essence of his


SPIRITS (1994). The title song in another

salute to John Coltrane was made

at a time when ‘The Artist’ himself was

at peace. In Gil’s interpretation of Coltrane’s

music, the saxophone as a voice

instrument, and the call of this ancestor

is infused in the birth of the title song.

The sax can boom loudly in anger, or

soft in seductive sweetness, depending

on the mood of its master.

piano/ Brian Jackson, Kim Jordan, and

Vernard Dickson; on piano /vocals, Gil,

and on saxophone, Leon Williams, and

Ron Holloway. Malcolm Cecil mixed it.

The sound of his Fender Rhodes keyboards,

piano, flute, and that deep base,

unmistakable voice, Gil Scott-Heron

felt the Spirits in the Jazz songs he, and

various band members, collaborated

on. Gil paid tribute to the unparalleled

contribution and loyalty of them when

he wrote: “These have been gifts from

the Spirit. So perhaps these songs, and

poems are ‘spirituals’. I offer these new

thoughts on behalf of my band members

…don’t ever let the Spirits die.”

Having the surviving original band

members perform for tributes would

co-opted, mixed, and re-arranged in

ways, which would displease him. This

is about the things we create, and how if

we’re not careful, other forces will seek

to re-arrange, change, and re-create

what they want, instead of sharing the

gift of Jazz in his music.

The music discussed here represents

our collective struggle, still not over,

but deeply, and spiritually infused

into our Jazz consciousness forever.

Thank you, Gil.

Patricia A. Kelly is a

freelance writter. She

is currently editing a

book about Gil Scott







GIVE UP… The origins, and stories

behind songs on this album, and more

will be found in, “The Poetry Man, A

Memoir of my life with Gil Scott-Heron,

soon, a forthcoming book.

SPIRITS credits include - on bass,

Fima Ephron, Rob Gordon, and Rodney

Young/drums, on percussion Larry

McDonald, and Tony Duncansen,

Page 48 - Pure Jazz Magazine

Patricia A. Kelly

and Gil Scott Heron @ SOB’s

be a way of maintaining his legacy, and

teaching the messages still unheard to

new generations of listeners.

“The things they gave us, and left here as

Rashassan Roland Kirk once said of John

Coltrane, ‘were left for us to learn’. ”

Gil Scott-Heron’s music endures. He

leaves precious musical gems in the Jazz

idiom. The danger now is that it’s being




Kenny Barron Trio

“Book Of Intuition”

by Bernard White

Bernard White can be

heard regularly on his

online radio station

Mon - Fri at


Well, it finally happened. After a decade of artistic collaboration,

the Kenny Baron Trio has finally gone into the

studio to produce an album. Featuring Kiyoshi Kitagawa

on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums the trio conspired

to create, “Book Of Intuition”. The trio plays with a cohesion

that is the result of ten years of teamwork and partnership.

You will enjoy all 59 minutes of melodic delight.

The album begins with “Magic Dance.” The opening chords suggest that we are about to experience

a ballad and then the trio effortlessly transitions into a lively Bossa-nova beat.

The next tune, “Bud Like” is just that. It could also be call Bud-esque. With the keyboard complexity

of Bud Powell we also get the neat and nimble, rhythmic drum solos and accents of Johnathan

Blake. As if they knew we would be out of breath we are taken to “Cook’s Bay.” Cook’s Bay

is the southernmost bay of Lake Simcoe in Ontario. It is a mecca for perch fishing. The trio successfully

captures the spirit of a bright sunny windblown day in Cook’s Bay.

In the “Slow Lane”, “Shuffle Boil”, “Light Blue”, “Lunacy, Dreams”, “Prayer and Nightfall” are efforts

that complete this long awaited treasure.

“Book Of Intuition” is sure to become an often visited location in your library.

2016 brings a new music consumer game in town.

It wasn’t that long ago we reviewed vinyl albums.

Then we moved to CD’s and DVD’s. Next it was

downloads and now it’s complete album streams.

Welcome to the new age of music comsumption.

Pure Jazz Historic Moment

The Savoy Ballroom - Harlem, New York City

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 49


By Harold Valle, Jazz Poet

(“Keeper of the Secrets”)

Keeper of the Tradition

Many momentous historical events transpired

in the year 1915. One could fill volumes

of large books. For the musical world,

three wonderful births occurred in 1915 that

are close to our hearts, Billie Holiday, Frank

Sinatra, and Luciano Pozo Gonzalez, popularly

known as Chano Pozo.

Chano was born on January 7, 1915 in a

one room apartment located in Havana,

Cuba. The proud parents were Encarnacion

Gonzalez and Cecilio Pozo. Chano had a

half-brother named Felix Chappotin who

later became known for his excellent trumpet

playing in the 1950’s with his conjunto

“Chappotin and Sus Estrellas.” It was stated

that Chano was a wayward youngster who

was always prone to doing exciting things.

As a teenager he was confined for a period

of time in a reform school. Chano acquired

a reputation as a street fighter who didn’t shy

away from trouble.

Chano demonstrated his skills as a drummer

and dancer in street bands such as El Barracon

del Pueblo Nuevo and La Sultans de

Barrio Colon. In the mid 1940’s Chano and

his brother Chappotin co-directed a band

named El Conjunto Azul for several years.

Chano met Mario Bauza in December 1945

in Havana. Mario was familiar with Chano’s

compositions, for the Machito Band had recorded

some of his songs. It should be noted

that Chano did not write music, but would

hum the tune which would then be written

out by a copyist. Such tunes as “Para-Param-

Pampin” and “Nague” were hits for bands

such as Noro Morales, Xavier Cugat, Augusto

Coen, Miguelito Valdes and Machito.

Chano came to New York City in 1946 and

was later introduced by Mario Bauza to Dizzy

Gillespie, the great jazz innovator who played

with Mario in the Cab Calloway Band. Dizzy

needed a conga player to add to the new musical

concept he was exploring, Chano consented

to join. It was a beautiful relationship

despite the language barrier. Chano was responsible

for Dizzy’s great hits such as Monteca;

Cubano Be, Cubano Bop; and Tin Tin


On December 2, 1948, Chano was in the El

Rio Bar & Grill located on the corner of 111th

Street and Lenox Ave. (Now Malcolm X Blvd.)

New York City. Due to a dispute, Chano was

shot six times by an assailant while he was listening

and dancing to Monteca being played

on the Juke Box. Chano was only 33 years of

age at the time of his tragic death.

In spite of his demise, Chano’s drumming legacy

and songs will forever abide in the annals

of Latin Jazz everywhere in the world.

Mr. Valle is known as the keeper of the secrets. This is his title bestowed on

him by the Jazz fans at “Club Jazz966” in Bed Stuy. Harold always makes

sure the Jazz fans understand where the music comes from.

Page 50 - Pure Jazz Magazine





Keeper Of

The Secrets

























Harold Valle


(Poets Extraordinaire)

Harold Valle

(Keeper of the Secrets)


Sister Imani

Email: halval92520@yahoo.com

or cimani175@gmail.com

Care for more information about

the “movement” called The East?

Surf the link below and listen to

people who conceived, contructed,

managed and operated “The East.”

By Harold Valle, Jazz Poet

(“Keeper Of The Secrets”)

Keep up the great work you do.....

More on the East Below...


Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 51

Martin Piecuch

and Jazzical Fusion

By Elizabeth Falk

Maestro Martin Piecuch, classically trained orchestra conductor, had a scary little secret for

the first few decades of his musical career: He also loved to play jazz! In the exalted world

of classical music – where he mastered the kind of works played by full orchestras with

strings -- he had come to realize that “Jazz is a four-letter word.”

It wasn’t until 1995 when he began his conducting tours of Russia, numbering 19 to date,

that he came to understand that in Russia there was no such silly attitude toward a classically

trained musician performing jazz. In fact, audiences there thought it was way cool

that any musician was even capable of doing both really well. Thus, having a foot firmly

planted in the jazz and classical worlds, were planted the seeds of Martin’s eventual creation

-- Jazzical Fusion.

When Martin made his debut in 2005 on the podium of arguably Russia’s greatest orchestra,

The St. Petersburg Philharmonic, he was ready to propose and conduct a very bold

program, the centerpiece of which was Rolf Liebermann’s Concerto for Jazz Band and Symphony

Orchestra. He found the best jazz ensemble in St.Petersberg, Serge Gusatinsky’s

Big Band, rehearsed them separately from the orchestra, and then plunked them right into

the middle of the august St. Petersburg Philharmonic. To stunning effect. Those crystal

chandeliers were singing, and people near the back of the house were moved to get up and

dance in the aisles. The venerable Stravinsky Hall had literally never seen anything like it!

Page 52 - Pure Jazz Magazine

Wynton Marsalis, Sandra DaCosta, Martin Piecuch

Martin was

ing word should be a

on to something.

fusion of it’s own…


Classical….. Jazz……

had intuited

ClazzJazz…… Jazzical!

that Russian


Yes! (Such en-

gaging name coinage

didn’t need

was not his first. With

an American

the Stravinsky String


Quartet, comprised of

to conduct

the first chairs of the

the likes of

St. Petersburg Philharmonic’s

their own

violin, viola


and cello sections, he


Martin Piecuch

cut his first CD, Jazz

K o r s a k o v

With Strings Attached.

or Rachmaninoff. And the musicians of

the St Petersburg Philharmonic were notorious

for chewing up guest conductors

Back in the USA, he toured with American

string virtuosi on this spirited 20th century

material. He named the group Zestuosi!.)

and spitting them out. So Martin elected

Jazzical Fusion began as a two-man combo

to throw something at them for which with Martin on winds, and pianist Regan

they would actually need to watch him. It Ryzuk. Seeking a musician who could

turned out to be inspired programming to

mix up Big Band classics with Classical orchestral

fare: the orchestra musicians kept

their eyes glued on him, and audiences

loved the results! So he went on to plan

similar fusion programs for the orchestras

of Vladivostok, Krasnoyarsk, Khabarov,

Yakutsk, Archangelsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

and The Moscow Philharmonia, of which

he was named Permanent Guest Conductor.

Glazunov’s Concerto for Saxophone

handle the demands of both classical music

and jazz, Martin’s wife, stage director Elizabeth

Falk [and the writer of this article]

suggested Regan. She had just collaborated

with him as her Music Director on two

mountings of a musical-in-development

called It’s Gonna Work Out Fine, the lifestory

of Rose Marie McCoy. Martin and

Regan met for a kick-it-around rehearsal,

and the team was born. They soon played

several gigs in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

and String Orchestra, with it’s swinging

and Massachusetts, recorded

virtuosic show-off passages, became a

signature piece of his. Yes, Glazunov was

their CD Jazzical Fusion (which includes

some tracks with guest artist Ron Murray

Russian, but this fusion Concerto was not on guitar). A highlight was their headlining

done often enough to bore Russian orchestral

musicians into laxness.

at Manhattan’s fabled Birdland. In

2012 Martin and Regan toured the Russian

Far East alongside Martin’s orchestral conducting


In most of these cities, at the end of an exhilirating

concert he’d ask to be taken to

the best jazz club in town, to wind down.

He’d literally walk into a smoky nightclub

with retinue, wearing white-tie and tails,

carrying his tenor saxophone, and would

jam with the local jeans-wearing jazz musicians.

His head full of classical lines,

he’d riff on them in the middle of a jazz set,

inspiring the Russian jazz artists to comeback

at him with other fusions of Classical

and jazz. So both his reputations – as a

Classical conductor and as a virtuoso jazz

player -- grew in Russia at about the same


The name Jazzical Fusion leapt out of

Martin’s fertile imagination full-blown.

“Fusion” seemed a given, so the modify-

Soon after returning


Russia, Martin

and Regan decided

to add

a bass to their

mix, and invited

Laurence Goldman

to join

them. The trio

performed in all

over the Northeast

and on the

West Coast,

with New York

City highlights

including Michael

Feinstein’s 54 Below [April 30, 2016]

and Kitano’s. A very exciting California

gig was to be flown to Palm Springs to

perform at the gorgeous Sand Acre Estate

which was famously a favorite weekend

hideaway of Marilyn Monroe and

Joe DiMaggio. Last year Jazzical Fusion

expanded into their present quartet, their

newest addition being guitarist Dave Acker,

who debuts with the group on April 30

at Michael Feinstein’s/54 Below.

Born in Montclair, NJ, Regan Ryzuk is an

award-winning composer in both jazz

and neo-classical forms, having studied at

Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard.

He has also collaborated with published

author and playwright Mary S. Ryzuk, his

mother, on creating the musicals Grimm’s

Fairy Tales, The Novel, The Lodger and

Joe’s Bar. Regan’s classical music studies

led him to jazz studies with Jaki Byard and

Sir Roland Hanna. At Juilliard, he studied

music theory as well as composition.

A gifted sight-reader, Regan has toured as

accompanist with several ballet companies.

An original New Yorker, double-bassist

Laurance Goldman is the composer of Bird

With Strings for jazz band with strings,

and plays in most genres – jazz, classical,

pop, rock, indie, hip-hop. He cites as his

influences musicians as wildly varied as

Beethoven and Muddy Waters, Stravinsky

and Bob Marley, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix,

Varese and Miles Davis.

Dave Acker also works with The Handmade

Quartet, comprised of Leco Reis,

Dan Pugach and Dale Kleps. They’ve recently

performed at Somethin’ Jazz, Sil

Martin Piecuch

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 53

vana and at Jules in the East Village NYC.

Martin Piecuch (pronounced Pyet sook in

Polish and Russian, “PQ” in the US) was

born in Waterville, Maine. He began his

lifelong musical career upon the discovery

in his parents’ attic of his father’s old

saxophone. It was the Polish tradition that

when there was a death in the family, all

music ceased for year. Pianos were closed,

instruments relegated to attics and cellars,

sheet music filed away, Victrolas and radios

silenced. You weren’t even supposed

to whistle. This year of mourning had long

since passed, but the saxophone had lain

fallow for years. Martin’s grandmother

wanted the 11-year old to have the instrument,

a Conn Alto Sax, but his father said

“No, he’ll just get bored with it, like all his

other toys”. This child psychology worked,

as did Henry Piecuch’s decree that Martin

would be allowed to take music lessons in

the sixth grade the next September, if he

agreed to not touch the instrument in the

meantime. This of course drove Martin’s

interest to a fever pitch. So when he finally

did get to embrace the instrument

and learn how to play it, thus commenced

a love affair that has continued 64 years, so




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Martin’s career as a wind doubler started

almost in tandem with his alto sax playing.

Being an uncommonly ardent young musician

who practiced daily -- even more

hours than were assigned or that his parents

could bear -- he soon caught up with

the kids who had started learning their instruments

in the fourth grade, and was now

antsily waiting for them to catch up with

him. An astute music teacher conceived

a way to slow him down, and to solve one

of his band’s problems at the same time.

He gave Martin a bassoon. A double-reed

instrument with a a complicated fingering

system, bassoon is generally agreed to

be, along with the oboe, the most difficult

wind instrment to master. But master it he

did. When Henry Piecuch’s career caused

him to be transferred from Lockport, New

York, to Iowa just before Martin’s senior

year, Martin was in a state of dejection.

Iowa – it just sounded to him like he’d be

ankle-deep in dust and dodging the Pony

Express. Happily, the lad was astonished

to find a very sophisticated music department

in the George Washington High

School of Cedar Rapids. There was a complete

orchestra with strings, a band, a jazz

Available @ Amazon.com

Page 54 - Pure Jazz Magazine

Available Today

Pure Jazz Historic Moment

Change Begins Within Event:

Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter,

Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding

and Corinne Bailey Rae

band, and a thriving theatre department

that regularly mounted musicals. Martin

auditioned for the orchestra on bassoon,

and won the first chair. For the band, he

went back to his first love, the alto saxophone,

and auditioned with that, gaining

that first chair as well.

From GWHS Martin took his musical skill

set to the State University of Iowa. As a

freshman he was encouraged by the new

oboe instructor who was fresh from Washington

DC, to audition for the saxophone

soloist spot of The President’s Own United

States Marine Band. Begging for the opportunity,

Martin convinced his parents to

let him ride Greyhound busses for 3 days

and nights—before interstate highways

-- to get to DC in time for the auditions.

He bathed and practiced in bus stop men’s

rooms along the way, so focussed on his

mission he was utterly oblivious to the curious


The audition went well, very well. But

at the end of a gruelling 90 minute sightreading

and solo demonstration audition,

the judges told him they he was the 36th

auditioner they had heard, that they had

four more to hear and that they would

get back to him. Crestfallen, Martin said

“Okay. But Sir, I’ve been on a bus for 3

days, and if I don’t get this job I’ll have to

head back to Iowa tomorrow. I don’t have

enough money to stay here. So as long as

I’m here I’ll try and see if I can audition for

the Army Band and the Navy and the Air

Force Bands.”

Knowing this innocent 18 year old wasn’t

bluffing, the judges huddled for a moment,

and then turned to the determined youth,

saying “We’ve decided we’d like to invite

you to join the U.S. Marine Band.” He

became the youngest soloist in that prestigious

band. He remained with them for

four years, among the last gigs of which

was performing at one of the 1961 Inaugural

Balls for America’s youngest president,

John F. Kennedy. He got a clap on

the shoulder and a “Nice work, boys” from

Kennedy, and in an act to save the piano

from a carelessly placed drink, sneaked a

sip from the Champagne glass of the radiant


Martin’s path to conducting also began in

his early years in Iowa. An ice-skating accident

rendered his left arm encased in a

plaster cast. Martin, a left-hander, was unable

to play any wind instrument, and was

miserable. The conductor took pity on him

and invited him to conduct performances

of Iowa State U’s full-blown production of

Brigadoon. Another life-long love affair

was launched. Martin has conducted the

orchestras and opera companies of St. Petersburg,

Moscow, seven other Russian cities,

and the National Symphony of Seoul,

South Korea. Among his countless U.S.

credits are Music Director and Principal

Conductor for the Washington Symphony,

1991-2000, the New Haven Symphony for

SoundMusic, for which he was the Music

Director 2006-2009, the John F. Kennedy

Center in Washington, D.C. One of his

projects at JFK was the Chinese-American

opera Yan Ling, where he met his wife,

Elizabeth, who was the director. In September

2001 he married Elizabeth they

way they met: onstage in an opera, with

him conducting and her directing – Puccini’s

Gianni Schicchi and his Messa di

Gloria, played by the Mannes School of

Music Orchestra, at the Society for Ethical

Culture in New York.

And now Martin Piecuch has completely

come out: Yes, he is a classically trained

orchestra conductor. AND a total jazz afficionado!


By Elizabeth Falk

Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 55




World of


Dr Mambo



The empress






World of Jazz Radio

Dr Mambo

Pure Jazz


CACE Int’l


Page 56 - Pure Jazz Magazine




Fikisha Cumbo


TERNATIONAL TV is an art and culture show with:

musicians, recorded live performances, videos, visual

artists, interviews, documentaries, travelogues, historical

events, Afro-centric information,poets,writers,

book authors; blues, reggae, jazz, hip-hop, soca, Afro-

Cuban, world beat music, rai and more; famous and

emerging singers and musicians as guests. Our aim is

to promote peace and love through our cultural history

programming of our international community.

See the website at www.caceinternatonal.com for more information/videos/our catalog of over 299

shows/etc. We have traveled & filmed in Morocco, North Africa, Jamaica,WI, St.Maarten, Los Angeles,

Reunion Island, Paris, London, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Greece, St.Thomas, Antigua, Texas, Georgia,

Pennsylvania, Barbados, New Jersey, Harvard University, Hawaii,New York City and other venues.

On our Google channel,our website and our You Tube channel, (www.youtube.com/caceinternationaltv)

we currently have over 475,000 views (it increases monthly) in 220 countries.

CACE has broadcasted in New York City (for 30 years plus) and now on the web with our weekly

show: Our show is available on: Time Warner / Cablevision / Verizon Fios/ RCN cable.

CACE INT’L TV, a 30 minute show, airs online weekly on

Wednesday @ 1:30 PM & 9:30 PM at :

www.BRICartsmedia.org (Click TV SHOWS & VIDEOS then

BROOKLYN FREE SPEECH, then scroll down to CHANNEL 1);

on BPN 1 Cable in Brooklyn, NY, on Verizon Fios in all of NYC

Channels 34 /67 /42 /82. This network has been nominated for a

New York Network 2016 Emmy Award.




www.photoshot.com (search B3110)



Genesis and Evolution of Sound

The painting, Genesis and Evolution

of Sound©, is a visual depiction of African

American culture from a musical

viewpoint. Enslaved Africans arrived in

America with knowledge of their traditions

but very little access, they improvised.

Music was an integral part of the

daily lives (more than just a having a

good time) of Africans in their homeland.

The drum was a source of communicating.

The bow, a precursor of the

fiddle and banjo, was a survival tool for

our ancestors. This painting uses the

symbolism style of art to portray various

musical tools. Many of these instruments

have been on display in European

museums for centuries.

© Genesis and Evolution of Sound

Available one line Click HERE

The print, Genesis and Evolution of

Sound©, size-18-3/4” x 28-1/4”, received

an award in the Category of Art from

the Printing Industries of Metropolitan

New York, Inc., at the 31st. Exhibition

of Printing in 1973. Sold at New York

City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art during

the ‘70s. The art print is available

at the American Jazz Museum, African

American Museum in Philadelphia, and

the Wright Museum of African American

History. Now available for display

in your home or office.

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