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.
Celebrating “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 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 Ross. 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