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.
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 quartet. 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: www.dwightbrewster.com Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 43