Archive for the ‘Bio’ Category

David Sanborn Biography

In Bio, Chicago Song on February 17, 2012 at 11:42 pm

David Sanborn (born July 30, 1945) is an American alto saxophonist. David SanbornThough Sanborn has worked in many genres, his solo recordings typically blend jazz with instrumental pop and R&B. He released his first solo album Taking Off in 1975, but has been playing the saxophone since before he was in high school. Sanborn has also worked extensively as a session musician, notably on David Bowie’s Young Americans (1975).

One of the most commercially successful American saxophonists to earn prominence since the 1980s, Sanborn is described by critic Scott Yannow as “the most influential saxophonist on pop, R&B, and crossover players of the past 20 years.” Sanborn is often identified with radio-friendly smooth jazz However, Sanborn has expressed a disinclination for both the genre itself and his association with it.


Early years

Sanborn was born in Tampa, Florida, and grew up in Kirkwood, Missouri. He suffered from polio in his youth, and began playing the saxophone on a physician’s advice to strengthen his weakened chest muscles and improve his breathing. Alto saxophonist Hank Crawford, at the time a member of Ray Charles’ band, was an early and lasting influence on Sanborn. Sanborn performed with blues musicians Albert King and Little Milton at the age of 14, and continued playing blues when he joined Paul Butterfield’s band in 1967, after attending the University of Iowa.

Although Sanborn is most associated with smooth jazz, he explored the edges of free jazz in his youth, studying with saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell and Julius Hemphill. In 1993, he revisited this genre when he appeared on Tim Berne’s Diminutive Mysteries, dedicated to Hemphill. Sanborn’s album Another Hand also featured leading avant garde musicians.

In his three and-a-half decade career, Sanborn has released 24 albums, won six Grammy awards and has had eight gold albums and one platinum album. He continues to be one of the most highly active musicians of his genre, with 2010 tour dates exceeding 150.


He has been a highly regarded session player since the late 1960s, playing with an array of well-known artists, such as James Brown, Bryan Ferry, Michael Stanley, Eric Clapton, Bobby Charles, Cat Stevens, Roger Daltrey, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Jaco Pastorius, the Brecker Brothers, Michael Franks, Kenny Loggins, Casiopea, Players Association, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat, Tommy Bolin, Bob James, James Taylor, Al Jarreau, Pure Prairie League, Kenny G, George Benson, Joe Beck, Donny Hathaway, Elton John, Gil Evans, Carly Simon, Guru, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, Kenny Garrett, Roger Waters, Steely Dan, Ween, the Eagles, The Grateful Dead, the German group Nena, and Japanese pop star Utada Hikaru.

Sanborn has won numerous awards including Grammy Awards for Voyeur (1981), Double Vision (1986), a Change of Heart (Chicago Song) (1987) and the instrumental album Close Up (1988). In television, Sanborn is well known for his sax solo in the theme song for the NBC hit drama L.A. Law. He has also done some film scoring for films such as Lethal Weapon and Scrooged. In 1991 Sanborn recorded Another Hand, which the All Music Guide to Jazz described as a “return by Sanborn to his real, true love: unadorned (or only partly adorned) jazz” that “balanced the scales” against his smooth jazz material. The album, produced by Hal Willner, featured musicians from outside the smooth jazz scene, such as Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, and Marc Ribot. His more recent albums include Closer.

In 1994 Sanborn appeared in A Celebration: The Music of Pete Townshend and The Who, also known as Daltrey Sings Townshend. This was a two-night concert at Carnegie Hall produced by Roger Daltrey of English rock band The Who in celebration of his fiftieth birthday. In 1994 a CD and a VHS video were issued, and in 1998 a DVD was released.

In 1995 he performed in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True a musical performance of the popular story at Lincoln Center to benefit the Children’s Defense Fund. The performance was originally broadcast on Turner Network Television (TNT), and issued on CD and video in 1996.

Broadcasting activities

Sanborn has performed on both radio and television broadcasts; he has also acted as a host. Since the late 1980s he has been a regular guest member of Paul Shaffer’s band on Late Night with David Letterman. From 1988-89, he co-hosted Night Music, a late-night music show on NBC television with Jools Holland. Following producer Hal Willner’s eclectic approach, the show positioned Sanborn with many famed musicians, such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Pharoah Sanders, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Lou Reed, Jean-Luc Ponty, Santana, Todd Rundgren, Youssou N’dour, Pere Ubu, Loudon Wainwright III, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and Curtis Mayfield. During the 1980s and 1990s, Sanborn hosted a syndicated radio program, The Jazz Show with David Sanborn. Sanborn has recorded many shows’ theme songs as well as several other songs for The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder.

More recent activities

In 2004, Sanborn was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. In 2006, he was featured in Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band’s album The Phat Pack on the track “Play That Funky Music”, a remake of the Wild Cherry’ hit in a big band style. Sanborn often performs at Japan’s Blue Note venues in Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo. He plays on the song “Your Party” on Ween’s 2007 release La Cucaracha. On April 8, 2007, Sanborn sat in with the Allman Brothers Band during their annual run at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

In 2010, Sanborn toured primarily with a trio featuring jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco where they played the combination of blues and jazz found in his latest album. “Only Everything”. In 2011, Sanborn will tour with keyboardist George Duke and bassist Marcus Miller as the group “DMS”.



As leader

  • Taking Off (1975)
  • Beck & Sanborn, with Joe Beck (1975)
  • David Sanborn (1976)
  • Promise Me the Moon (1977)
  • Heart to Heart (1978)
  • Hideaway (1979)
  • Voyeur (1981)
  • As We Speak (1981)
  • Backstreet (1982)
  • Straight to the Heart (1984)
  • Double Vision, with Bob James (1986)
  • A Change of Heart (1987)
  • Close Up (1988)
  • Another Hand (1991)
  • Upfront (1992)
  • Hearsay (1994)
  • The Best of David Sanborn (1994)
  • Pearls (1995)
  • Love Songs (1995)
  • Songs from the Night Before (1996)
  • Inside (1999)
  • The Essentials (2002)
  • Time Again (2003)
  • Closer (2005)
  • Original Album Classics (5 CD box set of 5 albums reissued in replica LP covers)
  • Here and Gone (2008)
  • Only Everything (2010)

As sideman

With Hubert Laws

  • The Chicago Theme (CTI, 1974)


  • Legends: Live at Montreux 1997 (Released: 2005)
  • The Legends of Jazz: Showcase (Released: 2006)



  • The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True (1995)
    Cast member in the TV musical
  • Scrooged (1988)
    Played a street musician
  • Sunday Night (1988)
    Was the host of this music show (later known as Michelob Presents Night Music)
  • Magnum P.I. (1986)
    Was guest saxophonist in the episode L.A.
  • Stelle Sulla Citta (1983)


  • Eric Clapton & Friends in Concert (1999)
  • Burt Bacharach: One Amazing Night (1995)
  • The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1996)
  • Forget Paris (1995)
  • Celebration: The Music of Pete Townshend and The Who (1994)
  • Michael Kamen: Concert for Saxophone (1991)
  • Benny Carter: Symphony in Riffs (1989)
  • The 2nd Annual Soul Train Music Awards (1988)
  • The 1st Annual Soul Train Music Awards (1987)
  • One Trick Pony (1980)
  • Late Night with David Letterman / The David Letterman Show (occasionally, 1986)
  • Saturday Night Live (15 March 1980)
  • Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
  • Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
  • Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
  • Psycho III (1986)
  • Finnegan Begin Again (1985)
  • Stelle Sulla Citta (1983)
  • Moment to Moment (1975)
  • Forget Paris (1995)
  • Tequila Sunrise (1988)
  • Lethal Weapon (1987)
  • Psycho III (1986)
  • Murphy’s Romance (1985)
  • Saturday Night Live (1975)

Gear List

  • Saxophone
    Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone
    Manufacturer: Selmer
    Location: Paris, France
    Retail Value (approx): $6,000 (US)
  • Reeds
    Vandoren V16 reeds
    Each reed lasts David roughly a week.
  • Mouthpiece
    A modified Dukoff D8 Metal Alto Sax Mouthpiece
  • Ligature
    A Harrison Ligature
  • Bell Jar
    To keep his reeds humidified without over-soaking them, David soaks the reeds in water in a bell jar. First he soaks them for a couple of hours in the jar, and then empties out most of the water so that the reeds won’t get wet, but will still stay humid. He finds this technique extremely valuable.
  • References
  1. a b Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (1996) [1992]. The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (Third ed.). London: Penguin Group. pp. 1148–1149.ISBN 0-14-051368-X.
  2. ^ “Biography”. Official Community of David Sanborn. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
  3. ^ Yannow, Scott “David Sanborn — Biography” from, URL accessed 21 May 2011
  4. a b c Balfany, Greg (January/February 1989). “David Sanborn”. Saxophone Journal 13 (4): pp. 28–31
  5. ^ “Sessions”. Official Community of David Sanborn. Retrieved 2008-05-15
  6. ^ Wynn, Ron (1994). All Music Guide to Jazz. San Francisco: Miller Freeman. p. 567. ISBN 0879303085
  7. a b “Discography”. Official Community of David Sanborn. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  8. a b c d “Filmography”. Official Community of David Sanborn. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  9. ^ “Lethal Weapon (1987) Full cast and crew”. IMDB. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  10. ^ “Gear List”. Official Community of David Sanborn. Retrieved 2008-05-16.

Bill Frizell Bio & Discography

In Bio on January 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Bill Frisell est un guitariste de jazz américain né le 18 mars 1951 à Baltimore (Maryland)

Il est considéré, avec John Scofield et Pat Metheny, comme l’un des plus célèbres et des plus admirés guitaristes de jazz de ces dernières années. Une particularité est l’extrême diversité des styles qu’il aborde (folk, bop, expérimental…).


Frisell est né à Baltimore. Il a passé la majeure partie de sa jeunesse aux alentours de Denver, Colorado et a étudié la musique à l’université du Nord Colorado. Son professeur était Dale Bruning, qui continue encore aujourd’hui a enseigner, et avec qui Frisell a même enregistré un album en duo. Frisell est ensuite allé étudier au Berklee College of Music à Boston où il reçoit l’enseignement de Jim Hall ce qui a énormément influencé son jeu et sa sonorité.

La carrière de Frisell a véritablement démarré lorsque Pat Metheny, indisponible pour un enregistrement, le recommanda à Manfred Eicher du label ECM. Frisell enregistre alors plusieurs albums pour le label et participa notamment aux albums Paths, Prints et Wayfarer, de Jan Garbarek. Ce dernier est particulièrement séduit par l’imagination et les véritables paysages sonores que déploie Frisell1. Son premier album sous son nom fut In Line, album solo, avec toutefois la participation du bassiste Arild Andersen sur quelques pistes.

Son premier groupe, constitué de Kermit Driscoll à la basse, Joey Baron à la batterie, et Hank Roberts au violoncelle, reçut un accueil très chaleureux. Assez rapidement le groupe fut réduit à un trio (Frisell/Baron/Driscoll) qui connut un véritable succès. Ce trio forme aussi l’ossature de groupes plus étoffés.

Dans les années 80, il habite New York et participe activement à la foisonnante scène musicale de la ville. Il collabore en particulier avec John Zorn, et fait partie de son groupe Naked City, groupe avant-gardiste où il se frotte à une approche bruitiste, composée de collages à successions rapides, tout en conservant son son si particulier et la touche d’ironie qui signe son jeu. Il se fit connaître aussi de par sa collaboration avec Paul Motian, qui déboucha sur la formation du trio Motian/Frisell/Lovano qui connut un grand succès.

Les années 90 virent la création de deux de ses albums les plus importants :

  • Have a Little Faith un recueil de musiques américaines, de Charles Ives et Aaron Copland à Bob Dylan et Madonna
  • This Land un recueil bariolé de compositions originales mais très influencées par le folklore américain.

Il s’implique ensuite dans l’illustration sonore des films de Buster Keaton, avec son trio. Au milieu des années 90, il s’installe àBainbridge Island près de Seattle et continue d’explorer la piste initiée avec Have a Little Faith en incorporant explicitement des éléments de musique bluegrass et musique country.

Bill Frisell a reçu en 2005 un Grammy Award du meilleur album contemporain pour Unspeakable


Disques personnels

  • 1982 : In Line, Edition of Contemporary Music (ECM)
  • 1984 : …Theoretically, avec Tim Berne, Empire Productions
  • 1985 : Is That You?, Nonesuch Records.
  • 1985 : Rambler, (ECM)
  • 1988 : Lookout for Hope, (ECM)
  • 1988 : Works, (ECM)
  • 1989 : Before We Were Born, Nonesuch Records.
  • 1990 : Is That You?, Elektra Musician
  • 1991 : Where in the World? , Nonesuch Records.
  • 1993 : Have a Little Faith, Nonesuch Records.
  • 1994 : This Land, Nonesuch Records.
  • 1995 : Music for the Films of Buster Keaton, Nonesuch Records.
  • 1996 : Quartet, Nonesuch Reocrds.
  • 1997 : Nashville, Nonesuch Records.
  • 1998 : Gone, Just Like a Train, Nonesuch Records.
  • 1999 : Good Dog, Happy Man, Nonesuch Records, avec Ry Cooder, Jim Keltner et Wayne Horvitz
  • 1999 : The Sweetest Punch, Polygram, avec Elvis Costello et Burt Bacharach
  • 2000 : Ghost Town, Nonesuch Records
  • 2001 : Blues Dream, Nonesuch Records.
  • 2001 : Bill Frisell – Dave Holland – Elvin Jones, Nonesuch Records.
  • 2002 : The Willies, Nonesuch Records
  • 2002 : Selected Recordings, (ECM)
  • 2003 : The Intercontinentals, Nonesuch Records.
  • 2004 : Unspeakable, Nonesuch Records.
  • 2004 : Petra Haden and Bill Frisell, Sovereign Artists Records.
  • 2005 : East/West, Live, Nonesuch Records.
  • 2005 : Richter 858, Songlines
  • 2005 : Bill Frisell – Ron Carter – Paul Motian, Nonesuch Records.
  • 2006 : Live, avec Driscoll and Baron
  • 2008 : History, Mistery, Nonesuch Records.
  • 2009 : Disfarmer, Nonesuch Records.
  • 2010 : Beautiful Dreamers, Savoy Jazz
  • 2010 : Lágrimas Mexicanas, avec Vinicius Cantuária
  • 2011 : Sign Of Life, Music For 858 Quartet,Savoy Jazz
  • 2011 : All We Are Saying…,Savoy Jazz
  • 1979 : Fluid Rustle, Eberhard Weber (ECM)
  • 1979 : Live at Chapati Winter 78, Triode
  • 1981 : Atmosphere, Chris Massey Group
  • 1981 : Psalm, Paul Motian (ECM)
  • 1981 : A Molde Concert, Arild Andersen (ECM)
  • 1982 : Paths, Prints, Jan Garbarek (ECM)
  • 1982 : Later That Evening, Eberhard Weber (ECM)
  • 1982 : Blue Jay Sessions, Mike Metheny
  • 1983 : Wayfarer, Jan Garbarek (ECM)
  • 1984 : The Story of Maryam, Paul Motian
  • 1984 : Almost Blue, Chet Baker
  • 1984 : Introspection, Jukkis Uotila
  • 1985 : Transparency, Herb Robertson
  • 1985 : Jack of Clubs, Paul Motian
  • 1985 : It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago, Paul Motian Trio (ECM)
  • 1985 : Bass Desires, Marc Johnson (ECM)
  • 1986 : Lyle Mays, Lyle Mays
  • 1986 : Fragments, Paul Bley Quartet (ECM)
  • 1987 : Strange Meeting, Power Tools (avec Ronald S. Jackson, Melvin Gibbs)
  • 1987 : Second Sight, Marc Johnson (avec John Scofield, Peter Erskine) (ECM)
  • 1987 : Paul Bley Quartet, Paul Bley Quartet (ECM)
  • 1987 : Black Pastels, Hank Roberts
  • 1987 : Cobra, John Zorn
  • 1987 : Misterioso, Paul Motian
  • 1987 : Fullton Street Maul, Tim Berne
  • 1988 : Rah, Billy Hart
  • 1988 : Big Band, Julius Hemphill
  • 1988 : Monk in Motian, Paul Motian
  • 1988 : Street Dreams, Lyle Mays
  • 1988 : Cynical Hysterie Hour, John Zorn
  • 1989 : More News for Lulu, John Zorn
  • 1989 : Lush Life Vol. 1, Tony Scott
  • 1989 : Lush Life Vol. 2, Tony Scott
  • 1990 : News for Lulu, John Zorn
  • 1990 : Bill Evans, Paul Motian
  • 1990 : Naked City, Naked City
  • 1990 : Torture Garden, Naked City
  • 1990 : After the Requiem, Gavin Bryars (ECM)
  • 1991 : Another Hand, David Sanborn
  • 1992 : Grand Guignol, Naked City
  • 1992 : Tuskegee Experiments, Don Byron
  • 1993 : Absinthe, Naked City
  • 1993 : Radio, Naked City
  • 1993 : Rhapsody, Lee Konitz
  • 1994 : Just So Happens, Gary Peacock
  • 1994 : Going Back Home, Ginger Baker
  • 1994 : Fascination, Michael Shrieve
  • 1995 : Oshumare, Billy Hart
  • 1995 : Dialogues, Jim Hall
  • 1997 : Angel Song, Kenny Wheeler (ECM)
  • 1997 : Down Home, Joey Baron
  • 1997 : Woman’s Day, Ron Miles
  • 1997 : Sound of Love, Paul Motian Trio
  • 1998 : Songs We Know, Fred Hersch
  • 1999 : Orfeu, Ron Carter
  • 2000 : We’ll Soon Find Out, Joey Baron
  • 2000 : B.O. The Million Dollar Hotel, Bono
  • 2002 : Heaven, Ron Miles
  • 2004 : Motian in Tokyo, Paul Motian
  • 2005 : It’s More Residual, Cuong Vu
  • 2005 : Triorism, Paul Motian Trio
  • 2005 : The Complete Studio Recordings, Naked City
  • 2005 : I Have the Room Above Her, Paul Motian Trio
  • 2005 : Fusion for Miles: A Tribute in Guitar – A Bitchin’ Brew, Various Artists
  • 2006 : Two Doors, Michael Shrieve
  • 2006 : The Elephant Sleeps but Still Remembers, Jack DeJohnette
  • 2006 : Spooked, Marly’s Ghost
  • 2008 : Guitars, McCoy Tyner

Tom Harrell Biography & discography

In Bio, Train Shuffle on January 6, 2012 at 12:35 am


Tom Harrell was born in Urbana, Illinois but moved to the San Francisco Bay Area at the age of five. He started playing trumpet at eight and within five years, started playing gigs with local bands. In 1969 he graduated from Stanford University with a music composition degree and joined Stan Kenton’s orchestra, touring and recording with them throughout 1969.

After leaving Kenton, Harrell played with Woody Herman’s big band (1970–1971), Azteca (1972), the Horace Silver Quintet (1973–1977) with whom he made five albums, the Sam Jones-Tom Harrell Big Band, the Lee Konitz Nonet (1979–1981), George Russell, and the Mel Lewis Orchestra (1981). From 1983-1989 he was a pivotal member of the Phil Woods Quintet and made seven albums with the group. In addition, he recorded albums with Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Ronnie Cuber, Bob Brookmeyer, Lionel Hampton, Bob Berg, Bobby Shew, Ivan Paduart, Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden‘s Liberation Orchestra, Art Farmer, Charles McPherson, Kathleen Battle among others.

Since 1989 Harrell has led his own groups, usually quintets but occasionally expanded ensembles such as chamber orchestra with strings and big bands. He has appeared at virtually every major jazz club and festival venues, and recorded under his own name for such record labels as RCA, Contemporary Records, Pinnacle, Blackhawk, Criss Cross, SteepleChase, Chesky, and HighNote Records. He received a Grammy nomination for his big band album, Time’s Mirror.

Harrell is a prolific arranger and composer. He has arranged for Vince Guaraldi’s work on Peanuts, Carlos Santana, Arturo O’Farrill’s Latin Jazz Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra, Danish Radio Big Band, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and Elisabeth Kontomanou with the Orchestre National de Lorraine, among others. His compositions have been recorded by other notable jazz artists including Ron Carter, Joe Lovano, Kenny Barron, Art Farmer, Chris Potter, Tom Scott, Steve Kuhn, Kenny Werner and Hank Jones.

Tom Harrell Quintet

In contrast to his signature recordings during the RCA Records/BMG years (1996–2003) where much of his focus was on projects involving large ensembles, big bands and chamber orchestras, Harrell’s more recent works demonstrate his skills as a leader of a tight, smaller unit. Harrell has made four albums with the current quintet of six years, which comprises tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, pianist Danny Grissett, bassist Ugonna Okegwo (whom Harrell has employed consistently since 1997), and drummer Johnathan Blake. The group is noted for its strong chemistry between the musicians and the distinctive sound achieved primarily through Harrell’s compositions that combine memorable and accessible melodies with complex but groove-based rhythms and sophisticated harmonic textures. Harrell’s current quintet differs from previous editions of quintets he has formed and worked with, in the use of Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano. Harrell’s 2010 recording, Roman Nights, received his fourth SESAC Jazz Award. In May 2011, the group’s latest album, The Time of the Sun, will be released from Highnote Records.

Despite his well-documented schizophrenia, Harrell has successfully coped with the illness through medication and has become an influential figure as a jazz trumpeter and composer. He has been recorded on over 260 albums (according to the discography on his website) and continues to actively compose, record and tour extensively around the world.

Harrell has won numerous awards and grants, including multiple Trumpeter of the Year awards from Down Beat magazine, SESAC Jazz Award, BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) Composers Award, and Prix Oscar du Jazz.

Harrell’s work as composer and jazz soloist has been published in a number of books by Hal Leonard, Jamey Aebersold, Sher Music, and Gerard and Sarzin.

Harrell is currently represented by Addeo Music International (AMI).


As leader

  • 2011 : The Time of the Sun
  • 2010 : Roman Nights
  • 2009 : Prana Dance
  • 2007 : Light On
  • 2007 : Humanity
  • 2003 : Wise Children
  • 2002 : Live at the Village Vanguard
  • 2001 : Paradise
  • 1999 : Time’s Mirror
  • 1998 : The Art of Rhythm
  • 1996 : Labyrinth
  • 1995 : Cape Verde
  • 1994 : Upswing
  • 1992 : Visions
  • 1992 : Sail Away – live in Paris
  • 1991 : Form
  • 1991 : Moon and Sand
  • 1990 : Form
  • 1989 : Sail Away
  • 1989 : Lonely Eyes
  • 1988 : Stories
  • 1987 : Open Air
  • 1986 : Sundance
  • 1985 : Moon Alley
  • 1984 : Play of Light
  • 1979 : Look to the Sky
  • 1978 : Mind’s ear
  • 1976 : Aurora

As sideman

With George Gruntz

  • Theatre (ECM, 1983)

With Charlie Haden

  • The Montreal Tapes: Liberation Music Orchestra (Verve, 1989 [1999])

With Joe Lovano

  • Village Rhythm (Soul Note, 1988)
  • Quartets: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1994)

With Horace Silver

  • Silver ‘n Brass (Blue Note, 1975)

from Tom Harrell’s official site:

Praised by Newsweek for his pure melodic genius, Tom Harrell is widely recognized as one of the most creative and uncompromising jazz instrumentalists and composers of our  time.  Even with a discography of over 260 recordings and a career that spans more than four decades, Harrell has managed to stay fresh and current as he continues to actively record and tour around the world.  He is a frequent winner in Down Beat and Jazz Times magazines’ Critics and Readers Polls and a Grammy nominee.  Harrell is also a Trumpeter of the Year nominee two years in a row, for the 2010 and 2011 Jazz Journalists Association Awards. His warm, burnished sound on the trumpet and the flugelhorn, and the unparalleled harmonic and rhythmic sophistication in his playing and writing, have earned Harrell his place as a jazz icon to aspiring musicians and devoted fans alike.

Following the success of his first three albums with the current members of his quintet – a remarkably cohesive unit that includes tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, pianist Danny Grissett, drummer Johnathan Blake, and his bassist of 12 years, Ugonna Okegwo -Harrell is set to release his next quintet offering, THE TIME OF THE SUN, on May 31st.

The quintet’s previous albums, ROMAN NIGHTS (2010), LIGHT ON (2007) and PRANA DANCE (2009), were released to wide critical acclaim and won SESAC awards for topping the radio charts in the U.S.In contrast to his signature recordings during the RCA/BMG years (1996 – 2003) where much of his focus was on projects involving large ensembles, the latest albums on Highnote demonstrate Harrell’s skills as a leader of a smaller unit that calls to mind the energy and rapport of Art Blakey’s and Horace Silver’s bands. The sheer joy of playing

Harrell’s music with one another is evident from each member of the quintet. The writing on these recordings is no less of an achievement than his work for the orchestra or the big band. The trumpeter-composer deftly weaves complex harmonies together with daring energy and rapport of Art Blakey’s and Horace Silver’s bands. The sheer joy of playing Harrell’s music with one another is evident from each member of the quintet. The writing on these recordings is no less of an achievement than his work for the orchestra or the big band. The trumpeter-composer deftly weaves complex harmonies together with daring rhythmic concepts and unforgettable melodies while utilizing the available colors to full effect. Harrell’s music is at once intelligent, soulful, fresh and accessible. Harrell divides his time between writing projects, live performances, and recordings, and actively tours with his quintet around the world. Recent television broadcasts of concerts include: San Javier Jazz Festival inSpain; Viersen Jazz Festival inGermany; Red Sea Jazz Festival inIsrael; Jazz aLiegeinBelgium; and Chivas Jazz Festival inBrazil. Harrell was featured as the Artist in Residence at the Barga Jazz Festival (August 2009) and Vicenza Jazz Festival (May 2009). At the latter festival he performed duo, quintet and big band concerts over several days.  Harrell also performed music from his WISE CHILDREN andPARADISEalbums with the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra at Traumzeit Festival (July 2009) and with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra at the Seasons Music Festival (October 2010).  In the spring of this year, Harrell reunited with the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw as guest soloist and arranger for a tour in theNetherlands, after their successful collaboration at the Concertgebouw in July of 2009.

This summer Harrell will debut his TH Chamber Ensemble at the Highline Ballroom in

New Yorkas part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival, where he will present his own arrangements of the works of Debussy and Ravel.  Harrell will also be touring extensively in July and August with his quintet, in support of his forthcoming album, THE TIME OF THE SUN.

A graduate ofStanfordUniversitywith a degree in music composition, Harrell is a prolific composer and arranger. Carlos Santana, Cold Blood, Azteca, Vince Guaraldi, Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Danish Radio Big Band, WDR Big Band, Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra and Arturo O’Farrill & the AfroLatin Jazz Orchestra are among the many who have recorded or performed his work.

Harrell’s composition and arrangement, “Humility,” was recorded for the latter’s 2008 release, which just won a Grammy for the Best Latin Jazz Album.

Some of Harrell’s notable RCA/BMG recordings include WISE CHILDREN, a project in which he combines woodwinds, brass, horns, strings, guitars, percussion and the vocals of Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Jane Monheit and Claudia Acuna with his quintet; PARADISE and THE ART OF RHYTHM, both of which feature chamber groups with strings; and his big band project, TIME’S MIRROR.

In addition to the 26 albums and thousands of concerts worldwide as a leader, Harrell has worked with important figures in jazz history including Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Dizzie Gillespie, Horace Silver, Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Sam Jones (with whom he briefly co-led a big band in the 70s), Jim Hall, Charlie Haden and with contemporaries such as Joe Lovano and Charles McPherson.

In 2006, Harrell was awarded a Chamber Music America grant with which he composed and performed new pieces for trumpet and piano. He also wrote symphony orchestra arrangements for the French Orchestre National de Lorraine and the vocalist Elisabeth Kontomanou for a live recording album released in 2009, SIREN SONG. (

Grover Washington, Jr – Biographie

In Bio, Make Me a Memory on December 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Grover Washington, Jr. était un saxophoniste américain de jazz funk né le 12 décembre 1943 (Buffalo, New York) et décédé le 17 décembre 1999 (New York City, New York).


Grover Washington, Jr. a mené une carrière particulièrement prolifique, avec parfois deux, voire trois parutions d’albums la même année ; au même titre que David Sanborn, George Benson, Bob James, Herb Alpert, Chuck Mangione ou Spyro Gyra, il est considéré comme l’un des pères fondateurs du smooth jazz.

Même s’il fut un musicien renommé il fut critiqué pour l’influence qu’il a eu sur des musiciens considérés par ces mêmes personnes comme indésirables, à l’instar de Kenny G.

Ses albums “Mister Magic” et “Winelight” sont des classiques incontournables, que l’on cite très fréquemment comme références lorsqu’on parle de smooth jazz. Pour ce dernier, il a obtenu deux Grammy Awards : “meilleure chanson de R&B” pour “Just The Two Of Us” et “meilleur album de Jazz Fusion” pour “Winelight“. Le grand public se remémore surtout sa prestation aux côtés du chanteur folk-soul Bill Withers sur le célèbre “Just The Two of Us“, qui a beaucoup de succès sur les radios. L’album “Inside Moves” met en valeur la voix chaude et sensuelle de Jon Lucien ainsi qu’un jeu de Grover tout en fluidité et d’une justesse remarquable.

C’est à lui que l’on doit la musique originale de la série Cosby Show. Il avait enregistré en 1999 un album de musique classique “Aria“, année de sa mort, due à une crise cardiaque survenue en plein enregistrement télévisuel du Saturday Early Show de la chaine CBS. Il avait alors 56 ans. L’album est paru l’année suivante.






Inner City Blues


Kudu (puis MoJazz)
All The King’s Horses


Soul Box


Mister Magic


Feels So Good


A Secret Place


Live At The Bijou






Reed Seed




Come Morning




The Best Is Yet To Come


Inside Moves


Togethering (with Kenny Burrell)


Blue Note
House Full of Love (Music from the “Cosby Show”)


Strawberry Moon


Then And Now


Time Out Of Mind


Next Exit


All My Tomorrows


Soulful Strut





Wes Montgomery biography

In Bio, Road Song on September 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm

From Oliver Dunskus, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Leslie “Wes” Montgomery (March 6, 1923 – June 15, 1968) was an American jazz guitarist. He is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others, including Pat Martino, George Benson, Russell Malone, Emily Remler, Kenny Burrell, Pat Metheny, and Jimi Hendrix. DigitalDreamDoor named Montgomery the greatest jazz guitarist of all time.


Montgomery was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He came from a musical family; his brothers, Monk (string bass and electric bass) and Buddy (vibraphone and piano), were jazz performers. The brothers released a number of albums together as the Montgomery Brothers. Although he was not skilled at reading music, he could learn complex melodies and riffs by ear. Montgomery started learning guitar at the relatively late age of 19, by listening to and learning the recordings of his idol, guitaristCharlie Christian. He was known for his ability to play Christian’s solos note for note and was hired by Lionel Hampton for this ability.

Many fellow jazz guitarists consider Montgomery the greatest influence among modern jazz guitarists. Pat Metheny has praised him greatly, saying “I learned to play listening to Wes Montgomery’s Smokin’ at the Half Note.” In addition, Metheny stated to the New York Times in 2005 that the solo on “If You Could See Me Now,” from this album is his favorite of all time. Joe Pass said, “To me, there have been only three real innovators on the guitar—Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, and Django Reinhardt,” as cited in James Sallis’s The Guitar Players and in his Hot Licks instructional video. Kenny Burrell states, “It was an honor that he called me as his second guitarist for a session.” In addition, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, David Becker, Joe Diorio, Steve Lukather andPat Martino have pointed to him numerous times as a great influence. Lee Ritenour, who recorded the 1992 album Wes Bound named after him, cites him as his most notable influence; he also named his son Wesley.

Following the early work of swing/pre-bop guitarist Charlie Christian and gypsy-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, Wes joined Tal Farlow, Johnny Smith, Jimmy Raney, and Barney Kessell to put guitar on the map as a bebop / post-bop instrument. While these men generally curtailed their own output in the 1960s, Montgomery recorded prolifically during this period, lending guitar to the same tunes contemporaries like John Coltrane and Miles Davis were recording. While many Jazz players are regarded as virtuosos, Montgomery had a very wide influence on other virtuosos who followed him, and in the respect he earned from his contemporaries. To many, Montgomery’s playing defines jazz guitar and the sound that learners try to emulate.

Dave Miele and Dan Bielowsky claim, “Wes Montgomery was certainly one of the most influential and most musical guitarists to ever pick up the instrument….He took the use of octaves and chord melodies to a greater level than any other guitarist, before or since….Montgomery is undoubtedly one of the most important voices in Jazz guitar that has ever lived-or most likely ever will live. A discussion of Jazz guitar is simply not thorough if it does not touch upon Wes Montgomery.” (Jazz Improv Magazine, vol 7 # 4 p. 26).

“Listening to [Wes Montgomery’s] solos is like teetering at the edge of a brink,” composer-conductor Gunther Schuller asserted, as quoted by Jazz & Pop critic Will Smith. “His playing at its peak becomes unbearably exciting, to the point where one feels unable to muster sufficient physical endurance to outlast it.” Wes received many awards and accolades: Nominated for two Grammy Awards for Bumpin’, 1965; received Grammy Award for Goin’ Out of My Head as Best Instrumental Jazz Performance by Large Group or Soloist with Large Group, 1966; nominated for Grammy Awards for “Eleanor Rigby” and “Down Here on the Ground”, 1968; nominated for Grammy Award for Willow, Weep for Me, 1969. Wes’ second album, The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, earned him Down Beat magazine’s “New Star” award in 1960. In addition, he won the Down Beat Critic’s Poll award for best Jazz guitarist in 1960, ’61, ’62,’63, ’66, and 1967. (, September 26, 2007).

Montgomery toured with Lionel Hampton early in his career, however the combined stress of touring and being away from family brought him back home to Indianapolis. To support his family of eight, Montgomery worked in a factory from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, then performed in local clubs from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am. Cannonball Adderley heard Montgomery in an Indianapolis club and was floored. The next morning, he called record producer Orrin Keepnews, who signed Montgomery to a recording contract with Riverside Records. Adderley later recorded with Montgomery on his Pollwinners album. Montgomery recorded with his brothers and various other group members, including the Wynton Kelly Trio which previously backed up Miles Davis.

John Coltrane asked Montgomery to join his band after a jam session, but Montgomery continued to lead his own band. Boss Guitar seems to refer to his status as a guitar-playing bandleader. He also made contributions to recordings by Jimmy Smith. Jazz purists relish Montgomery’s recordings up through 1965, and sometimes complain that he abandoned hard-bop for pop jazz towards the end of his career, although it is arguable that he gained a wider audience than for his earlier work with his soft jazz from 1965–1968. During this late period he would occasionally turn out original material alongside jazzy orchestral arrangements of pop songs. In sum, this late period earned him considerable wealth and created a platform for a new audience to hear his earlier recordings.

He didn’t have very long to live to enjoy his commercial success, however; on June 15, 1968, while at home in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, he woke one morning, remarked to his wife that he “Didn’t feel very well,” and minutes later collapsed, dying of a heart attack within minutes. Montgomery’s home town of Indianapolis has named a park in his honor. He is the grandfather of actor Anthony Montgomery.


According to Jazz guitar educator Wolf Marshall, Montgomery often approached solos in a three-tiered manner: He would begin a repeating progression with single note lines, derived from scales or modes; after a fitting number of sequences, he would play octaves for a few more sequences, finally culminating with block chords. He had little knowledge of scales or modes, let alone musical theory. He used mostly superimposed triads and arpeggios as the main source for his soloing ideas and sounds. .

The use of octaves (playing the same note on two strings one octave apart) for which he is widely known, became known as “the Naptown Sound”. Montgomery was also an excellent “single-line” or “single-note” player, and was very influential in the use of block chords in his solos. His playing on the jazz standard Lover Man is an example of his single-note, octave- and block-chord soloing. (“Lover Man” appears on the Fantasy album The Montgomery Brothers.)

Instead of using a guitar pick, Montgomery plucked the strings with the fleshy part of his thumb, using downstrokes for single notes and a combination of upstrokes and downstrokes for chords and octaves. Montgomery developed this technique not for technical reasons but for his wife. He worked long hours as a machinist before his career began and practiced late at night while his wife was sleeping. He played with his thumb so that his playing would be softer and not wake her. This technique enabled him to get a mellow, expressive tone from his guitar. George Benson, in the liner notes of the Ultimate Wes Montgomery album, wrote, “Wes had a corn on his thumb, which gave his sound that point. He would get one sound for the soft parts, and then that point by using the corn. That’s why no one will ever match Wes. And his thumb was double-jointed. He could bend it all the way back to touch his wrist, which he would do to shock people.”

He generally played a Gibson L-5CES guitar. In his later years he played one of two guitars that Gibson custom made for him. In his early years, Montgomery had a tube amp, often a Fender. In his later years, he played a solid state Standel amp with a 15-inch (380 mm) speaker.

Recording career

Montgomery toured with vibraphonist Lionel Hampton’s orchestra from July 1948 to January 1950, and can be heard on recordings from this period. Montgomery then returned to Indianapolis and did not record again until December 1957 (save for one session in 1955), when he took part in a session that included his brothers Monk and Buddy, as well as trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, who made his recording debut with Montgomery. Most of the recordings made by Montgomery and his brothers from 1957–1959 were released on the Pacific Jazz label.

From 1959 Montgomery was signed to the Riverside Records label, and remained there until late 1963, just before the company went bankrupt. The recordings made during this period are widely considered by fans and jazz historians to be Montgomery’s best and most influential. Two sessions in January 1960 yielded The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, which was recorded as a quartet with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath. The album featured two of Montgomery’s most well-known compositions, “Four on Six” and “West Coast Blues.”

Almost all of Montgomery’s output on Riverside featured the guitarist in a small group setting, usually a trio (and always with his organist from his Indianapolis days, Melvin Rhyne), a quartet, or a quintet, playing a mixture of hard-swinging uptempo jazz numbers and quiet ballads. The lone exception, Fusion, telegraphed his post-Riverside career: it was his first recording with a string ensemble. One of the more memorable sets involved a co-leadership collaboration with vibraphone virtuoso and Modern Jazz Quartet mainstay Milt Jackson, whom producer Orrin Keepnews has said insisted on a collaboration with Montgomery as a condition for signing a solo recording deal with Riverside.

In 1964 Montgomery moved to Verve Records for two years. His stay at Verve yielded a number of albums where he was featured with an orchestra—brass-dominated (Movin’ Wes), string-oriented (Bumpin’,Tequila), or a mix of both (Goin’ Out of My HeadCalifornia Dreamin’)

But he never abandoned jazz entirely in the Verve years, whether with a few selections on most of the Verve albums, or by such sets as 1965s Smokin’ at the Half Note (showcasing two memorable appearances at the famous New York City club with the Wynton Kelly Trio) or a pair of albums he made with jazz organ titan Jimmy Smith, The Dynamic Duo and Further Adventures of Jimmy and Wes). He continued to play outstanding live jazz guitar, as evidenced by surviving audio and video recordings from his 1965 tour of Europe.

As a considered founder of the Smooth Jazz school the album “Bumpin'” (1965) represents a model from which many modern recording are derived: as the liner notes to the CD remaster issue note, after being unable to produce the desired results by the guitarist and orchestra playing together, arranger Don Sebesky suggested Montgomery record the chosen music with his chosen small group, after which Sebesky would write the orchestral charts based on what Montgomery’s group had produced. Longer clips from all of the tracks on “Bumpin'” and other Wes Montgomery albums are found on Verve Records website.

By the time Montgomery released his first album for A&M Records, he had seemingly abandoned jazz entirely for the more lucrative pop market, though as in his Verve period he played his customary jazz in small group settings in live appearances. The three albums released during his A&M period (1967–68) feature orchestral renditions of famous pop songs (“Scarborough Fair”, “I Say a Little Prayer”, “Eleanor Rigby”, etc.) with Montgomery reciting the melody with his guitar. These records were the most commercially successful of his career, but featured the least jazz improvisation.

Wes and Buddy, along with Richard Crabtree and Benny Barth, formed “The Mastersounds”, and recorded “Jazz Showcase Introducing The Mastersounds” and a jazz version of “The King and I”, both released by World Pacific Records. They first played together at Seattle, particularly working up the set for “The King and I”, at a club called Dave’s Fifth Avenue. The composers were so impressed by the jazz version of “The King & I” that they pre-released the score of “Flower Drum Song” to the quartet to allow simultaneous release with the sound track album.


Riverside (1958–1963)

Wes’ recordings for Riverside/Milestone Records, including those made with The Montgomery Brothers are on the 12CD Box The Complete Riverside Recordings.

  • 1958: Fingerpickin’
  • 1958: Far Wes
  • 1959: The Wes Montgomery Trio
  • 1959: Yesterdays
  • 1959: Pretty Blue
  • 1960: The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
  • 1960: Cannonball Adderley and the Poll-Winners
  • 1960: Movin’ Along
  • 1961: So Much Guitar
  • 1961: Wes and Friends
  • 1961: Bags Meets Wes! (with Milt Jackson)
  • 1962: Full House
  • 1963: Fusion!: Wes Montgomery with Strings (strings arranged by Jimmy Jones)
  • 1963: Boss Guitar
  • 1963: Portrait of Wes
  • 1963: Guitar on the Go
  • 1963: The Alternative Wes Montgomery (alternate takes for previously issued albums)

Verve (1964–1966)

  • 1964: Movin’ Wes
  • 1965: Bumpin’ (arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky)
  • 1965: Smokin’ at the Half Note
  • 1965: Goin’ Out of My Head (arranged and conducted by Oliver Nelson)
  • 1966: California Dreaming (arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky)
  • 1966: Further Adventures of Jimmy and Wes (with Jimmy Smith)
  • 1966: Tequila (arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman)
  • 1966: Jimmy & Wes: The Dynamic Duo (with Jimmy Smith)
  • 1969: Willow Weep for Me (unused takes from the Smokin’ at the Half Note session; overdubbed woodwinds and brass arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman)
  • 1970: Eulogy

A&M (1967–1968)

  • 1967: A Day in the Life (arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky) (A&M Records/CTI Records)
  • 1968: Down Here on the Ground (arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky) (A&M/CTI)
  • 1968: Road Song (arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky) (A&M/CTI)

As sideman

  • 1960: Cannonball Adderley and the Poll Winners (leader: Cannonball Adderley)
  • 1960: West Coast Blues! (leader: Harold Land)
  • 1960: Work Song (leader: nat adderley)

Joe Zawinul Biography

In Bio on June 20, 2011 at 2:25 am

Josef Erich Zawinul (July 7, 1932 – September 11, 2007) was an Austrian-American jazz keyboardist and composer.

(Official site)

First coming to prominence with saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, Zawinul went on to play with trumpeter Miles Davis, and to become one of the creators of jazz fusion, an innovative musical genre that combined jazz with elements of rock and world music. Later, Zawinul co-founded the groups Weather Report and the world fusion music-oriented Zawinul Syndicate. Additionally, he made pioneering use of electric piano and synthesizers. Zawinul was named “Best Electric Keyboardist” 28 times by the readers of Down Beat magazine.

Several artists have honored Zawinul with songs, notably Brian Eno’s instrumental “Zawinul/Lava”, John McLaughlin’s instrumental “Jozy”, Warren Cuccurullo’s “Hey Zawinul”, Bob Baldwin’s “Joe Zawinul”, Chucho Valdes’s Zawinul’s Mambo, and Biréli Lagrène’s instrumental “Josef”. Zawinul’s playing style is often dominated by quirky melodic improvisations —both bebop, ethnic and pop sounding— combined with sparse but rhythmic playing of big-band sounding chords or bass lines. In Weather Report, he often employed a vocoder as well as pre-recorded sounds played (i.e. filtered and transposed) through a synthesizer, creating a very distinctive synthesis of jazz harmonics and “noise” (“using all the sounds the world generates”).

Early life and career

Zawinul was born and grew up in Landstraße, as a son of the worker Josef Zawinul, in Vienna, Austria, where he went to school with the late former Austrian Federal President Thomas Klestil. His grandmother was a Hungarian Sinti (“Gypsy”), and his grandfather was from southern Moravia.

Classically trained at the Konservatorium Wien, Zawinul played in various broadcasting and studio bands before emigrating to the U.S. in 1959 on a music scholarship at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

He went on to play with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, where he first met Wayne Shorter after having had an influence in hiring him. Shorter left soon thereafter to play in Art Blakey’s group and Josef was apparently dismissed from the Ferguson band for wanting to have too much control over personnel decisions. Zawinul then toured and recorded with singer Dinah Washington for two years.

With Cannonball Adderley

In 1961, Zawinul joined the Quintet led by saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. During his nine-year stint with Adderley, he wrote the hit song “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.” He also composed “Walk Tall” and “Country Preacher,” the latter a tribute to U.S. Civil Rights Movement leader Jesse Jackson, from the 1969 album of the same name.

With Miles Davis

In the late 1960s, Zawinul recorded with Miles Davis’s studio band and helped create the sound of jazz fusion. He played on the album In a Silent Way, the title track of which he composed, and the landmark album Bitches Brew, for which he contributed the twenty-minute track, “Pharaoh’s Dance”, which occupied the whole of side one.

Zawinul is known to have played live with Davis only once, on July 10, 1991, in Paris, along with Wayne Shorter, shortly before Davis’ death.

Zawinul, along with other Davis sidemen Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, was one of the first to use electric pianos and early synthesizers like the ARP 2600 in 1973’s Sweetnighter. He was among the first to use an electric piano, the Wurlitzer. He used the Fender-Rhodes thereafter, adding a wah-wah pedal and later the Mutron effect unit for a complex phased timbre. His creativity and attention to detail resulted in a very contemporary and modern sound. He also has played the kalimba on Weather Report’s Mysterious Traveller and Mr. Gone.

With Weather Report

In 1970, Zawinul co-founded Weather Report with saxophonist and Davis alumnus Wayne Shorter. Their first two years emphasized a relatively open, group improvisation format not dissimilar to what Miles Davis was doing in a more rock oriented format. However, Josef started making changes with their third album, Sweetnighter, citing he was “tired of waiting for something to happen”. Funk elements such as electric bass, wah-wah pedal, etc. started to be introduced in the band’s sound. Music critics generally agree that their 4th album, Mysterious Traveller, was their true breakthrough album, capturing the classic Weather Report “sound” for the first time. The musical forms were now through-composed similar to classical music, and the combination of jazz harmonies with 70’s groove elements launched the band into its most successful period.

Their biggest commercial success came from his composition “Birdland“, a 6-minute opus featured on Weather Report’s 1977 album Heavy Weather, which peaked at number 30 on the Billboard pop albums chart. “Birdland” is one of the most recognizable jazz pieces of the 1970s, covered by many prominent artists from The Manhattan Transfer and Quincy Jones to Maynard Ferguson, the Buddy Rich Big Band, and Jefferson Starship. Even Weather Report’s version received significant mainstream radio airplay — unusual for them — and served to convert many new fans to music which they may never have heard otherwise. The song won him three Grammys.

Weather Report was active until the mid 80s, with Zawinul and Shorter remaining the sole constant members through multiple personnel shifts. The group was notable for bringing to prominence pioneering fretless bass guitarist Jaco Pastorius, but also other musicians, such as Alphonso Johnson and Peter Erskine. Shorter and Zawinul had already gone separate ways, after the recording of their “final” Sportin’ Life, when it was discovered that they had to do one more album in order to fulfill the CBS contract. This Is This! therefore became their final album. Shorter participated despite being busy leading his own group, and Peter Erskine was also brought in again for this record, ending up playing on most compositions.

Later career

Zawinul also wrote a symphony, called Stories of the Danube, which was commissioned by the Brucknerhaus, Linz. It was first performed as part of the Linzer Klangwolke (a large-scale open-air broadcast event), for the opening of the 1993 Bruckner Festival in Linz. In its seven movements, the symphony traces the course of the Danube from Donaueschingen through various countries ending at the Black Sea. It was recorded in 1995 by the Czech State Philharmonic Orchestra, Brno, conducted by Caspar Richter.

Zawinul was hospitalized in his native Vienna on August 7, 2007, after concluding a five-week European tour. He died from a rare form of skin cancer (Merkel cell carcinoma) on September 11, 2007.  He is buried in the Zentralfriedh of Cemetery in Vienna.

George Shearing – Lullaby of Birdland (1987)

In Bio on February 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

L’un des pianistes et des compositeurs de jazz au monde les plus influents et bien-aimé, Sir George Shearing, est décédé ce matin d’un arrêt cardiaque.

George Shearing a jouit d’une réputation internationale en tant que pianiste, arrangeur et compositeur. Aussi à l’aise sur la scène de concert que dans les clubs de jazz, de cisaillement est reconnu pour ses innovations et ses orchestrations de jazz. Il a écrit plus de 300 compositions, dont le classique “Lullaby of Birdland», qui est devenu un standard de jazz.

Shearing est né en 1919 dans la région de Battersea de Londres.  Aveugle de naissance, il était le plus jeune de neuf enfants. Son éducation musicale ne se composait que de quatre années d’études à l’École Linden Lodge pour les aveugles. Bien que son talent lui valu un certain nombre de bourses d’études universitaires, il les refusait  pour pouvoir jouer du piano dans un pub de quartier pour le mirifique salaire de 5 $ par semaine!

En 1947, la famille de George Shearing émigre en Amérique, et il passe deux années à établir sa renommée de ce côté de l’Atlantique, il retient l’attention nationale quand, en 1949, il rassemble un quintette pour enregistrer “Septembre sous la pluie” pour la MGM. L’enregistrement est un succès immédiat, il vend 900.000 disques et sa réputation s’établie de façon permanente aux États-Unis lorsqu’il se produit au Birdland, le spot mythique du jazz à New York. Depuis lors, il est devenu l’un des artistes les plus populaires de la scène et de l’enregistrement. En 1982 et 1983, il remporte les Grammy Awards avec des enregistrements qu’il fait avec Mel Torme.

Trois présidents ont invité M. Shearing à jouer à la Maison Blanche. Ford, Carter et Reagan. Il a joué au Royal Command Performance pour la reine Elizabeth II et le prince Philip. Il est investi par la reine Elizabeth II à Buckingham Palace comme un officier de l’Ordre de l’Empire britannique pour son «service à la musique et des aux relations anglo-saxonnes. »

George Shearing a composé plus de 300 chansons dont le fameux standard de jazz « Lullaby of Birdland. »

Paul Desmond Biographie

In Bio, Take Five on January 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Paul Desmond, de son vrai nom Paul Emil Breitenfeld, est un saxophoniste de jazzné à San Francisco le 25 novembre 1924 et mort à New York le 30 mai 1977. Il a choisi Desmond comme autre nom dans un annuaire téléphonique.


Son enfance

Paul Breitenfield est né de Emil, un organiste (qui a notamment joué pour certains films de cinéma muet) et écrivain musical pour music halls. Sa mère prénommée Shirley est une femme ayant connu des troubles émotionnels. Durant son enfance, il doit quitter la maison familiale à San Francisco à cause de sa mère qui était trop malade pour qu’on s’occupe de lui. Il habite pendant quelques années à New Rochelle à New-York avec d’autres membres de sa famille. De retour à San Francisco, Paul veut faire des études de français et de violon. Son père l’en dissuade, car selon lui ce n’étaient pas des métiers bien payés. Il passe alors à l’étude de la clarinette et l’espagnol (la raison de quelques compositions nommées en espagnol). Enfin il choisit le saxophone alto.

Ses débuts

Engagé dans l’armée pour presque trois ans, il ne sera jamais appelé à combattre. Il y rencontre en 1944 un de ses futurs collègues de travail le pianiste Dave Brubeck. Ils font notamment des duos pour remonter le moral des troupes lors de périodes difficiles. À la fin de leur service militaire, ils promettent de se revoir pour travailler ensemble. Ils vont former notamment le Dave Brubeck Octet en 1946. Ils ont sorti un album qui ne fut qu’un fiasco. Paul, pour rattraper ceci, va former un groupe avec Dave, mais va le payer maigrement pour finir par le remplacer par un autre membre laissant Brubeck sur la paille. Par après il travaille avec le clarinettiste Jack Fina jusqu’à ce qu’il retourne à San Francisco après avoir entendu le nouveau trio de Dave Brubeck à la radio (avec Cal Tjader et Ron Crotty).

Leur nouvelle rencontre fut difficile mais humoristique: Dave Brubeck qui avait toujours une dent contre lui demanda à sa femme Iola que Paul ne mette jamais les pieds dans leur maison. Mais Iola le laissera rentrer un jour où Dave était à l’arrière en train de faire pendre des couches sur une corde à linge. Et Paul s’occuperait des 3 enfants de Brubeck. Paul et Dave se sont réconciliés et ont formé un nouveau groupe en 1951: Le Dave Brubeck Quartet.

L’ère du Dave Brubeck Quartet

Le Dave Brubeck Quartet comprend Dave au piano et Paul au saxophone alto. Il va subir beaucoup de changements de bassistes et batteurs jusqu’à former un quartette avec Eugene Wright, un contrebassiste afro-américain à la contrebasse et Joe Morello à la batterie. Ils connurent beaucoup de succès, notamment leur premier grand album Jazz at Oberlin en 1953 et Jazz goes to College en 1954. Mais le plus grand succès de sa carrière et du quartette verra le jour en 1959 lors de l’enregistrement de l’album Time Out. Il a composé une des plus grands standards des années 1950: Take Five, cette composition très particulière en 5/4, signature rythmique presque inconnue à l’époque. Paul participe à plusieurs autres séries d’albums comme Time (Time further out, Time Changes,…) ou jazz Impressions (of Japan, New-York,….). Et ce jusqu’en 1967 à la dissolution du quartette.

En dehors du Dave Brubeck Quartet

Il a travaillé avec d’autres grands musiciens de jazz, comme Gerry Mulligan, avec qui il a fait plusieurs albums comme Two of a Mind en 1962, Chet Baker avec qui il a fait Together en 1977, et le Modern Jazz Quartet en Noël 1971 (Son premier concert après 3 ans de retraite). Paul Desmond avait lui-même son propre quartette avec le guitariste Jim Hall et a notamment fait plusieurs albums avec lui comme Take Ten en 1963 ou Bossa Antigua en 1965.

La fin de sa vie

Paul avait plusieurs addictions dans la vie : le Scotch Whisky Dewar’s et les cigarettes Pall Mall. Il fumait deux à trois paquets par jour. Il est mort le 30 mai 1977 d’un cancer du poumon après avoir fait une dernière tournée avec Dave Brubeck en février. Ses fans ne savaient pas qu’il était en train de mourir alors qu’il devait respirer deux ou trois fois pour finir un phrasé musical. Quand on lui a annoncé sa maladie, il a annoncé avec son humour à froid qu’il était content de la santé de son foie.

Take Five

Le plus grand succès de sa carrière lui a permit d’atteindre le million de solos au Bilboard Hot 100, mais avec sa grande modestie, il a annoncé qu’il n’était pas content de son succès.

“Quand j’ai écrit Take Five, je croyais que c’était un morceau à jeter à la poubelle, et après l’avoir édité, j’ai cru que j’allais recevoir les droits d’auteur de Take Five pour un vieux rasoir électrique de marque Ronson.”. Ce morceau fut joué à tous les concerts de Dave Brubeck. Et, avant sa mort, il a donné tous les droits d’auteur de Take Five à la Croix Rouge.

Sa personnalité

C’était un homme au caractère très particulier. Il était doux, décontracté, silencieux, modeste, à l’humour ironique et à l’humeur changeante. Quand Joe Morello est arrivé dans le Dave Brubeck Quartet, Paul détestait ses solos de batterie qu’il a menacé de quitter le quartet. Il y est pourtant resté tout en ne parlant plus à Joe Morello pendant 1 an. Il aimait les femmes, en particulier Audrey Hepburn (il composait des musiques qui lui rappelaient l’actrice). Il consommait beaucoup d’alcool (du whisky Dewar’s en grande quantité) par amour pour les femmes. Il fut marié à une femme pour un petit moment et continua à garder des liaisons avec plusieurs autres femmes. Il appréciait la lecture (il aimait lire les oeuvres de Timothy Leary et de Jack Kerouac). Il voulait lui-même devenir écrivain mais est devenu musicien en hommage à son père qu’il aimait profondément.

Son saxophone

Il possédait un saxophone Alto Selmer Super Balanced Action depuis 1951 avec un bec M.C Gregory 4A-18M et utilisait des anches Rico 3 1/2. De son instrument de musique sortait un jeu fluide et aéré, très peu doté de vibrato. Il en sortait un son beaucoup plus doux que les autres saxophones, ce qui faisait tout son charme (un son ressemblant au saxophone de Lee Konitz). Ses deux plus grandes influences furent Lester Young et Art Pepper. C’est un son qui a toujours été, est et sera encore très admiré dans le futur. Il a légué son saxophone à Michael Brubeck.

Paul et la littérature

Il avait de très bon goûts pour la lecture. Il lisait notamment un livre pendant que Joe Morello jouait un solo de Take Five dans les années 60. Il voulait devenir écrivain, mais y a finalement renoncé. Avec son humour pince-sans-rire,il a fait cette citation :

“Quand je voulais écrire, je ne pouvais écrire qu’à la plage et j’ai toujours mis du sable dans ma machine à écrire.” Il a pourtant écrit un chapitre dans toute sa vie, juste après la dissolution du Dave Brubeck Quartet. Un chapitre comique s’appelant “How many of you are there in the quartet?”, publié dans le magazine Punch. Il a également remarqué, un jour qu’il était dans un bar, que tous les jazzmen qu’il rencontrait voulaient devenir des écrivains. Apparemment, il aurait écrit une biographie jamais publiée.


-“Ecouter Ornette Coleman est comme vivre dans une maison où tout est peint en rouge.”

-“Des lentilles de contact, pas pour moi! Si je devais me mettre à la mode, je préférerais enlever mes lunettes et profiter du brouillard.”

-“Le Yaourt, je n’aime pas çà, mais Dave essaye tout le temps ce genre de choses. Il mangerait n’importe quoi du moment que ce soit bon pour lui.”

-“J’ai choisi Desmond parce que je trouvais que Breitenfeld sonnait trop irlandais.”

Discographie partielle

Albums solo

  • 1959 : East Of The Sun
  • 1961 : Desmond Blue
  • 1962 : Two Of A Mind / with Gerry Mulligan
  • 1963 : Take Ten (RCA)
  • 1964 : Glad To Be Unhappy
  • 1965 : Easy Living
  • 1965 : Bossa Antigua
  • 1969 : From the hot afternoon (verve/AM, avec des musiciens brésiliens)
  • 1973 : Skylark (CTI)
  • 1977 : Togheter
  • 1946 : The Dave Brubeck Octet
  • 1951 : Brubeck/Desmond
  • 1951 : Stardust
  • 1951 : The Dave Brubeck Quartet
  • 1953 : Jazz At Oberlin
  • 1954 : Audrey
  • 1954 : Jazz Goes To College
  • 1959 :Time Out
  • 1959 : Take Five
  • 1961 : Time Further Out
  • 1962 : Countdown,Time in outer space
  • 1962 : The Real Ambassadors
  • 1963 : Blue Rondo a la Turk
  • 1963: Jazz at Carnegie Hall
  • 1964 : Jazz Impressions of USA
  • 1964 : Jazz Impressions of New York
  • 1964 : Jazz Impressions of Japan
  • 1965 : Time In
  • 1967 : Bravo!Brubeck!
  • 1967 :The Buried Trasures (live in Mexico)
  • 1972 : We’re all together again for the first time
  • 1975 : The Duets
  • 1957 : Quartet Gerry Mulligan et Paul Desmond (verve)
  • 1971 : The Modern Jazz Quartet featuring Paul Desmond
  • 1975 : Concierto de Jim Hall, avec Chet Baker, Ron Carter… (CTI)

Dave Brubeck Quartet

Autres collaborations

  • 1957 : Quartet Gerry Mulligan et Paul Desmond (verve)
  • 1971 : The Modern Jazz Quartet featuring Paul Desmond
  • 1975 : Concierto de Jim Hall, avec Chet Baker, Ron Carter… (CTI)

Dancing Fantasy

In Bio, Take Five on January 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

A European equivalent to the Smooth Jazz vibe style of labelmates 3rd Force, the popular German composer / keyboardist duo and creators of Dancing Fantasy, Chris Williams and Curtis McLaw brilliantly texture irresistibly sensuous grooves and hip-hop beats with mild synth generated atmospheres, creating a warm, seductive yet hypnotic soundtrack for the many moods of day and night.

California Dreaming – this time with synth and guitar. A sunny groove-sound like a musical summer breeze, melting electronics with jazz, New Age and lots of laid-back feeling.

Chris W. Williams was born in 1966 in Germany. Favourite beach: Hermosa Beach, California. Apart from being a professional studio musican (keyboards) he is a sought after producer for dancefloor music. He also plays guitar and is a vigorous supporter of live and, “hand-made” music despite him being an absolute wizard when it comes to digital sound productions. Because he is so competent with using the music-computer (“it’s a time saver”) he uses the additional time and his “no-set-rules-approach” to come up with fresh and innovative ideas.

Curtis McLaw was born 1958 in Germany. Favourite beach: Malibu, California.
He owns and runs a studio, and is also a whizz-kid on the keyboards, playing guitar on the side and works frequently as a producer for a variety of musical projects from dance- and pop- and film-music. Through his numerous international connections to other studios and session musicians around the world, he has build up a great catalogue of sampled sounds. His worldwide network of “sound seekers” is constantly on the move and Curtis’ sound library now hosts all sort of things, from strange Brazilian tribal percussion-sounds to the noise of the cascading Niagara waterfalls.

Their music was heard by pure chance by Innovative Communication’s president Mark Sakautzky, when he was working in a different office of the building on a video project next to Dancing Fantasy’s “Studio 1″: They were practicing so loud next door – you couldn’t overhear them. And they were good, really good – so I walked in and offered them a deal right there!”

While Curtis and Chris both have uniquely individual approaches to writing and composing, when they finally meet in the studio with their individually prepared conceptual demos, and then discuss the best use of instruments, sounds, titles etc., the result is always exciting. As McLaw and Williams state: Our music is not electronically complex, pretentious or complicated. Our basic concept is different – beautiful music which is relaxing, which grooves and which above all is full of life, full of enthusiasm and the joy of living.” On “Moonlight Reflections” it was their self-stated purpose to create and record a “musical love letter”. They have indeed succeeded – “more than words can say”.

Oscar Pettiford Bio

In Bio, Blues In The Closet, Bohemia After Dark on January 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Oscar Pettiford (né à Okmulgee en Oklahoma le 30 septembre 1922, mort à Copenhague au Danemark le 8 septembre 1960) était un contrebassiste,violoncelliste et compositeur de jazz, surtout bebop.

La mère de Pettiford était choctaw et son père mi cherokee mi afro-américain.

En 1942 il intègre l’orchestre de Charlie Barnet et en 1943 attire l’attention après avoir enregistré avec Coleman Hawkins sur “The Man I Love”, une composition de Hawkins. A la même période, il a aussi enregistré avec Earl Hines et Ben Webster. Lui et Dizzy Gillespie dirigeaient un groupe bop en 1943. En 1945 Pettiford se rend en Californie avec Hawkins. Il apparaît dans The Crimson Canary un film connu pour sa musique originale. Il a ensuite joué avec Duke Ellington de 1945 à 1948 et avec Woody Herman en 1949 avant de jouer surtout comme leader dans les années 1950.

Pettiford est considéré comme le pionnier du violoncelle en tant qu’instrument soliste en jazz. En 1949, alors qu’il s’était cassé un bras, Pettiford ne put jouer de la basse et s’essaya au violoncelle, prêté par un ami. Il l’accorda en quartes, comme une contrebasse mais une octave plus haut. Il enregistra pour la première fois avec un violoncelle en 1950. Le violoncelle devint alors son second instrument et il continuera à en jouer tout au long de sa carrière.

Dans les années 1950 il enregistre intensément  pour des labels DebutBethlehem and ABC Paramount puis déménage à Copenhague en 1958 ou il enregistrera pour d’autres  labels  européens Parmi ses contemporains tel que Charlie Mingus, Oscar Pettiford sera l’un des  bassistes, compositeur et groupe leader les plus prolifiques  pour le jazz.

Parmi ses compositions, on peut citer “Tricotism,” “Laverne Walk,” “Bohemia After Dark“, “Blues In The Closet “et “Swingin’ Till the Girls Come Home.”

Oscar Pettiford est mort de d’un virus proche de celui de la poliomyélite.

Oscar Pettiford est le premier bassiste à faire bénéficier le be-bop naissant des innovations apportées par Jimmy Blanton, dans la filiation duquel il s’inscrit directement. Avant Ray Brown et Charlie Mingus, sur lesquels il exercera une influence profonde, Pettiford confère à la contrebasse le statut d’instrument soliste, capable de rivaliser avec les bois et les cuivres. S’il dispose bien entendu d’une technique éprouvée et d’une très enviable agilité, il reste avant tout un incomparable mélodiste. Ce musicien raffiné et rompu aux plus fines subtilités harmoniques sidère par son prodigieux sens de l’anticipation. Grâce à une sonorité d’une remarquable plénitude –  que ce soit à la contrebasse ou au violoncelle –, à une imagination toujours en éveil, à l’intelligence de ses interventions, son instrument parle avec une force de conviction rare.