My hang buddy in Salt Lake City when we lived there —- Brent Leake and myself on Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah — camera on a timer — June 21, 1991 —— Brent was a great guy and poet and friend, he got away from us November 5, 2017 age 65 —- He visited us down here after we moved to Albuquerque, you can hear him on ALBUZERXQUE records and we did a chapbook together on Zerx, as well —– The last time we talked, a few months ago over the telephone I implored him to write the story of the day we visited Kell Robertson, but he never got around to it, I’ll tell the story soon, what a crazy day that was . . .
The Thursday Jazz Radio Show
February 1, 2o17 Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER KUNM Albuquerque, USA 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web KUNM.org Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)
THE EDITORIAL PAGE #2
Gee, reading through a stack of recent dOWNBEATs makes me feel like a dinosaur, or at least behind the times, there is so much happening out there, and much of it certainly looks to be interesting, but one’s curiosity is kept in check with one’s budget. Also, one only has so much time for listening. Sure, in my 20s I listen’d to music 24/7 and in my 30s – 50s more like 10/7, till now at age 64 it’s more scatter’d and maybe only an hour or two a day unless I’m researching for an interview, then it’s what I call complete immersion, so that I can do justice to an artist when we go Live on mike. But, I’ve come to a time where I like quiet, too.
Turning slightly, thinking of a conversation with composer Michael Vlatkovich, he relating that rehearsals for an upcoming concert we’re doing out in Los Angeles with a chamber jazz ensemble, that the music “is very weird” —- I couldn’t tell if that was good or bad —- Pouring tea a minutes ago I chuckled to my dinosaur self: My idea of weird is Edgar Varese and Stefan Wolpe, I like wide intervals and notes and rhythms floating in space.
So, my friend Gary (he’s a professor of nuclear engineering at UNM) annually gives me a stack of last year’s dOWNBEATs and wow am I behind the times. Me of all people. I’m so old-fashioned I’ve even come to question the practice of searching for something new, which seems to only produce novelty and nothing more. I should think originality would spawn organically from who you are and not some premise of doing something nobody else has done before. I still think spontaneous improvising is the greatest thing, even as it is so demanding, and expecting a lot from an artist, one has to be psychically/physically/spiritually ready to be able to do that. But, I also love songs, the old standards, they are our lingua franca of jazz, our common language, so that when you slip into a club some night amid the clinking glass soft lights murmuring conversation and the band is playing “Gone With the Wind” or a Cole Porter we are already primed and able to dig the solos and stories. Inasmuch as I should admit this (it is an editorial after all), but when push comes to shove, my favorite jazz is small group ensemble, using a line, it could be merely ten measures long, maybe with a B section, maybe not, and with that little line creating music for 5-10 minutes, it’s always a trip.
When we moved to Albuquerque (1991) twenty-seven years ago I thought we had stepped into a 1950s time warp. All the working musicians in the clubs and hotels were totally involved in the Songbook standards. At first I thought that somewhat anachronistic but in time I came around, not that I wasn’t already hip to the greatness of the music of that era, but I was mostly interested in Out music at that time. Again, before I’m misunderstood: I still think spontaneous improvisation is the purest expression of the human spirit.
So . . . . you get older, your bones more creaky, and worse is you get vibed that you’re an old guy by some knucklehead with a million foot pedals for his guitar who wouldn’t know a sus9 chord from a goose, but of course because I spin Stan Getz on my radio show I’m out of touch —– You get the picture. Then, I read a stack of dOWNBEATs and wonder if there’s some truth to that assertion? Hrummph.
George Shearing — June 10, 1979 Los Angeles — photo by Mark Weber
Nels Cline & Eric Von Essen Duo — August 25, 1979, Pasadena, California — photo by Mark Weber
Thurman Barker of the AACM out of Chicago, who made all those early records with so many of the AACM artists, first came up on our radar on Joseph Jarman’s 1966 Delmark album SONG FOR — he can also be found on records of Sam Rivers, Butch Morris, Cecil Taylor, and Billy Bang of whom he was in trio the night of this photo at Century City Playhouse, September 30, 1979, w/ John Lindberg (bass) —- photo by Mark Weber —– I just loved Thurman’s rumbling sound he had this night —- Sure would like to catch him again some day . . . .
Jon Kurnick & Tommy Tedesco at a little joint in Hollywood on Franklin Street called Two Dollar Bills (that’s Emil Richards on vibes behind Tommy) — May 17, 1980 — photo by Mark Weber —- Jon Kurnick made several records with Tommy Tedesco, Jim Self, Les Brown, Frank Morocco, and a couple with Buell Neidlinger’s String Jazz
Stanley Cowell, Tony Purrone, Jimmy Heath backstage at The Barn, Univeristy of Redlands, California, on tour with the Heath Brothers — May 24, 1980 — photo by Mark Weber (those are Percy’s hands at extreme left) — Those stripe shirts must have been their uniforms
Don Menza Quintet — Dick Berk (drums), Frank DeLaRosa (bass), Don Menza (tenor & flute), Chuck Findley (trumpet & flugel), Frank Strazzeri (piano) — 40 miles east of L.A. at a little joint on Rt.66 in Cucamonga called Gilberto’s that had Sunday afternoon jazz — June 14, 1981 — photo by Mark Weber
Donald Byrd (center) visits with Clare Fischer after performance of Clare’s Salsa Picante at the Bonaventure Hotel, downtown L.A. (I don’t know who the guy in the hat is, or the lady) — August 18, 1980 — photo by Mark Weber —- Donald Byrd and Clare Fischer’s work together goes back to 1959 when they did that project with strings
King Smoker it says: That’s bassist/composer Al Hines (in the very center) getting himself some ribs at Watts Towers Jazz Festival — July 15, 1984 —- AND that’s the inimitable Dwain Kaiser standing behind Al waiting for some ribs, also (Dwain had the bookstore Magic Door in my hometown of Upland — he is a scholar of Science Fiction and a union organizer and a poker player, he was part of my crew, Horace Tapscott always loved when I brought Dwain around, they both being very politically-oriented) —- photo by Mark Weber
Henry Franklin and John Carter — at the Local 47 benefit for Dolo Coker — March 20, 1983 — photo by Mark Weber —- Henry was the bass player on John & Bobby’s albums SELF-DETERMINATION MUSIC (1969) and SECRETS (1971) among many other great records he was a part of all these years, as well as the late Hugh Masekela’s band and the bass player on the 1968 hit “Grazing in the Grass” (I just played Jack Sheldon’s wild version of that song on my radio show in remembrance of Hugh Masekela)
Horace Tapscott shot over the top of Billy Hinton’s drums — that’s a grand piano so this photo was taken between February – June 1979 when Tom Albach rented the piano for the 6 Sundays he recorded at I.U.C.C. church in Los Angeles — photo by Mark Weber (normally the church had a spinet)
Nat Pierce at Donte’s — May 27, 1979 North Hollywood — photo by Mark Weber
The amazing drummer Kim Calkins with the Bobby Bradford Sunday jam session at the Little Big Horn, Pasadena — December 19, 1976 — James Newton (flute), Bobby (cornet), Kevin Brandon (bass), Glenn Ferris and Kim would drive up together from Venice Beach — photo by Mark Weber — (I think Kim drummed on some Beach Boys records around this time)
Paul Bley visiting the Little Big Horn (Vinny was driving him around) — December 19, 1976 — photo by Mark Weber
Joshua Breakstone — April 11, 2o17 Kansas City — photo by Nathalie Breakstone —- You, too, may ponder why there’s a tenor saxophone on Bird’s gravestone