[members-announce] Bill Russo, Cy Touff, Great Lakes Experience, Dave Young, NEA survey, New York stories, and more...

Paul Baker paulb@webitects.com
Tue, 4 Feb 2003 12:02:40 -0600


FEBRUARY ON THE JAZZ INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO WEBSITE

Big issue this month.

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Come to http://www.jazzinstituteofchicago.org 
to read the stories below.
(If you don't see a link, type the above address into your browser.)

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Cadenza-News and views 
by Charles Walton

Great Lakes Experience
North Kenwood Oakland Charter School

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Bill Russo-a memoir
"There were a lot of fine tributes to Bill Russo following his death on
January 11-obituaries in Chicago, New York, London and all around the
country ticking off the rich musical landmarks of his 74-plus years on
this earth. If you read them all, you had to be most impressed by the
amazing breadth and versatility of his musical output: 'Third-stream'
jazz composer. . ."
-by Don Rose

Bill Russo-1947
"Monday nights at the Vanity Show Lounge in the 3900 block of Broadway,
across from the Vogue theater was session night. . .a lot of players
would join us on that little bandstand playing anything we wanted, and
on many of these Mondays Bill Russo would show up with his lovely,
talented, and future wife, vocalist Shelby Davis. Bill always arrived
with an armload of small group charts for us to march through."
-by Marty Clausen 

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Remembering Cy Touff
"The first sub I saw walk in one night was Cy Touff, who I had met
before but never worked with. Of course he played all the music like he
wrote it, and we had a good time."
-by Marty Clausen

Cy Touff-a Bronzeville conversation
"Cy Touff is one of Chicago's jazz treasures who has placed his personal
papers and other articles in the music division of the Harold Washington
Library. Anyone can peruse them and learn about the years that Cy spent
with the Woody Herman Band. I met Cy in 1960 when he was a member of a
softball team made up with Local 10 musicians that Gene Esposito had put
together, including Eddie Higgins, Stu Katz, Jim Atlas, Larry Novak, and
others. I put together a team of Local 208 musicians-Eddie Harris, Jody
Christian, Billy Wallace, Oscar Lindsey and more."
-by Charles Walton 

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Bronzeville conversation with Dave Young-Part II

"The first jobs that were open to Blacks were defense jobs. . . You
couldn't buy a new car until after the war. So all their money started
piling up. They were trying to do great things for their off-springs,
paying for everything they needed. This left Junior home alone. . . Now
the syndicate, who had been pushing the dope, saw all this money
flourishing. Prior to this, they didn't bother the Blacks because they
didn't have money to buy dope. So with this flourishing money, the
syndicate gave the dope to the dealers for them to start pushing the
dope in our neighborhoods. The kids, not knowing the dangers, flocked
right to it."
-by Charles Walton

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NEA survey finds jazz musicians are well educated 
but underpaid and lacking benefits

"Survey results suggest jazz musicians are largely male, middle aged and
well educated, although they make less money than the national average
for their education level and many lack retirement and health benefits.
Changing the Beat: A Study of the Worklife of Jazz Musicians, produced
in conjunction with the Research Center for Arts and Culture and the San
Francisco Study Center, contains survey results from about 2,700 jazz
musicians located in New York, Detroit, San Francisco and New Orleans."
-press release from the National Endowment for the Arts

A modest reply
"I read this report with a feeling of anger, hostility and sadness. Jazz
musicians are fundamentally selfish persons who play the music they want
to play for people who think they're hip but really don't understand
what's being played. The NEA's statement that 'respondents considered
talent the most important quality needed for pursuing a career in jazz'
is mind-boggling. My God! The reason people go into jazz as a 'career'
is because they have no focus to their lives, have low self-esteem, are
basically lazy, and have no marketable skills."
-by bassist Joe Levinson

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J.J. Johnson-not from our Local, but forever in our hearts

"I spent many years as an aspiring young trombonist, listening intently,
feverishly copying his solos off of the scratchy LP records of the
mid-1950s. Then, the greatest challenge of all-trying to play those
solos, even at a greatly reduced tempo. How could he do it? How could he
play all of those wonderful ideas, with such great facility, such sound,
such heart? Well, I got as close as I could, not realizing at the time
that just the trying, the attempt, was the best training any trombone
player could ever receive."
-by Bill Dinwiddie

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An Interview with Mwata Bowden-Part I

"We began to practice and to point out things he was doing and that I
was not doing. He would say "You need to meet some of the other cats."
Through him I met Ari Brown. He began to take me out to concerts where
these different musicians were playing, and I was just blown away at
that period. This was around 1973, I believe. . . That's when I started
to get in contact with musicians playing creative music. What struck me
was that they were very serious musicians, always practicing, always
composing, writing or just trying out things. On the R&B and Blues
circuits, there was not that same kind of care for the music."
-interview by Alain Drouot

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Two New York stories
-by Joe Levinson

Jo Jones
"I remember that Dick Rath asked me one night if I was open the
following Sunday afternoon. 'You throwing a party?' I asked. (He threw
jam sessions in a loft he rented on a street along the East River
located between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.) 'Naw,' he answered,
'I'm putting together a band to play a concert at Yale University. You
want to be on it?' I was open, but I knew Dick. He could throw you
curves, and I wanted to know who was playing on this band before I
committed to it."

A party
". . .every so often gigs in the clubs would dry up. When this happened,
I'd take the A train from Portland Avenue Station in Brooklyn over to
midtown Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon and walk onto the Roseland
Ballroom dance floor on 52nd Street, which became the shape-up spot for
the city's jobbing band contractors. . .From noon to three, Wednesdays
and Fridays, hundreds of players would mill around the various
contractors who worked for the society bandleaders' offices. . ."

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Classic Recordings: Michael Brecker

"Until Brecker emerged from the commercial recording studios as a member
of the group Steps Ahead in the early 1980s, his reputation in jazz was
based primarily on his work with the pioneering jazz-rock group Dreams
(1970-71), in various editions of drummer Billy Cobham's jazz-rock band
in the early 1970s, as a member of the Horace Silver Quintet (1973-74)
and as a co-leader of the often commercially slanted Brecker Brothers
group. Yet although this was the first album under his own name, by 1987
he already had the reputation as the most influential saxophonist since
John Coltrane."-by Stuart Nicholson


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FROM RECENT ISSUES

Bronzeville conversation with Dave Young-Part I

"Mr. Young broke many barriers and became a 'first' many times during
his early years as a musician and in the Armed Services. Following his
days of long road tours as a jazz musician, Mr. Young became an employee
at the Chicago Defender. . .Known to all top jazz musicians, Mr. Young
enjoyed a long and brilliant musical career. . .He was reputed to be
virtually a walking encyclopedia of jazz."
-by Charles Walton

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How I helped create a monster

"Dave Remington invited me to join his newly formed Dixie Six in 1956.
The band was assembled to play for the summer at Walt Williamson's Wagon
Wheel resort in Rockton, Illinois, just south of Beloit, Wisconsin. I
was a writer at the time for CBS/WBBM in Chicago but was unhappy with my
assignments and when Dave called me, I was ready for a change. It meant
a summer in the country playing with the new band and time to rethink my
options."
-by Joe Levinson

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The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Jazz

"National Public Radio, the only regular jazz venue available to much of
the country, has come up with a neat little introductory manual of the
music-a companion to its similarly titled opus on the classical idiom.
Written in a friendly, accessible but still sophisticated style by the
saxophonist and conductor, Loren Schoenberg, it's one of those things
you might want to give your jazz-challenged friends as an ear-opening
gift."
-reviewed by Don Rose

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Interview with Freddie Green

Chicago-area guitarist Michael Pettersen recently completed a condensed
version of a recorded interview of Freddie Green conducted by Stanley
Dance and Helen Dance. He comments, "....this effort required many hours
of editing as the transcript was verbatim, documenting an extended
conversation between life-long friends. Frequently the conversation
would wander, and often Freddie would say very little. Many pages of the
transcript document the Dances expressing their opinions on what might
have happened behind the scenes in the Basie band. Freddie's only
comments to these numerous opinions were: 'mmm-hmmm.' Unfortunately, the
interviewers did not ask Freddie about his playing technique. For rhythm
guitarists around the world, this was a unique opportunity lost forever.
On the other hand, this interview is likely the longest ever given by
the reticent Mr. Green."

Read the interview at www.freddiegreen.org/life/interview.html.

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Come to http://www.jazzinstituteofchicago.org 
to read these stories.
(If you don't see a link, type or copy the above address into your
browser.)

We're always looking for good jazz-related articles. 
Send us an email if you'd like to write something.

Paul Baker
paulb@webitects.com
Editor




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