[members-announce] Kirk Lightsey Returns to NYC! June 1-4, 2006 at Jazz Standard + Live Interviews

PHAIRELADY at aol.com PHAIRELADY at aol.com
Tue May 30 17:50:12 EDT 2006

For the first time in a dozen years, Paris-based, Detroit-born pianist Kirk 
Lightsey returns to play in New York.  He will be leading an All-star Quartet 
featuring Steve Nelson on vibes, Ray Drummond on bass and Billy Kilson on drums 
at The Jazz Standard, June 1-4, 2006.  This occasion will mark only the 
second time in eight years, that the trio of Lightsey, Nelson and Drummond have 
played together.

The repertoire will consist of standards and originals from Kirk and the band 
members.  Lightsey's latest US release is 2004's "The Night's of Bradley's" 
on Sunnyside Records.  Steve Nelson's discs "Full Nelson" and "Fuller Nelson" 
feature the trio of Nelson, Lightsey and Drummond.  

Kirk Lightsey All-star Quartet 

Jazz Standard
116 East 27th Street
(btw. Park and Lex.) #6 subway to 28th Street

Dates: June 1-4, 2006
Music charge:  $25: Thursday & Sunday / $30: Friday & Saturday
Nightly Sets at 7:30 & 9:30 PM
Fri. & Sat. Third Set at 11:30 PM


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

WBGO INTERVIEW: with Brian Delp at NOON EST.  Listen online worldwide at: 

THURSDAY, June 1, 2006

WKCR INTERVIEW: Out to Lunch Show with Ted Panken at NOON (until about 1:30 
PM) EST.  Listen online worldwide at: http://www.wkcr.org/


Another opportunity to hear Kirk Lightsey, will be on August 5, 2006 when he 
opens the final day of the Caramoor Jazz Festival.  He will play solo piano in 
tribute to John Hicks.  Visit www.Caramoor.org 


Kirk Lightsey’s profound pianisms originate from the Motor City. Kirk 
LIGHTSEY was born into Detroit 's rich music scene on February 15, 1937. He grew up 
in a town known for its jazz pianists, which included Hugh Lawson, Sir Roland 
Hanna, Barry Harris, Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan, whose brother gave Lightsey 
his first piano lessons at the age of six. He then took lessons with Glady's 
Wade Dillard, who also taught pianists Barry Harris, Alice McCloud and Tommy 

At Cass Technical High School Hugh Lawson and Paul Chambers introduced Kirk 
to playing jazz. They all performed in the school orchestra, which included Ron 
Carter and Kiane Zawadi. Late afternoons were often spent at Barry Harris' 
house where Lightsey would jam with Ira Jackson, Lonnie Hilliard and Charles 
McPherson. Under the tutelage of Harris they honed their improvisational skills. 
Kirk also learned about music by listening to his mother's record collection, 
and he went to hear all the Swing Era Stars who came to Detroit.

In 1954 Lightsey was awarded a music scholarship to Wayne University to study 
the clarinet, but at age 18, he quickly chose to play professionally. His 
first real gig was with the Harold "Beans" Bowles Sextet, which included Albert 
Aarons and Joe Henderson. He toured with Arthur Bragg's Rhythm and Blues Show 
which included Della Reese, T. Bone Walker and the Four Tops. During this time, 
he also worked with Yusef Lateef, Melba Liston and Ernestine Anderson. In 
1960 Kirk was drafted. He played clarinet two years in the Fort Knox Army Band, 
and the bassoon for the Louisville Civic Orchestra. He also added flute to his 

When Lightsey was discharged from the army, he went back to Detroit with 
fellow Army Band member, Cecil McBee. They formed a jazz duo and played Detroit 
clubs. Kirk also played for Motown hit recording sessions, and made time to 
study with classical pianist Boris Maximovich. Lightsey's main influences however, 
are piano masters Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan. He defines himself as a 
Detroit pianist incorporating "...a Bud Powell awareness, an Art Tatum styling, a 
bebop feeling and a pianistic approach."

In the ‘60’s, Lightsey’s first recordings as a sideman were on trumpeter 
Chet Baker’s Prestige sessions. Ironically, Baker’s last performances before his 
death in 1988 were with the pianist in Bradley’s. Lightsey also performed and 
recorded with George Coleman, Sonny Stitt, David Murray, Sonny Fortune, 
Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw and Harold Land. 

In 1965, Lightsey started working with Damita Jo. He was also responsible for 
In Stage; a production group he directed which included musicians, dancers 
and actors. Kirk was to experience a fifteen-year close association with 
singers. During these years a more orchestral awareness evolved in both his pianistic 
approach and his thinking. He was the pianist and music director for O.C. 
Smith for five years and moved to Los Angeles where he gigged and recorded with 
other artists such as Pharoah Sanders, Bobby Hutcherson, Esther Philips and 
Harold Land. Another five-year association with Lovelace Watkins began in 1974, 
which took Kirk to Australia, Africa, Europe and the British Isles as well as 
New York and Las Vegas. While touring in Europe, Lightsey conducted the 
Bucharest Symphony Orchestra and the Scala Symphony Orchestra in Spain. He also 
conducted the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Albert Dailey had preceded Kirk in Damita Jo's Band; in 1979 Kirk once again 
followed Dailey, this time into Dexter Gordon's group. Lightsey's five-year 
association with Gordon gave him the prominence he deserves. In Gordon's group 
he found the opportunity to acquaint a larger jazz audience with his talent as 
a key player.

At Bradley’s in the early ‘80s, Lightsey met a newly arrived French IBM 
executive and jazz devotee, Francois Zalacain, who had just started his Sunnyside 
label with a release by pianist Harold Danko. Lightsey “signed” with the 
label, and in 1982, he released Lightsey I, a solo piano recording. In 1983, Danko 
and Lightsey released Shorter by Two, a magnificent, dual keyboard look at 
Wayne Shorter’s compositions. Lightsey Live and Everything Is Changed with 
percussionist/trumpeter Jerry Gonzalez were released in 1985 and 1986. 

Lightsey also recorded on the Timeless, Criss Cross, Limetree and Evidence 
labels before he moved to France in the mid-‘90s. Lightsey was a founding member 
of The Leaders, a group that featured trumpeter Lester Bowie, saxophonists 
Arthur Blythe and Chico Freeman, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Famadou Don 
Moye. Their first album “Heavendance” was recorded on Sunnyside.  Each musician 
in the band has a reputation as a bandleader, composer and recording artist 
in his own right.

New York Times critic Robert Palmer writes "They...are among the leading 
exponents of their respective instruments, and they are players who are helping 
chart the evolution of jazz as a whole.” The latest trio’s CD, "Good Bye Mr. 
Evans" on Evidence Records garnered rave reviews from jazz magazines 
internationally. Downbeat gave it 4 1/2 stars.

I first went to Bradley’s in the mid-seventies. At that time I worked for IBM 
in France, and, during a business trip to New York, my friend Tom Migliore 
took me to listen to Roland Hanna and George Mraz. The place was packed, the 
upright piano was set against the wall facing the entrance. I could only see 
George’s head and bass, and could not see Roland at all. The buzz of the place was 
incredible, the beer was flowing, the music kept fighting with the 
conversations. It was surreal to see such great musicians performing in the surroundings 
and atmosphere of an Irish pub. After I moved to New York in 1980, Bradley’s 
became my second home where I spent several nights a week.

It was at Bradley’s that I first met Kirk Lightsey, he was playing with Ron 
Carter. Harold Danko, who had recorded the first album on my label Sunnyside, 
suggested during a dinner at my home that Kirk Lightsey would be perfect for 
the second Sunnyside album. After dessert and coffee we jumped into a cab headed 
for University Place, where Bradley’s was located. At the break Harold 
introduced me to Kirk and I asked him about recording for Sunnyside, Kirk looked at 
me, smiled, and said “yes, indeed!” Shortly after we went to Chip Stokes’ 
Penthouse Studio and recorded Lightsey1, a beautiful piano solo album.

Three years later, we recorded three nights at Bradley’s with Kirk and Rufus 
Reid. At the time Kirk and Rufus had been working with Dexter Gordon. During 
those nights it seems that every musician in town was present. I remember Cecil 
Taylor having a conversation with my friend Chris Coffee, a painter, telling 
him his admiration for Lightsey and also discussing architecture, mostly of 
Gaudí in Barcelona, while drinking champagne. Art Blakey was also there, coming 
for the third or fourth set. When the music ended at the Village Vanguard, or 
Sweet Basil, or Fat Tuesdays, many of the musicians would migrate to Bradley’s 
where the music would still be going. These were some of the many great 
nights of Bradley’s.

François Zalacain's live recordings capture the spontaneity of the artists, 
and the ambiance of the venue. There’s the down-home elegance of Ahmad Jamal’s 
But Not for Me: Live at the Pershing, Thelonious Monk’s At the Blackhawk, and 
Bill Evans’s immortal Sunday at the Village Vanguard.

Add this recording by pianist Kirk Lightsey and bassist Rufus Reid, recorded 
at Bradley’s in New York City in January of 1985, to that illustrious list!

The release of this recording -- the first release from three nights and over 
twelve hours of music -- is the first recording in this century by the 
Detroit-born, Paris-based Lightsey, who was the second artist ever to record for the 
Sunnyside label. It also features the rock-steady bass of Rufus Reid -- 
another Sunnyside artist -- who along with Lightsey, was a member of saxophonist 
Dexter Gordon’s quartet when these tracks were recorded.

Bradley’s was the cozy piano bar named for Bradley Cunningham, who arguably 
ran the most intimate and artists-friendly venue in Manhattan before it closed 
in the late ‘90s. As Russ Musto wrote in the CD’s liner notes, “[t]he music 
played in Bradley’s was profound and powerful as the spirit of camaraderie that 
prevailed among the musicians who regularly patronized the club.”

The seven tracks on this disc offer aural evidence of this dynamic duo’s 
swing and sensitivity. Leading off is their light, Latin-tinged reading of George 
Cable’s "I Told You So," where Lightsey playfully drops in a quotation from 
Thelonious Monk’s Bemsha Swing. Their flawless, in-the-pocket rendition of Wayne 
Shorter’s mid ‘60s Blue Note masterpiece Speak No Evil, comes from the 
source: They performed with Shorter in a rare acoustic live date in Newark, NJ 
aired on National Public Radio. Johnny Mandel’s "A Time for Love," and Dave Brubeck
’s evergreen standard "In Your Own Sweet Way," highlight Lightsey’s singing 
tone. Benny Golson’s "From Dream to Dream" is buoyed by Reed’s beautiful arco 
bass, while John Coltrane’s "Giant Steps" retains its breakneck post-bop 
structure, harmonically and thematically expanded on by the pianist and bassist. 
Sonny Rollins' "Oleo," the famous break tune, closes this set with the promise 
of more jazz to come.

It was as a member of Dexter Gordon’s quartet in the 1980’s that Lightsey 
finally achieved the international recognition his talent had long merited. 
Bassist Rufus Reid was the pianist’s rhythm section mate with drummer Eddie 
Gladden in the group and it was while playing with the tenor great that the two 
developed the mutually supportive swinging style that was clearly evident in this 
set. Bradley’s is where New York’s finest jazz musicians would go to seek out 
the comfort of the music and camaraderie of their colleagues and its demise 
has created a vacuum not likely to be filled any time soon. When the set is 
over Kirk introduces Rufus and himself and announces that they’ll be back. There 
is still a good deal more material that was recorded from the nights of Bradley
’s with these two wonderful players, so another set would seem inevitable.

Chantal Phaire
Phairelady Management Services
20 West 20th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10011-4213
Direct Phone: (212) 822-8590
Cell Phone: (203) 209-7668
Private Fax: (646)349-2976
E-Mail: Phairelady at aol.com

Phairelady Management Services represents the following artists: Kirk 
LIGHTSEY, JoAnne BRACKEEN (http://www.joannebrackeenjazz.com/), Denise JANNAH 
(http://www.denisejannah.com/), Jeremy PELT (http://www.peltjazz.com/) and Anthony 
BROWN's Asian American Orchestra http://www.anthonybrown.org/

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