Monday, April 10, 2017

Coaxing Spring

Why not take credit?  This show was meant to bring Spring out of its hibernation and the day after the broadcast, the weather took a decided turn for the better. Must be living right; or maybe it was the music.


Sarah Vaughan "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year" 1953 on Columbia

Charlie Parker "April In Paris" from "Bird With Strings" 1950 on Verve

Blossom Dearie "They Say It s Spring" from "Jazz Masters 51"1956 on Verve

The Dave Pell Octet "Spring Is Here" from "Plays Rogers and Hart" 1954 on Pacific Jazz

Ella Fitzgerald "Spring is Here" from "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook, Vol. 2" 1956 on Verve

Clifford Brown & Max Roach "Joy Spring" from "Clifford Brown & Max Roach" 1954 on Emarcy

Tony Bennett and Bill Evans "You Must Believe In Spring" from "Together Again" 1976 on Columbia

Dave Brubeck "Spring In Central Park" from "Jazz Impressions of New York" 1964 on Columbia

Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald "I Got The Spring Fever Blues" 1936 on Decca

Bob Dorough "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" from "RIght on My Way Home" 1997 on Blue Note

Freddie Hubbard "Up Jumped Spring" from "Backlash" 1966 on Atlantic

The Four Freshmen "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring" from "The Freshman Year" 1961 on Capital

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Katz and Gennari On the DuPlex

The 3.30.17 edition of the DuPlex Mystery Jazz hour had two segments. In the first, I played music by the group OddSong and spoke with its leader and composer Darrell Katz. In the second, I spoke with John Gennari, author of Flavor and Soul; Italian America at its African Edge.



 Daryll Katz and OddSong "Prayer" from "Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Sock" (Jazz, 2016) on JCA Records
Daryll Katz and OddSong "Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Sock" f

 Daryll Katz and OddSong "Tell Time" from "Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Sock" 

 Daryll Katz and OddSong "Lemmings" from "Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Sock" 

 Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang "Stringing the Blues" from "Stringing the Blues" (1926) on Columbia

 Louis Prima "House Rent Party Day" from "House Rent Party Day" (1934) on Brunswick

 Louis Prima & Keely Smith "Oh Babe!" from "Oh Babe!" (1950) on Robin Hood

 Lenny Tristano "Lullaby of the Leaves" from "YouTube" (1965)

 Cab Calloway "Everybody Eats when They Come To My House" ( 1947) on Columbia

 Dean Martin "Until The Real Thing Comes Along" from "This Time I'm Swingin'!" (1960) on Capital

 The Rat pack "Birth of the blues live" from "YouTube" (1965)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The People's Ensemble on the Duplex

Guests on the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour of 3.23.17 were two members of the People's Ensemble, founder-composer-keyboard player Greyson Davison and spoken word performer Gus Johnson. We played some of their tunes and jammed a few things live in the studio.

Atonal Boogie (live)

The People's Ensemble “Ontology” Music For A Better Tomorrow (private 2017)

Armastice (live)

The People's Ensemble “For Tomorrow” Music For A Better Tomorrow (private 2017)

Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas, "The Creator Has a Master Plan," (Impulse,  1969)

The People's Ensemble “Hermeneutics in Blue” Music For A Better Tomorrow (private 2017)

The People's Ensemble “Boston (In Three Movements)” Music For A Better Tomorrow (private 2017)

United Future Organization feat.Jack Kerouac "Poetry and All That Jazz" (1991)

The People's Ensemble “In the Sun" Music For A Better Tomorrow (private 2017)

Atonal Boogie #2

Friday, March 17, 2017

Jazz Soundtracks, II

Here's another DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour about sound tracks, recorded on 3.16.17. So, close your eyes and let the cinematic images float through your mind.

PLAYLIST (Theme music from the film, unless otherwise noted)

Elmer Bernstein, "The Man With The Golden Arm"  1955 on Spectrum
Elmer Bernstein/Chico Hamilton‬ "Sweet Smell Of Success" 1957 on Decca
Henry Mancini‬ "‪Touch Of Evil ‬" 1958 on Sarabande
Lalo Schifrin‬ "Bullitt" 1968 on Warner Bros

Ella Fitzgerald "Pete Kelly's Blues"  (Jazz, 1955) on Decca

Eddie Sauter "Mickey One" (Jazz, 1965) on Polygram

Martial Solal "A bout de souffle" (Breathless) 1959 on Classic Soundtrack Collector

Gato Barbieri "Last Tango in Paris" 1972 on United Artists

Ennio Morricone "‪The Cat O' Nine Tails‬" 1971 on Colonna Sonora

Miles Davis "Ascenseur pour l'échafaud" 1961 on Fontana
Quincy Jones "Hanging Paper‬" from "In Cold Blood" 1968 on Colgems

Duke Ellington "Happy Anatomy" from "Anatomy Of A Murder" 1959 on Columbia

Sonny Rollins "Alfie's Theme"1966 on Impulse

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review of "Bop Apocalypse," by Martin Torgoff

The vilification and suppression of marijuana and narcotics in the U.S. was fueled in the 20th century by a campaign that whipped up fear of "the other"- Mexicans, Caribbean islanders, South Americans and African-Americans.  Bop Apocalypse limns the history of this campaign and uses it to frame the story of how our own American "others"- (black and white) jazz musicians and the (white) Beat movement-interacted with each other and with law enforcement.

Most of the key cast of musical characters in Bop Apocalypse will be familiar-Louis Armstrong, Mezz Mezzrow, Lester Young, Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday. So too, will the cast of Beats-Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassidy and William Burroughs. Others playing smaller parts are Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jackie Maclean and writers Antonin Artaud, John Clellan Holmes, Michael McClure, Herbert Huncke and a few others.

As chief antagonist, we have Harry Anslinger, for 30 years the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Anslinger was a master propagandist, willing to manufacture evidence in order to convince the public and Congress that, well, we know the litany: gateway drug, leads to violent crimes, corrupts youth. All the "facts" about marijuana that have dominated public opinion until recently were shaped by Anslinger. And yes, in some quarters, they continue to dominate.

For most readers, the story of the interaction between Anslinger, Congress, the law and the perps will be new. Details of Lester and Billie's stories will make for interesting reading, while the stories of Armstrong, Mezzrow and Bird as told here may serve to fill in parts of stories we already knew.

A few other aspects of the book stand out. First of all, I'm used to thinking of the Beats-Kerouac, Ginsburg, et al, as planets in eccentric orbits, interacting intensively but haphazardly. Torgoff shows there was a discernible flow of ideas and influences that bound the group together and shaped white beat/bohemianism in mid-century America. He shows there were clear literary and cultural through-lines: Club Des Hashichins, Gautier, Hugo, Balzac, Spengler, Rimbaud, Blake and that smoking pot, although useful sexually, was part of a shared ethic of drug use as spiritual exploration.

The author describes interplay between the Beats and jazz musicians that gives a sense of their relationship; for example, Lester Young turning Kerouac on to pot. Influence between these two groups seemed to flow pretty much in one direction-from jazz to beats.  One infers that jazz culture was not particularly interested in "new literature," although eventually collaborations arose between poetry and jazz.

The difference between the white and black experiences of being "outsiders" is noted. Historically, as I said, the campaign against drugs was a campaign against outsiders and jazz musicians were some of the first and most overt outsiders. The jazz world was a backdrop for the intermingling of races and the cultural center of pushback against the Yankee and Puritan ethics. The beats, too, were easy to peg as cultural outsiders, but they didn't have the added layer of racism to contend with.

Torgoff engages the question of whether Kerouac's romanticizing of jazz was another example of white de-dimentionalizing of the black experience. He seems to take it as it comes-a marker of Kerouac's genuine affection and empathy for the black jazz world. I've always had my doubts, in fact saw a cartoon-ish quality to some of Kerouac's writing on jazz and this book didn't change my mind, but Torgoff's presentation gives the reader a fair view of competing perspectives.

Torgoff tries to come to terms with why such a large number of jazz musicians became heroin addicts in the 40's and 50's, Of course, there was Charlie Parker's out-sized influence and Torgoff explores this and some other ideas. Ultimately, though, his approach is to tell a number of individual stories of addiction; to personalize it rather than trying to over-theorize about it. Even though part of me wishes to find more closure on this vexing question, I think Torgoff's approach is viable and useful.

Are there things in Bop Apocalyse that I don't like? Yes. The long exploration of Burroughs' life is fairly interesting, but I see it as an extensive footnote or an Appendix, not something that should be in the body of the book. So too, the story of the junkie-prostitute Ruby, who had crossed paths with Billie and Bird at a shooting gallery. I don't think there's enough there to spend as much time on the story as Torgoff does and see it as another Appendix. Speaking of structural aspects-the Notes and Bibliography are extensive, but the lack of an Index for a book of this scope and size is disappointing.

Don't get me wrong. I think Torgoff does many things right and those who've read about this subject in a scattershot way will find in this well-written book a coherent exegesis of several important 20th century cultural currents. There is a great deal to ponder in Bop Apocalypse and what I read here will usefully inform my thoughts about how we are now dealing, or not dealing, with drugs, literature and jazz.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Take a Leap of Faith

Pek and Yuri guested on the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour on WZBC on 3.9.17. Pek is the evil genius behind the Evil Clown musical empire, which includes a number of smaller groups and the Leap Of Faith Orchestra. The boys were kind enough to play in the studio and to let me join in the fray.


Live performance in studio

Necromancer's Binary Dance 1, Turbulence Doom Choir, Netherworld, Evil Clown Records.

Necromancer's Binary Dance 2, Turbulence Doom Choir, Netherworld, Evil Clown Records.

Necromancer's Binary Dance 4, Turbulence Doom Choir, Netherworld,, Evil Clown Records.

Leap Of Faith Orchestra, Supernova, Evil Clown Records.

Live performance in studio

Monday, March 6, 2017

Charlie Kohlhase Speaks

Actually, Charlie's a very good talker, as radio listeners know from his 20 year stint hosting "Research and Development on sister station WMBR. He also knows a few tricks vis a vis the saxophone, arranging, composing and bandleading.  Charlie fell by the DuPlex on 3.2.17 to brief us on his music and to submit to a few Blindford Test questions.
Chariie and John Carlson in conference

Jelly Roll Morton “Hesitation Blues” (1938)

Harry “Sweets” Edison & Buddy Rich “You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me” from Buddy and Sweets (Verve 1955)

Jack Teagarden's Big Eight “Big Eight Blues” Single (Hot Record Society Originals 1940)

Charlioe Kohlhas Quintet “Deep Purple” from Dart Night (Accurate 1996)

Charlie Kohlhase Quintet “Buhaina Checked Out” from Good Deeds (Accurate 1992)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Music and Talk with Lorraine Feather

My guest on the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour of 2.23.17 was Lorraine Feather, a multiple Grammy and Emmy-nominated lyricist and vocalist. Lorraine grew up in a jazz hothouse-daughter of Leonard Feather and god-daughter of Billie Holiday-but traveled her own road to become the creator of a diverse, impressive body of work.


From AGES, Jazzed Media, 2010
A Lot to Remember
I Forgot to Have Children

From ATTACHMENTS, Jazzed Media, 2013
I Hope I Never Leave This Place (ballad)
I Thought You Did

From FOURTEEN-Nouveau Stride, w. Stephanie Trick, Jazzed Media, 2012
Pour on the Heat

Flirting with Disaster
Feels Like Snow
Disastrous Consequences

Monday, February 20, 2017

Phil Sims Live on the DuPlex

Phil Sims was my guest on the 2.16.17 DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour, WZBC.ORG, 90.3 FM. Phil is a fabulous trombonist, composer and arranger active on the very happening Buffalo jazz scene. He had some great stories about life on the road with the Dorsey Band and writing for and conducting the Buffalo Philharmonic  He played live and I joined him on Au Privave.



Tommy Dorsey- "Well Git It" V Disc, 1943

JJ Johnson‬ "Time After Time"  1954 on Blue Note;

PHIL PLAYS LIVE: "Pennies From Heaven"

Carl Fontana "This is Always" from "The Great Fontana" 1987 on Uptown

Lawrence Brown w. Duke Ellington, "Blue Cellophane" 1945, on Circle


Buffalo Brass "Song For Alexa" from ""It's Time"" 1988 on Mark Records

Bill Watrous and Manhattan Wildlife Refuge, "Spain" 1974 on Columbia

Buffalo Brass "Take The A Train" from "It's Time" 1988 on Mark Records

Buffalo Brass "I Got It Bad" from "It's Time" 1988 on Mark Records

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Music and Talk w. Kordalewski and Naidoo

On 2/2/17, the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour, WZBC.ORG, welcomed guests pianist/bandleader/arranger John Kordalewski and Kesivan Naidoo, drummer from South Africa. Kordalewski is the founder of the Makanda Project, which performs world premieres of music by Makanda Ken McIntyre. Naidoo was a first-call drummer in South Africa, now making it happen in the U.S. Both have interesting stories to tell-including how Ken McIntyre became Makanda Ken McIntyre-and brought great music to play.


The Gorgeous Ones, The Makanda Project. Private Recording
Mellifluous, Stone Blues. Prestige Records
Tafattala, from "Skyjack' Werkstatt Records
Struttin', The Makanda Project. Private Recording

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Boston and Beyond

The DuPlex on 1/19/17 welcomed back Boston jazz historian Dick Vacca.  For this "Boston and Beyond" show,  Dick brought in material that illustrated the early work of a number of Boston artists and how that work evolved (BTW, Dick's blog has an interesting salute to Nat Hentoff). Check out the playlist, then:

Makanda Ken McIntyre “Smax” Stone Blues (Prestige New Jazz 1960)

Hal Galper “Blues Theme” Single (Private recording 1962)

Hal Galper “Villainesque” Windows (Steeplechase 1975)

Bill Berry “Till You” Shortcake (Concord Jazz 1978)

Bill Berry “That Old Devil Moon” Jazz & Swinging Percussion (Directional Sound 1961)

Toshiko Akiyoshi, Charlie Mariano “The Village” Single (youtube 2007)

Toshiko Akiyoshi, Charlie Mariano “I’m a Fool to Want You” Deep in a Dream (Enja 2001)

Carol Sloane “In a Sentimental Mood" Live at 30th Street (Columbia 1962)

Carol Sloane “Deep Purple" I Never Went Away (High Note 2001)

James Williams “My One and Only Love” Everything I Love (Concord Jazz 1979)

George Wein “Exactly Like You” Single (youtube 1985)

Joe Gordon “A Song for Richard” Lookin’ Good! (‪Contemporary‬ 1961)

Teddi King “Oh, You Crazy Moon” Nat Pierce Orchestra 1948-1950 (Zim Records 1950)

Teddi King “How Long Has This Been Going On” This Is New: Teddi King Sings Ira Gershwin (Inner city 1978)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Eulogy For My Mother

My mother, Marcia Provizer, died on December 24, at the age of 93. We are very grateful that her end came quickly. 

Taking a time out from the usual musical motifs, I am posting my eulogy to her, delivered on Tuesday, December 27, at the Levine Chapels in Brookline.
With the death of a beloved parent like Marcia, all the ambivalences we have of how the universe operates rise to the surface. We think: Is this really how it works: One day you rise up and the next, you're struck down. What game is this, in which no matter what role you play-king, queen, bishop- you are, in the end, just a pawn.

And yet, some people-and Marcia was one-some people have the natural gift of playing the game un-self-consciously, selflessly yet passionately.  This, despite being a woman who was forced to mourn so many early deaths: her dear husband in his 40's, her parents in their 50's. Her close friends Evelyn and Bill and others, well before their time.

Despite these losses, this was a woman who continued to have the capacity to experience joy; to laugh and to celebrate life. Why?  How could this be? It was because she had the capacity to GENERATE joy. To generate laughter, to lift up people from their sorrows and show them they were worth loving.

She was musical and a talented writer, but with people, she was a genius.

As Marlene said, we joked that no one could "work a room" like her, but when she worked a room, it was not to bring attention to herself, but to bring other people into the energy of the party; to let them know they were seen and cared for.

How many life stories was she able to evoke from people within the first 10 minutes after she met them? How much loyalty and love did she engender from the hundreds of seniors that she took on trips, standing at the front of the bus for hours, telling jokes and making the passage of time a pleasure for Her people? How was she able to make me feel right and justified in pursuing my own passions despite how harebrained they really were?

And now she is gone. She had been leaving for some time. And, as so many others have, I went through the hard process of becoming more the parent as she became more the child. Yet, despite the falls and hospitalizations, the increasing lack of mobility and what must have been some very disorienting delusions, she still retained that magical capacity to emanate joy.

In the last couple of months, in her final home at NewBridge, she grew much more quiet. She ate little and was not the voluble person she once was. But when I went there the day she died, everyone hugged me and told me what a sweet and lovely woman she was. They had all experienced the magic of her gift despite how diminished she was. And I said, boy you should have seen her in her prime.

She lived a long life and her longevity is a consolation to us, but there is a hole in our hearts that can't be filled.

What comforts me now and I hope it does you is this: Although we now say goodbye to the physical presence of Marcia Yoffee Provizer, we will never say goodbye to her spirit.