Archive for December, 2009

Holiday Jazz Specials

Monday, December 21st, 2009

December 24 and 25th – all holiday jazz during the day. Bob Parlocha..all holiday music overnight on the 25th.

December 25 – holiday jazz all day, then from 7-9pm-re broadcast of the NCCU/WNCU 2nd annual holiday bash.

December 25 from 9pm-10pm – Jazz Piano Xmas XX from NPR

December 26 at 9pm – Can’t Quit the Blues-a special on Buddy Guy

December 27 from 7pm-10pm -The Man and his Music-Count Basie- 3 part series on Count Basie-from NPR’s Jazz Profiles


WNCU/NCCU holiday bash rebroadcast: originally aired on Friday Dec. 4th. NCCU Jazz Faculty Group plays holiday jazz from 7-9pm, Dec. 25th.

Jazz Piano Xmas XX: Dec. 25-9pm

This ever popular program will include original interpretations of holiday classics and duo combos performed by Dr. Billy Taylor, Ramsey Lewis, Patricia Barber, Eldar, and Robert Glasper. Felix Contreas hosts.

Buddy Guy-Can’t Quit the Blues: Dec. 26-9pm

Hosted by journalist Anthony DeCurtis, this program also features 15 classic tracks from throughout Guy’s career. Buddy Guy tells his own story, looking back on his life and career as only he can. He begins the story with his poor, sharecropping roots in Lettsworth, LA, and guides up through all his stops along the way to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – the first time he met the blues on a John Lee Hooker record, the birth of his trademark guitar style while regularly jamming for customers at a gas station, his explosion on the Chicago blues scene, his influence on many of rock’s great guitarists (Clapton, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rolling Stones, John Mayer and many more), and much more.

Throughout “Can’t Quit the Blues,” Buddy Guy opens up and reveals himself as a man with a soul as great as his musical skills. He is extremely grateful to all those who helped him along the way, and always happy to share his knowledge with those inspired by him. At 70 years-old, he continues to live a great life, always thankful of how he came to be one of the world’s great blues guitarists.

“If I had my life to live over,” he says, “I would come back the same road that I came and pick up the acoustic guitar and hope to make somebody happy and smile.”

Count Basie: The Man and His Music: Dec. 27th7-10pm

Part 1: The 1st installment traces Basie’s early years; his childhood, his pilgrimage to Harlem,his relationship with Fats Waller, and his early life as a traveling musician with Katie Krippen and her Kitties, Walter Page and the Blue Devils, and Jimmy Rushing.

Part 2: The story picks up with the death of Benny Moten and the genesis of Count Basie’s first band at the Reno Club in Kansas City. Broadcasts on experimental station W9XBY bring Lester Young and others to Kansas City to see the band they had heard on the radio. Thanks to the addition of Young and the All-American rhythm section, the Basie band bursts onto the national scene. Basie comes to New York with an uncertain reception and then breaks through with his first record contract with Decca. This installment covers a period that marks the both the pinnacle of success for Basie’s Kansas City style and also some setbacks, including the death of tenor man Herschel Evans, the recording ban of the early 1940s, and the advent of World War II.

Part 3: In the 1940s, the bandleader found himself staring at the impending decline of the Swing Era. But the sophisticated groups he put together in the years to come started a musical renaissance which helped confirm his place in jazz history.

Honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Recording of the Album `Kind of Blue’ and Reaffirming Jazz as a National Treasure

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) just moved H.R. 894, “Honoring the 50th anniversary of the recording of the album `Kind of Blue’ and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure”. It will be voted on later today.


1st Session

H. RES. 894

Honoring the 50th anniversary of the recording of the album `Kind of Blue’ and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure.


November 5, 2009

Mr. CONYERS (for himself, Mr. SCOTT of Virginia, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr.

MCGOVERN, and Mr. ABERCROMBIE) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary



Honoring the 50th anniversary of the recording of the album `Kind of Blue’ and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure.

Whereas, on August 17, 1959, Miles Davis, Jimmy Cobb, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, John Coltrane, and Julian `Cannonball’ Adderley collaborated to record the album `Kind of Blue’;

Whereas `Kind of Blue’ ranks 12th on the list of the `500 Greatest Albums of All Time’ published by Rolling Stone magazine;

Whereas `Kind of Blue’ was recorded in 1959, the year Columbia Records declared `jazz’s greatest year’;

Whereas `Kind of Blue’ marked the beginning of the mass popularity of jazz in the United States;

Whereas in 2008, the Recording Industry Association of America awarded `Kind of Blue’ quadruple-platinum status, meaning 4,000,000 copies of the album had been sold;

Whereas in 2002, the Library of Congress added `Kind of Blue’ to the National Recording Registry;

Whereas `Kind of Blue’ was recognized as the bestselling record in the history of jazz;

Whereas 50 years after the release of `Kind of Blue’, MOJO magazine honored the Legacy Edition of the album by giving it the `Best Catalogue Release of the Year’ award;

Whereas `Kind of Blue’ both redefined the concept of jazz for musicians and changed the perceptions of jazz held by many fans;

Whereas today, the sole surviving member of the Miles Davis Sextet, Jimmy Cobb, is performing and touring with his So What Band in tribute to the 50th anniversary of `Kind of Blue’; and

Whereas `Kind of Blue’ continues to be the standard masterpiece of jazz for American musicians and audiences: Now, therefore, be it

/ Resolved,/ That the House of Representatives–

  1. honors the 50th anniversary of `Kind of Blue’ and recognizes the unique contribution the album has made to American jazz;
  2. directs the Clerk of the House of Representatives to transmit enrolled copies of this resolution to Columbia Records;
  3. encourages the United States Government to take all appropriate steps to preserve and advance the art form of jazz music;
  4. recommits itself to ensuring that musical artists such as Miles Davis and his Sextet receive fair protection under the copyright laws of the United States for their contributions to culture in the United States; and
  5. reaffirms the status of jazz as a national treasure.

Trumpeter Hears NCCU’s Clarion Call

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

mooreHe tried his hand at the cello. He went out for the football team in Hope Mills, N.C., but he says he was awful at both. Twenty-three-year-old Steven Moore found his “wow” with the trumpet in North Carolina Central University’s jazz studies program. Moore will graduate with the class of 2009 on December 12.

“My father played the trumpet. But it wasn’t until I heard the Miles Davis CD Kind of Blue that I knew. I played that cut over and over,” says Moore. He was like the old adage about a duck taking to water. “I got involved, playing in honors bands. I played in the first annual All-State Band Festival for Jazz.” Then a family friend suggested he meet Dr. Ira Wiggins, the director of NCCU’s Jazz Studies program.

“Steven Moore has a gift in the manner in which he composes and performs music in the jazz idiom. At his age, he is further along in his musical development than many of his peers,” says Wiggins. “His style of trumpet playing is reminiscent of Clark Terry and Freddie Hubbard and with continual study and training, Steve will become a master artist in his own right.”

In the past year, Moore performed with fellow musicians at the legendary Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island and the Detroit Jazz Fest in Michigan. He has studied with NCCU’s artist-in-residence, Branford Marsalis. “Studying with him was transforming. He took me back to the roots of music. He had me listen to tons and tons of Louis Armstrong recordings, and you can’t get any better than that,” Moore recalls.

Currently, Moore is a student teacher at Hillside High School. “There is a lot of talent at Hillside…it needs to be nurtured…for the kids to reach their potential,” he said. “They have a hunger.” Moore is trying to make up his mind about his future. He wants to go to graduate school and he wants to be a music educator.

Question Moore about jazz and he waxes almost lyrical. “Jazz is the truest form of therapy. It is a spiritual experience,” he says. “People consider baroque and classical music as serious. Why not jazz? Jazz musicians have to walk in two worlds—the sophisticated world and one foot in show biz.”

“Young musicians are the legatees of a huge tradition. The mission is to get jazz out there, pull in the masses. We have to produce the next Miles Davis, the next Picasso, or a John Coltrane,” maintains Moore.

Eagles Soar Through SACS Reaccreditation

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

In the 114th annual meeting of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) that concluded yesterday in Atlanta, North Carolina Central University received reaffirmation of its accreditation as a degree-granting institution of higher education. The next formal review will be conducted in 2019.

Chancellor Charlie Nelms said, “I’m obviously pleased that the Commission reaffirmed our accreditation. I want to thank the faculty and staff for their continuous commitment to teaching and learning and their diligent pursuit of means to enhance the quality and effectiveness of our programs.”

The university offered its self-evaluation to the Commission several months prior to SACS’ reaffirmation visit conducted April 14 – 16, 2009, by a team of administrators from peer institutions. Chaired by Dr. Velvelyn Foster, vice president for academic affairs and student life at Jackson State University, the team assessed NCCU’s compliance with the Association’s standards. They also evaluated the university’s required Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) titled Communicating to Succeed.

Subsequent to their assessment, Dr. Pauletta Bracy, NCCU’s director of accreditations, led the effort by campus faculty and staff to address the action items identified prior to the submission of the on-site team’s final status report to the Commission this fall.

“This process of reaffirmation has been a valuable exercise in our continued quest for excellence and it is especially significant as it falls during our centennial year,” said Bracy.

NCCU elected to focus its QEP on improving the quality of students’ oral and written communication skills. The university has begun to invest greater resources in its writing and speaking laboratories and to institute greater emphasis on these skills throughout the curricula.

Paul Chambers

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

pchambers3Paul Laurence Dunbar Chambers, Jr. was born April 22, 1935, in Pittsburgh, P.A. and died January 4, 1969, in New York, N.Y. He was the son of Paul Laurence Chambers and Ann Dunbar and had two children named Renee and Eric.

Upon winning Down Beat magazine’s 1956 “New Star Award,” jazz bassist Paul Chambers entered the national spotlight as one of the finest young talents of the hard bop jazz scene. Best known for his eight-year tenure with Miles Davis, Chambers appeared as a guest recording artist with numerous musicians, including the debut albums of John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, and Cannonball Adderly. His bass bow style was largely responsible for carrying forth the bowing approach pioneered by Jimmy Blanton, an early bassist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and reintroducing the arco or bowed style as a featured technique in the modern jazz idiom.

While attending the Pittsburgh school system, Chambers took up music after one of his instructors selected him to play baritone horn. Following the death of his mother in 1948, Chambers went to live with his father in Detroit, where he switched to tuba and eventually pursued the study of the double bass. By 1952, he was receiving private lessons from a bassist in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and, while attending Cass Technical High School, played in the school’s symphony orchestra. During this time, Chambers’ formal symphonic training coincided with a strong interest in bebop jazz. “I started to listen to Charlie Parker and Bud Powell at age fifteen,” recalled Chambers in Down Beat. “At first I played along with records and I used to try to pick out some of the things Parker…would do.” As jazz critic Leonard Feather pointed out in the liner notes to the album Whim of Chambers, “Oscar Pettiford and Ray Brown, the first bassists [Chambers] admired, were followed in his book by Percy Heath, Milt Hinton and Wendell Marshall for their rhythm section work, Charles Mingus and George Duvivier for their technical powers and their efforts in broadening the scope of jazz bass. [Jimmy] Blanton, of course, is his all-time favorite.”

In 1955, Chambers went on tour with saxophonist Paul “Vice Pres” Quinchette. After his stint with Quinchette, he moved to New York and joined a group led by trombonists J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding. He then worked with pianist Benny Green’s combo and George Wallington’s group at Greenwich Village’s Cafe Bohemia–a unit comprised of saxophonist Jackie McLean, trumpeter Donald Byrd, and drummer Art Taylor. Soon after, McLean brought Chambers to the attention of Miles Davis, who was seeking a bassist for his quintet. “Everybody was raving about Paul,” recalled Davis in his memoir Miles.pchambers4

By September of 1955, Rollins left Davis’ quintet and was replaced by Philadelphia-born saxophonist John Coltrane. In October of the same year, the newly formed quintet made their first recordings for Columbia while Miles was still under contract with Prestige. The group’s first issued album, recorded in November of 1955, emerged as a set of fine ballads entitled Miles. In his original review of the album, Nat Hentoff, as quoted in the book Milestones I, stated that Chambers “lays down a rhythm that could carry an army band.” The quintet subsequently recorded two 1956 sessions for Prestige which produced the albums Cookin’ and Relaxin’. In describing the former album in Hard Bop, David Rosenthal wrote, “Garland, Chambers, and Jones comprised one of the most cohesive rhythm sections in the history of jazz, a trio closely attuned to each other and to Davis and Coltrane.”

In March of 1958, Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb, along with pianist Tommy Flanagan, made up the rhythm section for the album Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane. Included on the album is Flanagan’s number Big Paul dedicated to Chambers. “Paul Chambers’ walking introduction to the tune,” observed Joe Goldberg in the album’s liner notes, “brings back an entire era. Flanagan and Cobb slip easily under him, as if they have all the time in the world.” After Philly Joe Jones left Davis’ band in May 1958, Cobb joined Davis’s quintet. In July and August of 1958, Davis and arranger Gil Evans brought in Chambers and tubaist Bill Barber to provide the low-end accompaniment for his orchestral jazz album Porgy and Bess. On the numbers The Buzzard Song and Bess, You Is My Woman Now, observed Barry Kernfield in The Blackwell Guide to Recorded Jazz, Chambers and Barber “are paired together, but not as bass instruments; instead they play a jumpy low-pitched melody” intended to blend with Evans’ score for the brass and woodwinds sections.

In 1960, Chambers continued his path as a studio musician. Within a ten-piece band setting, which included drummer Roy Haynes, he appeared on Oliver Nelson’s acclaimed MCA album Blues and the Abstract Truth. He also appeared on Art Pepper’s Gettin’ It Together and Hank Mobley’s Roll Call and Work Out, which found Chambers in the company of Wynton Kelly, Philly Joe Jones, and guitarist Grant Green.

In 1965, Chambers and drummer Art Blakey backed Hank Mobley for his album The Turnaround. In The Guide to Classic Recorded Jazz, Tom Piazza described the recording as “a strongly swinging set in which Mobley’s toughest edge is brought out.” Two years later, Chambers recorded several albums with saxophonist Sonny Criss and worked with pianist Barry Harris at New York’s West Boondock Club. After years of heavy substance abuse, Chambers died from tuberculosis on January 4, 1969.