Archive for August, 2012

Labor Day Jazz Festival Schedule on WNCU

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Best of Detroit International Jazz Festival, 8 – 10 a.m.

Hosted By Ed Love, WDET and Linda Yohn, WEMU
Featured performances:

  • Paquito D’Rivera
  • Toots Thielmans and Kenny Werner
  • Gary Burton
  • Christian McBride and Ernie Watts
  • Joe Lovano
  • Kevin Eubanks
  • Regina Carter
  • Jeff’Tain Watts

2012 Caramoor Festival, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Hosted by WBGO’s Rhonda Hamilton
Mixed in Surround Sound by Jazzset’s Grammy Award winning Duke Markos
Performances by:

  • The Cookers
  • Gretchen Parlato
  • Kenny Barron-solo piano
  • DeeDee Bridgewater Quintes
  • Roy Haynes and the Fountain of Youth

Newport Music Festival, 12 – 10 p.m.

Performances in expected order:

  • Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors – 12 p.m.
  • Jack DeJohnette Group – 1 p.m.
  • Kurt Elling – 2 p.m.
  • Lewis Nash Quintet – 3 p.m.
  • Dafnis Prieto – 4 p.m.
  • Bill Frisell – 5 p.m.
  • Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – 6 p.m.
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa – 7 p.m.
  • 3 Clarinets – 8 p.m.
  • Jack DeJohnette All Stars featuring Jason Moran – 9 – 10 p.m.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman’s Statement on the Death of NEA Jazz Master Von Freeman

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

“On behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts, it is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of 2012 NEA Jazz Master Von Freeman. An extraordinary saxophonist with a sound all his own, Von Freeman’s contributions to jazz – and specifically Chicago’s jazz history – are numerous. We join many others in the jazz community and beyond in mourning his death while celebrating his life and his music.”

Born in Chicago on October 3, 1922, 2012 NEA Jazz Master Earle Lavon “Von” Freeman, Sr. is considered a founder of the “Chicago School” of jazz tenorists, a distinction shared with Gene Ammons, Johnny Griffin, and Clifford Jordan. With his individual sound, at once husky and melodic, he makes every song his own.

Freeman was surrounded by music in his childhood: his mother sang in the church choir, his father played jazz albums on an early Victrola – on which Freeman first heard the tenor sax – and his maternal grandfather and uncle were guitarists. Initially self-taught, he played saxophone at DuSable High School, landing his first gig with Horace Henderson’s Orchestra at the age of 16. Drafted during WWII, he performed with a Navy band while in service. Once back in Chicago, he played with his brothers George (guitar) and Eldridge “Bruz” (drums) in the house band at the Pershing Hotel Ballroom, where jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie would stop and sit in when passing through.

In the 1950s, Freeman associated himself with various artists, mostly in the Chicago region, including Sun Ra, Andrew Hill, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Al Smith. In the 1960s, he played with Milt Trenier. But it wasn’t until 1972 that Freeman recorded an album under his own name, Doin’ It Right Now, produced by jazz great Roland Kirk.

Since then, Freeman continued to record, occasionally alongside Chicago artists such as saxophonist Frank Catalano, as well as with his own son Chico, who has himself achieved acclaim as a jazz musician. In 1982, he and Chico teamed up to record the Columbia album, Fathers and Sons, with pianist Ellis Marsalis and his sons Wynton and Branford. Later recordings, such as The Great Divide and Good Forever, featured drummer Jimmy Cobb, pianist Richard Wyands, and bassist John Webber. Freeman had a regular Tuesday night set and jam session at the New Apartment Lounge on Chicago’s South Side, which was often attended by jazz luminaries, and in recent years, he received acclaim in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands.

In June 2010, the University of Chicago awarded Freeman the Rosenberger Medal to “recognize achievement through research, in authorship, in invention, for discovery, for unusual public service or for anything deemed to be on great benefit to humanity.”

Visit the NEA’s website for a video tribute to Von Freeman as well as Jazz Moments (short audio pieces) with Freeman on staying in Chicago, staying competitive, and being the “Jamster.”

Click here to view the video tribute.

NCCU Football Travel and Ticket Information

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

The North Carolina Central University Office of Alumni Relations is excited to announce its partnership with USA Luxury Tours offering first class alumni travel packages for the 2012 football season! All packages are based on double occupancy and include: transportation, lodging, luggage handling, hotel breakfast, game tickets and additional amenities based on the location. We are able to accommodate a limited number of single traveler rates upon request.

We look forward to having you travel with us!

Football Itinerary

NCCU vs. Elon | September 8
Travel to Elon and cheer on the mighty Eagles as they hit the grid iron and take on the Phoenix. Enjoy great Eagle camaraderie and tailgating. Dont worry about parking fees or gas! Your first motor coach ride with us is free! You simply have to purchase your game and tailgate tickets.

Cost: $30
Final Payment Due: Friday, Aug. 24
Departure: Saturday, Sept. 8, at 3 p.m.
Kick-Off: 7 p.m.

NCCU vs. Savannah State | September 22 23
In the great state of Georgia, cheer on the Eagles as they take on the Tigers of Savannah State. In addition to great football, well enjoy dinner at Paula Deans landmark restaurant, The Lady & Sons. After a great evening of football, well spend the night at the Embassy Suites Savannah Airport Hotel.

Hotel: Embassy Suites Savannah Airport Hotel, 145 West Mulberry Boulevard, Savannah, Ga.

Cost: $275
Final Payment Due: Friday, Aug. 17
Departure: Friday, Sept. 22 at 9 a.m.
Kick-Off: 7 p.m.

NCCU vs. South Carolina State | Circle City Classic, October 5 7 
The Eagles will pulverize the South Carolina State Bulldogs, in Lucas Oil Stadium, at the Circle City Classic. The Circle City Classic is a collaboration between Indiana Black Expo. Inc. and the Indiana Sports Corporation. The classic offers a variety of activities and entertainment options beyond football. The Omni hotel is located just a few blocks from the stadium and offers easy access to many of the Classics activities.

Hotel: Omni Severin Hotel, 40 West Jackson Place, Indianapolis, Ind.

Cost: $478
Final Payment Due: Friday, Aug. 31
Departure: Friday, Oct. 5, at 1 a.m.
Kick-Off: 2:30 p.m.

NCCU vs. Morgan State | October 12 13
Eagle fans head to Baltimore to rally our team to victory. We will check-in to the Sheraton Baltimore City Center, located six blocks from the historic Inner Harbor Hotel. Relax or venture out to see the city lights. Saturday, well watch the Eagles take on the Bears in Hughes Stadium, and head back to Durham immediately following the game.

Hotel: Sheraton Baltimore Inner Harbor, 300 South Charles Street Baltimore, Md.

Cost: $269
Final Payment Due: Friday, Sept. 7
Departure: Friday, Oct. 12, at 8 a.m.
Kick-Off: 7 p.m.

NCCU vs. Bethune-Cookman | October 26 28
The Eagles head to sunny Daytona Beach to take on the Wildcats. Well stay at a beach resort property, just a few steps from the ocean. Show your Eagle Pride and enjoy great fellowship and fun.

Hotel: Hilton Daytona Beach Resort, 100 North Atlantic Avenue Daytona Beach, Fla.

Cost: $405
Final Payment Due: Friday, Sept. 21
Departure: Friday, Oct. 26, at 1 a.m.
Kick-Off: 4 p.m.

Transportation & Lodging
Relax and enjoy your fellow Eagle fans as we travel to our destinations in a top-of-the-line motor coach! Each motor coach is equipped with plush seats and plenty of leg room, Wi-Fi, an intercom system, DVD/CD equipment, AM/FM stereo equipment, a refrigerated medicine compartment and of course, all other standard features. Please know that an extra effort has been made to secure the best hotels for your stay! Our team has worked to secure the best rates possible at nothing less than four-star hotels.

Payment Options

In order to accommodate all of our travelers and to make the process as easy and efficient as possible, we have two payment options.

Payment Option #1
Visit and make your secure payment for any game online. We accept the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.

Payment Option #2
For each trip, simply complete the registration form and mail it along with your initial deposit (or complete payment) to:

NCCU Football Travel Program
c/o NCCU Office of Alumni Relations
2223 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707

Please make all checks payable to the NCCU Foundation. Payment must be received on or before the listed due date for each trip.

Cancellation Policy

Unless the excursion you select is canceled by the NCCU Office of Alumni Relations, the only other way to receive a full refund is to find someone to replace you on the trip. Payment within seven days of your due date must be in the form of a certified check, money order, cash or major credit card.

Note: The trip will be cancelled if the required 50 percent occupancy is not met and your money will be refunded in full.

Trip Reminders – Please read carefully!
The motor coach will be loading for departure as indicated on the trip itinerary. We will depart promptly!

Coolers should be tightly secured and placed beneath the motor coach. Each passenger is allowed only one piece of luggage for any tour scheduled eight days or less. You are allowed two pieces of luggage for tours that exceed eight days. You may also bring one small carry-on bag, which you should carry with you throughout the tour. The price of each tour includes the cost of having a bellman handle one piece of luggage for you at each hotel. The luggage tag mailed to you is for your checked bag. Please do not place your carry-on bag with your main luggage at any time during the tour.

Do not leave personal items unattended or on the motor coach at the conclusion of the trip. Please keep in mind that USA Luxury Tours is not responsible for lost or damaged luggage while it is in the possession of hotels, cruise ships, or airlines!

We will not be responsible for automobiles left in the parking lots.

Bring any CD or DVD that you would like to share with the group. Bring a sweater or jacket for the trip. It is impossible to regulate the temperature on the motor coach to satisfy each individuals preference and the evening and night temperatures at our travel destinations are not predictable.

No one should exit the motor coach without the drivers assistance. USA Luxury Tours is not responsible for injuries that may occur if you enter or disembark without the drivers assistance.

Arrive at your pickup point at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure!

Passengers with a registered handicapped-parking placard should make this known to your motor coach coordinator. A certified copy of your placard must be mailed to your motor coach coordinator to validate your parking status. This verification must be provided at least two weeks before the trip!

Circle City Classic Tickets

Tickets for the Circle City Classic on Saturday, Oct. 6, in Indianapolis, featuring football teams from NCCU and S.C. State, are now on sale at the NCCU Ticket Office.

Tickets start at $10 for students and go up in increments of $10 up to $50, depending on seat location. View the seating chart. NCCU fans are encouraged to purchase tickets for this event from the NCCU Ticket Office, rather than another ticket outlet.

The NCCU Ticket Office is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The ticket office number is 919-530-5170. Tickets are not available for purchase online from NCCU.

Away Games Tickets

Tickets for away games are available at the following prices:

NCCU vs Elon University September 8 $15
NCCU vs Duke University September 15 $30
NCCU vs Savannah State University September 22 TBD
NCCU vs Morgan State University October 13 – Morgan’s Homecoming $30 (general admission)
NCCU vs Bethune Cookman University October 27 $20
NCCU vs Florida A & M University November 10 $40

All tickets can be purchased from the NCCU Ticket Office. The ticket office number is 919-530-5170.

Oscar Peterson

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Oscar Peterson was born August 15, 1925 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. His parents were immigrants from the British West Indies and Virgin Islands. His father, Daniel Peterson, was boatswain on a merchant ship when he met Olivia John in Montreal, where she worked as a cook and housekeeper for an English family. Daniel gave up the sailing work and began working as a porter for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He and Olivia married and stayed in Montreal as their family grew.

Oscar was the fourth of five children. Their father insisted that they all learn a musical instrument, and Oscar began to study the trumpet. A childhood bout of tuberculosis forced a fortuitous switch to the piano, under the tutelage of his father and his older sister, Daisy. It soon became apparent that Oscar’s talent surpassed the capabilities of home teaching, and he was sent first to teacher Lou Hooper and then to the gifted Hungarian classical pianist, Paul deMarky. A warm and respectful musical friendship developed between the two, and with Mr. deMarky’s guidance Oscar’s mastery of the instrument grew, along with his dedication to and command of his talent.

The performance career of Oscar Peterson began while he was still a young teenager in high school, as pianist with the Johnny Holmes Orchestra in Montreal. After a few years with the Orchestra, he formed his own trio, the first in a format he maintained throughout his lifelong career. With the trio, he quickly gained fame and popularity throughout Canada. His appearances at the Alberta Lounge in Montreal were broadcast live on the radio. In 1949 impresario Norman Granz heard one of those broadcasts, went to the Alberta Lounge and enticed Mr. Peterson into making a surprise guest appearance with Granz’ all-star “Jazz at the Philharmonic” at Carnegie Hall later that year. Leaving the audience awestruck, Oscar joined JATP in 1950 as a full-time touring member. He formed a piano-bass duo with Ray Brown as well, and began recording for Granz at the same time. He also added Barney Kessel as the first of the guitarists with whom he would create trios, returning to the group format he loved.

He was voted Jazz Pianist of the Year in 1950 by the Downbeat Readers’ Poll, a title he garnered for an additional twelve years. He toured the globe extensively with Jazz at the Philharmonic as well as with his own trio.

During the busy touring years in the early 1960s he founded a jazz school in Toronto called the Advanced School of Contemporary Music. This attracted students from all over the world. For a few months each year he and his trio, along with Phil Nimmons, a clarinetist from Toronto, would conduct classes at the school. The demands of his touring schedule forced closure of the school after a few years, but students still fondly recall their experiences there.

Oscar Peterson began composing while still a member of the Johnny Holmes Orchestra, and as time progressed he devoted more and more time to composition, while still maintaining a vigorous performance schedule. His “Hymn To Freedom” became one of the crusade songs of the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the United States. It is still performed frequently by choirs worldwide. He also composed a salute to his beloved Canada, “The Canadiana Suite,” in the early 1960s. He has composed music for motion pictures, including the Canadian film “Big North,” made for Ontario Place in Toronto, and the feature film “The Silent Partner,” for which he won the Genie Award (Canadian Oscar award) for best original film score in 1978. He composed work for the National Film Board of Canada. His collaboration with filmmaker Norman McLaren on the film “Begone Dull Care” won awards all over the world. He composed the soundtrack for the film “Fields of Endless Day,” about U.S. slaves using the Underground Railroad to escape to Canada. Other compositional projects include a jazz ballet, a suite called “Africa,” and the Easter Suite, commissioned by the BBC in London and broadcast live on Good Friday in 1984, with annual broadcasts after that. “A Salute to Bach” for the composer’s 300th birthday, premiered with trio and orchestra at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall in 1985. He composed a suite for the Olympic Arts Festival of the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988, and music for the opening ceremony of the Skydome in Toronto. In addition, Oscar Peterson composed more than 400 other pieces, many of which he performed and others continue to perform. Some of these compositions remain unpublished, but hopefully they will be published for future generations to hear.

Oscar Peterson has an extensive discography of his trio and quartet recordings, as well as his recordings with many of the other jazz greats. His varied albums include recordings with Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins and Joe Pass. His worldwide performances and his recordings, particularly those with his trios and quartets, brought him recognition from numerous places all around the world.

Mr. Peterson also made many television appearances during his lifetime. He hosted five different talk show series, and Oscar’s widespread appeal led to his interviewing a variety of guests. The unusual range of personalities to appear on these programs included the former Prime Minister of England, the Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Heath, Twiggy, Anthony Burgess as well as many musicians. He also appeared in television commercials “Tears Are Not Enough,” a musical fundraiser for African famine relief.

Preferring not to use his celebrity status to sway public opinions, Mr. Peterson nevertheless remained dedicated to the belief that his native Canada has a responsibility in leading the world in equality and justice. With this in mind, he took a firm stand to promote the cause of human rights fair treatment for Canada’s multicultural community. In recognition of this effort, Mr. Peterson was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor. He had been inducted as an Officer of the Order in 1972.

During his life and career Mr. Peterson received many awards and honors. These include the Praemium Imperiale (the Arts equivalent of the Nobel Prize, presented by the Japan Art Association), the UNESCO International Music Prize, 8 Grammy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Grammy), the 1993 Glenn Gould Prize, of which he was the third recipient, the first chosen by unanimous decision and the first ever non-classical musician, and many honorary degrees.

Despite a stroke in 1993 that debilitated his left hand, Oscar Peterson was determined to continue performing, recording and composing. Within a year he had recovered and resumed his worldwide concert appearance schedule.

Oscar Peterson lived in the quiet city of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. His hobbies included fishing, photography and astronomy. He was an avid audiophile and synthesist, as music was not only his profession but also his hobby. His home contained his own private recording studio, allowing him to work and still enjoy his family life. His passion for life, love and music remained strong for his entire life, and he continued to perform until shortly before his death. Oscar Peterson passed away at his home on the morning of December 23, 2007. His legacy lives on through his music.