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wSunday, June 08, 2003

Dee Dee Bridgewater: Dear EllaBridgewater Dee-lights Las Vegas Audience

She's sassy, sexy, and scats more like Sarah Vaughn than Ella, who she paid tribute to in her 1997 two Grammy winner "Dear Ella." She's Dee Dee Bridgewater and this diva's been living in Las Vegas (Henderson) for four years now. Those in attendance at the June 7th Saturday Jazz In The Park concert at the Government Center Amphitheater were in for a very special treat. It was Dee Dee's first appearance in front of her new hometown audience. Many in the crowd have her CDs but, like myself, have never seen her perform live. To do so is indeed special.

Much of Bridgewater's JazzSet (which, incidently, is a syndicated show she hosts on NPR) consisted of selections from her current CD "This Is New" tributing the German composer Kurt Weill. Songs included the title tune "This Is New," "Bilboa Song," "I'm A Stranger Here Myself," "Speak Low," and "September Song." Also heard was "Song For My Father" which she dedicated to all the fathers in the audience, and "Filthy McNasty," both from "Love & Peace: A Tribute To Horace Silver."

Prior to beginning the set Dee Dee gave us an idea of what we might expect to hear, but said she may not sing anything from the "Dear Ella" album. However, near concert's end she detoured from the set list and did a request. Surprising the audience, Dee Dee walked to the edge of the stage on her left and sang a beautiful rendition of "You Have To Swing It (Mr. Paganini)" a capella! That said and done, she dug in her heels for two great closers.

The night ended with a very bluesy, and sexy, "Dr. Feelgood/Rock Me Baby." And the last number, "Stormy Monday" was more like a "Sassy Monday" and included audience participation with the guys versus the girls. There was no doubt as to which gender won. Dee Dee Bridgewater tonight was "all women" and a songbird at her creative peak.

posted by Richard at 5:03 PM

wMonday, April 28, 2003

Vintage Don Cunningham Quartet Re-issued On CD

Don Cunningham: Something For EveryoneCunningham released Something For Everyone over 35 years ago on Exclusive Records, an independent label out of St. Louis, MO. At the time the quartet was playing the Playboy Club. Only 500 copies of the record were pressed, making it truly exclusive. Since the 70s the album has become a collectors item. Ubiquity Records has now re-mastered and re-issued the album paying painstaking care to stick to the original vinyl release. In fact, they have even issued it in vinyl. As the title implys there was indeed something for everyone. While usually classified as exotica - included is "Quiet Village" and "Tabu" - the album goes beyond that genre. It's a delightful jazz-dance mix incorporating - to name a few - Calypso, Brazilian, Polynesian, samba and jazz. It seems Don Cunningham, the sixties - and now the new millennium - may just have given birth to a new sub-genre - Jazz Exotica. Don Cunningham, along with his wife, is currently touring as The Cunninghams with the Count Basie Orchestra.

For more information, including an Interview With Don Cunningham visit Ubiquity Records.

posted by Richard at 8:32 PM


The Lost Diaries Ok. So it's been weeks since I last wrote an entry. It's not that I have the blues. In fact the blues blogs are also lacking updates. It's just that I've been busy with other projects and living. Must have remembered I have a "life" outside of jazz n' blues. My friends probably find that hard to believe! The diaries shall be back soon enough. So expect some sort of catch up in the days to come. The themes and dates may be disjointed, or even discombobulated. But it's always real... Stay real and get jazzed!

posted by Richard at 7:23 AM

wWednesday, March 12, 2003

jazzNews Las Vegas, NV Johnny Pate to Celebrate 80th Birthday

Johnny Pate at the Blue NoteOn March 30th Las Vegas will hold a star-studded salute to Johnny Pate on his 80th birthday. It will be held at the Judy Bayley Theater on the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus. Some of the many musicians he has worked with over the years will be present. And what a list of jazz luminaries it is. They include Kenney Burrell (gtr), Shirley Horn (org/voc), Phil Woods (as), James Moody (fl), Monty Alexander (p) and Marlena Shaw (voc). They'll perform with the UNLV Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Bruce Paulson. Original music will be arranged and conducted by Johnny Pate. The concert will be taped for TNC Recordings. TNC has been very good to Las Vegas jazz musicians. Their catalog contains local artists such as Carl Fontana, Rocky Winslow, Walter Blanton and Stefan Karlsson.

posted by Richard at 8:54 PM

wSaturday, February 22, 2003

jazzNews UPI Has High Praise For Jazz Bassist Regarding Flecktone bass player Victor Wooten, United Press International says "Wooten has done more than anyone since the late Jaco Pastorious to redefine the possibilities on the electric bass." His third solo album Yin Yang earned a nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album at the 1999 Grammy awards and the same year he won his second Nashville Music Award for Bassist of the Year. The prior year, he received his third Bass Player of the Year award from Bass Player Magazine (the only bassist to have received this award more than once) and was named one of the Top 10 Bass Innovators of the '90s by the same publication. Add that to a collection that now includes three Grammys as a member of The Flecktones and extensive industry recognition including Down Beat magazine's award for Talent Most Deserving Wider Recognition and it's clear that describing Wooten as the most important voice on the electric bass is no exageration. See the jazzInterview with Victor Wooten.

posted by Richard at 4:19 PM

wSunday, February 09, 2003

Count Basie Orchestra & The Cunninghams 2-8-03

The CBO celebrated the begginning of its US Winter Tour with the band's very first ever live internet broadcast. The event was held at the New Trier High School Jazz Fest in Winnetka, IL and was a huge success. The orchestra took to the stage at 8:30 p.m. and opened with the Neal Hefti composition "Splanky" arranged by Sam Nestico, a major contributor to the band's book throughout the Pablo Records era. Marshall McDonald contributed the sax solo. The second number, Gershwin's "Strike Up The Band," featured Kenny "Doc" Hing on tenor and Butch Miles on drums. Butch had a stint with the Basie band from 1975-1980 and recently rejoined in 1997.

Next came Ellington's "In A Mellow Tone" with arrangement by Frank Foster. The great composer/arranger Ernie Wilkins is credited with "Way Out Basie." John Kelson played lead alto on this selection. "Basically Yours," written by another ex-Basie member (1954-63) trumpeter/cornetist Tad Jones, followed. This featuring the piano of Tony Suggs. The band then stepped up the tempo with the Erine Wilkins' composition "Basie Power" before conductor Grover Mitchell introduced jazz vocal duo The Cunninghams.

Although you may not have heard of them, The Cunninghams have been on the jazz scene for years. They were nominated for a Grammy in 1989, only to lose out to Take Six. And Don Cunningham was percussionist with Johnny Mathis for many years. Extremely popular and adored in Japan, they have just recently begun to get the recognition they so well deserve. Being chosen to tour with the Basie Band is perhaps the beginning of a new era for this dynamic duo.

The CBO match up with Don and Alicia Cunningham is a good one. They are already familiar with many of the Basie charts. One reason being their recent work with the Jimmy Wilkins Orchestra. Jimmy is the brother of the late Ernie Wilkins, long time composer/arranger for the Count Bassie Orchestra. In 1995 he decided that Ernie's works should be performed. So he put together his Las Vegas band to play his brother's book. The Cunninghams have been playing with that orchestra, and its rhythm section, since 1998.

In the CBO's first set the duo sang two numbers - the very swinging "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" and Neal Hefti's "Two For The Blues," which included a medley of "Everyday I Have The Blues" and "Stormy Monday." The Cunninghams add these songs out of their love for Joe Williams, a Las Vegas resident who passed on in March 1999. The vocalists were given a warm welcome by the audience. Last song played by the orchestra was "The Drum Thing," composed by Bob Ojeda, featuring Butch Miles on percussion.

After a fifteen minute break the band returned starting, what was to be a short set, with Frank Foster's "Shiny Silk Stockings." Next was "Duet," another Neal Hefti tune. Grover Mitchell then brought back The Cunninghams for their rendition of "Flying Home," complete with a spirited scat and saxophone exchange courtesy of Don Cunningham and Kenny Hing. The night's closure was the Ernie Wilkins composition "Basie." Simply titled, but very appropriate for an evening of beautiful big band music.

posted by Richard at 2:37 PM

wSaturday, February 08, 2003

internetBroadcast today Saturday February 8, the 20th Annual New Trier High School Jazz Festival will broadcast live from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CST. The highlight of the concert will be the Count Basie Orchestra presented from 8-10 p.m. For a full performance schedule go to NTJAZZ.COM.

posted by Richard at 9:13 AM

wThursday, February 06, 2003

Help support the jazzInternet. Frequent our associates.Count Basie Orchestra On Tour Just back from Germany the CBO, under the direction of Grover Mitchell, will perform a series of east coast concerts. The tour begins Saturday, February 8 in Winnetka, Illinois. This first performance is at the New Trier High School Jazz Fest and will be streamed live on the internet. Joining the orchestra from Las Vegas are jazz vocalists The Cunninghams (Don and Alicia). Grammy nominated in 1988 for their album Strings 'n' Swing "I Remember Bird," this dynamic duo has been mesmerizing audiences in Europe and Japan for years. Their first performance with the Basie Orchestra will broadcast live from 8:30 to 10 p.m. CST. Go to New Trier Jazz at ntjazz.com for more information and to listen to the broadcast.

posted by Richard at 4:46 AM