canadian pharmacy no prescription cialis
Posted in on September 08, 2010 by
John Lewis was one of the most honored and important American pianists to emerge in the 1940s. He was highly respected as both a pianist and composer, but is certainly best know as the music director of the Modern Jazz Quartet from 1952, until it played it’s last concert on October 27, 1994. I wasn’t there at the beginning, but I was around for the last one because we produced it and I even managed to take some pictures of the rehearsal and then sneak a few from the balcony of the performance.
The quartet was an outgrowth of friendships formed in the 1940s, when John, Milt Jackson, Ray Brown and Kenny Clarke were members of Dizzy Gillespie’s big band. Kenny was the drummer, and Ray the bassist, even when it was known as The Milt Jackson Quartet. There were a few recordings and performances as Milt’s group, but by 1952, it had become The Modern Jazz Quartet and the name stuck. Percy Heath replaced Ray Brown early on and was with the quartet from the beginning of the name change; Connie Kay replaced Kenny Clarke in 1955 and there were no personnel changes for the rest of the group’s existence.
We’d long wanted to have The Modern Jazz Quartet as part of a Floating Jazz Festival, but the quartet’s management resisted us. They actually didn’t even want to talk to us, we were beneath them, or so it seemed. This annoyed us so we decided to do an end run, bypass the stuffy managers and go directly to the source of power: the wives of the members of the quartet. The first call was made to Sandy Jackson, who’d been on the S/S Norway in the past and we knew she’d had a good time. She thought it was a good idea to have the MJQ onboard and began to work the telephones on our behalf. It only took a couple of weeks to work it out and the quartet agreed to play two evening concerts at that year’s festival. To make it even better, they didn’t hold us up, which probably annoyed their management as well.
I didn’t get to know John that week beyond courteous small talk, and except for concerts I attended, well away from the stage, this week at sea was the only time I spent in his company. More recently, I found my self frequently in the company of Mirjana Lewis, his widow, at the functions Ahmet Ertegun hosted at Jazz At Lincoln Center for the Neshui Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, and Mirjana and I fondly remembered that cheerful festival in the Caribbean.
The quartet presented two concerts a night on two different evenings. They were up against three other rooms full of stars, but the theater was packed for each show. I actually felt sorry for the artists in the other rooms; they were used to a full house as well, but not that night. I don’t think John, Milt, Percy and Connie were even aware of the audience; they seemed concerned with the music and little else. The final concert was at 10:45 PM on a Thursday evening. It was sublime but I don’t think anyone suspected it would be the last for this legendary group. This is what happened.
The S/S Norway pulled into Miami on 29 October, the passengers departed and we supervised the disembarkation of the musicians and their guests. I thought everyone was accounted for, on buses, taxis or limousines, when I noticed Connie Kay sitting alone on one of his drum cases. I went over and asked about why he hadn’t gone to the airport with all the others. He said he was waiting for friends and would take a later flight.
We talked about the week and he asked about a tape he’d seen on the closed circuit television we ran during the cruise, and how he’d really like to have a copy. I said no problem, that I’d make him a copy when I got back to New York City. I made the copy sent it off to Connie and a week later returned to Miami to produce our annual Big Bands At Sea, which concluded on December 3rd.
After the ship docked, we disembarked and headed to the airport. I found a copy of The New York Times at an airport newsstand and on the flight home read that Connie had died on November 30th. When I got to the office and checked my call messages I found one from Connie; he’d telephoned on the 29th to thank me for the tape. This meant ours was the last concert with the four men who’d been together for forty years. Perhaps there was some thought about future concerts with a new drummer but I’m unaware of any that took place.
In fact, I never saw John Lewis again after the concert on the S/S Norway. He wasn’t exactly retired, but neither was he very active. I don’t remember an announcement for concerts, or even recordings, other than one that released after his death. Nonetheless, he was a remarkable artist for over five decades and was one of the most original voices in jazz performance and composition. I voted for him to be inducted into the Neshui Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame at Jazz At Lincoln Center, but for some reason they cancelled the awards presentation in 2006, promising to do them in 2007. They did, but John didn’t win and he still hasn’t and they’re still cancelling the awards presentations. More recently, Hans Zurbrügg dedicated a room to John at the Innere Enge Hotel in Bern, Switzerland. It is crammed full of memorabilia provided to him by Mirjana Lewis, and John’s traveling harpsichord (how many jazz pianists have a traveling harpsichord?) that was donated by The New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Division. It’s a lovely room and a bit more comfortable than the Hall of Fame.
John Lewis, Saga Theater, aboard the S/S Norway at sea, October 27, 1994
canadian pharmacy no prescription cialis
Posted in on September 07, 2010 by
Yesterday, May 8, 2010, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox played a game at Fenway Park that celebrated the 107th anniversary of their first meeting on May 7, 1903. The Yankees won this time, but Boston won in 1903. And it wasn’t even the Yankees all those years ago; it was the New York Highlanders.
As is its custom, The New York Times published the complete box score, all the players, hits, time of the game and so forth, but because this was an anniversary, they also published the box score and a story from 1903. Another reason was that the game yesterday lasted over three hours and the game in 1903 lasted but 98 minutes, and this was part of the story. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to a story like this except something caught my eye in the old box score, the kind of thing that grabs you with a glance for a reason you can’t easily explain. It was the name of the pitcher for New York. His name was Wiltse, an uncommon name.
In the early and mid-1950’s I was a baseball nut and on the evening of September 18, 1954 found myself at a meeting of the Syracuse, New York Hot Stove League with a bunch of other baseball nuts, mostly much older baseball nuts. These older guys didn’t have an excuse for their nuttiness. I did because I was only a kid. I don’t remember any of the details of that day except for one and that’s only because I have a scrap of paper inscribed George “Hooks” Wiltse New York Giants 1904-1914 September 18, 1954. He was the honored guest that evening and I got an autograph. He probably made a bit of a speech and answered questions. At the time he was 75 and his handwriting was a little shaky. As I looked at the old box score, I wondered if this was the same Wiltse that pitched for the other New York team in 1903? I was pretty sure it was.
The Baseball Encyclopedia said no. There was another Wiltse, an older brother, who bounced around for a minute or two with Pittsburgh, Philadelphis and finally New York but wasn’t nearly as good a pitcher as Hooks. The brother was known as Snake, but his name was much more unpleasant that his fastball and the game against Boston was his next to last in the bigs forever. The following year Hooks joined the Giants and, working in tandem with Christy Mathewson, the two won 435 games.
But I’m glad the name, even if it was wrong brother, caught my attention. It was fun to compare the box score and there’s no puzzle in why the game lasted so much longer in 2010. This year, the Yankees had 11 hits and 10 runs; Boston had 9 hits and 3 runs. In 1903 the Red Sox had 13 hits and 6 runs, New York had 6 hits and 2 runs. Twenty hits versus 19; 13 runs versus 8; two doubles and one home run in 2010; the same in 1903. There was one big difference; one player, Chick Stahl, hit two triples. I had to look him up; I’d never heard of Chick Stahl and in looking at his record it was puzzling to see he played for one or the other Boston teams from 1897 to 1906 and then died shortly before the 1907 season was to begin. He was only 34. There’s probably a sad field of dreams-like story there.
Back to the big difference, the length of the game. This is why. In 1903 nine men played for each team, one pitcher, each of who pitched a complete game, no substitutes, no pinch hitters, pinch runners, no designated hitters, and no relief pitchers. No trips to the pitcher’s mound, nothing that might delay the game. In 2010 there were twenty-nine players, including a pinch hitter for a designated hitter and six pitchers.
I don’t know if the game in 1903 was any better than the game in 2010, but this year’s game was certainly longer, over-thought, over-computerized, over-strategized, and employed too many people measuring the speed of fastballs and every other kind of thing. Or perhaps the thinking is that if someone is paying a lot of money for a skybox seat, they should be able to stick around as long as possible to get their money’s worth and eat every last morsel of complimentary food. But I wonder if anyone in all of major league baseball has had two triples in one game this year? I kind of doubt it and to see some guy dashing around the bases and beating the throw to third is a bit more exciting than counting pitches, the endless waiting for yet another relief pitcher to face one batter or watching some guy run slowly around the bases after a home run.
canadian pharmacy no prescription cialis
Posted in on September 06, 2010 by
Jay McShann, aboard the S/S Norway at sea, December 19, 1991
The average piano keyboard is about four feet wide. When he was sitting at one, Hootie’s smile was usually about as wide. For a guy who was supposed to play the blues, he was as cheerful and optimistic as anyone I’ve ever met, in any walk of life. No exceptions. I always thought to myself, no prescription cialis But I knew better than that.
This is what I mean by cheerful and optimistic. One day in 1989 Hootie was playing duets with Ralph Sutton, accompanied by Milt Hinton and Gus Johnson. It was a recording session at Rudy Van Gelder’s legendary studio. The date was going very well and it came time for a lunch break. Orders were taken, and I asked Hootie what he wanted. He said something like, no prescription cialis. Which meant a diet soda instead of anything stronger. He was smiling broadly when he said it. No “look at poor me” kind of attitude and, of course, there was a time when a diet anything, or any kind of soft drink would have been out of the question. There was a reason his nickname was Hootie and it didn’t have to do with swooping down on mice in a barn.
I don’t know why it took until 1985 for our paths to cross. He wasn’t that active in New York during the 1960s and 70s, one of the few people of his generation that didn’t come by Downtown Sound to make a recording for one of the many independent labels that used my studio, so I really just knew him from recordings.
They were great recordings that dated back to 1940, when guys like Charlie Parker were part of his Kansas City-based big band. There were also records from the early fifties and then in the late 1960s European labels like Black and Blue in France and Black Lion in the UK produced some fine records. John Norris produced the best, for Sackville in Canada, recordings that are now available on CD and document a very important part of Hootie’s career. I’ve often wondered what happened between the years 1956 and 1966, when there are no recordings, but my guess is Hootie was flying pretty high in those years and there’s little to document it. Maybe it will come out in a book someday.
In 1985 I had an opportunity to feature Hootie at a Floating Jazz Festival, and from that time on, if he was available, he was part of our festivals, a couple of which were recorded. One year we even featured him at the First Rhythm and Blues Cruise on the S/S Norway, and used his hands for the festival poster. His hands are immediately recognizable, not because they are massive and elegant, but because they are not.
The hardest thing for any jazz musician to achieve is a recognizable style and sound. With Hootie, this seemed to have come as easily as breathing. There is no mistaking the sound of his piano or voice, whether as a soloist, part of a small group, or in his big band. A couple of notes, and his nasal voice, even at the age of ninety, were immediately recognizable, just as was his smiles and sunny disposition. Ira Gershwin wrote the words to Sunny Disposition in 1926, when Hootie was ten or so and they could have been about him.
Hootie didn’t like to read music. I don’t know if this was a reaction to some difficulties he had with his big band in the 1940’s or just because his ear was so good, but he didn’t want to bother with the printed page. I know his ear was phenomenal, based on first hand experience. His description of his first piano lessons, which were “stolen”, while secretly listening to his sister’s lessons, also attests to his remarkable skill. Long before he could read a note, he obtained his first professional job by simply listening to a band rehearse and then playing his parts from memory. These stories can be heard from the man himself on the Jazzspeak portions at the conclusion of his Chiaroscuro CDs.
One story that isn’t on those recordings deals with something that happened in the mid-1990s. Hootie had been told by one of his doctors that he needed to walk and exercise a little. When he came on the S/S Norway for a week at sea he told me about these instructions. I suggested he could walk on deck, or if that wasn’t of interest, he could always go to the ship gymnasium, where there was a treadmill. I took him by the gym, but he didn’t seem very enthusiastic.
A few days later I asked Hootie how the exercise was going and he said he’d been walking on the treadmill and planned to do it again that afternoon. I made it a point to go by and see how he was doing. When I arrived, He was on the treadmill, dressed in the same blue suit he wore for performance later that evening. He was wearing shiny patent leather shoes, blissfully walking his way across the Caribbean, surrounded by dozens of sweating kids lifting weights and working on other machines. He hadn’t broken a sweat.
Hootie may have submitted to the treadmill, I never saw him submit to a piece of sheet music. On one of our recording sessions at sea, I suggested a couple of new tunes, things I’d never heard him play. With misgivings, I’d even brought along sheet music. He said he couldn’t read it, even with reading glasses. I went to the copy machine and enlarged the music three or four times. The notes were the size of dimes. I left it with him to “study”. He didn’t; he just didn’t want to work on new material. It reminded me of the statement made by Artur Rubinstein when he was in his nineties. He was going blind, but could still play. He said the poor eyesight only prevented him from learning new pieces.
The recording we made in 1997, when he was allegedly seventy-nine and when he didn’t want to learn any new songs, was a revelation. He didn’t need to learn anything. He took some old standards and some of his compositions and we added Phil Woods, David “Fathead” Newman and Flip Phillips to the mix and the old songs were as good as new, possibly better. I didn’t plan for so many guests, but when you have sixty great musicians in a room and one of them who’s making a live record suggests he wants to play no prescription cialis and Phil Woods overhears him and says, no prescription cialis. I think it happened like that with Hootie for many years.
The book said he turned ninety in 2006. Maybe. The last time I spoke with him he sounded pretty good and he was still playing. I thought he might catch up with Eubie Blake, but he didn’t. In late November 2006, he entered a hospital in Kansas City. A friend called and told me about it and said it seemed likely this would be his last stay. It turned out to be true.
The newspapers said he was ninety; they also said he might have been ninety-seven. The number didn’t matter, except to statisticians. He lived a lot of good years right up to the very end and made a lot of people very happy along the way.
canadian pharmacy no prescription cialis
Posted in on September 05, 2010 by
Willie The Lion Smith, Manassas, Virginia, February 20, 1971
In 1967, when I first met Willie The Lion, he was he last of the legendary stride pianists who’d made Harlem the jazz piano capitol of the world in the 1920s and 1930s. He was a guy who battled regularly with the likes of with James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Lucky Roberts and others, and emerged victorious as often as not, sometimes just by the sheer force of his personality. At the time, the only Harlem old-timer I’d heard was Cliff Jackson, a fine pianist, but not quite up to the standards of James P. and Fats. Or Willie The Lion.
Don Ewell made the introduction; it was easy to do because he was playing duets with The Lion nightly at The Village Gate. It was an enlightening experience; the two pianists couldn’t have been more different, which is perhaps why they made such a fine duo. Don was quiet, introspective and delicate; Willie was boisterous, exuberant and rarely delicate, even when playing no prescription cialis. During those nights at The Village Gate, I got to known him a little, but not very well. It was difficult to cut through the bluster. Later, however, we were able to work together a great deal and had a good time doing so.
It turned out Sherman Fairchild had known Willie since the 1920s. In the first (and only) record we produced together, he made some wonderful comments about Willie in his notes.
no prescription cialis
no prescription cialis
Sherman and Willie went back many years, and were comfortable around one another. Willie was a frequent guest at 17 East 65th Street, Sherman’s home in New York City, and Sherman made it clear one of the first projects we should undertake with our fledgling record company was to record Willie. This recording, however, was a tough one. To this day I don’t understand all the problems we encountered. At the time Willie was playing very well, had boundless energy and enthusiasm, and was eager to make a good record.
We began recording in January or February 1970, but nothing worked out. We used up reels and reels of tape, but had no satisfactory takes. I could hear it, Willie could hear it, and even worse, Sherman could hear it. For whatever reason, Willie was nervous. As soon as the tape recorder was turned on, he got the jitters, and nothing seemed to make any difference. I didn’t have much experience in dealing with nervous artists; in fact, I had no experience at all. All I could think of was it might make sense to get Willie into a live situation, where he had a friendly audience, and could concentrate on pleasing them.
An engagement was arranged at Blues Alley in June. Willie had three days to get used to the place and I made plans to bring my modest collection of remote gear to Washington, D.C. to record on Friday and Saturday night. I’m sure I grabbed microphones from Sherman’s studio.
As usual, the room was crowded and noisy, but that didn’t bother Willie. In fact, it may have helped. The recording was not exactly a piece of cake, but after two nights, Willie and I were both pleased with the results, and knew there was plenty of first rate material for a fine LP. There was, however, a problem no one had anticipated.
After much listening, we selected a dozen tunes, and sandwiched them in between short performances of no prescription cialis, Willie’s theme song. The album was programmed like it was two short sets. I went to the mastering studio to cut master lacquers, and it was then that I discovered the recording was horribly out of phase, the first and only time this ever happened to me. The mastering engineer said it was impossible to cut a disc; instead of cutting a horizontal groove, the out of phase tape would create a vertical groove, similar to the old hill and dale Edison recordings of the 1920s. He added that the phasing problems was very unusual, because it was not electrical in nature, it was acoustic. There was something about the way the piano had been situated in the room and its relationship to the microphones. He’d never seen anything like it.
I reported the bad news to Sherman and Marian McPartland, but far from dismay, Sherman said I should call Bob Fine; he seemed to remember Bob had built a piece of gear that handled phasing problems. In those years, Bob Fine was as legendary a recording engineer as Rudy Van Gelder, but Bob’s specialization wasn’t jazz. He’d been in partnership with Sherman in the 1950s, and the two had been responsible for many innovations in the recording industry, not the least of which was the variable pitch groove. Prior to this, the grooves of all LPs were the same width, which meant grooves with loud passages wore out first. Bob was also responsible for the incredible live recordings in the Mercury Living Presence series, which his wife, Wilma, produced. The earliest records even have a credit line for “Fine-Fairchild” technology.
Bob looked on the tape as a challenge. He ran it through an oscilloscope, saw the phasing problems, and even though the device he’d built was for electric phasing problems, he was able to adapt it, and solve our acoustic disaster. The record was released and we were all relieved, but less than six months later, I was back at Blues Alley, recording Willie once more. In 1977, I wrote about the circumstances.
no prescription cialis
I made new recordings at Blues Alley. Willie was still spirited, but was moving a little slower, and for this engagement, he’d hired a drummer, Dude Brown, to play quietly in the background. Once again, we recorded on Friday and Saturday nights. At the time, I wasn’t even thinking about releasing the tapes, I was only making tapes to play for Sherman at the hospital, which was just as well, because Willie tired after the first set.
The next day, I drove Willie to Manassas, Virginia, where he made a quintet recording for Johnson McRee. Once again, the Osborn High School auditorium and its fine Steinway was the location. It was an acceptable album of ten traditional jazz standards. No Willie originals.
But Willie was an original, and in his prime a larger than life figure, almost Jelly Roll Morton-like. He bragged about this and that, and then pulled it off. The songs he wrote were uniquely his own and charming. Even the titles of his compositions were wonderful and very unlike those of his contemporaries. Eno prescription cialis. Other pianists played them, but not like him. It would have been fun to have known him when he was in top form, but most of the time when I knew him, he could still deliver the goods. He was also a nice man, fun to visit at his apartment on St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem.
In 1977 I issued a second album of Willie’s recordings, drawn from both the 1970 and 1971 dates. At the end of the notes I said,
no prescription cialis
Or maybe not.
canadian pharmacy no prescription cialis
Posted in on August 31, 2010 by
Kenny Davern and Bob Wilber were among the finest musicians on their instruments and had been for years when I first met them in the early 1970s. In those days they were doubling, tripling or quadrupling on any and all instruments that used reeds and on at least two of the many each played, they were a good as anyone in the business. As exceptional as they were, however, when they performed together they rose to new heights.
I don’t recall when they first joined forces, sometime in the early 1970s at a Dick Gibson jazz party, but from the moment Kenny and Bob got together, sparks flew. They sensed they might be able to cash in on this excitement and Soprano Summit was born. They played more instruments than just soprano saxophones; clarinets, and all kinds of other saxophones often turned up, but when they were both on soprano at the same time it was the most exciting.
The group was a perfect example of the sum being so much greater than its combined parts. As individuals, the guys were great but put them together and they reached greater heights, sometimes much greater heights, every time they appeared in concert or recorded. Soprano Summit was, along with the Ruby Braff/George Barnes Quartet, the best mainstream jazz band of the 1970s. I was fortunate enough to record them on three occasions and take a few photographs along the way.
One of the reasons the band was so good was because offstage there was a good deal of tension between Kenny and Bob. Each man was very different in temperament, musically and personally, and this sometimes led to conflict, onstage and off. Then, in the early 1980s, Kenny decided to concentrate all of his energies on the clarinet, abandoned the soprano saxophone, and this shut down the group for good.
In 1990 I managed to assemble all six original members of the band to make a recording that we decided to call Summit Reunion since Kenny only played clarinet. Sparks flew once again, and it wasn’t just when the recording was taking place. There were six all star musicians in the room and at least five serious egos on hand, but for the most part we had a good time. When there was a problem, as often as not Milt Hinton was the mediator and somehow it all worked out. The new recordings were remarkable and exceeded those from the 1970s on many levels.
The CD was distributed and the word got out that Kenny and Bob were together again and European festival producers began to clamor for them. They were usually too cheap to hire the whole band, but in the summer of 1991 I managed to get all six members together and took them to the Oslo Jazz Festival, where they were a big hit. It was first time all of them had performed before an audience in a couple of decades and they enjoyed the adulation. Later, I took Kenny and Bob to Frogner Park to look at the Vigeland sculptures and to photograph them looking. It was a relaxed afternoon, much like the old days at Downtown Sound. It is perhaps prophetic that the best picture turned out to be the one with their backs to one another.
There was a subsequent live recording in 1992 that was good, but not exceptional because of some non-musical issues that occasionally strayed into the music, and then a final gathering in the studio in 1995, the last time they performed together as a group, that was every bit as good at the 1990 record. It was still the best band of its sort; some of the performances were so exceptional I wanted them to go on forever. They didn’t and the sixty-seven minutes on the CD will have to do. A couple of the tracks, an eleven mienute no prescription cialis from 1990 and an equally long no prescription cialis from 1995, give a sense of the musical heights to which these six extraordinary players could reached given time to stretch out.
Bob Wilber and Kenny Davern, Frogner Park, Oslo Norway, August 10, 1991
- Page 1 of 16
- << Start < Prev 1 > >>