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October 2010

Pianist George Duke is featured, in the October issue of Jazz Inside Magazine, in an interview conducted by Vic McLean. This 48-page edition includes the Indie Artist Celebration, "Deeper Perspectives" column on "Fear" with comments by Pat Martino, plus CD reviews and articles to delight your jazz palette.

The October issue of Jazz Inside NY Magazine (48 pages), available free in print and as a downloadable digital edition is designed for jazz lovers worldwide - and features keyboard master George Duke discussing his new recording on Heads Up, his insights into the record business, working with Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Al Jarreau, and others.
George Duke: I adore Cannon. I was very young. I had been with Frank Zappa for a year and I had met Cannon at the Half Note Club while I was with Al Jarreau. There was a club up the street called the Both And Club. Cannon and Nat were playing there. And, whoever was playing at that club would come to our little neighborhood club because all the ladies were there. That’s where I met Cannonball and Nat. They told me later on that I sounded like a bad Ramsey Lewis. [laughs] You know Ramsey is a friend of mine. Cannon called me at my Mom’s house one day and asked me to join the band. I told Frank I had to leave because Cannon was one of my favorites. Once I joined the band, I found Cannon to be an incredible leader. He didn’t tell you what to play. He was like Miles in that way. He influenced you to try something but wouldn’t tell you quite how to do it. He let you find your own way. The first day I played with him, Nancy Wilson and Freddie Hubbard came by. Hearing these guys talk back stage was amazing. He loved jazz and the blues – and understood that you could play both. He took a lot of heat for the “Mercy, Mercy” thing – but he realized it’s really the blues and it’s OK to play that. He acted on what he believed – just like Miles did – and I respect guys that go their own way. He was amazing bandleader and an amazing player.
Diction and Contradiction, the new biopic on jazz maestro Cecil Taylor features a clip of Taylor on stage with long-time friend and poet Amiri Baraka in Barcelona, Spain.
It has been 40 years since pianist-songwriter Cecil Taylor and poet-social activist Amiri Baraka performed on the same stage. These two icons met in the mid '50s when they were honing their crafts in New York City's Bowery district. On July 16, 2010, they came together to perform at Cafe Lebab in Barcelona, Spain. The show was organized by Linguamon in conjunction with Ruby Flower Records co-owner Ana-Isabel Ordonez and writer Victor Obiols. Joining Amiri on stage is Latin percussionist Miguel Orea.

Bassist Gerald Veasley to Co-host the 4th Annual Duck Jazz Festival

Festival on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to include headliner Joyce Cooling.

Philadelphia-based jazz musician Gerald Veasley is set to co-host the 4th Annual Duck Jazz Festival on Sunday, October 10, 2010, at the Duck Town Park, in Duck, North Carolina. The festival, held on the Outer Banks coastal area, will be headlined by guitarist/vocalist Joyce Cooling. The other acts scheduled to appear in the Duck Jazz Festival include Adrian Crutchfield, from Charlotte, North Carolina; Big Rick and The Bombers, from Wake Forest, North Carolina; and The Roy Muth Big Band with Laura Martier from Norfolk, Virginia. The event is free to the public, and has attracted nearly 5,000 visitors in years past. Attendees are encourage to bring a picnic, beverages, chairs, or blanket, but no beach umbrellas or tents are permitted at the event.

Although Veasley is the ongoing host of a jazz nightclub in Reading, Pa. (Gerald Veasley’s Jazz Base), this is his first time handling the emcee position at a festival. He said the first thing he has to get used to is the absence of his instrument. “This is new territory for me, because even when I’ve hosted events at jazz festivals or hosted jam sessions, I’ve always had my bass with me. I’ll be doing some playing at some point during the festival, but this will be the first time when I’ll just be someone behind the microphone.”

Veasley is no stranger to Duck, having appeared at their inaugural event in 2007, as a sideman to guitarist Jimmy Bruno, and in 2008 as a headliner. He said that he felt a particular affinity for the community there. “I liked the folks who put it together a lot. I liked the fact that it was in an area that I’ve grown to love through the years. My family used to vacation in Nag’s Head for a few years until one storm-battered year that kept us away.” From there, it was a natural fit for an expanded role. “With my affinity for the area and how much I liked the people who put it on, I thought it would be cool to go down there in another capacity. I talked with the festival organizers and they invited me to come down and host.”

He also knows the headliner with whom he’s crossed paths and stages many times before. “I’m very familiar with Joyce Cooling,” says Veasley, “because she and I were Heads Up recording artists at the same time. We’ve done concerts together and been in jam sessions together. I love her playing and her compositions.

Veasley raves about the overall vibe of the festival. “It’s held in a park with room to grow. I understand that they’re building a new venue that will be ready next year. The park is really cool. Very casual. It’s a free festival. It reminds me of how when you’re traveling in Europe and doing festivals there, sure there are large festivals like North Sea, Montreux or Umbria, but there are also so many towns off the beaten track that just have a love of the music and that present their own festivals. I would love to see things get back to that. This festival is in that same tradition.”

Veasley has seen firsthand during his career the shift away from clubs and towards festivals. “A lot of the way that people experience jazz these days is through festivals. We don’t have as many clubs as we used to have. And for folks who are of a certain age going to a night on the town at the jazz club with parking, dinner and baby-sitting, sometimes is a little tougher. But to get together for an afternoon or weekend and listen to great music and kick back and relax, I think it’s more likely. Jazz festivals continue to flourish even in small towns like Duck.”

Veasley says that the festival draws on a mix of local resident islanders and out-of-towner tourists. “We get a lot of folks who come from out of town – coming from Charlotte, Raleigh or other parts of North Carolina. And from the surrounding communities.” He notes that the festival is comparable to some other jazz events that happen along the East Coast. “You have Cape May Jazz Festival which is at the very Southern tip of New Jersey, but they have folks come from New York, Philadelphia and DC to support the festival. Rehobeth is another one. [Also Provincetown.] It’s great for the local community because it extends the season. The out-of-towners get to experience a little bit of the summer there. It’s cool that these shore communities have these festivals. They can start off like this one started off as a community-oriented festival and then expand because the music is a draw.”

As a part-time coastal Carolina resident I can testify that the ocean is still pretty warm down there around the time. Does Veasley have plans to hit the beach? “I’ve got to. This whole summer I haven’t been to the beach and that’s unusual for me. With my daughter that’s something we’ve always enjoyed doing. This will be my time.”

For more information, visit the festival’s web site or call (252) 255-1286.

Cécile McLorin Salvant Wins Monk Competition for Jazz Vocals

Vocalist wins $20,000 in scholarship and a record deal with Concord Music Group

Vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, from Miami, Fla., won the Thelonious Monk Competition for Jazz Vocals. Ms. Salvant competed against other finalists Charenée Wade and Cyrille Aimée, who finished in second and third place, respectively. Each won scholarship money of varying levels, but Salvant also received a record deal with the Concord Music Group. The Competition was held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Salvant, who was one of the crowd favorites during the Semi-finals held the day before. For her Finals performance, she sang two ballads - "If This Isn't Love" and "I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone." Each contestant performed two songs of their own choosing, backed by a trio of Reggie Thomas on piano, Rodney Whitaker on bass and Carl Allen on drums.

The event at the Kennedy Center also included a Gala concert, featuring a tribute to the Great American Songbook. Each of the judges for the competition - Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau and Dianne Reeves - came out to perform one standard. They were backed by a revolving cast of all-star musicans, including Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Terri Lyne Carrington, Wayne Shorter, Kevin Eubanks, James Genus, Terence Blanchard and Jimmy Heath, plus a few former Monk Competition winners such as Jon Irabagon, Ben Williams and Ambrose Akinshire. Ledisi also sang one number and, in a special performance, 90-year-old Clark Terry, wheelchair-bound but plenty frisky, reprised his famous "Mumbles" song.

Gladys Knight filled in for Aretha Franklin, who was unable to attend as judge and honoree due to the condition of her son, who is recovering from injuries sustained in a beating. Knight told the audience that although she loved jazz, she couldn't scat. She then proceeded to sing a swinging version of "Our Love Is Here to Stay" and during George Duke's solo even threw in some wordless notes in soulful approximation of scat.

In addition, pianist Vadim Neselovskyi performed his composition "Grust," which won the BMI Composer's Competition. Neselovskyi, who was born in the Ukraine and studied at Berklee College of Music, was a member of Gary Burton's band. He won $10,000 for the composition, which means "sadness" in Russian.

The event was hosted by Herbie Hancock, T.S. Monk, Phylicia Rashad and Billy Dee Williams. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made an appearance to present the third place award.

JazzTimes' managing editor Evan Haga will be writing a more complete review of the event in our upcoming Dec. issue. For more information about the Thelonious Monk Institute and its programs, go to its web site.

Dave Koz Announces Holiday Dates

Halloween isn’t even here, but Dave Koz is already getting his Christmas spirit on. The Grammy-nominated saxophonist has announced dates for his annual holiday tour, which will kick off the day after Thanksgiving. Dave Koz and Friends, A Smooth Jazz Christmas, will include longtime favorites Jonathan Butler and Brian Culbertson. This year, Candy Dulfer comes along for the first time. This is the 13th year for Koz’ holiday tour – but to him, it never gets old. "Holiday music is like comfort food - when you hear these songs, they transport you," he says, "It's like when you smell a fresh apple pie, and it conjures up memories of your grandmother's baking and all the traditions that make this such a special time of year." Koz' new album, Hello Tomorrow, drops Oct. 12.

Dates for Dave Koz and Friends, A Smooth Jazz Christmas:11/26 Ft. Pierce, FL Sunrise Theatre
11/27 Atlanta, GA Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
11/28 Sarasota, FL Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
11/29 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Au-Rene Theater
11/30 Naples, FL Philharmonic Center for the Arts
12/1 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
12/3 Cleveland, OH Playhouse Square/Palace Theatre
12/4 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
12/5 Columbus, OH Palace Theatre
12/6 Bethesda, MD Strathmore Music Center
12/7 Newport News, VA Ferguson Center for the Arts
12/9 El Paso, TX Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center
12/10 San Diego, CA Balboa Theatre
12/11 San Francisco, CA Nob Hill Masonic Center
12/12 Palm Desert, CA McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts
12/14 Santa Rosa, CA Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
12/15 Sacramento, CA Radisson Hotel
12/16 Mesa, AZ Mesa Arts Center/Ikeda Theater
12/17 Cerritos, CA Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
12/18 Cerritos, CA Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
12/19 Los Angeles, CA Nokia Theatre L.A. Live
12/20 Modesto, CA Gallo Center for the Arts

Sade Opens Up About Tour

The notoriously-private Sade made headlines last week when she announced her first world tour in a decade. The singer is now giving some insights into her life offstage and decision to return to the road. In an interview with USA Today, Sade said the tour to promote her platinum-selling Soldier of Love, “just seems a natural progression. Once you put an album out, it's gone, in the ether. Being on stage makes the music tangible again." As for her personal life in rural England, where she lives with her partner Ian Watts and daughter Ila, Sade acknowledges that she values her privacy. "I've always got so much to accomplish in my personal life, and I see that as separate.” While she loves her life in the country, the singer says she’s eager to visit the different cities on the tour, which kicks off in June 2011.

Brian Culbertson On Collaboration

With his single, “That’s Life,” riding high on the charts, Brian Culbertson is discussing the art of collaboration. Guitarist Earl Klugh lends his talents to the current hit, but Culbertson has made working with other artists a habit throughout his career. He’s appeared on albums by Peter White and Dave Koz, just to name a few, and spent several weeks on the road with Barry Manilow. In addition to Klugh, Ray Parker, Jr. and Sinbad are some of the folks Culbertson brought into the studio for his current album, XII. In an interview with The Huffington Post, he says, “…I always love collaborations. To me, making music is about being in a studio with other great artists and musicians. So, I always get together to write with people and to record with people. I just love that feeling of collaboration, when everyone is in there having a great time…It's always a learning process for me. Every time I work with someone new I might learn something that I've never done before.” Culbertson’s next date is Oct. 13 in Dallas.

McCoy Tyner and More in South Orange, NJ

The schedule for JAZZ @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) 2010-2011 has just been released, and it’s studded with stellar talent. The season kicks off with two shows on November 6 by the Max Weinberg Big Band, a swinging 15-piece ensemble that harks back to the days of Basie and Rich and Krupa, not to mention Doc Severinsen and Maynard Ferguson. Stride pianist Judy Carmichael, singer Paula West, and the United States Navy Show Band Northeast round out November’s itinerary at SOPAC.

There will be two shows in December, the first by the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble on the 12th. Six days later, jazz legend McCoy Tyner (pictured above) comes to town. The Tierney Sutton Band, the Seton Hall University Jazz Ensemble, and the piano-playing husband-and-wife team of Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes will all appear in 2011.

For more information on the upcoming season, including a complete schedule and ticket information, go to

Talking to Ron Carter

On Monday, October 18, there are probably about 50,000 more expensive and far less interesting things you might do in New York City than heading to the CUNY Graduate Center at 365 Fifth Avenue, where, from 7-8:15 p.m., jazz critic Gary Giddins and bass-playing jazz legend Ron Carter will engage in a one-on-one conversation. Members of the Graduate Center need pay a mere $8 for the privilege of hearing these two titans of the jazz world converse for a minimum of 75 minutes. For non-members, $12 gets you in.

Officially billed as “Jazz Legacies: A Conversation with Ron Carter,” the event is part of the Graduate Center’s Jazz Legacies series, during which Giddins speaks with jazz legends about their life and work. This year’s series begins with Carter, whose appearances on more than 2,500 albums make him one of the most-recorded bassists in jazz history.

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