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Philipe Lejeune at Cliff Bell's Friday April 6th


Philippe Lejeune performed at the Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie in 2005, and is featured in our program and DVD, "International Boogie Woogie." He is coming back to the Motor City for a performance at Cliff Bell's on Friday, April 6th, starting at 9:30pm.

Mr. B once told us, "I've always admired guys who, when they sit down at the piano, you don't know exactly what you'll hear. That's what keeps me interested as a listener." Philippe LeJeune is one of those guys. 

Philippe grew up in the south of France studying classical piano. His world changed in 1968 when his mother took him to hear Memphis Slim perform in Reims. "I did not even imagine such music could exist," said Philippe. He threw himself into the blues and boogie woogie, scouring shops for recordings by the masters - Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Cow Cow Davenport, and many more. 

How much did he learn and how well could he play? Memphis Slim had become a Parisian citizen in 1962. He had heard Philippe and in 1980  asked him to record an album of piano duets. Just their four hands on two pianos. Enough said.

Today Philippe is recognized primarily as a jazz pianist, but his repertoire is broad, his approach his own. "For me music has to be different," he told us in 2005. "I like to play jazz standards with a blues feeling, or boogie woogie with jazz chords."

Friday night at Cliff Bell's you can hear for yourself. Don't miss Philippe LeJeune.


AMRF News  Artists  Blues  Boogie Woogie  Jazz  


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Big Band Blues & Boogie Woogie now on DVD




The Paul Keller Orchestra with Mr. B, Bob Seeley, Charles Boles, Axel Zwingenberger, Dave Bennett, Red Holloway, and George Bedard.

This special 2 disc set contains two complete television programs, Big Band Blues and Big Band Boogie Woogie, and an additional 75 minutes of performances and interviews.

$35  includes shipping and handing  BUY ONLINE



Click here to check for public television broadcasts in your area


Blues  Boogie Woogie  Jazz  Merchandise  


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One magical evening, Two extraordinary programs...


There was magic in the air long before the band hit the stage for the 8th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival. The Award winning Paul Keller Orchestra had been rehearsing with local soloists Bob Seeley, Mr. B, Charles Boles, Dave Bennett and George Bedard for weeks during their regular Monday night gig at the Firefly Club in Ann Arbor, and the buzz in the street was palpable.

Three days before the show, Red Holloway arrived from California, and Axel Zwingenberger flew in from Germany. The interview shoots left the crew giddy. The dress rehearsal vibrated with chemistry and camaraderie. We knew we were going to capture something very, very special.

Within the first few bars of the opening number, Buddy Rich’s classic, “Basically the Blues,” the audience was whistling and cheering. Lindy-hoppers hit the dance floor. Executive Producer and AMRF President Ron Harwood drolly commented, “Well, I guess this was a good idea.” When the band launched into a rollicking version of “Sing, Sing, Sing” to close the first half of the show, he was on the dance floor himself.

It was well past midnight when the ecstatic house, still packed, demanded a second encore. By then it had become clear that one hour would not suffice to present this unique and exciting event. Instead we are proud to present two extraordinary programs: BIG BAND BLUES and BIG BAND BOOGIE WOOGIE. The programs are built around distinct narrative threads and stand alone, but when presented in this sequence they weave a tapestry illustrating the connections between blues, boogie woogie, swing music and jazz.

BIG BAND BLUES  SD Feed:  Friday, June 26 at 1200 et / SD 07
   (simultaneous HD feed on HD 03)
"If you cannot play the blues, you cannot play good jazz."
Red Holloway
"Some of the stuff John Coltrane and Miles Davis did was very, very innovative, but it was still the blues in the end."
Charles Boles

BIG BAND BOOGIE WOOGIE SD Feed:  Friday, June 26 at 1300 et / SD 07
   (simultaneous HD feed on HD 03)

"Boogie Woogie is happy blues." Bob Seeley 
"If it weren't for the big band movement and swing, boogie woogie would have been forgotten." Axel Zwingenberger


Coming August 1: 4 Shades of Blues

The American Music Research Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and documentation of American music.

AMRF ON TV  Blues  Boogie Woogie  Jazz  


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Blues Diva Maria Muldaur releases Naughty, Bawdy & Blue



"Naughty, Bawdy & Blue" in stores Now!

When most people think of the blues they think of a man with a guitar at the crossroads or on a back porch in the Mississippi Delta. But America's fascination with the blues began with a recording by a woman, a Vaudeville singer in New York City backed by a jazz band. The year was 1921, the singer was Mamie Smith, and the record was, "Crazy Blues." It sold over a million copies and demonstrated that there was a huge market for records by and for African-Americans. Record companies went into a feeding frenzy, signing women to sing what has come to be known as the "Classic Blues."

Over the next decade the likes of Mamie, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Sippie Wallace, and Victoria Spivey would sell millions of records, travel the country in their own Pullman railroad cars, and play to sold out houses wherever they went. As Maria Muldaur says in Boogie & the Blues Diva, "These women were America's first Pop Stars."

At the 2004 Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival Maria and James Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band recreated the look, the feel, and the sound of this seminal period in American musical history. But the concert and television program represent but two of three parts of the project. During the week before the performance Maria and the band recorded over a dozen songs at Solid Sound in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The result is the new album on Stony Plain Records,  "Naughty, Bawdy & Blue." The album is dedicated to Maria's friends Sippie Wallace and Victoria Spivey, and includes a duet with Bonnie Raitt on Sippie's "Hesitation Blues." You can hear samples of all the songs in Maria's Musical Oasis.

Maria will be touring extensively to support the new album - check the schedule here - and will be performing with James Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band on Sunday September 3 at the largest free jazz festival in North America, the Detroit International Jazz Festival, held annually in downtown Detroit.



Artists  Blues  Jazz  


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Pictorial Review of the 2006 Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival


The words may change, but it’s the same refrain every year: “It doesn’t get any better than this.” It’s Founder Ron Harwood, understated as always, saying 15 minutes into the Big Band Boogie Woogie show, “I guess this was a good idea.” And Judy Greenwald, the most expressive member of our group, standing by the sound board with her jaw on her chest saying over and over again, “Oh….my…..God!”

It was the Friday audience dancing all night long to Calvin Cooke, Alberta Adams, Johnnie Bassett, Sir Mack Rice, and the Howling Diablos. It was the Saturday house, still packed, demanding yet another encore from the big band at 12:30  in the morning.

We don’t put our shows together the way most people do. We don’t book artists just because they'll provide the biggest draw, and we don’t measure success by how many tickets we sell. We don’t try to make as much money as we can by paying the artists as little as possible and charging as much as possible for tickets. Rather, at the AMRF the artists come first, and we try to keep ticket prices as low as practicable in order to encourage folks to come see and hear music and musicians that they might not otherwise experience.

Our rewards come in the form of comments like these from audience members:
“Thank you one & all for the ALL-TIME BEST BOOGIE WOOGIE FESTIVAL to date!”
"…the BEST concert I have ever been to in my life with major dance parties in the   balcony!"
"… the best night of my life!"
"I thought I was in heaven!"
"I never knew what Boogie Woogie was, but NOW I do!"
"I'll never be the same!"
"Why wasn't EVERYONE THERE???"

 And like this, from Big Band Boogie Woogie Music Director, Bassist and Band Leader Paul Keller:

 “…everything about the show was great. I loved every minute of it! Again, thank you for the opportunity and the means for us to participate in this glorious project! It was an epic saga of immense depth, breadth and magnitude! It was a lot of work by a lot of people. The final result was spectacular!!!”

By the end of the weekend, we had turned some audience members on to music they either didn’t know existed or didn’t think they really liked, and had given the artists a weekend that bore little resemblance to “just another gig.” And we made many, many new friends.

Like I said, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Photography by John Collier, shown at work above.
(c) 2006 American Music Research Foundation


Sir Mack Rice works the crowd with Thornetta Davis up front

Watch the slideshow! view slideshow

l-r, Charles Boles, Mr. B, Bob Seeley, George Bedard, Dave Bennett, and Red Holloway do the boogie woogie!

Watch the slideshow view slideshow

Thanks to our Sponsors!



AMRF Festivals and Concerts  Blues  Boogie Woogie  Gospel  Jazz  Rhythm and Blues  


  • Nice shots Mr. Collier!
    - [ryan]
  • Wow! When can I buy the DVD?
    - [bugs]

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Regina Carter Receives MacArthur Grant


We are very proud of Regina Carter, a Detroit native who performed for many years with Detroit's all-female jazz group, "Straight Ahead."

$500,000 is music to ex-Detroiter's ears


September 19, 2006


Jazz violinist Regina Carter is one of 25 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation grants. (NAN MELVILLE/New York Times)

What's it like getting a cold call awarding you $500,000 with no strings attached?

"I thought it was a prank," said Detroit-born jazz violinist Regina Carter, one of 25 winners of a 2006 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago. "I asked for his name and number, hung up and looked up the MacArthur Foundation to see if they matched."

Announced today, the winners of the so-called genius grants come from many fields and were selected for their creativity and originality. Candidates don't know they are nominated until they win.

The leading jazz violinist of her generation, the 44-year-old New York resident is known for the brushfire intensity and contagious excitement generated by her improvisations. Her CDs have explored swing-era ballads, Detroit's jazz legacy, Afro-Cuban styles and quasi-classical works.

She attracted worldwide attention in 2001, when she became the first jazz musician to play Paganini's Guarneri del Gesu violin of 1743, a historic treasure in Italy.

Copyright © 2006 Detroit Free Press Inc.



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Pianist Hilton Ruiz Dead at 54


Hilton Ruiz was a featured performer at Mr. B's Boogie & Blues Piano Celebration at the Ark in Ann Arbor just a few months ago. He was a brilliant musician and a gracious man, and we will miss him.

Laura Smith    Jazztimes Magazine

Internationally acclaimed Afro-Cuban pianist Hilton Ruiz died yesterday at 3:51 a.m. in New Orleans' East Jefferson General Hospital. He had been comatose in the intensive care unit since May 19, when he was found along Bourbon Street with massive head injuries. He was 54.

Ruiz enjoyed a long, dynamic career. Born in New York City on May 29, 1952, he began building his musical resume at an extraordinarily young age. At eight years old, Ruiz played Carnegie Hall and was a guest on the Sandy Becker television show. At nine, he took part in an accordion symphony and gigged with various Latin bands as a teenager. In addition to studying jazz with Mary Lou Williams, Ruiz received training in both classical and Latin piano styles. His musical expertise was eclectic, extending far beyond Afro-Cuban music into bebop and blues. During his career, he played with other musical notables such as Freddie Hubbard, Betty Carter, Joe Henderson, Frank Foster, George Coleman, Charles Mingus, Clark Terry and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

From 1974-1977, Ruiz was Roland Kirk’s main pianist and appeared on Kirk recordings including The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Color and The Return of the 5000 Lb. Man. On his 1993 work Manhattan Mambo, Ruiz skillfully placed bop-influenced improvisation atop infectious Latin rhythms. Ruiz's later work as a leader includes 1994’s Hands on Percussion (featuring the late Tito Puente) and 2003’s Enchantment.

Ruiz also made a foray into film music, contributing tracks to the musical scores of Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors in 1989 and Sam Mendes’ American Beauty in 1999. Ruiz was scheduled to play at the Ottowa Jazz festival, where fellow Latin jazz musician Paquito D’Rivera will perform in his absence.

“He's one of the few musicians on the scene that is equally at home in both the jazz genre and the Afro-Cuban genre in a complete sense ... He really can play the blues, too. For real,” longtime friend and trombonist Steve Turre told the Associated Press. He continues later, “There's a lot of people who dabble with both worlds. But very few can authentically deal with both. And he's one of them. That's your rarity.”

Ruiz is survived by his daughter and wife, who share the name Aida.

For updates on this story, including viewing and funeral information, check back at For details on the May 19 incident, visit’s May 27 report.

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Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 04/23/06

Thirty-seven years ago, jazz impresario George Wein (the man behind the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals) was hired to produce a unique event in New Orleans that celebrated Louisiana heritage.

Just 350 people showed up the first year, and the joke was that more than half of them were performers.

The spirit of the event was born in the spring of 1970, when hometown girl and legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and big-band leader Duke Ellington came across the Eureka Brass Band leading a crowd of revelers through Congo Square, the original home of the festival.

Wein saw an opportunity and handed Jackson a microphone.

The world's greatest gospel singer sang with her fellow New Orleanians and coaxed Ellington to join their homecoming parade. Little did they know then, but that chance meeting and convergence of music and heritage would be the genesis of one of America's most beloved and longstanding music celebrations, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

By the beginning of this decade, more than half a million attendees participated annually; dancing, eating and drinking their way into bliss over the 10-day event that spans two weekends. ... [MORE]



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John Hammond's "From Spirituals to Swing"


 The New Masses Presents
“From Spirituals to Swing”
         Carnegie Hall

John Hammond conceived of this concert as a political statement set to music:  “...the Negro people have produced some of the most amazing musicians the world has ever known,” and they deserved better than the oppression and discrimination they were subjected to.

Hammond was born on December 15, 1910 in an eight-story mansion on New York’s upper east side, an heir to the Vanderbilt fortune. As a child he discovered a Columbia Grafanola in the servant’s quarters, and by the age of 12 was collecting recordings of “early Negro and country artists.” His grandmother had a player piano and he also began collecting jazz rolls. At the age of 17 he snuck up to Harlem to hear Bessie Smith, telling his parents he had to go out to play string quartets. For the rest of his high school days he inhabited the Harlem clubs, frequently the only white face in the room.

While a student at Yale Hammond returned to New York on weekends and spent his nights in Harlem. During his sophomore year a recurrence of jaundice forced him to drop out, but by then Hammond had determined that he wanted a career in the music business.

His father sent him to “The Millionaire’s Club” in Georgia to recuperate. As Hammond says in his autobiography, “I returned to New York physically recovered and emotionally enraged. The habit of discrimination was so encrusted by centuries of acceptance that both black and white knew no other way to act. I had walked through my first southern Nigger town, the son of the president of a private club for millionaires, many of them Southern, all of them white and Protestant. To know better was no longer enough. I had to do something.”

For Hammond doing something meant promoting the artists and music he loved. As an independently wealthy man he was able to pursue his passion as he saw fit. As a young man he wrote about jazz for music magazines, invested in concerts, produced his first records, and hosted the first ever radio program devoted to jazz. He traveled the country by car, seeking out new talent.

At the center of his vision was a concert that would “bring together for the first time, before a musically sophisticated audience, Negro music from its raw beginnings to the latest jazz,” but it took years to find a sponsor that would underwrite the talent search and Carnegie Hall production. In early 1938, the Marxist publication, “New Masses,” agreed to sign on.

Hammond contacted a talent scout in North Carolina and set out to find his performers. Robert Johnson was at the top of Hammond’s list but had been killed by his girlfriend earlier in the year. “Big Bill” Broonzy was signed instead. Hammond also signed many of the performers he had discovered in New York, Chicago, and Kansas City.

In the printed program for the event Hammond laid out the show, not in the order of performances, but in the order by which the music evolved. There were eight parts:

Introduction During which recordings made by the H. E. Tracy expedition to the Africa were played.

I. Spirituals and Holy Roller Hymns
Mitchell’s Christian Singers were a group of laborers from North Carolina that sang a cappella on Sundays. Hammond went to their home, a back country shack without water or electricity, to sign them up.Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a forerunner to Mahalia Jackson, a singer and guitarist who played a “Holy Roller” style of hymns that straddled gospel and the blues. She played mostly in churches but had done one night at The Cotton Club, which brought her to Hammond’s attention.

II. Soft Swing 
The Kansas City Six featured Lester Young (cl. tsax.), Buck Clayton (tr.), Eddie Durham (electric g.), Freddie Greene (g.), Walter Page (b.), and Joe Jones (dr.) Their music straddled swing and dixieland styles of jazz.
III. Harmonica Playing
Hammond went to North Carolina to sign
Blind Boy Fuller, but Fuller was in jail. Living next door was blind harmonica player Sanford (Sonny) Terry, and upon hearing him Hammond signed him on the spot.

IV. Blues
It had been Hammond’s dream to feature
Bessie Smith, but she had passed on by the time the concert was in production, so he signed Ruby Smith – no relation to Bessie – accompanied by James P. Johnson, one of the originators of the “stride” style of piano that straddled the transition from ragtime to jazz.Hammond discovered blues shouter Joe Turner and his colleague boogie-woogie pianist Pete Johnson in Kansas City, and first brought them to New York to perform at The Famous Door in 1936. In 1938 he brought them back for a guest appearance on Benny Goodman’s “Camel Caravan,” and they stayed to perform in Carnegie Hall. Bill Broonzy had moved from Arkansas to Chicago in 1924, where he had become a major figure in the blues scene. The Carnegie Hall performance marked the first time he had played for a white audience. Jimmy Rushing was the vocalist in Count Basie’s band, and Helen Humes was a volcalist Hammond had discovered in Louisville, Kentucky and recommended to Basie. They both performed with small groups at Carnegie Hall before performing with the orchestra.

V. Boogie-Woogie Piano Playing
Pianists Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis had shared a rooming house with
Pinetop Smith in Chicago from 1927 to 1930. Smith had a hit with the recording of “Boogie Woogie” in 1928. After he passed away in 1929, Ammons and Lewis continued to develop the form. At Carnegie Hall they played solo, duo, and six-handed with Pete Johnson. The Spirituals to Swing concert began the boogie-woogie craze in this country. Ammons and Lewis were recorded together at the very first session for Blue Note Records in January of 1939.

VI. Early New Orleans Jazz
 Sidney Bechet (cl. ssax.), Tommy Ladnier(tr.), James P. Johnson (p.), Dan Minor (trb.), Jo Jones (dr.)

VII. Swing
 Count Basie and His Orchestra

The concert was oversold to the extent that chairs for an additional 400 people had to be put on stage, and a second “From Spirituals to Swing” concert was staged on Christmas Day, 1939.

Blues  Boogie Woogie  Gospel  History  Jazz  


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Beyond Billie's Blues


February 21, 2006

It's not surprising that Billie Holiday recorded Fats Waller's most famous song, "Ain't Misbehavin'," in 1956. But given what we know of her life, it is surprising that she sang it with absolute purity, as if she weren't remotely tempted to misbehave. Backed by an allstar group that included trumpeter Charlie Shavers and tenor saxophonist Budd Johnson, Holiday's treatment is all the more compelling because she sings with an obvious awareness of the joys of misbehaving - of staying out late and partying - only to reject such pleasures in favor of her true love's kisses.

That Holiday, whose lifetime of self-destructive misbehavior has been exhaustively documented, could sing so convincingly of sticking to the straight and narrow is a testament to her gifts as a musician, and as an actress.We often think of Holiday as a tormented woman who sang only from her own life experiences, who crooned about errant lovers who cheated on her and beat her only because she knew them personally. But Holiday could do much more: She was not a musical primitive who merely translated her own suffering into song. Rather, like Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole, Holiday was a thorough professional who could interpret any lyric in the Great American Songbook - from the "Dese 'n' Dose" Ebonics of "Porgy and Bess" to the salon formality of Cole Porter or Oscar Hammerstein - and make it seem like an extension of herself.

That point can't be emphasized strongly enough: In recent years, popular perceptions of Holiday as an icon of suffering have come dangerously close to overshadowing her musical legacy. ... [MORE]



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Gumbo In Congo Square


The roots of blues, rhythm & blues, jazz, and rock 'n' roll are all in New Orleans, and the evolution of the music is inseperable from the evolution of the city.

"Gumbo" is the most common metaphor for New Orleans, and it most apt. A good homemade gumbo can take days to make - mine generally take three or four. The first thing you make is the roux, flour cooked in fat that provides the smoky foundation for the dish. Next you add stock, and finally you add the stuff - crawdads, shrimp, chicken, sausage, greens, whatever.

The gumbo that is New Orleans took centuries to make, and the roux was made in the earliest days of the original settlement.

The eminent New Orleans scholar Pierce Lewis has described it as, "an inevitable city on an impossible site." Inevitable because it is at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and impossible because there really isn't a "mouth." Rather, for 200 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, there is nothing but swampland.

The site of the original French city, commissioned in 1718, has been described as, "wretched." It is too hot, too humid, prone to flooding and hurricanes, and the swamps bred untold numbers of disease-laden mosquitos. Respectable Europeans who had a choice did not choose to live in New Orleans. The original settlers were mostly hustlers, thieves, and opportunists.

The first slaves arrived directly from Africa in the early 1720's. But the French Catholic attitude towards slavery was quite different from that of the English Protestant colonials, and it resulted in a relatively large population of "free people of color" from the earliest days of the colony.

In the first place, slaves were allowed to earn money. City masters often loaned their slaves to others as wage laborers, and slaves were given the weekends off, when again they could work for wages. They used the money to buy their freedom.

Additionally, the French were quite open about secual liasons with slaves. Their mixed race offspring were frequently raised as free men or given their freedom when the father died. Many received an education, some going back to France for it.

These original settlers are the Creoles of New Orleans. They are French speaking Eurpoeans and Africans and, most importantly, everybody in between. In 18th century New Orleans there was no stark distinction between black and white, as there was in the English colonies. Africans and Europeans shared both genes and cultures, and the mixing of many rich shades of brown, both physically and culturally, was essential to the roux.

Another crucial ingredient was the infusion of Native American culture. Africans and Native Americans had much in common. They were both oppressed by the white man. They shared similar beliefs about nature and man's place in it. And they shared a love of music and dance. They were natural friends and allies.

Native Americans orchestrated the first documented escape of African slaves from the colony in 1725. The first account of Africans dressing as Native Americans - a sign of respect among neighboring tribes - comes from the Mardi Gras celebration of 1746.

Rampart Street in New Orleans demarked the inland boundary of the original city. Just outside the rampart was an open field. There are many conflicting stories, but it is apparent that it was a gathering place for Native Americans.

Creoles and Africans began to gather there too. There are stories about Creoles and Native Americans playing lacrosse together on the field. Over time, it evolved into a marketplace.

In 1744 this field was legitimized as the "Place de Negroes," where on weekends free people of color could gather openly to do business, trade news and gossip, and just hang out together. Slaves were allowed to join the congregation, and on Sunday afternoons they would come with traditional African drums and instruments. They would play music and sing, and dance.

Within a few years their numbers grew to hundreds, and Europeans, Creoles, African Americans, and Native Americans would all gather on this field for the weekly musical celebration.

The translation is not exact, but Place des Negroes became Congo Plain, and then Congo Square.

France ceded Louisiana to the Spanish after the Seven Years War in 1763, bought it back in 1800, and within three years sold it to the Americans. French Canadian refugees, the Acadians that came to be known as Cajuns, began arriving in 1764. And a few decades later black, white, and mixed race refugees from the slave revolts in Haiti began to arrive in large numbers. Sailors and settlers from all over the world would come, and some would stay.

Through all of this the Sunday afternoon gatherings continued in Congo Square, with more or less legitimacy. The Americans outlawed them in 1811, but the congregations simply reemerged elsewhere. So in 1817, in the interest of keeping them under watchful eyes, the city reestablished Congo Square as a place where, on Sunday afternoons, slaves could celebrate their heritage. As the city grew and flourished over the next century, this celebration of song and dance became renown throughout the world.

Congo Square is the cauldron in which the musical gumbo of New Orleans was cooked, and musicologists and historians point to all the stuff and stock added during the heyday of the 19th century as the source of most American musical genres.

But the roux was made much earlier, and without it the gumbo would not have been possible.

Blues  History  Jazz  


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A dying breed of musicians?


Mardi Gras Indians fight to survive in a new state

Big Chief Kevin Goodman of the Flaming Arrows Mardi Gras Indian Tribe performs this month at Jovita's in Austin. The hurricane evacuee says he plans to stay in Texas.
Big Chief Kevin Goodman of the Flaming Arrows
Mardi Gras Indian Tribe performs this month at
Jovita's in Austin. The hurricane evacuee says
he plans to stay in Texas.

Posted on Mon, Jan. 30, 2006

Big chief a comin'

Hoopin' and a hollerin' ...

Early in the mornin'

Get outta the way

AUSTIN -- Dancing and chanting and spinning his wild pirouettes inside the terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, here he comes: Big Chief Kevin Goodman, the prettiest Big Chief you've ever seen.

On the stage -- at 2:30 in the afternoon beneath harsh fluorescent lights -- his five-piece Flaming Arrows have standby passengers confounded. A man in a business suit shuts down his laptop and stares at Goodman's neon Indian attire. A woman dances a tentative boogie-woogie but then sheepishly stops.

With bright yellow ostrich feathers and long black tresses that swing like ropes, Goodman and his giant headdress are like nothing ever seen at Gate 10.

He's a real live Mardi Gras Indian -- part of a centuries-old New Orleans tradition that blends hypnotic rhythms, flamboyant costumes and wild dances into a funky combination of performance art and street theater. In Hurricane Katrina's wake, Goodman made a forced landing in Texas along with the brass bands, the jazz hipsters and all the other traumatized and talented music makers displaced by the storm.

But unlike New Orleans jazz, the Indian gang tradition might not survive the move. ... [MORE]



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RP hosts 'historic' jazz & arts festival


First posted 08:52pm (Mla time) Jan 22, 2006
By Tina Arceo-Dumlao

FILIPINOS ARE AMONG the world's best jazz exponents, says renowned jazz artist Kevyn Lettau, and it's about time more Filipinos knew about it.

Lettau told the Inquirer that it was with this in mind that she had jumped at the chance to participate in the first Philippine International Jazz and Arts Festival spearheaded by the Philippine Jazz Society (PJS).

"Jazz artists here are not appreciated enough," Lettau said, "[I'd like] to help raise awareness among Filipinos that there are really good artists here."

Lettau said jazz as a music form has not been as appreciated as it should be, either, not only in the Philippines, but elsewhere in the world, because of lack of exposure to the music, plus a generation gap between those who grew up listening to the likes of Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday and those weaned on rap music.  ... [MORE]



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Jazz legend Tyner looks forward but can't escape his historic past


By Bret Saunders
Special to The Denver Post

McCoy Tyner will play with bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Eric Gravatt at the Paramount. (Getty / Robert Atanasovski)

Imagine being the only surviving participant in one of the most admired groups in jazz history. Decades after its creation, a major recording recently has been discovered in your bandleader's long-neglected closet.

Critics are practically breathless in their praise of this documentation of the near-mythic group.

You would be eager to hear what the excitement was about, right? And you'd certainly want to hear what you created, and the extent of your involvement in all of this.

Well, you're not pianist McCoy Tyner. Then again, there's only one.

"No, I haven't heard it," Tyner said of the recently released "One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note" (Impulse!), two CDs of the classic John Coltrane Quartet. "I guess I'll have to go to the record store and pick it up," he added with a laugh. 

Seeing the light of official release for the first time, the album chronicles the soaring interplay among saxophonist Coltrane, pianist Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones at a 1965 gig. ... [MORE]



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Panel: Jazz Vital to New Orleans Rebirth


By CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writer
Mon Jan 16, 10:19 AM ET
Trumpeter Ken Ferdinand, left, a participant of one of the 27 social aid clubs who marched together through the streets of New Orleans Sunday, Jan. 15, 2006, to call attention to their needs and role in renewing the city.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo: Trumpeter Ken Ferdinand.

NEW ORLEANS - While the city builds better levees and new homes, a mayoral arts commission is recommending that the city not forget to reclaim its legacy as the birthplace of jazz.

The commission recommends building a National Jazz Center, which would be a museum, performance hall, recording studio and archive rolled into one.

The recommendations — which were to be presented to Mayor Ray Nagin on Tuesday — also call for creating new artistic districts, increasing the teaching of arts in schools and setting aside 2 percent of eligible capital bonds for public sculptures, murals and other artwork.

The ideas are part of a broad rebuilding plan being rolled out by the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, a panel appointed by Nagin after Hurricane Katrina hit on Aug. 29.

The panel is coming up with a variety of ideas on how to rebuild the city — from abandoning some residential sections of the city to overhauling schools and city government.

On the cultural side, the commission's recommendations tackle a long-standing complaint: that New Orleans has done a miserable job in promoting itself as the birthplace of jazz, the quintessential American form of art. ... [MORE]



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The Other Mathews


Andrew Gilbert

Sunday, January 1, 2006

David K. Mathews

David K. Mathews wears his musical passions on his sleeve. Well, not his sleeve exactly, more like his biceps, back and pecs.

Decked out in a tight, white muscle shirt, Mathews testifies to his wide-ranging keyboard pursuits with his numerous tattoos, starting with the Tower of Power logo on his burly right bicep that commemorates the years he spent playing organ with the great East Bay funk band in the mid-1980s. Just below that is a jaunty image of Fats Waller from his 1930s heyday, ink that served as motivation for Mathews to explore the demanding Harlem stride piano style.

"I really wanted to learn how to play some Fats Waller, so I thought maybe if I got a tattoo of him, I'd have to be able to back it up, and that's what happened," says Mathews, 46, during an interview at an Albany cafe. "I'm really a funk, soul, R&B guy, and I see the tattoos as kind of a rock 'n' roll thing. It's just like one of the guys in Def Leppard."

The aesthetic may be rock, but you'd have to look far and wide for a metal player capable of navigating intricate post-bop lines on the Hammond B3 organ. That's what Mathews will do at Yoshi's on Monday, when he celebrates the release of his excellent album "The Coltrane Connection" (Jesse's Dad Records). Featuring Bay Area saxophone great Mel Martin, the prodigious drummer Deszon X. Claiborne and Barry Finnerty, the first guitarist recruited by Miles Davis, the project focuses on another area of Mathews' investigation, the lithe, harmonically sophisticated jazz organ sound developed in the mid-1960s by Larry Young and Don Patterson. ... [MORE]

David K. Mathews appeared as a surprise guest at the AMRF's 6th Annual Motor City Boogie Woogie & Blues Festival.  -RBH

Artists  Blues  Boogie Woogie  Jazz  Ragtime and Stride  Rhythm and Blues  


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Early Jazz (Dixieland)

Armstrong Hot Five Armstrong & Teagarden Louis Armstrong Jelly Roll Morton spacer
Armstrong Hot Five Armstrong & Teagarden Louis Armstrong Jelly Roll Morton spacer
Time period: Cir. 1900-1928

Location: New Orleans

Instrumentation: Trumpet Clarinet Trombone Tuba Banjo Drums Piano

Roles of the instruments: Each instrument has an assigned role (carry-over from the brass band tradition)
  1. Trumpet - Melody
  2. Clarinet - Embellishes the melody
  3. Trombone - Chord roots with smears, slides, or slurs. Sometimes has the melody or afterbeats
  4. Tuba - Bass line
  5. Banjo - Provides harmony and rhythm
  6. Piano - Provides harmony and rhythm
  7. Drums - Time keeper and sets up the breaks. Military style drumming (drumset comes later)  MORE



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Jazz Gem Made in '57 Is a Favorite of 2005

Published: December 21, 2005

My favorite jazz record released this year, and one of my favorites of any year, was made in 1957. I first heard "Thelonious Monk Quartet With John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall" (Blue Note) at the Library of Congress in April, after the news of its discovery had been made public. It sounded pretty good then, but you can never really tell when hearing something over a high-quality sound system in front of interested parties. I have listened to it repeatedly since, and it seems to be much better than I first thought - solid, juicy, truly great.

Herb Snitzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
John Coltrane performing in 1961. Recent
jazz releases featuring Coltrane illustrate the value
of live performances, and its impact on the genre.

Another of the year's new jazz records - John Coltrane's "One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note" (Impulse) - was made in 1965. It disqualifies itself from consideration for my list of the year's best jazz albums only because it has been heard, in bits and pieces, on illegal tapes for 40 years. (I got mine from a great saxophonist who wanted to spread the word.) But it is also, I think, a masterpiece.

There's a reason why these records stand out as the year's best, and I get the sense that many people feel they know that reason. ... [MORE]




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Melbourne Women's International Jazz Festival


By Jessica Nicholas

Melbourne's leading female jazz artists come together for a week-long festival.

Fiona Burnett
Fiona Burnett

Each year, Melbourne's leading female jazz artists come together for a week-long festival that highlights their contribution to this city's jazz scene. The program always includes at least one overseas performer - hence the international moniker - and several musicians from interstate.  ... [MORE]




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Jazz stars back New Orleans musicians village

Tue Dec 6, 8:19 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - New Orleans-born musicians Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. are backing a new housing program to lure blues and jazz artists who fled the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Emile Turner (L) and Michael Foster play live music at Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana September 12, 2005. New Orleans-born musicians Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. are backing a new housing program to lure blues and jazz artists who fled the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Reuters Photo: Emile Turner (L) and
Michael Foster play live music at Bourbon
Street in New Orleans

Marsalis, together with community building group Habitat for Humanity, unveiled on Tuesday plans to construct a Musicians' Village in the storm-wrecked city to restore one of the cultural mainstays that made New Orleans famous.

"We're going try to build as many (homes) as we can, because there are more than enough musicians here. There are musicians in the hundreds that need our help, in the high hundreds probably," Marsalis told reporters.

Habitat for Humanity said it had raised $1 million for the project from a jazz benefit concert held in New York in September titled "From the Big Apple to the Big Easy." The group hopes to raise additional funds from new recordings dedicated to Katrina survivors. ... [MORE]




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Jelly Roll Rolls, Toussaint Returns



By Howard Mandel

If you listen to interviews with Jelly Roll Morton, what you hear is your disreputable favorite uncle, fondly recalling his days as a roué: "Kaiser's, the Red Onion, Spanos: These were honky-tonks…dirty, filthy places…gambling wide open…a lot of rough people…really dangerous to anybody that would go in and didn't know what it was all about."

"They always had a broken-down piano.… After four o'clock in the morning, all the girls that could get out of the houses, they were there. And the girls would start, 'Play me something, boy, play me some blues.' I'd start playing this way."

Listening to him on records, Jelly Roll then institutes a bluesy melody with a pretty flourish over insinuating syncopation and a steady footbeat. His voice rises in its winsome, salty plea:

"Let me be your wiggler, until your wobbler comes.

Let me be your wiggler, until your wobbler comes.

Then tell your wobbler what your wiggler done."

Morton's Complete Library of Congress Recordings by Alan Lomax, has been available before, but not in such unexpurgated, celebratory form as the piano-shaped boxed set now issued by Rounder Records. ... [MORE]




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The Cross-Pollinators: Jazz Meets Indie-Rock

Brad Mehldau, above, has interpreted songs by Radiohead. James Carter and three other musicians have released an album of Pavement covers. The Bad Plus has an indie-type fan base.

Published: November 30, 2005

When the saxophonist James Carter takes the stage at the Iridium Jazz Club tonight for a five-night run, he will be flanked by several other musicians with ties to Jazz at Lincoln Center. But as on "Gold Sounds," a recent album, they will reach past jazz's standard repertory to the songs of Pavement, the influential 1990's indie-rock band.

James Carter and three other musicians have released an album of Pavement covers.

Never mind that Mr. Carter and his colleagues had barely heard of Pavement before making the record. The mere fact of their participation is the latest wrinkle in an unlikely phenomenon: the flirtation of jazz musicians with the world, or worlds, of indie-rock.

Jazz and indie-rock, if not opposites, are distinctly unrelated; what they have most in common is a vastness that strains the terms of genre. It doesn't take much cynicism to suspect "Gold Sounds" and its label, the upstart Brown Brothers Recordings, of crossover designs. You would have to go back at least a generation to find a time when jazz claimed an audience as robust as indie-rock does today, and one as socially connected, fiercely protective and doggedly partisan. ... [MORE]




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Musicians fear New Orleans jazz traditions will die


By Russell McCulley
Tue Nov 22,10:19 AM ET

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Philip Frazier, who leads the New Orleans jazz group ReBirth Brass, was one of the lucky ones. His house and tuba survived Hurricane Katrina mostly intact.

But hundreds of his fellow musicians were not so fortunate. The floodwaters that swept through this city nearly three months ago destroyed not only homes but also the instruments local musicians use to make a living, and cast doubt on the future of New Orleans' vivid musical traditions.

"We were very blessed," Frazier said of ReBirth's revival after its members had relocated as far as Houston and Baltimore. "We were fortunate that we were able to regroup and go out and continue to make a living for ourselves."

Katrina scattered musicians across the country, and shuttered many clubs and concert venues. More critically, perhaps, it halted the convention and tourism industries that supplied much of the audience.

Like others who want to return to the once-vibrant city, And exiled musicians face obstacles including a lack of housing, schools and jobs. ... [MORE]




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Jazz Drummer Roy Brooks Dies at 67


By Ben Mattison
17 Nov 2005

Jazz drummer Roy Brooks, who performed with many of the leading figures of the hard bop movement, died on November 15 in his hometown of Detroit, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Brooks joined pianist Horace Silver's quintet in 1959, replacing his friend Louis Hayes. He remained with the group for five years; later, he played with saxophonist Sonny Stitt, saxophonist Dexter Gordon, and bassist Charles Mingus. He was a founding member of drummer Max Roach's ensemble M'Boom.

In 1976, Brooks returned to Detroit, where he taught and played with local musicians including pianist Geri Allen.  ... [MORE]



  • Many years ago during one of my first stints as an MC at the Montreaux Detroit J...more
    - [JP]

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Bringing Jazz back to Bourbon Street and a post-Katrina audience


By Mary LaCoste, Contributing Writer, The Louisiana Weekly
November 7, 2005

The lights were bright on the stage of the Maison Bourbon Jazz Club as Jamil Sharif and his musicians made their first appearance since Katrina had darkened the club. There were only four patrons; waiting and wondering how would the music sound after so many weeks in exile. But when the notes of "Do you know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" filled the air all doubts were dispelled.

Attracted by the hauntingly beautiful music, more and more people began to wander in. They were not the usual tourists as New Orleans has yet to recover enough to attract them. Instead they were an assortment of relief workers, insurance adjusters and laborers taking a break from recovery efforts. For many, it was the first time they had ever been exposed to a live performance of New Orleans-style music.

Sharif and his band members put all of their energy and talent into their music that night. "St. James Infirmary" and "The Sunny Side of the Street," mesmerized all as band members, as well as the audience, were caught up in the spirit of old style Jazz. ... [MORE]



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