Lazaro Vega

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Everything posted by Lazaro Vega

  1. Ellington Suites

    "Madness In Great Ones" from "Such Sweet Thunder" could only be the work of Duke, though.
  2. Baritone Saxophonists

    "New" guy Gary Smulyan. Work horse. "New" guy Scott Robinson. Favorite, Serge. Love the Mosaic box, Woody's Four Brothers Band, the new Allen Eager/Serge Chaloff 11 minute "Fine and Dandy" with Buddy Rich on the Uptown "In the Land of Oo-bla-dee."
  3. Ellington Suites

    Interesting thing about "The Single Petal of A Rose," it shows off very clearly how Ellington didn't like to write endings, one of his 'superstitions.' Listen to the end of that, it doesn't quite resolve, just sort of drifts into, what?, dissonance? Thinking about Gunther Schuller's assessment of Reminiscing In Tempo as the opposite of a typical swing era composition. Beautifully complex piece of music. Of the suites, "Harlem," from the Great Paris Concert: best piece blurring the boundaries between individual musical personalities, the composer's intentions and the band's ensemble sound; best at blurring the lines between composition and improvisation (how much was improvised originally and then became scored into the piece we may never know).
  4. Clearwater Jazz Festival

    Mack Avenue, Stix Hooper's label out of Detroit...
  5. June Concert Tour

    I mean Ron (I was thinking of Don Braden, why?) Blake...
  6. June Concert Tour

    The hit with Arno and Organissimo in Grand Haven this summer is something a few of my radio listeners still talk about. Bill McFarlin, president of the International National Association of Jazz Educators and stone Blue Laker, was there and completely dug Arno. How about a Don/Arno front line with the trio at an IAJE convention? Unlike the dub at the pub, Bill has some money to spend...Cool biz...
  7. Clearwater Jazz Festival

    Is Don's label Palmetto?
  8. Where in the world is Ornette Coleman?

    JAZZHOPE REVIEW ARCHIVES ORNETTE COLEMAN by Howard Reich Ornette Coleman still blazing a musical trail Critics praise or skewer his musical theories By Howard Reich Tribune arts critic September 21 2003 NEW YORK -- He has been called a charlatan and a genius, a musical illiterate and a fearless visionary, a destroyer of noble traditions and a builder of enthralling new idioms. He has been skewered by listeners who yearn for the days when jazz was sweet and easy on the ear, he has been showered with some of the most prestigious prizes in American culture. Along the way, he also has been falsely arrested, attacked by muggers, beaten, bludgeoned and left for dead. Yet on this warm September morning, Ornette Coleman -- his name to this day sparks fierce debate among listeners around the world -- looks and sounds the picture of tranquility and peace, a soft-spoken, septuagenarian gentleman if ever there were one. As the saxophonist-composer welcomes a visitor into the lobby of his Manhattan loft building, one might suspect that Coleman never had seen a day of strife in a career that, in truth, has generated more than its share of distress. "Oh, man, I've had some really terrible things done to me," says Coleman, arguably the most influential jazz composer, theorist and freethinker of the past half century. Nevertheless, "At a certain point in my life, I just decided that I would never fight any kind of class, any kind of race, and if someone said, `I don't like you,' I wouldn't try to defend myself," continues Coleman, who plays a rare Chicago performance Friday night at Symphony Center. "I'm not trying to control, change, dominate, kill or be against anyone, or put somebody above another," adds Coleman, speaking at a hush in a spartan loft dotted by African-inspired sculpture and vividly abstract paintings. The accoutrements brighten a wide-open room that aptly reflects the spaciousness of much of Coleman's music. "I think my position is that I'm no more than a speck of dust in the sand," says Coleman, "and I'm trying to avoid being stepped on." In that regard, however, Coleman has not been thoroughly successful, for virtually every concert he has played, every recording he has issued and every unexplored musical avenue he has delved into has drawn at least a measure of derision. Though many fragments of the music establishment have long since acknowledged that Coleman not only changed the course of jazz but opened it up to uncounted possibilities, he has been a walking target at least since the mid-1950s, when he began to unfold his unconventional views of composing and improvising music. Yet he seems to have been as unfazed by the assaults as he has been unseduced by the accolades (which have included a MacArthur "genius" Fellowship in 1994 and Guggenheim Fellowships in 1967 and '73), instead steadily spreading the gospel of his unorthodox musical philosophy to any musician seeking it out. Thinking differently Although artists famous and obscure have spoken of Coleman's efforts to instruct them in the self-styled musical language he long ago termed "harmolodics," Coleman himself recalls a recent encounter that sums up his approach to getting musicians to think differently. "A young lady who is trying to make her debut professionally came by a couple of days ago, and though she makes a living doing something else, she also writes songs," says Coleman, 73. "So I said, `Sing,' and she sang [music based upon] an F chord," a not-exactly-radical gesture that clearly would hold little appeal for a set of ears as restlessly inquisitive as Coleman's. "So I gave her a newspaper, and I said, `I want you to read the newspaper, and I'm going to play while you're reading,'" with Coleman presumably blowing unexpected pitches, bizarre melodic intervals and chord-shattering phrases into his alto saxophone. "And the more she was reading the newspaper, the more her voice became a song," meanwhile leaving the F major chord behind and slipping, unwittingly, into Coleman's more free-ranging musical terrain. "And I said to her, `You know what? You might not realize it, but when your voice sings ... it's [now] coming out to make you sound like an individual. "And I call that `harmolodics.'" In purely musical terms, Coleman's "harmolodics" -- a linguistically suave merger of "harmony" and "melody" -- represents a rebellion against the chord changes that has driven everything in Western music from the fugues of Johann Sebastian Bach to the pop songs of Elvis Costello. In Coleman's "harmolodics," the strictures of chord progressions are abandoned, allowing each instrumentalist in a band to pursue his own melody line. Instead of chord changes, then, the players use the particular interrelationships of multiple melody lines to forge a common musical language. "It's like having a million melodies all at once," explains Coleman, "yet it's still a kind of unison." In Coleman's hands, this approach produces a music that is often sublimely lyrical, though also often harmonically provocative. Love it or hate it, however, it continues to influence some of the most significant experimenters in jazz. Just a few weeks ago, the brilliant Chicago musician Ken Vandermark gave the Chicago Jazz Festival its most artistically significant performance leading his new Crisis Ensemble. Named for Coleman album "Yes, the Crisis Ensemble was named after [Coleman's] album `Crisis,'" says Vandermark, in an e-mail from Oslo (where Vandermark is on tour), referring to a characteristically adventurous Coleman recording of 1969. "Ornette's use of `fluid tonality' [another way of describing `harmolodics'] has had a huge impact on the way I think about harmony in my compositions and playing," adds Vandermark, whose art embraces a broad range of techniques, many originating with Coleman. "Coleman's breakthrough with freeing harmony from a strict, repetitive structure has had a huge impact on the way improvisers have thought about tonality since the late 1950s. And his efforts to reduce the hierarchy between soloist and rhythm section also indicated a direction that free improvisers have built on since the late 1960s." Indeed, as Vandermark suggests, Coleman utterly rewrote the rules for improvising and writing jazz. The conceptual leap he made -- from the extraordinarily complex chord changes of bebop giants such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk to a post-chordal language of his own device -- not only changed the music but liberated it. Like most aesthetic revolutions, however, this one earned its leader considerable fire. In Los Angeles, in the mid-1950s, Coleman was hard-pressed to find musicians who would talk to him, let alone take his radical ideas onto a bandstand. And in New York, in the early 1960s, revered swing trumpeter Roy Eldridge said, "I think he's jiving, baby"; trumpeter Miles Davis said, "If you're talking psychologically, the man is all screwed up"; and drummer Max Roach, after hearing Coleman play, "punched Ornette in the mouth," notes John Litweiler in his Coleman biography, "A Harmolodic Life" (William Morrow and Company Inc., 1992). Even today, some observers hold serious reservations about the significance of Coleman's contributions. "Free jazz is one of the things that anyone can do, because there are no rules to which you have to conform," says John McDonough, a veteran jazz critic who penned a famous anti-Coleman essay -- "Failed Experiment" -- in the January, 1992, issue of Down Beat, where he serves as contributing editor. "It's empty in the same way that when Sid Caesar does a [fake] Japanese or French dialect. It sounds authentic, but it says nothing." Others, such as veteran Chicago jazz impresario Joe Segal, have had mixed feelings about different facets of Coleman's work. "I've heard him make some great music -- like when we had him at the Jazz Showcase [in 1975] with [bassist] Charlie Haden, [drummer] Ed Blackwell and [saxophonist] Dewey Redman. I liked the tunes, because they had that Charlie Parker flavor. "But [later] I heard him playing all-electric, and me and the other beboppers left at intermission, because it sounded like a big mess." Early on, however, a select few musicians instantly perceived the melodic beauty that Coleman's ideas made possible. "Don Cherry [the innovative trumpeter] told me about this alto player, Ornette Coleman, so I went to hear him, and Ornette takes out this white plastic alto saxophone, and I never had heard anything so beautiful in my life," recalled bassist Haden, in a conversation with the Tribune last year. "When he walked out of the club, I ran back after him. "I just thought he played like some revolutionary angel. "So he invited me to come to his home -- actually, it was his apartment, a little one-room shack with music on the floor and everywhere. "And I'll never forget what he said to me: `After we play the intro, listen to me, and we'll play what we want to play, not what we're supposed to be playing.'" Altered direction of jazz From these early collaborations with Haden, trumpeter Don Cherry and bassist Billy Higgins, among others, came recordings that radically altered the direction of jazz. The bracing sounds of "Something Else! The Music of Ornette Coleman" (1958), "Tomorrow is the Question" (1959), "The Shape of Jazz to Come" (1959), "Change of the Century" (1959) and "Free Jazz" (1960) signaled that jazz musicians content to play endless choruses on "All the Things You Are" permanently had lost their position on the front lines of the music. If this work sounded shocking to the uninitiated, it represented a great gust of fresh air to musicians with open ears and minds. "I remember listening to those records when they came out, and it's true that a lot of people didn't seem to understand what he was doing," recalls Chicago tenor saxophone virtuoso Fred Anderson, himself a cutting-edge player. "But I understood what Ornette was doing -- he was coming right out of Charlie Parker, and it was good. "It wasn't that he was trying to play like Charlie Parker. He was trying to find his own voice." Parker, indeed, was the alto saxophonist Coleman most admired, but while generations of imitators tried to ape Parker's breakthroughs, Coleman chose instead to push beyond Parker's bebop revolution. "I saw Charlie Parker play when I just got to L.A.," in the early 1950s, recalls Coleman, "when I was really, really starving at that point. I couldn't even get in the nightclub, because of the way I was dressed. "They said, `Please, the customers don't want to see you like this.' "So I spoke to him outside . . . he opened up ears to hearing another way of playing music." Coleman chose to do no less. "Jazz means two things: `unknown' and `present,'" says Coleman, explaining his view of the music that has defined his life. "In other words, you [bring] something unknown into the present, right? "Now I didn't call the music I was doing `free jazz.' Someone [at the Atlantic record label] named it that, put a Jackson Pollack painting on it and called it `Free Jazz.'" The phrase, which has stuck to post-chordal jazz ever since, may have done a disservice to Coleman and his idiom, for it gave casual listeners the impression that, in this music, anything goes, anyone can play anything. In reality, however, Coleman's fluid system of "harmolodics" requires musicians with uncommonly sensitive ears and nimble intellects, as well as audiences willing to embrace bursts of abstract instrumental color, utterly unpredictable phrase lengths and a kind of democracy among players that allows a robust counterpoint to flourish. So far as Coleman is concerned, this thinking-outside-the-margins approach to creating music was shaped early on, in Ft. Worth, where the absence of Coleman's father and the tiny wages earned by his mother left the family shut out of mainstream society. Beyond his reach Even music seemed beyond his reach, at first. "I don't ever remember hearing [classical] instruments like violins -- I was always hearing people with guitars and blues and stuff like that, because there was segregation," says Coleman. "The first time I saw a guy play a saxophone, I didn't know what it was. And someone told me it was a saxophone. So I asked my mother, and she told me that if I go out and make money I could buy myself one. So I made me a shoeshine box and went on the streets smelling feet. "Until one day she told me, `Look under the bed' -- it took about three or four years -- and I took it out and played it." Or, more specifically, Coleman invented his own way of playing the instrument, since music education was not in the family budget. Long unfamiliar with the technicalities of keys, transpositions and other nitty-gritty of the musician's art, Coleman conceptualized his own systems for how tones harmonize (and didn't harmonize), leading, perhaps, to his homemade "harmolodics." Looking in other cultures Ever since, Coleman has been relentless in his search for new sounds, venturing to study the musical rituals of Hopi Indians in 1962, to absorb the "healing powers" of the master musicians of Joujouka, Morocco, in the early 1970s, and to practically every other culture to which he could obtain entree. These influences perpetually have refreshed his art, inspiring epic pieces such as the jazz-meets-the-symphony "Skies of America" in the early 1970s, the quasi-classical "Freedom Symbol" suite (featuring a 20-piece ensemble) in 1989 and the multimedia, multicultural social commentary of "Tone Dialing" in 1995. Though these works have been praised and damned, Coleman remains undeterred. "I'm drawn to what I can't see that represents God," says Coleman, who has put aside, he says, bitterness over race-driven arrests in his youth, beatings from fellow musicians early in his career in the South and two brutal muggings from apparently random criminals in his adopted home, New York. "I remember that I got my horn in the '40s, and after I had some experience [on it], I discovered the word `art.' "And it seemed to me that art was anything that was created that didn't have to give in to anyone's influence. . . . "That's one thing that I haven't done yet, and I'm not planning to." - - - Essential Coleman Essential listening from Ornette Coleman's discography: "The Music of Ornette Coleman: Something Else!" (Original Jazz Classics; 1958). The opening shots in Coleman's revolution seem tame by today's standards but caught a generation of listeners off guard. "The Shape of Jazz to Come" (Atlantic; 1959). The first recording of Coleman's breakthrough quartet shows trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins forging a harmonically liberated, intensely melodic musical language. "Change of the Century" (Atlantic; 1959). Coleman and the quartet venture more deeply into a post-chordal idiom. "Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation" (Atlantic; 1960). Coleman's pioneering double quartet foreshadows the composer's future projects. "Beauty is a Rare Thing: The Complete Atlantic Recordings" (Rhino/Atlantic; 1959-1961; reissued 1993). This must-have, six-CD boxed set exhaustively documents Coleman's late '50s, early '60s innovations. -- Howard Reich
  9. Albert Ayler

    What's the "new box?" Oh Cubs,
  10. Charlie Rouse

    Rouse with Red Rodney, "Social Call," just reissued on CD, too...Great program of material....
  11. Charles Lloyd in Ann Arbor

    Please post the Ornette Coleman date and info etc...thanks...
  12. Radio stations to send to?

    My Webpage
  13. Radio stations to send to?

    I play avant garde jazz as part of a regular rotation (30 hours of jazz programming a week) and have a specific segment for the music (Wednesday at midnight, "Out On Blue Lake"). If not too late: Lazaro Vega Blue Lake Public Radio 300 East Crystal Lake Road Twin Lake MI 49457 WBLV FM 90.3 serving Muskegon and the Lake Michigan shoreline; WBLU FM 88.9 serving Grand Rapids. Please see www.bluelake.org to verify....
  14. Where in the world is Ornette Coleman?

    I posted on this yesterday, but apparently it didn't make it through. Ornette just played in Chicago earlier this month, will be back in Michigan, Ann Arbor, in March, and played this Spring at Carnagie Hall. You can bet those concerts featured music that isn't as yet documented. Maybe Harmolodic.com has some streaming files of music as yet unavailable commercially.
  15. Charlie Rouse

    Charlie Rouse with Sahib Shihab, "Soul Mates," on Uptown, at Rudy VanG's 1988. One of his best...
  16. 'I Waited for You' - Blakey at the Cafe Bohemia

    Featuring Blakey tonight on my radio program: consider this the first request for the night...which no one will hear as they'll be watching the CUBS WIN!!!
  17. Carl Fontana RIP

    The Carl Fontana-Arno Marsh Quintet, Live at Capozzoli's, Las Vegas, 1997, Woofy Productions Inc. PO Box 272, Phoenix, Arizona 85001 with Brian O'Rourke, piano; John Leitham, bass; Dick Berk, drums. Rangy (12 minutes on average) versions of Milestone, Perdido, Mulligan's Disc Jockey Jump...Was listening to a Kenton concert CD issued in England last night. The disc features Kenton with guests Lee Konitz, Bird and Fontana (all on different cuts). Interesting to hear Fontana's feature on Polka Dots and Moonbeams with Kenton in the late 1950's compared to the near perfect version he recorded on The Great Fontana...(sorry I don't have the Kenton disc title with me ).
  18. Lanphere last Thursday, Hepetitis C; Fontana last week, Alzheimers....two wonderful musicians who will be missed....
  19. Don Lanphere/Carl Fontana RIP

    Under what catagory? Sorry, didn' t see those before...
  20. The Chicago music scene in the 60s/70s

    Thanks Mike, I just sent one, too.
  21. The Chicago music scene in the 60s/70s

    While the question to the forum is for "Art Ensemble of Chicago" recommendations, there's no doubt that of all the band's recordings the "Art Ensemble" Nessa set is the most essential. If you're aware of that, sorry to be redundant, and thanks for the fresh look into that scene by Kart and especially Nessa. Pieces such as Quartet No. 1, Number 2 in all it's variations, and the solo pieces for Malachi Favors, Roscoe and most famously Lester Bowie ("Jazz Death") are signal moments in the evolution of jazz, announcing the music of Ornette, mid to late Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and the whole New York energy school sowed seeds for future creation. The Art Ensemble were first responders to the dramatic changes jazz was undergoing. Reading Larry Kart's first person accounts of how Elvin and Roscoe sounded together on what Brubeck would describe as "first blush" are vivid. These AE records are the first to validate, to signify the New Thing is not a fluke. The Art Ensemble is to the the New Wave what the Austin High Gang was to the New Orleans originals....that's inane..nevermind... , By laying in an emphasis on open, ethereal textures to counterbalance the weight of free blowing improvisations, these recordings find the music evolving to the next level, but not in a freakish sense, but with craft right out of Ellington and Mingus: disguising the written from the improvised. In some general ways what the Art Ensemble did by injecting light or roots driven percussion colors into "free jazz" is what Miles did to bop with Birth of the Cool: they air it out, open it up and find space where cement-like musical textures were becoming a norm. Staring down "Ascension" and finding Afro-centric impressionisim in response is not a move anyone was expecting. Moreover, finding a way to deal directly with "Ascension," what David Wild has called the single extended examination of a single theme, and the suite-like construction of "A Love Supreme" and "Meditations," not to mention "Free Jazz" by Ornette, the Art Ensemble are first responders to some of the biggest changes in orchestration and solo style since Ellington and Gillespie. You can't seriously talk of this band in quartet terms pre-Art Ensemble. Their instrumental scope..if the AE's colors and vocabulary weren't as vast as the oceans of Ellington's, their palette was large enough to fill the Great Lakes. On the Nessa set the bands are captured grappelling with the implications for large suites for extended instrumentation as no one since. Within their individual sounds, well, Larry, Chuck and some of the players around here might do a better job with that than I can. What I have for that is anecdotal. From September 11, 1998: Lester Bowie on the phone. The whole thing is at the Art Ensemble discography web page. Bowie: The music we (the Art Ensemble) play is kind of hard to explain. It's music that we really feel. It's like we take all sorts of elements, all sort of different reference points, and we have the freedom to be able to reference anything at any time. And at the same time to be able to listen and to be able to instantly create a situation. Many times you never know what's going to happen. You'll play songs that you never thought you were going to play. You play ensemble things that you had no idea you were going to play two minutes before. It's just about really being sensitive, and trying to play a music that is about music. It's about emotion, it's about traveling through these different emotions, and it's about showing the listener all these pictures. We expect the listener to have, like, a movie going on when they hear us. That's what it's all about for us. It's about being in tune with what music is -- without limitation of what is or what isn't, without necessarily regarding a certain rule. We have the freedom to either play a tempo or not to play a tempo; to play a note or not to play a note; or to play what some people would say is a sound. The way we look at it, everything is a sound. A chord is just the name of a sound. They say C is a pitch; it's the name of a sound. So is a cat's meow a sound, so is a motorcycle, so is anything. There are a lot of sounds. We try to incorporate any sounds into the music. Sounds of life. Sounds of everyday, and incorporate that as part of the music. It's just like an endless research into the music that the deeper you get into it, the deeper you get into it. And all of it you can't explain yourself, it's something you have to really do. Vega: That's why I like listening to you because it's what jazz is supposed to be, it's carefully considered listening, but at the same time spontaneous and freewheeling. Bowie: That's what I always thought it was supposed to be, like you say. These are the elements that really constitute the music. We have to understand that this is a very young music. We're just beginning to really develop this music. This is not a time to put in any narrow definitions or parameters on what this music is because we're only at the beginning of the possibilities of this music. We're just beginning to learn the importance of music in our society. What we as musicians and artists have to offer to the intellectual development of the people that live here. Music is very important. It's important as a tool for learning, it can be a tool for healing, it can be no telling what, as long as we remain free to be able to create the music, to be able to experiment and to really research, and to really get time to develop the music. (end). Last night as I was laying in bed listening to my two week old baby Eleanor weeze and fuss, gurgle and chirp (you've heard a newborn's breathing?) I thought to myself, sounds like Lester. In his being able to do that, imagine the sound of a baby breathing and bring it out the horn, he redefined what a jazz virtuoso could do, how far they could take their instruments into life's sound. Man, Wilbur Campbell had it right. Thanks for including that Mr. Kart.