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Dave James

First Concert

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My mother would make the rounds to various Chicago supper clubs
before and after I was born (she was pregnant with me while seeing
Jamal at the Pershing). I have vague memories of seeing people like
Ramsey Lewis, Quartette Trés Bien, either Jo Jones or Jonah Jones
I'm guessing Jo Jones because of my interest in drums, and others.
I remember singers at Mister Kelley's and more adventurous music
at the London House, but the one that I remember much more clearly
is the December 22, 1965 Miles at the Plugged Nickel over on Wells.
It was my mother's 40th birthday and I managed to spill a drink all over
her that night. She used to tell me of another "show" where the next
Miles tune that was announced was, "Miles and Miles and Miles of Miles"
(don't know which date or club) and the band proceeded to play for what
seemed like an eternity. She liked his music, but apparently it was a bit
on the indulgent side that particular night (wherever it may have been).

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2 hours ago, JSngry said:

Dizzy @ Mother Blues, hey I was there too! Fine band, good show. Mickey Roker. I remember for sure, not sure who was on guitar or bass...John Lee maybe? Al Gaifa on guitar? I remember Dizzy being surrounded by women every moment he was off the stand. And Dizzy was a master MC, he knew how to present a set and engage an audience, onstage and off.

I definitely remember it was Al Gafa on guitar (I have his Pablo release but don't recall running across him on a recording ever again)  and Mickey Roker on drums. I do not remember the bass player. I recall the performance of Olinga as the highlight for  me.

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For some reason, John Lee on bass is sticking in my mind?

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It is possible. I did see John Lee on bass with both McCoy Tyner and Dizzy in the 1980s.

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Earl May on bass perhaps?

Remember seeing John Lee with McCoy in the early 1980s too. The band with John Blake and Joe Ford.

Edited by sidewinder

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Might have been Earl May, but for some reason I'm thinking John Lee, like he was announced and I thought "John Lee of John Lee & Gerry Brown?"...but reading bios, Earl May seems more chronologically likely. I honestly do not remember.

 

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My first concert, JATP, Chicago Opera House, Oct. 2, 1955. From my book:

"The first live jazz performance  I heard  was  a Jazz  at  the Philharmonic  concert  that took place  at the Chicago Opera House on October  2, 1955, with a lineup  that included Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Flip Phillips, Illinois Jacquet , Lester Young, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, and Buddy Rich. Aware  of the music  for just five months,  at age thirteen I knew  the names of most of these musicians.  And one of them, Eldridge, was a particular  favorite  because  he  seemed to speak so personally  and openly  through  his horn, with such passion,  genuineness,  strength, and grit.  (By contrast,  I thought that Jacquet  and Phillips’s tenor saxophone  battles were  exciting  but mostly  for show, not  to be taken at face value.) 

Lester Young, however, was  only a name to me; I’d yet to hear  a note of his music. And partly  because of that lack of context,   much of what  he played  that  afternoon  struck  me as very  strange.  (As it happens,  the concert  was recorded,  and eventually released  on the  album 'Blues in Chicago 1955,'  so I can place  memories  alongside  what  actually occurred.)

Young was not in good shape on the1955 JATP tour,  physically or emotionally. He would be hospitalized  for several weeks that winter,  suffering from alcoholism  and depression,  though he would recover  sufficiently  to make  two of his best latter-day  recordings, 'Jazz Giants ’56' and 'Pres and Teddy,' in mid-January 1956.  But in the gladiatorial  arena of Jazz at the Philharmonic,  the wan, watery-toned  Young I heard seemed to speak  mostly of weakness,  even  of an alarming  inability or unwillingness  to defend  himself.  And yet  this state of being  was undeniably,  painfully  being  expressed,  though at times perhaps  only  out of dire necessity; the brisk tempo  Gillespie  set for the piece  the two of them shared  was  one that Young  could barely  make.

 Then toward the end came  a ballad medley, which began  with Young’s slow-motion  restatement  of “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.” That he seemed to be more in his element  here was about  all I realized  at the time,  though  even that  fact was  provocative.  And the recorded evidence  confirms this, as Young  bends a bare minimum  of  resources  to the task -- as though  he were saying “This is all I have” and asking “Is this not enough?” Admittedly, that is largely  a present-day response to a performance  that now seems remarkable  to me. Yet something of that sort must have been crystallizing  back  then, because  I was  immediately eager to find out more  about  Lester Young. And when I did -- an album of vintage Basie  material that  included “Taxi War Dance”  and the arrival  of Jazz Giants ’56 were  crucial -- number of doors  began to open."

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12 hours ago, HutchFan said:

One of the earliest -- and possibly the very first -- jazz concerts that I attended was the Atlanta Festival in the mid-80s.  IIRC, the festival at that time was usually held in Grant Park.  But it was raining, so they moved the festival indoors.  I think it was held in an auditorium on the Georgia Tech campus. I remember two acts clearly: the Michel Petrucciani Trio and the Bazooka Ants -- with our very own Jeff Crompton!

I have vivid memories of the Bazooka Ant's fantastic rendition of James Brown's "Mother Popcorn"!

I remember liking Petrucciani's music. But much of it was over my head at the time.  . . .Later on, I fell in love with his playing.

Oh, wow! I was just a kid, it seems like now. Petrucciani played first because he had a plane to catch, and we enjoyed joking about how Michel Petrucciani opened for us.

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As far as I can remember it was Little Richard and Sam Cooke at Sheffield City Hall in 1963. Also saw Jerry Lee Lewis and The Everly Bros around the same time.

Edited by kinuta

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On 27/03/2010 at 11:33 AM, sidewinder said:

 

First jazz - probably Dutch Swing College Band. Followed by Woody Herman Thundering Herd.

Humphrey Lyttleton's band with Kathy Stobart, Bruce Turner and Mike Pyne was up there in this early cluster too.

The Herman gig (Colston Hall, Bristol) was interesting. I got to go backstage and saw Woody very close up. Amazed just how small he was in person !

Edited by sidewinder

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5 hours ago, sidewinder said:

Humphrey Lyttleton's band with Kathy Stobart, Bruce Turner and Mike Pyne was up there in this early cluster too.

The Herman gig (Colston Hall, Bristol) was interesting. I got to go backstage and saw Woody very close up. Amazed just how small he was in person !

Mine was also Humphrey Lyttelton, but in 1957 when he was infuriating the traddies by adding a saxophone section of Tony Coe, Jimmy Skidmore and Joe Temperley. In subsequent months I saw them with Jimmy Rushing and with Sister Rosetta Tharpe. On all three occasions the venue was Leeds Town Hall. I was a sixth-former at the time.

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I think it might have been Gene Autry at the local arena.  First jazz was Sun Ra with a quintet (summer 1961). 

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2 hours ago, medjuck said:

First jazz was Sun Ra with a quintet (summer 1961). 

Details please!!!  Holy cow, and in a small-group context?  Do tell!

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3 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Details please!!!  Holy cow, and in a small-group context?  Do tell!

Small club in Montreal.  Can't remember name.  I had just arrived to start McGill. My cousin, a jazz fan, took me.    I remember John Gilmore but not the other horn (ir there was one).  Just seemed like jazz to me.  ( I already owned about a dozen jazz Lps : KOB, Ellington Indigoes, MJQ plus Sonny at Music Inn, and a couple of Dave Brubecks.  I'd gotten most of them from The Columbia Record Club. )        The only thing that seemed weird about it was they played The Christmas Song and it was August. 

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1 hour ago, medjuck said:

Small club in Montreal.  Can't remember name.  I had just arrived to start McGill. My cousin, a jazz fan, took me.    I remember John Gilmore but not the other horn (ir there was one).  Just seemed like jazz to me.  ( I already owned about a dozen jazz Lps : KOB, Ellington Indigoes, MJQ plus Sonny at Music Inn, and a couple of Dave Brubecks.  I'd gotten most of them from The Columbia Record Club. )        The only thing that seemed weird about it was they played The Christmas Song and it was August. 

:D ....

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According to Szwed's book, the Montreal band generally consisted of

Walter Strickland (tp), Marshall Allen (as), John Gilmore (ts), Sun Ra (p), Ronnie Boykins (b), Billy Mitchell (dr), Ricky Murray (voc)

most likely venue for medjuck's concert is "The Place, a coffee house across the street from McGill University" (alternatively the Mocambo on St Catherine Street - or anywhere else...)

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It was indeed Le Place.   

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8th Grade 1981/82

Ths Cars - Shake It Up Tour 

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