The SF Jazz Collective just began their month-long Spring 2012 tour. Each year since 2004 the eight musicians have selected a composer to honor — including many of the usual suspects: Coltrane, Hancock, Monk, Shorter, Tyner. (In 2013 it will be Chick Corea) This year, changing things up a bit, they've decided to showcase the music of Stevland Hardaway Morris. [more inside]
We've had a post on bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding previously, but perhaps we could do with an update. Last year she played at the White House for Stevie Wonder's Gershwin Prize concert and again for the Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word (previously). In December she performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, and, according to wikipedia, her February 6 performance on Austin Cty Limits (PBS [US only?], with Madeleine Peyroux) made her the most-searched person, and the second-most-searched item on Google the next day. [more inside]
"...A Fourth of July picnic, a Sunday Best church revival, an urban rock concert and a rural civil rights rally"
There was a historic music festival in the summer of 1969. But it's not the one that took place in Bethel, NY. The Harlem Cultural Festival ran from June 29 to August 24 that summer, presenting a concert every Sunday afternoon in Mount Morris Park (known today as Marcus Garvey Park). Three hundred thousand people turned out for the six free concerts, hearing acts like Nina Simone , Sly & the Family Stone (the only act to play both Woodstock and the "black Woodstock"), Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, The 5th Dimension, Moms Mabley and. Speakers included Jesse Jackson and "blue-eyed soul brother" Mayor John Lindsay. Security was courtesy of the Black Panthers, since the NYC police refused to provide it. Filmmaker Hal Tulchin recorded over 50 hours of concert footage, which has remained unreleased. Historic Films seems to hold the footage; it was supposed to be made into a movie to premiere at Sundance 2007, but its release seems to be continually delayed for reasons unclear. [more inside]
Ahmet Ertegun was profiled by George W. S. Trow in The New Yorker in a classic piece back in 1978. Ertegun was the son of the Turkish ambassador to the US and he remained behind in D.C. studying medieval philosophy at Georgetown. Instead of devoting himself to his studies he founded Atlantic Records with his friend Herb Abramson. Trow charted how Ertegun moved from tramping through muddy, Louisiana fields in search of hot new sounds to the whirl of Studio 54. Below the cut are links to the songs mentioned in the article, as best as I could find, in the order in which they appear. [more inside]