Tag: Jazz

In Memoriam: Wayne Shorter (1933 – 2023)

Wayne Shorter (August 25, 1933 – March 2, 2023) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Shorter came to prominence in the late 1950s as a member of, and eventually primary composer for, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. In the 1960s, he joined Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet, and then co-founded the jazz fusion band Weather Report. He recorded over 20 albums as a bandleader.

Many Shorter compositions have become jazz standards, and his music has earned worldwide recognition, critical praise, and commendation. Shorter won 12 Grammy Awards. He was acclaimed for his mastery of the soprano saxophone since switching his focus from the tenor in the late 1960s and beginning an extended reign in 1970 as Down Beat’s annual poll-winner on that instrument, winning the critics’ poll for 10 consecutive years and the readers’ for 18. The New York Times’ Ben Ratliff described Shorter in 2008 as “probably jazz’s greatest living small-group composer and a contender for greatest living improviser”. In 2017, he was awarded the Polar Music Prize.

Shorter died in Los Angeles on March 2, 2023, at the age of 89.

In Memoriam: Butch Miles (1944 – 2023)

Butch Miles (born Charles J. Thornton, Jr., July 4, 1944 – February 2, 2023) was an American jazz drummer. He had played with the Count Basie Orchestra, Dave Brubeck, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne and Tony Bennett.

Miles, who cites Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, and Jo Jones as favorite drummers, began playing snare drum at the age of nine and majored in music at West Virginia State University (1962–1966). After receiving his degree, he went on tour with the Iris Bell Trio. He was Mel Torme’s drummer for 3 1/2 years and it was Torme and Buddy Rich who recommended Miles to Count Basie when a drummer was needed. Miles was with the Count Basie Orchestra from 1975 to 1979, returning for ten years from 1997 to 2007.

From Count Basie’s autobiography (published in 1985): “Butch came to us from Mel Torme’s outfit. He was a real crowd pleaser, like Buddy Rich and Sonny Payne, and he picked up on things very nicely, and he was also interested in sticking around for a while, which he did, for about four years.”

Miles was leader of the group Jazz Express in the 1980s and 1990s. He has performed at the Newport Jazz Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival. He is a member of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame 2011 class of inductees. He is currently retired from the School of Music at Texas State University-San Marcos.

In March 2014. Miles was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. which has no treatment other than a lung transplant. He received a lung transplant and went into a period of recovery.

Monday 11/28/22 8pm ET: Feature LP: Herbie Hancock – Sound-System (1984)

Sound-System is the thirty-sixth album by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and the second of three albums co-produced by Bill Laswell with the ‘Rockit’ Band. Guest artists include saxophonist Wayne Shorter, guitarist Henry Kaiser, kora player/percussionist Foday Musa Suso and drummer Anton Fier. Released August 20, 1984.

“Hardrock” 6:10
“Metal Beat” 4:56
“Karabali” 5:17
“Junku” 5:32
“People are Changing” 6:05
“Sound System” 5:55

Herbie Hancock – Yamaha DX7 (1, 2, 4, 5, 6), Fairlight CMI (1–4, 6), Rhodes Chroma (1, 4), E-mu 4060 digital keyboard (1), Apple IIe computer (1), acoustic piano (3, 4, 5), Memorymoog (4), clavinet (6)
Will Alexander – Fairlight CMI programming (1, 2, 3, 6)
Rob Stevens – synthesizers (1, 4), programming (4)
D.S.T. – turntables (1, 2, 6), sound effects (1, 2, 6)
Henry Kaiser – guitar (1, 2)
Nicky Skopelitis – guitar (1, 6)
Bill Laswell – electric bass (1, 4, 6), Oberheim DMX (1, 2, 4, 6), tapes (1, 4), shortwave electronics (2)
Anton Fier – Simmons drums (1, 2, 6), percussion (1, 2, 6), cymbals (2), Synare (6), timpani (6)
Daniel Poncé – assorted percussion (1, 3)
Aïyb Dieng – assorted percussion (2, 4, 5, 6), Roland TR-808 (5)
Foday Musa Suso – assorted percussion (2, 6), dusunguni (2, 4), balafon (2), kora (4, 6), kalimba (4), guitar (6)
Hamid Drake – cymbals (3)
Wayne Shorter – lyricon (2), soprano saxophone (3)
Bernard Fowler – voice (2), vocals (3, 5), vocal arrangements (3, 5)
Toshinori Kondo – speaking voice (2), trumpet (6)

In Memoriam: Mick Goodrick (1945 – 2022)

Mick Goodrick (June 9, 1945 – November 16, 2022) was an American jazz guitarist who spent most of his career as a teacher. In the early 1970s, he worked with Gary Burton and Pat Metheny.

An Elvis fan, Goodrick began studying guitar in his pre-teens and was performing professionally a few years later. When he was sixteen, he became interested in jazz at a Stan Kenton Band Camp. He attended the Berklee School of Music from 1963–1967. He taught at Berklee, then spent a few years touring with Gary Burton. After returning to Boston, he settled into a career largely as an educator.

Goodrick has had many notable students, including Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, Julian Lage, John Scofield, Lage Lund, Mike Stern, Avner Strauss, and Rale Micic. His first book, The Advancing Guitarist, is an instruction manual for guitarists of all styles. He has also written a series of books addressing the intricacies of harmonic voice leading.

Goodrick worked with Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra during the 1980s and early 1990s, with Jack DeJohnette in the late 1980s, and with Steve Swallow in the late 1990s. He performed in a duo with Pat Metheny at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2005 and with Wolfgang Muthspiel at the Jazz Standard in 2008.

Goodrick died on November 16, 2022, at age 77, from Parkinson’s disease.

Wednesday 9/28/22 10pm ET: Feature LP: Herb Alpert – Fandango (1982)

Fandango is a studio album by American musician Herb Alpert released on A&M Records in May 1982.

One of Alpert’s most popular albums, the title tune was composed by Juan Carlos Calderón. It was briefly available on CD in the early ’90s, but went out of print. In 2012, a remastered version was released on CD by Shout Factory, and is also available as a download on Alpert’s official website, herbalpertpresents.com as well as the major online music vendors such as iTunes.

  1. “Fandango” 3:41
  2. “Margarita” 3:41
  3. “Push and Pull” 4:40
  4. “California Blues” 3:49
  5. “Quiereme Tal Como Soy” 3:49
  6. “Route 101” 3:21
  7. “Coco Loco” 2:54
  8. “Aria” 3:44
  9. “Angel” 2:51
  10. “Sugarloaf” 5:07
  11. “Latin Medley (Frenesi / Bahia / Moliendo Cafe / Porompompero)” 5:43

Trumpet, Vocals, Vocoder, Arrangement – Herb Alpert
Arranger – Juan Carlos Calderón (track 1,6,9,11); Bill Cuomo (tracks 2,7); Michel Colombier (track 3,5); Eduardo Magallanes (track 4,8); Rafael Perez–Botija (track 5); Jose Quintana (track 10)
Backing Vocals – Marie Cain (track 6,11); Darlene Holden–Hoven (track 6,11); Mary Hylan (track 6,11); José Quintana (track 2);
Bass – Abraham Laboriel (track 1,9–11); Victor Ruiz Pazos (tracks 2,4,7,8); Freddie Washington (tracks 3,5,6)
Drums – Ralph Humphrey (track 10); Carlos Vega (tracks 1–9,11)
Guitar – Bernardino Santiago Gonzales (track 8); Abraham Laboriel (tracks 1,3,5,6,10,11); Tim May (tracks 3,5,6,11); Miguel Peña (tracks 2,4,7,8); Carlos Rios (track 3,6,9,11);
Harp – Gayle Levant (track 3,5,8)
Horns – Guillermo Espinosa (track 8); Carlos Macias (track 8)
Keyboards/Synthesizer – Juan Carlos Calderón (track 11); Michel Colombier (tracks 1,3,5,6,8,10,11); Bill Cuomo (tracks 1,2,4,7–9,11); Eduardo Magallanes (track 8); Greg Mathieson (tracks 6,10)
Marimba – Julius Wechter (tracks 3,11)
Percussion – Paulinho DaCosta (tracks 1–3,5–7,9,11); Laudir de Oliveira (track 10)

In Memoriam: Pharoah Sanders (1940 – 2022)

Pharoah Sanders (born Farrell Sanders; October 13, 1940 – September 24, 2022) was an American jazz saxophonist. Known for his overblowing, harmonic, and multiphonic techniques on the saxophone, as well as his use of “sheets of sound”, Sanders played a prominent role in the development of free jazz and spiritual jazz through his work as a member of John Coltrane’s groups in the mid-1960s, and later through his solo work. He released over thirty albums as a leader and collaborated extensively with Leon Thomas and Alice Coltrane, among others. Saxophonist Ornette Coleman described him as “probably the best tenor player in the world”.

Sanders’ take on spiritual jazz was rooted in his inspiration in religious concepts such as Karma and Tawhid, and his rich, meditative aesthetic. This style was seen as a continuation of Coltrane’s work on albums such as A Love Supreme. As a result, Sanders was considered to have been a disciple of Coltrane or, as Albert Ayler said, “Trane was the Father, Pharoah was the Son, I am the Holy Ghost”.

Sanders died on September 24, 2022, at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 81.

In Memoriam: Ramsey Lewis (1935 – 2022)

Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis Jr. (May 27, 1935 – September 12, 2022) was an American jazz composer, pianist, and radio personality. Lewis recorded over 80 albums and received five gold records and three Grammy Awards in his career.

Ramsey Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ramsey Lewis Sr. and Pauline Lewis. He began taking piano lessons at the age of four. As a young man, Lewis played with a number of local ensembles, such as Edward Virgil Abner’s Knights of Music. Lewis would eventually join a jazz group called the clefs. He later formed the Ramsey Lewis Trio with drummer Isaac “Red” Holt and bassist Eldee Young. They eventually joined up with Chess Records.

In 1956, the trio issued their debut album, Ramsey Lewis and his Gentle-men of Swing. Following their 1965 hit “The In Crowd” (the single reached No. 5 on the pop charts, and the album No. 2) they concentrated more on pop material. Young and Holt left in 1966 to form Young-Holt Unlimited and were replaced by Cleveland Eaton and Maurice White. White left to form Earth, Wind & Fire and was replaced by Morris Jennings in 1970. Later, Frankie Donaldson and Bill Dickens replaced Jennings and Eaton; Felton Crews also appeared on many 1980s releases.

By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, having topped the charts with “The In Crowd”, “Hang On Sloopy”, and “Wade in the Water”. All three singles each sold over one million copies and were awarded gold discs. Many of his recordings attracted a large non-jazz audience. In the 1970s, Lewis often played electric piano, although by later in the decade he was sticking to acoustic and using an additional keyboardist in his groups.

In addition to recording and performing, Lewis hosted the weekly syndicated radio program Legends of Jazz, created in 1990, syndicated by United Stations Radio Networks. He also hosted the Ramsey Lewis Morning Show on Chicago “smooth jazz” radio station WNUA (95.5 FM). In December 2006, this morning show became part of Broadcast Architecture’s Smooth Jazz Network, simulcasting on other smooth jazz stations across the country until its cancellation in May 2009, when WNUA switched over to a Spanish format.

In 2006, a well-received 13-episode Legends of Jazz television series hosted by Lewis was broadcast on public TV nationwide and featured live performances by a variety of jazz artists including Larry Gray, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Joey Defrancesco, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Kurt Elling, Benny Golson, Pat Metheny, and Tony Bennett.

Lewis died at his home in Chicago, on September 12, 2022, at the age of 87.

Sunday 7/31/22 2pm ET: Feature LP: Sade – Diamond Life (1984)

Diamond Life is the debut studio album by English band Sade, released in the United Kingdom on July 16, 1984 by Epic Records and in the United States on February 27,1985 by Portrait Records. After studying fashion design, and later modelling, Sade Adu began backup-singing with British band Pride. During this time Adu and three of the original members of “Pride”—Paul Anthony Cook, Paul Denman and Stuart Matthewman—left the group to form their own band called Sade. After various demos and performances, Sade received interest from record labels and signed to Epic.

Recording for the album began in 1983 at Power Plant Studios in London and took six weeks to complete. The album’s content was written by the group Sade and the production was handled by Robin Millar. Fifteen songs were recorded. The album contained a variety of musical elements including soul, jazz and sophisti-pop, mostly with love lyrics. The album spawned four singles, including “Your Love Is King” and “Smooth Operator”.

Music critics acclaimed Diamond Life and it was also a commercial success, winning the 1985 Brit Award for Best British Album. The album reached number two on the UK Albums Chart and number five on the US Billboard 200, and has been certified multi-platinum in both countries. Diamond Life sold over 10 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the top-selling debut recordings of the era and the best-selling debut album by a British female vocalist, a record that stood for 24 years.

  1. “Smooth Operator” 4:58
  2. “Your Love Is King” 3:41
  3. “Hang On to Your Love” 5:55
  4. “Frankie’s First Affair” 4:39
  5. “When Am I Going to Make a Living” 3:27
  6. “Cherry Pie” 6:20
  7. “Sally” 5:23
  8. “I Will Be Your Friend” 4:45
  9. “Why Can’t We Live Together” 5:28

Sade Adu – vocals
Stuart Matthewman – saxophone, guitar
Andrew Hale – keyboards
Paul S. Denman – bass
Dave Early – drums, percussion
Martin Ditcham – percussion
Paul Cooke – drums
Terry Bailey – trumpet
Gordon Matthewman – trumpet

In Memoriam: Michael Henderson (1951 – 2022)

Michael Henderson (July 7, 1951 – July 19, 2022) was an American bass guitarist and vocalist. He was known for his work with Miles Davis in the early 1970s and on early fusion albums such as Jack Johnson, Live-Evil, and Agharta, along with a series of his own R&B/soul hits and others featuring him on vocals, particularly the Norman Connors-produced hit “You Are My Starship” in 1976 and other songs in the mid to late-1970s.

Henderson died on July 19, 2022, at his home in Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of 71.

Thursday 1/13/22 12am ET: Feature LP: Lee Ritenour – Rit (1981)

Lee Mack Ritenour (born January 11, 1952) is an American jazz guitarist who has been active since the late 1960s. Rit is the tenth album released in 1981. Was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

1 Mr. Briefcase 03:31
2 (Just) Tell Me Pretty 04:15
3 No Sympathy 04:46
4 Is It You? 04:28
5 Dreamwalk 01:47
6 Countdown (Captain Fingers) 04:27

7 Good Question 03:43
8 (You Caught Me) Smilin’ 04:10
9 On the Slow Glide 04:14
10 No Sympathy (Reprise) 01:56

Monday 11/29/21 12am ET: Feature LP: Herb Alpert – Rise (79)

Rise is a 1979 album by Herb Alpert.

In 1979, the song “Rise”, written by Andy Armer and Alpert’s nephew Randy “Badazz” Alpert but without an accompanying album, became a worldwide sensation. The 12″ version was a favorite of club DJs and the 7″ single, released on July 20, 1979, reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in October, staying there for two weeks. “Rise” was Alpert’s first No. 1 hit in the US since “This Guy’s in Love with You” spent four weeks there in 1968. Armer and the Alperts then set about creating an album to capitalize on the song’s success, and Rise was released in September.

Side 1 of Rise consists of original songs composed by Armer, Herb Alpert and Randy Alpert. Side 2 contains cover versions of songs that Herb Alpert admired. All songs featured the elder Alpert on trumpet, with many other studio musicians contributing.

The opening track, “1980”, is an instrumental theme written by Herb Alpert that NBC Sports executive Don Ohlmeyer had originally commissioned for the network’s planned coverage of the Summer Olympics in Moscow, but it was used seven years later as the official theme song for NBC’s telecast of the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. The closing song on the first side is another Armer and Randy Alpert song called “Rotation”, which was released as the follow-up single to “Rise”, peaking at No. 30 on the Hot 100 chart in January 1980.

Side 2 of the album includes a cover of “Street Life,” originally recorded by the Jazz Crusaders, a version of the Bill Withers song “Love Is” featuring Herb Alpert’s vocals and a dance rendition of Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez classical composition.

Rise was the first album to be recorded digitally on the 3M 32-track digital recorder at Alpert’s A&M Records studios.

The album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart and at No. 6 on both the Billboard 200 and R&B album chart, selling more than three million copies.

1980 (2:25)
Rise (7:37)
Behind the Rain (5:34)
Rotation (5:12)
Street Life (5:01)
Love Is (4:28)
Angelina (4:13)
Aranjuez (Mon Amour) (6:42)

Tuesday 11/23/21 1pm ET: Feature Artist: Manhattan Transfer

The Manhattan Transfer is a Grammy award-winning jazz vocal group founded in 1969 that has explored a cappella, vocalese, swing, standards, Brazilian jazz, rhythm and blues, and pop music.

There have been two editions of the Manhattan Transfer, with Tim Hauser the only person to be part of both. The first group consisted of Hauser, Erin Dickins, Marty Nelson, Pat Rosalia, and Gene Pistilli. The second version of the group, formed in 1972, consisted of Hauser, Alan Paul, Janis Siegel, and Laurel Massé. In 1979, Massé left the group after being badly injured in a car accident and was replaced by Cheryl Bentyne. The group’s long-time pianist, Yaron Gershovsky, accompanied the group on tour and served as music director. Trist Curless from the Los Angeles a cappella group m-pact became a permanent member in October 2014 following Hauser’s death.

Friday 11/12/21 6pm ET: Feature LP: Boney James – Solid (2020)

Solid by Boney James was released March 6, 2020

“A solid relationship is when someone has your back and will stand by your side no matter what,” explains Boney James about the title of his new CD. Solid is the four-time GRAMMY nominated, multi-platinum selling saxophonist’s seventeenth album as a leader. It follows up his smash 2017 release Honestly (which became his eleventh #1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album). With eleven original songs and featuring R&B star Kenny Lattimore on the single “Be Here”, the record is an uplifting collection. Says James, “This new music is a reaction to how stressful the world feels these days. Music is a respite, it’s always ‘solid’ and it never lets me down.

1 Full Effect 3:51
2 Solid 4:05
3 The Bottom Line 3:52
4 Luna 4:45
5 On The Path 3:56
6 Be Here feat. Kenny Lattimore 3:34
7 Tonic 4:17
8 Just So 3:39
9 Fresh Air 3:42
10 Last Train Home 4:41

In Memoriam: Dr. Lonnie Smith (1943 – 2021)

Lonnie Smith (July 3, 1942 – September 28, 2021), styled Dr. Lonnie Smith, was an American jazz Hammond B3 organist who was a member of the George Benson quartet in the 1960s. He recorded albums with saxophonist Lou Donaldson for Blue Note before being signed as a solo act. He owned the label Pilgrimage.

Smith toured the northeastern United States heavily during the 1970s. He concentrated largely on smaller neighborhood venues during this period. His sidemen included Donald Hahn on trumpet, Ronnie Cuber, Dave Hubbard, Bill Easley and George Adams on saxes, George Benson, Perry Hughes, Marc Silver, Billy Rogers, and Larry McGee on guitars, and Joe Dukes, Sylvester Goshay, Phillip Terrell, Marion Booker, Jimmy Lovelace, Charles Crosby, Art Gore, Norman Connors and Bobby Durham on drums.

Smith performed at several prominent jazz festivals with artists including Grover Washington Jr., Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Lou Donaldson, Ron Holloway, and Santana. He also played with musicians outside of jazz, such as Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Etta James, and Esther Phillips.

Smith died on September 29, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 79.

Wednesday 4/28/21 12am ET: Feature LP: Chuck Mangione – Fun and Games (1980)

Fun and Games is an album recorded by the American flugelhorn player Chuck Mangione, who released it on the A&M Records label in 1980. It included the song “Give It All You Got”, which ABC Sports used for the 1980 Winter Olympics, as well as a slower version of that song, “Give It All You Got, But Slowly”. The latter was also used during the 80’s as sign-off music for many American television stations.ard for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

  1. “Give It All You Got” 6:16
  2. “You’re the Best There Is” 7:34
  3. “Piña Colada” 8:15
  4. “I Never Missed Someone Before” 9:37
  5. “Give it All You Got, But Slowly” 4:27
  6. “Fun and Games” 7:11

Chuck Mangione – Flugelhorn, electric and acoustic pianos, vocal
Grant Geissman – electric, acoustic, 12-string, and classical guitars
James Bradley, Jr. – drums, timbales, triangle, congas, cowbell
Charles Meeks – bass, harmonica
Bill Reichenbach Jr. – trombone
Jeff Tyzik – trumpet
Chris Vadala – C flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, alto flute, bass flute, piccolo