A lot of family, friends and fans showed up at the Musicians Union in Hollywood on Saturday, June 25th to bid goodbye to Dave Pell, who passed away on May 7, 2017.
The Union was filling with his family, friends and fellow musicians who came to remember his life as a popular jazz musician. Those who formed a first-class band included: Carl Saunders-trumpet, Cip Cipriano-baritone sax, Scott Whitfield-trombone, Dick Weller-drums, Kenny Wild and Adrian Rosen, Charlie Ferguson-piano Barry Zweig guitar. Guest tenor saxes included Chuck Manning, Bob Efford, Kirstin and Tom Peterson. They performed songs that were Dave’s favorites. They sounded great! Despite the heat the musicians kept going all afternoon. Jack Sheldon was there for a short timeand played two tunes on his trumpet.
Some people spoke about Dave’s remarkable life and how he was always helping other musicians. He started as a young man and worked with some of the greats in the business. Everyone had only good things to say about Dave. I didn’t know him personally but when I was a teenager I heard one of his records and liked it a lot. What was this music? Why have I never heard it before? I liked the spirit, the smoothness of Dave Pell’s group and never forgot it. After hearing George Shearing on the radio one time I also liked that a lot. So that’s how I became a fan, with Shearing and Pell, and many more talented musicians I was going to hear in the future. I think that anyone who heard Dave’s style would say, “I like that!”
Some people donated big sheet cakes, cookies sandwiches and beverages. Some donated money. It was a very hot day but a lot of fans came by and stayed for the music and the stories about Dave. It was a very heart-felt afternoon.Myrna Daniels
Glenn Cashman is a prominent tenor and alto saxophonist, composer, arranger, organist and educator as well. He is a bi-coastal musician and educator and has been teaching at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York for many years and performing in both New York and Los Angeles as well.
Producer, Eric Futterer, made several announcements to do with Muckenthaler’s 12th Annual Jazz Series. He and Cashman have worked together closely for many recent years. Cashman is artistic director of the series. He began the evening announcing a special arrangement of the great jazz classic by Dizzy Gillespie, “A Night in Tunisia.” Pianist Ed Czach played gorgeously through early choruses. Trumpeter, Ron Stout delivered superb soloing. This band (of nine) easily sounds like a big band. Cashman announced and introduced his Southland Nonet musicians: Trumpet/Flugel Horn, Carl Saunders, Ron Stout; Saxes, Bruce Babad, (alto), Glenn Cashman, (tenor), Bob Efford, (bari); Trombone, Scott Whitfield; Piano, Ed Czach; Bass, Luther Hughes; Drums, Paul Kreibich. The audience attending, this last (of six) concerts, was completely packed.
One of Glenn Cashman’s composition pieces and a groovy one is titled “I’ve Got Your Rhythm.” Cashman gave a beautiful tenor solo. Kreibich made brilliant and impressive drum fills. The band made this one shine superbly. Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage,” arranged by Cashman began in Latinized form and branched off into several dynamic solos throughout the tune. A number of pieces performed in this concert were from Cashman’s 2012 CD Music Without Borders, with almost entirely the same personnel with many excellent numbers and also is exceptional listening as well.
Eric Futterer is also a composer. He had two likable gems, “I Will Always Wait for You,” (arranged by Cashman), which featured Stout’s smooth flavored trumpet work once again and “Carnival,” a rousing number starting in Samba form. The solos given in “Carnival” were impressive, ideally by Saunders, Efford and Kreibich, all receiving much applause each. Continuing in the second set, Cashman had two originals: “Prairie,” a tune he said was similar to the movie, Blazing Saddles, reminding us of Count Basie’s Big Band in the desert in this feisty movie. Cashman made several rhythmic changes woven into the chordal melodic changes of this pretty number. His “Fall Color” composition, once again, had written melody over rhythmic changes and was nice and very serene. Solos given were again excellent by Whitfield, Saunders, Efford and Czach. Other numbers played were: “Who Can I Turn To,” “Cadenzas for Cadenas” (Cashman), “What Dolphins Say” (Cashman), “Artscape,” and “Sumo,” (Cashman).
Closing the concert, Glenn Cashman proposed a tune to do differently. The tune: “Magoo’s Blues” by a Paul McKee. One part of the nonet played the first part of this blues and immediately following the second side of the nonet performed as an opponent, playing against the first half of the nonet. Results were exceptional. Impressive solos were made from Whitfield, Hughes, Cashman and Kreibich. Many rounds of applause were given and an appreciative standing ovation. See websites: www.glenncashman.com and www.themuck.orgGlenn A.Mitchell
One of the greater assemblages of jazz musicians was brought to Muckenthaler’s 12th Annual Jazz Festival Thursday, June 1, 2017. There was no doubt these super musicians would fit in stellar order and give this well-attended audience a rare and exceptional concert.
In starting the show the four artists came out individually, Clayton first and began with fine walking bass lines. Hamilton next joined him continuing some fascinating rhythm. Next, Wofford came out and began playing a beautiful piano for some pleasant sounding blues. Finally, star player Hofmann and her gorgeous flute work making this an excellent quartet. They sounded good as ever and turned this medium paced blues into the well-known gem, “I’m Walkin’.”
Hofmann talked a little bit about being at Muckenthaler, thanked the audience for coming and announced the wonderful standard “You, The Night and The Music.” It began with a fast start. Mike Wofford took some fine choruses with the trio. Solos came from both Clayton and Hamilton. Clayton played some intricate maneuvers in his walking bass; Hamilton nice breaks in the choruses. Although Hofmann uses two flutes, she used her standard a C flute with terrific choruses as well.
She introduced her alto flute next, a G flute and announced a beautiful number, “Making Rainbows” by the great John Williams. Wofford never stops producing super great chords and melodic runs with both hands throughout all the many tunes he performs. Clayton gave another terrific and meaningful bass solo. The audience gave very appreciative applause.
Something different followed: a solo creation duo with Clayton and Hamilton only, beginning with “What Is This Thing Called Love.” Clayton showed his lovely bowing work (arco) on his bass and Hamilton with many drum breaks in this gem. In Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “How Insensitive,” Hamilton displayed his super versatility playing hand drums while Clayton brought pizzicato back with his bass work in finishing this gorgeous number.
Hofmann announced Clayton’s talented writing, arranging and band leading, mentioning the next tune he wrote for his friend Cedar Walton, titled “Cedar Would.” Hofmann used her alto G flute in this sensational tune. Wofford gave fantastic playing in all parts of the number. Clayton, once again, played a phenomenal solo. Hamilton, great 4-bar breaks with a superb ending to this number. The audience gave rounds of applause at the intermission. Set two was a shorter but musically dynamic. They opened with a good quartet number, “Soul Leo,” by late /great Mulgrew Miller, a tune everyone enjoyed.
Hofmann and the trio played two well-known numbers from her earlier CD Minor Miracle, Cole Porter’s “Everything I Love” and the moving “CRS – Craft” an exceptional blues and the quartet added guest artist, Glenn Cashman on tenor saxophone making a vibrant cooking jazzy affair.
One more Clayton creation, “Touch the Fog” was enjoyed and well received. Ending the concert was a neat number “Truer Blues,” receiving a big standing ovation for these fantastic musicians.
This was one of six concerts presented at Muckenthaler by Producer, Eric Futterer and Artistic Director, Glenn Cashman.See websites: www.themuck.org / and www.hollyhofmann.com
Glenn A. Mitchell
By Andrew Abaria
Mark Winkler has been part of the LA Jazz scene for a long time now and just never seems to run out of new ideas and songs. His 15thCD seems especially tasty with an all- star cast of the best musicians the West Coast has to offer. I sat down with him at his home in the Hollywood Hills to talk about the new CD, while his little white dog Stella alternated barking at the gardener working in his yard and turning over on her back for some attention.
Andrew Abaria How did The Company I Keep get made?
Winkler: Well, 2016 was a tough year for me. I lost my husband, partner, lover, supporter and friend Richard Del Belso to cancer- we’d been together for 35 wonderful years and had recently gotten married. I realized in the months following his death the things that were getting me through were my friends and the music. So that was the genesis for the CD.
L.A. Jazz:Are those people on the CD cover your friends?
Winkler: Yes, they are. We shot it with a wonderful photographer Mikel Healey on December 30th of 2016. These literally are some of the people who got me through the grief of the last year. Barbara Brighton, my wonderful record producer and friend, my student Andrew Abaria, my best male friend in LA, Jeffrey Gimble, my brother Richard Winkler, my two close friends, who check up on me every day practically, Dolores Scozzesi and Lauren White and my buddy Judy Wexler. I’m blessed to have them.
L.A. Jazz:What a fun concept
Winkler: They literally are the company I keep. That session turned into a party, lots of food and more than a fair share of wine was consumed during the making of that photo.
L.A. Jazz:How did the music tie in?
Winkler: Well, the other part of the last year was how healing and emotional music was for me. So I picked songs that had a meaning for me at this time. In no way, is the CD sad because sad was just one of the many emotions I was going through. Then there was also happy, grateful, optimistic, feisty
L.A. Jazz:How many of the songs on the CD are Winkler originals?
Winkler: Well, I’ve been a lyricist for almost 40 years now, but on the last few CDs I’ve been splitting it up. Sort of 50% my material, and then 50% outside material. I think I covered some really great stuff this time. I’d always loved the Donald Fagen song “Walk Between the Raindrops” since I heard it on his Night Fly CD and Jamieson Trotter did a kick ass arrangement. l loved singing it with Jackie Ryan who’s just a fantastic singer.
L.A. Jazz:How did the Prince song get into the mix?
Winkler:l I have every Prince CD he ever put out minus an Appollonia C D or two. When he died tragically last year, I wanted to honor him with one of his songs. I’ve loved Strollin’ since it came out on Diamonds and Pearls. It’s a deep album cut and very jazzy so it was a blast recording it with my pal Cheryl Bentyne. I love the Larry Koonse guitar solo on this one.
L.A. Jazz:You recorded Oliver Nelson’s classic “Stolen Moments.”
Winkler: Mark Murphy is my favorite singer. And this to me is one of his great songs. I’ve listened to him sing this a million times and I love his lyrics, so I got my buddy Claire Martin, who was actually a friend of Mark Murphy’s, to sing it with me. We skyped it; she was in England, I was in the US but Claire has long been a close friend of mine and it worked great. I also wrote a little vocalese based on my memories of Mark, which I think is fun He was quite a character, but when he sang, he sang with no net!
L.A. Jazz:You’ve got an amazing array of musicians on this CD.
Winkler: 22—I’ve never had that many before on any CD. I must say being in the studio on tracking days was like being in Grand Central Station. But amazingly, it all worked and everyone was so nice. Once again, these musicians were friends, people I had some sort of relationship with through the years. David Benoit (who I’ve known forever and who is a great friend of mine) and Sara Gazarek to John Beasley, who I just think is fantastic. The two of us sort of started in the business at the same time and early on we had a disastrous club date in Hollywood. I was a little too inexperienced, he was a little too brash and the club was hosting a loud rock band in the same building so nobody heard us anyway.
L.A. Jazz:John Beasley plays so beautifully on “The Sum.”
Winkler: Doesn’t he? “The Sum” actually was started before Richard died and then after his death I came up with the last verse, which sort of put the message of the song in perspective. It turns out the song was all about him and seeing death or love or failure as just one part of the overall fabric of life. Very emotional.
L.A. Jazz:Steve Tyrell really sells his duet with you.
Winkler: He sure does. He wins the Hardest Working Award. He wouldn’t leave the studio until everything about both our vocals was perfect. I think we were eating and laughing and singing for about 4 hours- It was a gas! He’s produced many hit albums and really is very aware of what it takes to make a song work. Plus, his pitch and time are right on.
L.A. Jazz:You did a song Tony Bennett did with Bill Evans “Lucky to Be Me” - Why?
Winkler: It was Richard, my late husband’s favorite song. He told me this during the last week of his life. Plus, I love Leonard Bernstein and I had never done one of his songs before. David Benoit was a friend of Leonard Bernstein back in the early 90s, so it all came together nicely.
L.A. Jazz: I think “Midnight in Paris” is my favorite track on the CD.
Winkler: Oh thank you! I love it, because it’s like listening to a little movie, the clarinet and the violin, the Django Reinhardt guitar and show bizzy drumming—It’s a lot of fun and romantic.
L.A. Jazz:You also covered a song that’s very identified with Shirley Horn “Here’s to Life.” What made you do it?
Winkler: First of all, the lyric to this song is just perfect and at this stage in my life means the world to me. Furthermore, I was good friends with Phyliss Molinary, the lyricist of the tune. We both were in a songwriting group in the 70’s. At that point in time, she’d had quite a bit of success and was the big cheese in the group. She let me know she thought I was a wonderful writer. For a 24-year old guy just starting out in the biz that meant a lot. I actually was there at the birth of the song. It was originally written for George Burns, if you can believe that. The cherry on top was my Aunt Shirley loved the song and on the day she died asked me to bring her CD player up to her bedroom and play it for her. So many connections! I’m also am friends with Artie Butler who wrote the lovely melody. I hope I did Phyllis proud.
L.A. Jazz:This is your fifth CD with Barbara Brighton
Winkler: I thought it was the 50th! What can I say, great instincts, musicality and at this point in time I know if she says something, she’s right. I really trust her getting me to sing my best in the studio. The other part of the team is Talley Sherwood, the engineer and owner of Tritone Studios where we recorded. The three of us work together like a well- oiled machine When did you record the CD? Oh, that was interesting. We started the CD the day before the Presidential elections of last year, and we continued the tracking two days after the elections. Getting through those first couple of days after Hillary lost was tough on a lot of us. But every musician who worked on the CD said they were glad they were in the studio and not home ruminating about Donald Trump.
L.A. Jazz:So, what’s next on the agenda?
Winkler: I’m doing an Epic CD Release party at Catalina’s on Wednesday May 31st. I say Epic because I’m going to have lots of special guest stars that night. David Benoit, Mon David, Bob Sheppard and Bob McChesney, Sara Gazarek and another male vocalist who I have been sworn to secrecy about. I’ll be backed by Jamieson Trotter, Lyman Medeiros and Mike Shapiro from the CD and I promise you it will be swinging!
Five-time Grammy-nominated vocalist, composer and pianist Karrin Allyson brought her quartet group to Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles for a three-day engagement Friday March 24th thru Sunday, March 26th, 2017. We attended Saturday, March 25th. When you see an excited audience before any show, you know it will be the best.
Allyson was born in Great Bend, Kansas and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska in her earlier years spending her last year of high school in San Francisco before returning to Omaha and earning a degree in classical piano at University of Nebraska. She had some key stints in Minneapolis and Kansas City before relocating to New York. She began recording on the Concord Jazz label in the early 90s, expanding her musical aspirations into scat and vocalese that has continued throughout her career.
Her group had amazing performers: an excellent young Miro Sprague on piano (and keyboards), Larry Koonse on guitar and Jeff Johnson on a slimmed down acoustic bass. They began the evening with “A Felicidade” one of Jobim’s marvelous sambas. Allyson sang it in Portuguese – a very stirring rendition. While the trio performs choruses Allyson dances vivaciously to many songs they play.
Allyson has her own voice and it is very identifiable when listening to any songs she sings. One number that stood out for me was “Happy Talk” (from South Pacific). The lyrics are so positive and genuine which made it a standout tune of the evening. The band’s performance of the wonderful jazz standard “Equinox” by John Coltrane made an excellent impression. Not only was the band exceptional, but the lyrics written by Chris Caswell made this a highlight item of this show, along with terrific choruses by Koonse, strong piano fills by Sprague, nice bass solo from Johnson. For a number of years Allyson and Caswell have been friends and collaborators on successful lyrics for several songs she performs.
Other songs and numbers they performed in this one-set show were: “Never Say Never,” by Nat Adderly, “Footprints,” (Miles Davis), with lyrics by Caswell and Allyson. “Footprints” had some great piano lines and choruses from Sprague’s fine piano work. “Are You Happy Now?” (by Allyson) has her playing piano and singing this number. An excellent tune that shined well was “O’Pato,” (by Jayme Silva and Neuza Teixeria). Again, Allyson sang this in Portuguese.
During the entire show she and her exceptional trio were given many rounds of applause and a standing ovation at the show’s conclusion! Allyson continues to tour both nationally and internationally. See her splendid website: http://www.karrin.com.Glenn A. Mitchell