Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Adelaide Louise Hall was born on October 20. 1901 in Brooklyn, New York and began her stage career in 1921 on Broadway in the chorus line of the Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake hit musical Shuffle Along. She went onto appear in a number of similar black musical shows including Runnin’ Wild on Broadway in 1923, in which she sang James P. Johnson’s hit song Old-Fashioned Love.

In 1925, Hall toured Europe with the Chocolate Kiddies revue that included songs written by Duke Ellington, backed by the Sam Wooding Orchestra. The following year appeared in the short-lived Broadway musical My Magnolia after which she appeared in Tan Town Topics with songs written by Fats Waller and had a short road tour on the TOBA circuit. She then starred in Desires of 1927, with a score written by Andy Razaf and J. C. Johnson, that toured America for a year between 1926 and 1927.

In 1927 Adelaide recorded her wordless vocals on Creole Love Call, The Blues I Love To Sing and Chicago Stomp Down with Duke Ellington  and his Orchestra. The recordings were worldwide hits and catapulted both careers into the mainstream. She and Duke Ellington went on to record I Must Have That Man and Baby. She starred on Broadway with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Tim Moore and Aida Ward in Blackbirds of 1928. The show became the most successful all-black show ever staged on Broadway at that time and made Hall and Bojangles into household names. It was this musical that not only secured her success at home and abroad in Europe when the production was taken in 1929 to Paris, France, where it ran for four months at the Moulin Rouge. In Europe she rivaled Josephine Baker for popularity on the European stage.

With Blackbirds′ music score written by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, Hall’s performances of the songs I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby, Diga Diga Do, Bandanna Babies and I Must Have That Man made them into household hits, and they continued to be audience favourites throughout her long career. Through the 1930s she would perform on Broadway again with Bojangles in Brown Buddies, toured worldwide, discovered and hired blind pianist Art Tatum and recorded with him Strange as it Seems, I’ll Never Be The Same, This Time it’s Love and You Gave Me Everything but Love. She would continue to tour America, Canada and South America before turning to Europe once again and settling in Paris, France. Her husband, Bert Hicks, opened a nightclub for her called La Grosse Pomme where she entertained often. The Quintette du Hot Club de France featuring Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli were one of the house bands at the club.

Leaving Paris for London, England in 1938, she lived out the rest of her days there, becoming one of the most popular singers of her time. Hall recorded I Can’t Give You Anything But Love and That Old Feeling at London’s Abbey Road Studios with Fats Waller. Throughout her career she made more than 70 records for Decca, had her own BBC Radio series Wrapped in Velvet, making her the first black artist to have a long-term contract with the BBC, became one of the highest paid entertainers in the United Kingdom and appeared on the stage, in films, and in nightclubs, of which she owned her own in New York, London and Paris.

Adelaide would go on to record with Humphrey Lyttleton, and perform alongside Lena Horne, Spike Milligan, John Betjeman, Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Fela Sowande, Rudy Vallee, Jools Holland, Tony Bennett, Phyllis Hyman, Jacques Loussier, Alan Downey, Wayne Sleep, Ronnie Scott, Stan Tracey, the New Swingle Singers, Elisabeth Welch, Gregory Hines, Bobby Short, Honi Coles, Edith Wilson, Nell Carter, John W. Bubbles, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Stephane Grappelli, Mel Torme, Zoot Sims, Carmen McRae and Chick Corea, among a list too vast to mention.

She pioneered scat singing along with Louis Armstrong and is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s first jazz singers, holds the accolade of being the 20th century’s most enduring female recording artist, her recording career having spanned eight decades, In the 100 Great Records of the 1920s she is at number 26 with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, singing The Blues I Love To Sing, and her recording of the Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh tune I Can’t give You Anything But Love represent 1928 in the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) celebration of its centenary timeline of songs chosen to represent the past hundred years.

Singer, dancer, actress and nightclub chanteuse Adelaide Hall, who entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 as the world’s most enduring recording artist having released material over eight consecutive decades, passed away on November 7, 1993, aged 92, at London’s Charing Cross Hospital.

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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Red Richards was born Charles Coleridge Richards on October 19, 1912 in New York City. He began playing classical piano at age ten, and from the age of 16 concentrated on jazz after hearing Fats Waller. His first major professional gig was with Tab Smith at New York’s Savoy Ballroom from 1945 to 1949.

Following his stint with Smith, in the early Fifties Red played with Bob Wilber and Sidney Bechet. He toured Italy and France in 1953 with Mezz Mezzrow’s band alongside Buck Clayton and Big Chief Moore, and also accompanied Frank Sinatra during his time in Italy. He went on to work with Muggsy Spanier on and off from 1953 through the end of the decade, and then with Fletcher Henderson in 1957-58. During 1958 he did some time as a solo performer in Columbus, Ohio, then played with Wild Bill Davison in 1958-59 and again in 1962.

1960 saw Richards formed Saints & Sinners with Vic Dickenson, playing with this ensemble until 1970. He joined drummer Chuck Slate and his band in 1971 and stayed with him most of the year. He recorded an album with Chuck called Bix ‘N All That Jazz and following this he worked with Eddie Condon from 1975 to 1977. In 1977 he played with his own trio through the following year. He played and toured worldwide with Panama Francis’s group, the Savoy Sultans from 1979 through the 1980s and recorded with Bill Coleman in 1980.

Pianist Red Richards continued to tour almost up until the time of his death and passed away on March 12, 1998 in Scarsdale, New York.

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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Marshall Winslow Stearns was born on October 18, 1908 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He played drums in his teens, and attended Harvard University both for undergraduate and for law school. Following this he studied medieval English at Yale University, where he took his Ph.D. in 1942.

Stearns went on to teach English at several U.S. colleges and during this time wrote often about jazz music for magazines such as Variety, Saturday Review, Down Beat, Record Changer, Esquire, Harper’s, Life, and Musical America. Receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1950, he used the proceeds to finish his 1956 work The Story of Jazz, which became a widely used text, as well as a popular introduction to jazz.

He began teaching jazz at New York University in 1950 and then at Hunter College from 1951. In 1952, Marshall founded the Institute of Jazz Studies, which he directed. He became a consultant in the 1950s to the United States State Department, and accompanied Dizzy Gillespie on a tour of the Middle East in 1956 sponsored by the office. He taught at the New School for Social Research from 1954 to 1956 and the School of Jazz in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Jazz critic and musicologist Marshall Stearns, who along with his second wife, Jean, wrote a second book, Jazz Dance, which was published posthumously in 1968, passed away on December 18, 1966 in Key West, Florida.

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A Forty Year Tradition…

The history of a free jazz festival in Atlanta began in 1974 when then first time may Maynard Jackson established the Bureau of Cultural Affairs. Then in his second term he recognized the opportunity and the responsibility to promote America’s only original art for whose roots are indigenous to the South. Mayor Jackson brought in Michael Lomax, who had been a member of the ad-hoc committee that designed the Bureau of Cultural and International Affairs and went on to establish the National Black Arts Festival, and was named as the first director of the bureau. iHis two-year tenure was followed by proven fundraiser Shirley Franklin, who was equally committed to the mayor’s vision and the arts.
But it was Gary Windom from Compton, California who came to Atlanta and proposed to produce a jazz festival. With a willing and able administration ready, he became the coordinator of the festival, put out a call for brainstormers and with a bleak start only Malcolm Johnson, active in city programming, attended. Once the word got out that the city was serious about putting on a world-class celebration of pure jazz, Joe Jennings, Kole Eaton and Ebon Dooley joined in followed later by Mitchel Feldman and Rob Gibson.
It took four years from concept to fruition and the celebration and in 1978 the birth of The Atlanta Free Jazz Festival became a reality, with the ambiguity by design. The intent was to inform the public that the performances were free but also make them aware of the style of playing featured – free jazz, straight-ahead, avant-garde, improvisational, harmonically and rhythmically complex and beautiful – the best performers of pure or mainstream jazz musicians.
So, friends, enthusiasts, aficionados and initiates of jazz, jump on the bandwagon as we take a ride down memory lane and visit those jazz musicians who gave their heart and soul to the city and be witness to the evolution of the music. First stop, 1978…

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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Barney Kessel was born on October 17, 1923 in Muskogee, Oklahoma and began his career as a teenager touring with local dance bands. When he was 16, he started playing with the Oklahoma A & M band, Hal Price & the Varsitonians. It was here that his band mates lovingly nicknamed him “Fruitcake” because he would practice up to 16 hours a day.

Moving on to bands such as that led by Chico Marx, he quickly established himself as a key post-Charlie Christian jazz guitarist. In 1944 he participated in the film Jammin’ the Blues that featured Lester Young, and by 1947 he was recording with Charlie Parker’s New Stars on the Relaxin’ at Camarillo session for Dial Records.

Known for his innovative work in the guitar trio setting, in the 1950s, he made a series of albums called The Poll Winners with Ray Brown on bass and drummer Shelly Manne. He was also the guitarist on the 1955 Julie London album Julie Is Her Name, which includes the million-selling standard Cry Me a River and features a guitar part from Kessel which illustrates his melodic chordal approach in a minimal jazz group. During the 1950s he released three Kessel Plays Standards volumes containing some of his most polished work.

Barney was a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio with Brown for a year, leaving in 1953 and turning the chair over to Herb Ellis. He went on to play with Sonny Rollins in the late 1950s and recorded the Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders album. A first call guitarist at Columbia Pictures during the 1960s, he became one of the most in-demand session guitarists in America, and is considered a key member of the group of first-call session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew. In this capacity he played outside the jazz genre on hundreds of pop recordings, including albums and singles by Phil Spector, The Beach Boys, The Monkees and many others.

He appeared in an acting part playing a jazz guitarist named “Barney” in one episode of the Perry Mason TV show. He wrote and arranged the source music for the jazz combo, including a jazz version of Here Comes the Bride that was featured in the story. He played Mr. Spock’s theme on bass, which first appeared in the Star Trek episode Amok Time.

During the 1970s, Kessel put on his educator hat and presented his seminar The Effective Guitarist in various locations around the world. During this decade he performed extensively with Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd as The Great Guitars.

Guitarist Barney Kessel was rated the No. 1 guitarist in Esquire, DownBeat, and Playboy magazine polls between 1947 and 1960. In 1961 The Gibson Guitar Corporation introduced The Barney Kessel model guitar onto the market and continued to make them until 1973. Having been in poor health after suffering a stroke in 1992, he passed away of a brain tumor at his home in San Diego, California on May 6, 2004 at the age of 80.

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