Jazz News & Notices

JazzErie Discussion Group, June 16, 2011
Denny Loves Videos, Don Likes Woody, Al Spins Miles, Jim Digs, and Don's Cool

Denny Loves Videos

Denny Kitchen opens the meeting with three video presentations: 

  1. Cab Calloway and his band perform “Kickin the Gong Around” during which Cab demonstrates his unique vocalizing and his amazing dance moves which satisfy the suspicion that the man had fewer bones than “Gumbyzz.” 
  2. Roy Haynes, revered “drummer,” was 82 years old when he appeared on Dave Letterman’s show during drum solo week.  He showed us why he deserves the sobriquet with his skill, intelligence and musicality. 
  3. “Song For Japan” is a musical offering in sympathy for the recent catastrophe suffered by the people of Japan.  The project involved trombonists of many countries playing solo or in ensembles, a melody composed for the occasion.   Moving, sobering, and uplifting.


Don Likes Woody

“Woody’s God Star” is the title cut of this John Fedchock arrangement for the Woody Herman big band.  Predictably, the band swung like crazy.  That’s what we love about the Herman band.  I remember attending a jazz concert in Buffalo when the audience politely accepted the offerings of the Miles Davis Quintet and the Cannonball and Nat Adderly Quintet.  But when the Herman band hit, it was the first time feet were tapping and heads bobbing.  The applause said, “Thanks for the exploration, but this is what we need at this time.”  Thanks to Don Schwab.


Al Spins Miles, Jim Digs, and Don's Cool

Speaking of Miles Davis, do not interpret my preceding reference to Miles as a disparagement.  On the contrary, my personal choice for the most important jazz musician to this time would be Miles Davis.  I probably have more Davis recordings than any other Jazz player/composer.  Now here is a coincidence:  our next three participants have brought Davis recordings: 

  1. Al Lubiejewski spins Miles with Charlie Parker on “K.C. Blues.”  Miles told his father he was in New York studying at Juilliard – which he was at his own pace – but he was really in New York to find Charlie Parker!  Miles found him. 
  2. Jim Metzler plays from the album, “Dig,” on which he is joined by Sonny Rollins.  “Dig” is Miles’ alternate melody on the chord changes of “Sweet Georgia Brown.”
  3. Charles Ventrello

    Don Swift chooses from the 1959 “Birth of the Cool” Album, a selection titled, “Jeru” composed by Gerry Mulligan, it is also the nickname coined by Miles for Gerry.


Bassist, Neil Swainson put together an inspired quintet in May of 1987; one which included trumpeter, Woody Shaw.  This was Woody’s last studio recording and his eyesight was so poor he learned all his parts by ear the day before the recording. Sadly, he died in May of 1989 after a series of personal disasters.  You would never suspect his unfortunate set-backs upon listening to the sparkling playing on this album called “49th Parallel”.


Join us on the third Thursday of each month at 7:30PM at the Erie Art Museum Annex.  Info:  866 2731


By Charles Ventrello
September 12, 2011