Lots Of Pepper

You may remember the tenor saxophonist Jim Pepper for "Witchi-Tai-To," an American Indian peyote chant he learned from his Kaw grandfather. Pepper set it to music and it became a crossover hit. The song persists as a staple in the repertoires of pop and so-called world music groups on several continents. It has a place in efforts to raise Native American pride and awareness, for which Pepper, with his Kaw and Creek heritage, has become a symbol. When I knew Pepper in Portland, Oregon, in the … [Read more...]

Remembering Redman

In The New York Times, Ben Ratliff reports on Sunday night's memorial service for tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, at which a number of Redman's colleagues performed. The pianist Ethan Iverson and the bassist Reid Anderson, both of the trio the Bad Plus, with (Matt) Wilson on drums, got off a version of (Ornette) Coleman's "Broken Shadows" that demonstrated the slippery harmonic mobility Mr. Redman played so easily. And Joshua Redman, Dewey Redman's son, played a startling piece on tenor … [Read more...]

Garner From The Inside

In her blog, DevraDoWrite picks up the Erroll Garner thread, posting reminiscences of her husband, the ageless 94-year-old John Levy, who played bass on a Garner recording date in 1945. There were no parts to read on this session because Erroll, like many of the great musicians, didn't read or write music. He picked standard tunes and we figured out little interludes, intros and endings, talked down the solo choruses and then recorded. We did all four sides in a single three-hour session in … [Read more...]

Garner And Gould

The Erroll Garner item on Rifftides the other day touched something in the readership. Comments are still rolling in. You'll find them by clicking on "Comments," at the end of the original post. This one from Hans C. Doerrscheidt in Germany included links: Thanks for the YouTube link of the great E.G! I remember finding the Concert By the Sea CD in the grab-box near the cashier in a supermarket (in a German small town!) in the early 90s. I've loved it ever since. There's a great DVD available of … [Read more...]

Dewey Redman Service

This is short notice, but Rifftides just received notification that there will be a memorial service this evening for the late tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman. Readers in or near New York City may wish to know. The service will be at 7:30 p.m. at Saint Peter's Church, Lexington Avenue and 54th Street. Among those expected to perform in Redman's memory are his son Joshua, Cameron Brown, Charles Eubanks, Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Frank Kimbrough, Geri Allen, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Reid … [Read more...]

Erroll Garner

Erroll Garner died thirty years ago, almost to the day. I don't know whether the National Public Radio station I listen to was aware of that, but the past few days during morning news programming, the producers cued up a few seconds of Garner's piano as transitions between local and national segments. The news was mostly grim, but Garner was full of cheer and optimism, as he was in life. Even in fifteen-second bursts, he got the day off to a good start. I cannot think of another jazz pianist … [Read more...]

Stamm On Screen

Trumpeter Marvin Stamm has put up a video page on his web site. It has clips from a concert by his quartet with pianist Bill Mays, bassist Rufus Reid (see the current DVD in Doug's Picks in the right column) and drummer Ed Soph. Guitarist John Abercrombie is guest soloist on one of the seven pieces and in the ensemble on others. Except for a couple of fades to black, the videos are complete performances by a solid group that deserves wider exposure. The Stamm quartet rarely plays in New York. It … [Read more...]

Quote: On Mingus

There were good days with Charles, but there were some stormy days. His temper is well known. I used to make him cry simply by telling him how nasty he was. It's amazing how he could change, storming one minute like he was going to kill someone and blubbering with remorse the next. But he had beauty, a little child's beauty, about him. --John Handy in Jazz Matters: Reflections on the Music and Some of its Makers … [Read more...]

Marsalises On DVD

This is some of what I wrote in a lengthy Jazz Times review more than three years ago when The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration was released as a CD. Together, the elder brothers are astonishing in their trumpet-soprano counterpoint flurries on "Nostaligic Impressions." Following Wynton's wry spoken comment about brotherhood, they have a spirited instrumental conversation in Branford's "Cain and Abel." The conversation grows in intensity and becomes an argument before it is resolved more … [Read more...]

Kirchner and Mance

At the end of her slightly dyspeptic little essay on the exhorbitant cost of eating out, DevraDoWrite adds this reminder, which I heartily endorse. I should have posted it myself. ...if you are a jazz lover in New York with $5 and a free lunch hour on Wednesday, January 3rd - 1-2 PM, make your way over to Saint Peter's Church (E. 54th St. & Lexington Ave.) for the MIDTOWN JAZZ AT MIDDAY concert featuring soprano saxophonist BILL KIRCHNER and pianist JUNIOR MANCE. I can't think of a better way -- … [Read more...]

About Zog

Godoggone writes: Not sure "Zog" was the best possible caveman name for this particular topic. Google that and see what you get... That name I made up had a naggingly familiar ring to it. My apologies to King Zog's descendants and to Albanians everywhere. Strictly unintentional. … [Read more...]


From the Rifftides staff to all: Best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year (that is a link). … [Read more...]