June 1 will be the first of two Charlie Haden Days at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival in Northern California, honoring the bassist’s nearly three quarters of a century as a professional musician. His career began when he was two years old. He will be 76 in August. Among those performing in tribute: Geri Allen, Lee Konitz, Haden’s Quartet West, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Carla Bley the Liberation Music Orchestra, Bill Frisell and Haden’s four musician children. For information about the Healdsburg festival, go here.
Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania confirms that pianist Mulgrew Miller is in intensive care. On the internet there have been erroneous tweeted reports of his death. Miller suffered a massive stroke on May 24. At this writing, further details are not available. Miller began his career in 1977 with Mercer Ellington. He worked early on with Betty Carter, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Benny Golson. He has recorded extensively with his trio and toured with his band, Wingspan.
Sorry to hear that Ed Shaughnessy died last Friday. The drummer is best known for his 29-year-stint in the Tonight Show band, but he had a long, distinguished career before that. He played with Jack Teagarden, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, Horace Silver and Johnny Richards, subbed with Duke Ellington and made five albums with Count Basie. He was on other recordings by a range of artists that included Charlie Ventura, Clark Terry, Billie Holiday, Chris Connor, Gene Ammons, Bob Brookmeyer, Johnny Hodges, Doc Severinsen and Quincy Jones. Shaughnessy was 84. To read The New York Times obituary, go here.
Bill Crow’s The Band Room column in the May issue of Allegro, the newspaper of New York’s AFM local 802, has this anecdote, used with Bill’s permission:
I was jamming with Zoot Sims and some French jazz players one night in the sub-basement of a Paris bistro. Zoot really tore into one tune, playing chorus after chorus of his own special whoopee, and then, as he turned it over to the piano player, he grinned at me and said, “You know, you can have a lot of fun with these musical instruments!”
To read Bill’s full column, go here. To hear him on bass with Zoot and Al Cohn having a lot of fun, “Morning Fun,” click on the arrow in the picture below. Mose Allison is the pianist, Gus Johnson the drummer, ca. 1959. Sims has the first tenor sax solo.