Terri Hinte provides this piece of news:
Sonny Rollins is one of five individuals who have been selected to receive the Kennedy Center Honors of 2011, it was announced today by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. These individuals’ “collective artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.
Along with fellow recipients singer Barbara Cook, singer and songwriter Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and actress Meryl Streep, Rollins will be honored at the 34th annual national celebration of the arts on December 4. ”I am deeply appreciative of this great honor,” says Rollins, who turns 81 today.
“In honoring me, the Kennedy Center honors jazz, America’s classical music. For that, I am very grateful.”
Other jazz artists who have been Kennedy Center Honorees are: Ella Fitzgerald (1978), Count Basie (1981), Benny Goodman (1982), Dizzy Gillespie (1990), Lionel Hampton (1992), Benny Carter (1996), Quincy Jones (2001), and Dave Brubeck (2009). Rollins’s “masterful improvisation and powerful presence have infused the truly American art form of jazz with passion and energy,” said Rubenstein.
2011 is a good year for Rollins in the recognition department. In March in a White House ceremony, President Obama awarded him the Medal of the Arts. Rollins accepted “on behalf of the gods of our music.”
Bill Kirchner’s Jazz From The Archives next Sunday will feature Carol Fredette, a singer whose ability is far greater than her renown. Kirchner’s alert to the broadcast describes her as “a musicians’ and insiders’ favorite” and quotes Stan Getz: (“Carol Fredette possesses a very vivid voice, a voice of great quality. She’s as good as they come.” Bill promises several recordings featuring Fredette with pianist Steve Kuhn (pictured), a longtime collaborator. Here is a 2009 Rifftides mini-review of one of her albums.
Carol Fredette, Everything In Time (Soundbrush). This is Fredette’s first CD in more than a decade, and worth waiting for. I haven’t heard anyone do the Bing Crosby feature “Love Thy Neighbor” since John Coltrane in the 1950s. Fredette sings it with joy in her voice to equal the whooping exuberance of Trane’s solo. Her laughing, quacking take on the bossa nova classic “O Pato” is just one more of 15 reasons to admire this classy collection.
Jazz From The Archives will air at 11 pm EDT on WBGO-FM, 88.3, Newark, New Jersey, and around the world on the internet on WBGO’s website. When you go there, click on “Listen Now.”
In the early 1990s, as I was walking past a movie house on West 56th Street in New York, I spotted William Schuman in line with two women. I had seen them the night before at a concert tribute to him at Merkin Hall. Impulsively, I stopped, introduced myself and told him how much his music meant to me. He introduced me to his wife and her sister and said, “It’s always good to meet someone who listens.”
I have been listening to Schuman (1910-1992) for decades and intending for a long time to post something about this American composer whom I extravagantly admire. It puzzles me that, in common with Carol Fredette, he has never had the extent of performance or audience acceptance that his music warrants. In my notes, I recently ran across this from fellow artsjournal.com blogger and composer Kyle Gann:
There is a prejudice abroad that Schuman’s composing career was only propped up by his powerful position as President of first Juilliard and then Lincoln Center. Don’t you believe it.
To read all of Gann’s 2008 appreciation of Schuman, go here. The link in his post to an MP3 sample of Schuman’s Symphony No. 8 has expired, but you can hear the entire work on this CD in a superb performance by Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony.
If you would like to know more about Schuman, this video will fill you in on his history. Much of the story is in his own words. At the end, you’ll find a guide to the music used as background in the short film.
A Canadian, David Palmquist, and a Swede, Carl Hallstrom, have erected a new website devoted to Steve Voce’s writings about Duke Ellington and Ellingtonia. Voce is the veteran British broadcaster and author whom Palmquist and Hallstrom describe this way:
Steve broadcast for BBC Radio for more than 50 years and for 35 of them presented his own ‘Jazz Panorama’ programme. During these broadcasts he would telephone jazz musicians in the United States and talk to them live on air for an hour at a time. Steve has been writing a monthly column in Jazz Journal for more than 50 years and keeps insisting to the Editor that it is time he was taken out and shot – so that his obituary could appear in The Independent newspaper, for whom he writes all the obituaries for jazz musicians. Oh, and he wrote a book on Woody Herman but, since a fortnight after publication everyone except his mother had forgotten about it, he fell back exhausted and decided never to write a book again.
A sample lead paragraph from a 1966 Voce article in Jazz Journal:
‘A hundred shillings for bed and breakfast!’ The Ellingtonians were looking aghast at the bills which the Liverpool hotel had issued to them in advance. Lawrence Brown was fatalistic about the whole thing, and obviously regarded it as a mere extension of the ill-fortune which had made him a musician in the first place. I’m happy to report that he is still playing as well as ever, and still claiming loudly that his career is at an end, his lip is ruined, and that he could never play the trombone anyway. ‘All the muted work has ruined my lip.’
Good stuff. To visit the new Voce site, go here.