Perhaps best know for his work with Vince Guaraldi, Cal Tjader and Earl Hines, Dean Reilly plays bass in the San Francisco Band Swing Fever. For a time, the band included Buddy DeFranco. In observance of DeFranco’s passing last week, Mr. Reilly sent a remembrance written by Bryan Gould, Swing Fever’s trombonist and leader (pictured with DeFranco). Here’s an excerpt:
“Here’s a little something to think about,” Buddy said to me one time, “contrary to what everyone thinks, Charlie Parker did not play better when high on heroin. Often he played considerably worse.” Nonetheless it was Parker he said, who really opened his ears and sent him headlong into bebop.
He had a very low opinion of dope in general, and especially of the rockers who he felt led a lot of young people to abuse. He held the rockers of the ‘60s responsible for ruining a lot of lives.
For a jazz musician, Buddy was a very upright traditional sort of person. This made him a nice balance to the madcap Terry Gibbs. Terry jabbed him with wild spirit; Buddy brought Terry (according to Buddy) down to earth. (On our tour with Terry; I can personally say that I have never seen Terry Gibbs down to earth.) Their partnership was felicitous.
To read all of Gould’s essay, go to the Swing Fever website. To see and hear the DeFranco/Gibbs felicity that Gould mentions, click on the white arrow below.
Jim Wilke has retired as host of the syndicated and streamed Jazz After Hours, but not from Jazz Northwest. Jim supplies the tip:
One of the best jazz piano trios in the Pacific Northwest, or anywhere, is featured in performance on Jazz Northwest, Sunday, January 4 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and streaming at kplu.org. The program will also be available as a podcast at jazznw.org following the broadcast. Pianist Dave Peck, long a mainstay on the Seattle jazz scene, leads his trio with Jeff Johnson, bass and Eric Eagle, drums in a program of American standards recorded during a two-night engagement at Tula’s in Seattle.
Dave Peck emerged as a sideman in the late 70s, often backing touring artists as diverse as Chet Baker Sonny Stitt, Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan. He toured and recorded with Bud Shank in the 90s, and has concentrated on his own piano trio in recent years. Bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Eric Eagle are his regular collaborators in this trio.
In this video, however, the drummer is Joe LaBarbera.
News has arrived that pianist George Ziskind died in December. He was 86. In his Chicago youth, which included study with Lennie Tristano, Ziskind won a piano competition that included his friend Lou Levy. Drug problems derailed his career for a time, but he reestablished it after moving to New York. He sometimes played at Bradley’s, the Greenwich Village piano showcase that thrived in the 1970s and ‘80s. For an obituary, go here.
Here is Ziskind playing “Sunday” in a duo engagement at Bradley’s with bassist Red Mitchell. You may detect his fondness for Bill Evans and, toward the end, for Thelonious Monk.
Mr. Ziskind’s frequent messages and occasional Rifftides comments were valuable for their knowledge and their salty forthrightness. George Ziskind, RIP.