According to the documentary "Pass It On," about drummer Roger Humphries, two things matter: family and music. In that order. Mr. Humphries, who comes from an extended musical family and in his younger years toured with the likes of Ray Charles and Horace Silver, said he decided to come off the road when he realized that his young children didn't know who he was. Nearly an hour long and directed by Billy Jackson for NOMMO Productions, the documentary chronicles a man who, although he had the talent and connections to become a worldwide name, chose to stay home and ended up mentoring an entire generation of jazz musicians. No small feat, given the region's musical history. Says saxophonist Lou Stellute, "He is the father of the jazz music scene here." Still holding court at a jam session
Charlie Parker , born today 95 years ago, was from the landlocked state of Kansas and he had some of his worst years in sunny California (including a six-month stay in a mental institution), but Baltimore muralist Pontella Mason's 2008 "Bebop: Charlie Parker and Bettie Carter" on one of the pylons under I-83, places Parker near the beach. Parker isn't on the beach mind you, he's in the water, in a suit, just his head and shoulders and some of his saxophone popping out of the water, and he's oversized—like some Ray Harryhausen creature who has come to the surface for some air. Parker's sad or maybe just doped-up eyes stare forward—this is how he played the saxophone by the way, so focused as to be zoned out, hardly the wailing sax man portrayed in Clint Eastwood's insincere movie "Bird." And his face here is uncannily indifferent, a fitting look for a confident musical genius, self-absorbed prick, and somebody often full of H, which both fills you with apathy and makes you...
We all know someone who says something like, “I’m not into jazz” or “I just don’t get what jazz is all about.” So we’ve put together a 100 track play list of music that should convince even the most sceptical that ‘It’s OK To Like Jazz.’ And if you already like jazz, we think that you’ll love our tunes.
Drummer/promoter Richard Pite writes about next month's tribute concert to Jazz at the Philharmonic (Cadogan Hall, Sunday September 14th): This year is the 70th anniversary of the first ever Jazz At The Philharmonic.
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