August 17, 2011
I might ask Gene Ammons, "what's the most useful musical thing your father (the great stride pianist Albert Ammons) ever taught you?" Father and son did gig together (and at 17, Ammons already sounded terrific.) Then again, I'd like to ask Wardell Gray, "what happened to you?" (Gray died in Vegas under suspicious circumstances.
After decades of playing just tenor & soprano saxes, I've spent the last year concentrating on alto sax. Now I'm torn between 2 loves (the soprano is gathering rust): the sweet and fleet alto, or the tenor with its great bluesy ballsy voice.
The Fireplace WAS a nice gig, intimate, decent acoustics, attentive audience, good food (now they've cut the jazz way down.) Anyone remember Michael's Pub (I've dated myself, I know.) Played a gig there and Jaki Byard sat in on alto sax! Later, he showed me his sax case - he had the changes to Giant Steps taped inside the lid!
I'm blown away by what I've heard from Billy Pierce & George Garzone on sax. I very much enjoy the gospel-influenced tunes of Laszlo Gardony.
One of my favorite albums is "Midnight Walk", with Elvin Jones as leader, Hank Mobley on tenor, Thad Jones on trumpet, Abdullah Ibrahim ("Dollar Brand") on piano, and Donald Moore on bass. Wonderful succinct soloing on everyone's part. These guys can say an awful lot in 2 choruses. Dollar Brand's solo on "Tintiyana" is just extraordinary.
Tenor & alto saxophonist & acupuncturist & MIT grad, active in the greater Boston music scene since the late 1970's, & (I like to think) blowing a little better all the time. I love the sax's vocal qualities, and love flavoring my jazz with blues.
Looks like a great idea.