Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- Part 2- Things ain't what they SHOULD BE...Lenny Wilson & The All Stars, Ed Beach, John Gilmore & " Life Ain't No Script"....quote Chewin' Gum Jimmy & jazz in the real.

...Chewin' Gum Jimmy told me once..." Life ain't no script Tim"...This was back in 1970 when there was a jazz club that ran weekends in my hometown in Reading , Pa. I was at that time living in Boston, going to Berklee and realizing my funky jazz gigs ' round my hometown at places like " The House of Soul" or joints on Penn St like " The Mademoiselle Bar" and sitting in at age 17 with guys like Al Grey, pre-Berklee,or going to 3ed and Walnut to hear jazz and being allowed to sit against the wall to hear great pro players like Don Patterson, Billy Mitchell, John Gilmore w/Al Grey as I mentioned in last weeks blog part 1. - was a part of reality musically and personally that is gone these days. I was listening to the two radio stations from Philly that played jazz,buying Lee Morgan , Charles Lloyd, Bird, Mulligan, Gary McFarland, Mongo, Horace Silver records and playing along with them the best I could. I learned tunes from those records- there were no Real Books then or play-alongs that's one reason why I valued hearing the real cats play live. My mother took me to Lambertville Music Fair to hear Stan Getz who then had Gary Burton, Steve Swallow & Roy Haynes. ....I was lucky to get a _street sense_young and realize that this music was something more than just something you did...YOU LIVED IT. HENCE ~ The quote I always remembered from Chewing Gum Jimmy..." LIFE AIN'T NO SCRIPT TIM"..And it's true. Chewing Gum Jimmy was one of the many pimps that hung 'round Macs Place here in Reading, Pa- I got to know him when I sat in with Al Grey once at The Mademoiselle Bar on Penn St after work at a local music store. I went in with my tenor sax after work to catch a set - Al asked if I played and after a conversation said come on Tim, play a blues with us. I was fascinated by the tenor saxophone player- I never hear anyone like this live, only on records, but he was rockin' the house to on " Night Train" and those tunes too. His name was John...but I never got his last name till end of set I sat in on. With Al I played a blues and Al told me to blow...So I played 3 chorus as I reached the end of the3ed Al & John started a riff behind me and Al said " Keep blowin got it" so I played two more chorus...Then all hell broke loose right aside of me. John the other tenor player who was very cool, started to play, I was right next to his bell, and his sound was washing into my body, ears and mind, this guy was on fire and at age 17 I loved it. After I played John shook my hand and said great to hear you...MY NAME IS JOHN GILMORE. That did it~~I knew who John Gilmore was from hearing stuff on the Philly radio. I thanked him, and Al and sat down to dig the rest of the set. The people in the cub were super supportive, and Chewing Gum Jimmy came over shook my hand and bought me a coke. As we talked I told him I didn't come in to play- but to listen. That's when he said.." Life ain't no script Tim"....Through Jimmy I met the other pimps who frequented the bars. Guys like " Watusi", " Honey Boy" , " Joobaby" and a few others. These guys loved jazz- and having them on the street, or in the club eliminated a bouncer. Think about it- do the math. Ha! It created a no nonsense vibe and to be honest- they kept their business away from guys like me or others. The bar at 3ed and Walunut.." Macs Place" I mentioned last week was owned by a pimp who loved jazz- and they had one of the best jazz jukeboxes ever. That's where I heard Hubert Laws with Mongo on the jukebox- wailin' on tenor too. I heard Lenny Wilson & The All Stars at the " Grand Hotel" at 7th & Franklin St in the afternoon matinee on a Saturday. Lenny was a Philly guy who played alto sax and vibes- he was a bad dude to. These guys were playing a few Lee Morgan tunes, and also great standards.I heard organist Billy Gardner with sax player Leonard Houston there too. The " Grand" had a jazz jukebox'd hear a lot of Gene Ammons on there and Jimmy McGriff too. Jimmy played " The Grand" a lot & that's when he had Charles Earland playing Hammond organ and on fire on it. I heard Al Grey at the " Grand Hotel" with saxophonist Billy Root. This was pre-Berklee bythe way and Billy was wearing a plaid suit and playing tenor & baritone sax.He was top level- and impressed me deeply too.These clubs were in Reading, Pa- sadly forgotten by many and also long gone. ....Al became a life long friend, always helpful on the set and great legendary player, who as Igot older and a better player, got a chance to work with in settings with Don Patterson or Bu Pleasant on organ. ....Another aspect from these eras that is missing is JAZZ RADIO. One of the best ever was Ed Beach...d in the Bronx after Berklee in 1973, I got to listen to Ed Beach a lot.WRVR-FM, New York - This was my main jazz radio station until the walls came tumbling down in late 1980 when, without warning, the announcer played a jazz piece just before midnight, and then followed with a country song just after midnight, with the station now called WKHK. WRVR's call letters apparently started in 1961 as Riverside Radio, with ownership by Riverside Church, whose religious services were covered on Sunday mornings. When I started listening, the announcer lineup was powerful, including Max Cole in the early afternoon, Les Davis, Knicks basketball player Spencer Haywood during the weekend, and Zulema on the weekend. The station moved from playing plenty of hard-hitting jazz. No BS-the DJ's picked their own records and it was serious stuff.And like those earlier graceful disc jockeys, Ed always kept the focus on the music, not himself, relying on little-known details about artists to inform and entertain. Ed's show Just Jazz always focused on a single artist's work, frequently covering a specific period, complete with bio bits. Back in the LP era of the 1970s, virtually everything he played was rare since very little of the older stuff was on vinyl. His show opened with Wes Montgomery's So Do It! But Ed also used Montgomery as his background music, with the guitarist running octaves softly while Ed relayed information about an artist or track. From time to time, Ed would pause momentarily just to let Montgomery's D-Natural Blues from The Incredible Guitar of Wes Montgomery seep through. Or to buy a second to grab information. Either way, it was cool. Jazz composer and conductor Gunther Schuller, in the preface to his "Early Jazz" history, thanked "Ed Beach and station WRVR in New York for providing endless hours of superb listening, for his indefatigable enthusiasm, incorruptible taste, and unpretentious, accurate comments." The tape recordings of the program, Just Jazz with Ed Beach, are in the Library of Congress collections.From his extensive record collection, Ed gave us music from Chu Berry and Bobby Hackett to Herbie Hancock, Sarah Vaughan and Ornette Coleman. It was real- you got an education- and the music was treated with respect. Something deeply missing these days! ....I GOT TO MEET...Ed Beach once in 1973 through Joe Farrell. Joe had a interview with Ed and asked me if I wanted to come along. So I met him there- and as we talked before the show. I had a in mind idea of what Ed looked like, so I asked Joe Farrell whatEd looked like. Joe laughs and sais, " What do you think"...So I described him. Wing tip shors, 3 piece suit etc-Joe laughs and and sais, wait. When we got into the station there he was,exactly as described. Farrell looks at me and just smiles with I told you so look. YEH- These things set a benchmark in my life and scenes like it set similar course in otrher musicians lives. We could use some agendas like this these days...It made JAZZ what it was and created not onlywork but a place of business for an art form that was always growing. Stay tuned for PART 3 next blog...Till then...Go listen to some of the musicians I mentioned here ok...Thanks- TIM PRICE.... BLOGGIN' FOR D'ADARIO WOODWINDS. THE PICTURES OF AL GREY ARE MINE...He was standing in my mom's driveway in the early 80's prior to a gig- great guy Al Grey.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- Chewing Gum Jimmy, Don & Billy at 3ed & Elm & Beauty is a rare thing! Things should be what they used to be!!.

- THINKING OF ORNETTE.... On my way home once from Boston @1970 I took the time to hear ORNETTE on a double bill in New York City at the Village Gate. I went from the bus station to the Village Gate to hear Ornette's band with Dewey & Charlie & Ed Blackwell. It was a double-bill with Alice Coltrane!! Alice had the great Frank Lowe on tenor sax, Visnu Wood-bass & Rashid Ali-drums....In thinking of the times I heard Ornette...that was 1970. Frank Lowe was inspired that night-and on fire- as everyone was that was playing. Next day- I took the bus home ( on a semester break) to Reading, Pa- and heard some jazz at a local club at 3ed & Elm, " Macs Place" ( funded by a pimp that liked jazz) ; that was also the place I originally heard Byard Lancaster playing with Philly vibes player Clarence Harris. A great spot when they had jazz, THAT weekend Mac's Place had- organist Don Patterson with saxophonist Danny Turner & Billy James! ALL THAT...Within a few days, and great players that were beyond words. To me- those eras, bands and situations were things that were happening a lot. - A year later I was home for something & I saw a handbill in a record shop that said-The Mahavishnu Orchestra...was playing at this joint called.." Leinbachs Hotel" off State Hill road here in Reading, Pa- They had not recorded " Inner Mounting Flame" yet, but were sounding great! Loud but killin' it!! After that gig, I drove by Mac's Place again, because someone told me a really great sax player was there. As I parked the car, and started to walk to the club, I noted small problem, that one of the hookers was directing traffic around a fight that was taking place in the street- what was going down was, one of the pimps that hung there, named " Chewing Gum Jimmy"...was beating the shit out of some guy in the street. Ok..I go into the club...and saxophonist Billy Mitchell is playing there rockin' the house with a organ band. Billy sounded unreal- I never heard him live & from then on was a fan. - MY POINT IS....All that music was swingin', related to great blues & people just loved that had a core, roots and was to this day so memorable. Get my point? Sad that Ornette passed- what a loss....thinking of that night hearing him at the Village Gate, and all the other musics that surrounded it, makes me think. Everyone of those gigs was packed,and people were responding...and loving it. Ya know....Things SHOULD be what they used to be....and more. ....FUNK YOU ; ; Yes...a simple organ group album by one of the greatest jazz organists ever. My man Don Patterson. Don was a basic everyday kinda guy. No press fancy talk about changing jazz, Don was Don. Beautiful swingin' player.Don's gigs were usually advertised in a local newspaper & his picture was in the club prior to the gig & that was it. YES IT! No website,just a van, Don Patterson & Billy James and a few bottles of Thunderbird & the B3 & Leslie speaker secured against the van wall. The clubs were always in a downtown section of a city, people could walk to the gig,or park without taking out a home loan to pay a parking lot.Usually a hotel Milner was within a stroll from the club, and that was where the band stayed- usually at a real cheap rate- because the club owner and hotel people KNEW each other. Key word- KNEW EACH OTHER. No text, no cell phone, IPhone or any intellectual shucking and jiving media stuff. Face to face talk- and people to people.Novel idea huh? LOL.The club was well aware of a player like Don Patterson...or Al Grey, Billy Root, Frank Haynes, Sonny Stitt and the people who earned their stripes on the bandstand. 3 sets at least, sometimes 4 and always a matinee on a Saturday or as in Boston's Jazz Workshop, a Sunday, which was always packed. So jazz don't sell? NO...these days jazz should sell. But what has jazz become? Is the audience involved? Are they listening and able to get to the gig? Each band in a certain day had a time period of fans, that just liked to go out on a Friday and hear some real jazz live. EACH BAND SOUNDED DIFFERENT!!! They would stop back on a Saturday too, as it wasn't over priced and the clubs always had great food. The one club here in Reading, Pa- was at 3ed and Elm Street- funded by a pimp who loved jazz. There was another at 3ed and Walnut Street and of course the GRAND HOTEL that was right aside of the Reading Railroad Station at 7th and Franklin streets. I would go there- on a Saturday afternoon and listen through the side door to the bands. That's where I first heard saxophonist Lynn Hope. This guy was playing amazing jazz-people at 2 in the afternoon were loving, listening and hanging out. That's when I met a guy named " Chewing Gum Jimmy"...a pimp that was a jazz fan. Jimmy always would smile and be friendly, I'd see him in the local record shop buying Horace Silver records- and he seemed to just be around listening, and on the case. I was not 18 yet- and Jimmy knew it so he said look, just stand against the wall and listen. It's cool- the club owner don't care....just be cool. That's it- I could hear guys like Lynn Hope, McGriff's band when Charles Earland was playing tenor sax before he played organ. Different era. Yes. . But do you hear what I'm saying. Do the math!! LOL... ....SIMPLICITY? Yes...Beauty is a rare thing...Ornette was right. People play music and people LISTEN to music...To be continued. Part 2 next week...Se you then...and remember jazz was a peoples music. It still should be- get on the case- See you next week - -- Tim Price....Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds....

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- Soulful Blues sax of legendary- JOE ARNOLD

YOU ALL...Need to read this~! A very very important saxophonist to check out ; ..... This man is a important part of our saxophonistic culture.- Tim Price ~D'Addario blogger. ALSO BIG THANKSS TO... Sax Gordon for the heads up on Joe Arnold's article- Thanks sir.