Wynton Marsalis

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Posted by kaori 04/05/2009 @ 23:08

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Jazz Legend Wynton Marsalis Ends Decades of Major Label ... - Business Wire (press release)
The Orchard embraces innovation and the many new ways of delivering music to an ever expanding community of music lovers,” commented Marsalis. Wynton Marsalis has been a leading voice and a musical leader in jazz since bursting onto the scene at age...
Wynton Marsalis on Letterman - All About Jazz
Wynton Marsalis will perform on the 'Late Show with David Letterman' this week, Wed May 13th. The Pulitzer Prize & 9-time Grammy Award winner will perform the song 'School Boy' from his new Blue Note album He & She - his 5th Blue Note release that...
Giovanni Russonello | Look Both Ways - Tufts Daily
In my column about Wynton Marsalis' new album blending spoken word and instrumental jazz, I didn't bother tying him to anyone else -- I compared the new "He and She" (2009) to an old Marsalis record with a similar bent. In my piece on King Khan and the...
Seattle's Garfield, Roosevelt take 1-2 at Essentially Ellington ... - Seattle Times
On Sunday afternoon, Essentially Ellington-presenter Jazz at Lincoln Center invited the top three bands -- based on judging of their performances earlier in the weekend -- to take the stage with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis...
Wynton Marsalis He and She - Music Box
No matter how wide-ranging his output has been, there is no doubt that, when Wynton Marsalis' approach is distilled to its barest essence, it consistently has been steeped in jazz tradition. In fact, Marsalis has spent so much time trying to educate...
Marcus Roberts in Rare Solo Performance at the Dakota, May 17th - Jazz Police
Yet it's been a busy decade for the 1987 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition, the protégé of Wynton Marsalis, and one of the most eloquent and knowledgeable spokesman for classical jazz repertoire. With his acclaimed trio of...
Enter the Blue Note Records "Wynton Marsalis - He and She ... - All About Jazz
All About Jazz members are invited to enter the Blue Note Records “Wynton Marsalis - He and She“ giveaway contest starting today. We'll select FIVE winners at the conclusion of the contest on June 7th. (Following Wynton Marsalis at AAJ automatically...
New Orleans Jazz Fest draws 400000+ - All About Jazz
J@LC, led by New Orleans-bred Wynton Marsalis, played Duke Ellington' "New Orleans Suite," which had premiered back in 1970 at the very first Jazz Fest. It had been commissioned by festival founder George Wein, who was in the WWOZ Jazz Tent for this...
Marcus Roberts goes 'Deep in the Shed' - Chicago Tribune
For if the original "Deep in the Shed" showed Roberts' early stylistic debt to Wynton Marsalis, the new version pointed to an artist who has established a voice entirely his own. Gone were deep-azure shadings and Ellington-inspired voicings that made...
Lincoln Center Upbeat About Face-Lift - New York Times
By ROBIN POGREBIN When Lincoln Center kicks off its 50th anniversary festivities on Monday with performances by the likes of Itzhak Perlman and Wynton Marsalis, it will, in a way, be celebrating the future more than commemorating the past....

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis free.jpg

Wynton Learson Marsalis (born October 18, 1961) is an American trumpeter and composer. He is among the most prominent jazz musicians of the modern era and is also a well-known instrumentalist in classical music. He is also the Musical Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. A compilation of his series of inspirational letters to a young jazz musical student, named Anthony, has been published as To a Young Jazz Musician.

Marsalis has made his reputation with a combination of skill in jazz performance and composition, a sophisticated yet earthy and hip personal style, an impressive knowledge of jazz and jazz history, and skill as a virtuoso classical trumpeter. As of 2006, he has made sixteen classical and more than thirty jazz recordings, has been awarded nine Grammys between the genres, and has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, the first time it has been awarded for a jazz recording.

Wynton Marsalis (pronounced: mar-sal-us) was born to Dolores Ferdinand and Ellis Marsalis, Jr., a New Orleans-based music teacher and pianist. He is the second of six sons: Branford (1960), Wynton (1961), Ellis III (1964), Delfeayo (1965), Mboya Kinyatta (1971), and Jason (1977). Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason are also jazz musicians. Ellis is a poet, photographer and network engineer based in Baltimore. Mboya has autism.

At an early age, Marsalis exhibited a keen interest and aptitude in music. At age six, Marsalis was given his first trumpet by a friend of his father's, the legendary Al Hirt. At age eight he performed traditional New Orleans music in the Fairview Baptist Church band led by legendary banjoist, Danny Barker. At fourteen he was invited to perform with the New Orleans Philharmonic. During his high school years attending Benjamin Franklin High School, Marsalis was a member of the New Orleans Symphony Brass Quintet, New Orleans Community Concert Band, under the direction of Peter Dombourian, New Orleans Youth Orchestra, New Orleans Symphony and on weekends he performed in a jazz band as well as in the popular local funk band, the Creators.

He moved to New York City to attend the Juilliard School of Music in 1978 and quickly gained a lot of attention.

Two years later in 1980, he joined the Jazz Messengers to study under master drummer and bandleader, Art Blakey. It was from Blakey that Marsalis acquired his concept for bandleading and for bringing intensity to each and every performance. In 1981, Marsalis toured with the Herbie Hancock quartet throughout the USA and Japan, as well as performing at the Newport Jazz Festival with Herbie. In the years to follow, Marsalis was invited to perform with Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Edison, Clark Terry, Sonny Rollins, and other countless jazz legends.

Marsalis eventually assembled his own band and hit the road, performing over 120 concerts every year for ten consecutive years. His objective was to learn how to play, and to comprehend how best to give to his audience. Through an exhaustive series of performances, lectures, and music workshops, Marsalis rekindled widespread interest in an art form that had been largely abandoned and redefined out of what he saw as its artistic substance. Marsalis invested his creative energy as an advocate for a relatively small era in the history of jazz. He garnered recognition for the older generation of jazz musicians and prompted the re-issuance of jazz catalog by record companies worldwide. A quick glance at the better known jazz musicians today reveals many students of Marsalis's workshops and members of his formations: James Carter, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Harry Connick, Jr., Nicholas Payton, Eric Reed and Eric Lewis.

Not content to focus solely on his musicianship, Marsalis devoted equal time to developing his compositional skills. The dance community quickly embraced his works, and he received commissions to create major compositions for Garth Fagan Dance, Peter Martins at the New York City Ballet, Twyla Tharp for the American Ballet Theatre, and for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Marsalis collaborated with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 1995 to compose the string quartet, At The Octoroon Balls, and again in 1998 to create a response to the Stravinsky: A Soldier's Tale with his composition, A Fiddler's Tale.

In 1997 he became the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize in music, for his epic oratorio, Blood on the Fields, on the subject of slavery.

In 2006, Marsalis's US$833,686 annual salary as Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center drew negative attention in an article published by Reader's Digest magazine regarding overspending by non-profit organizations. Marsalis has never been married but has two sons with Candace Stanley and another son with actress Victoria Rowell.

As a composer and performer, Marsalis is also represented on a quartet of Sony Classical releases, At the Octoroon Balls: String Quartet No. 1, A Fiddler's Tale, Reel Time and Sweet Release and Ghost Story: Two More Ballets by Wynton Marsalis. All are volumes of an eight-CD series, titled Swinging Into The 21st, that is an unprecedented set of albums released in the past year featuring a remarkable scope of original compositions and standards, from jazz to classical to ballet, by composers from Jelly Roll Morton to Igor Stravinsky to Thelonious Monk, in addition to Marsalis. Marsalis will also compose new cadenzas for violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers, in Mozart's Concerto in G Major, #3.

At the Octoroon Balls features the world-premiere recording of Marsalis's first string quartet, performed by the Orion Quartet. The work was commissioned by Lincoln Center, and its premiere by the Orion Quartet in 1995 was presented in conjunction with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. It has subsequently been recorded by the Harlem Quartet. A Fiddler's Tale, also commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for Marsalis/Stravinsky, a joint project of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Jazz At Lincoln Center, is work with narration about a musician who sells her soul to a record producer. It was premiered on April 23, 1998, at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A version without narration was included on the album At the Octoroon Balls: String Quartet No. 1. Reeltime is Marsalis's score for the acclaimed John Singleton film Rosewood. This original music, featuring vocal performances by best-selling artists Cassandra Wilson and Shirley Caesar, was never used in the film. Marsalis also provided the score for the 1990 film Tune in Tomorrow, in which he also makes a cameo appearance as a New Orleans trumpeter with his band. Sweet Release and Ghost Story offers another world premiere recording of two original ballet scores by Marsalis, written for and premiered by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Zhong Mei Dance Company, both in New York City.

As an exclusive classical artist for Sony Classical, Marsalis has won critical acclaim for the recording In Gabriel's Garden (SK/ST 66244), featuring Baroque music for trumpet and orchestra. It includes performances of the Bach: Brandenburg Concerto no. 2 and Mouret: Rondeau, a video of which has been adopted as the new theme for PBS Masterpiece Theatre. The San Francisco Examiner wrote, "Marsalis continues to define great music making… are all articulated with dazzling clarity and enthusiasm." The album features the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Newman, and was produced by Steven Epstein.

For many, Wynton Marsalis saved pure jazz from a morass of pop fusion and noise. Others contend that the trumpeter instilled a regressive notion of the jazz tradition. This debate, not to mention his instrumental proficiency and compositional ambition, has made him one of the most prominent and controversial jazz musicians of the 1980s and 1990s.

Critic Scott Yanow praises Marsalis's talent, but has questioned his "selective knowledge of jazz history considering post-1965 avant-garde playing to be outside of jazz and 1970s fusion to be barren." Trumpeter Lester Bowie opined of Marsalis's traditionalism, "If you retread what's gone before, even if it sounds like jazz, it could be anathema to the spirit of jazz." In his 1997 book Blue: The Murder of Jazz Eric Nisenson argues that Marsalis's focus on a narrow portion of jazz's past is stifling the music's growth and preventing any further innovation.

Marsalis has also been criticized for his role in the Ken Burns documentary Jazz, which promoted a classicist view of jazz similar to the views of Marsalis himself. The documentary focused primarily on Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong among others, while failing to mention jazz artists from the period Marsalis views as barren.

The documentary also angered many with subjective statements, often from Marsalis, about the comparative complexity, popularity, and general worth of the music of a wide variety of artists.

Marsalis emerged as one of the most notable New Orleans civic leaders in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a number of public speeches and television ads, he tried to increase public awareness of the importance of rebuilding New Orleans. Marsalis also urged people to visit Louisiana as soon as possible.

Marsalis organized a large benefit at Jazz at Lincoln Center for musicians and other New Orleaneans affected by Hurricane Katrina. The benefit, called Higher Ground, featured many famous musicians, both traditional and contemporary, such as Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves, Norah Jones, Victor Goines, Herbie Hancock, and McCoy Tyner and in 2007 R&B star, Fantasia.

Marsalis was one of the participants in Movie Director Spike Lee's documentary When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts.

In the New Orleans mayoral campaign of 2006, Marsalis endorsed Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu over mayor Ray Nagin. Both candidates were Democratic party members. Nagin was reelected on the second ballot runoff.

Marsalis has helped raise awareness of Aung San Suu Kyi and human rights violations in Burma through concerts working with the Freedom Campaign and the US Campaign for Burma. Past music events have also included R.E.M., Damien Rice, and the the Black Eyed Peas.

Marsalis is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.Marsalis has been awarded the 2005 National Medal of Arts of the United States, the Grand Prix du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy and the Edison Award of the Netherlands, and was elected an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in Britain. He has received several honorary doctoral degrees, and a variety of other recognitions from Brandeis University, Brown University, Columbia University, Denison University, Haverford College, Johns Hopkins University, the Manhattan School of Music, New York University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, the University of Miami, Southern Methodist University(SMU) and Yale University.

Marsalis has toured 30 countries on every continent except Antarctica, and nearly five million copies of his recordings have been sold worldwide. As of 2006, United Artists is considering releasing a feature film biopic on Marsalis, with Will Smith widely purported to be in consideration for the role.

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Jazz at Lincoln Center

Bust of Nesuhi Ertegün at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall

Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) is a constituent of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., whose performing arts complex, Frederick P. Rose Hall, is located at 60th Street and Broadway in New York City, slightly south of the main Lincoln Center campus and directly adjacent to Columbus Circle. Frederick P. Rose Hall is housed inside of the Time Warner Center. The complex opened in October 2004. The complex was designed by acclaimed architect, Rafael Viñoly and constructed by Turner Construction Company.

The hall also contains the Irene Diamond Education Center with rehearsal and recording rooms and the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame (NEJHF), a multimedia installation featuring an 18-foot video wall, interactive computer kiosks and touch-activated virtual plaques. Visitors can celebrate the lives, artistry and music of the jazz greats so integral to the art form and industry. JLC also launched a website based on the NEJHF.

Wynton Marsalis serves as the Artistic Director. Adrian Ellis serves as the Executive Director. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JLCO) serves as the resident orchestra performing at Frederick P. Rose Hall and around the world.

JALC produces a year-round schedule of performance, education and broadcast events for audiences of all ages. These productions include concerts, national and international tours, residencies, weekly national radio and television programs, recordings, publications, an annual high school jazz band competition and festival, a band director academy, a jazz appreciation curriculum for children, advanced training through the Juilliard Institute for Jazz Studies, music publishing, children’s concerts, lectures, adult education courses and student and educator workshops. Jazz at Lincoln Center will produce over 3,000 events during its 2008-09 season.

JALC's educational mission encompasses 22 programs and resources that reach upwards of 50,000 people directly and an estimated four million people through curricula, print music and online re­sources. Beginning at just eight months old, little ones can swing, stomp and shuffle with "WeBop!". Families and school groups delight in the "Jazz for Young People concert series" and "Jazz in the Schools" tours that bring professional ensembles across NYC. Teachers across the country bring these concerts back to their classrooms with the "Jazz for Young People" Curriculum and make connections between jazz and American history with "NEA Jazz in the Schools". JALC also streams their education events online.

JALC's educational programs include the Middle School Jazz Academy, a tuition-free instructional program for NYC students. And for the past 13 years, the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival has supported high school jazz bands nationwide. There is also a summer "Band Director Academy", customized teacher training workshops and a print music library.

At Frederick P. Rose Hall adults can develop their listening skills and delve into jazz history at "Swing University", "Jazz Talk" and the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame.

The hall is named for the late Nesuhi Ertegun, one of the founders of Atlantic Records, which released records by Coltrane and Mingus, among other important jazz figures. A 60-person international voting panel, which includes musicians, scholars and educators from 17 countries, is charged to nominate and select "the most definitive artists in the history of jazz for induction into the Hall of Fame".

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Miles Davis

Miles Davis at the Nice Jazz Festival in July 1989.

Miles Dewey Davis III (May 25, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer.

Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Davis was at the forefront of almost every major development in jazz from World War II to the 1990s: he played on various early bebop records and recorded one of the first cool jazz records; he was partially responsible for the development of hard bop and modal jazz, and both jazz-funk and jazz fusion arose from his work with other musicians in the late 1960s and early 1970s; and his final album blended jazz and rap. Many leading jazz musicians made their names in Davis's groups, including: Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, saxophonists John Coltrane, Gerry Mulligan, Wayne Shorter, George Coleman, and Kenny Garrett, drummer Tony Williams and guitarist John McLaughlin.

As a trumpeter, Davis had a pure, round sound but also an unusual freedom of articulation and pitch. He was known for favoring a low register and for a minimalist less-is-more playing style, but Davis was also capable of highly complex and technically demanding trumpet work.

On March 13, 2006 Davis was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has also been inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame, Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame, and Down Beat's Jazz Hall of Fame.

Miles was born on May 25, 1926 to a relatively affluent family in Alton, Illinois. His birth name was Bobby, but was later changed because his grandfather, Moses, wanted him to have the name "Miles" because when Bobby started walking at age 1, he walked an entire mile. His father, Dr. Miles Dewey Davis II, was a dentist. In 1927, the family moved to East St. Louis. They also owned a substantial ranch in northern Arkansas, where Davis learned to ride horses as a boy.

Davis' mother, Cleota Mae (Henry) Davis, wanted her son to learn the piano – she was a capable blues pianist but kept this fact hidden from her son. Miles' musical studies began at 13, when his father gave him a trumpet and arranged lessons with local musician Elwood Buchanan. Davis later suggested that his father's instrument choice was made largely to irk his wife, who disliked the instrument's sound. Against the fashion of the time, Buchanan stressed the importance of playing without vibrato, and Davis would carry his clear signature tone throughout his career. Buchanan was said to slap Davis' knuckles every time he started using heavy vibrato. Davis once remarked on the importance of this signature sound, saying, "I prefer a round sound with no attitude in it, like a round voice with not too much tremolo and not too much Baseline bass. Just right in the middle. If I can’t get that sound I can’t play anything." Clark Terry was another important early influence and friend of Davis'.

By the age of 16, Davis was a member of the music society and working professionally when not at school. At 17, he spent a year playing in bandleader Eddie Randle's "Blue Devils". During this time, Sonny Stitt tried to persuade him to join the Tiny Bradshaw band then passing through town, but Davis' mother insisted that he finish his final year of high school.

In 1944, the Billy Eckstine band visited St. Louis. Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker were members of the band, and Davis was taken on as third trumpet for a couple of weeks because of the illness of Buddy Anderson. When Eckstine's band left Davis behind to complete the tour, the trumpeter's parents were still keen for him to continue formal academic studies.

That fall, following graduation from high school, Miles moved to New York City to study at Columbia's Juilliard School of Music. However, within a few weeks Miles was neglecting his classical studies entirely and instead immersed himself in the world of Bop centered on 52nd Street. Shortly thereafter, he abandoned the pretense of attending Julliard and began working full time as a jazz musician by the spring of 1945.

In the mid to late 1940s, Miles played in many bebop combos, most notably with Charlie Parker's Quintet. In 1948 he started organizing musicians together for a whole new style of jazz music. The sessions they recorded in 1949 and 1950 were later retitled Birth of the Cool. The music was meant to be more laid back and mellow than the fast rhythms and elaborate solos associated with regular bebop music. These recordings inspired a whole new movement in jazz music, typically referred to as cool jazz. After recording more in both the bebop and cool genres, Miles made Walkin', a seminal record that many would come to mark as the birth of the hard bop genre. Like cool jazz, the music was slower than regular bebop, but unlike cool jazz, it had a much harder, grooving beat to it. It took in certain elements of rhythm & blues, and inspired a whole host of new music in the decade to come.

In 1955, Davis formed the first incarnation of the Miles Davis Quintet. This band featured John Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (double bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums). Eschewing the rhythmic and harmonic complexity of the then-prevalent bebop, Davis was allowed the space to play long, legato, and essentially melodic lines in which he would begin to explore modal jazz. Davis was influenced at around this time by pianist Ahmad Jamal, whose sparse style contrasted with the "busy" sound of bebop. The first recordings of this group were made for Columbia Records in 1955, released on 'Round About Midnight. Davis was still under contract to Prestige, but had an agreement that he could make recordings for subsequent releases using his new label. His final recordings for Prestige were the product of two days of recording in 1956, released as Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet, Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet, Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet and Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet.

The quintet was never stable, however; several of the other members used heroin, and the Miles Davis Quintet disbanded in early 1957. That year, Davis traveled to France to compose the score to Louis Malle's Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud. He recorded the entire soundtrack with the aid of French session musicians Barney Wilen, Pierre Michelot and René Urtreger, and American drummer Kenny Clarke.

In 1958, the quintet reformed as a sextet, with the addition of Julian "Cannonball" Adderley on alto saxophone, and recorded Milestones.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Davis recorded a series of albums with Gil Evans, often playing flugelhorn as well as trumpet. The first, Miles Ahead (1957), showcased his playing with a jazz big band and a horn section beautifully arranged by Evans. Tunes included Dave Brubeck's "The Duke", as well as Léo Delibes' "The Maids Of Cadiz", the first piece of European classical music Davis had recorded. Another important feature of the album was the innovative use of editing to join the tracks together, turning each side of the album into a seamless piece of music.

In 1958, Davis and Evans recorded Porgy and Bess, an arrangement of pieces from George Gershwin's opera of the same name. This album featured members of his contemporary band including Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones, and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. Davis named the album one of his own favorites.

Sketches of Spain (1959–1960) featured tunes by contemporary Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo and also Manuel de Falla, as well as Gil Evans originals with a Spanish theme. Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall (1961) includes Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, along with other songs recorded at a concert with an orchestra under Evans' direction.

Sessions in 1962 resulted in the album Quiet Nights, a short collection of bossa nova tunes which was released against the wishes of both artists. That was the last time that the two created a full album again. In his autobiography, Davis noted that ". . . my best friend is Gil Evans".

After recording Milestones, Garland and Jones were replaced by Bill Evans and Jimmy Cobb. The introspective improvisation of Evans, who was classically trained, influenced the sound of the band and allowed them to explore the music more deeply than ever before, furthering the advancement of modal jazz, as seen on the '58 Sessions. Evans departed late in 1958. He was replaced by Wynton Kelly.

In March and April 1959, Davis re-entered the studio with his working sextet to record what is widely considered his magnum opus, Kind of Blue. He called back Bill Evans, months away from forming what would become his seminal trio, for the album sessions as the music had been planned around Evans' piano style. Equally crucially, both Davis and Evans had direct familiarity with the ideas of pianist George Russell regarding modal jazz, Davis from discussions with Russell and others prior to what came to be known as the Birth of the Cool sessions, and Evans from study with Russell in 1956. Miles, however, had neglected to inform current pianist Kelly as to Evans' role in the recordings, Kelly subsequently playing only on the track "Freddie Freeloader", and not being present at all on the April dates for the album. "So What" and "All Blues" had been played by the sextet at performances prior to the recording sessions, but for the other three compositions, Davis and Evans prepared skeletal harmonic frameworks which the other musicians saw for the first time on the day of recording, in order to generate an improvisational approach. The resulting album has proven to be a huge influence on other musicians. According to the RIAA, Kind of Blue is the best-selling jazz album of all time, having been certified as quadruple platinum (4 million copies sold).

The same year, while taking a break outside the famous Birdland nightclub in New York City, Davis was beaten by the New York police and subsequently arrested. Believing the assault to have been racially motivated (it is said he was beaten by a single policeman who was angered by Davis being with a white woman), he attempted to pursue the case in the courts, before eventually dropping the proceedings.

Davis convinced Coltrane to play with the group on one final European tour in the spring of 1960. Coltrane then departed to form his classic quartet, although he returned for some of the tracks on the 1961 album Someday My Prince Will Come. Davis tried various replacement saxophonists, including Sonny Stitt and Hank Mobley. The quintet with Hank Mobley was recorded in the studio and on several live engagements at Carnegie Hall and the Black Hawk jazz club in San Francisco. Stitt's playing with the group is found on both a recording made in Olympia, Paris (where Davis and Coltrane had played a few months before) and the Live in Stockholm album.

In 1963, Davis' long-time rhythm section of Kelly, Chambers and Cobb departed. He quickly got to work putting together a new group, including tenor saxophonist George Coleman and bassist Ron Carter. Davis, Coleman, Carter, and a few other musicians recorded half an album in the spring of 1963. A few weeks later, drummer Tony Williams and pianist Herbie Hancock joined the group, and soon thereafter Davis, Coleman and the rhythm section recorded the rest of Seven Steps to Heaven.

The rhythm section clicked very quickly with each other and the horns; the group's rapid evolution can be traced through the aforementioned studio album, In Europe (July 1963), My Funny Valentine, and Four and More (both February 1964). The group played essentially the same repertoire of bebop and standards that earlier Davis bands did, but tackled them with increasing structural and rhythmic freedom and (in the case of the up-tempo material) breakneck speed.

Coleman left in the spring of 1964, to be replaced by avant-garde saxophonist Sam Rivers, on the suggestion of Tony Williams. Rivers remained in the group only briefly, but was recorded live with the quintet in Japan; the group can be heard on In Tokyo! (July 1964).

By the end of the summer, Davis had convinced Wayne Shorter to quit Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Shorter became the principal composer of Davis' quintet, and some of his compositions of this era ("Footprints", "Nefertiti") are now standards. While on tour in Europe, the group quickly made their first official recording, Miles in Berlin (Fall 1964). On return to the United States later that year, Davis (at the urging of Jackie DeShannon) was instrumental in getting The Byrds signed to Columbia Records.

A two-night Chicago gig in late 1965 is captured on The Complete Live at The Plugged Nickel 1965, released in 1995. Unlike the group's studio albums, the live engagement shows the group still playing primarily standards and bebop tunes.

This was followed by a series of studio recordings: Miles Smiles (1966), Sorcerer (1967), Nefertiti (1967), Miles in the Sky (1968) and Filles de Kilimanjaro (1968). The quintet's approach to improvisation came to be known as "time no changes" or "freebop", because they abandoned the chord-change-based approach of bebop for a modal approach. Through Nefertiti, the studio recordings consisted primarily of originals composed by Shorter, and to a lesser degree of compositions by the other sidemen. In 1967, the group began to play their live concerts in continuous sets, with each tune flowing into the next and only the melody indicating any sort of demarcation; Davis' bands would continue to perform in this way until his retirement in 1975.

Miles in the Sky and Filles de Kilimanjaro, on which electric bass, electric piano and guitar were tentatively introduced on some tracks, pointed the way to the subsequent fusion phase in Davis' output. Davis also began experimenting with more rock-oriented rhythms on these records. By the time the second half of Filles de Kilimanjaro had been recorded, Dave Holland and Chick Corea had replaced Carter and Hancock in the working band, though both Carter and Hancock would occasionally contribute to future recording sessions. Davis soon began to take over the compositional duties of his sidemen.

Davis's influences included late 1960s acid rock and funk artists such as Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, many of whom he met through Betty Mabry, a young model and songwriter Miles married in September 1968 and divorced a year later. The musical transition required that Davis and his band adapt to electric instruments in both live performances and the studio.

By the time In a Silent Way had been recorded in February 1969, Davis had augmented his standard quintet with additional players. At various times Hancock or Joe Zawinul were brought in to augment Corea on electric keyboards, and guitarist John McLaughlin made the first of his many appearances. By this point, Shorter was also doubling on soprano saxophone. After recording this album, Williams left to form his group Lifetime and was replaced by Jack DeJohnette.

Six months an even larger group of musicians, including Jack DeJohnette, Airto Moreira and Bennie Maupin recorded the double LP Bitches Brew, which became a huge seller, hitting gold record status (half a million copies) by 1976. This album and In a Silent Way were among the first fusions of jazz and rock that were commercially successful, building on the groundwork laid by Charles Lloyd, Larry Coryell, and many others who pioneered a genre that would become known simply as "Jazz-rock fusion".

Both Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way feature "extended" (more than 20 minutes each) compositions that were never actually "played straight through" by the musicians in the studio. Instead, Davis and producer Teo Macero selected musical motifs of various lengths from recorded extended improvisations and edited them together into a musical whole which only exists in the recorded version. Bitches Brew made use of such electronic effects as multi-tracking, tape loops and other editing techniques. Both records, especially Bitches Brew, proved to be huge sellers.

Starting with Bitches Brew, Davis' albums began to often feature cover art much more in line with psychedelic art or black power movements than that of his earlier albums. He took significant cuts in his usual performing fees in order to open for rock groups like the Steve Miller Band, the Grateful Dead and Santana. Several live albums were recorded during the early 1970s at such performances: Live at the Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It's About That Time (March 1970), Black Beauty (April 1970) and Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the Fillmore East (June 1970).

By the time of Live-Evil in December 1970, Davis' ensemble had transformed into a much more funk-oriented group. Davis began experimenting with wah-wah effects on his horn. The ensemble with Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett and Michael Henderson, often referred to as the "Cellar Door band" (the live portions of Live-Evil were recorded at a club by that name), never recorded in the studio, but is documented in the six CD Box Set The Cellar Door Sessions, which was recorded over four nights in December 1970.

In 1970, Davis contributed extensively to the soundtrack of a documentary about the African-American boxer heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. Himself a devotee of boxing, Davis drew parallels between Johnson, whose career had been defined by the fruitless search for a Great White Hope to dethrone him, and Davis' own career, in which he felt the establishment had prevented him from receiving the acclaim and rewards that were due him. The resulting album, 1971's Jack Johnson, contained two long pieces that utilized musicians (some of whom were not credited on the record) including guitarists John McLaughlin and Sonny Sharrock, Herbie Hancock on a broken Farfisa organ and drummer Billy Cobham. McLaughlin and Cobham went on to become founding members of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971.

As Davis stated in his autobiography, he wanted to make music for the young African-American audience. On the Corner (1972) blended funk elements with the traditional jazz styles he had played his entire career. The album was highlighted by the appearance of saxophonist Carlos Garnett. The record provoked fierce disparagement from many critics, with one British critic noting: "I love Miles, but this is where I get off." In his autobiography, Davis stated that this criticism was made because no critic could categorize this music and complained that the album was not promoted by the "traditional" jazz radio stations.

After recording On the Corner, Davis put together a new band, with only Michael Henderson, Carlos Garnett and percussionist Mtume returning from the previous band. It included guitarist Reggie Lucas, tabla player Badal Roy, sitarist Khalil Balakrishna and drummer Al Foster. It was unusual in that none of the sidemen were major jazz instrumentalists; as a result, the music emphasized rhythmic density and shifting textures instead of individual solos. This group, which recorded in the Philharmonic Hall for the album In Concert (1972), was unsatisfactory to Davis. Through the first half of 1973, he dropped the tabla and sitar, took over keyboard duties, and added guitarist Pete Cosey. The Davis/Cosey/Lucas/Henderson/Mtume/Foster ensemble would remain virtually intact over the next two years. Initially, Dave Liebman played saxophones and flute with the band. In 1974, he was replaced by Sonny Fortune.

Big Fun (1974) was a double album containing four long jams, recorded between 1969 and 1972. Similarly, Get Up With It (1974) collected recordings from the previous five years. Get Up With It included "He Loved Him Madly", a tribute to Duke Ellington, as well as one of Davis' most lauded pieces from this era, "Calypso Frelimo". This was his last studio album of the 1970s.

In 1974 and 1975, Columbia recorded three double-LP live Davis albums: Dark Magus, Agharta and Pangaea. Dark Magus is a 1974 New York concert; the latter two are recordings of consecutive concerts from the same February 1975 day in Osaka, Japan. At the time, only Agharta was available in the US; Pangaea and Dark Magus were initially released only by CBS/Sony Japan. All three feature at least two electric guitarists (Reggie Lucas and Pete Cosey, deploying an array of post-Hendrix electronic distortion devices; Dominique Gaumont is a third guitarist on Dark Magus), electric bass, drums, reeds, and Davis on electric trumpet and organ. These albums were the last he was to record for five years. Davis was troubled by osteoarthritis (which led to a hip replacement operation in 1976, the first of several), sickle-cell anemia, depression, bursitis, ulcers and a renewed dependence on alcohol and drugs (primarily cocaine), and his performances were routinely panned throughout late 1974 and early 1975. By the time the group reached Japan in February 1975, Davis was teetering on a physical breakdown and required copious amounts of vodka and narcotics to complete his engagements.

Davis characterized this period in his memoirs as a colorful time when wealthy women lavished him with sex and drugs. In reality, he had become completely dependent upon various drugs, spending nearly all of his time propped up on a couch in his apartment watching television, leaving only to score more drugs. In 1976, Rolling Stone reported rumors of his imminent demise. Although he stopped practicing trumpet on a regular basis, Davis continued to compose intermittently and made three attempts at recording during his exile from performing; these sessions (one with the assistance of Paul Buckmaster and Gil Evans, who left after not receiving promised compensation) bore little fruit and remain unreleased.

In 1979, he placed in the yearly Top 10 trumpeter poll of Down Beat magazine. Columbia continued to issue compilation albums and records of unreleased vault material to fulfill contractual obligations.

During his period of inactivity, Davis saw the fusion music that he had spearheaded over the past decade firmly enter into the mainstream. When he emerged from retirement, Davis' musical descendants would be in the realm of New Wave rock, and in particular the stylings of Prince.

By 1979, Davis had rekindled his relationship with actress Cicely Tyson. With Tyson, Davis would overcome his addiction and regain his enthusiasm for music. As he had not played trumpet for the better part of three years, regaining his famed embouchure proved to be particularly arduous. While recording The Man with the Horn (sessions were spread sporadically over 1979–1981), Davis played mostly wah-wah with a younger, larger band.

The initial large band was eventually abandoned in favor of a smaller combo featuring saxophonist Bill Evans and bass player Marcus Miller, both of whom would be among Davis' most regular collaborators throughout the decade. He married Tyson in 1981; they would divorce in 1988. The Man with the Horn was finally released in 1981 and received a poor critical reception despite selling fairly well. In May, the new band played two dates as part of the Newport Jazz Festival. The concerts, as well as the live recording We Want Miles from the ensuing tour, received positive reviews.

By late 1982, Davis' band included French percussionist Mino Cinelu and guitarist John Scofield, with whom he worked closely on the album Star People. In mid-1983, while working on the tracks for Decoy, an album mixing soul music and electronica that was released in 1984, Davis brought in producer, composer and keyboardist Robert Irving III, who had earlier collaborated with Davis on The Man with the Horn. With a seven-piece band, including Scofield, Evans, keyboardist and music director Irving, drummer Al Foster and bassist Darryl Jones (later of The Rolling Stones), Davis played a series of European gigs to positive receptions. While in Europe, he took part in the recording of Aura, an orchestral tribute to Davis composed by Danish trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg.

You're Under Arrest, Davis' next album, was released in 1985 and included another brief stylistic detour. Included on the album were his interpretations of Cyndi Lauper's ballad "Time After Time", and "Human Nature" from Michael Jackson. Davis considered releasing an entire album of pop songs and recorded dozens of them, but the idea was scrapped. Davis noted that many of today's accepted jazz standards were in fact pop songs from Broadway theatre, and that he was simply updating the "standards" repertoire with new material.

You're Under Arrest also proved to be Davis' final album for Columbia. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis publicly dismissed Davis' more recent fusion recordings as not being "'true' jazz", comments Davis initially shrugged off, calling Marsalis "a nice young man, only confused". This changed after Marsalis appeared, unannounced, onstage in the midst of a Davis performance. Marsalis whispered into Davis' ear that "someone" had told him to do so; Davis responded by ordering him off the stage.

Davis grew irritated at Columbia's delay releasing Aura and, perhaps, was also jealous of the unusually large publicity budget the label had granted Marsalis. The breaking point in the label/artist relationship appears to have come when a Columbia jazz producer requested Davis place a good-will birthday call to Marsalis. Davis signed with Warner Brothers shortly thereafter.

Having first taken part in the Artists United Against Apartheid recording, Davis signed with Warner Brothers records and reunited with Marcus Miller. The resulting record, Tutu (1986), would be his first to use modern studio tools — programmed synthesizers, samples and drum loops — to create an entirely new setting for Davis' playing. Ecstatically reviewed on its release, the album would frequently be described as the modern counterpart of the classic Sketches of Spain, and won a Grammy in 1987.

He followed Tutu with Amandla, another collaboration with Miller and George Duke, plus the soundtracks to four movies: Street Smart, Siesta, The Hot Spot, and Dingo. He continued to tour with a band of constantly rotating personnel and a critical stock at a level higher than it had been for 15 years. His last recordings, both released posthumously, were the hip hop-influenced studio album Doo-Bop and Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux, a collaboration with Quincy Jones for the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival in which Davis performed the repertoire from his 1940s and 1950s recordings for the first time in decades.

In 1988 he had a small part as a street musician in the film Scrooged, starring Bill Murray. He received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990.

In early 1991, he appeared in the Rolf de Heer film Dingo as a (fictional) legendary jazz musician. In the film's opening sequence, Davis and his band unexpectedly land on a remote airstrip in the Australian outback and proceed to perform for the stunned locals. The performance was one of Davis' last on film.

Miles Davis died on September 28, 1991 from a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure in Santa Monica, California at the age of 65. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.

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Art Blakey

Blakey in 1985

Arthur (Art) Blakey (October 11, 1919 – October 16, 1990), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Also known as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina, he was an American jazz drummer and bandleader.

Along with Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, he was one of the inventors of the modern bebop style of drumming. He is known as a powerful musician and a vital groover; his brand of bluesy, funky hard bop was (and remains) profoundly influential on mainstream jazz. Over more than 30 years his band the Jazz Messengers included many young musicians who went on to become prominent names in jazz. The band's legacy is thus not only the often exceptionally fine music it produced, but as a proving ground for several generations of jazz musicians; Blakey's groups are matched only by those of Miles Davis in this regard. He was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

In the 1940s, Blakey was a member of bands led by Mary Lou Williams, Fletcher Henderson, and Billy Eckstine. He converted to Islam during a visit to West Africa in the late 1940s and took the name Abdullah Ibn Buhaina (which led to the nickname "Bu"). By the late forties and early fifties, Blakey was backing musicians such as Miles Davis, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk — he is often considered to have been Monk's most sympathetic drummer, and he played on both Monk's first recording session as a leader (for Blue Note Records in 1947) and his final one (in London in 1971), as well as many in between.

The origins of the Messengers are in a series of groups led or co-led by Blakey and pianist Horace Silver, though the name was not used on the earliest of their recordings. The most celebrated of these early records (credited to "The Art Blakey Quintet"), is A Night at Birdland from February 1954, one of the earliest commercially released "live" jazz records. This featured Silver, Blakey, the young trumpeter Clifford Brown, alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson and bassist Curly Russell. The "Jazz Messengers" name was first used on a 1954 recording nominally led by Silver, with Blakey, Hank Mobley, Kenny Dorham and Doug Watkins — the same quintet would record The Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia the following year, still as a collective. Donald Byrd replaced Dorham, and the group recorded an album called simply The Jazz Messengers for Columbia Records in 1956. Blakey took over the group name when Silver left after the band's first year (taking Mobley, Byrd and Watkins with him to form a new quintet with a variety of drummers), and the band was known as "Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers" from then onwards.

From 1959 to 1961 the group featured Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Jymie Merritt, Lee Morgan, and Bobby Timmons. The second (1961-1964) was a sextet that added trombonist Curtis Fuller and replaced Morgan and Timmons with Freddie Hubbard and Cedar Walton, respectively. Shorter was the musical director of the group, and many of his original compositions such as "Lester Left Town" remained staples of Blakey's repertoire even after Shorter's departure. (Other players over the years made permanent marks on Blakey's repertoire — Timmons, composer of "Dat Dere" and "Moanin'", Benny Golson, composer of "Along Came Betty" and "Are You Real", and, later, Bobby Watson.) Shorter's more experimental inclinations pushed the band at the time into an engagement with the 1960's "New Thing", as it was called: the influence of Coltrane's contemporary records on Impulse! is evident on Free For All (1964), often cited as the greatest document of the Shorter-era Messengers (and certainly one of the most fearsomely powerful examples of hard bop on record).

Blakey went on to record dozens of albums with a constantly changing group of Jazz Messengers — he had a policy of encouraging young musicians: as he remarked on-mike on A Night at Birdland (1954): "I'm gonna stay with the youngsters. When these get too old I'll get some younger ones. Keeps the mind active."After weathering the fusion era in the 1970s with some difficulty (recordings from this period are less plentiful and include attempts to incorporate instruments like electric piano), Blakey's band got a shot in the arm in the early 1980s with the advent of neotraditionalist jazz. Wynton Marsalis was for a time the band's trumpeter and musical director, and even after Marsalis's departure Blakey's band continued as a proving ground for many "Young Lions" like Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison and Kenny Garrett. Blakey continued performing and touring with the group into the late 1980s, and he died in 1990 of lung cancer in New York City, leaving behind a vast legacy and approach to jazz which is still the model for countless hard-bop players.

Up to the 1960s Blakey also recorded as a sideman with many other musicians: Jimmy Smith, Herbie Nichols, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, Grant Green, and Jazz Messengers graduates Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley, amongst many others. However, after the mid-1960s he mostly concentrated on his own work as a leader.

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Source : Wikipedia