In Memoriam: Bob Dorough

Bob Dorough at Kitano, 2012

Bob Dorough at Jazz at Kitano, with my friend and fellow Dorough fan Terry King, in August 2012. We were thrilled to meet him.

The great jazz singer, songwriter and pianist Bob Dorough passed away yesterday at 94. Perennially young and energetic, we thought he would go on forever. I saw him give a breezy, masterful performance at Jazz at Kitano four years ago, when he was 90. He sang and played like someone 30 years younger, with his pony tail and that patented Arkansas twang of his that, somehow, added to his hipster image. I interviewed him and reviewed the show for DownBeat. He will no doubt be best remembered for “Schoolhouse Rock,” for which he wrote and recorded many of the songs. But his great songbook also includes the immortal “Devil May Care,” “I’m Hip” (with Dave Frishberg), and “Nothing Like You Has Ever Been Seen Before.” He also holds the distinction of being one of the only vocalists ever to sing on a Miles Davis album (Sorcerer). 

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Bob Dorough meets Cecile McLorin Salvant at the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival (photo: AM).

In August 2015, I witnessed his first meeting with Cecile McLorin Salvant following her performance at the Newport Jazz Festival. He presented her with a folio of some of his songs that he thought she might like. She was thrilled and subsequently added “Devil May Care” and “Nothing Like You” to her repertoire.

“Nothing like him,” indeed.

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Filed under Bob Dorough, Cecile McLorin Salvant

Manhattan Transfer Reboots

Manhattan Transfer, from left: Alan Paul, Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Siegel and Trist Curless (Photo: John Abbott)

I spoke with The Manhattan Transfer’s Alan Paul and new member Trist Curless about the group’s great new album “The Junction,” its first in nearly a decade. It plays like a pop album, but an awfully hip one. Story in DownBeat Magazine.

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Filed under Alan Paul, Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Siegel, Manhattan Transfer, Mervyn Warren, Trist Curless

I moderated a panel at L.I.U.-Post’s “Jazz Day” on March 3

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Joining me in the Career Pathways in Jazz panel were (l-r) Prof. Jeff Lederer; guitarist Al Marino, and drummer Brad Sporkin.

I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion on “Career Pathways in Jazz” as part of L.I. University-C.W. Post’s annual “Jazz Day” on Saturday, March 3. Joining me in discussing what it takes to make a career in jazz (and other genres of music) were saxophonist/clarinetist and Post professor Jeff Lederer; recent Post music graduate and working guitarist Al Marino; and my friend, the drummer Brad Sporkin. We also had some great contributions from pianist/bandleader Richie Iacona, also a Post professor.  Thanks so much to Jeff; LIU Director of Music Education Dr. Jennifer Miceli; and University Director of Arts Advancement Brian Hoeflschweiger for inviting me.

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Filed under Allen Morrison, Jeff Lederer, Lectures

Geri Allen’s Spirit Fills Winter Jazzfest During All-Star Tribute

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Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen performs at the star-filled tribute to Geri Allen at Winter Jazzfest in NYC on January 15, 2018. That’s singer Lizz Wright and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington on the left. (Photo: Gulnara Khamatova)

A moving and heartfelt tribute to the great jazz pianist and composer unfolded as a series of highlights by a high-wattage group of players including Terri Lyne Carrington (musical director), Esperanza Spalding, Lizz Wright,  Dee Dee Bridgewater, Helen Sung, Vijay Iyer, Kris Davis, Tia Fuller, JD Allen, Jack DeJohnette, and many more. My review at DownBeat.com.

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Filed under Dee Dee Bridgewater, Esperanza Spalding, Geri Allen, Helen Sung, Jack DeJohnette, JD Allen, Lizz Wright, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tia Fuller, Vijay Iyer

At 56, Wynton Marsalis Reflects on His Induction Into the DownBeat Hall of Fame

Downbeat December 2017 cover

At 56, Marsalis is among the youngest living artists ever inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame. If he had only been the leading trumpeter of his generation, there’s little doubt he eventually would have made it into the hallowed hall. But it’s his tireless work as an educator, bandleader, fundraiser, non-profit executive, and advocate for jazz and American culture that probably sealed the deal so soon.  My interview with him, from the December 2017 DownBeat.

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Filed under Aaron Diehl, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Marcus Printup, Music Writing and Clips, Sherman Irby, Wynton Marsalis

A Night at the Blue Note, Rio with Antonio Adolfo and Bossa Nova legend Carlos Lyra

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Antonio Adolfo performs at The Blue Note in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Nov. 11. (Photo: Alexandre Moreira)

Although he may look more like a professor or kindly physician, Antonio Adolfo is, in reality, a killer pianist/arranger and master of samba jazz. In early November, the beginning of summer in Brazil, I went to the beautiful new Blue Note in Rio de Janeiro to get my samba fix.  Adolfo led a septet that features some of the finest jazz musicians in Brazil. And then he introduced his guest, one of the great Bossa Nova singer/songwriters, Carlos Lyra. My story in DownBeat.

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Filed under Antonio Adolfo, Bossa Nova, Brazilian music, Carlos Lyra

Brazil’s MIMO Festival Brings the World to Rio de Janeiro

Didier Lockwood Trio at Igreja da Candalaria, Rio

Didier Lockwood Trio at Igreja da Candalaria, Rio (photo by Beto Figueiroa, MIMO Festival)

Last week’s MIMO Festival-Rio was a musical bazaar including MPB (Brazilian pop), Afro-pop, Portuguese pop, jazz, salsa, and unclassifiable music from around the world. And it ended with a samba explosion to make traditional Brazilian music fans smile. Here’s my review in @DownBeatMag.

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Filed under Brazilian music, Criolo, Didier Lockwood, MIMO Festival