Jazz Music News

Jazz music news from around the world... what I think is important to all you jazz cats and girls (felines). There is news from around the globe!

Jazz seems to be more important outside of the USA (as it was back in the days... thank god for the Europeans!). And I will bring you timely news that may not be on your radar.

There are alot of hip-cats out there who don't speak english but can feel The Jazz as though they were born here! That is why I love this music... it is UNIVERSAL!


DECEMBER 29, 2008Freddie Hubbard, Jazz Trumpeter, Dies at 70

Freddie Hubbard, a jazz trumpeter who dazzled audiences and critics alike with his virtuosity, his melodicism and his infectious energy, died on Monday in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 70 and lived in Sherman Oaks.Freddie Hubbard performing at Iridium in New York last year.

The cause was complications of a heart attack he had on Nov. 26, said his spokesman, Don Lucoff of DL Media.

Over a career that began in the late 1950s, Mr. Hubbard earned both critical praise and commercial success — although rarely for the same projects.

He attracted attention in the 1960s for his bravura work as a member of the Jazz Messengers, the valuable training ground for young musicians led by the veteran drummer Art Blakey, and on albums by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and many others. He also recorded several well-regarded albums as a leader. And although he was not an avant-gardist by temperament, he participated in three of the seminal recordings of the 1960s jazz avant-garde: Ornette Coleman’s “Free Jazz” (1960), Eric Dolphy’s “Out to Lunch” (1964) and John Coltrane’s “Ascension” (1965).

In the 1970s Mr. Hubbard, like many other jazz musicians of his generation, began courting a larger audience, with albums that featured electric instruments, rock and funk rhythms, string arrangements and repertory sprinkled with pop and R&B songs like Paul McCartney’s “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” and the Stylistics’ “Betcha by Golly, Wow.” His audience did indeed grow, but his standing in the jazz world diminished.

By the start of the next decade he had largely abandoned his more commercial approach and returned to his jazz roots. But his career came to a virtual halt in 1992 when he damaged his lip, and although he resumed performing and recording after an extended hiatus, he was never again as powerful a player as he had been in his prime.

Frederick Dewayne Hubbard was born on April 7, 1938, in Indianapolis. His first instrument was the alto-brass mellophone, and in high school he studied French horn and tuba as well as trumpet. After taking lessons with Max Woodbury, the first trumpeter of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, at the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music, he performed locally with, among others, the guitarist Wes Montgomery and his brothers.

Mr. Hubbard moved to New York in 1958 and almost immediately began working with groups led by the saxophonist Sonny Rollins, the drummer Philly Joe Jones and others. His profile rose in 1960 when he joined the roster of Blue Note, a leading jazz label; it rose further the next year when he was hired by Blakey, widely regarded as the music’s premier talent scout.

Adding his own spin to a style informed by Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Clifford Brown, Mr. Hubbard played trumpet with an unusual mix of melodic inventiveness and technical razzle-dazzle. The critics took notice. Leonard Feather called him “one of the most skilled, original and forceful trumpeters of the ’60s.”

After leaving Blakey’s band in 1964, Mr. Hubbard worked for a while with another drummer-bandleader, Max Roach, before forming his own group in 1966. Four years later he began recording for CTI, a record company that would soon become known for its aggressive efforts to market jazz musicians beyond the confines of the jazz audience.

His first albums for the label, notably “Red Clay,” contained some of the best playing of his career and, except for slicker production and the presence of some electric instruments, were not significantly different from his work for Blue Note. But his later albums on CTI, and the ones he made after leaving the label for Columbia in 1974, put less and less emphasis on improvisation and relied more and more on glossy arrangements and pop appeal. They sold well, for the most part, but were attacked, or in some cases simply ignored, by jazz critics. Within a few years Mr. Hubbard was expressing regrets about his career path.

Most of his recordings as a leader from the early 1980s on, for Pablo, Musicmasters and other labels, were small-group sessions emphasizing his gifts as an improviser that helped restore his critical reputation. But in 1992 he suffered a setback from which he never fully recovered.

By Mr. Hubbard’s own account, he seriously injured his upper lip that year by playing too hard, without warming up, once too often. The lip became infected, and for the rest of his life it was a struggle for him to play with his trademark strength and fire. As Howard Mandel explained in a 2008 Down Beat article, “His ability to project and hold a clear tone was damaged, so his fast finger flurries often result in blurts and blurs rather than explosive phrases.”

Mr. Hubbard nonetheless continued to perform and record sporadically, primarily on fluegelhorn rather than on the more demanding trumpet. In his last years he worked mostly with the trumpeter David Weiss, who featured Mr. Hubbard as a guest artist with his group, the New Jazz Composers Octet, on albums released under Mr. Hubbard’s name in 2001 and 2008, and at occasional nightclub engagements.

Mr. Hubbard won a Grammy Award for the album “First Light” in 1972 and was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2006.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Briggie Hubbard, and his son, Duane.

Mr. Hubbard was once known as the brashest of jazzmen, but his personality as well as his music mellowed in the wake of his lip problems. In a 1995 interview with Fred Shuster of Down Beat, he offered some sober advice to younger musicians: “Don’t make the mistake I made of not taking care of myself. Please, keep your chops cool and don’t overblow.”

NEW YORK - Odetta, the folk singer with the powerful voice who moved audiences and influenced fellow musicians for a half-century, has died. She was 77.

Odetta died Tuesday of heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital, said her manager of 12 years, Doug Yeager. She was admitted to the hospital with kidney failure about three weeks ago, he said.

In spite of failing health that caused her to use a wheelchair, Odetta performed 60 concerts in the last two years, singing for 90 minutes at a time. Her singing ability never diminished, Yeager said.

"The power would just come out of her like people wouldn't believe," he said.

With her booming, classically trained voice and spare guitar, Odetta gave life to the songs by workingmen and slaves, farmers and miners, housewives and washerwomen, blacks and whites.

First coming to prominence in the 1950s, she influenced Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and other singers who had roots in the folk music boom.

An Odetta record on the turntable, listeners could close their eyes and imagine themselves hearing the sounds of spirituals and blues as they rang out from a weathered back porch or around a long-vanished campfire a century before.

"What distinguished her from the start was the meticulous care with which she tried to re-create the feeling of her folk songs; to understand the emotions of a convict in a convict ditty, she once tried breaking up rocks with a sledge hammer," Time magazine wrote in 1960.

Ray Charles Foundation to develop the artists post-1960 catalog

Los Angeles, CA Concord Music Group announced that it has entered into an exclusive arrangement with the Ray Charles Foundation to develop the artists post-1960 catalog, which contains his classic work for the ABC and Tangerine labels. Many of the masters will be made available digitally for the first time ever, including such iconic recordings as Georgia On My Mind, Hit the Road Jack and Crying Time among many others.

The reissue program will kick off with the digital-only release of Charles The Spirit of Christmas and will continue in March 2009 with the release of a yet-untitled definitive hits collection. Throughout the rest of 2009, Concord will reissue six key catalog albums as well as some digital-only exclusives.

The Spirit of Christmas, which was released originally in 1985 on Columbia Records, features such holiday standards as What Child Is This, The Little Drummer Boy, and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. The reissue includes the bonus track Baby Its Cold Outside, a duet with Betty Carter, recorded in 1961. The digital-only release will be made available on November 25, 2008 at iTunes and all other digital outlets. The album will come out as a physical product in time for the 2009 Christmas season.

In March, Concord will release a definitive retrospective volume featuring 21 chart-topping Ray Charles hits including the aforementioned Georgia on My Mind, and Hit the Road Jack, plus Busted, I Cant Stop Loving You, Sticks and Stones, Drown in My Own Tears, Unchain My Heart, Ive Got a Woman, You Are My Sunshine and Take These Chains From My Heart, just to name a few.

As 2009 progresses, several other titles will see the light. Among the highlights are the Starbucks Opus Anthology, to be available at the coffee retailer; Modern Sounds in Country Western Music, Vol. 1 & 2; The Genius Hits the Road; Genius + Soul = Jazz; Berlin, 1962; plus the late fall physical CD release of The Spirit of Christmas.

The ambitious reissue initiative continues Concord Music Groups association with Ray Charles. 2004s Genius Loves Company was the winner of eight Grammy Awards, including Best Album. Concord has also released Ray Sings, Basie Swings in 2006, a previously unavailable recording featuring Charles with the Count Basie Orchestra.

John Burk, Concord Music Group exec VP of A&R stated, “Ray Charles is one of Americas most iconic and treasured voices. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to once again present Rays music with the reverence and respect it deserves and continue our dynamic partnership with Val Ervin and everyone at the Ray Charles Foundation."

“It makes perfect sense for Concord to continue to bring Ray's music to his audience and to create new listeners," said Valerie Ervin, President of the Ray Charles Foundation. “Concord was Ray's definition of a record company. He was impressed with the staff's genuine love for music and their innovative marketing approach."

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