Amazon.com Widgets

A Swell Farewell...and Onward

By Published: | 3,474 views
On April 13, Rutgers University-Newark threw a swell party for me on the occasion of my retirement as director of the Institute of Jazz Studies. I won't go into the social and musical details here, but do want to thank all my friends who showed up, and the many others who sent regrets—notably Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
, whose gratifying message was read by Dr. Clem Price, director of the Rutgers Institute of Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience.

Clem did such a great job of hosting the party, and I'm pretty certain was responsible for the surprise appearance of Newark's Mayor Cory Booker, as well as the musician friends who so graciously came to play: James Chirillo, Anat Cohen
Anat Cohen
Anat Cohen

sax, tenor
, Randy Sandke
Randy Sandke
Randy Sandke
b.1949
trumpet
, Daryl Sherman
Daryl Sherman
b.1950
vocalist
, and the Institute's own Joe Peterson.

Many kind words were spoken, and I was presented with the Rutgers University Award, symbolized by a medal—which, believe me, beats a gold watch. Once again: I am not cutting the umbilical cord. I plan to continue hosting the Jazz From The Archives radio show, as well as my association with the Journal of Jazz Studies. I'll be on call at the institute when needed. On another front, be here in my Jersey Jazz Den as long as the welcome mat is out.

Awesome Twosome

It was a special treat to encounter Dick Hyman
Dick Hyman
Dick Hyman
b.1927
piano
twice within two weeks in New York City, in April. The first was at the Kitano New York, where the pianist was dueting with Ken Peplowski
Ken Peplowski
Ken Peplowski
b.1959
clarinet
, who played tenor as well as clarinet. Ken is a master of both horns, with his own voice. While he was already special when I first encountered him, he has reached a new plateau—as evident on his most recent albums. This awesome twosome never made you miss a rhythm section, and both are conversant with the full range of the art form.

So we were treated to "Panama," as well as Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
1928 - 2014
piano
's take on "Lover Come Back to Me." Dick, that swinging encyclopedia of piano history, gave out with some stride as well as bebop, and Ken's tenor was heard in two different grooves, a moving ballad version of "Gone with the Wind," and a booting ride on "Stuffy," the Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
1904 - 1969
sax, tenor
-Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
opus on rhythm changes. The presence of some unusual microphones makes me suspect there may be some recorded evidence to come.

Dick Hyman was the special guest with David Ostwald's Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
trumpet
Centennial Band at Birdland, the following week—as usual on a Wednesday, from 5:30 to 7:15, which is where and when they've been holding forth for a dozen years. The tuba-playing leader draws on a pool of first-rate players; on this occasion, Randy Reinhardt on cornet, Jim Fryer on trombone doubling baritone horn, Anat Cohen on clarinet, and Marion Felder on drums.

The band's repertory is music associated with Louis, and when David wanted to pay tribute to fallen comrade Joe Muranyi
Joe Muranyi
b.1928
, a not infrequent guest, he picked "Ochi Chornia" in honor of Joe's Eastern European roots. Anat was the star on this appropriate in memoriam for a fellow clarinetist, while Dick scored on his feature, "Ain't Misbehavin,'" which I've heard him do so often, but always a bit differently. On the traditional closer, "Swing that Music," Randy and Jim switched instruments—no surprise for the former, an accomplished trombonist—but Jim's trumpet chops were new to me. This was a nice front line, but the one a couple of weeks before, of Bria Skonberg
Bria Skonberg
Bria Skonberg

trumpet
, Harvey Tibbs and Anat, was special in the way it jelled. That was especially evident on the rarely heard Hot Five classic, "Hear Me Talkin' to You."

You never know what can happen on a late afternoon and early evening with the Ostwalds, but it never disappoints, and the setting is one of the pleasantest for jazz in the city. Aside from Vince Giordano
Vince Giordano
Vince Giordano
b.1952
composer/conductor
's estimable Nighthawks at the nearby Hotel Edison's Sofia Restaurant, it's the only regular traditional jazz game in town. (Both, by the way, amenable as adjuncts to a theater night on Broadway, before or after.)

Remembering Muranyi

Joe Muranyi, who left us on April 20, 2012, after a long battle with ill health, was one of my oldest friends. I first met Joe at the Stuyvesant Casino, a bit after he'd made his recording debut with a band that included Dick Wellstood
Dick Wellstood
b.1927
piano
. Joe would not record again until 38 years later, when they, Dick Sudhalter
Dick Sudhalter
1938 - 2008
trumpet
and Marty Grosz
Marty Grosz
Marty Grosz
b.1930
guitar
formed the Classic Jazz Quartet. (Marty had come up with a much better name, The Bourgeois Scum, but they were advised to change it when DJ Jonathan Schwartz refused to say "scum" on the air.)

comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.