It's been a while since we last met in my Den, so I thought I'd share a very special summer doubleheader with you.
June 16 was a big jazz day in New York. It began in mid-afternoon at the Jazz Standard, with the 13th Annual Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards. Arriving not long after starting time, I found the joint already jumping with jazz scribes, nominees and acolytes, most of them on line for the club's very good food, doled out buffet style or at the adjacent bar, where Brother Theo's Ale was part of the deal, anything stronger strictly cash.
Conversation was not an option with Charles Tolliver
's big band going full blast. But once their brief set ended, an almost equal level of babble arose, and remained fairly constant throughout, even as awards were presented and softer music performed. To put it bluntly (and I was not alone in this opinion), it was a mighty rude crowd, musicians excepted.
Since there were almost 50 awards, I can't name them all, but among winners present to accept were pianist Hank Jones
(Composer, Arranger, Large Ensemble), and managed to juggle the three trophies, and son Josh Konitz accepted the Lifetime Achievement award for his father, Lee, while nephew-trombonist Clifton Anderson
The A Team awardees included Record Man Bruce Lundvall, for whom I was the presenter, an honor and a pleasureBruce is one of the best things ever to happen in the record business, soon to become history and two friends no longer with us, Peter Levinson, author and publicist, and Richard Sudhalter, author and musician. Dick's sister Carol, playing flute and tenor sax, joined Daryl Sherman, piano and vocal, in a musical tribute to her brother that included a fine rendition of "Skylark" that dampened the babble.
Also heard from were Rumanian pianist Resonance Big Band
on steroids. And it was great to see old friend Doug Ramsey, now residing in the state of Washington, and former winner of JJA's Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism, on a rare visit East.
Doug, Ira Gitler, expert blogger Marc Myers and I made our exit to share a car to the next awards happening, starting at 6:00 at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Allen Roomthe ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame induction ceremony. This is always a class event. It was fun to meet new ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, and it was a special kick for me to be a presenter again, for Anat Cohen
and Daniel Freedman on piano, bass and drums. Regina Carter got the ASCAP Foundation Vanguard Award and joined her fiddle with accordion and kora, a long- necked harp lute of the Malinke people of western Africa.
Then came the Wall of Fame inductions. First, John Coltrane
, Carlos Henriques and Vincent Riveria serving up a caloric tribute, and our favorite weather girl, Audrey Puente, among the relatives accepting the trophy. Randy Weston, very much alive, performed in a unique setting for his pianothree horns: Benny Powell