Rob McConnell: Boss of Bosses
Horne, who credited composer / arranger Billy Strayhorn for much of her success as a singer, continued recording well into the 1990s before retiring to her home in Manhattan. She leaves a legacy far beyond what might have been expected from a singer who was forced by circumstance to perform for many years under the oppressive cloud of racism. That she emerged triumphant is a testament to Lena Horne's remarkable talent and tenacity.
Setting the Record Straight
When writing last month about the Jazz and Blues Camp for girls (August 9-14, 2010) in Montclair, CA, an error was made and the wrong faculty was listed. How could that happen? Well, when we went to the school's website for information, there was a link at the left-hand side of the page leading one to "faculty." That's the link that was used. As it turns out, however, the faculty listed there was for another camp entirely. A correction was made, but not until the column had been posted for three weeks. To set the record straight, here again is a list of faculty for the Jazz and Blues Camp. It is comprised entirely of women, most of whom are members of the excellent Montclair Women's Big Band: Ellen Seeling and Jean Fineberg, directors; Fineberg and Mad Duran (saxophones, winds, ensembles); Seeling and Christy Dana (trumpet, ensembles, theory and improvisation, jazz listening and appreciation); Mimi Fox (guitar, ensembles); Tammy Hall and Erika Oba (piano, keyboards, ensembles); Ruth Davies and Ariane Cap (acoustic and electric bass, ensembles); Kelly Fasman and Michaelle Goerlitz (drums, percussion, ensembles); Jessica Neighbor and Rhonda Benin (vocals, vocal ensembles, songwriting).
Odds 'n Ends from Here 'n There
Louis, a silent film depicting the early life and times of trumpet legend Louis Armstrong and starring Jackie Earle Haley, Shanti Lowry and Anthony Coleman, will premiere in five U.S. cities in late August 2010 with live musical accompaniment by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, pianist Cecile Licad and a ten-piece jazz ensemble whose members include Sherman Irby, Victor Goines, Marcus Printup, Ted Nash, Curt Bacher, Vincent Gardner, Wycliffe Gordon, Dan Nimmer, Carlos Henriquez, Ali Jackson and conductor Andy Farber. Marsalis will play a score comprised mostly of his own compositions, while Licad will play music the the 19th century composer Louis Gottschalk. The film, directed by Dan Pritzker, is described as an homage to Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin, beautiful women and the birth of American music. The streets, alleys and cemeteries of 1907 New Orleans provide the backdrop for the six-year-old Armstrong as he navigates the colorful intricacies of life in the city. His dreams of playing the trumpet are interrupted by a chance meeting with a beautiful yet vulnerable girl named Grace (Lowry) and her baby, Jasmine. Haley plays the evil Judge Perry who is determined not to let Jasmine's true heritage derail his candidacy for governor. Louis can be seen August 25 at Symphony Center in Chicago; August 26 at the Max Fisher Music Center in Detroit; August 28 at the Strathmore Center in Bethesda, MD; August 30 at the Apollo Theatre in New York City; and August 31 at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside (Philadelphia), PA. For more information, go to www.louisthemovie.com
The San Francisco arts organization SFJazz has announced its plans to build a 35,000-square-foot facility in the city's Hayes Valley neighborhood devoted exclusively to jazz. The building, to be called the SFJazz Center, is scheduled to break ground in spring 2011 and to open in fall 2012. It will entail a $60 million capital campaign that includes a $10 million operating endowment (which is already in hand). SFJazz, founded in 1983, sponsors nearly 100 concerts a year for a growing audience that includes a 3,000-member subscriber base. It produces the city's annual fall jazz festival as well as its own year-round series of concerts, discussions and workshops. Since 1984 it has cultivated its own in-house ensemble, the SFJazz Collective, whose membership has included such marquee names as Josh Redman, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, Bobby Hutcherson and Nicholas Payton. The band records and tours with a new program each year.