2011: The Year In Jazz
The ebb and flow of jazz in 2011 was marked by a Grammy Awards coup, a Grammy dustup, economic changes that consolidated the recording industry a bit, impacted clubs in various locales, and provided some new opportunities. The U.S. Postal Service literally put its stamp on jazz, even as the government wrestled with the future of the NEA Jazz Masters program. And there were awards galore for its makers. And a jazz broadcasting legend stepped away from the microphone.
Grammys: Both Sides Now
The biggest upset win of the night at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards belonged to bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding. She collected the first win by a jazz performer of the Grammy for Best New Artist, edging out Justin Bieber and other pop-oriented nominees. The win came out of left field, since Spalding didn't even have an album in the running. Drummer Roy Haynesthe oldest teenager in jazzwas honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other jazz winners: Best Contemporary Jazz Album: Stanley Clarke: The Stanley Clarke Band (Heads Up, 2010); Best Jazz Vocal Album. Dee Dee Bridgewater: Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee (EmArcy, 2010); Best Improvised Jazz Solo: Herbie Hancock: "A Change Is Gonna Come" from The Imagine Project (Herbie Hancock, 2010); Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group: James Moody: Moody 4B (IPO, 2010); Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Mingus Big Band Live At Jazz Standard (Self Produced, 2010); Best Latin Jazz Album: Chucho Valdés And The Afro-Cuban Messengers: Chucho's Steps (Four Quarters, 2010). Saxophonist Kirk Whalum's "It's What I Do" was voted Best Gospel Song.
Two jazz albums were among the winners of the 2011 Latin Grammy Awards, announced in November in Las Vegas. Paquito D'Rivera won for Best Latin Jazz Album for Panamericana Suite (Self Produced, 2010); and Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White won in the Best Instrumental Album category for Forever (Concord, 2010).
The awards were the first following a hue and cryand legal complaintfrom artists this year when the Latin Jazz category was among more than 30 categories axed from the traditional main Grammy Awards. Many artists and music industry protested the trimming of the number of awards but the Recording Academy has refused to restore them. The Latin jazz community has been the most visible in the battle to bring them back.
NEA Jazz Masters
President Barack Obama's 2012 budget proposal, delivered to Congress in February, proposed cutting the National Endowment for the Arts' Jazz Masters Award as part of a significant budget reduction for the NEA at large. Similar honors for opera and folk music would also be eliminated in deference to a new NEA American Artists of the Year honor for participants in a wide array of performing and visual arts. The changes have been controversial and could be scrapped by Congress. As of this writing, that's still up in the air.
The honor has been bestowed on 119 artists and groups since 1982 for lifetime achievement in jazz artistry or advocacy. The NEA has announced the 2012 recipients, its 30th class, without certainty whether there will be a 31st class. Those new winners, collecting their honors on January 10, are Jack DeJohnette, Von Freeman, Charlie Haden, Sheila Jordan and Jimmy Owens, who is receiving the 2012 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy.
Putting a Fresh Stamp on Jazz
On March 26 in New Orleans, the U.S. Postal Service paid visual tribute to the music and its makers by issuing a jazz commemorative stamp. In creating the art for the distinctive stamp, artist Paul Rogers of Pasadena, Calif., said he was inspired by the cover art from vintage jazz record albumswork that captured the music's improvisational quality while built on a clear understanding of its underlying structure.
Passing the Torch, er, Microphone
In the fall, NPR announced that pianist Marian McPartland has stepped down as the host of the award-winning Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz broadcast, after more than three decades on the air. She will stay on as the artistic director of the show, which she began hosting in April 1979. McPartland, 93, has not recorded a new show since September 2010. The producers have been making new episodes with guest hosts. Pianist John Weber is the interim host starting in January, 2012. He has recorded 13 new shows for the program, which is being renamed Piano Jazz Rising Stars. NPR said it has not decided who will host the show after Weber's initial series has finished airing. The show is broadcast on more than 204 stations across the country.
There were significant openings, closings, near-misses and consolidations in the past year because of, or in spite of, the recession. Here's a look at a few of them that crossed the desk:
- New York's musicians' union revived its campaign for minimum wage and pension benefits for jazz musicians. The disagreement between the union and club owners dates to 2005, when union leaders joined the night clubs to lobby the State Legislature for a reduction in the sales tax on tickets because the extra revenue would be used to pay for pension and health benefits. The tax break was passed in 2006, but the union never hammered out a formal pact with the club owners. Five years later, none of the clubs have entered negotiations with the union to sign collective bargaining agreements. Those agreements are required before the clubs can begin paying into Local 802's pension system.
- SFJAZZ broke ground in May on the SFJazz Center, a $60 million project that will become the San Francisco presenter's new home. The 35,000 square-foot building, will house a concert hall with flexible seating for 350 to 500 people, a jazz café, and a state-of-the-art home for the SFJAZZ Collective, an all-star jazz ensemble comprised of some of the finest musicians performing today. The SFJAZZ Center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2012.
- Jazz at Lincoln Center announced plans to expand abroad, creating a new jazz club in Doha, Qatar, and four other cities through a partnership with the St. Regis luxury hotel chain. The new club is scheduled to open in Qatar's capital city in April. J@LC has been sending its musicians abroad on tour for years, but this is the first time the NY-based nonprofit has established a permanent subsidiary abroad. The 120-seat club in Doha will be modeled after the Dizzy's Club Coca Cola that is part of the Lincoln Center complex in Manhattan.
- Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield opened his second club in New Orleans, partnering with the downtown JW Marriott Hotel to create the Irvin Mayfield I Club, a new "upscale" music venue that opened in July in the former home of the hotel's Henri restaurant. In 2009, he opened Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street. The success of that club, which focuses mostly on jazz and brass band music, created an opportunity for Mayfield to expand his brand.
- In a blow for Los Angeles jazz fans, the Van Nuys jazz club Charlie O's abruptly closed after 11 years of shows by a roster of veteran local players and touring musicians. B Sharp's Jazz Club in Tallahassee, Fla., closed in late June. Detroit jazz fans escaped a near miss after word that the venerable Baker's Keyboard Lounge, the world's oldest jazz club, in business since 1934, was up for auction. The club was sold for $395.000. New owners Hugh W. Smith III and Eric Whitaker vowed to keep the venue running as a jazz club.
- After 29 years in business, Stereo Jack's Records closed last spring in Cambridge, Mass. Owner Jack Woker decided not to reopen his music store elsewhere after his landlord announced plans to open a pizza shop on the site.
- The music company EMI, home to The Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Motown song catalog, was sold for $4.1 billion through a pair of deals that usher in a new wave of consolidation in the music industry. In a complex sale brokered by Citigroup, the Universal Music Group will absorb EMI's recorded music operations for $1.9 billion, while EMI's music publishing division will be sold for $2.2 billion to a consortium of investors led by Sony. EMI's labels included Capitol, Virgin and Blue Note.
- Gibson Guitar acquired the Stanton GroupKRK Systems, Cerwin-Vega and Stanton DJ. They will become the basis for a new Gibson Pro Audio division. The acquisition marked Gibson's further expansion into the pro audio market with loudspeaker, monitor and electronics technology. distributes loudspeakers for the home and professional audio markets.
In addition to the Grammy and NEA honors noted above, there were many awards impacting jazz and its makers over the past year:
- Saxophonist Sonny Rollins received the 34th annual Kennedy Center Honors in early December, as did singer Barbara Cook, singer and songwriter Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and actress Meryl Streep, for contributing significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world. Other jazz artists who have been Kennedy Center Honorees are: Ella Fitzgerald (1978), Count Basie (1981), Benny Goodman (1982), Dizzy Gillespie (1990), Lionel Hampton (1992), Benny Carter (1996), Quincy Jones (2001), and Dave Brubeck (2009).
- Sonny Rollins and Quincy Jones received the National Medal for the Arts from President Obama at the White House on March 2.
- ASCAP added five music greats to the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame. The 2001 inductees were Jimmy Heath, George Avakian, Oscar Peterson, Mel Powell and Nina Simone. Composer and bassist Omer Avital was recognized with The ASCAP Jazz Vanguard Award.
- Drummer and composer Dafnis Prieto was honored with a so-called "genius grant," in the form of a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Prieto was honored for his gripping rhythmic command and an original vision of Latin jazz. The no-strings grant is designed to encourage future creativity.
- Kris Bowers won the Thelonious Monk Institute Piano Competition, with Joshua White and Emmet Cohen finishing second and third among the finalists. This 25th annual Monk competition's celebration also included a performance of "Moody's Mood" by honoree Aretha Franklin and, a surprise performance from Jennifer Hudson.
- Singer Chiara Izzi won the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition 2011. She was chosen among singers from 21 different countries. Izzi is the first Italian winner of this competition, which was held during the 45th Montreux Jazz Festival, and is open only to singers under 35.
- Saxophonist Phil Woods was honored by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation with the BNY Mellon Jazz 2011 Living Legacy Award at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 14.
- Herbie Hancock was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for his "dedication to the promotion of peace through dialogue, culture and the arts.
- Kurt Elling, Dr. Jazz, ECM and HighNote/Savant were among the winners during Jazz Week's annual Jazz Summit in Rochester, N.Y. The weekly online publication dedicated to jazz and jazz radio programming. Elling's The Gate (Concord, 2011) was named Record of the Year. The annual Duke Dubois Humanitarian Award was given to longtime jazz promoter and industry advocate Dr. Jazz (Bob Cohen) in recognition of his years of service to the jazz community. According to a press release received at JazzTimes, the Duke DuBois award "is given to an individual to recognize a long-standing commitment to jazz, jazz radio, jazz education and generous service to the jazz community." Starting in 2012, the organization is moving its annual Summit to the Motor City to coincide with the Detroit International Jazz Festival, held on Labor Day weekend every year. The first JazzWeek Summit in Detroit will take place in 2012.
- The Dillard Center for the Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Seattle's Roosevelt High School and Mountlake Terrace High School finished first, second and third respectively in the 16th annual Essentially Ellington High School Band Competition. The finals were held in May at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
- Pianist Vladislav Sendecki received the Hamburg Jazz Award. The Polish-born musician fled to the West in 1981 and has held the piano chair of the NDR Bigband for the past 15 years.
- British critic John Fordham was named "jazz critic of the year 2011" at the U.K.'s Parliamentary Jazz Awards .
- Clarinetist Reimer von Essen, musical director of the Frankfurt, Germany-based Barrelhouse Jazzband, received 2011's Hesse Jazz Award.
- Turkish drummer and percussionist Okay Temiz received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Istanbul International Jazz Festival. Temiz was born into a musical family and left Istanbul in 1967 to live and work in Sweden for 23 years from where he toured Europe with his band Oriental Wind. Temiz returned to Istanbul in 1998 where he set up his Rhythm Workshop, which he sees not just as musical projects but as a healing force for anybody participants.
Other Notable Happenings During 2011:
Masterful Donation: The Library of Congress has taken possession of a donation of 200,000 metal, glass and lacquer master discs covering the time from 1926-1948 from the Universal Music Group vaults, among them original recordings by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and others.
Endangered on Long Island:The final residence of John Coltrane, a ranch-style home in Dix Hills, N.Y., where he composed his masterpiece, A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965), is now among the 11 most endangered historic places in the country, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Friends of the Coltrane Home bought the property in 2006 in an effort to turn the house into an education center after a decade of vacancy and deterioration. Those plans have stalled from a lack of funds. Trust President Stephanie Meeks said, the potential of the modest house makes it a prime candidate for preservation. "The home itself is one you might find in any suburban neighborhood," she said. "It reinforces the idea that great history happens all around us and there is a preservation opportunity around every corner."
Save in Buffalo: The house of trumpeter Elvin Shepherd, who until his death in 1995 performed with many of the jazz greats and who taught musicians such as Grover Washington, Jr., has been saved from demolition. There are plans to transform it a museum for Buffalo, N.Y.'s jazz history.
Duke Support: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has awarded a $50,000, 29-month Arts Program grant to the Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. to support presentations by DDCF grantees at the Newport Jazz Festival from 2011 to 2013. The source of the funding is no surprise since the late Doris Duke was a regular, low-key Newport Jazz Festival attendee from the 1950s into the early 1990s. Composer/drummer/bandleader John Hollenbeck and saxophonist Miguel Zenón debuted new works or arrangements, commissioned by this grant support, at the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival. Percussionist Dafnis Prieto has been commissioned to write a new piece for his sextet to debut at the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival, which is set for next August 3 to 5.
Yes, There's a Yellow Basket: A senior housing apartment building in Tampa, Fla., has been named after Ella Fitzgerald who supposedly wrote her 1938 hit "A Tisket, A Tasket" while living on Tampa's Central Avenue, which was known as "Harlem South" among African-American musicians.
Parking Wes: Wes Montgomery Park, which opened in May in Indianapolis, features a guitar-shaped spray pad which, when activated, spouts water and plays recordings of Montgomery's music.
On the Road Again: Singer Angela Bofill, who had two massive strokes in 2006 and 2007 that permanently affected her left side and took away her ability to sing, performed again in a series of concerts called the "Angela Bofill Experience. On this mini-tour, she told her stories, backed by her old band, flutist Dave Valentin, and guest singer Maysa. More concerts are scheduled into 2012.
Blues Trail: A Mississippi Blues Trail marker was unveiled to honor the late Jimmie Lunceford, who was born and raised near Fulton, Miss. The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra toured the nation in the 1930s and was considered on par with the bands of Duke Ellington and Count Basie, among others.
The jazz world lost some musical heavyweights in the past year, among them: drummers Joe Morello and Paul Motian, saxophonist Frank Foster, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, pianist George Shearing, singer-composer-activist Gil Scott-Heron, and singer and bassist Bob Flanagan. Here is the full rundown, listed by instrument or specialty:
Arranger and bandleader: Wardell Quezergue.
Bassists: Reginald Curry, Charles Fambrough, Steve Freeman, Harald Johnsen, Ned Mann, Paul Mildé, Curtis Mitchell, David Shapiro; bassist, pianist, and drummer Stanley Wright; bassist, composer, author and educator Graham Collier.
Bandleaders: Pupi Campo; bandleader, singer and saxophonist Orrin Tucker; big band leader, pianist, clarinetist, guitarist, banjo and accordion player Mickey Correa; bandleader, singer, saxophonist and drummer Edmundo Ros.
Clarinetists: Ian Wheeler; clarinetist, singer and club owner Yvonne "Dixie" Fasnacht.
Composers: Hans Ulrich Engelmann, Jerry Leiber, Jerry Ragovoy, Fred Steiner; composer, poet, spoken word performer, singer, percussionist, pianist, social and political activist, writer Gil Scott-Heron; composer and educator Milton Babbitt; composer, pianist and trumpeter John Barry; composer, poet, singer and club owner Fran Landesman; composer, lyricist, arranger and pianist Hugh Martin; composer and arranger Pete Rugolo, songwriter Ruth Roberts; composer, arranger and conductor Russ Garcia.
Drummers: Butch Ballard. Erich Bachträgl, Eric Delaney, Herman Ernest III, Tony Levin, Eddie Marshall, Jack Menna, Joe Morello, Paul Motian, George Reed, Reed Vaughan; drummer and percussionist Daniel Perez; drummer, percussionist and inventor Armen Halburian; drummer and educator Fred Gruber; drummer and cymbalsmith Roberto Spizzichino; drummer, bandleader, composer, arranger, educator and author Clem DeRosa; percussionist and composer Ralph McDonald.
Guitarists: Cornell Dupree, Manuel Galbán, Ladi Geisler, Ron Lopez, Russell Norkin; guitarist, bandleader (and philosopher) David Pearlman a.k.a. Poppa Neutrino, Hans Reichel; guitarist and singer Melvin Sparks; steel guitarist Buddy Charleton; guitarist, educator and writer Charles Chapman; guitarist and ukulele player Bill Tapia.
Organists: Odell Brown.
Percussionists: Ritchie Barrientos, Tito Cepeda; percussionist bandleader and club owner Vitin Santiago; percussionist and singer Eugenio Arango (Totico); percussionist and jazz band founder Bill Donahoe.
Pianists: Gordon Beck, Bess Bonnier, Velzoe Brown, Ray Bryant, Francois Cahen, Arnie Carruthers, Frans Elsen, Tom Garvin, Marty Harris, Art Hillery, Wolfgang Lauth, James Wade Mouton, Horst Mühlbradt, Walter Norris, Johnny Pearson, Johnny Raducanu, Kristian Schultze, Bill Triglia, Al Vega, Roger Williams, Tricia Woods; pianist, accordionist and kalimba player Erico Noir (Eric J. Schwarz); pianist, composer and bandleader George Shearing; pianist and Bavarian Jazz Institute founder Richard Wiedamann; pianist and musical director Morty Jacobs; pianist and composer György Szabados; pianist and singers Pearl Thuston Brown, Georg Kreisler, Paul West; pianist, trombonist, bandleader and educator Andy Wright; pianist and composer Don Newey; pianist, composer and educator Michael Garrick.
Saxophonists: Stanley Barber, Gil Bernal, Mike Carrick, Nelson Hernandez, Tommy Melville, Ted Nash (the uncle of saxophonist Ted Nash), Zim Ngqawana, Piet Noordijk, Bill Scarlett, Mason "Country" Thomas, David L. Williams; Saxophonist and singer Betty Smith; saxophonists and bandleaders George Botts Sr. and Sam Rivers; woodwinds player Sid Cooper; saxophonist, composer, arranger and bandleader Frank Foster.
Singers: Mary Birt, Beryl Davis, Daniela D'Ercole, Dolores Hope, Dinah Kaye, Christiane Legrand, José Luis Moneró, Jimmy Norman, Ottilie Patterson, Jimmy Roselli, Christine Rosholt, Myra Taylor, Mae Wheeler, Margaret Whiting, Joe Lee Wilson, Amy Winehouse, Norma Zimmer; singer and documentary film producer Mary Cleere Haran; singer and bassist Bob Flanigan; actor, pianist and singer Al Israel; singer, songwriter and pianist Joe Mogotsi; singer and drummer Ross Barbour; singer, actress and educator Barbara Lea; singer and actress Milly Ericson.
Trombonists: Bill Bardin, Papa Bue, John DeMasi, Erling Kroner, Hawe Schneider; trombonist and festival director Alan Adams; trombonist, composer, writer and educator Charles Hamm; trombonist and Latin percussionist Dave Tuttle; Valve trombonist, bandleader, composer and educator Bob Brookmeyer.
Trumpeters: Roger DeVuyst, Don Ferrara, Barrie Lee Hall Jr., Jimmy (Chops) Jones, Chuck Miller, Niel Parker, Paul Phillips, Andrzej Pysbielski, Uan Rasey, Michael Elliott Ridley, Alan Rubin, Reg Service, Allen Smith, Richard Turner, Jens Winther, Snooky Young; trumpeter and bassist Gary Deary; trumpeter and band leader Dan Terry; trumpeter and former president of Local 802 of the New York City Musicians' Union Johnny Glasel.
Tubaists: and euphonium player Brad Felt.
Vibraphonist: Bosko Petrovic.
Violinists: Billy Bang and Wedeli Köhler.
Record Producers: Jack Lewis and Randy Wood; record producer and record store owner Bobby Robinson; jazz club manager Willi Geipel; club owners Kimball Allen and Larry Friedlander; producer Kym Bonython; talent agent, manager, producer and executive Harold Davison; photo archivist, historian, producer and writer Frank Driggs; musicologist and composer André Hodeir; music publisher Mickey Goldsen.
Discographers: Brian Rust and Jos Willems; sociologist and jazz researcher Heinz Steinert.
Choreographers: Choreographer and tap dancer Jerry Ames; choreographer Roland Petit.
Writers: Jean-Pierre Battestini, Charles Graham, Mike Hazeldine, Pit Huber, Joan Peyser; writer and editor Paul Blair; broadcasters Phyllis Campbell, Stan Martin, Larry Smith, Danny Stiles; poet Ira Cohen; photographer Paul Gerhard Deker, Rod Hudson, Robert Whitaker; photographer and painter T. Lux Feininger; writer and musicologist Christopher Small; jazz society founder and editor Betty Tardy Forrest; writer and jazz presenter Jack McCray; Latin music historian Ernie Ensley.
Art directors: Art director and graphic designer Alex Steinweiss; graphic designer, photographer and promoter John Haxby.
Actors/Narrators Dietmar Mues.
Audio Pioneer: Edgar M. Villchur.
Filmmakers: Brucer Ricker.
Publicity director for Blue Note, second wife of Blue Note Records founder Alfred Lion, and jazz advocate Ruth Mason Lion.
Philanthropist: Agnes Varis.
78-RPM Record Collector: Alexander Loulakis ; jazz collector and expert Mike Montgomery.
Jazz supporter: Vaclav Havel.
Outside the Jazz World: Blues, cabaret, country, gospel, opera, pop, R&B, reggae, rock, soul, world music, zydeco, etc. performers and industry participants Liz Anderson, Joe Arroyo, Nick Ashford, John Atterberry, Israel Baker, Kenny Baker, David Bedford, Jimmy Bloom, Doyle Bramhall, George "Mojo" Buford, Bob Burnett, Philip Burrell, Facundo Cabral, Delois Barrett Campbell, Jeanne Carroll, John Carter, Clarence Clemons, Wilma Lee Cooper, Don DeVito, Hazel Dickens, Robert Dickey, Jessy Dixon, Slim Dunkin (Mario Hamilton); David "Honeyboy" Edwards, DJ Mehdi (Mehdi Favéris-Essadi), Esther Gordy Edwards, Cesária Évora, Barry Feinstein, Carl Gardner, Lacy Gibson, Andrew Gold, David Gold, Luis Gonzalez, Billy Grammer, Marshall Grant, Dobie Gray, Rob Grill, Keith (Keef) Hartley, Bhupen Hazarika, Johannes Heesters, Warren Hellman, David Hess, Omus Hirshbein, Loleatta Holloway, Gladys Horton, Fred Imus, Bert Jansch, Raymond Jones, Sena Jurinac, Andrew Kazdin, Mick Karn, Trish Keenan, Sultan Khan, Eddie Kirkland, Moogy Klingman, Lloyd Knibb, Jani Lane, Jerry Leiber, Paul Leka, Barry Llewellyn, Wade Mainer. David Mason, John Maus, Gene McDaniels, Alphonso "Fonce" Mizell, Gary Moore, Heavy D (Dwight Errington Myers), Haydain Neale, Olga Norman, Carl Oglesby, Remmy Ongala, Dan Peek, Pinetop Perkins, Lee Pockriss, Poly Styrene (Marianne Joan Elliott-Said), Steve Popovich, Gerry Rafferty, Coco Robicheaux, Sylvia Robinson, Ken Russell, Lhasa de Sela, Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Cory Smoot, Phoebe Snow, Billie Jo Spears, Dan "Bee" Spears, Hubert Sumlin, Marv Tarplin, Howard Tate, Andrea True (Truden), Guus Van Hove, Sherman Washington Jr., Mikey Welsh, Jane White, Vesta Williams, Johnnie Wright.