2012: The Year in Jazz
On the plus side of the equation, renowned architect Frank Gehry signed on as pro bono designer of a new home for the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles's Culver City neighborhood. A $10 million fundraising campaign is underway for the Jazz Bakery, which lost its lease at the Helms Bakery complex in 2009. Its new home will be next to the Kirk Douglas Theater. SFJAZZ's new SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco is set to open on January 21, 2013. New York's Kitano New York hotel expanded its jazz programming with an adjacent new supper club, Jazz at Kitano. Two years after the Cape May Jazz Festival folded due to financial and organizational woes (after presenting 34 weekend festivals in 17 years), a full-blown event returned to New Jersey's southernmost point in November with the Exit 0 International Jazz Festival. Producer Michael Kline's Spy Boy Productions plans to make the event a twice-a-year phenomenon like its predecessor.
Credit Where Credit is Long Overdue
"Solar" is a classic Miles Davis composition, right? Wrong. Library of Congress's jazz specialist Larry Appelbaum found proof that the instrumental was actually written by Chuck Wayne. The guitarist failed to register the song for copyright, which was filed in 1963 by Prestige Records identifying the composer as Davis. Appelbaum found a recording from 1946 in the Chuck Wayne Collection in which one clearly hears the famous theme. The tune is titled "Sonny" after Sonny Berman who also can be heard on the record. Ironically, the "Solar" melody of this song ended is engraved on Davis's tombstone.
Stamp of Approval
In June, the United States Postal Service and its French equivalent, La Poste, released a joint pair of commemorative stamps, one honoring Miles Davis, the other honoring singer Edith Piaf. The Davis stamp featured David Gahr's classic profile photograph that became the cover of the trumpeter's A Tribute to Jack Johnson (Columbia, 1970).
Stamp Perpetual Honors for Brownie, Mingus and Davis
Wilmington, DE officials dedicated a statue in Kirkwood Park November 9 to honor native son, trumpeter Clifford Brown, who died 56 years ago at age 25. Groundbreaking was held last April for a memorial to Charles Mingus in Nogales, Ariz., where the bassist was born in 1922. The memorial is set to open in April 2013 during the Charles Mingus Hometown Jazz Festival. The city of Alton, Ill., announced plans to honor native son Miles Davis with a life-sized statue of the trumpeter in the heart of the downtown entertainment district on Third Street.
Drummer Jack DeJohnette, saxophonist Von Freeman, bassist Charlie Haden, singer Sheila Jordan, and trumpeter and jazz advocacy activist Jimmy Owens were honored in January 2012 as National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters. 2013 honors will be bestowed in January 2013 to singer/pianist Mose Allison, saxophonist Lou Donaldson, pianist Eddie Palmieri and Village Vanguard owner Lorraine Gordon.
Sonny Rollins won musician of the year, tenor saxophonist of the year and best record honors with Road Shows, Vol. 2 at the Jazz Journalists Associations' 2012 Jazz Awards. Pianist Horace Silver received the JJA's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jazz-related winners at the 54th Grammy Awards in February were Chick Corea for "500 Miles High," off Forever (Concord, 2011) (Best Improvised Jazz Solo); drummer Terri Lyne Carrington for The Mosaic Project (Concord, 2011) (Best Jazz Vocal Album); Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke} and drummer Lenny White for Forever (Best Jazz Instrumental Album). Singers Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse won the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category for their take on "Body and Soul."
Trumpeter/composer Arturo Sandoval won the Latin Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album for his Dizzy Gillespie tribute CD, Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You) (Concord, 2011). Sandoval was touring Spain with Gillespie in 1990 when he defected from Cuba. Chick Corea won the Best Instrumental Album category for his Further Explorations (Concord, 2012), with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Paul Motian. Conguero, bandleader and salsa singer Poncho Sanchez and singer/songwriter Milton Nascimento received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Latin Recording Academy during the weeklong Latin Grammy Awards celebration in Las Vegas in November.
Drummer Jamison Ross won first place at the 25th annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in September. Drummers Justin Brown and Colin Stranahan finished second and third respectively.