The year 2015 was a curious blend of ups and downs, with glimmers of optimism offset by its losses. Venues opened to great fanfare, but others closed for a variety of reasons. UNESCO's International Jazz Day became firmly entrenched as the exclamation point on Jazz Appreciation Month activities in April. Daily arts journalism took a hit with music writers leaving significant newspapers. A prominent trumpeter found himself under FBI investigation for program funding in New Orleans. The jazz world again said goodbye to lot of players and industry figures throughout the year, including five of its NEA Jazz Masters.
One of the five, saxophonist Phil Woods
, unexpectedly retired in early September for health reasons and was dead by month end. International Jazz Day, Take Four
The City of Light became the city of music on April 30 when UNESCO Headquarters in Paris hosted an all-star global concert highlighting International Jazz Day on April 30. The many featured performers included Dee Dee Bridgewater
, Till Bronner
, Igor Butman
, Eliane Elias
, Femi Kuti
, Annie Lennox
, Gregoire Maret
, Hugh Masekela
, Claudio Roditi
, Isfar Sarabski, Wayne Shorter
and Dhafer Youssef
. Herbie Hancock
, UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk
Institute of Jazz, told the audience: "I've seen and experienced musicians from opposing sides, enemy nations, unite to create the most beautiful music and tell the sweetest stories. Let's celebrate International Jazz Day each April 30, but let us pledge to follow its values and reasons for existence every single day of the year." Other Paris events also included jam sessions, master classes, round-table discussions, a boat cruise and film screenings. Jazz Day events took place in more than 190 countries around the globe. Hancock announced the 2016 all-star concert will be held in Washington, D.C. International Jazz Day has become a splendid way to conclude April's Jazz Appreciation Month. Awards and honors of note
NEA JAZZ MASTERS: Pianist-composer Carla Bley
, saxophonists George Coleman
and Charles Lloyd
, and Chicago
jazz club owner Joe Segal were honored in April 2015 as NEA Jazz Masters. Segal, owner of the Jazz Showcase, received the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy, which is bestowed upon an individual who has contributed significantly to the appreciation, knowledge, and advancement of the art form of jazz. The 2016 NEA Jazz Masters class includes vibes player Gary Burton
, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders
and Archie Shepp
, and musicians' advocate Wendy Oxenhorn. She will receive the 2016 Spellman Award. The 2016 celebration is scheduled April 4 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., as part of the National Endowment for the Arts' 50th anniversary celebration.
GRAMMY AWARDS: Winners of jazz-related categories at the 2015 Grammy Awards
on February 8 included Chick Corea
"Fingerprints" from Trilogy
(Concord Jazz, 2014) )best improvised jazz solo; Dianne Reeves Beautiful Life
(Concord, 2014)best jazz vocal album); Chick Corea Trio Trilogy
(Concord Jazz, 2014)best jazz instrumental album; Gordon Goodwin
's Big Phat Band, Life in the Bubble
(Telarc International,2014)best large jazz ensemble album; Arturo O'Farrill
& the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, The Offense of the Drum
(Motéma, 2014)best Latin jazz album; Tony Bennett
& Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek
(Streamline/Columbia/RPM/Interscope, 2014)best traditional pop vocal album; Rubén Blades
(Sunnyside, 2014)best Latin pop album; Robert Glasper
Experiment Featuring Lalah Hathaway
& Malcolm-Jamal Warner "Jesus Children" track from: Black Radio 2
(Blue Note, 2014)best traditional R&B performance; Ashley Kahn, John Coltrane
's Offering: Live at Temple University
(Resonance/Impulse!, 2014)best album notes.
Also, saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter
received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award
from The Recording Academy, and Newport Jazz Festival founding producer George Wein
was honored with the academy's Grammy Trustees Award
for outstanding contributions in areas other than performance.
Singer (Little) Jimmy Scott
's widow Jeanne Scott fired off an open letter berating The Recording Academy for not including him in its televised In Memoriam segment at the 57th Grammy Awards. She said the snub compounded the credits he was denied by recording "industry slicksters" during his career. Scott was included on a longer In Memoriam list on the Recording Academy's website, along with other music figures not mentioned in the broadcast.
LATIN GRAMMY AWARDS: There were several Latin jazz-related winners at the 16th annual Latin Grammy Awards held November 19 in Las Vegas. They were Paquito D'Rivera
, Jazz Meets the Classics
(Sunnyside/Paquito, 2014)best Latin jazz album; Ed Calle
and Mamblue, Dr. Ed Calle Presents Mamblue
(Mojito, 2015)best instrumental album; Rubén Blades
with Roberto Delgado and Orquesta, Son de Panamá
(Rubén Blades, 2015)best Salsa album. Tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri
received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
HONORSAND A SNUBFOR "BIRDMAN" SCORE: Drummer Antonio Sanchez
won the Critics Choice Movie Award
for best original score for his soundtrack for "Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)." It also won top soundtrack honors from the Venice Film Festival and a half-dozen regional critics groups. The Academy Awards
disqualified Sanchez' "Birdman" work from consideration on eligibility grounds that seemed dubious at best.
MONK VOCAL COMPETITION: Dallas native Jazzmeia Horn
took top honors at the Thelonious Monk Institute's International Jazz Vocals Competition
November 15 in Los Angeles. Horn, who won the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition
in 2013, received a guaranteed contract with Concord Music Group. Veronica Swift
, a scholarship student at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music, finished second. Vuyolwethu Sotashe finished third among the three finalists from the 11-singer Monk Competition. The native of South Africa won the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Vocal Competition in 2014. The Institute honored Quincy Jones
with its Herbie Hancock Humanitarian Award
JJA AWARDS: The Jazz Journalists Association honored pianist Randy Weston
with its Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Award at the 19th annual JJA Awards
at the Blue Note in New York on June 16. Among the many performance category winners, pianist Jason Moran
was named musician of the year, while Kenny Barron
was named pianist of the year and his album with bassist Dave Holland
, The Art of Conversation
(Impulse!, 2014) was voted record of the year.
JJA winners in the Journalism and Media categories for work published or broadcast in the year 2014 included Wall Street Journal contributor Marc Myers for his blog Jazz Wax; Herbie Hancock
and Lisa Dickey for their book "Herbie Hancock: Possibilities"; Ashley Kahn for his liner notes to John Coltrane
's Offering: Live at Temple University
(Resonance/Impulse!, 2014); Nate Chinen, columnist for JazzTimes and contributor to the New York Times for excellence in writing; and Christian McBride
as broadcaster of the year for hosting "Jazz Night In America." Chicago-based jazz journalist and broadcaster Neil Tesser was honored with the organization's Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism Award.
HALL OF FAME: Saxophonist Dexter Gordon
and pianists James P. Johnson
and Lennie Tristano
were inducted into Jazz at Lincoln Center
's Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame
on July 1. The posthumous induction was based on popular votes cast by jazz fans around the world. To date, Jazz at Lincoln Center has inducted 48 members into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame.
WALL OF FAME: The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers inducted George Wein
, Henry Threadgill
, Hoagy Carmichael
and Jelly Roll Morton
to the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame
. Singer-songwriter Lizz Wright
received the ASCAP Foundation's Jazz Vanguard Award
at the June 15 event.
COLE PORTER FELLOW IN JAZZ: Pianist Sullivan Fortner
won The American Pianists Association's 2015 Jazz Fellowship Award
. Fortner was selected from a field of five finalists at the March competition in Indianapolis. He was given a $50,000 cash prize, the opportunity to record with Mack Avenue Records and will receive career development for two years. The other finalists were Christian Sands
, Zach Lapidus
, Emmet Cohen
and Kris Bowers
BMI COMPOSITION HONORS: Pianist Miho Hazama
won the 16th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize
for the best original work created in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. Her piece, "Somnambulant," was selected by musicians Bill Kirchner
, Gil Goldstein
and bassist Rufus Reid
, who was the workshop's first composition prize winner. The BMI workshop is a noted creative forum for big band jazz composition. Hazama received a $3,000 commission to write a new work for premiere at BMI's 2016 Showcase Concert.
2015 GUGGENHEIM FELLOWS: Composer/big band leader Darcy James Argue
, trumpeter Etienne Charles
, saxophonist Steve Lehman
and trombonist George Lewis
were the jazz-related recipients among 2015's class of 175 fellows honored by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation .
DORIS DUKE AWARDS: Pianist and AACM co-founder Muhal Richard Abrams
, saxophonists Steve Coleman
and Yosvany Terry
, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire
, big-band leader Darcy James Argue
and cellist Okkyung Lee
received $275,000 awards as Doris Duke Performing Artists in Jazz
. The program was developed by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to make "deepened investments in the artists' personal and professional development and future work."
Also, seven jazz artists received 2015 Doris Duke Impact Awards
. Pianists Kris Davis
and Matt Mitchell
, bassists Mark Dresser
and Reggie Workman
, drummer Milford Graves
, and multi-instrumentalists Tyshawn Sorey
and Henry Threadgill
each received unrestricted gifts of $80,000. The two sets of Duke awards were launched in 2011 as a special 10-year initiative to empower, invest in and celebrate artists by offering flexible, multi-year funding in response to financial challenges in the performing arts.
LIVING LEGACY: Saxophonist and educator Gary Bartz
received the BNY Mellon Jazz 2015 Living Legacy Award at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. on October 16. The award honors living jazz masters from the Mid-Atlantic region who have achieved distinction in jazz performance and education.
HONORING A NATIVE SON: Pianist McCoy Tyner
's equivalent to the keys to the city on April 6, when Mayor Michael Nutter gave him a miniature Liberty Bell as Philly's Jazz Legend Honoree
for 2015. "McCoy has changed the way everyone after him has played the piano," said local record-label owner, producer and composer Aaron Levinson. "His percussive approach and sense of harmony signaled a new frontier for the instrument. And his embrace of African, Asian and Afro-Cuban ideas puts him in the league of Duke Ellington
REMEMBERING THE GREATS: Hundreds turned out for the September 12 unveiling of a sculpture of trumpeter Miles Davis
in his birthplace, Alton, IL. It took two years to raise funds for the work by sculptor Preston Jackson. In August, the U.S. Postal Service announced it will add singer Sarah Vaughan
to its Music Icons series of commemorative stamps sometime in 2016. A huge canvas mural of Bix Beiderbecke
was unveiled in June at the German American Heritage Center in the cornetist's hometown, Davenport, IA. The Apollo Theater in New York celebrated Billie Holiday
's 100th birthday on April 7 by adding her to the Apollo Walk of Fame. A local arts group in Geneva, NY announced plans in April to honor bassist Scott LaFaro
with a life-size statue. Sculptor Ted Aub offered to donate his labor for free. The City Council has already declared April 3 as Scott LaFaro Day annually and renamed a downtown street Scott LaFaro Drive. A Scott LaFaro memorial scholarship has also been established at Geneva High School. LaFaro moved to Geneva with his family when he was 3. On the record
MORE ACQUISITIONS: Through its latest expansions, the Concord Music Group
, which began with Carl Jefferson's Concord Jazz label in 1973, is becoming less of the "largest independent music company" it likes to call itself. Concord acquired the Vanguard and Sugar Hill labels from the Welk Music Group, adding to its country and folk music collections in April. A month later, it acquired the Fearless and Wind-Up independent rock music labels. Concord now has 24 subsidiary labels or imprints in its catalog, including the Contemporary, Fantasy, Head's Up International, Milestone, Prestige, Riverside and Telarc jazz labels.
BLUE ENGINE: Jazz at Lincoln Center
launched Blue Engine Records to release recordings from its 28 years of presenting concerts, as well as issue new studio and live recordings. Its archives include a studio recording featuring pianist Chick Corea
and a musical Mass with a gospel choir written for the 200th anniversary of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York. The first release, Live in Cuba
(Blue Engine, 2015), explores the connections between American jazz and Afro-Cuban music from bebop to bolero. It was recorded over three nights at the Mella Theater in Havana in October 2010 by Wynton Marsalis
and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
. Jazz at Lincoln Center is releasing its Blue Engine recordings as CDs and digital downloads and to streaming music services, with a few titles in vinyl format.
THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT: Trumpeter Christian Scott
aTunde Adjuah's eighth studio album, Stretch Music
(Ropeadope/Stretch Music, 2015) was accompanied by the launch of the first interactive Stretch Music App. The app, powered by Tutti Player, was described as an interactive music player giving musicians the ability to completely control their practicing, listening and learning experience by customizing the player to fit their specific needs and goals." It includes the capability to mute, solo, pan and fade any instrument chosen along with tempo control, looping and sheet music for each part. On the legal front
A SHADOW LOOMS LARGE: Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield
found himself in the spring with a higher profile than he'd like. The tireless advocate for jazz in his native New Orleans, club owner and moving force behind the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, modeled after the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, was under a federal microscope. As head of the New Orleans Library Foundation, he and business partner Ronald Markham allegedly directed more than $800,000 in Library Foundation funds to support the nonprofit orchestra, largely to help support for its ambitious $10 million Peoples Health Jazz Market performance-community-cultural space. After the feds subpoenaed financial records, NOJO vowed to repay all of the grant money. There was little new on the case at year's end, though Mayfield resigned from the Library Foundation, and from his professorship at the University of New Orleans.
COLEMAN CASE: A federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ornette Coleman
against trumpeter Jordan McLean
of the Afrobeat band Antibalas
and drummer Amir Ziv
, claiming the saxophonist never authorized release of material they recorded at his home that surfaced on the album New Vocabulary
(System Dialing, 2014). The suit was filed in May by Coleman's son and legal guardian, Denardo Coleman
. Ornette Coleman died of cardiac arrest on June 11. McLean has claimed he had permission to release the material.
GETZ'S SAMANTHA TRUST: Actress Samantha Cesena, who was engaged to saxophonist Stan Getz
when he died in 1991, filed suit in January 2015 seeking removal of trustee Marvin Zolt from a trust that Getz established on her behalf. Cesena's lawsuit on Los Angeles Superior Court said she had not received her $2,500 monthly payments from the Samantha Trust since July 2013. Jazz venue gains and losses
WAIKIKI: The Blue Note Entertainment Group opened a new Blue Note Jazz Club venue in late December in Hawaii, with a formal grand opening set for January. It is located in the former Society of Seven showroom inside the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. The club will feature jazz, blues and Hawaiian music. The Hawaiian venue joins existing Blue Note clubs in New York, Washington D.C., Milan and two locations in Japan. Blue Note also said it plans to open a new venue on the southeast corner of Tiananmen Square in Beijing in March 2016, followed by additional clubs in Shanghai and Taipei within three years.
NEW ORLEANS: In February, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
opened its new home, modeled in many ways after Jazz at Lincoln Center. The $10 million project converted the long-abandoned Gators department store into the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market, a contemporary and versatile jazz performance space and permanent headquarters for the orchestra, founded by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield
. The main performance space, seating 360, includes a partial wrap-around balcony, and a retractable stadium seating section. The lobby's Bolden Bar includes a small performance space to host live jazz.
NEW YORK: The Apollo Theater in Harlem unveiled a new artistic partnership in April 2015 with trumpeter and composer Irvin Mayfield
and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to develop "a range of annual themed events and programs that will celebrate the origins of jazz, the continued innovations within the genre and build a younger audience for the art form." Under the multi-year agreement, Mayfield is Jazz Artist-in-Residence, overseeing multiple presentations on the Apollo's Mainstage, its Soundstage space and in New Orleans at the NOJO's new home, the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market. The partnership includes newly commissioned works by Mayfield, an extension of the Apollo Music Café series with presentations in New York and New Orleans, and a celebration of the city of New Orleans' 300th birthday in 2018.
Cameroon-born musician Richard Bona
and restaurateur Laurent Dantonio opened Club Bonafide on 52nd Street in Manhattan in September. The new venue is an intimate listening room with seating for 75, a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system and a separate bar area. "I decided to create a club where the musicians can make money playing, where they can sell their CDs and get 100% of the revenue," Bona said. "I want to do something different and I believe we can run a club where everybody can make money."
Cabaret singer and pianist Michael Feinstein
and the supper club 54 Below (underneath the former Studio 54 disco) announced a partnership in September to make "Feinstein's/54 Below" the successor of the singer's former "Feinstein's" at the Loew's Regency Hotel, which closed three years ago. Feinstein's/54 Below is the second nightclub to carry his brand. Feinstein's at the Nikko in San Francisco opened in May 2013 and has four shows a week plus special events.
SAN FRANCISCO: The Addition, formerly known as Yoshi's San Francisco, suspended operations on Jan. 14, 2015. Artistic director Peter Williams cited financial hardship since the club was taken over in July 2014 by the Fillmore Live Entertainment Group, which cut its volume of jazz programming sharply. The 28,000 square-foot club and restaurant opened in 2007 as a satellite of the long-standing Yoshi's jazz club in Oakland.
ETHIOPIA: A January 11, 2015 fire at the Taitu Hotel, a historic landmark in Addis Ababa, destroyed its famous club, the Jazz Amba Lounge. The city's deputy mayor, Abate Sitotaw, said efforts would be made to restore the hotel. Since the fire, its regular performers have taken musical refuge at Mama's Kitchen, a new restaurant that stages several concerts each week and may evolve into a new hub for the local music scene.
GERMANY: The Jazzclub Tonne in Dresden closed because of water damage in its Königstrasse building. It reopened in October at a larger site in Kurlander Palais that had been its home from 1981 to 1997. Have Jazz, Will Travel
Blue Note Records partnered with the Cunard cruise ship line for a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 featuring performances by Blue Note artists. The lineup for the October 29 cruise included pianist Robert Glasper
, trumpeter Keyon Harrold
, tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland
, guitarist Lionel Loueke
, bassist Derrick Hodge
and drummer Kendrick Scott
. Blue Note president Don Was}} also made the seven-day cruise from New York to Southampton.
The Blue Note Entertainment Group, which operates several Blue Note Jazz Clubs and other music venues, has launched Blue Note Travel, a new division that will curate music travel experiences to global destinations. It said it will offer trips with VIP amenities to various music festivals around the world, as well as rare travel opportunities with world-renowned musicians and personalities." Cuba is Blue Note Travel's first planned destination. Batiste in a huge spotlight
Louisiana-born multi-instrumentalist Jon Batiste
signed on as musical director for "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," which premiered Sept. 8 on CBS. Batiste is using his regular performing band, Stay Human, plus occasional special guests, on the high-profile network television gig. Music journalism takes a hit
Newspaper belt tightening had a significant impact at several prominent newspapers in September. The New Orleans Times-Picayune
, the lead newspaper in the birthplace of jazz, laid off music writer Allison Fensterstock and asked her colleague Keith Spera to focus on general metro news instead of the music scene. Spera left as well, but both quickly found work across town covering music for the rival New Orleans Advocate.
Jim Farber was laid off by the New York Daily News,
where he had covered the music beat since 1990. Longtime Nashville-based music writer Brian Mansfield left the national daily USA Today
after 18 years on staff to become content director at the Shore Fire Media public relations firm. Newport's venue evolution
The best businessesand arts organizationsfind ways to enhance what they do. The Newport Jazz Festival added a fourth performance venue at Fort Adams State Park for its 2015 edition. The 100-seat Storyville performance space is located inside a brick building just inside the festival gate. It featured solo or small group performances by pianists Frank Kimbrough
, Helen Sung
, Christian Sands
, Aaron Diehl
, Giorgi Mikadze
and Joey Alexander
. The long line of festival-goers hoping to catch the 12-year old jazz prodigy Alexander stretched out the door and down the slope towards Newport Harbor. Some ambitious listeners hiked themselves up to peer in the building's windows. The Storyville stage also featured two seminars each day focusing on Miles Davis, marking the 60th anniversary of the trumpeter's first performance at Newport on July 17, 1955. Storyville is an ideal name for this club-like venue. It was the name of the Boston club that George Wein
ran in Boston when he got into the jazz festival production business.
< b>Saving some Detroit jazz history, again Music-loving volunteers searched during the summer or anything salvageable from the former Graystone International Jazz Museum collection, which had been abandoned inside the long-vacant Book Building in downtown Detroit. The Graystone Ballroom, "billed as Detroit's Million Dollar Ballroom," was a great jazz venue hosting the top performers of its day, including Duke Ellington
, Billie Holiday
and Ella Fitzgerald
. In the mid-1970s, retired bus driver James Jenkins set out to save the ballroom, which he hoped to convert into a museum to commemorate the city's jazz heritage, but the Graystone was demolished in 1980. Jenkins' museum in the Book Building struggled with funding after his death in 1994. Some of the collection was warehoused but the rest was left in the Book Building, where it was all but forgottenand unprotected from the elementsafter the building was vacated in 2009. The nonprofit Detroit Sound Conservancy began the recovery and preservation process with the help of the Detroit Historical Society. DFSC moved the relics to a storage warehouse to begin archiving and digitizing the collection. Sharing Oscar Peterson items
Pianist Oscar Peterson
's widow auctioned 25 of his personal items in August. The Oscar Peterson Auction on eBay included synthesizers, microphones, a high-end DAT recorder and a rare headphone set Peterson used in his home recording studio, as well as jazz books, his poster collection and his signature blue brocade tux jacket. "We want to commemorate Oscar's 90th birthday and share some of these things with his fans," Kelly Peterson said. "We also want to raise funds for World Vision Canada. But that doesn't mean it's been easy parting with them. There's something about each piece that makes it wrenching to me to see it go." Her husband died in 2007 at age 82. Jazz is on a roll
Pianist Jason Moran
& his trio Bandwagon curated and performed at a 10-day "Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music and Media" festival in September at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Organizers called it a celebration of "a vibrant and influential American subculture by highlighting the creative ties and improvisational elements shared between skateboarding and live music in an open and collaborative environment." The events also featured more than a dozen professional skateboarders. Placing jazz above global politics
Tenor saxophonist Igor Butman
, who holds dual citizenship in his native Russia and the United States, drew political fire drew fire from Washington and Kiev when he agreed to play at the Koktebel Jazz Party, a music festival held in the Crimean city of Koktebel, a major seaside resort during the Soviet era. The U.S. State Department warned him not to attend the August 28-30 event. Butman defied the request, saying music should never suffer because of politics. Butman said he wrote a letter to President Barack Obama saying that Kiev's announcement that it could ban artists who perform in Koktebel from entering Ukraine for five years was "improper." He said he planned to write Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko a letter with the same message. The international music event has been held in Koktebel since 2003, when Russian-occupied Crimea was still part of Ukraine.
"Collateral damage" in difficult times French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf
was detained when traveling from Paris to perform at the London Jazz Festival a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris after being told that his name had flagged an Interpol alert. He missed two trains and had to cancel a day of promotional activities in London, arriving shortly before his scheduled concert started. Maloof said he considered himself "collateral damage" to France's state of emergency after the attacks in Paris. Investing in jazz for the future
GRETCHEN VALADE JAZZ CENTER: Detroit philanthropist Gretchen Valade, heiress to the Carhartt apparel fortune, continues to find new ways to support her love of jazz with big bucks. In mid-December, Valade announced her commitment tp give $7.5 million to Wayne State University's jazz program. Her in initiative will include a new performance center on Cass Avenue, establish a $1.5 million endowed chair in jazz studies and a $1 million endowed jazz scholarship. Those recipients will oversee programming and other activities at The Gretchen Valade Jazz Center. The venue will transform the university's current performance space, the Hiberry Theatre, into a metro Detroit jazz hub, hosting shows by touring musicians and local, and serving as a working space for WSU music students and faculty. Valade's other jazz initiatives have included founding the Dirty Dog Jazz Café in Grosse Pointe and the Mack Avenue record label. She also gave the Detroit Jazz Festival $15-million in endowment funds that enabled the Labor Day Weekend event to flourish over the past decade.
NEIMAN FOUNDATION: Artist LeRoy Neiman, who died in 2012, was best known for colorful paintings and illustrations that presented scenes of sports and entertainment, including paintings of American jazz legends of the 1950s and 1960s. The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History launched its Jazz Appreciation Month celebration in April with word of a $2.5 million LeRoy Neiman Foundation endowment to expand jazz programming. The foundation also donated Neiman's painting, "Big Band," a 9-by-13 feet epic jazz mural featuring 18 iconic jazz musicians. Trumpet Black's purloined trumpet
New Orleans musician Travis Hill, nicknamed "Trumpet Black," died May 4 while in Japan on tour, due to a dental infection that reached his heart. He was a grandson of R&B singer-songwriter Jessie Hill and a cousin of Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews. His beloved silver trumpet, which had been presented to his mother during his May 23 funeral service at the Carver Theater, was reported stolen, presumably while his casket was being carried to a reception a half-mile away. His brother, Leroy Hill, offered a $3,500 reward for its return. His final song
Before the final song at his September 4 concert in Pittsburgh reprising the Charlie Parker With Strings
album with a jazz trio and members of the Pittsburgh Symphony, alto saxophonist Phil Woods
told the audience that they were about to hear final song. And he meant final. Woods said he was retiring for health reasons: he had decided to stop battling the lung disease that had dogged him for years, requiring him to perform with oxygen "as his amplifier." At the end, Woods set down his horn and was wheeled off stage at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild to a standing ovation. Woods died September 29 of complications from emphysema. He was 83. Final Bars
The jazz world lost five of its NEA Jazz Masters
during 2015, and a considerable number of other singers, players and industry figures. The NEA Jazz Masters who passed away were saxophonist Ornette Coleman
; producer Orrin Keepnews
; composer, conductor, writer, French horn player and educator Gunther Schuller
; trumpeter Clark Terry
; and saxophonist Phil Woods
. A comprehensive listing follows.
Accordionists Ernie Felice, Walter Kühr; accordionist and composer Jean Corti.
Arranger, composer, educator, woodwinds player and singer Jerry Nowak; arranger, conductor, big band leader and trumpeter Ivan Jullien.
B-3 organ players Eddy Louiss, Bobby Watley.
Banjo players Dave Frey, Bob Sundstrom.
Bassists Erik Amundsen, Lenny Boyd, Lloyd Buchanan, Ron Crotty, Hal Gaylor, Coleridge Goode, Bob Guck, Tim Ingles, Louis Johnson, Reinhard "Django" Kroll, Bruce Lawrence, Carl Lindberg, Mike Porcaro, Hugo Rasmussen, Jack Six, Jean Warland, Bob Whitlock, bassist Noah Young (aka Richard Youngstein); bassist and educator John Springer; bassist, bandleader, club operator and educator Howard Rumsey; bassists and tuba players John Cole, Lee Westenhofer; bassist composer and producer Lothar Meid; bassist and pianist John Endicott Hart; bassist and recording engineer Gary Marker.
Bassoonist Daniel Smith.
Big band leader, bassist, composer and arranger James Last; big band leader, composer, arranger and pianist Van Alexander.
Clarinetist, writer and photographer Simon Flem Devold; clarinetist and educator Joe Torregano; clarinetists and bandleaders Sándor Benkó, Dal Richards.
Composers Roy Bennett, Sid Tepper; composer and lyricist Ervin Drake; composer, singer and poet Rod McKuen; composer and singer Don Covay; composers and pianists John Eaton, Tom McKinley; composer, bandleader and valve trombonist Gerasimos Lavranos; composer, arranger, musical director and accordionist Milton Delugg; composer and arranger Michael "Mickey" Leonard; composer and journalist Fernando Brant; composer, conductor, writer, French horn player, educator and NEA Jazz Master Gunther Schuller; composer, producer, bandleader and pianist Raphy Leavitt; composer, conductor and trumpeter André Waignein; composer and conductor John Duffy.
Cornetist and bandleader Steve Lane.
Drummers Jim Alkire, Archie Alleyne, "Killer" Ray Appleton, Jack Arseneaux, Joe Basile, Tony "Oulabula" Bazley, Allan Browne, George Cariote, Carlos Carli, Jerome Cooper, Keith Copeland, Dick Gail, Harry Hach, Gavino Jiminez, Joseph "Smokey" Johnson, Corey Jones, Isham "Rusty" Jones, Hal Mead, René Nan, Phil Newsum, Danny Noonan, Mac Poole, Richie Pratt, Ted Reinhardt, Doudou N'diaye Rose, Tommy Ruskin, Stanley C. Swann III, Alice Whyte; drummers and record producers Rudi Martini, Peter Schmidlin; drummer, singer and guitarist Augusta Lee Collins.
Experimental music collagist, vocalist and broadcaster Don Joyce.
Fiddler Johnny Gimble.
Guembri player and gnawa pioneer Mahmoud Guinia.
Guitarists Daevid Allen, Jón Páll Bjarnason, Thomas Buhé, Manfred Dierkes, Bruno Engler, Roy Ferguson, Edgar Froese, Jeff Golub, Doug Gregg, Clarrie Henley, Jørgen Ingmann, Ivinho, Tony Jenkins, Bill Lezotte, Steve Moore, Peter Nieuwerf, Rusty Paul, John Renbourn, Slim Richey, Pete Roberts (aka "Little Joe"), Arthur Wright; guitarist, singer and songwriter Pino Daniele; guitarist, banjoist and violinist Neil Levang; guitarists and educators Garrison Fewell, Ray Ross; guitarist and bandleader Johnny Polanco; guitarists and singers Don Griffin, Peggy Jones (aka "Lady Bo"); guitarist and actor Belugo Carámbula; guitarist, composer, arranger and educator Bob Shaw.
Harmonica player Harry Pitch; harmonica player, guitarist and politician Collins Chabane.
Harpist Susan Allen.
Keyboardists Guy LeBlanc, Alan Watson; keyboardist and producer Ethan White.
Multi-instrumentalist and singer Lenny McDaniel; multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and educator Bob Hays; multi-instrumentalist and composer Erik Lindström.
Pedal steel guitarist Buddy Emmons.
Percussionist Raul Rekow; percussionist and composer Luis "Tata" Guerra; percussionist and music organizer Jay Serrett; percussionist and bandleader Papo Angarica; percussion instrument maker and timpanist Vic Firth; percussionist, composer and educator Jean Batigne.
Pianists Bob Allen, Rosemary Alter, Paul Bisch, Bunk Burgwin, David Carter Jr., Joe Cavallaro, Madhav Chari, Donna Davis, Sam Dockery, Ron DuPont, Silvano Grandi, Stan Hunter, Don Innes, Rudolf Jaggi, Orville Johnson, Ray Kennedy, Masabumi Kikuchi, Yasko Kubota, Norman Kubrin, Corky McClerkin, Howie McDonald, Patrick McElligott, Raf Robertson, Mickey "Red" Roquemore, Ralph Sharon, Lee Shaw, Carol Solenberger, Sandy Taylor; pianist, violinist, singer and composer Terri Spencer Mersereau; pianist, conductor and educator Steve Zegree; pianists and arrangers Louie Cruz, Roland Schneider; pianist and booking executive Sam Distefano; pianists and bandleaders Marty Napoleon, Confrey Phillips, Guillermo Rubalcaba; pianist, singer and trombonist Juan Carlos Caceres; pianist, bandleader and educator Don Scaletta; pianist, singer and broadcaster Wolfgang Sauer; pianists and educators Eric Doney, Bob Murphy, Joerg Reiter, John Taylor; pianist and entrepreneur Karl Wlaschek; pianist, producer and arranger Emmanuel Riggins; pianist and composer Jean-Bernard Eisinger; pianist, composer and educator Don Hurless; pianist, clarinetist, saxophonist and educator Herbie Hess; pianist, composer and producer Vanja Lisak; pianist and steel band leader Russell Henderson; pianist and club owner "Papa Joe" Buschmann; pianist, arranger and conductor Kjell Öhman; pianist, producer, songwriter and singer Allen Toussaint.
Saxophonists Harold Battiste, Al Block, Buddy Boudreaux, Leon Cohen, Hulon Crayton, Duane Feeley, Wilton Felder, Max Greger, John Gumpper, Ove Johansson, Merle Knudsen, Heinz Kretzschmar, Steve Mackay, Zane Musa, Harold Ousley, Don Rendell, Earl S. Ross, Włodzimierz Szymański, Ted Thompson, Toni Tudd, Robert Veen, Norbert Vollath, Murray Wald, Ray Warleigh, George Zinsser, Dadet Zongbe, Dadet Zongbe; saxophonists and educators Emerson Able Jr., Willie Akins, George Bouchard, David Bournazian, Mark Gatz, Paul Jeffrey, Brent Majors, Rainer Minarik;saxophonist, bandleader, composer and NEA Jazz Master Ornette Coleman; saxophonist, pianist, composer and producer Lucia Huergo; saxophonist, composer, TV music director and educator Robert Drasnin; saxophonist, arranger, composer, bandleader, producer, historian and writer Bob Belden; saxophonist, bandleader and arranger Ambros Seelos; saxophonists and bandleaders Dieter Antritter, Percy Hughes; saxophonist big band leader, arranger and educator Bill Jupp; saxophonists, composers and arranges Milt Kleeb, Donald Washington Jr.
Singers Zayn Adam, Alisa Anderson aka Alisa B., Webster Armstrong, Ara Arsenian, Ellenie Ash-Goodwin, Ortheia Barnes, Jenny Brown, Diane Charlemagne, Joanne Cottone, B.J. Crosby, Anita Darian, Judy Day, Darius Dhlomo, Celina González, Karen Hall, Mariem Hassan, Stephanie Haynes, Judith Hendricks, Doris Hines, Marilyn Holderfield, Javier Krahe, Cynthia Layne, Bonnie Mann, Lucille Mapp, Mary McGowan, Karl Moik, Mark Murphy, Musa Ngum, Quedellice Northern, Margo Reed, Dana Rogers, Julie Wilson, Famiza Zulkifli; singer and educator Maureen Budway; singer, composer and arranger Ward Swingle; singer and Wild Magnolias' "Big Chief" Bo Dollis; singer and songwriter Rose Marie McCoy; singer, dancer and actor Kenneth Kamal Scott; singers and actors Natalie Cole, Tim Curry, Monica Lewis; singer and club owner Gene Lynn; singers and pianists Frankie Ford, Madalynne Strascina (Boots James); singer, pianist and accordionist Mardi Pring Luppert; singer, saxophonist, percussionist and bandleader Raul Azpiazú; singer and saxophonist Marc Thomas; singer, guitarist, bandleader and broadcaster Buddy Moreno; singer, pianist, composer and promoter Gladys "Havana" Carbo.
Sitar player and composer Ravi Shankar.
Songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Danny Sembello.
Timbalero, composer and bandleader Bayardo "Benny" Velarde.
Trombonists Clifford Adams, Anthony Agresta, Gerhard "Doggy" Hund, Paul O'Connor, Nat Peck, Rico Rodriguez, Dick Shoup, Joe Soares, George Stell, Benny Vasseur; trombonist and jazz festival co-founder Rick Chamberlain; trombonist, composer and arranger Johnny Keating; trombonists and educators Rick Davies, Don Doane, Raymond Katarzynski; trombonist and bassist Howard Jones, trombonist and tuba player Marc Steckar; trombonist, arranger, composer and educator J. Durward Morsch; trombonist and producer Ken Gibson, trombonist, pianist, composer and arranger Dorn Younger.
Trumpeters Al Aarons, Umberto Arlati, Tony Barrero, George Bean, Owen Bryce, Ben Cauley, Mick Collins, Dominick Consolo, Jimmy Gallo, Travis "Trumpet Black" Hill, Bill Lacy, Sepp Mitterbauer, Cynthia Robinson, Peter Rose, Marco Tamburini, Rein van den Broek, Don Welsch, Wilmer Wise; trumpeter, bandleader, educator and NEA Jazz Master Clark Terry; trumpeters and recording engineers Jim Mooney, Paul Serrano; trumpeters and educators Marcus Belgrave, Johnny Helms, Harry Hunt, Chuck Lord, John "Rook" McCauley, Ben Smalley, Lew Soloff, Jerry Ziering; trumpeter, singer and bandleader Les Bull; trumpeter, composer and arranger Bengt-Arne Wallin; trumpeter, violinist, organist, composer and educator Russ Montagna;
Vibraphonists Manfred Burzlaff, Dave Pike; vibraphonist, bandleader, broadcaster and educator Steve Pouchie.
Violinist Hajo Hoffman.
Club owners Marek Greliak, Robert Martin, Ray McFall, Hermann Nieweler, Giampiero Rubei, Butch Stone, Leola King Wilson, Emily "Jazzy" Wingert; club owner and trumpeter Bob Masteller; jazz club co-founder and artist manager Dale Fitzgerald; jazz manager and artist manager Bernice Lundy; artist managers Frank Modica Jr., Father Peter O'Brien; jazz club employee and photographer Waleed Rahman; UK record fair proprietor Rod King; jazz club and festival producer Gerhard Eder; club owner, broadcaster, concert promoter and record label owner Gene Norman; club owner and jazz promoiter Arnold Burri.
Jazz festival founder and concert producer Midge Ellis; jazz festival organizers Boštjan Cvek, Adele Davis, Monk Dupre, Bernard Souroque; jazz festival stage manager Mike Wilmot; concert producers Dave Hatfield, Jean-Marie Masse; recording executive, producer, writer and NEA Jazz Master Orrin Keepnews; producer, sound engineer and writer Mike King; record label co-founder and theatrical producer Miriam Bienstock; record label co-founder, producer and drummer Larry Rosen; sound engineer John Maimone; record label founder and producer Bernard Stollman; record label executive and writer Stan Cornyn; record label executive Bruce Lundvall; record promoter, producer and Woody Herman Society founder Al Julian; record producer, conductor, pianist and composer Ettore Stratta; record producer, broadcaster, musicologist, film historian, film-maker and songwriter Ken Barnes; concert producer, historian and documentary filmmaker Gary Keys; record producer, humorist and sound designer Henry Jacobs; record producer and broadcaster Philip Barker; music producer, director, writer and actor Luiz Carlos Miele; educator and jazz promoter Dave Hatfield; record producer, label owner and International Association of Jazz Record Collectors past president Gunnar Jacobsen; concert producer and pianist Zuma Renaud.
Filmmaker, broadcast executive and poet Richard O. Moore; filmmaker, archivist and producer George Manney, writer and director of "The Gig" Frank D. Gilroy.
Musicologist Horst Bergmeier; musicologist, educator and clarinetist Lawrence Gushee; music historian and writer William J. Proctor; American Jazz Museum founding director Rowena Stewart.
Poets Güenter Grass, Philip Levine.
Tap dancer Phil Black.
Broadcasters Juan Claudio Cifuentes, Don Haney, Tom the Jazzman Mallison, Lenny Mazel, Linard "Smitty" Smith, Don Wolff; broadcaster and record producer Bob Parlocha; broadcast producer Alain de Grobois; broadcast executive and producer Cephas Bowles; broadcasters and writers Rémy Kolpa Kopoul, Peter Makurube; broadcaster and jazz festival co-founder Richard Wheatley; broadcaster and educator Hazen Schumacher.
Photographers Syndey Byrd, Bunky deVecchis, John "Hoppy" Hopkins, Gene Hyden, Will McBride, Chester Sheard, Johan Van Eycken, Christian Wurm.
Writers Brent Black, Lothar Lewien, Roger Riggins, Bruno Rub, Ernie Santosuosso, John A. Williams, Jürgen Wölfer; writer and pianist William Zinsser; sociologist and writer Charles Winick; writer and photographer Franz XA Zipperer; writer, musicologist, producer, label owner, songwriter and playwright Mack McCormick; "Jazz on a Summer's Day writer and playwright Albert D'Annibale.
Designer, artist and cartoonist Jean Cabu; graphic designer and illustrator Paul Bacon; art director John Berg.
Jazz advocate Walter Schätzlein.
Blues and gospel artists and industry figures Craig Allen, William "Washboard Bill" Allman, "Chizmo Charles" Amderson, Sam Andrew, Comfort Annor, Robert "Wolfman" Belfour, Samuel Charters, Andrae Crouch, Eddie Cusic, Willie "Popsy" Dixon, Donna Douglas, Tim Drummond, Rocky Frisco, Patrice Moncell Gathright, Stefan George, Herbie Goins, Rickey Grundy, Evelyn Starks Hardy, Chris Hawkins, Labreeska Hemphill, Wendell Holmes, Joe Houston, Rev. Johnny "Hurricane" Jones, Don Kesee, B.B. King, Smokin' Joe Kubek, Steve LaVere, Eric LeBlanc, Mosie Lister, Dave Mamber Jr., Joe Martins, David Maxwell, Mighty Sam McClain, AC McClendon III, Bumble Bee Bob Novak, Jimmy Lloyd Rea, David Shelley, Jarvis L. Smith, "Big Time Sarah" Streetwear, Dave Trupp, Cory Wells, Smokey Wilson.