The year 2016 bubbled with events and initiatives to strengthen jazz's place in American and world culture, as well as a variety of venue openings, closings and cancellations. Jazz hit the silver screen in many ways throughout the year, and International Jazz Day continued to thrivecomplete with a major all-star concert at the White House. Pop star David Bowie put his farewell musical ride in a jazz context. There were a few more twists and turns to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra financing scandal, which cost the trumpet-playing founder his job. Four young musicians lost their lives in horrible ways. The National Endowment for the Arts welcomed four new NEA Jazz Masters
and the jazz world said farewell to five others who were among the many industry-associated musicians and figures who passed away in 2016. Jazz goes to the movies in a mighty big way
It was a banner year for jazz-related films, reaching a volume not seen in several decades. The most attention was garnered on Miles Ahead
with Don Cheadle producing and starring as Miles Davis
, and Robert Boudreau's Chet Baker
biopic Born to Be Blue.
Cheadle's facts-meets-fiction drama captured the flavor of Davis' persona and flamboyant lifestyle, but many critics questioned why there was any need to fictionalize any elements in the trumpeter-bandleader's turbulent life. The Baker biopic, in which Ethan Hawke portrayed trumpeter and singer, seemed to take fewer liberties.
Two new films focused on singer-pianist Nina Simone
. Writer-director Cynthia Mort's long-awaited Nina
hit the big screen last April, starring Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo. This film based on the "High Priestess of Soul" did not please the Simone estate. Critics noted that Simone's embrace of her blackness was essential to her art and who she was, and that any number of talented black actors could have played the role without darkening themselves or requiring prosthetic help. Around the same time, a Liz Garbus documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? Her Story. Her Voice,
was released with the Simone family's blessing.
Other producers brought us documentaries about trumpeter Lee Morgan
(I Called Him Morgan
); saxophonists Thomas Chapin
(Night Bird Song: The Thomas Chapin Story
), John Coltrane
), Jimmy Heath
(Passing the Torch
), Rahsaan Roland Kirk
(The Case of the Three-Sided Dream
) and Frank Morgan
(Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story
); singer Jimmy Scott (I Go Back Home
); and South African multi-instrumentalist and composer Ndikho Xaba (Shwabada
). Sara Fishko's film The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith
revealed a more eloquent side of the usually taciturn pianist and composer Thelonious Monk
In a film-related development, producer Clint Eastwood hired singer Tierney Sutton
and her longstanding Tierney Sutton Band, featuring pianist Christian Jacob
, to write, arrange and record the music for his major film Sully.
Tom Hanks played Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the passengers and crew. International Jazz Day, Take Five
Washington, D.C., was Global Host City for UNESCO's fifth annual International Jazz Day on April 30. The main event, the all-star global concert, was held the prior evening at the White House and broadcast as a prime-time ABC television special, "Jazz at the White House," on the 30th. In his welcoming remarks, President Barack Obama noted that when Dizzy Gillespie
ran for president in 1964, he said his first executive order would be to change the name from the White House to the Blues House. "So tonight, we're going to do right by Dizzy. We are turning this place into the Blues House. And before anybody calls this executive overreach, or some sort of power-grab, I want to clarify that I did not issue a new executive order," Obama said. "I just invited all my favorite jazz musicians to play in my backyard, which is one of the great perks of the job."
The three-dozen featured performers from a variety of generations, genres and nations, included Joey Alexander
, Dee Dee Bridgewater
, Till Bronner
, Chick Corea
, Kurt Elling
, Aretha Franklin
, Robert Glasper
, Zakir Hussain
, Diana Krall
, Lionel Loueke
, Christian McBride
, John McLaughlin
, Pat Metheny
, Danilo Pérez
, Dianne Reeves
, Wayne Shorter
, Esperanza Spalding
, Trombone Shorty
, Chucho Valdes
, Bobby Watson
and others. Prior host cities included Istanbul, Osaka and Paris. Thousands of local performances, education events and community service initiatives were held in more than 190 countries around the world on International Jazz Day, which is co-sponsored by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Herbie Hancock
is UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassador. International Jazz Day has become a splendid way to conclude April's Jazz Appreciation Month. Awards and honors of note
NEA JAZZ MASTERS: Vibes player and educator Gary Burton
, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders
and Archie Shepp
, and musicians' advocate Wendy Oxenhorn were honored as 2016's class of National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters
. Oxenhorn, executive director of the Jazz Foundation of America and guardian angel of its Musicians Emergency Fund, received the 2016 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy.
Their recognition for lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz included $25,000 awards. The 2017 recipients, Dee Dee Bridgewater, bassist Dave Holland
, pianist and composer Dick Hyman
, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith
, and Spellman Award winner Ira Gitler
, a veteran jazz author, editor, producer and educator, will be honored April 3 at a tribute concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
GRAMMY AWARDS: Winners of jazz-related categories at the 2016 Grammy Awards,
held February 15 in Los Angeles, included Christian McBride
"Cherokee" from Live At The Village Vanguard
(Mack Avenue, 2015)best improvised jazz solo; Cecile McLorin Salvant
, For One To Love
(Mack Avenue, 2015)best jazz vocal album; John Scofield
, Past Present
(Impulse!, 2015)best jazz instrumental album; Maria Schneider
Orchestra, The Thompson Fields
(ArtistShare, 2015)best large jazz ensemble album; Eliane Elias
, Made in Brazil
(Concord Jazz, 2015)best Latin jazz album; Snarky Puppy
and the Metropole Orchestra
(Impulse!, 2015)best contemporary instrumental album.
Also, Arturo O'Farrill
, "The Afro Latin Jazz Suite" from Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra Cuba: The Conversation Continues
(Motéma, 2015)best instrumental composition); Maria Schneider
, "Sue (or In a Season of Crime)" from David Bowie
's Nothing has Changed
(Legacy/Columbia, 2014)best arrangement, instruments and vocals; Antonio Sanchez
(Milan, 2015)best score soundtrack for visual media; Tony Bennett
and Bill Charlap
, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern
(RPM/Columbia, 2015)best traditional pop vocal album.
The Recording Academy's 2016 Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award
honorees included Herbie Hancock
, Celia Cruz
and Ruth Brown
LATIN GRAMMY AWARDS: There were several Latin jazz-related winners at the 17th annual Latin Grammy Awards
held November 17 in Las Vegas. They were Hamilton de Holanda
, Samba de Chico
(Biscoito Fino, 2016)best instrumental album; Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Cuba: The Conversation Continues
(Motéma, 2015)best Latin jazz album.
JJA AWARDS: Bandleader, composer and arranger Maria Schneider
dominated the Jazz Journalists Association's 2016 Jazz Awards
, becoming the first artist to sweep five musical achievement categories. She was the top vote-getter for musician of the year and best album for The Thompson Fields
(ArtistShare, 2015), also winning for composer, arranger and best large ensemble honors. Henry Threadgill
won the Lifetime Achievement in Jazz category, while saxophonist Kamasi Washington
was named Up and Coming Artist of the Year. Female jazz instrumentalists were more prominent than ever among the JJA's 2016 music category winners. They included Anat Cohen
(clarinetist and multi-reeds player), Regina Carter
(violinist), Mary Halvorson
(guitarist), Nicole Mitchell
(flutist), Jane Ira Bloom
(soprano saxophonist) and Myra Melford
d (mid-size ensemble).
The 2016 JJA Jazz Awards
in journalism and media categories were presented June 15 at the Blue Note in New York. Those winners included: Ted Panken (lifetime achievement in jazz journalism), DownBeat magazine (jazz periodical of the year), Ethan Iverson
(jazz blog of the year) for Do The Math,
John Schwed (jazz book of the year) for Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth
(Viking/Penguin, 2015), and Patrick Marek (jazz photo of the year) for his performance image of Swiss saxophonist Lucien Dubuis
. Nate Chinen was honored with JJA's Robert Palmer-Helen Oakley Dance Award for Excellence in Writing in 2015
, Linda Yohn of WEMU in Ypsilanti, MI received the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Broadcasting in the Year 2015
and Ken Franckling received the Lona Foote-Bob Parent Award for Photography in the Year 2015
2016 NPR MUSIC JAZZ CRITICS POLL: The Henry Threadgill
Ensemble Double Up's Old Locks and Irregular Verbs
(Pi, 2016) topped the 2016 edition of the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll. Threadgill's sweeping new work was a tribute to the late cornetist and bandleader Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris
. Organ player Larry Young
's Larry Young In Paris: The ORTF Recordings
(Resonance, 2016) was voted the top reissue of the year. This Francis Davis-produced annual poll was compiled from Top 10 lists submitted by 137 jazz writers.
SASSY AWARDS: London-based singer Deelee Dube
took top honors November 29 at the 2016 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition
at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Dubé received $5,000 and a recording contract offer from the Concord Music Group. The other finalists were Danish singer Sinne Eeg
, Teira Lockhart Church from Los Angeles, London-based Canadian transplant Lauren Bush
and Detroit native Lauren Scales. This fifth annual competition drew 145 entrants from 23 countries.
ASCAP AWARD: Maria Schneider
received the ASCAP Foundation's Life in Music Award
December 14 for her "inventive works in classical and jazz." Schneider also has been a powerful voice for creators' rights in music and the arts. In 2014, she testified on the subject of Internet music piracy before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property,
BMI JAZZ COMPOSERS WORKSHOP: Saxophonist and clarinetist Dan Block
won the BMI Foundation's 17th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize
. Block's piece, "Madrigal," was selected as the winning work at the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. It will be performed at the workshop's 29th annual Summer Showcase Concert in June 2017.
DORIS DUKE AWARDS: Eight of 2016's 21 winners of $275,000 Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards
announced May 3 were from the jazz community. Those winners are multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu
, pianists Fred Hersch
, Wayne Horvitz
and Jason Moran
, saxophonists Matana Roberts
and Henry Threadgill
, and trumpeters Dave Douglas
and Wadada Leo Smith
ERTEGUN JAZZ HALL OF FAME: Trombonist J.J. Johnson
and saxophonists Wayne Shorter
and Ben Webster
were the 2016 inductees into Jazz at Lincoln Center's Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame
. The three musicians gained the most popular votes cast by jazz fans around the world.
GUGGHENHEIM FELLOWSHIP: Saxophonist Wayne Shorter
was the only jazz artist to receive a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship
in 2016. Most years there have been three or more jazz recipients. The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation said Shorter's compositions have left "an indelible mark on the development of music for the last half-century."
PEW FELLOWS: Saxophonist Matthew Levy
and bassist Jymie Merritt
were the jazz artists among 12 new $75,000 fellowships from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to support artists in the Philadelphia region. The Pew Center's project grants to area jazz groups or organizations included the PRISM Quartet, to explore "the artistic possibilities that arise at the intersection of saxophone music, technology and time-based visual art" to lay the foundation for an evening-length production. (Levy is a member of the quartet.) Jazz Bridge, a Philly nonprofit, received funding to host "Philadelphia Real Book Concerts -New Music in Jazz and Blues," a four-part series headlined by guitarists Pat Martino
and Monnette Sudler
, pianist Dave Burrell
and saxophonist Jimmy Heath
. The series will feature music "inspired by the first published collection of compositions by the city's jazz artists."
PULITZER PRIZE: Saxophonist, flutist and composer Henry Threadgill
was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music
in April for his recording In for a Penny, In for a Pound
(Pi, 2015). The jury described the piece as a "highly original work, in which notated music and improvisation mesh in a sonic tapestry that seems the very expression of modern American life." The only prior jazz winners in the category were Ornette Coleman
in 2007 for Sound Garden
and Wynton Marsalis
in 1997 for Blood on the Fields
MURAL FOR MUMBLES: A mural created in tribute to native son Clark Terry
was dedicated April 2 as part of the Murals on Broadway public art program in St. Louis. The montage by artist Ray Harvey is located just a short walk from where Terry lived in the city's Carondelet neighborhood before his trumpet led him around the world. He played with Count Basie
and Duke Ellington
and was a mentor to young Miles Davis
ONE SASSY STAMP: The U.S. Postal Service honored jazz singer Sarah Vaughan
with a forever stamp set that was unveiled March 29 in her hometown of Newark, N.J. The stamp art was an oil painting of Vaughan in performance based on a 1955 photograph by Hugh Bell. The First-Day-of-Issue dedication took place at Newark's Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall, two days after her birthday, which in 2016 fell on Easter. On the Record
A JAZZ EPITAPH: The rock era's chameleonic musician David Bowie
cushioned himself with jazz for his musical farewell. The recording Blackstar
featured Bowie with saxophonist Donny McCaslin
's jazz quintet. It was released on Bowie's 69th birthday on January 6, 2016just two days before he died. Blackstar
was recorded in early 2015 during his unpublicized 18-month battle with cancer. After Bowie's passing, producer Tony Visconti described the recording as a carefully orchestrated goodbye to his fans. This 25th studio album from Bowie had its roots in "Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)," a seven-minute 2014 single that he recorded with theMaria Schneider
Orchestra on which McCaslin was featured in an extended solo.
A GUINNESS IS GOOD FOR YOU: Bassist Ron Carter
was cited by the Guinness World Records organization as being the most-recorded jazz bassist in history, with 2,221 individual recording credits as of mid-September 2015. In its January 7 announcement, Guinness noted Carter's work with jazz greats Miles Davis
, Freddie Hubbard
, McCoy Tyner
and Hank Jones
, as well as studio work with Billy Joel, hip-hop's A Tribe Called Quest, plus movie soundtracks and TV shows.
VERVE @ 60: Verve Records celebrated its 60th anniversary throughout 2016 with a series of reissues from many of its premier artists through the years, from Louis Armstrong
to Lester Young
. The first set of releases included a new digital collection, Verve 60,
featuring 60 tracks by 60 different artists from throughout the label's history. One release, Jazz at the Philharmonic: The Ella Fitzgerald Set,
compiled all of the singer's Jazz at the Philharmonic performances previously issued by Verve on various albums, into a single collection. There was something fresh and mouse-related as well. In November, Verve released Jazz Loves Disney,
a 13-track big band plus vocals album of classic tunes from "Cinderella," "Lady and the Tramp," "The Jungle Book" and other Disney movies. The album featured Gregory Porter
, Melody Gardot
, Stacey Kent
, Jamie Cullum
and the The Hot Sardines
, among others.
ADDING AN IMPRINT: Detroit-based Mack Avenue Records acquired the MAXJAZZ imprint in April. Mack Avenue also owns the Artistry Music, Rendezvous Music and Sly Dog imprints. Since its beginning in 1997, the St. Louis-area MAXJAZZ label developed a strong reputation as an artist-friendly label. It released more than 70 recordings by a roster that included Carla Cook
, Geoffrey Keezer
, Nancy King
, Russell Malone
, Mulgrew Miller
and René Marie
, among others. MAXJAZZ founder Richard McDonnell, an investment banker, died in February 2014, one night after suffering a stroke at a concert at the Jazz Bistro in St. Louis.
NEWVELLE RECORDS: The year began with a new kind of record label taking root. Newvelle Records features premium-vinyl-only projects by some of the jazz world's finest musicians. The initial release schedule included curated recordings by the Frank Kimbrough
Quintet, the Noah Preminger
Quartet, the Ben Allison
and Leo Genovese
trios, a Jack DeJohnette
solo piano session, and a Don Friedman
trio project with music from 1961 Booker Little
recordings on which Friedman played. Through this label, launched with a Kickstarter campaign, Newvelle members receive one new record every two months. The label was founded by Elan Mehler and Jean-Christophe Morisseau.
ARMSTRONG AND ELLINGTON TREASURES: Two 1928 "crystal-clear" audio tracks featuring Louis Armstrong
and His Orchestra performing "Ain't Misbehavin'" and His Hot Five performing "Knee Drops" in Chicago, surfaced on YouTube, along with one of the Duke Ellington
Orchestra, performing "Hot and Bothered." The audio recordings were made for OKeh Records, which sent the metal "mother records" to German for its Odeon pressings. In an unrelated discovery, the Louis Armstrong House Museum acquired the only known footage of Armstrong working inside a recording studio. The film shows Armstrong recording his album Satchmo Plays King Oliver
(Audio Fidelity, 1959) in Los Angeles. Producer Sid Frey commissioned the film but did not use it for anything, so it sat in a storage facility all these years. Jazz venue ups and downs
NATIONAL JAZZ MUSEUM: After 15 years of operating out of modest upstairs space in East Harlem, The National Jazz Museum in Harlem relocated in February to a new storefront on West 129th Street in Central Harlem. Ryan Maloney, the Smithsonian Affiliate's director of education and programming, said the move brought a renewal to its mission and a greater sense of "what is possible." The year also included the initial releases from the museum's Savory Collection. That treasure includes more than 100 hours of recordings that engineer William Savory made from live New York City radio broadcasts between 1935 and 1941. These ballroom and nightclub performances had not been heard since their initial airing. The restored recordings included concerts by Count Basie
, Louis Armstrong
, Billie Holiday
, Lester Young
, Duke Ellington
, Lionel Hampton
, Fats Waller
, Artie Shaw
, Benny Goodman
, Teddy Wilson
, Django Reinhardt
, Coleman Hawkins
, Louis Jordan
, Lennie Tristano
and Bunny Berigan
THE COLTRANE CHURCH: The St. John Coltrane
African Orthodox Church left its storefront sanctuary on San Francisco's Fillmore Street in late April after a long eviction fight. The church, founded 48 years ago by its archbishop, the saxophone-playing Most. Rev. Franzo W. King, features a Sunday morning meditation to Coltrane's 33-minute signature work, A Love Supreme.
It has moved at least temporarily to a new chapel within nearby St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church. Located at the confluence of the city's Western Addition and NoPa (North of Panhandle) neighborhoods, St. Cyprian's was founded in 1923 as the first black Episcopal church in the Diocese of California. St. Cyprians also holds jazz events, including a jazz mass the first Sunday of each month. On Dec. 24, the two congregations teamed up for a Jazzy Christmas Eve Gala Celebration.
DETROIT JAZZ LANDMARK: On March 15, Baker's Keyboard Lounge received a historic designation to help preserve the jazz club as it looks to anchor an economic resurgence along northwest Detroit's Avenue of Fashion. The City Council ordinance prevents whoever owns the building from demolishing it or altering its exterior without permission from the Detroit Historic District Commission. Now in its 83rd year, Baker's is considered the oldest continuous jazz club in the U.S.
BOHEMIAN CAVERNS: The basement-level Bohemian Caverns, a Washington, D.C., jazz club that survived several owners and different names over 90 years, closed at the end of March after the lease expired. Co-owner Omrao Brown concluded the three venues he had on the site, including a restaurant and nightclub, were no longer viable after two years of operating in the red.
JIMMY MAK'S IS NO MORE: The premier jazz club in Portland, OR, closed for good on December 31. Owner and namesake Jim Makarounis had hoped to move the club to a new site a few blocks away after his building was sold to developers. That plan changed after Makarounis was diagnosed with larynx cancer and needed to focus on his health. No one stepped up to take on the relocation project.
JAZZ IN BERLIN: Germany's Parliament allocated $13.2 million (Euro 12.5 million) in November for a plan to convert at least part of the Old Mint (Alte Münze) in downtown Berlin into a House of Jazz. Trumpeter Till Bronner
has proposed renovating and transforming the site into a world-class hub for jazz, similar in concept to New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center. Tim Renner, Berlin's secretary for cultural affairs and a former music manager, is shepherding the proposal. It has caused a bit of controversy.
NICE JAZZ FESTIVAL: The 2016 Nice Jazz Festival, scheduled July 16-20, was cancelled after a July 14 terrorist attack killed 86 and wounded more than 430 people. A 19-ton cargo truck was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in the resort city on the Mediterranean. The truck driver was killed and at least six other people were later taken into custody on "criminal terrorist conspiracy" charges.
PANAMA JAZZ FESTIVAL: The Republic of Panama passed legislation in September to guarantee annual funding to the Panama Jazz Festival beginning in 2018. The new law designates that "the government of Panama recognizes the Panama Jazz Festival is an event that creates a space for cultural exchange, that provides education and social awareness, where people of all ages, cultural and social backgrounds meet to share interdisciplinary ideas about music of the highest academic quality." The 14th annual Panama Jazz Festival will be held Jan. 10-14, 2017 at the City of Knowledge in Panama City, honoring Panamanian vocalist Violeta Green. It will also feature a collaboration between Cultural Ambassador of Panama Danilo Pérez
and Esperanza Spalding
BLUE NOTE NAPA: The Blue Note Entertainment Group now has an entertainment venue in California's Napa Valley. Blue Note Napa opened October 25 as a first-floor jazz club in the historic Napa Valley Opera House. There are now Blue Note jazz clubs in New York, Milan, Hawaii, Beijing, and Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan.
IT'S DOWNSTAIRS, OF COURSE: Perhaps more than any genre, jazz seems to have an abundance of basement locations. One of the newest, located in Nyack, NY, is Maureeen's Jazz Cellar. Pianist David Budway
y and his wife, actress Brianne Higgins, opened the 49-seat club and piano bar beneath a local pizzeria. The Rockland County venue also includes cabaret, classical and comedy in its entertainment mix. They named the club after Budway's late sister, Maureen Budway
, a Pittsburgh jazz singer who died in 2015 from cancer. The new club also has an education purpose: Budway said he will teach master classes during the day and make the space available for children to perform recitals.
SAVING A LANDMARK: A group of community leaders has begun a fund-raising effort to preserve, restore and reopen one of New Orleans' earliest jazz landmarks. The Eagle Saloon Initiative is focused on a three-story building that dates to 1851. The Eagle Saloon in the 400 block of South Rampart is a remnant of "back of town," a bustling African-American commercial corridor. Plans call for turning it into a jazz club and museum. The saloon once shared a wall with the Odd Fellows and Masonic Hall on Perdido Street, a dance hall where jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden
and dozens of other musicians played. The Eagle Saloon became a green-room of sorts for musicians to gather before and after gigs at Odd Fellows, which was later torn down. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places. On the legal front...
THE MAYFIELD SAGA, YEAR TWO: Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield
resigned as artistic director and board member of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra during the summer. The move followed a 2015 investigation into accusations that he funneled money from the city's public library system into his musical nonprofit between 2012 and 2013. After the scandal brewed for many months, Mayfield also ended his jazz club affiliation with the Royal Sonesta Hotel and resigned his professorship at the University of New Orleans.
When he was head of the New Orleans Public Library Foundation, Mayfield and business partner Ronald Markham allegedly directed more than $800,000 in Library Foundation funds to support the nonprofit orchestra, largely to support its ambitious $10 million Peoples Health Jazz Market space that opened in the spring of 2015. The Jazz Market has been envisioned as a Crescent City model of New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center.
With Mayfield's departure from the orchestra, Markham continued as president & CEO and drummer Adonis Rose
was named music director. The Library Foundation and NOJO reached an agreement for the orchestra to return funds it received from the Library Foundation while Mayfield was on its board. It reportedly called for $483,000 to be returned in payments over the next five years and the remainder to be paid back as in-kind contributions from appearances at fundraising concerts. Any balance remaining after five years would have to be repaid in cash.
DOPING BAN: Italian guitarist Gigi Cifarelli tested positive for doping and was banned from amateur cycling competitions for four years. The Italian Olympic Committee imposed the ban after the bike-loving musician tretroactive ested positive at the Grand Prix Dell'Uva Fragola-Sunoan amateur raceon August 20, 2015. His ban runs through November 17, 2019. Cifarelli was also ordered to pay approximately $400 (Euro 378) in legal fees associated with the case.
PRIZE MONEY: Long Island NY contractor Noel Muir was sentenced April 4 to one-to-three years in prison for stealing nearly $500,000 in prize money awarded to his pianist Cecil Taylor
. Muir, 55, pleaded guilty to larceny for having stolen the money Taylor was awarded in June 2013 by the Inamori Foundation of Japan as part of his Kyoto Prize. Muir, who befriended Taylor while working on his Brooklyn brownstone, accompanied the pianist to Japan in November 2013 ad arranged to have the prize money deposited into his own bank account. Prosecutors said Muir has returned $200,000 to Taylor and has promised to repay the rest.
STOLEN GEAR AND GARB: The New Orleans-based New Breed Brass Band was just three days into a 30-day West Coast tour when the players' instruments and clothing were stolen from their van in Albany, OR. Their van was broken into at their hotel parking lot overnight on July 22. The band raised $7,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to replace the instruments and continue their tour. Bandleader Jenard Andrews said several instruments were recovered.
WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT: The father of a legally armed black musician who was killed by a Palm Beach Gardens, FL police officer is suing the officer and his department. Drummer Corey Jones' father filed a state lawsuit July 6 against since-fired Officer Nouman Raja and the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. The lawsuit by Clinton Jones Sr. claims Raja used excessive force when he shot his son on Oct. 18, 2015 and that the department failed to train him properly. Prosecutors charged Raja with manslaughter on June 1, alleging that the undercover officer didn't identify himself before shooting Jones. Jones, 31, was heading home from a performance when his SUV broke down on a highway ramp. He was waiting for a tow when Raja shot him. The officer had stopped to investigate what he thought was a possibly abandoned vehicle. Jazz is part of the story
The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened on Washington, DC's National Mall on September 24 as the only national museum devoted exclusively to documenting African American life, history and culture. The Smithsonian Institution's 19th and newest museum includes a number of jazz goodies among its collection of more than 36,000 artifacts. They include the neon sign from Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, a shiny late 1940s trumpet owned by Louis Armstrong
, sheet music from W.C. Handy
's "St. Louis Blues," Stanley Clarke
's upright bass, Will Calhoun
's drums, a wooden clapper from the Cotton Club promoting singer Ethel Waters
, and various photographs, playbills, posters and recordings. Jazz at Lincoln Center updates selection process
More formalized selection procedures include blind auditions, formal job postings, and wider outreach for musicians are now in place for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
. The changes were announced in mid-August after a JALC collaboration with the JazzWomen and Girls Advocates organization and Equal Rights Advocates. "We are optimistic that these exciting changes ... will increase opportunities for women musicians to join this iconic jazz institution," said trumpeter Ellen Seeling
, who chairs JazzWomen and Girls Advocates. On the auction block
More than 200 of Duke Ellington
's personal belongings, which had been kept in his sister's Harlem apartment, were auctioned May 18 at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. The items included his white baby grand piano, two dozen original music manuscripts (written in Ellington's own hand), tuxedos and suits, and his portrait of close friend and collaborator Billy Strayhorn
. The first pencil-scrawled drafts for the orchestra arrangement of Ellington's "Mood Indigo" and Strayhorn's "Lush Life" sold for $14,000 apiece. One bidder paid $7,500 for one of Ellington's flashy tuxedos, embroidered by his Chicago tailor. A special Pulitzer Prize awarded posthumously to Ellington in 1999 for his 'indelible contribution to art and culture" sold for $7,000. Ruth Ellington Boatright, the Duke's only sibling and his business manager, died in 2004. Jazz cruise partnership and rebranding
Entertainment Cruise Productions' former Contemporary Jazz Cruise now has a new name and focus. It is now Blue Note at Sea ECP teamed with Blue Note Records and the Blue Note Entertainment Group in a five-year partnership. The next cruise on February 4-11, 2017 from Fort Lauderdale, FL will include six Blue Note artists: Marcus Miller
, Terence Blanchard
, the Robert Glasper
Trio, Aaron Parks
and Gregory Porter
, plus Blue Note alumni Dianne Reeves
and Chucho Valdes
, among the 30+ musicians on its roster. ECP also produces the Jazz Cruise and the Smooth Jazz Cruise charters. Internet jazz radio's big win
One of Washington state's beloved public-radio station's bought its independence for $8 million after listener outcry over Pacific Lutheran University's agreement to sell the station to the University of Washington. That deal would have folded WPLU into UW's KUOW, which offers far less music programming. WPLU, now known as 88.5 KNKX broadcasts mostly jazz on its FM programmingand also produces and streams Jazz24.org internet programming. Bridging the Charles River with dual degrees
Over the years, more than a few student musicians at Harvard developed their chops by hanging out with students from the Berklee College of Music. Now they can do so formally, and vice-versa. Prospective students at Berklee and Harvard can apply for a program offering a five-year dual degrees that earn them a bachelor of arts at Harvard and a master's of music or arts at Berklee. "We have students here who have perfect SAT scores, whose families may secretly wonder why they chose Berklee and not Harvard," said Berklee President Roger Brown. "If you're that bright and talented, now you don't have to choose between the two. Tom Morello or someone like (folk singer) David Wax who went to Harvard might have really loved to play in our James Brown or Radiohead ensembles. Now they can." The partnership is modeled after Harvard's joint degree with New England Conservatory. Jessica Williams takes to social media
Pianist Jessica Williams
used her Linkedin page in May to write about being "trans from birth," having gender correction surgery at age 28 and about the difficulties she and other trans-people have to go through. She also wrote about music being her main focus, and about not having recorded lately. Based in the Seattle area, Williams said she hasn't owned a piano for four years for financial reasons. Music is a strong medicine
After suffering a stroke in October 2015, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli
spent four months in rehab dealing with pneumonia and other complications that forced him to miss his 90th birthday bash in January 2016. While he was sidelined, former pupil and longtime musical partner Ed Laub
helped Pizzarelli rebuild his chops and relearn songs that had become hazy during convalescence. On August 20, Pizzarelli returned to the stage, performing at New Jersey's Morristown Jazz and Blues Festival, where he played a set with Laub, violinist Aaron Weinstein
and his son, bassist Martin Pizzarelli
. Bucky was then serenaded with a belated chorus of "Happy Birthday" and a giant cake. Tragedies in many different ways
BENNY GOLBIN: Saxophonist and music educator Benny Golbin, 36, of San Pedro, CA died instantly on January 15, 2016 when one of two northbound street racers in Hawthorne, CA lost control, hit a median in the 1300 block of Crenshaw Blvd. and landed on his southbound car. One street racer was arrested at the scene, the other surrendered to police four days later. Both men were charged with murder, vehicular manslaughter and street racing.
WILL SIMS: Musician and singer Will Sims, 28, was beaten and robbed in a pool hall, then shot and left to die on a street in El Sobrante, CA, about 20 miles north of San Francisco, on November 12. Police said Sims was targeted by the three white men who killed him because he was black. The three suspects were charged with robbery and murder and a hate crime for targeting the young musician because of his race. Sims as an accomplished pianist, he also played the guitar, saxophone, violin and was a respected singer with a deep, rich voice.
BEN RUNNELS: Musician Ben Runnels, who performed under the names Charlie Prowler and Ben Benjamin, died in the December 2 Ghost Ship warehouse-art space fire that claimed 36 lives in Oakland, CA. The fire also killed band mate Nicole Siegrist, known as Denalda Renae, who performed with Runnels in the synthpop duo Introflirt, as well as his roommate, DJ Johnny Igaz, who was performing that night at the Ghost Ship. Runnels, 32, also sang jazz standards at a local bar and created electronic beats at dance venue. He lived in Oakland for five years after being lured from the East Coast by the Bay Area's vibrant music scene.
CLAIRE RANDALL: New York-based singer Claire Randall died in a murder-suicide December 8 while visiting her family's home in Hebron, ME. She was shot by her father, Daniel Randall, a retired minister, who left an alcohol rehab clinic that morning after a 90-day stay, Maine State Police said. His wife, Anita, had filed for divorce earlier in the week. Randall broke into the home because he didn't have a key, shot his 27-year-old daughter multiple times, spray-painted messages to the family in five rooms and then shot himself in the head, police said. 2016 Final Bars
The jazz world lost many musicians and industry-related people during 2016, including five of its NEA Jazz Masters: Mose Allison
, David Baker
, Bobby Hutcherson
, Toots Thielemans
and Rudy Van Gelder
Here's a comprehensive compilation.
Accordionists, bandleaders, composer, and singer, Claude Vinh San, Buckwheat Zydeco (Stanley Dural Jr.); accordionist and composer Pauline Oliveros.
Bandleader "Uncle" Percy Gilbert; bandleader, composer, arranger and producer Berry Lipman.
Banjo players Dick Mushlitz, Bernd Schmude, Volker Weiss.
Bassists Daniel Amelot, Tassili Bond, Bob Cranshaw, Paul Dubois, Dominic Duval, James Jamerson Jr., Stephen Jones, Chris Lachotta, Kelly Roberti, Jacques Schols, Roger Sibbald, Hal Swift, Ted Wald, Rob Wasserman, Dolores Yeager; bassist, composer, conductor and producer Terry Plumeri; bassist and singer Brian Sandlin; bassists and educators Victor Bailey, Detlev Beier, Paul Brown, Wes Phillips, Joe Reichgott, Roger Shew; bassist, bandleader and radio producer Roger Eames.
Clarinetists Ham Carson, Pete Fountain, Jürgen Müller, Kenny Olson, Marv Rosenthal, Dave Shepherd, Jim Torok, Alfons Würzl; clarinetist and bandleader Hugo Strasser; clarinetists, saxophonists and educators Howard Dudune, Alan Lawson.
Composers, conductors and educators Gilberto Mendes, Tibor Pusztai; composer, guitarist and harmonica player Hubert Giraud; composer, trombonist, cellist, educator, writer and NEA Jazz Master
David Baker; composer, arranger and conductor Claus Ogerman; composer, conductor and pianist Harry Rabinowitz; composer and choral leader Gregg Smith; composer, producer and pianist Fred McFarlane; composer/songwriter and pianist Rod Temperton; composer, pianist, publicist and writer Valter Ojakäär.
Drummers Joe Ascione, Sammy Banks, Don Carter, Dennis Davis, Michael DiPasqua, Chuck Flores, Padhi Frieberger, Joe Harris, Moe Jennings, Randy Jones, Buzz Loveland, Bill Maginnis, Jacques Mahieux, Nick Menza, Alphonse Mouzon, Guy Nadon, Randy Opela, Joao Palma, Dave Perluck, John Roulet, Janusz Stefański, Alan Tarpinian, Enzo Todesco, Maurice Van Eyck; drummer and bassist Markku Lievonen; drummer, singer, composer, band manager and Louis Armstrong Foundation founder Eddie "Papa Duke" Edwards; drummer, pianist, producer and broadcaster Duncan Soutar; drummers and bandleaders Fredrik Norén, Francisco "Minini" Zamora; drummer and screenplay writer Bill Richmond; drummer, pianist, composer and educator Steve Grover; drummers and singers Femi Kako Addie, Milt Rich; drummer, composer and bandleader Sebastian Whittaker; drum maker and drummer Johnny Craviotto.
Flutists Jimmy Gemus, Claude Kennedy, Kay Ragsdale, Jeremy Steig.
Guitarists Al Caiola, Juan Peña Fernández ("El Lebrijano"), Juan Habichuela, Radim Hladik, Frank Jeffes, Robert W. Johnson, Werner Lämmerhirt, O'Donel "Butch" Levy, Ireng Maulana, Jim Mitchell, Roland Prince, Doug Raney, Lucky Ranku, Hans Reffert, Daweli Reinhardt, Dominique Répécaud, Jim Rivard, Louis Stewart, Rick Stone, Sergio Vitier, Häns'che Weiss, Isaiah Williams III, Earl Wilson; guitarist and singer Freddy Sunder; guitarist, composer and arranger Pachy Carrasco; guitarist, composer, engineer and educator Mark Schulz; guitarists and educators Steve Cancelli, Jackie King, Carlton Kitto; guitarist and bandleader Timmy Makaya; guitarist and bassist Joe Muro, guitarist, violinist, composer, filmmaker and educator Tony Conrad; guitarist and concert organizer Frédéric Deval; guitarist, producer and writer Paul Vincent.
Harmonica player Ron Kalina, harmonica player and NEA Jazz Master
Toots Thielemans; harmonica player and actor Kenny Baker.
Keyboard player and producer Bernie Worrell; keyboard player and singer Hugo González Neira; keyboard player and modern synthesizer inventor Don Buchla.
Lyricist Lou Tracey.
Multi-instrumentalist Léon Francioli; multi-instrumentalist, conductor and educator Klaus Arp; multi-instrumentalist and educator Bo Eckard; multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer Kashif; multi-instrumentalist, producer and educator Aldden Ashforth.
Organ players Alan Haven, Hans-Günther Wauer; organ player and singer Michael Torsone.
Percussionist Tony Gable; percussionists and singers Sherwood Mobley, Naná Vasconcelos; percussionist, artist, dancer and writer Taylor McLean; percussion instrument manufacturer and drummer Remo Belli.
Pianists Aloisio Milanez Aguiar, Kathryn Bailey, Elsie Bianchi, Paul Bley, Ralf Butscher, Jack Coker, Frank Collette, Ben Conroy, Connie Crothers, Eliane Cueni, Keith Emerson, Don Friedman, *Ryo Fukui, Joe Gattone, Jim Hession, Jean Huling, Freddie Jones, Paul Krueger, Jury Kuznetsov, Stephen Malinowski, Tony Monte, Judy Nelson, Hod O'Brien, Vassil Parmakov, Tony Raine, Bill Reid, Hans Rempel, George Reznik, Rosie Rodriguez, Bryce Rohde, Lucille Rounds, Horacio Salgan, Derek Smith, Jeptha Spencer-Bey, Graham Tayar, Betty Loo Taylor, Sir Charles Thompson, Moe Wechsler, Dave West, Claude Williamson, Allan Zavod; pianist, singer and NEA Jazz Master
Mose Allison; pianists and bandleaders Willy Andresen, Mac Chrupcala, Bill Dunham; pianists and composers Irving Fields, Ken Rhodes; pianist, composer, arranger and band leader Alfredo Valdes Jr.; pianists and educators Gerald Borsuk (aka Jerry Blake), Jimmy Hamilton, Roland Paolucci, Karel Růžička; pianist and AACM School dean Ann E. Ward; pianist and organist Paul Tillotson; pianist, saxophonist and singer Andy "Thunderclap" Newman; pianists and singers Toni Baxter, Lasse Mårtenson; pianist, singer and educator John Eaton; pianist, singer and producer Knut Kiesewetter; pianist and trumpeter Bob Pecht; pianist, composer, arranger, educator, ethnomusicologist and writer Jan Hartong (aka Lambrik); pianist, educator and Odessa Jazz Festival co-founder Yuri Kuznetsov; pianists and artists John Fischer, Walter Giers.
Saxophonists Spartaco Andréoli, Manfred Baierl, Don Bailly, Gato Barbieri, Allen Barnes, Headley Bennett, Lutz Büchner, Pete Burden, Charles Davis, Bruce DeMoll, Geraldene Derrick, Harald Devold, Gil DiBenedetto, Marco Eneidi, Edmund "Leon" Henderson, Dave Hubbard, Jacques "Saxman" Johnson, Bob Kindred, Kathrin Lemke, Getatchew Mekuria, Kira Payne, Tom Olin, Ray Rodriguez, Johnny Rogers, Gerhard Stein, Thomas Stett, Joe Temperley, Harold "Van" Van Pelt, Bobby Wellins, Morris Wilson, Pete Yellin; saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator Barry Amass; saxophonist, bandleader and club owner Janusz Muniak; saxophonists and educators Carlos Averhoff, Bill Eden, Benny Golbin, Ward Harston, Jerry Hirsch, Elvi Paschal, Zena Latto; saxophonist, community activist and educator Hosea Taylor Jr.; saxophonists, arrangers, bandleaders and educators Frank Cagliuso, George Robert; saxophonist, composer and bandleader Delle Haensch; saxophonist, educator, producer and broadcaster Joe Marillo; singer, songwriter Cathi Walkup; saxophonist and bandleader Mike Pedicin Sr.; saxophonist and clarinetist Grahame Shepherd; saxophonist and singer Marin Petrache Pechea; saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist (and King) Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand; saxophonist and trumpeter Herb Hardesty; saxophonist and record label owner Jon Klette; saxophonist, educator and writer Chuck Berg; saxophonist and writer James B. Jones; saxophonist, clarinetist and photographer Peter Dechert, saxophonist and music copyist Larry Abel.
Singers Achieng Abura, Ernestine Anderson, Signe Anderson, Ronnie Baró, Sweet Baby James Benton, Jimmy Borges, January Christy, Roger Cicero, Annie de Reuver, Shirley Bunnie Foy, Lee Genesis, Anne Germain, Bill Henderson, Janey Hooper, Sam Hopkins, Totlyn Jackson, Kitty Kallen, Pat King, Célestin "Célio"Kouka, Julius La Rosa, La Velle, Natalie Lamb, Dwight Lenox, Léo Marjane, Shelley Moore, Mary Ann Moss, Billy Paul, Dianne Pine, Freddy Powers, Claire Randall, Patti Rogers, Pinise Saul, June Smith, Judy Spellman, Kay Starr, Reggie Torian, Papa Wemba, Martha Wright, Nora York; singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor David Bowie; singer, songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen; singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson); singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and educator Armsted Christian; singer and composer Pierre Barouh; singer, composer and Los Van Van co-founder Miguel Ángel Rasalps ("El Lele"); singer, songwriter, drummer, record producer, and Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White; singer, songwriter, bandleader, guitarist and drummer Dan Hicks; singers and guitarists Victor Brown, Eddy Christiani, Gianmaria Testa; singer and pianist Will Sims; singer and saxophonist Charles Darden; singer and tres player Rey Caney; singer, bandleader and actor Frank Sinatra Jr.; singer and actor Manfred Krug; singer, dancer and actor Debbie Reynolds; singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor Don Francks; singer, songwriter and pianist Earl Burroughs (aka Jack Hammer); singer and composer Ismael "Pat" Quintana;singer, actor and baseball player Ron Henry; singer, saxophonist, songwriter and dancer Dawn Hampton; singer and technopop performer Ben Runnels (aka Charlie Prowler and Ben Benjamin).
Tabla player Shankar Ghosh.
Trombonists Hannes Bauer, Buster Cooper; trombonist and singer Steve Welch; trombonist, pianist and singer Alfred C. Heupt (aka "Al Cee"); trombonist and bandleader Ol' Bill Schneider.
Trumpeters Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros, Lin Blaiasdell, Joe Cabot, Jef Coolen, Jeff Davis, Doc DeHaven, Jack Feierman, Joe Ferrante, Phil Gilbert, Edmond Harnie, Nancy Hildegarde (Rulli), Georges Jouvin, Jack Lidström, Peter Nthwane, Rich "Taste" Rajewski, Joe Shepley, Al Stewart, Bernd Titus, Erich Traugott, Pete Wolbrette, Patrick Wristen; trumpeter, trombonist and educator Mic Gillette; trumpeter, singer and educator Dwayne Pedigo; trumpeter, pianist, bandleader and singer Mike Taylor; trumpeter, pianist, composer and writer John Chilton; trumpeters and bandleaders Edgar "Dooky" Chase, Bobby Hales; trumpeters and educators Ray Carroll, Wolf Escher, Sidney Mear, Steve Rudig, Louis Smith, Paul Smoker; trumpeter and jazz club owner Don Lewis; trumpeter, educator and scholar Richard Wang.
Vibes player Ben Gerritsen. Vibes player and NEA Jazz Master
Violinists Hannes Beckmann, Michael White.
Artist manager, record producer, filmmaker, club operator and drummer Giorgio Gomelsky; record producer arranger, composer, musician and conductor Sir George Martin; record producers and label owners Phil Chess, Manfred Schiek, Jim Yanaway, Celia Mingus Zaentz; recording industry executive and saxophonist John McKellen; recording industry executives and producers Bob Krasnow, Tony Martell; artist artist manager Carol Scherick; artist manager and writer Claire Gordon; artist managers and concert promoters John Ellson, Don Gomez; music publishing executive Stan Cooper; recording engineer and NEA Jazz Master
Rudy Van Gelder; recording engineer and producer Lewis Merenstein; musical instrument (cymbals) manufacturer Robert Paiste.
Art director and record cover designer Tony Lane; jazz stamp designer Howard Koslow.
Broadcasters Rick Bolling, Rich Conaty, Bob Guthrie, Vaughn "Quiet Storm" Harper, Norm Jagolinzer, John Rogers, Jens Sülzenfuss. DJ David Mancuso.
Entertainment lawyer Seymour Lazar.
Louis Armstrong House curator David Reese; jazz club president Helen Arlt; Milwaukee Jazz Experience board member Allen Gresch; arts producer, photographer and poet Dale Hardman; Dear Head Inn founding co-owner Fay Lehr; Monterey Jazz Festival artist liaison David Murray; jazz historian Klaus Schulz; musicologist and educator Samuel A. Floyd Jr.; Belgian jazz festival producer Marc Klein; jazz club owners Billy Balle (Germany's Lions Club), Lennie Green (New York's Basin Street East), Eugen Hutter (Germany's Hutterschen Jazz Cellar in Esslingen), Bill Kyle (drummer and owner of Edinburgh's The Jazz Club); Jack Reilly (Ryles in Cambridge MA); Cape May Jazz Festival co-founder and artistic director Carol Stone; New Orleans Jazz Club co-founder and broadcaster Fred Hatfield; Japanese jazz promoter Osamu Uchida.
Photographers Bob Adelman, Esther Cidoncha, Charles Gatewood, Jos Knaepen, Oleg Nitsko, Erika Rabau; photographer and Pure Jazz publisher Jo Ann Cheatham.
Poets John Farris, Michael S. Harper; poet, guitarist and singer David Meltzer; performance artist, actress, theater director and poet Laurie Carlos.
Writers Amar Abdelkrim, André Clergeat, William Gaines, Klaus Hübner, Johannes Korten; writer and researcher Gerhard Conrad; writer, broadcaster and jazz advocate Roger Willemsen; writer, musicologist, producer and broadcaster Raymond Mouly; writer and pianist Jack Fuller; writer, musicologist and producer André Clergeat; writer and artist promoter Pat Osborn; writer, educator and trumpeter Cicily Janus; jazz researcher Theo Zwicky; Russian jazz historian Yuri Vermenich.
Blues & gospel artists and industry figures Michael Andrews, C.L. Blast, Mouma Bob, Weepin' Tommy Brown, LeCresia Campbell, Otis Clay, Bobby "Top Hat" Davis, Jo "Cool" Davis, David Egan, Guy Fay, Keith Gemmell, Barrelhouse Chuck Goering, Ted Harvey, Leon Haywood, Preston Hubbard, Long John Hunter, Wayne Jackson, Joe Ligon, Candye Kane, Lonnie Mack, Achim Mentzel, Neven Mijač, Joe Moscheo, Gary S. Paxton, Betsy Pecanins, Mack Rice, Leon Russell, Willie Seaberry, Steve Tarshis, L.C. Ulmer, Big Ed Vadas, Bob Walsh, Ruby Wilson.
(This Final Bars list is compiled from many sources including local newspapers, Deadrockstars.com, the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt newsletter, AllAboutJazz.com, Wikipedia, the New York Times, Legacy.com, Rolling Stone, Variety, JazzTimes.com, blogs, listserves, Facebook pages, Twitter and European publications.)