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MUSICIAN Born:

Mickey Roker

Granville "Mickey" Roker is an American jazz drummer. Roker was born into extreme poverty in Miami to Granville (Sr.) and Willie Mae Roker. After his mother died (his father never lived with them), when he was only ten, he was taken by his grandmother to live in Philadelphia with his uncle Walter, who gave him his first drum kit and communicated his love of jazz to his nephew. He also introduced the young Roker to the lively jazz scene in Philadelphia, where the great Philly Joe Jones became Roker's idol. Roker learned quickly, and he never stopped playing. In the early 1950s he started to gain recognition as a sensitive and yet hard-driving big-band drummer

ARTICLE: PROFILE

Gigi Gryce

Read "Gigi Gryce" reviewed by AAJ Staff

From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in 2002. Gigi Gryce was a special kind of musician--the kind often overlooked by the mainstream jazz world today, but widely respected by those familiar with his all too brief time under the jazz spotlight of the 1950s. More often rated as ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Michelle Lordi: Career Evolution

Read "Michelle Lordi: Career Evolution" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

Some artists are blessed to be born into situations where opportunities are at the ready. Education and training are easily obtainable. Maybe they have connections to the professional world, via their lineage or other friends. Even so, it's still up to them to produce and deal with the inevitable vagaries of their choice to pursue music ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Larry Tamanini: Front & Center

Read "Front & Center" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

jny: Philadelphia leaves such deep and wide fingerprints on guitarist Larry Tamanini's Front and Center that he could list the city in its credits. Tamanini emerged on the Philadelphia jazz scene in the late 1990s, studying privately under Philly jazz guitar legends Dennis Sandole and Pat Martino, whose cerebral yet soulful sound sometimes echoes ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco: From Musical Prodigy to Jazz Icon

Read "Joey DeFrancesco: From Musical Prodigy to Jazz Icon" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Joey DeFrancesco is a true master of the jazz organ, the one others look up to as the standard bearer, as was his inspirational hero, Jimmy Smith. Arguably, he could be dubbed the Mozart of the jazz organ, since like Mozart, he seemed to have been born with all the music already in him. By four, ...

Take Five with Chuck Redd

Read "Take Five with Chuck Redd" reviewed by Chuck Redd

About Chuck Redd Chuck Redd is an internationally well-known performer on both drums and vibraphone. He began his career when he joined the Charlie Byrd Trio at the age of 21. He also became a member of the Great Guitars (Barney Kessel, Byrd, and Herb Ellis.) To his credit are 25 European tours and six ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Albert "Tootie" Heath, Ethan Iverson, Ben Street: Philadelphia Beat

Read "Philadelphia Beat" reviewed by Stefano Merighi

Ottant'anni di fragranza sono quelli di Albert “Tootie" Heath, a giudicare dalla qualità del gioco imbastito in trio con il piano di Ethan Iverson ed il contrabbasso di Ben Street, un gioco giunto alla sua terza e più riuscita mano, votato alle regole non scritte della scuola jazzistica di Philadelphia. Un magistero, quello di Heath, plasmato ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Joanna Pascale: To Tell a Story in Song

Read "Joanna Pascale: To Tell a Story in Song" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Among jazz vocalists, there are two main categories: those who belt out a tune with flourish, ornamentation, punctuation, and improvising known as “scat." Ella Fitzgerald is the prime representative of that approach. Then there are those who omit the superfluous, carefully crafting every word and note, bringing out the underlying emotions. Think of Billie Holiday. Joanna ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Dizzy Gillespie in London, 1973

Dizzy Gillespie in London, 1973

In August 1973, the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet went into Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London for a two-week stay. Gillespie was backed by Al Gafa on guitar, Mike Longo on piano, Earl May on electric bass and Mickey Roker on drums. The gig was recorded by the club, one assumes. The results have been issued on ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Working the Rhythm Section: Tom Lawton, Lee Smith, and Dan Monaghan

Read "Working the Rhythm Section: Tom Lawton, Lee Smith, and Dan Monaghan" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

As Duke Ellington's standard goes, “It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got that Swing." The rhythm section (piano, bass, drums, with guitar and percussion sometimes added) is the core of the typical jazz ensemble. They set the frame for the leader, singer, and soloists and contribute their own solos as well. Even though they ...


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