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Rare Steve Lacy LP Shows Up In Hollywood

Posted by Rick Frystak, October 7, 2013 03:43pm | Post a Comment

Steve Lacy has always been one of my favorite horn players since I first hear him in the mid 70’s. He delivers a liquid, speech-like sound with his soprano saxophone which he plays exclusively.  Influenced by trad jazz players, Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk and Gil Evans, Mr. Lacy composes and improvises with a quirky sense of melody unlike any other player around at the time or since, and his compositions reveal his very personal way of telling his stories. His staccato yet fluid attack, and almost vibrato-less legato stands out within the history of his axe. He has made many, many records (hundreds) and almost each one has its own individual sound and ultimate expression. Straight up swing to musique concrete to free improvisation are where Steve could be found at any moment, often simultaneously. His accompanists range from sitar duos to big band improv to sax/synthesizer/ drum outings, exploring all avenues of audible art. He also made many solo concerts, with just his soprano sax perhaps speaking the musical dialog about what was shaking at the moment. These concerts and recordings are a wonderful document of this artist’s creative depth.

I am fortunate to have met Steve when I had an in-store appearance with him while I was managing Rasputin’s Jazz and Soul record store in Berkeley, California in 1981. Steve is second from left, just to my right in this photo of that day (Rick Gillman far left, Lacy, Frystak, Michael Finney far right).

A kind and soft spoken personality belied his passionate, forward surging playing style.  His many bay-area fans that day were in heaven to be near this musical icon, myself included. He played later in the evening at U.C.Berkeley to a packed house. Steve passed in 2004 at age 69 years young, and I was fortunate to see him play multiple times, always searching and swinging in whatever context he found himself in.

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Sunday Night at Monterey Jazz Fest: Along Came Betty, David Sanborn & Bob James, Tammy Hall, and Davina & The Vagabonds

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 22, 2013 10:02pm | Post a Comment

The last night of the Monterey Jazz Festival is always bitter sweet. We hate for it to end, but we leave bursting full of positive experiences, the memory of amazing music, and a couple of fried artichokes. Sunday was a full day at the mini-Amoeba tent with signings from Joe Lovano (see previous blog post), Along Came Betty, David Sanborn & Bob James, Tammy Hall, and Davina & The Vagabonds

Along Came Betty celebrates the spirit of hard-bop, a seminal movement of '50s and '60s jazz music. But the quintet has become much more than a homage to an important era of jazz history. Pianist and prolific composer Biff Smith's sophisticated yet highly accessible compositions blend elements of that era with modern sensibilities. The rich sound of harmonized sax and trumpet backed by the classic piano, bass, and drums rhythm section result in fresh, straight-ahead jazz.

along came betty amoeba music monterey jazz festival

Next we welcomed not one but two legends to our signing table, alto saxophonist David Sanborn and keyboardist-composer-arranger Bob James, who were celebrating their second creative collaboration Quartette Humaine (available on CD and LP). This collaboration comes a quarter century after their first, the million-selling GRAMMY® Award-winning Double Vision.

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Sunday at Monterey Jazz Festival: Joe Lovano

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 22, 2013 05:10pm | Post a Comment

It's the last day of the 56th annual Monterey Jazz Festival and the eight stages are blazing with the sounds of jazz throughout the Monterey Fair Grounds. We have a full schedule of signings today at the mini-Amoeba tent...five to be exact!

We just had the honor of sitting down to a signing and interview with GRAMMY Award-winning saxophone giant Joe Lovano. Since 2009, Lovano has been with Us Five, a dynamic young band that features drummers Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela, bassist Esperanza Spalding, and pianist James Weidman. His latest album Cross Culture is an 11-track tour de force that presents ten of Lovano’s original compositions along with a stunning interpretation of the Billy Strayhorn ballad “Star Crossed Lovers.” Augmenting his core group with the daring West African guitarist (and fellow Blue Note artist) Lionel Loueke, Lovano delivers his most fully realized representation of a career-long quest to explore the notion of universal musical language. MJF talent coordinator Bennett Jackson spoke with Lovano today:


Stay tuned for updates on our signings with Along Came Betty (4pm), David Sanborn & Bob James (4:30pm), Tammy Hall (5:30pm), and Davina & The Vagabonds (7:30pm).

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Saturday Night at Monterey Jazz Festival: The Relatives and Ravi Coltrane

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 21, 2013 11:20pm | Post a Comment

Saturday night ended big at the 56th annual Monterey Jazz Festival with signings from The Relatives and Ravi Coltrane at the mini-Amoeba tent.the relatives amoeba music monterey jazz festival

Fresh from their electrifying set on the Garden stage, The Relatives (dapper in lavender suits) sat for a signing and meet & greet at the Amoeba tent. The Relatives were formed in 1970 by veteran Dallas Gospel singer Rev. Gean West and his brother Tommie. Their sound bridges the gap between traditional Gospel, Soul, and Psychedelia. In the early 1970s, they recorded three obscure singles and a previously unreleased session — all of which are compiled on the acclaimed 2009 anthology, Don’t Let Me Fall. The release of the anthology brought The Relatives back together as a band, planting the seeds for their 2013 Yep Roc release, The Electric Word, which was recorded and produced by Jim Eno of Spoon, and is their first recording in 30 years!
 

Born on Long Island in 1965, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is the ravi coltrane amoeba music monterey jazz festivalsecond son of John and Alice Coltrane. His father (who recorded the landmark Blue Train for Blue Note in 1957) died when Ravi was only two. Alice, a renowned composer and pianist, raised Ravi on the West Coast and proved a strong role model in her own right.

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Saturday Afternoon at Monterey Jazz Festival: Signings with The California Honeydrops, Claire Daly, and Big Sam's Funky Nation

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 21, 2013 07:03pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music is on the scene at the 56th annual Monterey Jazz Festival with our mini-Amoeba tent full of great deals and amazing signings with some of the festival's best musicians. Friday night was a blast with signings from Roberto Fonseca, Gregory Porter, and Snarky Puppy, and today (Saturday) has been epic indeed as we got to sit down for signing with The California Honeydrops, baritone sax player Claire Daly, and Big Sam's Funky NationLater tonight, we'll welcome The Relatives and Ravi Coltrane!

Digging deep into the roots of American music, The California Honeydrops embrace the traditions of blues, gospel, Second line New Orleans jazz, and early R&B. Plus, they're a hilarious bunch. We captured some of the fun on video:

 


When we caught up with Claire Daly and North Coast Brewing's Doug Moody, we discussed Baritone Monk, which was released by North Coast Brewing in October of 2012.
 

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