Our Scene // Your Scene

Hello! Before we get to the good stuff, we’d like to take an opportunity to say one thing about the state of things here in Columbus: the musicians in our community, at least in part make a living from the music they play. As our city begins to cancel large-scale events of all varieties, we’d like you to be aware of all of the communities affected by the shut-downs. Not only do musicians lose out on potential money-making opportunities, but the trickle down from those events being cancelled affects everyone in the service industry as well.

We don’t say this to cause fear, but to instill a sense of duty for all of us. Stay safe, do what you have to do to make sure you’re healthy. And when it feels right, show some extra support for the arts communities in our city.

One more once:
If you are a musician (tell us about your life!), writer (write something!), reviewer (go to a show and tell us about it), graphic designer (you’ve seen what we have going on…), social media expert (jazz musicians are the worst at this!), web developer (we are also not good at this), artist (let’s collaborate on a show!), or listener (thank you! tell us what you like – or what you don’t!) who’s interested in helping us grow this site and our community, check out THIS post and think about what you might want to share! Our scene IS your scene.

COMING UP: Phil talks about Bennie Maupin // A spinning tribute to McCoy Tyner // Fritz on Bobby Floyd and Gene Walker // Tony Hagood and his MAC seiers

As Phil Sees It // Phil Maneri

Sometimes a person’s presence on the bandstand is far more significant that what they actually play. Vibe, intention, dedication, light heartedness, practical joker, detail hound, any number of personality attributes can be crucial to an ensembles success, and often supersedes apparent musical contributions.

Bennie Maupin comes to mind. Not a name you hear very much but if you look at the history of jazz in the last 50 years he’s in some very prominent places with his bass clarinet spreading vibe and good energy. He was omnipresent on the Miles Davis Bitches Brew record and the first four Miles discs of the 1070’s. On bass clarinet. Just vibing in the background. Without him the records wouldn’t sound right. He’s not bringing heavy chops or harmonic complexity or any other serious musical life changing thing but his vibe is unmistakable. 

Listen for his vibe in the Headhunters and Herbie Hancock’s records all through the ‘70s and into the ‘80s. He’s everywhere on them, but never a featured guy. The important point is that he’s always there. He’s got a chair on the gig and Herbie took him everywhere. Cuz vibe. Eddie Henderson, Lee Morgan, Lonnie Smith, McCoy Tyner, Jack DeJohnette; they all hired this dude to play whatever he wanted cuz they needed that energy on the gig. He even had a chair on the infamous Marion Brown’s “After the Faun” on ECM in 1970, one of the very first titles on that label. 

Listen to “Jewel in the Lotus” ECM from 1974 his first solo record. It’s the only ECM title with Herbie Hancock on it. Maupin and Hancock were deep into headhunters then although on a break between tours. They recorded it down the street from Carnegie Hall around the same time as Miles was Tracking “Dark Magus” there. It’s a very spiritual improv record that stands up to repeated listenings. You can see very clearly from that, what Herbie and Miles found so compelling about Maupin. 

Don’t misunderstand me, Maupin can seriously play, but he didn’t spend much time shredding like Coltrane or Bird. He brought the right combination of musicality and psychic energy to the gig. He was more likely to bring candles and incense than a metronome. That’s a potent combo and in the end far more crucial to the music than having practiced your scales. 

But still practice your scales kids….

Jazz at the MAC //
Tony Hagood

Recently, Tony was asked by the MAC to share his inspiration for the series, his own performance, and the programming.

“I’ve always truly enjoyed music and it has always been a large part of my life. Whether that was in elementary school discovering the piano and excelling in lessons, middle school composing and having my compositions played before the morning announcements, or high school when I took at least 4 classes of music, sometimes more, for all 4 years I was there and had to take some summer classes to get all my regular education requirements in. 

Part of the answer to your question is I love music and truly feel at my best when I’m sharing it with others. Another part of the answer is I want to continue to improve, learn, and grow in the music I present and learn. The pursuit of expression through music is a lifelong goal. 

Almost 10 years ago, my teacher and role model at Capital University, Mark Flugge, always pushed himself to learn about artists he hadn’t studied yet, styles he wasn’t as familiar with, techniques he hadn’t used as much before. His pursuit of knowledge led him to be one of the most respected pianists in town. I don’t think he did those things for respect or reverence though. I think he did them because he believed in music and he believed that if he was putting forth effort to learn and grow, everything else would fall into place. This is something he said to me many times and has stuck with me throughout the years since his passing. I too push myself to program music I want to learn from and about that is often technically difficult in order to get better and grow. 

Our last concert, Jazz Today, was a great example of that. Our next concert A Tribute to the Great Jazz Scat Singers is an example of delving deeper into some of these artists repertoire in order to discover their idiosyncrasies and more about their lives. By the end of this season, we will have performed 6 concerts, each of which take me 70-120 hours to put together. I am learning so much and already feel like a much more experienced musician than when I started our third series in September. I look forward to continuing to grow and share my music with the Tony Hagood Presents audiences.”

CHECK OUT Tony’s upcoming performances, in particular this Friday, March 13 at the McConnell Arts Center // 7:30PM ($25 advance, $28 door)
Jazz at the MAC

What’re You Spinning // Alex Burgoyne & Zakk Jones

Alex: In our preparation for today’s post, Zakk and I decided to listen to these albums in tribute to the late, great, McCoy Tyner. He was a big part of each of our listening in college, and an unforgettable presence in the music of John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, among others. 

Zakk: Absolutely. One thing that I love about McCoy is that even with his singular sound and concept, he can be incredibly versatile and chameleon-like. For instance, his playing on the John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman album is so beautiful, and often understated, you could hardly believe it’s the same player on The Real McCoy, or A Love Supreme.

Alex: Yes! He can mask his “signature” sound by playing really close voicings in the middle of the piano for a whole tune. And the next tune you might hear those big, wide voicings spread across 4 octaves. It’s amazing.

Zakk: For sure. He was a completely consummate musician, always serving the music, while still being entirely himself.

Coltrane’s Sound // The Night Has A Thousand Eyes // 1964
The Real McCoy // Passion Dance // 1967
Jazz Roots // Summertime // 2000

ALSO, here is a conversation with NPR’s Terry Gross and Kevin Whitehead on Tyner’s life and music.

Vintage Record Reviews // Fritz the Nite Owl on Gene Walker & Bobby Floyd

originally published in the Short North Gazette // October 2007

Gene Walker: Friends (Xtra Large Records)

The CD title says it all: the Wailin’ Walker and his sensational sax, accompanied by many of his musical friends, in a program paying homage to another friend, the late-great Etta Jones.

For this swingin’ set, Walker used the finest rhythm sections from Columbus and Cincinnati, along with special guests, guitarist Wilbert Longmire and vocalists Jeanette Williams-Brewer, Gloria Cole-man, Bill Caffie, and one of my long-time favorites, Everette Greene, a singer out of the Mr. B School of Jazz Singing, a vocalist who makes most other male singers sound like sopranos.

Among the many outstanding performances are “Mike Coleman’s Blues,” a tribute to “Hiz Honor,” the first African-American Mayor of Columbus; the easy-swingin’ “One For Naldo” dedicated to Naldo Monaco who keeps the Walker-Sax in superb playing condition; “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” featuring superbly sensual vocalizing by Jeanette Williams-Brewer; and “Don’t Go To Strangers” rendered romantically by Everette Green.

Bobby Floyd: Notes To and From My Friends (Chicken Coup Records: CCP-7008)

As Jon Hendricks often said, “You want to know the roots of jazz? Go to church!” And it was in church, where his Mother played, that the young 5-or-6-year-old Bobby Floyd started his musical career. And that soulful, bluesy, rocking, rejoicing church-feel, subliminally and/or overtly, is heard in all of these selections, which either honor or feature his many friends, mentors, and B-3 idols.Bobby opens with a rompin’, stompin’ good-time sound on his original, “Get On Board,” backed by his basic sidemen, drummer Reggie Jackson and guitarist Derek DiCenzo.

This good groove continues throughout, with a testifying, churchy rendition of Hank Marr’s “Your Basic Gospel Song,” amplified by the sanctimonious sax of “friend-guest” Bryan Oleshki, followed by the incomparable Jeanette Williams-Brewer who gives a surprising, up-tempo, bossa-version of “The Nearness Of You.” Quite a departure from the way the song is usually sung, but it works!‘

Add another Floyd-friend, Gene Walker and his big-toned, sensual sax for a bloozy, easy-strollin’ rendition of Don Patterson’s “Hip Cake Walk,” and you’re hearin’ one of the best tracks on the set.

If swingin’, timeless, feel-good jazz lights your fires, gets your fingers snappin’, and toes tappin’, this is the CD for you.

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