It’s that time of the year again: Twin Cities Jazz Festival starts the summer

Roy Haynes playing on the Late Show with David Letterman on June 8 Photo courtesy of Drummerworld.com

Recently Roy Haynes appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, and all the jazz world was abuzz. He’s pushing 90, but watching him deliver a spell-binding solo on June 8, you wouldn’t know it. Indeed, it was a moment to savor. And he didn’t miss a beat. Hopefully you tuned in, but if not there’s always YouTube.com.

Thinking of Roy Haynes takes me back to Joshua Redman’s outstanding interview with him in the August 2004 issue of DownBeat. He had just entered the Hall of Fame and won Drummer of the Year. He said, “I try to save everything for the bandstand… When I’m on the bandstand, that’s my religion, and I try to give it all I can. I have no beats to waste…” Wow.

Free jazz festivals and backstage riders
It’s summertime, which means free summer jazz festivals. As I’ve been getting a number of emails about various summer festivals happening around the country, I started to wonder, hmmm…what’s on Roy Haynes’ artist rider? And I mean beyond setup requests and requirements. He’s a big jazz star, right? What does Roy want stocked? I’m curious. Maybe I will ask him one day.

I mean, you hear so many stories about pop stars and their outrageous demands (white candles and white flowers, select sodas, etc…) it got me thinking about jazz stars, their riders, and specifically their dressing room requirements. Some of the riders I’ve seen seem very straight forward and basic.

Yet, I tell you what, I know one thing that should be a given. And there’s just no eloquent way to put it — artists, be aware: Make certain there’s a bathroom nearby, if not in your dressing room, that ought to have ventilation, especially because it’s summertime.

I’ve read riders that specifically read, “Dressing Rooms shall be: clean, well-equipped and have a private bathroom…” You’d think nowadays this is a given, standard practice; yet, it is not. I am a witness. All artists, not just top-flight artists, deserve better. Asking for top-shelf champagne is one thing. Having direct access to a bathroom is quite another. Catering, as in food? Now that’s another story.

The 13th Annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place on June 23-25, downtown St. Paul (Mears Park). For more information and a full schedule, visit www.twincitiesjazzfestival.com. Highlights include an appearance by vibraphonist Gary Burton, who debuted his new quartet on Mack Avenue Records with the recording Common Ground featuring Julian Lage, Scott Colley, and Antonio Sanchez.

Burton’s label release highlights: “Common Ground ends with the quartet’s sublime rendition of Jarrett’s ‘In Your Quiet Place,’ a tune that the pianist wrote for the vibraphonist back in 1970 when they first met and played together. Back then, they recorded an album of Jarrett compositions, titled simply Gary Burton & Keith Jarrett. Burton says, ‘I’ve played this ballad as a solo in concerts over the years, which has worked well, but this new version is the first time it’s been played in a band format since 1970.’”

The release also notes that while Burton has crossed multiple stylistic borders since he broke into the jazz ranks in the 1960s, he finds that he often returns to the straight-ahead jazz quartet setting. That’s why Common Ground is so special to him.

Minnesota’s first family of jazz, the Petersons, are featured prior to Burton’s new quartet on June 24. Danilo Pérez is also a featured guest artist at the festival on June 25, which is exciting. He also plays with bassist John Patitucci later that day.

Providencia is the Panamanian pianist’s 2010 CD and debut on Mack Avenue Records. “This record is based on the idea that whatever we do has an impact on the universe,” Perez says. “The word ’Providence’ for me means standing up for the future of the next generation of children.” Both Perez and Patitucci are longtime members of the Wayne Shorter Quartet.

New book on rhythm and race
From time to time, I receive new updates on bestselling music books from the University of California Press. Here’s one.

Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas by Martin Munro: “Long a taboo subject among critics, rhythm finally takes center stage in this book’s dazzling, wide-ranging examination of diverse Black cultures across the New World. Martin Munro’s groundbreaking work traces the central — and contested — role of music in shaping identities, politics, social history, and artistic expression.”

Trane’s home endangered
Imagine my dismay when I read the headline via email on June 15, “Coltrane’s Final Home Is Put on List of Endangered Historic Sites.” Say it ain’t so.

According to both an email from a publicist and then the National Trust for Historic Preservation, John Coltrane’s home in Dix Hills, NY is now listed among its 2011 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

This annual list highlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. Members of the public can show their support for saving the endangered places by texting “PLACES” to 25383 to donate $10, which will go towards saving historic places through National Trust outreach programs.

“Although John Coltrane did not set out to write A Love Supreme as a message about civil rights, this seminal work transcended racial barriers and became a symbol of unity at a time when the nation remained greatly divided over the issue of race,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We have a responsibility to protect the home and studio of a true American musical giant.”

The National Trust goes on to say, “John Coltrane, at the forefront of the free jazz movement, was a prolific composer and performer. Since its release, A Love Supreme has never been out of print and has sold more than one million copies. Members of the public are invited to learn more about what they can do to support this and hundreds of other endangered sites, experience first-hand accounts of these places, and share stories and photos of their own at www.PreservationNation.org/Places. Local preservation groups across the nation submitted nominations for this year’s list.”

New music from Goldberg & Klein
On June 14, pianist Aaron Goldberg and composer/arranger Guillermo Klein released Bienestan on Sunnyside Records, featuring Matt Penman, Eric Harland, Miguel Zenón, and Chris Cheek.
“It’s all Guillermo’s music and arrangements, and that was the idea,” says Goldberg. “We were conceiving of it almost in a Gil Evans-Miles kind of way, where I was the featured soloist and he was thinking of me when he wrote the stuff. I didn’t contribute anything compositionally — I wanted to do something that would put me in Guillermo’s universe, so to speak.”

Goldberg’s musical relationship with the Argentine pianist-composer-arranger began in the early 1990s. “I’ve known Guillermo since I was about 18. I went to the New York School for a year in 1991-92 and then came back to Boston to attend Harvard. I met Guillermo shortly after that.”

Around that time, Goldberg was in demand on the New York scene, touring with Joshua Redman’s band among others as well as leading his own trio. He and Guillermo Klein stayed in touch, and Goldberg recalls hearing him whenever he could. “And of course, I had all his records and vice-versa. We were friends so he was in my consciousness, so to speak, even when we weren’t really playing together,” Goldberg said.

As the project evolved, the rest of the musicians came on board, saxophonists Zenón and Cheek having played on various Klein projects and Harland having been a longstanding member of Goldberg’s trio. Bassist Penman was also a friend of Goldberg’s going back to their Berklee/Harvard days together, and Penman had shared the bandstand with Harland as members of the SF Jazz Collective.

An award for the Minnesota Orchestra
In other news, this just in: The Minnesota Orchestra is one of 26 American orchestras honored with a 2010-11 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, presented at the League of American Orchestras Annual Meeting at its 66th National Conference in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Orchestra was selected for the Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming, given to only one orchestra annually, recognizing its youth-oriented concerts during the 2010-11 season that included music by such contemporary composers as Kenji Bunch, Daniel Dorff, Steve Heitzeg, Arturo Márquez, Dean Sorenson and Janika Vandervelde.
Also earning recognition was the 10th annual Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, a weeklong professional training program for young composers culminating in a public concert of their orchestral works. The Minnesota Orchestra is the only ensemble ever to win the Bernstein Award four times; it received the prize in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The league and ASCAP present the awards each year to orchestras of all sizes for programs that challenge the audience, build the repertoire and increase interest in music of our time. More than a million dollars have been bestowed on orchestras since the awards were established in 1947.

Doc Severinsen and his Big Band with vocals by Vanessa Thomas perform the music of Count Basie and Duke Ellington at Orchestra Hall on Friday, June 24 at 8 pm.


Robin James welcomes reader responses to jamesonjazz@spokesman-recorder.com.