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  • Dr. Sonny Rollins - Honorary Degree from Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz, University of Hartford

    1,774 views 1 month ago
    May 17, 2015, Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford awards Sonny Rollins an Honorary Doctorate. Jazz luminary Sonny Rollins (whose full name is Walter Theodore Rollins) grew up in Harlem and was inspired by the songwriter and bandleader Louis Jordan to play the alto saxophone. At age 16, he picked up the tenor saxophone, trying to emulate his idol, Coleman Hawkins, and by age 20, he was working and recording with Babs Gonzales, J. J. Johnson, Bud Powell, and Miles Davis.

    In 1955, Rollins joined the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet, and during that time, earned the nickname Newk after a cabdriver mistook him for Brooklyn Dodgers ace pitcher Don Newcombe. The following year, he began his first series of recordings, Valse Hot, St. Thomas, and Blue 7. Dissatisfied with the music business, Rollins took a sabbatical in 1966 and traveled in Japan and India, spending time in a monastery and learning about Eastern religions. He re-emerged in the early 1970s with the encouragement of his wife, Lucille, and signed with Milestone to release Next Album. He went on to produce two dozen albums with Milestone, including recordings with Tommy Flanagan, Jack DeJohnette, Stanley Clarke, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter (Juilliard Jazz faculty since 2008).

    Rollins won his first performance Grammy for This Is What I Do, in 2000, and his second for Without a Song (the 9/11 Concert), in 2004. Also that year, he received a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and in 2006 was inducted into the Academy of Achievement. In 2009, he received the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, and the following year he was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and became the first jazz composer to be named an Edward MacDowell medalist. In 2011, President Barack Obama presented Rollins with a National Medal of Arts. Show less
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  • Sonny Rollins Speaks Play

    Bret Primack has been documenting Sonny Rollins on Video since 2006.
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  • Dave Frank - Teacher / Pianist Play

    http://www.davefrankjazz.com Dave Frank is one of the busiest solo jazz pianists and music educators on the scene today and so it comes as no surprise that he believes "Jazz Improvisation Can Be Taught. He is the author of the best-selling Hal Leonard book and video series, Joy of Improv and Breakthrough to Improv, was an Associate Professor of piano at Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1987-2004, and was a co-founder of the New York School of Jazz (1983-86). In 2004 Dave moved to New York City to direct the Dave Frank School of Jazz in midtown Manhattan. The DFSOJ offers private instruction for aspiring musicians at all levels, as well as frequent concerts/workshops for the general public
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  • Honoring John Coltrane Play

    He left us much much too soon.
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  • Bob Belden in Iran Play

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  • Happy 90th Birthday Roy Haynes Play

    Happy 90th birthday to Roy Haynes. When Roy toured with Sarah Vaughan, about the time that he turned 30, the Divine One regularly introduced the drummer as “Little Roy Haynes.” Yet even by then he had long established himself as one of the giants of the music, having won his wings in the bands of Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Bud Powell, Stan Getz and virtually every leading figure in modern jazz.
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  • Ray Charles, Genius Play

    Ray Charles, Genius, is a video podcast series produced by Bret Primack for Concord Records.

    A comprehensive examination of the musical life of Ray Charles, each episode is devoted to a specific recording or critical aspect of his music, focusing on his influences, recording techniques, live appearances, small group and big band, and the Raeletts.

    The series coincides with Concords digital release of 28 Ray Charles recordings, as well as the CD reissue of several Charles' classics, including A Message From the People, a Deluxe 50th Anniversary Expanded Edition of Genius + Soul = Jazz, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vols. 1&2, and Genius Hits the Road.
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  • Hal Galper's Piano Master Classes Play

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  • Orrin Keepnews, Producer Play

    Orrin Keepnews, a four-time Grammy Award winner, was a jazz journalist, essayist and writer of album notes as well as the producer of enduring albums by the likes of the tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins and the pianists Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. His attention to detail and sensitive hand as a producer earned him the respect of musicians almost as soon as he started Riverside Records with Bill Grauer, a record collector and former classmate at Columbia University, in 1953. As a tribute, Evans wrote “Re: Person I Knew,” a composition whose title is an anagram of Mr. Keepnews’s name.

    Mr. Keepnews began his professional jazz life as a journalist. In his mid-20s, while working as a junior editor at Simon & Schuster, he moonlighted as the managing editor of The Record Changer, a small but reputable jazz magazine. It was in that capacity that Mr. Keepnews, in 1948, wrote one of the first profiles of Monk, the influential pianist and composer, who at the time was relatively unknown. Riverside Records, established by Mr. Grauer and Mr. Keepnews five years later, was initially a shoestring operation driven more by ambition and enthusiasm than by any proper business savvy.

    The company — its name was derived from the telephone exchange of its Manhattan office — started out with a series of reissues, using material licensed from RCA Victor and Paramount. Because the original masters for most Paramount recordings proved impossible to locate, some of Riverside’s early output was mastered to magnetic tape from 78 r.p.m. discs borrowed from the collection of the record producer John Hammond. Riverside branched out into contemporary recordings in 1954 with the signing of Randy Weston, a pianist from Brooklyn whom Mr. Grauer had heard at the Music Inn, a summer resort in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. The next year the label signed Monk.

    Mr. Keepnews liked to say that his job as a producer was that of a facilitator — he often used the word “catalyst” — rather than someone who actively shapes the musical result. One notable exception was Monk’s composition “Brilliant Corners,” recorded in 1956. The piece, with its melodic angularity and unusual structure, proved tricky enough that even after numerous takes, the musicians — heavyweights like Mr. Rollins and the drummer Max Roach — hadn’t managed a complete version. Mr. Keepnews ended up splicing together a take. It would stand as his most hands-on producing effort.

    Through the 1950s and into the ’60s Riverside released dozens of albums that Mr. Keepnews produced, including “The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery,” “Everybody Digs Bill Evans” and Mr. Rollins’s “Freedom Suite,” as well as a string of well-regarded releases by the alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and three of the earliest albums by the singer Abbey Lincoln. Still, the label had years of financial difficulty and went bankrupt not long after Mr. Grauer died of a heart attack in 1963.

    Mr. Keepnews started a new label, Milestone Records, in 1966, in partnership with the pianist Dick Katz. Its roster featured some former Riverside artists, as well as others, like the tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson and the pianist McCoy Tyner, who came from Blue Note. In 1972 Milestone was sold to Fantasy Records, which had also acquired the rights to the Riverside catalog. Mr. Keepnews moved to San Francisco to oversee Fantasy’s reissue department, which involved many of his old titles. He later started another label, Landmark Records, perhaps best known for a pair of early albums by the Kronos Quartet: “Monk Suite: Kronos Quartet Plays Music of Thelonious Monk” and “Music of Bill Evans.”

    But he never lost his connection to his old material. In 2007 the Concord Music Group, which had acquired Fantasy, introduced a “Keepnews Collection” reissue series, with his active involvement. In 2004 he received a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and in 2011 he was recognized as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Orrin Keepnews was born in the Bronx on March 2, 1923, the only child of Louis Keepnews, a social worker, and the former Naomi Perlman, a schoolteacher. He grew up in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan. He fell in love with jazz as a teenager, becoming a regular at clubs like the Hickory House on 52nd Street. After graduating with a degree in English from Columbia in 1943, he served in the Army Air Forces, flying bombing raids over Japan in World War II.
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  • Bret Lives! Play

    A guide to all things Bret
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  • Highlights from The Hang Play

    The Hang is a YouTube talk show that utilizes Google Hangout. Broadcast live, with viewer participation, and then available on demand, the Hang, hosted by Bret Primack, features Group Discussions, One on One interviews, and Master Classes.
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