Download Hot House Pdf Here:  September Hot House Jazz Guide


"After the Call" episode 5
Guests: Rodney Green and Nicole Glover
Rodney plays Mezzrow July 13-14 and Nicole plays Smalls Jazz Club July 14 and Fat Cat July 26.
Featured artists on Ringtones for Jones’ Phones: Kenneka Cook, Freelance, Renee Rosnes 

Jimmy Cobb

Cannonball Remembered By George Kanzler

Jimmy CobbDrummer Jimmy Cobb first met Julian “Cannonball” Adderley when Jimmy was touring with Dinah Washington in Ft. Lauderdale. Cannonball came to the hotel where Dinah was staying and asked Jimmy questions about New York City. A couple years later, in the summer of 1955, the Adderley Brothers, Julian and Nat, came to New York with their band. According to Jimmy, Cannonball said that since Bird had passed away maybe he had a chance.

Cannonball showed up one night at Café Bohemia on Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village where bassist Oscar Pettiford was leading the band. Oscar’s saxophonist was late, and this large young man was invited up to the stage with his alto saxophone to sit in. The band kicked off “I’ll Remember April” at a galloping clip and Cannonball rose to the challenge. By the next day the jazz grapevine in the Big Apple was bristling with talk of the “reincarnation of Bird.”

The Adderley Brothers Band played some gigs around the city that summer, but Cannonball had to return to his teaching job in Florida in September. But in January 1956, the band returned to New York and their new manager, John Levy, convinced Cannonball to hire replacements for his Florida rhythm section. Cannonball remembered Jimmy and asked him to be the band’s drummer.

“He was a real sweetheart,” Jimmy says of Cannonball, “a smart, intelligent guy who could play.” Miles Davis seemed to think so too; in the fall of 1957, after the Adderley Brothers had disbanded, Miles hired Cannonball and Jimmy for his band. In 1959 they recorded what is now a classic and the best-selling jazz album of all time: Kind of Blue with the Miles Davis Sextet. Jimmy is the only living member of that recording band.

Cannonball died after a stroke in 1975, but Jimmy joined cornetist Nat Adderley in his band in the 1980s and early 1990s, playing a repertoire that drew heavily from Cannonball’s book.  Nat died in 2000.

This spring alto saxophonist Jim Snidero and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt released an album, Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley (Savant), reprising the sound and music of the Adderley Brothers Band. Although Jimmy is not on that album, Jim says he wanted the drummer for a special celebration of Cannonball’s 90th Anniversary taking place Sept. 16 at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

“We played with Jimmy last year and wanted to get him for this gig, which will be a more comprehensive program of Cannonball’s music than the album, including some of the classic tunes Jimmy recorded with the Adderleys.”

Cannonball has a very important place in Jim’s musical life. Like Cannonball he is an alto sax player who doesn’t play any tenor sax. “I was too young to see Cannonball live,” Jim says. He was 17 when Cannonball died. “I studied with Phil Woods as a teen. Phil lit the fire for me as an alto player, but Cannonball and Sonny Stitt illuminated the way. Cannonball brought a unique, singing quality to the alto sax and his definite joy and exuberance were refreshing; yet at the same time he had so much command of the horn and there was depth to his message.”

Jimmy, whose 90th anniversary is coming up next year, continues to remain an active presence in jazz. After leaving Miles in 1962, he was part of the rhythm section from that band that became the Wynton Kelly Trio with bassist Paul Chambers. From 1970 to 1978 he accompanied Sarah Vaughan, and since then he has worked with a veritable Who’s Who of jazz luminaries. He also leads his own quartet, Cobb’s Mob, which has recorded for the Smoke Sessions label.

Celebrating Cannonball’s 90th at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola on Sept. 16 features drummer Jimmy Cobb with Jim Snidero, alto sax; Jeremy Pelt, trumpet; Peter Zak, piano, and Nat Reeves, bass. Jim, Jeremy and Nat present Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley with pianist Mike LeDonne and drummer Joe Farnsworth at the Side Door Sept. 22.

Photo Credit: Rafa Rivas

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Steve Turre

Another Reason To Celebrate By Elzy Kolb

The deep end

Steve TurreSingers were very much on trombonist Steve Turre's mind as he conceived and recorded his new ballad-focused release, The Very Thought of You (Smoke Sessions). Though the album is strictly instrumental, he associates most of the material with vocalists such as Nancy Wilson and Carmen McRae. “When I heard them sing these songs, it made me want to play them,” he explains. “Their beauty touched me and made me want to explore them.”

Narrowing his song choices from a lifetime of appreciative listening was no simple matter. “The trombone has a certain sound, timbre, color. There are tunes that really move me that sound good on saxophone, trumpet, certain other instruments, but may not sound good on trombone,” he muses.

Steve points out that while some trombone players such as Tommy Dorsey were acclaimed for playing in high registers, “That’s not me. When I hear ballads, I think of Frank Sinatra, Billy Eckstein, Johnny Hartman. I don’t hear it upstairs, that’s not my voice!”

Familiarity with the lyrics and the stories the songs convey also figured in Steve’s interpretation. “I got to work with Dexter Gordon; he was a great ballad player and he always knew all the words and there’s a connection. I’m not going to say I know all the words, but I do know the meaning. I thought of that as I was playing.”

Steve describes the new album as “grown-up music.” He didn’t set out to reimagine the classics. “I just wanted to play a melody and make it pretty versus exercising, doing calisthenics on them. If you’re being yourself, it’s going to be unique. Being yourself reveals your weaknesses and strengths. Playing simple makes it mean something. That’s not easy.”

After one rehearsal, the trombonist spent seven hours in the studio with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Buster Williams, drummer Willie Jones III, saxophonist George Coleman, guitarist Russell Malone and a string section arranged and conducted by Marty Sheller. “

“That band was a Rolls-Royce, especially for the ballads,” Steve declares. “They create beautiful sounds and leave plenty of space. They’re not compelled to fill up every space all the time—they let it breathe. I’m my own worst critic, but I like to listen to this record to hear what everyone else did.”

Join Steve along with bassist Buster Williams, drummer Willie Jones III, saxophonist Ron Blake and pianist Isaiah Thompson at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club Sept 21-23 for a dual celebration. Not only does the gig mark the release of The Very Thought of You, it’s also in honor of the veteran trombonist’s 70th birthday, a milestone he’ll reach on Sept. 12.

“In my mind I feel like one of the young guys,” Steve notes with a laugh. “I get excited about life and go, go, go. Then once in a while my body says, slow down!”

Besides focusing on ballads from The Very Thought of You, Steve’s sojourn at Smoke is likely to include some material from his 2016 release, Colors for the Masters, along with earlier tunes that he plays on sea shells.

“I like to mix things up. I always gotta throw something new at the audience as well as mix in something familiar. I like to keep things fresh and exciting, each time I want it to be an event, not just a gig.”

Photo Credit:  Jimmy Katz

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Verve Jazz Ensemble

Winning Spins By George Kanzler

Verve Jazz EnsembleAn ensemble in jazz can be any size group, from a duo or trio through an orchestra with a full complement of horns and strings. This Winning Spins encompasses two very different ensembles, one a big band, the other a flexible small ensemble ranging from trio up to septet. However, both the Miggy Augmented Orchestra and the various iterations of The Verve Jazz Ensemble rely heavily on structures: compositions and arrangements. The Miggy big band also relies on the remarkable pool of jazz talent residing in the NYC metro area to fill its ranks, while the Verve groups draw on a small group of musicians based in Connecticut.

Connect the Dots, The Verve Jazz Ensemble (, doesn’t attempt to break new jazz frontiers like Miggy. They not only connect the dots but also stay firmly between the lines of modern mainstream jazz. The program here is split between smart, inventive explorations of jazz standards, often combo renditions of big band recordings, and originals from group members.

Verve’s core members are co-leaders drummer Josh Feldstein and trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt, plus tenor saxophonist Jon Blanck, pianist Steve Einerson and bassist Elias Bailey. Also on board on some tracks are alto saxophonist-flutist Alexa Tarantino and trombonist Willie Applewhite.

Alexa’s flute makes up the fifth instrument in the opening take of Lalo Schifrin’s “Bistro,” the quintet mimicking the instrumentation of the Dizzy Gillespie band that originally recorded the piece. It’s a crisp, tight rendition indicative of the keen musicianship and sharp group cohesion of the various Verve Ensembles, from trio to septet, heard here.

Other inventive reworkings of jazz standards comprise a gorgeously laid-back septet version of Lee Morgan’s Afro-Latin “Ceora,” Tatum and Alexa (flute) sharing the leads; the two again front and center on a fetching quintet take of Benny Golson’s winsome “Little Karin;” a septet reduction of Gerry Mulligan’s cool bop for the Gene Krupa big band “Disc Jockey Jump,” and a soul jazz version of Stan Kenton’s “Intermission Riff” from the full septet.

Standards include a swinging “My Shining Hour” from the original quintet, trio versions of “Tangerine” and “Love for Sale,” and “Autumn Left,” a clever contrafact of “Autumn Leaves” by the original quintet. And don’t miss the sly harmonic winks in Tatum’s chart of the title original for the septet.

The Verve Jazz Ensemble has a CD release show for Connect the Dots at Club Bonafide on Sept. 29.

Photo Credit:  Gulnara Khamatov

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Miggy Augmented Orchestra

Winning Spins By George Kanzler

Migiwa Miggy MiyajimaAn ensemble in jazz can be any size group, from a duo or trio through an orchestra with a full complement of horns and strings. This Winning Spins encompasses two very different ensembles, one a big band, the other a flexible small ensemble ranging from trio up to septet. However, both the Miggy Augmented Orchestra and the various iterations of The Verve Jazz Ensemble rely heavily on structures: compositions and arrangements. The Miggy big band also relies on the remarkable pool of jazz talent residing in the NYC metro area to fill its ranks, while the Verve groups draw on a small group of musicians based in Connecticut.

Colorful, Miggy Augmented Orchestra (artistShare), features the composing and arranging of Migiwa “Miggy” Miyajima, who founded the band last year. Miggy has also worked with the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and serves as conductor of The Slide Hampton Big Band. The compositions here are expansive and formally intricate, presenting a suite-like program of nine tracks from the opener, “Ready” to the closer, “An Ending.” “Ready” begins without a clear theme, as horns and reeds flutter and sputter over jangly rhythms with baritone sax rising above in a frenetic solo, echoed by interjections from other horns.

While Jeb Patton is the band’s pianist, Miggy takes over that chair on the title selection, opening with a probing, meditative solo leading to tootling ensemble passages ushering in alto and tenor sax solos culminating in a roundelay of brief solos descending from high trumpet to low baritone sax.

“Captain Miggy” is the latest addition to the repertoire of train songs, this one with an accelerating tempo under a theme carried by muted brass, giving way to a shuffling beat emphasized by electric guitar chords as alto and tenor saxes trade short solos, the other horns swirling around them.

Miggy explores a wide range of timbres and dynamics, and notably employs flute and clarinet in leading roles on the swirling, phantasmagoric “Find the White Line,” and the more contemplative “Hope for Hope,” where clarinet and trumpet share lead and solo honors over a constantly shifting ensemble panoply.

The band leader has a knack for pitting contrasting individual and ensemble voicings against each other. “Drops into the Sky” pits muted brass with jangly electric guitar, while “Hi Hat” consists of a series of encounters between drummer Jared Schonig’s hi-hat cymbals, and trumpet, bass trombone and pizzicato bass before he is engaged by the full ensemble in shouts and chord blasts punctuated by his acapella hi-hat.

“An Ending,” the other track with Miggy on piano, spotlights vocalist Tomoko Nagashima of the group Orange Pekoe, singing a repeated three word, and wordless, lyric over shifting ensemble cushions. This is a challenging CD that rewards repeated listenings.

Miggy Augmented Orchestra does a Colorful CD release performance at Birdland, Sept. 30.

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