The Music Industry

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The Music Industry  

PrologueI started out singing at an unusually early age; I could harmonize by ear and had a pleasant voice. My mom had me sing for company. She was a sort of stage-door mom to a certain degree. Not totally but “for your own good” type parent; I played ukulele and once auditioned at a kids program in Los Angeles at KTLA. I was about 12 & scared to death. Of course, my mom had been quite forceful in her review of my performance. I messed up! Didn’t have that killer instinct even then. High school I spent the last 2 years trying to get into a fine arts club; I told jokes, and sang “Indian Love Call” My accompanist Sandy, forgot the song was in 5 flats and played in key of C! After several more years of college, I recorded an Album: “Goodbye To Love” which went nowhere due to acrimony between the producer owner of Edison International Records, Wallach’s Music City & the jazz station; KNOB (many moons ago like 59-61); I went to NY & began a life of wedded bliss along with a singing partner; we traveled all over the world singing jazz standards in the manner of Jackie & Roy;  and LHR (Lambert-Hendricks-Ross). All this is spelled out in our memoir “IC2 ADVENTURES our stage name I=Ira C=Claudia and we are 2oo! So that’s my degree in the music business, as a participant & observer.  We are inundated with music in our lives from the time we 1st tune in the radio to todays MTV/BET, Internet, cell phones & portable cd/dvd players. Our lives are changed immeasurably by the types of music we hear from infancy to adulthood & beyond. The fact that Rock in any form, hip-hop & Soul permeated the airwaves of today is no mistake and is a well-calculated plan to enforce majority thinking. Then you dumb down the minorities and young majoritists to assimilate into a  cultural conservative world. We can debate the merits of these systems but we still come up with popular music is popular and that some music are more popular than others describes the dilemma. Jazz & classical music have been left out of the mix. Both too elitist, otherworldly, and just blain boring are some of the words used to describe the music. TV for example I think is beginning to dumb down the world while some reap huge bene’s from this dumbing down. They say it’s in schools buy it’s way more pervasive than that. The majority has decided that their way of life is threatened and that their leadership role (in Amer, in the Universe) IS dwindling and soon the majority will be the minority! Hate groups which are rarely discussed even have their own music agenda they are sending out to young people extolling the virtues of the white race, white superiority and rightful dominance of the world! It’s really scary. When minorities either knew their place, or were not in America yet, the maj needed a scapegoat; so they endorsed what I call Step & fetch it music. As the music critic Stanley Crouch notes, Whitey can always find a black guy to pimp for him. Tell stupid stories; act stupid only to be counseled by a white person. Music was no different. While jazz was trying to present an art form truly worthy of long life, other forms of enjoyment associated with music were made into parodies & and little substance to survive. Even R&B, which had a healthy life during the 50’s, was mired in payola, covers, & extreme life styles. The maj decided they needed something to quite the growing masses of dance challenged youth; enforce a majority thinking. Then you dumb down the minorities and young majorities to assimilate into a cultural conservative world. In some instances that has its merits based on some of the crap we are served that pass for movies; comedies are becoming increasingly gross with potty mouth & bathroom humor increasingly accepted.  Enough, already.We can debate the merits of these systems but we still come up with popular music is popular and that some music are more popular than others describes the dilemma. Jazz & classical music Seem to be left out the most! One of the original organizers of a prominent jazz magazine goes off on issues that are of no concern to jazz fans. Now he’s pontificating on the need for certain groups to weigh in & demand reform. However, he never mentions the extreme conditions of many African countries, only the despotic leaders of some African countries. I think he should spend his time as an advocate for jazz; not once in his other life do I hear him mention the music; surely someone that stepped in the music could just turn it on & off; I feel that’s the problem for most of the jazz writers; #1 they don’t know the history of the music as thoroughly as Wynton Marsalis; they make crazy comparisons between fringe jazz people & really serious jazz musicians. It’s a problem; plus most of the jazz magazines don’t have any minority columnists which presents a biased view shared by themselves & other journalists like them. Is Popular music Popular because it’s music or is it music because it’s popular!That statement is a mouthful. Let me explain: In the past all music was acceptable to the public mentality. Classical was for evenings out popular was like going out dancing jazz was for listening and figuring, late night dalliances, etc. Then along came the Aryan model, which seems to have consumed most Americans. Then the idea of exactly who IS top dog began to creep into the mix.  Country wasn’t represented; Gaelic & regional countries music was being left out. In other words, we were getting ready slowly and subtly by blacks, browns and the like who thru Jazz & r&b were taking over. Thus popular a music a music for the common man, a music that says ‘if you don’t know how to dance, that’s okay because you don’t kneed to know how to dance to have fun! The Beatles another fresh-faced foreign (white) group literally took over the music industry. The trend got giddier with metal, & garage bands. Now they are being outpaced by hip-hop & gangsta rap. Who knew? These are times where people enjoy prying into other people’s business especially if its show business to show how degenerate and out of touch they are. However, all the drugs taken by the ‘popular’ groups has shown that they’re just like jazz in the old days, and seem to be as self destructive as the older jazz players were. However, unlike jazz, those who were beat down with wild accusations of drug taking, disappeared; major groups with drug problems merely regrouped and limped back into the spotlight showing a great propensity for the majority and ruled once again. Even though, overall, the majority is not the overwhelming majority that they once were; the # of minorities on display rarely equates their numbers to the amount of population that they hold. In short 70/30 ratio is rarely met except in incarcerations and crime. This mainly is the fault of over-crowding and lack of opportunity in our society and the unwillingness of some to take responsibility for their actions. Hence Hip-hop which refuses to acknowledge the dumbing down of their culture, the refusal to admit their music is shit; and a stubbornness to learn to communicate using plain Americana English. One thing you can say that the jazz that does ‘cross over’ is a watered down, white version of the music that is continually promulgated by this elite group that relies solely on a European musical tradition further solidifying their stronghold on jazz in today’s world; I’ll make some comparisons as to popularity: Rosemary Clooney, Judy Collins vs Sara Vaughan, Betty Carter the later two would blow them out of the water; even ex-model, writer-singer Abby Lincoln has more heart. Judy Collins is a joke! Sheila Jordan is a white hope, etc. I’ve said too much? While I think popular music is a Hugh diversion, so are sports, and the Monday- morning quarterbacks, whose opinions and ratings must rival the conservative radio shows.  It’s a divine plan to keep America Divided.  Folk-like Madrigal songs sung by popular singers, of the day, although obscure to me, seem to permeate the dramas, comedies, etc of TV; not to mention the movies and live television (what there is of it)!Where is the Jazz Audience?  Jazz In Las Vegas; Sonny Rollins where is the Black Audience? Are Blacks giving away Jazz?Perhaps: Ebony Magazine, Leonard Feather and Sonny Rollins have written or been interviewed on this problem. We find other forms of music consuming most African-American’s time. With very little music history & almost no exposure to jazz, it’s no wonder that most young people favor other forms. Poor Las Vegas is so consumed with the thought of Elvis Presley & show business ‘has-beens’ they have no time for the music. Even though there is a jazz society here who get almost no support, a grant here & there but nothing sustaining like Philharmonic Orchestras, here in Vegas, and other parts of the states which includes Dance & Opera. In order to maintain a cultural awareness, our citizens must be made aware of all facets of music, and Art, etc. Dr. Kim at CSULA said a good musician should know something about all the art forms & then pass it on!   Music CapitolsNew York, Hollywood, London, & Austin, TexasNew York is well known to launch new acts of all kinds. If you have talent, a good disposition, like hard work & can take rejections, that’s the place to be. There used to be plenty of grunt work to free up time for auditions, study, school (if you’re smart), etc. It’s a 24 hour town but pretty scary to the unschooled. When I lived there in the 60’s it was swinging, the subways were unsafe the gays ruled Morningside park (outside) the gangs ruled the inside but we used to make fast walk trips through there but you could lose your health trying to keep up with all the jazz going on. Let alone try to arrive to a job on time after visiting a few clubs in Harlem till the wee hours just listening and absorbing the styles, etc.  We even had a piano in our flat & Neal Tate would come and work on our arrangements which were perfectly executed written out, etc. later musicians would not or could not read the notes but were familiar with the chords so we struck a bargain; it was our job to teach them the breaks, etc and that was hard.Hollywood is the quintessential location for movie hopefuls, some theatre and a few good clubs However, a buff body & beautiful face are essentials even if you only want to do records or write songs, the aforementioned items will work in your favor & get you noticed and invited to ‘in’ parties. La La land as it is fondly (I hope) called ahs become a Mecca; far changed from the slow, burg it was when I was growing up. You can make your way if you can forget the bullshit hype that’s everywhere (in show biz industry) and settle down. Money can be made there in a variety of ways. Some entertaining, some not.  Sorry, but you will need a car in serio. London is better now, if you immigrate from another European Union (EU) country; there are so many Brits here in Vegas, I’m sure by now the Brits are reciprocating even though listening to BBC I don’t hear any American voices; we stand out, our way of talking, like a sore thumb in Britain. It’s a big place but unlike LA, cabs abound and they aren’t too expensive.            Austin: The Music Capitol of the WorldThere it is in black and white! (Referring to the caption what it’s all about is 6th street in Austin. The last stop, before hitting the trail to the newest in college stay overs: South Padre island! After much ballyhooing and announcements via TV & radio, SPI has become well known as party hangout central. Austin is a college town with over 50 thousand students enrolled there. This breeds concerts, rock bands, some jazz & a whole lot of tradition is Texas. Austin builds itself as the Live Music Capitol of the World and for good reason, sixth street is the place to be For all kinds of music: blue Grass, Rock, Blues, Jazz (rarely on 6th St.) with acts JC Clark, Theatre “Sheer Madness” & the 2 gays who played English Matrons. Very popular street for tourists as well as the students. France Germany & SpainJazz is probably most well liked in France next would be Germany, then Spain. Spain tends to like jazz that’s not sung (at least not in English) but there are many fans of the singers; a concert for Betty Carter was sold out & we had a hard time getting a ticket. The critic Harraiz intercepted for us. It was a concert venue in a bank that often had exhibits sponsored by the City, I believe. Betty was unique, always, different; she unable to get a record contract; formed her own label and was very successful among the jazz lovers in the know.  The promoter, who’ll remain nameless wasn’t even aware, appraised that the bass drum had a hole in it. Spanish preparedness, once again. Often a little askew; good equipment bad handling, what ever! The group shrugged this off & received many an encore. Betty was warm direct but unsupportive when she asked the promoter if we were accompanying them for a late supper & he said no & she said oh and we went home.The 80’s in California, everyone became a member of a jazz society; there were many; Leonard Feather’s column in the LA Times was often good; often bad news for jazz but I read it faithfully every Wednesday, while I ate my lunch at a corner deli near the Broadway downtown; a stop on the People-mover’s  ‘blue line’. Spent the next year and a half traveling through Spain, a little bit of Europe and found out what was happening in Jazz. Here’s an overview.                                                            CLAUDIASJAZZ IN EUROPE: A GUIDE TO FESTIVALS & CLUBS FEBRUARY 1990             Many people are surprised (some aren't) when they find out that most major cities in Europe are just as expensive, noisy, and modern as any major city in the U.S.A. Maybe this hits home more now that the "Iron Curtain" has risen. Playing out a drama of the free-market system to some, capitalism to others, and the fact that the eastern Europeans wanted what they couldn't previously have.             The duo could attest to this after having played at a small but quaint club in Leipzig, then East Germany, with some dancers from Prague on the bill. The dancers were living in a less than modest rooming house, but were ever so content to be in "the town Leipzig,” as it was called by the townspeople. We can personally add our "we can dig it,” 'cause never a more dreary place (especially in winter, which it was when we were there) have we ever seen than Leipzig.             Attesting to the change in times, the difference between '65 and '90, Leipzig in '90 was the sight of a jazz festival featuring acts from the U.S. Now acts can go freely to the eastern European countries as well as to all of Germany. Jazz is quite popular, and always has been in Eastern Europe, but there was no jazz in East Berlin or Leipzig in 1965.             It was summer 1989, and armed with a Eurailpass, an American Express Card, and money to eat out, the duo ventured off again, this time to find out if jazz was alive and well, and if so, where? Street musicians were quite common in all the places that they visited. Some of these musicians were quite good, and made a nice amount of money. They saw street musicians in Paris, Barcelona (where they saw an excellent duo of a female guitarist and a male bassist who later that same night were appearing in one of Barcelona's small jazz spots), Madrid, and Lisbon.  Jazz both in clubs and concerts has a large following in Europe. Its music and artists are categorized, analyzed, and studied by all in Europe who come in contact with the music. Whether it is musician or listener. They all understand and know sometimes the history of the music and its stars. Singers Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan are idolized. When Sarah died in 1990, many singers presented tributes to her in their shows. Almost all news shows on television showed film clips of many of her performances as they described her career.             After landing in England, we faced a rail strike that left us two days to spend in London. It was the 4th of July and unusually hot! We were on our way to our first stop- York, to visit a musician friend of ours who lives there on a farm with his wife and their goats. They raise goats for cheese, which they also market. There is so much jazz throughout England that a complete list of activities is impossible here. That goes for clubs as well as festivals. Ronnie Scott, a musician himself, has maintained his club, Ronnie Scott's, in London for over 30 years, it is the oldest jazz club in London. Other clubs in London include, Pizza On the Park (at famed Hyde Park Corner), which has featured American jazz artists Blossom Dearie and Mose Allison, the Bass Clef, which has featured singer Sheila Jordan, the Pizza Express, which features live jazz on Saturdays, and the Rose & Crown, which has featured the Los Angeles jazz vocal duo the Cunninghams.             One of the biggest summer fests occurs at London's Royal Festival Hall. JVC and Capital Radio combine to present six days of nonstop jazz usually during the second week of July. England, as do most other countries in Europe, imports much of its headliner jazz talent, but also had loads of local talent. The local clubs specialize in a particular type of jazz, e.g., ragtime or New Orleans style. Singers may specialize in Billie Holiday's songs or vintage songs of World War II.  Entrance fees vary by club, so a call or purchase of a ticket in advance to the prospective club is advisable.  From October to May, "Jazz at the Queen's Hotel" (City Square, Leeds, England) is a big happening. The fest bills itself as presenting/hosting "the very best of British Jazz,” with old and new faces coming to Leeds.             The musician friend we were going to visit in York led a trio that played around Yorkshire and throughout the moors area. The moors are generally sprinkled with heather. A breathtaking sight. A drive through the English countryside, especially in the north of England, is a rare treat; however, beware, if driving that you'll be on the right side of the road. Their trains are comfortable, and you can see and observe the sights unencumbered.  Also, if you go around July, beware of Wimbledon fans coming and going from the tennis matches. UK'ers take this match very seriously.  You'll be in competition with them for hotels, etc. In London you can see "The Cotton,” which is an authentic reproduction of music made famous at the celebrated "Cotton Club" in New York’s Harlem of the 1930s. Soho, a section of London with clubs, shops, and theatres, features a Jazz Fest the last of September through the first week of October called the "Soho Jazz Festival.” It runs at over 50 venues. At least 90 bands and artists from over 12 countries around the world play at these venues giving at least 400 performances in just nine days. The Edinburgh International Jazz Fest is the last week of August. For your record collection needs there is Tower Records in Piccadilly Square, and Ray's Jazz Shop. The guys at Tower's Jazz center are very informed and helpful.             We noted more than 18 festivals happening from July through October. Wire magazine, and Jazz Express are but two of the magazines out of London dedicated to jazz. One fine newspaper doing a complete and efficient job of getting the jazz information on who and where to northern England fans is Jazz in Yorkshire/The North (and it's free!).             After a nice drive from York to Hull we took a boat to Rotterdam, and a bus from the Euro port into the city. Having been to Amsterdam before, we chose to hit Den Haag from Rotterdam where we'd never been. By this time it was time to start using the Eurailpass (again noted: not good for use in England), and we took a trip by train and trolley to Congress Hall for the North Sea Jazz Festival. As it turned out, we'd planned to visit ten countries at three days per country, but in reality it was five countries at three days per visit. Unfortunately most of the time is spent in getting there. But by train, it's charmingly tiring. You don't feel tired while traveling though. It's just too exciting!            The quaint city of Den Haag, the capitol of The Netherlands (Holland), presents many jazz festivals during summer and autumn. The biggest by far is the North Sea. For a three-day weekend, usually the second weekend in July from 2 PM to 2:00 AM, jazz is presented nonstop. Much care is taken to inform the festivalgoer where to see whom every half hour in a fascinating layout of venues in a flyer booklet. It's like a small city of activity with a hotel next door, housing, and, informing all the acts with written instructions and guidelines as to what to do and what is expected of them.  Programs for the three-day event are published in German, English, and Dutch. The hosts, college students, run around helping, assisting, explaining, etc., garbed in brightly colored tee shirts with "North Sea" on them (not the ones that are for sale) to let you know that help is there. Prices for the festival vary depending on who and how much you want to see, and they are not cheap! But they are comparable to a day at Disneyland or at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest.              Over 150 acts appear, including 15 headliners such as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Joe Williams, and Stan Getz. This festival is a must for the serious jazz aficionado at least one time in his life. Call a travel agent or pick up a copy of a jazz magazine. There are travel agents that specialize in jazz festival tours, and have much useful and helpful advice as well as being able to arrange transportation and hotel reservations. Or, you can just--go! As we did! Club wise, we saw the Thelonious club which had concert seating, the Harbour Jazz Club, which has a large dance floor and side booths, but not jazz all the time (near the Hilton Hotel), jazz cafe Dizzy, and Satchmo's (natch) where there's a picture, a statue, or a caricature of Satchmo. These curios are in almost every city, and they are used to sell music, music, and music. Not always jazz. Traveling can be a problem with too much luggage, so think small. You'll be glad you did. We shipped our excess baggage ahead to Madrid while we traveled. This time to France.            Paris has more clubs than can be imagined. Most are in the grand French tradition, as the Crazy Horse, and the Lido. But for jazz, a few intimate rooms exist, tucked away, hidden from the tourist. You must seek them out. For a glimpse of top French jazz stars and famous imports that'll cost you a few francs try jazz clubs Lionel Hampton, The New Morning, Utopia, Modern Jazz L'Eustache, and Le Petit Journal Montparnasse. Jazz festivals abound there, including Le Festival de Strasbourg in July, Jazz in Marciac for six days in August, and the Crest Jazz Vocal Fest, also in August, from the Drome Valley for five days. However, the grandest, most extravagant festival in all of Europe is held in Nice on the Cote d'Azur, the Gran Parade du Jazz July 12th to the 20th. It takes place in the gardens of Arenes on the Hill of Cimiez, which was the sight of the ancient capital of Nice. Over 300 performers give more than 231 concerts in 11 days. We found no jazz existing after the Gran Parade in Nice. Not even a hint that a festival of that magnitude ever happened; however, everyone told us about it in glowing terms. The setting must have been breathtaking. Sitting among Roman ruins, listening to jazz. Wow! What a thrill!             MONTE CARLO has no jazz rooms, but don't miss this enchantingly breathtaking city with its hotels, chalets, and boutiques in a hilly terrain floating along side the Mediterranean. Like Nice, it sports a gaming casino along with international acts appearing at the Monte Carlo Sporting Club such as Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and Charles Aznavour. Oscar Peterson was set to appear later in the summer. So bring your after five attire, and plenty of francs. But, a more elegant setting you'll never see. Leave your shorts and short-sleeved shirts in the hotel for daytime sightseeing. It's a very short train ride from Nice through the bathing beaches of the French Riviera, where many sun worshipers, men and women, can be observed in the nude.            LISBON, PORTUGAL should be on anyone's music/jazz agenda, for its food and wine, as well as the music, is superb. Fado (the Portuguese answer to the blues), which is sung in Portuguese, of course, is a very popular tourist item, and it may be hard to find Hidden in out-of-the-way untouristy spots like its cousin, Flamenco, but if time is a factor ask your portero (doorman) for a room that probably will include dinner and a show in the price. The shows vary but you'll get the feel of the pulse of this under-appreciated art form. There's a lot of sightseeing to be done in Portugal so there really isn't a lot of time. There are a couple of tiny jazz clubs and maybe a jazz festival in August in Sintra, located in the hills near Lisbon. Sintra is about 28 kilometers from Lisbon. The Hot Club in Lisbon is a smoked-filled basement. The seating is uncomfortable, but the music is generally good. Groups appear there from all over the world. Not all of them jazz. There's a garden out back, which we found out about only later, which helps when it becomes unbearably warm in the Hot Club.             Fifteen minutes by train from Lisbon is the famed scenic resort town of Estoril.  Lisbon and Estoril are quite popular with the Spanish living in and around Madrid, and west toward the Extremadura. You'll find them taking up much of the tourist hotels in and around Lisbon so it's probably a good idea to book ahead. Especially, if this is to be a side trip during summer. The Casino Estoril has acts with special appeal in a beach atmosphere. Appearing was the Manhattan Transfer with the ever-popular Nina Simone following. Only a few kilometers by train or car from Lisbon at Estoril you'll find gambling, sun, surf, and some good jazz. As taste, budget, and audience appeal inspires booking agents, it is always wise to phone ahead by reviewing a "What's going on" guide for the area. Can't stress that enough!             SPAIN   is no longer the sleepy inexpensive little country that it once was. Its major cities are commercial/industrial centers of thriving enterprise. They have their own fashionable department store chain, El Corte Ingles. It sells the latest electrical gadgets and the latest records, cassettes and CDs. There are many festivals in the various regions of Spain. There are also jazz clubs scattered throughout the country. Most of the action is located in the northwest at San Sebastian, an adorable locale. Also, in Barcelona in the northeast. In the center is Madrid, and the east coast has Valencia and Alicante. The south pretty much is dominated by Flamenco, and the Costa del Sol (the south east coast) is touristed by the English, and German members of the EU (around Malaga) who have developed English-speaking tourist attractions. We're not sure what the Brits wanted, but the area is always a tourist attraction with its bright and always sunny climate and white sandy beaches. While there are no English language magazines concerned with the arts and “what's going on,” like Paris Passion in France, there is an English language magazine published in Malaga called Lookout. It's available in Madrid at any El Corte Ingles Department Store. ECI also has a city map of the particular city you are in to guide you along. It's very useful. They speak English there too. Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia are Spain’s largest cities, and each has a "Guia de Ocio" or its equivalent, which is a “what's going on” guide that we spoke of before, which is essential.              Barcelona, where the '92 Olympic games were held, and where Catalan, Castilian, and English are spoken, has excellent musicians in the clubs, and the street musicians are a delight. The Cova del Drac is the oldest club. Others include, Sam's and El Tock (The Touch) Jazz Bar. We saw a great duo in this club, Françoise Arenol with guitar and vocals and Rene Dossin on acoustic bass. They were fantastic. In the daytime, they played in a local square/plaza, and at night in El Tock Bar. They're Belgians and one of the best-unknown groups we've ever seen. Françoise handles vocals (in English, Spanish and Portuguese) like the great Ella, and guitar like Joe Pass or Kenny Burrell. Outstanding! Traveling on westward along the northern coast you'll find jazz in Bilbao, Santander, and jazz festivals as well as clubs in the beautiful resort and industrial and banking center of San Sebastian on the Atlantic coast.  Just down the road in Vitoria is held a jazz festival at about the same time. The Bebop Bar, and the Etxekalte Jazz are both small, noisy, and smoky bars having good jazz which can be heard after the main festival closes down for the day. Every jazz place in Europe is small and smoky, so plan accordingly. The Festival in San Sebastian is usually held the last two weeks in July. Several venues are used, even a small theatre, and the soccer stadium. The theatre is like most opera houses in Europe, with comfortable loge seats and at least three balconies. This one, however, is very old, and the decor authentic. Also, its being the gateway to the Atlantic is cited as where Columbus' ships the Nina and the Pinta & the Santa Maria came through on their way to "find Ray Charles,” as Flip Wilson would say.  This Jazz Fest is the oldest in Spain, and in 1990 celebrated its 25th anniversary.             Further on to Galicia, where they have collard and turnip greens, is the Cafe Latina, a beautiful cafe/bar that features acts from Madrid or from Barcelona. It features an antique piano that's played occasionally, real hardwood floors that are polished constantly and gleam flawlessly. Orense, where all of this is located, is one of the most preserved of all examples of antiquity. There are Roman roads, viaducts, bridges, old churches (including cathedrals), and good food and wine to fill time before stopping off at Cafe Latina to hear some good jazz. The cafe is in the oldest part of the city, where most of the sights are. Have someone take you there, as it's hard to find if you don't know where you're going. Cab drivers are lifesavers in these circumstances.             Salamanca, the ancient University City, is one of the most beautiful in all Europe. One of Spain's most popular jazz clubs is there, the Cafe El Corrillo. Most of the major stars of Spain and Europe appear there. It has a restaurant upstairs, and puts out its own magazine full of poems, pictures, and stories about the music and it's heroes, the musicians. Along the east coast on the Costal de Azahar in Valencia, is the Club Perdido. A small stage with a grand piano is the center of attraction with couches and tables scattered about the intimate room, with a great vantage point to watch the stage.  They hold forth on weekends until the wee hours of the morning, with the first show starting just after midnight. One of the major rooms in Valencia is the Rialto Music Hall which is right in the center of the city and which featured recently U.S.A. singers Ira & Claudia Thomas, Inma Lazaro from Barcelona, and specialty acts from Brazil. The latest addition to the cities fare is the Blacknote, an especially wonderful club to visit.            Alicante, the popular beach city, south of Valencia is home to club Jamboree and a small blues bar called Desifinado. Nearby in Elche, is El Directo. In Murcia, home of singing star Charo, are two jazz clubs. The Puerta Falsa is warm, happy, noisy, and fun, and the Blue Note is elegant, stately, has excellent sound, and a beautiful grand piano.   The Puerta Falsa has the atmosphere however, and much of the time the owner of the Blue Note was “digging” the sounds at the Puerta Falsa.             Now, if you’re up to it (you must take a siesta after your mid-day meal), you're ready for MADRID. Dinner is at 9 pm, and the first show is at 10 pm. Café Central at Plaza Angel gets going the earliest with the best musicians and jazz anywhere in the world. Ahora Si, with New York's Josh Edelman on piano and Martha Perry, Mrs. Edelman, on flute. Their six piece group plays Latin jazz at its finest. Or Abdu Salim, from Texas, now living in Seville, on tenor and soprano with his band, playing the standard jazz repertoire or his original tunes. Or visiting artists such as Wallace Roney, Lou Tabakin, Tete Montileu, Jorge Pardo, or young Spanish guitar wizard, Ximo Tebar. Then it’s off to Cafe Populart, a short walk away, to hear Jeff Gordon from England leading a group before making his way to Paris to play with Archie Shepp. Or you may hear Malik Yaqub, playing the theme from the "The Flintstones" at a monster speed, or even the Tonky Blues Band, a very popular Spanish aggregation who are blues specialists. Even Ira and Claudia Thomas may be singing jazz standards from Kern to Van Huesen to Horace Silver. Clamores Jazz, a short distance away by cab or subway, starts going about 1:00 AM with Pedro Itturalde, singers Connie Philp, or Paula Bas, daughter of Catalan saxist Vlady Bas. Then, there's the Whisky and Jazz, Madrid's oldest jazz club, where you may see Cebollita and his group. Or, Lou Bennett on organ with his group might be there. There are many pictures on the wall of artists who have appeared at the Whisky and Jazz Club. One of them is Donna Hightower, a great singer who opened the room many years ago. Over at Segundo you may find a vocal group that does Manhattan Transfer material, or Brazilian Urano Souza and his group, who have been held over by popular demand. Cafe Berlin, right off the Gran Via, features singers from Spain and South America singing their special brand of magic. Not always jazz, but always interesting.             In Madrid the official jazz music school is the Taller (Tal-yer) de Musicos, teaching courses in performance and composition. They present seminars by people like guitarist Jimmy Ponder from Philadelphia, who also sings, and was at the Populart recently with Gary Bartz.  Also Quest, featuring Dave Liebman and Billy Hart. The Taller presents a week of their teachers performing at the Cafe Central. In 1990, the Taller celebrated their fourth anniversary. There's a TV show out of Madrid called "Jazz Entre Amigos.” Sometimes there are videos of combos of the ‘40s and ‘50s-Louis Jordan or George Shearing. It comes on pretty late, but is usually repeated the following week at a different earlier time. You may see Vlady Bas, Pedro Iturralde, or Josh Edelman, Ximo Tebar, Jorge Pardo, or Jean Solar in a club setting with the MC, Senor Sifuentes, discussing jazz with the featured artist. Always in Spanish.             Festivals are popular events in Spain and happen frequently. Also frequently, festivals contain at the least, some jazz. Two that come to mind are the "Dos de Mayo" and the "San Isidro Festival.”  “San Isidro” features a mini-jazz festival of four days with about nine jazz acts. It's well publicized, and tickets are plentiful!  "Dos de Mayo" is the first week of May and features, as does “San Isidro” various acts from Flamenco to Jazz for seven days, and usually all over the city. In at least 15 different locations. It closes with a grand fireworks display. Madrid stages a rather large festival itself in November. No less than 18 groups appearing in six venues throughout the city. There isn't much advance publicity, maybe a week or so, but they are always sold out.  Then there's the festival, near San Sebastian at the same time. An elegant magazine called Contrabajo Jazz, published by Jesus Moreno out of Huesca comes out from time to time, in Spanish. It features sketches of jazz artists, articles, reviews, etc.             Clubs in other locales are: In Vienna, Jazzland, where Art Farmer works many times throughout the year. In Berlin, it's Quasimoto's and in Paris, the Meridian Hotel. These are favorites of jazz promoter George Sunol.            There you have it, our incomplete jazz lovers’ guide to jazz in Europe. Most cities have a "What's going on" guide, or whatever they wish to call it, that tells you what is happening, and where. The best advice is to go to a tourist office, usually in train stations and airports, with a big "I" for Information. Ask specifically for jazz clubs. There just may be such a listing, as jazz is considered a true art form, and right up there with theatre, symphony, and dance. Then check out the local transportation, its hours of operation, and get a schedule. Again, striking out on foot is the best way to see a city. You can always stop for a cool drink in a cafe. Use the telephone and call ahead for prices, times, etc. Many places close in July or August, for vacation, so plan ahead. Festivals are subject to change of dates, or cancellations, for lack of money or other reasons. So we strongly stress obtaining ticket information in advance.Happy jazzing!A Happy return to Europe We were to make our last  trip to Europe some 4 years later  which brought about our final thoughts on the music. Living here in Las Vegas, as well as being back in the USA, is a big eye-opener as far as the music is concerned. In Vegas, there’s a Jazz Society; they tried to operate a ‘Blue Note” here. Too large a space and not enough salesmanship. It was a culture shock after having lived in the ‘live music capitol of the world” to return to ‘The entertainment capitol of the world  as Las Vegas bills itself.” They lost money on the centennial; I could have told them that the hysteria & hype of the event lost money due to overrides. A huge cake that was thrown out after the event when much of it was not eaten! Two employee's of the centennial committee were paid  $70,000 each for their efforts individually. Jazz needs an ombudsman/Promotion group; an advocate.Nobody really speaks for jazz! We have no advocates, well we do but no one really pays any attention to them, i.e. the jazz societies, national & international jazz ambassadors with official sponsorship; people who are in jazz are afraid or unwilling to commit to the knowledge that being in jazz requires commitment & hard work. There it is in black and white! What it’s all about is 6th street in Austin. The last stop before hitting the trail to the newest in college stay overs: South Padre island! After much ballyhooing and announcements via TV & radio, SPI has become well known a summer/spring break party-central headquarters  The jazz magazines try but they too are consumed with promoting what’s new. Some say the jazz audience is too old. Some say not enough respect is given to the old masters such as Armstrong, Ellington, Gillespie, Peterson, Adderley, etc. many, many more. They got the music going and got people to come in to hear them SWING1 That was the way to go begun my the dancers in Harlem who danced and swung to F Henderson & the like. What happened to this fun thing that jazz used to be?Rap around till people develop tasteRap has been a desperate cry for recognition; something like a ball player without a ball. No where to go and nothing but trouble to do. What do we do we them? Perhaps age will take care of them like the song says: “Time Takes Care of Everything” Players with no respect: Jimmy Neeley bioA very gifted artist who has played all over with everybody; reduced to playing in a renovated office building for 2 or 3 months on Congress Street in Austin. He lives in Texas and has somewhat softened about music and Jazz in general. A very knowledgeable musician who knows the music can talk for hours on the subject. Especially over some very well prepared barbecued beef, Texas style.  James Polk getting his dueWe worked with this guy; he’s worked with Ray Charles, we saw him take over for a friend in the Count Basie band. And, of course, JAMAD. One of the tightest righteous groups ever. 

Claudia T. Thomas, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2013

Donna Hightower

, CT & Others discuss Jazz. The Mighty Flea a friend of Race Newton’s. Unfortunately, we were unable to hook up with him. What a great ‘monicker”! Michael Point jazz correspondent for the Austin American Statesman  Another fine writer from the Austin American Statesman Kevin Phinney I’ll let the ink do the talking. Souled American: How Black Music Transformed White Culture  pub.  in 2005 From Publishers WeeklyTexas journalist Phinney's first book traces the history of race relations as seen through commingling musical crossovers and a parade of personalities: from Al Jolson to Louis Jordan, Billie Holiday to Bonnie Raitt, Zip Coon to Pat Boone. This comprehensive coverage spans all genres, including blues, country, gospel, jazz, R&B, ragtime, rock and rap. With blackface minstrelsy, "whites opened a portal to their own hidden creative impulses," and Phinney explores this theme as he covers "white men in transparent blackface" (Eminem), "multi-culti chanteuses" (Mariah Carey) and "sepia Sinatras" (Johnny Mathis). Anecdotes abound, and many music history milestones punctuate Phinney's probing critical commentary. Analyzing Nat King Cole's singing style and how it made him "one of the first modern artists to 'cross over' from black to white popularity," Phinney recounts how Cole, only months before the premiere of his 1956–1957 NBC television show, was assaulted onstage i Birmingham, Ala., by five white men. Phinney writes with verve and vitality, articulately charting hundreds of black and white intersections in this definitive roadmap to racial rhythms. 45 b&w photos. (Sept.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Product DescriptionFrom Jim Crow to Eminem, white culture has been transformed by black music. To be so influenced by the boundless imagination of a race brought to America in chains sets up a fascinating irony, and Souled American, an ambitious and comprehensive look at race relations as seen throughthe prism of music, examines that irony fearlessly—wit illuminating results. Tracing a direct line from plantation field hollers to gangsta rap, author Kevin Phinney explains how blacks and whites exist in a constant tug-of-war as they create, re-create, and claim each phase of popular music.Meticulously researched, the book includes dozens of exclusive celebrity interviews that reveal the day-to-day struggles and triumphs of sharing the limelight. Unique, intriguing, Souled American should be required reading for everyAmerican interested in music, in history,or in healing our country’s troubled race relations. Review:• Combines social history and pop cultureto reveal how jazz, blues, soul, country,and hip-hop have developed• Includes interviews with Ray Charles,Willie Nelson, B. B. King, David Byrne,Sly Stone, Donna Summer, Bonnie Raitt,and dozens more• Confronts questions of race and findsmeaningful answers• Ideal for Black History Month About the Author Kevin Phinney, anentertainment journalist based inAustin, has written for the Austin American-Statesman, Premiere magazine,and the Hollywood Reporter. Currently, he   is cohost of KGSRFM’s morning drive-time program, Kevin & Kevin. Willie Nelson, on the 4th of July, Bee Cave, TX (2010)Mickey Raphael, the Saxon Pub (7/3/2010) »Willie Nelson interviewed for “Souled American” document Texas journalist Phinney’s first book traces the history of race relations as seen through commingling musical crossovers and a parade of personalities: from Al Jolson to Louis Jordan, Billie Holiday to Bonnie Raitt, Zip Coon to Pat Boone. This comprehensive coverage spans all genres, including blues, country, gospel, jazz, R&B, ragtime, rock and rap. Analyzing Nat King Cole’s singing style and how it made him “one of the first modern artists to ‘cross over’ from black to white popularity,” Phinney recounts how Cole, only months before the premiere of his 1956–1957 NBC television show, was assaulted onstage in Birmingham, Ala., by five white men. Phinney writes with verve and vitality, articulately charting hundreds of black and white intersections in this definitive roadmap to racial rhythms. Combines social history and pop culture to reveal how jazz, blues, soul, country, and hip-hop have developed.   Includes interviews with Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, David Byrne, Sly Stone, Donna Summer, Bonnie Raitt, and dozens more.  Confronts questions of race and finds meaningful answersFrom Jim Crow to Eminem, white culture has been transformed by black music.  To be so influenced by the boundless imagination of a race brought to America in chains sets up a fascinating irony, and Souled American, an ambitious and comprehensive look at race relations as seen through the prism of music, examines that irony fearlessly—with illuminating results.  Tracing a direct line from plantation field hollers to gansta rap, author Kevin Phinney explains how blacks and whites exist in a constant tug-of-war as they create, re-create, and claim each phase of popular music 

Claudia Thomas, Las Vegas, Nevada 2013