Roy Porter was my first big interview when I first started Night Journey Rewind. This drummer, composer, author was a very close friend of mine who has played and recorded with Jazz Legends such as;
C. Parker, H. Mcgree, M. Davis, T. Edward, the list goes on.
Roy Porter also was a historian focusing on the Bebop era, in Central ave Los Angeles, CA during the 1940's and 50's.
Porter was born in a small mining town, but moved to Colorado Springs with his mother at the age of 8, following the death of his father. He was
brought up there,
and subsequently attended Wiley College in Texas, where the trumpeter Kenny Dorham was one of his fellow students.
His early influences on drums were the swing era giants Gene Krupa and Chick Webb, and he began playing in rhythm and blues bands as a teenager. He moved to Los Angeles in 1944, where he played with guitarist Teddy Bunn's Spirits of Rhythm band, before linking up with the modernist quintet led by trumpeter Howard McGhee in 1945.
Bebop was just coming to fruition as a form at that time, and Porter was an enthusiastic convert to the new ways. His opportunity to link up with Charlie Parker arrived when Dizzy Gillespie brought a quintet from New York to play a famous residence at Billy Berg's club in Hollywood, which featured the saxophonist. Parker remained in Los Angeles after the trumpeter and his colleagues returned home, and began a series of recordings for the small independent record label run by record producer, Ross Russell, who also became the saxophonist's biographer.
Genuine bebop drummers were in short supply on the West Coast, and Porter was an obvious choice for the first session on 28 March, 1946, which yielded historic takes of "Ornithology", "A Night in Tunisia", "Yardbird Suite" and "Moose The Mooche".
Parker eventually returned to New York, while Porter continued to work with McGhee until 1947, and then with two more of the leading bebop musicians on the west coast, Teddy Edwards and Dexter Gordon (including a stint with the tenor saxophonist in New York). He was a regular on the highly active after hours scene on Los Angeles's Central Avenue in the mid-40s, and in 1948 put together a highly ambitious modernist big band which included several emerging jazz greats in waiting, notably Chet Baker, Art Farmer, and Eric Dolphy, as well as Teddy Edwards, Jimmy Knepper, Herb Geller, and Harold Land.
We humbly invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy this interview with the late and great, a good friend Roy Porter.
Now Please sit back, relax and listen to the latest episode of Night Journey Rewind;
Chico Freeman was born into a musical family, his father Von Freeman is the legendary tenor saxophone player, and his uncles George Freeman and Bruz Freeman play guitar and drums respectively. His grandfather George Freeman Sr played piano and was a close friend of Louis Armstrong, his grandmother Earle Kree Freeman was a gospel singer who sang with Mahalia Jackson and The Clara Ward Singers. Chico earned a mathematics scholarship to Northwestern University, but also played trumpet in the school jazz band. He quickly learned that his heart was elsewhere and eventually studied the tenor saxophone 8 to 10 hours a day until confident enough to challenge the sax section. He switched to a music major, and a great tenor player was born. He graduated with a degree in music with proficiencies in saxophone, trumpet, and piano.
Following studies in advanced composition and theory, he began teaching elementary and intermediate courses at the Chicago-based AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) School of Music. While playing with the Governor’s State Jazz Band at the Inter-collegiate Jazz Festival in South Bend, Indiana, he won awards as best soloist and best saxophonist. He also won the opportunity to tour Brazil in 1976 with the winning group.
Although jazz was the first music Freeman was exposed to, many of his early professional gigs were at Chicago clubs with such blues artists as Memphis Slim, and Lucky Carmichael. Freeman went on to play with pop and R & B greats The Temptations, The Four Tops, Jackie Wilson, The Dells, The Isley Brothers, and The Eurythmics. In 1976 Freeman released his first album as a leader, titled Morning Prayer. In 70’ he moved to New York City, where he had the opportunity to play with Elvin Jones, Sun Ra, Sam Rivers’ Big Band, and Don Pullen. He also led his own groups and soon developed his own style. Between 1975 and 1982 he began to gain recognition, recording a dozen albums, including Spirit Sensitive, No Time Left, Peaceful Heart Gentle Spirit, Freeman & Freeman (with his father), Destiny’s Dance, Tradition in Transition, and The Search. During this time he won the New York Jazz Award, and the Stereo Review Record of the Year for The Outside Within.
In June of 1982 he participated in a legendary concert at Lincoln Center as part of The Young Lions. The group included many shining stars from the jazz culture of the 1980s, including Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D’Rivera, Kevin Eubanks, Anthony Davis, and others. The group produced an album on which Freeman played nearly every cut and also he composed a 14-minute piece called “Whatever Happened to the Dream Deferred,” which was called “one of the best of the album” by the New York Times.
In 1986, when superstar bands were being organized by promoters in Europe, Freeman brought together The Leaders – an all-star sextet of internationally recognized bandleaders. This band set the standard for eclectic and innovative music from a band comprised entirely of composers. In 1991, during the 150 year anniversary celebration of the invention of the saxophone by Adolphe Sax, the band Roots was formed. This band consisted of internationally known saxophonists Nathan Davis, Benny Golson, Arthur Blythe, and Chico Freeman. Adding Buster Williams (bass), and Winard Harper (drums) and later Ed Thigpen (drums) of Oscar Peterson fame. This band is still touring the world, and delighting audiences with their unique arrangements, and brilliant improvisation. Chico Freeman, the multi-reedman, composer and producer embodies the intent of jazz by finding new avenues of expression that embrace the heritage and tradition of the music. Many critics have compared him to the greats in jazz history, but the proof, beyond arguable opinion, is in the fact that he has played and recorded with some of the most innovative musicians in the world. Few artists can equal his list of musical associations.
Roy McCurdy, born November 28, 1936 in Rochester, New York, is a jazz drummer. Before joining Cannonball Adderley's Quintet in 1965 and staying with the band until Adderley's death in 1975, he had played with Chuck and Gap Mangione in the Jazz Brothers (1960–1961), as well as with Bobby Timmons, Betty Carter and Sonny Rollins (1963–1964), appearing on the
classic 1963 album Sonny Meets Hawk!. He attended the Eastman School of Music from sixteen to eighteen,
during which time he also played professionally with Roy
Eldridge and with Eddie Vinson at seventeen. In 1960 he joined the Art Farmer - Benny Golson Jazztet and remained for two years. As of 2010, McCurdy is an Adjunct Professor in the Jazz Studies Department of the Thornton School of music University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. This interview was recorded Oct. 5, 2013 at his home in Altadena, Ca.
All songs in order 1, Bag Groove "Mangione Brother Sextet" 2, Country Preacher "Cannonball Adderly Phenis" 3, Sonny's Back " Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet Here & Now" 4,You're with Me "Gratitude John B. Williams" 5, Mercy Mercy Mercy "6,Sticks Cannonball Adderly in Japan" 7, Cool "Janis Mann Perfect Time"
Ron Aprea is a composer, arranger, producer, saxophonist, clarinetist, and flutist. He has performed with Woody Herman, Les Elgart, Tito Puente, Frank Foster,Buddy Morrow, Billy May, Charlie Persip, Nat Adderley, Lionel Hampton, and Louis Armstrong.
While with Hamp's band, some of the highlights were a Ramsey Lewis television special, and a recorded concert at the Smithsonian Institution, where Ron's solos were taped and put into their Archives. Ron was the featured soloist and arranger for performances with Nat Adderley at the world-famous Apollo Theatre, and he also performed at the Paramount Theatre with King Curtis' Big Band. Ron has played shows for hundreds of stars, including Clint Holmes, Rita Moreno, Robert Merrill, Chita Rivera, Rich Little, and Billy Eckstine.
In 1974, Ron recorded with John Lennon and Elton John on the album entitled Walls and Bridges. The all-star horn section included Howard Johnson, Frank Vicari, and Steve Madeo. Ron was a featured soloist on the jazz-gospel album Free to Be Free. He also wrote, arranged, and produced his own album, Ronnie April's Positive Energy Volume 1. Ron had his own TV special on WNYC, and was a featured soloist on Broadway's Song of Singapore.
Ron's compositions, arrangements, and productions skills can be heard on Angela DeNiro's first CD, Just For the Fun Of It, as well as her second release, Angela DeNiro...Swingin' With Legends, featuring Lionel Hampton, Frank Foster, and Lew Tabackin.On June 5, 2013 Ron released his own album entitled Ron Aprea Sextet-Remembering Blakey, Ron's tribute to Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers. Ron's front line on this album is Joe Magnarelli-trpt., Jerry Weldon-tenor, and Ron on alto. The rhythm section is Cecilia Coleman-piano, Tim Givens-bass, and Vince Cherico-drums. The album is a mix of originals and standards. Ron has two of his own originals, Sophia (written for his granddaughter) and For Pete's Sake (written for the late bassist and close friend Pete Chivily.) Although none of the 12 cuts are tunes that Blakey recorded, Ron confesses that in writing for this project Blakey's Jazz Messengers kept popping into his head.
Future plans will include Ron's son Matt who is a violinist, and his wife, jazz vocalist Angela DeNiro.
Songs in Order 1, Transition Blues "Remembering Blakey" 2, Can't buy me Love "Pay tribute to John Lennon" 3,Latino "Remembering Blakey" 4, Imagine "Tribute to John Lennon" 5, What ever gets you through the Night "Tribute to John Lennon" 6, Something "tribute to John Lennon" 7, For Pete's Sake "Remembering Blakey"
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