Thursday, January 26, 2006

DJ Birdman's Jazz Corner Playlist for 01/25/06Les McCann - Bucket 'o Grease
Gigi Gryce and the Jazz Lab Quintet
- Wake Up!
Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders
- I Found A New Baby
Charles Mingus
- Better Git It In Your Soul
Lee Morgan
- Cornbread
John Jenkins, Cliff Jordan & Bobby Timmons
- Cliff's Edge
Herbie Nichols
- The Third World
Chet Baker
- Something For Liza
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
- Gimme That Wine
Les Spann - Q's Dues Blues
Wes Montgomery
- Freddie the Freeloader
Big Bill Broonzy - Get Back
Gerald Wilson Orchestra
- I Got You (I Feel Good)
Herbie Mann
- St. Thomas
Randy Weston Tribute
Fire Down There

Berkshire Blues

Under Blunder

Kucheza Blues

Chessman's Delight
Niger Mambo

Little Niles

African Cookbook

Blues To Africa

Marrakech Blues

Hi Fly


In Memory Of
Eddie Gale - Black Rhythym Happening
James Moody - Unchained

Clare Fischer - Bachi
Pharoah Sanders - Gotta Have Freedom

Michael White - Go With The Flow

Ramsey Lewis
- Sun Goddess
Johnny Hammond
- Los Conquistadores Chocolates
Bobbi Humphrey
- Ain't No Sunshine
Herbie Hancock
- Watermelon Man
- Candido's Funk

Jazz Corner's Throughout History : December 2005
The illustrious Minneapolis crew: Tom, Bruce and Ce!
This is just an excuse to finally getting around to posting this pic. It is always a pleasure to catch up with Tom and Ce, and Tom always has music knowledge to spare, and an unquenching thirst for something that may have eluded him over the years. I am pleased to say I stumped him with Ada Moore's haunting vocal LP on Debut Records. This does not often happen so I had to make a special mention. Good to see you guys! Come back soon.

Quote of the Day
Art is either plagiarism or revolution."
-Paul Gauguin

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Randy Weston Tribute Tonite at the Jazz Corner

Tonight The Jazz Corner of the World pays homage to one of the last remaining giants of Modern Jazz, Mr. Randy Weston. In Randy Weston's case, that description is literal as well as historically accurate.
One of the earliest jazz musicians to incorporate African instrumentation as well as African song structure and rhythym, Weston has been a guiding light to American musicians abroad as well, having run a music club in Morocco at one point. In compositions like "Congolese Children" and "African Lady" he fuses African style and imagery into his adventurous songs, often bordering on what would later become Free Jazz, and certainly crafting the foundation of 70s Spiritual Jazz. All the while his compositions retains their grounding in the most ancient rhythyms but are played with a modern master's technique and flair.

His most obvious influences are Art Tatum and Thelonious Monk, but I once heard him talk about how he considered Nat King Cole to be one of the great pianists of the 20th Century, and an abiding influence on his playing. And like Monk(an instructor of his as a young man), Weston has never stopped being adventurous and experimental in his work. He maintains a body of work that he returns to re-craft regularly(also like Monk) but continues to push his ouvre into unexpected corners of the musical sphere as he ages. Wether it's leading large ensembles with the Master Musicians of Morocco, experimenting alongside Pharoah Sanders with ancient Asian motifs and instruments, or crafting elaborate and winning musical portraits of Duke Ellington or Art Tatum, Weston's style and depth often belie his fearless creativity. While other artists return to the safe environment of past successes and easy marketibility, Randy Weston's body of work demonstrates how easily he approaches the unknown, often re-arranging his compositions in new landscapes or creating new ones out of whole cloth, pushing his limitations and challenging his audience to do the same.
His friend and longtime collaborator/arranger, Melba Liston, was cast in a similar mold as Weston. Musically restless and forward moving, but with a master musician's chops and foundation in big band arrangement. Her collaborations with Weston date back to 1959 and span almost 40 years to include Weston's 1998 CD Khepera. Sadly, she passed in 1999, leaving a resume many could only envy, having arranged for greats including Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Mary Lou Williams, Weston and many others, including a stint as an arranger at Motown Records. As a pioneer in the field of female Jazz musicians, she is eclipsed only by the great Mary Lou Williams, and Liston's particular brilliance had a longevity that few musicians of either gender can match. Her collaborations with Randy Weston, in my opinion, are her crowning achievements.

Honoring Randy Weston's 80th birthday as well as his visit to Washington DC this Saturday, January 28th at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theatre, tonight at The Jazz Corner of the World I will be focusing on the Giant of the Piano from 8pm til at least 9pm. I know, that's a small amount of time to give such an enourmous talent, but it will have to do. Truth be told I tout the greatness and kindness of this great musician whenever someone will listen. I was fortunate enough to have met Mr. Weston shortly after Khepara was released, and a good friend who grew up with him as a member of her family introduced me after a performance. I am forever in her debt for introducing me to his music first, and then to the man at the heart of it. Having seen him in recent years in performance has been a blessing, and I recommend his performances with no reservation. With nothing left to prove, Randy Weston ventures to the heart of African Rhythym and presents his audience with a musical treasure.

“You have to practice improvisation, let no one kid you about it!”
-Art Tatum

Friday, January 20, 2006

Tonight marks the first time for me doing LIVE internet radio. The wiley fellas over at have put together an impressive situation over on 9th Street in NW DC. So to follow in the footsteps of such alumnus as HEAT! miser DJ Nitekrawler and my Jazz Corner partner-in-crime DCDigga, I will be bringing the ruckus and my own oddball perspective to the 24 hour worldwide web radio with what I hope will add up to 3 sets.

Set one, will be a Jazz Corner set (rife with goodies spanning several decades of the finest recorded music ever put to wax), set two will be a little visit to Soul Street (a set of various soul and r&b) and finally a tribute to my way of thinking and the spirit of this blog, Mumbo Jumbo...a little bit of everything, and whatever feels good.

So check it out, TONIGHT, January 21, from 6pm to 9pm LIVE at

And hey, in case you forgot it's THE JUMP OFF! from 10pm til close and the cozy Gate 54 downstairs at Cafe Saint-Ex! It should be off the proverbial meat rack! Hip Hop, Dancehall, Disco and Club tracks all battle for pole position while the people get busy doing their thing. What that is, well that's up to you.
See ya there!

Quote of the Day
"It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning."
-Salvador Dali

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

DCDigga runnin' things TONITE at

The best weekly Jazz Night in DC is in full effect tonight! Come on down from 7pm-10pm at Cafe Saint-Ex's Gate 54 lounge, DCDigga will be carefully calibrating his selections for optimum soul and groove feeling. There is never a cover, and a glance through some old playlists of ours will show you where we are coming from. Trust us, it's a place you wanna go.
Your master of ceremonies for tonite's Jazz Corner, selecting that good stuff

Quote of the Day
“Jazz is music made by and for people who have chosen to feel good in spite of conditions.”-
Johnny Griffin

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Coming to Saint-Ex this Saturday, January 21st, is the monthly dance night brought to you by DJ Birdman! Hip Hop of the past & present, Dancehall and classic club hits will keep the most discerning dancers dancing long into the evening. The grooves begin at 10pm, but I always like to pop in a wee bit early and warm up the room with some buttery 70s/80s Soul sides. There is never a cover, but there is almost always a line after 11:30pm, so come early and beat the rush!
How can all this fun be free? And yet it is.
Scenes from the last installment of The Jump Off!

If all goes as planned, Jes Grew Productions will be back on just before the Jump Off begins. While DCDigga has repped the cause with his stellar funk jazz and Gospel(!) sets on the mighty DC 24-hour internet radio station, I have yet to get my feet wet and deliver a live set or 2. Hopefully this Saturday night will be the date for some jazz, soul and everything-under-the-sun sets. I am hoping to do it late in the afternoon until the early evening, so once we nail down the times I will post it here. That's a bet.

And speaking of DCDigga, he has some surprises up his sleeve that he is currently working on, and as soon as those start shaping up, you'll read about them here first. And don't forget to check him out on this Wednesday night at the weekly Jazz Corner of the World, also at Cafe Saint-Ex's Gate 54 lounge. Tell him Birdman sent ya!


"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."
-Bruce Lee

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Birdman's JAZZ CORNER PLAYLIST 01/11/06 The Gary McFarland Orchestra- Reflections In the Park
Herbie Mann-When the Sun Comes Out
Les McCann Ltd
.-Someone Stole My Chitlins

Bud Shank

Tal Farlow
-I Remember You

Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis-Afro-Jaws
Grant Green
Mal Waldron-Loser's Lament
Shorty Rogers Quintet
-Prevaliling on the Westerlies

Kenny Dorham

Charles Mingus
-Original Faubus Fables
Benny Carter-One Morning In May
Jackie McClean

Thad Jones & Mel Lewis
-Mach II

Eddie Jefferson
-Things are Getting Better

Jon Hendricks
-Saturday Night Fish Fry

Jean-Luc Ponty and George Duke
-Cantaloup Island
Horace Silver-The Jody Grind
Ramsey Lewis Trio
-Bold and Black

Harold Land
-Our Home

Blue Mitchell

Lionel Hampton
-The Price of Jazz

John Patton

Ahmad Jamal

-Do It Again
Ramsey Lewis-Serene Funk
The Crusaders

Cannonball Adderley
-New Orleans Strut

Rahsaan Roland Kirk
-What's Going On/Mercy Mercy Me

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson

Billy Brooks
-Fourty Days

Quote of the Day
“When you’re creating your own shit, man, even the sky ain’t the limit.”
-Miles Davis
Come down early this evening for the Jazz Corner. We start early due to the monthly iPod Night which begins promptly at 9pm. Tonight is hosted by me, DJ Birdman, and I have the usual mix of classic, groovy and funky jazz for your head. So come out to Cafe Saint Ex
a little early tonight and soak up some atmosphere in the historic U Street Corridor, or as we like to call it, the Jazz Corner of the World.

Quote of the Day
“Life is not about finding our limitations, it's about finding our infinity.”
-Herbie Hancock

Friday, January 06, 2006

or How I Relived My Sordid Elementary Years
All Over Again Thanks To The Miracle of DVD

Growing up in the small town of Stevens Point, WI didn't offer much in the way of rock and roll glamour. Subsequently, these out of the way places often breed the real die-hard FANS, kids whose identity is so wrapped up in living vicariously through their musical heros that it borders on the maniacal. Vince Furnier, the son of a preacher and eventually known to the world as Alice Cooper, also grew up removed from the focal points of rock, in the suburban deserts of Arizona. I think he might agree with my assessment of small town rock fandom, after all, he built a phenomenal career on these loyal fans in backwater burgs.

Before the internet, before MTV, before AM completely lost out to FM and when playlists weren't yet created by Clear Channel, the Alice Cooper Band was making it the old fashioned way: by pissing off parents all across America. Having started as a sort of Frank Zappa-endorsed, avant-garde-Stooges-emulation (but with good tunes), they rapidly ascended from their experimental early stages to perfecting the sort of Horror Rock that had small town deacons locking up their daughters. This was when it was still Alice Cooper-the BAND, who just happened to be fronted by Vince's alter ego, Alice Cooper. Alice was allowed to run wild, go as far as he felt was necessary to ensure a good show for the kids. This meant that they would create the first real rock arena SHOW, a huge spectacle for the time that involved showcasing illusions and a real guillotine, as well as characters and Vegas-style lighting. This was even pre-Kiss, and Alice Cooper was at the forefront of making spectacle shock rock not only plausible, but profitable.

It is the early 70s American landscape that the film "Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper" sprung into drive-ins and weekend screening all across this great nation. Not for long, though, despite the group having the #1 tour and LP not long before. The film itself has been a long-known-but-little-seen artifact, not even making it onto VHS officially(now that's obscure, given how many lousy concert films made their way onto home video in the early 80s). And it's not hard to see why on the one hand....practically everything in the film that is NOT concert footage is embarrassing and useless. The loose 'plot' involves the group pissing off a film director, and then the ensuing 'chase'. Lame cannot begin to cover this stupid device. That said, the reason to check this IS the concert footage of prime Alice Cooper Band. And not one minute of that dissapoints.Billion Dollar Babies was the LP that was making it all possible, and of course most of this DVD's performance footage concerns itself with the songs from that classic LP. Of course hits like "Eighteen" and "School's Out" are also present. but it's the tracks from BDB that really are standout performances. Songs like "Elected", "Billion Dollar Babies" and "Raped and Freezin'" are given spirited treatments and the band in particular sound like the well-oiled rawk juggernaut they had no doubt become by this stage. Alice himself is in full character, antagonizing the teens in the audience at the same time as he demands their undying adoration.

In listening to Alice's commentary (another fantastic feature of this DVD as is the 'concert only' feature), he remarks how he was obviously more concerned with overall performance rather than any concentration on his vocals. While this is true in part, the rawness of the vocals lends the proceedings a dangerous air, as though it could all go off the rails at any second. And truth be told, Alice even in live,undoctored footage still qualifies as one of the top ROCK vocalists of all time. His unfettered performance of "Under My Wheels" has to be seen to be is the kind of schtick that was putting parents into a frenzy and had teenagers at the time throwing all their allowance money at Alice and the boys.

Don't bother watching the whole film unless you enjoy terrible improvised comedy bits involving "funny" German accents and stoner humor(and I use the term 'humor' very lightly). The opening bit with Alice and the band doing a straight version of "The Lady is a Tramp" IS worth it, but after that, set the 'concert only' feature and then watch it again with the commentary on.
Oh and while you are at it, track down the Deluxe Edtion Billion Dollar Babies that Warner Archives put out a few years back. 2 discs, one the original LP remastered, and the bonus disc is the live tracks from the film and some outtakes from the LP sessions.

And so....if you are a fan, or someone who grew up in this era and is curious about the cultural phenomena that was Alice Cooper, check out "Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper". It may not make you wanna get a big snake and sing about necrophillia, but it will have you wondering whatever happened to this kind of wonderful rock and roll show.

Quote of the Day

"The hippies wanted peace and love. We wanted Ferraris, blondes and switchblades."
-Alice Cooper

Miles Davis Suite:
-All The Blues
-Water Babies
-Pharoah's Dance John Coltrane Suite:
-My Favorite Things
-Afro Blue
-Giant Steps Monk Montgomery-I Love You Camille
Andy Bey-Tune Up
Horace Silver-Tokyo Blue
David"Fathead"Newman-Dance of the Honey Bee & the Funky Fly
Herbie Mann-Gagaku & Beyond
Cullen Knight-A'keem
Sonny Phillips-Feel Like the Wind
Merle Saunders-You Can Leave Your Hat On
Lonnie Smith-Move Your Hand
Jeff Lorber-Rain Dance Grant Green Suite:
-Ain't It Funky Now
-Down Here on the Ground
Les McCann Suite:
-Price You Got to Pay to be Free
-What's Going On
-North Carolina

QUOTE of the DAY
"A lie goes around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on."
-Australian Proverb

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

It's a NEW YEAR, so let's MAKE IT COUNT

My resolution this year is to make this blog less of a vehicle for strictly self-promotion and infuse it with some more self-expression. That said, self-promotion in some form or another is a cornerstone of the 'blog galaxy', so I also have to be realistic. Hows this: for every announcement of a Jes Grew event, I will attempt at least one other feature on music, film or....something!

One thing I want to plug is my favorite radio personality, TD Mischke on Twin Cities' AM 1500 KSTP. Tommy(TD) has been moved to a new drive-time slot, 5:30-7:30 Central Time, down a few hours from the far more conducive late night spot from 10pm to midnight weekday evenings. The move seems to be more about getting rid of Sean Hannity(always a smart decision) by moving him to the graveyard slot rather than about really promoting Tommy, but in an age when local radio personalities are undervalued or completely ignored and easily fired, I am thrilled that KSTP has shown such faith in the most unconventional talk radio host in the country.For those who are unfamiliar(most everyone reading this, I am sure), TD Mischke has been hosting his own show, the Mischke Broadcast, on KSTP AM1500 for the last 12 years. Before that, he was the sidekick for the 'round mound of sound', the great Don Vogel on the Afternoon Saloon in the early 90s. As a delivery driver/courier in the early 90s, I got addicted to talk radio and AM1500 in particular. These were the days of Bob Yates in the morning (who is starting a podcast by the way), and Turi Ryder in the afternoons. This was also when Garage Logic and Joe Soucheray started their reign as afternoon staples(replacing a fired Turi Ryder-it was inevitable, the Twin Cities were not yet ready for an opinionated, liberal Jewish female host no matter how funny she was). A real Golden Era at KSTP, although one plagued by short-sightedness (Bob Yates was let go several times if I recall correctly, and the eventual hiring of Jesse Ventura as a talk host-ugh). This was the climate that allowed a regular caller to shows become a sidekick as Vogel hired Mischke as a comic foil after Mischke's 'Phantom Caller' gags became a repeat success. The long and the short of it, through many ups, downs(an acrimonious split from Vogel not long before his untimely passing being one) and sideways trevails, Mischke finally managed to snag a block of time that went almost unnoticed, the dreaded 10pm-midnight slot.

To hear Mischke tell it, the station was literally giving ad space away at that timeslot, so he was left alone to develop what has become over the last 12 years, the most imaginative 2 hours in radio. Oh, not always, mind you, but Mischke's ability to welcome failure as heartily as he revels in a perfect bit is what makes the show so addictive. So far, the new time slot has only made Mischke adhere to some stricter time constraints(news,traffic,etc) but has left him the same unrestrained character he was in the late show mode. If anything, he now relishes the ability to cheese off Hannity fans just by being there, otherwise his approach has shown little change. I think he is displaying some more manic energy, but only in context to himself. Shock jock morning zoo crap this ain't and never will be. Thank the Lord. yourself a big favor and tune in or check out the new podcast being offered by some other fanatic die-hards online! This includes some archived podcasts and the new show at the new time. Also check out Derek Larson's Mischke Madness , the spot that brought me back to the Twin Cities via the internet and has archived many of the most legendary moments and bits in the Mischke Broadcast history so far! I can't guarantee that you will have found a new favorite radio guy, but you will have heard something question.

QUOTE of the DAY
"It is not light that is needed, but fire."
-Frederick Douglass