September 27, 2007


Armando Anthony Corea in Chelsea, Massachusetts on June 12, 1941, he began studying piano at age four. Early on in his development, Horace Silver and Bud Powell were important piano influences while access to the music of Beethoven and Mozart inspired his compositional instincts. An interesting, little known fact is that Chick’s first major professional gig was with Cab Calloway, which came before early stints in Latin bands led by Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo (1962-63). There followed important tenures with trumpeter Blue Mitchell (1964-66), flutist Herbie Mann and saxophonist Stan Getz before Chick made his recording debut as a leader in 1966 with “Tones for Joan’s Bones” (which featured trumpeter Woody Shaw, tenor saxophonist and flutist Joe Farrell, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Joe Chambers). During these formative years, Chick also recorded sessions with Cal Tjader (1966's Soul Burst, on Verve), Stan Getz (1966's What The World Needs Now: Stan Getz Plays Bacharach, on Verve), Donald Byrd (1967's Creeper, on Blue Note), and Dizzy Gillespie (1967's Live at the Village Vanguard, on Blue Note).

After accompanying Sarah Vaughan in 1967, Corea went into the studio in March of 1968 and recorded Now He Sings, Now He Sobs with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes. That trio album is now considered a jazz classic. In the fall of 1968, Chick replaced Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis' band. In September of that year, he played Fender Rhodes electric piano on Miles' important and transitional recording Filles de Kilimanjaro, which pointed to a fresh new direction in jazz. Between 1968 and 1970, Corea also appeared on such groundbreaking Davis recordings as In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Live-Evil and Live at the Fillmore East. He is also a key player in Davis' electrified ensemble that appeared before 600,000 people on August 29, 1970 at the Isle of Wight Festival in England (captured on Murray Lerner's excellent documentary, Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue). Shortly after that historic concert, both Chick and bassist Dave Holland left Miles' group to form the cooperative avant-garde quartet Circle with drummer Barry Altschul and saxophonist Anthony Braxton. Though its tenure was short-lived, Circle recorded three adventurous albums, culminating in the arresting live double LP Paris-Concert (recorded on February 21, 1971 for the ECM label before Corea changed directions again. His excellent Piano Improvisations, Vol. 1 and 2, recorded over two days in April 1971 for ECM, was the first indication that solo piano performance would become fashionable.

Native Sense - Chick Corea & Gary BurtonToward the end of 1971, Chick formed his first edition of Return To Forever with Stanley Clarke on acoustic bass, Joe Farrell on soprano sax and flute, Airto Moreira on drums and percussion and his wife Flora Purim on vocals. On February 2 and 3, 1972, they recorded their self-titled debut for ECM, which included the popular Corea composition "La Fiesta." A month later, on March 3, 1972, Chick, Stanley, Airto and drummer Tony Williams teamed together as the rhythm section for Stan Getz's Columbia recording Captain Marvel, which featured five Corea compositions including "500 Miles High," "La Fiesta" and the title track. By September of that year, Corea was back in the studio with Return To Forever to record the classic Light As A Feather (Polydor), a collection of melodic Brazilian flavored jazz tunes including new versions of "500 Miles High" and "Captain Marvel" along with Chick's best-known composition, "Spain." In November of 1972, Chick also recorded the sublime Crystal Silence (ECM), his initial duet encounter with vibraphonist and kindred spirit Gary Burton.

By early 1973, Return To Forever had taken a different course. Following the addition of electric guitarist Bill Connors and thunderous drummer Lenny White, the group was fully fortified to embrace the emerging fusion movement with a vengeance. Their August, 1973 recording, “Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy” (Polydor), instantly elevated them to the status of other fiery fusion bands of the day like John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, Larry Coryell's Eleventh House and the Joe Zawinul-Wayne Shorter-led juggernaut, Weather Report. By the summer of 1974, with the 19-year-old speed demon guitarist Al Di Meola replacing Connors in the RTF lineup, the transformation to a bona fide high-energy jazz-rock concert attraction was complete. Hordes of rock fans embraced the group and were able to enter into the world of jazz through such important albums as 1974's Where Have I Known You Before (Polydor), 1975's No Mystery (Polydor) and 1976's GRAMMY® Award-winning Romantic Warrior (Columbia). During this same period, Chick also turned out two highly personal recordings in 1975's jazzy showcase The Leprechaun (Polydor) and 1976's flamenco flavored My Spanish Heart.

A third edition of RTF featured a four-piece brass section along with bassist Clarke, charter RTF member Joe Farrell, drummer Gerry Brown and Chick's future wife Gayle Moran on vocals. Together they recorded 1977's Music Magic (Columbia) and the four-LP boxed set R.T.F. Live (Columbia), which captured the sheer energy and excitement of the full ensemble on tour. Shortly after disbanding RTF, Chick and Herbie Hancock teamed up in early 1978 for a tour playing duets exclusively on acoustic pianos. Their chemistry was documented on two separate recordings -- 1978’s Homecoming (Polydor) and 1980's An Evening With Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea (Columbia), a two-LP set which featured renditions of Chick's "La Fiesta" and Herbie's "Maiden Voyage" along with expressive takes on Bela Bartok's "Mikrokosmos" and the Disney staple, "Someday My Prince Will Come." Also in 1978, a year marked by a flurry of activity, Chick released The Mad Hatter (ECM), with original RTF saxophonist Joe Farrell, drummer Steve Gadd and former Bill Evans Trio bassist Eddie Gomez, and followed up with the wide open blowing date Friends (Polydor), featuring the same stellar crew. Before the year was out he also managed to record the provocative Delphi I: Solo Piano Improvisations.

Secret Agent introduced a fresh new rhythm section of drummer Tom Brechtlein (currently a member of the Touchstone band) and France's fretless electric bass wonder, Bunny Brunel. Vocalist Gayle Moran and saxophonist Joe Farrell were also featured on this solid 1979 outing. At the beginning of 1981, Chick recorded Three Quartets, a swinging encounter with tenor sax great Michael Brecker, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Steve Gadd that included a piece dedicated to Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. Later that year he toured in an all-star quartet with saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Roy Haynes. Their near-telepathic post-bop chemistry was documented on the exhilarating Live in Montreux. That same year, Chick also had a reunion with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes for the double LP Trio Music (ECM), which came 13 years after their landmark recording of Now He Sings, Now He Sobs.

“A force that has come to the fore for these last two projects was my lifelong connection with L. Ron Hubbard’s works,” explains the celebrated pianist-composer-bandleader. “I had such an inspiring time doing the To The Stars project. There was a synergy created with me writing musical portraits of his fiction work that I didn’t want it to stop. So one project followed on the heels of the other.” Corea’s richly appointed music on The Ultimate Adventure provides a kind of sonic landscape for Hubbard’s compelling story, continuing the creative streak he established with last year’s To The Stars.

September 14, 2007


Roy Hargrove was born on October 16, 1969 in Waco, Texas. He manifested signs of musical aptitude as a young kid, and after borrowing an old Bundy cornet, was instructed from the elementary grades through junior high school by teacher Dean Hill. Hargrove soon became familiar with the recordings of Maynard Ferguson, Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard, and in the spring of 1987, he met the man who would galvanize his dreams of a professional career: trumpet superstar Wynton Marsalis.

When Marsalis made an unannounced visit to the Dallas Arts Magnet, Hargrove's school, he was so impressed by the young man's musical talents that he immediately arranged special studies for him. He also recommended the assistance of manager-producer Larry Clothier, and as a result Hargrove had the opportunity to travel to New York, and later to Europe and Japan. He soon became a member of the New York Jazz community, and under the supervision of Clothier started recording, as a sideman, with Bobby Watson, Ricky Ford and Carl Allen, as well as with Don Sickler's Superblue band.
After graduating from High School in June 1988, Roy spent the summer in Europe, where he had the opportunity to play in several major Festivals, sharing the stage with musical luminaries as Clifford Jordan, Jerome Richardson or Tete Montoliu. In the fall he entered college at the Berklee School of Music on various scholarships, including one from Down Beat magazine, which had selected him as best jazz soloist of the year. In 1990 Roy moved to New York, where he enrolled in the New School's Jazz and Contemporary Music program.

The first recording -for RCA-Novus- of The Roy Hargrove Quintet (featuring altoist Antonio Hart), Diamond on the rough, appeared in 1990, and was followed by Public Eye in 1991. The summer of that year, Roy was featured at many European Festivals, fronting an all star package, The Jazz Futures.
The quintet's third recording, The Vibe, which appeared in the spring of 1992, was highly rated by critics all over the world, and the band toured again Europe, Japan and the US. In 1993 tenor saxophonist Ron Blake replaced Antonio Hart, and with Blake, Gary Bartz and trombonist André Hayward, Roy recorded his fourth -and last- album for RCA-Novus, ... Of kindred souls.
In 1993, before he was 25, Hargrove was already a major star in the world of contemporary Jazz, and was signed by Verve - Polygram, a label strongly committed to the promotion of young talent. For Verve Roy recorded The tenors of our time, an ambitious project featuring Johnny Griffin, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Henderson and Joshua Redman which appeared in 1994, Family (with David Newman as a special guest) and Parker's Mood (a collection of tunes associated with Charlie Parker), both published in 1995
In 1996, Roy's band appeared in La Habana's Jazz Festival, where they met pianist Chucho Valdes, of Irakere fame. Roy became fascinated with the talents of Cuban musicians, and decided to form a group featuring both Cuban percussionists, such as Anga, El Negro or Changuito, and African-American Jazz players such as Gary Bartz, Frank Lacy or Russell Malone. The group, known as Crisol (Spanish for melting pot) recorded live at the Orvieto (Italy) Jazz Festival, and the resulting CD, Habana, appeared in the market in 1997 with an imposing success. Crisol toured Europe in the summer of 1997, and returned to Cuba in the fall of the same year. Habana won a Grammy Award in February 1998.

During the late 1990's Roy has also been leading The Roy Hargrove Big Band, a large group of young musicians he started out rehearsing a few years ago to work out his talents as a composer and arranger.

September 12, 2007


Nabraska, born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, is a poet, a teacher, an activist—some would say all that and then some. He began his poetic journey as a youth, and grew into his skills as a scribe through open mics, slams, features, and performances with live bands. Nabraska has toured throughout the South, Midwest, East, and West Coasts. He has also taught spoken word workshops with youth through various schools and community centers.

Who is Nabraska? Some would say a poet’s poet, because of his passion and dedication to the art form. An unadulterated supporter of various venues he can usually be found online and offline listening, speaking, and respecting spoken word. His influences can be traced back like a Black history lesson—Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Phyllis Wheatly, The Last Poets, Sonja Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Rakim and Tupac; just to name a few.

Some Performances Include
• Marietta Arts Festival in Marietta, GA
• Sweet Auburn Festival in Atlanta, GA
• Burning Mic Slam in Birmingham, AL
• Black August Festival in Omaha, NE
• The Art of Conversation in Baltimore, MD
• Untamed Tongues in Las Vegas, NV

Who is Nabraska? Some would say, a member of the community, coming to its’ aid whenever called. His inspiration comes from the community, the country, and the world. Nabraska writes what he feels through sight and sound. He is an activist cataloging information through his poetry to be called upon now, and hereafter. Attempting to right the wrong, or write the wrong so to speak, Nabraska has an uncanny spirit that must speak on injustices and understanding.

September 11, 2007


Ronald Theodore Kirk, better known as Rahsaan Roland Kirk was born in Columbus, Ohio on August 7, 1936. He was blinded soon after his birth and was educated at Ohio State School for the Blind. He played saxophone and clarinet with a school band from the age of twelve, and by 1951 was leading his own group for dances and playing with other bands around the Ohio area. At sixteen he dreamed he was playing three instruments at once, and the next day went to a music shop and tried out all the reed instruments. He was taken to the basement to be shown "the scraps", and found two archaic saxophones which had been used in turn-of-the-century Spanish military bands, the stritch and the manzello; the first is a kind of straight alto sax, and the second looks a little like an alto, but sounds more like a soprano.

Kirk took these and worked out a way of playing them simultaneously with the tenor sax, producing three-part harmony by trick fingering. As there were often slight tuning discrepancies between the three instruments, the resulting sound could be harsh, almost with the characteristic of certain ethnic instruments, and this gave Kirk's music an added robustness. He also used sirens, whistles and other sounds to heighten the drama of his performances.

His main instruments were a tenor saxophone and two obscure saxophones: the manzello (similar to a soprano sax) and the stritch (a straight alto sax lacking the instrument's characteristic upturned bell). Kirk modified these instruments himself to accommodate his simultaneous playing technique. He typically appeared on stage with all three horns hanging around his neck, as well as a variety of other instruments, including flutes and whistles, and often kept a gong within reach. Kirk also played harmonica, English horn, recorders and was a competent trumpeter. He often had unique approaches, using a saxophone mouthpiece on a trumpet or playing nose flute. He additionally used many extra musical sounds in his art, such as alarm clocks, whistles, sirens, a section of common garden hose (”the black mystery pipes”) and even primitive electronic sounds (before such things became commonplace).

He made his first album in 1956, but it went virtually unnoticed. Then in 1960, through the help of Ramsey Lewis, he recorded for the Cadet label, and immediately caused controversy. People accused him of gimmickry, and Kirk defended himself, saying that he did everything for a reason, and he heard sirens and things in his head when he played. He was, in fact, rooted very deeply in the whole jazz tradition, and knew all the early music, including thre work of Jelly Roll Morton (and Fats Waller) in which sirens, whistles, car horns and human voices had figured to brilliant effect. For Kirk, jazz was "black classical music", and he steeped in its wild, untamed spirit; in this he was "pure" - there were virtually no discernible influences from European classical music in his work.

In 1961 he worked with Charles Mingus for four months, playing on the album Oh Yeah and touring with him in California. His international reputation was burgeoning, and after his stint with Mingus he made his first trip to Europe, performing as soloist at the Essen jazz festival, West Germany. From 1963 he began a series of regular tours abroad with his own quartet, and played the first of several residencies at Ronnie Scott's club. For the rest of the 1960s and into the 1970s he led his group the Vibration Society in clubs, concerts and major festivals throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

In 1975, Kirk had a stroke which partially paralyzed one side of his body. With tremendous courage he began performing again with one arm - an almost impossible handicap for a saxophonist - and he managed to tour internationally, play some festivals and appear on TV. On Decmber 7, 1977 a second stroke caused his death.


Jon Lucien was born on the island of Tortola in 1942, and raised in St. Thomas by a guitar-playing dad and greatly inspired by Nat "King" Cole. Arriving in New York by the mid-60s, he set about sharing the music in his head with the world at large. His 1970 RCA debut, I Am Now, was a formative step in the direction for which he would subsequently be known, presenting him as a romantic crooner with an exotic accent, but sticking largely to string-laden easy-listening arrangements. By the release of his second album, Rashida, in 1973, he had arrived at his artistic cruising speed, creating a style of R&B where the "B" stood more for bossa nova than blues, with languid samba rhythms, understated nylon-string acoustic guitar, fluid bass lines and his trademark unique scatting, occasionally eschewing lyrics altogether. This approach yielded a number of classic cuts like "Would You Believe In Me," "Lady Love" and the title track, which all found a home on the airwaves in those waning days of progressive FM.

"I would say my sound is a romantic's's's tranquility."

More than any other singer, Jon Lucien captures the essence of romance. His voice is rich and expressive, his best songs are perceptive poetic tales of devotion, trust, hope, harmony and spirituality. Three dimensional parables of love lost and love found and relationships filled with the promise of a new day. He seems to possess an innate ability to evoke an atmosphere and create images not only through his lyrics but the colors of his music.

In the 28 years since the release of his debut album, connoisseurs and assorted in-the-know types have spoken his name with the utmost hushed reverence. His seamless melding of jazz, R&B, Caribbean rhythms and Brazilian music proved to be a decisive early influence on what would be simplified and marketed as the twin formats of "quiet storm" and "smooth jazz," although very few artists working in either format approach Lucien's level of artistry or innovation, not to mention originality.

For the follow up, 1974's Mind's Eye, Lucien and producer Dave Grusin crafted an album that fulfilled and expanded upon Rashida's promise, a scintillating song cycle combining the diverse sources of Lucien's inspiration in a seamless manner. Unfortunately, this album would mark the beginning of Lucien's rather adversarial relationship with the music business establishment, with tracks like "Listen Love" and "World Of Joy" being considered too hard to pigeonhole for any one radio format.

A move to CBS the following year yielded Song For My Lady, an effort to reach the broader audiences that had proven elusive to his previous RCA efforts. Recorded with an array of studio session heavy-hitters, Song fared somewhat better, with "Creole Lady" receiving significant air play on the AC format of the era, although still falling a bit short of making Lucien a household name. The album remains, however, fondly remembered by all who've heard it, as does its 1976 follow up, Premonition, featuring such evergreen favorites as "Laura" and "Hello Like Before" with a similar stellar session lineup. After two albums, however, it became increasingly apparent that CBS scarcely understood Lucien's music and where he was trying to go with it better than RCA, especially with the disco onslaught then beginning to take place.

Feeling a tad disillusioned that music as easily likable as his should experience such difficulties gaining a wider and wider audience, Lucien stopped recording for a while and was not heard from again until the release of 1991's Listen Love on Mercury, followed by 1993's Mother Nature's Son. Both albums went a long way toward refreshing his original fans' memories of his unique artistry, picking up some new ones along the way as well. Jon explains, "Wherever I perform, I hear all the time, ‘I'm 18, I'm 19, but my mom turned me on to your music when I was 10, and this is the first chance I got to see you.' "

After a 4 year absence from the recording studio, Lucien returned to make Endless is Love for Shanachie. The spiritual warmth and romantic grace that have always been Jon's trademarks are even more powerful and profound permeating the songs and enveloping the listener in a mood best described as peaceful intensity on this release. A few months after his 17 year-old daughter Dalila perished on Flight 800 in July of 1996, Jon went into the studio and began recording Endless Is Love. His music has always been his sanctuary. "My daughter doesn't want me sitting around being unhappy. I look at her and we communicate. We make music. The music is a special force." And Lucien's message hasn't wavered since his earliest days. "I hope to heal people who are sad and spiritually dead, because even though I don't pray in the music, the spirit is still there."

1999 marked the issue of four new CDs: Jon Lucien's own production, By Request for Shanachie, and the compilations of some of Lucien's classic recorded material under the titles of Sweet Control -The Best of Jon Lucien (Razor & Tie/BMG), Love Everlasting - The Very Best of Jon Lucien (BMG/Camden UK), and Precious Is Love (Arts Records International) -- all compilations taken from previously recorded material over the years. Love Everlasting & Precious containing several never released cuts from original recording dates back in the '69 and early '70 days of youth and exuberance. The simultaneous release of these 4 CDs on 4 different labels, is further evidence to Jon's vision and his appeal that bridges generations and genres of musical tastes.

2001 signals a new era for Jon with the release of Lucien Romantico the debut CD for Jon's Sugar Apple label. "This" he says, "opens up an entirely new avenue for me, now along with so many of my unreleased music compositions, I can also expose and introduce new talent of quality."

He has garnered younger fans through samplings from the old albums turning up regularly in hip-hop and acid jams, and mint copies of Rashida and Mind's Eye exchanging hands at often absurd prices. It is a testament to that vision and vindication of his commercial struggle that his audience now encompasses jazz buffs, R&B fans, acid-jazzers, world music types and fair-weather music fans in between all of the above, all of whom continue to pack his shows. All drawn by the sound...THAT sound...the Jon Lucien sound.

Jon Lucien crossed over on August 18, 2007 in Poinciana, Florida

September 02, 2007


I'd like to take this opportunity to thank JazzyBlue, one of Spotlight On Jazz And Poetry's most ardent supporters, for her contribution to this weeks program which Features Jeff Lorber (Keyboardist) and her friend Versatyle (Poet) as well as Rachel Stewart (Saxophonist) and Lovely Brown (Poet)

Ms. JazzyBlue did a phenomenal job on her part of the program which entailed introducing the first part of the show, reading an excerpt of a Langston Hughes classic poem "The Negro Mother" and reading the bio of her dear friend Keith "Versatyle" Washington. KUDOS to you Ms. JazzyBlue!