sábado, 27 de agosto de 2011

Illinois Jacquet

Jean-Baptiste Illinois Jacquet (October 31, 1922 – July 22, 2004) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist best remembered for his solo on "Flying Home", critically recognized as the first R&B saxophone solo.
Although he was a pioneer of the honking tenor saxophone that became a regular feature of jazz playing and a hallmark of early rock and roll, Jacquet was a skilled and melodic improviser, both on up-tempo tunes and ballads. He doubled on the bassoon, one of only a few jazz musicians to use the instrument.
Jacquet was born to a Sioux mother and a Creole father in Broussard, Louisiana and moved to Houston, Texas, as an infant, and was raised there as one of six siblings.

His father, Gilbert Jacquet, was a part-time bandleader. As a child he performed in his father's band, primarily on the alto saxophone. His older brother Russell Jacquet played trumpet and his brother Linton played drums.
At 15, Jacquet began playing with the Milton Larkin Orchestra, a Houston-area dance band. In 1939, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he met Nat King Cole. Jacquet would sit in with the trio on occasion. In 1940, Cole introduced Jacquet to Lionel Hampton who had returned to California and was putting together a big band. Hampton wanted to hire Jacquet, but asked the young Jacquet to switch to tenor saxophone.
In 1942, at age 19, Jacquet soloed on the Hampton Orchestra's recording of "Flying Home", one of the very first times a honking tenor sax was heard on record. The record became a hit. The song immediately became the climax for the live shows and Jacquet became exhausted from having to "bring down the house" every night. The solo was built to weave in and out of the arrangement and continued to be played by every saxophone player who followed Jacquet in the band, notably Arnett Cobb and Dexter Gordon, who achieved almost as much fame as Jacquet in playing it. It is one of the very few jazz solos to have been memorized and played very much the same way by everyone who played the song.

He quit the Hampton band in 1943 and joined Cab Calloway's Orchestra. Jacquet appeared with Cab Calloway's band in Lena Horne's movie Stormy Weather. In 1944 he returned to California and started a small band with his brother Russell and a young Charles Mingus. It was at this time that he appeared in the Academy Award-nominated short film Jammin' the Blues with Lester Young. He also appeared at the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert. In 1946 he moved to New York City and joined the Count Basie orchestra, replacing Lester Young. Jacquet continued to perform (mostly in Europe) in small groups through the 1960s and 1970s. Jacquet led the Illinois Jacquet Big Band from 1981 until his death.
Jacquet became the first jazz musician to be an artist-in-residence at Harvard University in 1983. He played "C-Jam Blues" with President Bill Clinton on the White House lawn during Clinton's inaugural ball in 1993. His solos of the early and mid-1940s and his performances at the Jazz at the Philharmonic concert series, greatly influenced rhythm and blues and rock and roll saxophone style, but also continue to be heard in jazz. His honking and screeching emphasized the lower and higher registers of the tenor saxophone. Despite a superficial rawness, the style is still heard in skilled jazz players like Arnett Cobb, who also became famous for playing "Flying Home" with Hampton, as well as Sonny Rollins, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Jimmy Forrest. Jacquet died in his home in Queens, New York of a heart attack on Thursday July 22, 2004. He was 81 years of age.

Jean-Baptiste Illinois Jacquet (31 de octubre de 1922 - 22 de julio de 2004) fue un saxo tenor y saxo alto de jazz estadounidense.
Jacquet nació en Louisiana, aunque creció en Houston, Texas.3 Tras tocar con el saxo alto en bandas locales, en 1939, se trasladó a Los Ángeles, California, donde conoció a Nat King Cole. En 1940, Cole presentó a Jacquet a Lionel Hampton, que estaba formando una big band. Fue Hampton quien pidió a Jacquet a que cambiara al saxo tenor. Dejó la banda de Hampton en 1943 para unirse a la orquesta de Cab Calloway, banda que posteriormente aparecerá en la película protagonizada por Lena Horne y Cab Calloway, Stormy Weather.

En 1944, volvió a California y formó una grupo con su hermano Russell y Charles Mingus. En esta época también aparece, con Lester Young, en la película Jammin' the Blues, que fue nominada para los Premios Óscar. Asimismo, participó en el primer concierto, ya clásico, de Jazz at the Philharmonic.3
En 1946, se trasladó a Nueva York para unirse a la orquesta de Count Basie, sustituyendo a Lester Young.
En 1993, tras la elección de Bill Clinton como presidente de los EE.UU., Jacquet tocó "C-Jam Blues" en la recepción oficial celebrada en la Casa Blanca.
Influenció a muchos otros saxos como Arnett Cobb, Stanley Turrentine, Sonny Rollins, y Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis.

Art Tatum

Arthur "Art" Tatum, Jr. (October 13, 1909 – November 5, 1956) was an American jazz pianist and virtuoso. He was nearly blind.
Tatum is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. Critic Scott Yanow wrote, "Tatum's quick reflexes and boundless imagination kept his improvisations filled with fresh (and sometimes futuristic) ideas that put him way ahead of his contemporaries ... Art Tatum's recordings still have the ability to scare modern pianists.
For a musician of such stature, there is very little published information available about Tatum's life. Only one full-length biography of Tatum has been published, Too Marvelous for Words, by James Lester. Lester interviewed many Tatum contemporaries for the book and drew from many articles published about Tatum.
Tatum was born in Toledo, Ohio. His father, Arthur Tatum, Sr., was a guitarist and an elder at Grace Presbyterian Church, where his mother, Mildred Hoskins, played piano. He had two siblings, Karl and Arlene. From infancy he suffered from cataracts (of disputed cause) which left him blind in one eye and with only very limited vision in the other. A number of surgical procedures improved his eye condition to a degree but some of the benefits were reversed when he was assaulted in 1930 at age 20.

A child prodigy with perfect pitch, Tatum learned to play by ear, picking out church hymns by the age of three, learning tunes from the radio and copying piano-roll recordings his mother owned. In a Voice of America interview, he denied the widespread rumor that he learned to play by copying piano roll recordings made by two pianists. He developed an incredibly fast playing style, without losing accuracy. As a child he was also very sensitive to the piano's intonation and insisted it be tuned often. While playing piano was the most obvious application of his mental and physical skills, he also had an encyclopedic memory for Major League Baseball statistics.
In 1925, Tatum moved to the Columbus School for the Blind, where he studied music and learned braille. Subsequently he studied piano with Overton G. Rainey at either the Jefferson School or the Toledo School of Music. Rainey, who too was visually impaired, likely taught Tatum in the classical tradition, as Rainey did not improvise and discouraged his students from playing jazz. In 1927, Tatum began playing on Toledo radio station WSPD as 'Arthur Tatum, Toledo's Blind Pianist', during interludes in Ellen Kay's shopping chat program and soon had his own program. By the age of 19, Tatum was playing with singer Jon Hendricks, also an Ohioan, at the local Waiters' and Bellmens' Club. As word of Tatum spread, national performers, including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Joe Turner and Fletcher Henderson, passing through Toledo would make it a point to drop in to hear the piano phenomenon.

Tatum drew inspiration from the pianists James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, who exemplified the stride piano style, and from the more 'modern' Earl Hines, six years Tatum's senior. Tatum identified Waller as his main influence, but according to pianist Teddy Wilson and saxophonist Eddie Barefield, "Art Tatum's favorite jazz piano player was Earl Hines. He [Tatum] used to buy all of Earl's records and would improvise on them. He'd play the record but he'd improvise over what Earl was doing ..... 'course, when you heard Art play you didn't hear nothing of anybody but Art. But he got his ideas from Earl's style of playing - but Earl never knew that". A major event in his meteoric rise to success was his appearance at a cutting contest in 1933 at Morgan's bar in New York City that included Waller, Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith. Standard contest pieces included Johnson's "Harlem Strut" and "Carolina Shout" and Fats Waller's "Handful of Keys."
Tatum triumphed with his arrangements of "Tea for Two" and "Tiger Rag", in a performance that was considered to be the last word in stride piano. James P. Johnson, reminiscing about Tatum's debut afterward, simply said, 'When Tatum played Tea For Two that night I guess that was the first time I ever heard it really played. Tatum's debut was historic because he outplayed the elite competition and heralded the demise of the stride era. He was not challenged further until stride specialist Donald Lambert initiated a half-serious rivalry with him.
Tatum worked in New York at the Onyx Club for a few months and recorded his first four solo sides on the Brunswick label in March, 1933. He returned to Ohio and played around the American midwest in the mid-1930s and played on the Fleischman Hour radio program hosted by Rudy Vallee in 1935. He also played stints at the Three Deuces in Chicago and in Los Angeles played at the Trocadero, the Paramount and the Club Alabam. In 1937 he returned to New York where he appeared at clubs and played on national radio programs. The following year he embarked on the Queen Mary for England where he toured,[16] playing for three months at Ciro's Club owned by bandleader Ambrose. In the late 1930s he returned to play and record in Los Angeles and New York.

In 1941, Tatum recorded two sessions for Decca Records with singer, Big Joe Turner, the first of which included "Wee Wee Baby Blues", which attained national popularity. Two years later Tatum won Esquire Magazine's first jazz popularity poll. Perhaps believing there was a limited audience for solo piano, Tatum formed a trio in 1943 with guitarist Tiny Grimes and bassist Slam Stewart, whose perfect pitch enabled him to follow Tatum's excursions. Tatum recorded exclusively with the trio for almost two years, but abandoned the trio format in 1945 and returned to solo piano work. Although Tatum was idolized by many jazz musicians, his popularity faded in the mid to late forties with the advent of bebop - a movement which Tatum did not embrace.
The last two years of his life, Tatum regularly played at Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit, including his final public performance in April 1956. Earlier, Tatum had personally selected and purchased for Clarence Baker the Steinway piano at Baker's, finding it in a New York showroom, and shipping it to Detroit.
Art Tatum died at Queen of Angels Medical Center in Los Angeles, California from the complications of uremia (as a result of kidney failure). He was originally interred at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles, but was moved to the Great Mausoleum of Glendale's Forest Lawn Cemetery in 1991. He was survived by his wife, Geraldine Tatum. Geraldine died on May 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, and was interred beside Art at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Arthur Tatum Jr. (Toledo, 13 de octubre de 1909 – Los Ángeles, 5 de noviembre de 1956), conocido como Art Tatum, fue un pianista estadounidense de jazz.
Considerado como uno de los más importantes músicos de la historia del jazz, es especialmente reconocido por su virtuosismo en el piano y sus creativas improvisaciones.
Tatum nació en Toledo, Ohio. Desde su nacimiento sufrió de cataratas, que le dejaron ciego de un ojo, con una visión muy limitada en el otro. Pianista desde su juventud, tocó profesionalmente en Ohio, y especialmente en el área de Cleveland antes de trasladarse a Nueva York en el año 1932.
Aprendió a tocar copiando grabaciones que tenía su madre, tocando de oído a la edad de tres años. A los 6 años era capaz de tocar canciones que habían sido interpretadas originalmente como dúos, sin saber que tenían que ser tocadas por dos intérpretes, lo que hizo que desarrollara una increíble velocidad, sin perder nada de precisión.
Tatum se inspiró en sus contemporáneos James P. Johnson y Fats Waller, que eran abanderados del estilo pianístico conocido como stride. A partir de esta base, Tatum dio un salto cuantitativo en términos de técnica y teoría, y acuñó un nuevo estilo que influiría enormemente a pianistas posteriores, como Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson y Chick Corea.

A diferencia de la mayoría de músicos de jazz, Tatum raramente abandonó las líneas melódicas originales de las canciones que tocaba, y prefería rearmonizarlas de forma innovadora, cambiando las progresiones de acordes asociadas a las melodías. Los conceptos armónicos de Tatum estaban por delante de su tiempo en los años treinta y serían explorados por los músicos de la era bebop veinte años más tarde. Tenía también inclinación por rellenar los espacios interiores de las melodías con notas de adorno, lo que algunos críticos consideraban gratuito y "no jazzístico". Visto con imparcialidad, las notas y frases de estos adornos constituían declaraciones musicales genuinas y apreciables tanto por el público de jazz como por la audiencia clásica. Los admiradores de Tatum consideran que esta pirotecnia es un componente vital de su música.
Imagen de la película The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)
Tatum tenía tendencia a realizar grabaciones sin acompañamiento, en parte porque relativamente pocos músicos podían seguir su rápido 'tempo' y su avanzado vocabulario armónico. A principios de los años cuarenta formó un trío con el bajista Slam Stewart y el guitarrista Tiny Grimes. Durante el corto período que tocaron juntos, grabaron varios discos de 78 rpm, que muestran la maravillosa interacción que había entre los músicos, y son únicos hasta la fecha.
Sin embargo, el mayor legado de Tatum son sus grabaciones para piano solo. Con un repertorio compuesto principalmente por el Great American Songbook, Tatum mostraba una fluida brillantez técnica y una prodigiosa memoria para crear una biblioteca de obras maestras para piano. La habilidad de Tatum para imaginar y ejecutar ideas complejas e ingeniosas a toda velocidad no tiene parangón en la música grabada. Escuchar a Tatum puede ser una tarea tan emocionante como exigente debido al profundo impacto de sus ideas, sus desvíos armónicos y su extravagante ornamentación.

A diferencia de los grandes del jazz Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis o John Coltrane, cada uno de los cuales dio origen a una legión de devotos emuladores, no nació ninguna escuela de clones de Tatum, quizás a causa de la dificultad de copiar su forma de tocar. Como resultado, aunque ha sido una gran influencia en el mundo del jazz, Tatum es prácticamente desconocido para el público actual.
No obstante, los contemporáneos de Tatum reconocieron su valor. Cuando él entró en un club donde Fats Waller estaba tocando, Waller se apartó del piano para hacer sitio a Tatum, anunciando "Yo sólo toco el piano, pero esta noche Dios está aquí". Además, el compositor ruso Sergei Rachmaninoff, tras oír tocar a Tatum, declaró que era el más grande intérprete de piano de cualquier estilo. Otras celebridades de su tiempo, como Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein y George Gershwin se maravillaron con el genio de Tatum. Y el legendario saxofonista Charlie Parker, que ayudó a definir el bebop, fue muy influenciado por Tatum. Recién llegado a Nueva York, Parker trabajó brevemente fregando platos en un restaurante de Manhattan donde Tatum estaba actuando, y escuchó a menudo al legendario pianista. Desafortunadamente, las dos figuras nunca tocaron juntas.
Tatum grabó comercialmente desde 1932 hasta poco antes de su fallecimiento, aunque su naturaleza principalmente solista hacía que las oportunidades de grabar fueran algo intermitentes. Tatum grabó para Decca (1934-41), Capitol (1949, 1952) y para los sellos asociados con Norman Granz (1953-56). Para Granz, Tatum grabó una extensa serie de álbumes como solista, y también grabaciones de grupos con Ben Webster, Buddy DeFranco, Benny Carter y Lionel Hampton, entre otros.
Aunque Tatum evitaba clasificarse como pianista clásico, adaptó varias obras clásicas con nuevos arreglos que exhibían su propio estilo musical.

Actualmente existe muy pocas filmaciones que muestren a Art Taum tocando, ya que la gran mayoría se ha perdido (por ejemplo, varios minutos grabados profesionalmente pueden verse en el vídeo documental 'Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues'). Tatum apareció en el programa Tonight Show de Steve Allen a principios de los años 50, y en otros espectáculos televisivos de esa época. Desgraciadamente, todos los cinescopios de los espectáculos de Allen, que estaban guardados en un almacén junto con otros espectáculos, fueron tirados a la basura para hacer sitio para nuevos estudios. No obstante, las bandas sonoras fueron grabadas externamente por entusiastas de Tatum de la época, y muchas están incluidas en la extensa serie de grabaciones raras de Tatum de Storyville Records. Apareció también en un fragmento de la película "Fabulous Dorseys" (1947), en una breve jam session junto a otros músicos.
Las películas que han sobrevivido muestran a un pianista que actuaba con un lenguaje corporal callado y relajada confianza, mientras sus manos se movían expertamente arriba y abajo del teclado.
Art Tatum murió en Los Ángeles, California de una uremia debida a insuficiencia renal, posiblemente debida al alcohol (Tatum había sido un gran bebedor de cerveza desde sus años de adolescencia). Está enterrado en el Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery en Glendale, California.
Tatum recibió póstumamente el Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award el año 1989.