Tuesday, 5/8/2012 at the Iris Restaurant 7:30 - 10:30
Jeff Hackworth, tenor saxophone Michael T. Jones, piano Dave Arenius, bass your host, drum set
You know this already, but it bears repeating: One of the many benefits of this great gig lies in the opportunity to offer a venue to Buffalo-born musicians who have found their artistic fortunes elsewhere. This week the honor falls to Jeff Hackworth, and by extension, to us. At the turn of the millennium Jeff confidently left the embrace of his home town for the challenges of New York City. In the years since his maiden release, What a Wonderful World with Bobby Jones and Kent Leach, Jeff has recorded two more critically acclaimed CD's, each produced by Houston Person. Here are some Jeff Simon observations on Jeff's most recent effort, Night Owl: Hackworth has a variant of that big "chitlin circuit" tenor sound that people loved so much in Gene Ammons, David "Fathead" Newman and Houston Person. But he's not afraid of the multiphonic screams and furious flurries of notes that distinguished the tenor generations that came after them. There's no question that the music of Hackworth's quartet here -- with vibraphonist Jay Hoggard, Hammond B-3 player Radam Schwartz and drummer Earl Grice -- is in the tradition of the music that once held sway at great Blue Collar Buffalo jazz clubs such as the Pine Grill, the Bon Ton and Jan's, but it's all played by the kind of musician who, as someone once described a politician, is not the kind of fellow who's ever hesitant about which opening in a revolving door to enter. And there's also no question that vibist Hoggard adds an element here you don't often hear with such groups. It couldn't be more welcome, in this case.
And Simon again on Where The Blue Begins, Jeff's first effort under Houston Person: Buried treasure here and a bit out of the blue too. Hackworth is a tenor saxophonist of soul, facility and behemoth sound who grew up in Buffalo and steeped himself in the working class tenor traditions of the Pine Grill the whole Gene Ammons, Stanley Turrentine, Ike Quebec and Houston Person line that also, in a different way, so impressed and formed Grover Washington Jr. Hackworth's tone is harder than, say, Quebec's and his attack more nimble, but he's got that ballad-and-blues soaked club jazz feel that no school has ever taught or ever will. When Hackworth moved to New York eight years ago, he eventually hooked up with Person himself who has now produced two savory meat and potatoes soul jazz discs with Hackworth. Person picked the players and they're solid as oak. The repertoire is mostly as traditional as Ellington's "Just Sitting and a Rockin'." Put it this way the newest tune on the disc is Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love." Among the players chosen by Person are the redoubtable Lafayette Harris Jr. This is the music where retro and timeless meet.
Not too bad an endorsement from a Buffalo News critic who has a reputation for being stingy with his compliments... And more impressive? Jeff has recorded three albums with actor and singer Danny Aiello, (Bridges, Live from Atlantic City, and a holiday disc), and has subbed both with Blood, Sweat & Tears and on Broadway for Hairspray. What else? Two years with Chubby Checker, two more years touring with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, a TV appearance with Buddy Rich, and performances with The Temptations, Mel Torme. Jack Jones, Ben Vereen, Doc Severinson, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, The Goo Goo Dolls, Gary US Bonds, and countless others.
Jeff Hackworth's success is our success. The craft he honed while practicing, listening, and haunting the clubs in his home town lives in every note, whether on the big stage in the big apple, or in a return visit to his very roots. Please join us. The Iris Restaurant, in the plaza at the intersection of Maple & Sweet Home Roads in Amherst. Good music, good food, good people, chilled spirits, and a great hang.
Wednesday, 5/9 at the Iris Restaurant 7:30 - 9:30
Buffalo Brass open rehearsal
In rehearsal at the Iris, and you're invited... Here's a chance to hear a big band work through the musical concepts that attempts to organize 17 disparate musicians under one artistic umbrella. And it's a great night out.
Friday, 5/11 at the Iris Restaurant 8:00 - 10:30
Bill Dobbins, piano Mike Kaupa, trumpet Danny Vitale, bass yours truly, drum set
This is huge. If I were wealthy, I’d endow the Eastman School upon my transition.
The list is long, of both student and instructor who have privileged our venue with their artistry. But Bill Dobbins at the Iris is yet another level indeed. To present Bill in a quartet setting is a most extraordinary opportunity, both for your correspondent as accompanist, and for the jazz programming at our venue.
Bill Dobbins is known internationally as an inspired jazz pianist, steeped in the history and traditions of our American music, and his name is globally synonymous with jazz education. His distinguished association with the Eastman School goes back to 1973, and in the time since, his students have gone on to gigs with Count Basie, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Chuck Mangione, and Maria Schneider. Some are working in the Los Angeles television and film music industry; others are on the faculties of jazz programs in many of the world’s leading music schools.
His contribution is immeasurable. Presently, he’s teaching jazz composition and arranging, and directs both the Eastman Jazz Ensemble and the Eastman Studio Orchestra. He has performed and recorded with the likes of Clark Terry, Al Cohn, Red Mitchell, Phil Woods, Bill Goodwin, Dave Liebman, Kevin Mahogany, Paquito D’Rivera, and Peter Erskine, among countless others.
And this Friday, he’s with us. Reservations are recommended (831-3271), but barring a sell-out, $10 tickets will also be available at the door. My thanks to Mike Kaupa for his assistance with this booking, and to Vincent Lesh at the Iris for his confidence in our continuing mission to serve the Western New York jazz community.
Saturday, 5/12 at The Little Theater, Rochester 8:30 - 10:30
Fred Stone, bass Nick Weiser, piano your correspondent, drum set
This is a first for yours truly. My thanks to Fred Stone for the invitation, subbing for Rich Thompson.
next Tuesday, 5/15 at the Iris Restaurant 7:30 - 10:30
Bob Sneider, guitar Danny Ziemann, bass your host, drum set
upcoming at the Iris Restaurant...
Tuesday, 5/22 Steve Davis & John Hasselback, Jr
Tuesday, 5/29 John Whitney & Bruce Johnstone
Tuesday, 6/5 Fred Stone & Vince Ercolomento
Tuesday, 6/19 Barbara Jean
Tuesday, 7/3 Ron Corsaro & the Upstate Express
Tuesday, 7/24 Laurie Bordonaro
Tuesday, 7/31 Bill Todd
Tuesday, 8/7 Larry Covelli
Tuesday, 8/14 Don Menza
Tuesday, 8/21 Kenny Kuriscak & Tim Clarke
Donald Byrd at the Half Note Cafe 1960 Pepper Adams, Duke Pearson, Laymon Jackson (bs), Lex Humphries
- check out Kimayas. Seductive bass & piano vamp at the intro.... Then Lex Humphries kills with an intense Afro-Cuban groove. Also listen to his brush work on the piano solo. Fearless.
Pat Metheny Trio 99>00 Bill Stewart's soloing is other-worldly
Chick Corea Now He Sings, Now he Sobs 1968 Miroslav Vitous & Roy Haynes - Dig into Steps - What Was. Listen to Roy Haynes' crisp touch on that flat ride, and his extended solo. Legend has it that Chick owned that flat ride & asked Roy Haynes to play it. You can also hear on this tune what eventually became Chick's brilliant classic, Spain.
You've achieved success in your field when you don't know whether what you're doing is work or play.
- Warren Beaty