Richie Havens Dead at 72

(Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Folk/Rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Richie Havens reportedly passed away today at the age of 72. Havens was perhaps best known for his three-hour opening set at the Woodstock Festival in 1969.

Over the course of his career, Havens recorded 21 studio albums and toured for nearly 45 years, until last year when he was sidelined with complications from kidney surgery.

While not someone who would be classified as a jazz musician, Havens was the first musician I ever saw at Jazz Alley in Seattle (prom night, 1997). He closed with a solo version of his famed “Freedom (Motherless Child)”, a performance I will not soon forget.

The announcement from Havens’ representatives, The Roots Agency:

Richie Havens was gifted with one of the most recognizable voices in popular music. His fiery, poignant, soulful singing style has remained unique and ageless since his historic appearance at Woodstock in 1969. For four decades, Havens used his music to convey passionate messages of brotherhood and personal freedom. Billboard Magazine writes, “This acoustic soul giant truly seems to be getting more inspiring and graceful with age.” From Woodstock to The Isle of Wight to Glastonbury to the Fillmore Auditorium to Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall, Richie played the most legendary music festivals that ever were, and most of the world’s greatest concert venues. But even when performing in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse or a small club or regional theater, he was eternally grateful that people in any number turned up each time to hear him sing. More than anything, he feels incredibly blessed to have met so many of you along the way.

International Jazz Day is April 30, 2013

Jazz is really about the human experience. It’s about the ability of human beings to take the worst of circumstances and struggles and turn it into something creative and constructive. That’s something that’s built into the fiber of every human being. And I think that’s why people can respond to it. They feel the freedom in it. And the attributes of jazz are also admirable. It’s about dialogue. It’s about sharing. And teamwork. It’s in the moment, and it’s nonjudgmental.” – Herbie Hancock

International Jazz Day is a little more than a week away. Here is a little background information from the International Jazz Day website:

In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration, which began in 2012.

International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication. Each year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity, eradicating discrimination, promoting freedom of expression, fostering gender equality, and reinforcing the role of youth for social change. International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage in April.

UNESCO and United Nations missions, U.S. embassies and government outposts around the world hosted special events for the first annual International Jazz Day on April 30, 2012 to honor this revered musical art form. Universities, libraries, schools, community centers, performing arts venues and arts organizations of all disciplines around the world marked the day through concerts, education programs, seminars, lectures, book readings, public jam sessions, master classes, photo exhibitions, dance recitals, film and documentary screenings, theater presentations and spoken word performances. More than one billion people around the world were reached through 2012 International Jazz Day programs and media coverage.

In 2012, UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz presented three high-profile programs: a daylong celebration in Paris at UNESCO world headquarters; a sunrise concert in New Orleans’ Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz; and a sunset concert at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City. Among the world-renowned artists that participated were John Beasley, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona (Cameroon), Dee Dee Bridgewater, Candido, Teri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Robert Cray, Jack DeJohnette, George Duke, Sheila E., Herbie Hancock, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, Hiromi (Japan), Zakir Hussain (India), Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), Joe Lovano, Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Shankar Mahadevan (India), Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Danilo Pérez (Panama), Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Treme Brass Band and Stevie Wonder. Hosts included Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Quincy Jones.

Istanbul, Turkey has been named the 2013 Global Host City for International Jazz Day. The city will host a daylong series of jazz events including workshops and seminars, panels and roundtable discussions, film screenings, student master classes led by prominent musicians and educators, and a major evening performance that will be broadcast on public television stations worldwide. The Institute and UNESCO will continue their partnership to encourage schools, universities, libraries, arts organizations, community centers and other entities in UNESCO’s 195 member states to host jazz concerts and educational programs on International Jazz Day in order to reach people of all ages and backgrounds.

This year, celebrations in Istanbul will kick off with a special early morning performance for high school students conducted by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others. The evening concert at Istanbul’s famed Hagia Irene will feature performances by stellar musicians from around the world, including pianists John Beasley, George Duke, Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Abdullah Ibrahim, Keiko Matsui and Eddie Palmieri; vocalists Al Jarreau, Milton Nascimento and Dianne Reeves; trumpeters Hugh Masekela, Imer Demirer and Christian Scott; bassists James Genus, Marcus Miller, and Ben Williams; drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Vinnie Colaiuta; guitarists Bilal Karaman, John McLaughlin, Lee Ritenour and Joe Louis Walker; saxophonists Dale Barlow, Igor Butman, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter and Liu Yuan; clarinetists Anat Cohen and Hüsnü Şenlendirici; violinist Jean-Luc Ponty; Pedro Martinez on percussion and other special guests to be announced in the weeks ahead.  John Beasley will be the event’s musical director. The events will be streamed live.

If you are holding an event for International Jazz Day, you can register it on the International Jazz Day website by clicking here.

You can watch a Live Webcast of the International Jazz Day Global Concert, from Istanbul, Turkey on YouTube. The Webcast begins at 9pm (Istanbul) / 7pm (London) / 2pm (New York) / 4am (Sydney – May 1st).

Below is the video of the concert from last year.

First ever Seattle Women in Jazz Festival kicks off April 26th

The Seattle Women in Jazz Festival, the first festival of its kind locally, will highlight some of Seattle’s best jazz bands, led and/or comprised of women. The festival will also work to engage youth in the art of jazz and to reach out to potential audience members who may not have previously attended a jazz concert.

The festival will run April 26th through April 28th and will showcase musicians including Cynthia Mullis, Kate Olson, Naomi Siegel, Jeannette d’Armand, Leah Natale, Stephanie Porter, Katy Bourne, Jacqueline Tabor, Joanne Klein, Sarah Elizabeth, Tuesday Velasco, Debby Boland Watt, Julie Olson, and Dina Blade. Venues include Egan’s Ballard Jam House, The Triple Door, the Rainier Valley Cultural Center, The Vera Project, and LUCID Lounge.

Jessica Davis interview with KPLU’s Robin Lloyd

Winner of the Red Holloway Memorial Scholarship, Eliana Colachis Glass.

The festival also recently announced the winner of the Red Holloway Memorial Scholarship to Eliana Colachis Glass, a 15-year-old Freshman at Roosevelt High School, who is taking lessons in voice, piano, and guitar! She will be taking a vocal summit and stage performance workshop at Berklee School of Music in Boston, this summer. Elaina will be recognized and will perform at 4 PM PST at The Vera Project (Located on the corner of Warren & Republican Ave. N., next to the Key Arena, at the Seattle Center) on Sunday April 28th.

For more information on the Seattle Women in Jazz Festival, visit their website here.

Louis Armstrong House Museum Celebrates Int’l Jazz Day

In celebration of International Jazz Day (sponsored by UNESCO), and the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month (a major initiative of the Smithsonian Institution), the Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Jazz Journalists Association presents Louis Armstrong at Freedomland: Never Before Heard Recordings of an American Icon, a Listening Session & Lecture on April 30th.

This event showcases the public premier of newly discovered recordings by the beloved trumpeter and entertainer, Armstrong, at a fabled although short-lived Bronx amusement park in 1961. Highlights from Armstrong’s live performances from the 85-acre park billed as the “World’s Largest Entertainment Center,” which boasted more than 63,000 guests for its opening day in 1960, will be played. These recordings, recently donated to the Museum by the son of Freedomland sound engineer Peter Denis, have never been circulated or issued, and are not listed in jazz discographies.

The program will be presented and interpreted by Ricky Riccardi and Dan Morgenstern.   Mr. Riccardi is the Museum’s Archivist and the author of What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years.  Dan Morgenstern, newly added to the program, recently retired Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University and a Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism honoree of the JJA’s. He is a jazz historian and archivist, author, editor, and educator who has been active in the jazz field since 1958. A prolific annotator of record albums, Morgenstern has won seven Grammy Awards for Best Album Notes (1973, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1991, 1995, 2006, and 2009). He received ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award for Jazz People in 1977 and in 2005 for Living with Jazz. In 2007, Dan Morgenstern was named the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honor in Jazz.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued a proclamation honoring International Jazz Day, which will be presented as part of the program.

Following the presentation, the Jazz Journalists Association will toast Armstrong at a special soul food reception to mark the finale of its JazzApril media campaign at in support of Jazz Appreciation Month, International Jazz Day and grassroots jazz activism in the U.S. and beyond.

Due to increased demand, the event  has been relocated to the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, originally to be held at the Louis Armstrong House Museum. The event is free and open to the public and begins at 2:00 pm.

Reservations for this free event can be made by calling the Louis Armstrong House Museum at 718.478.8274.

Further information about the Jazz Journalists Association is available from President@jazzjournalists.org. The Jazz Journalists Association media campaign for JazzApril can be found online at www.JazzApril.com. The Louis Armstrong House Museum can be found online at www.LouisArmstrongHouse.org.

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die on Spotify

After I published the 1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die list last week, I had a lot of people suggesting that I create a playlist of “The 1,000″ on Spotify. As you might assume, many of these albums are out of print and not available on Spotify. I managed, however,  to track down over 700 of the albums, and I created a playlist with selections from each one, for your listening pleasure.

You can find the list on Spotify by searching either “1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die” or “Kevin Kniestedt.” You can also find it by clicking here. When you find the playlist, don’t forget to click “follow”, so you don’t have to search for it again.

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