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Ron Scott

Stories by Ron

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Jazz takes a stand

Regardless of America’s ever-changing situation, Black music has always been its soundtrack depicting the mood of the times, from war to peace, lynchings to chain gangs, segregation, civil disobedience, integration, police brutality and nonviolent resistance.

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Our Point of View, Sanabria in Bronx, Apollo Xmas, Sweet Lou

Some of the most influential jazz musicians to ever play an instrument recorded on Blue Note Records, founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis, with Francis Wolff joining with them shortly afterwards.

HSA and Minton’s present Dr. Glory’s Youth Ensemble

The on-going jazz fable is the music is dying, and it has yet to reach a younger audience. Hopefully, eager enthusiasts will be able to kick six feet of dirt on this mindless concept after venturing into Minton’s to witness the collaboration with the Harlem School of the Arts Dec. 7.

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Paris Blues at 45

The neighborhood bar in Harlem has become little more than a memory only cherished by the community’s elders.

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Jimmy Scott memorial

He was called “Little Jimmy Scott,” but his heart was that of a giant.

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Gunn swings, Payton plays, Kellylee Evans

During Russell Gunn’s recent one-nighter at the Blue Note jazz club, his music took the audience to the musical cliff’s edge, and as the pebbles fell beneath their feet, they breathlessly moved to a spiked groove.

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Wilson at Blue Note, ‘Jazz on Fifth,’ Great Night in Harlem

Cassandra Wilson, the most daring of female jazz vocalists, whose style transcends categories with its infusion of soul and blues, will carry on at the Blue Note jazz club (131 W. Third St.) Oct. 16 through Oct. 19, with two shows each night at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

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‘Keep On Keepin’ On,’ Ravi and Chick reviews

‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ is one of the best films of the decade. It chronicles the life of legendary jazz trumpeter Clark Terry (age 89 at the time of filming) focusing on a period when he was battling diabetes-related complications while working with his young protege, pianist Justin Kauflin (then age 23).

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Liston & Weston exhibit, Langston ‘Insights,’ Villafranca at Drom

For pianist-composer Randy Weston, jazz is more than a flow of hip music with improvisational statements, it represents the roots of Africa, the origin of jazz.

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Gerald Wilson, influential jazz composer, dies at 96

Gerald Wilson, a big band leader and trumpeter whose fountain of jazz compositions and arrangements became a pivotal force, influencing eight generations of musicians, died Sept. 8 in his home in Los Angeles.

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Detroit Jazz Festival, no fillers

Rain, the demon of outdoor jazz festivals, spread its hysterical tears over the Detroit Jazz Festival last week, denying bassist Stanley Clarke and Dr. Lonnie Smith’s octet the opportunity to close the festival on its Labor Day finale.

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Patience Higgins and the Sugar Hill Quartet

It’s very difficult for any band to maintain a high profile for an extended period of time, but saxophonist Patience Higgins and the Sugar Hill Quartet have kept Harlem swinging for more than 20 years.

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Master violinist John Blake Jr. dies at 67

John Blake Jr., who continued the early tradition of bringing the violin into the jazz arena and making its voice heard with the music of Africa to avant-garde, R&B, blues and spirituals, died Aug. 15 in Philadelphia.

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Charlie Parker fest, ‘Lens Darkly,’ Lovelace at Paris Blues

Charlie Parker, the pride of Kansas City, Kan. would have been 94 on his birthday, Aug. 29. The festival named in his honor will celebrate its 22nd year Aug. 22 to Aug. 24.

Valley Jazz, Jazzmobile, Harlem Awakening, Johnny O’Neal

The Jazz in the Valley Festival, which commences Aug. 17, has an outstanding lineup of musicians to get Big Apple jazzheads out of their city complacency and on the highway or train to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for the 14th annual festival in Waryas Park.

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Newport at 60 celebrates sassy Sarah and Brownie

Jazz Notes

When you are successful, it is easy to rest on your laurels, but a lackadaisical attitude was never a part of George Wein’s mentality, which is why his Newport Jazz Festival just celebrated its 60th year.

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Thursdays, Seleno celebrates, Poncho Burns, Newport at 60

Jazz Notes

In the midst of this Harlem gentrification, more venues are opening their doors to live jazz. Every Thursday, the Lenox Saphire (341 Lenox Avenue at 127th Street) brightens with The Phil Young Experience and Friends.

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Abysinnian panel, Blackbyrd at Zinc, Vinx eclectic

Jazz Notes

The history and culture of jazz will be given a platform July 24 (tonight) at 7 p.m., when the Abyssinian Jazz Vespers, in association with the 2014 Harlem Music Fest, presents “Post ’50s Jazz, the Artists, the Culture, the Cool.” It will be an informative music perspective on the developmental seeds of “modern jazz” in Harlem featuring a panel of well-versed musicians, including trumpeter, composer and arranger Charles Tolliver; vocalist Eunice Newkirk; pianist and composer Onaje Allan Gumbs; and bassist and composer Mickey Bass.

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Jazzmobile at 50, Locke at Dizzy’s, Bronx Music, Tolliver at Cell

New York City jazz fans know it’s summer when they notice the birds flapping their wings over Harlem, grooving to the Summerfest Jazzmobile running full steam from July to August.

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Remembering Bobby Womack

Jazz Notes

Bobby Womack, who became a force on the R&B scene for over five decades, couldn’t be called a jazz vocalist, but during his reign, his gravelly, soulful voice surely influenced a host of R&B singers and inspired jazz vocalists along the way. He was acknowledged in the rock world for writing and originally recording the Rolling Stones’ first U.K. No. 1 hit, “It’s All Over Now.”

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Remembering Ruby Dee and Little Jimmy Scott

Jazz Notes

Upon hearing of Ruby Dee’s death at the age of 91 on June 11, I was saddened. I quietly remembered my mother who loved the actress. “I love me some Ruby Dee,” she would often say.

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Miles Way, Vision Festival, Ornette Coleman

Jazz Notes

To celebrate the trumpeter Miles Dewey Davis III’s 88th birthday on May 26, the street where he owned a brownstone (312 W. 77th St.) and lived for many years was named “Miles Davis Way” in his honor (the northwest corner 77th Street and West End Avenue).

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Maya Angelou and Elombe Brath Remembered

The world woke up on May 28 to hear that poet, author and activist Maya Angelou had died quietly in her home in Winston Salem, N.C., at the age of 86. She lived a life that encouraged people to be leaders and not followers, to be independent thinkers who believe in justice and pursuing the truth.

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Children’s Museum jazz, five piano finalists, Kroon at Abyssinian

Jazz Notes

Recently, preschoolers were totally involved in their new activities as they were introduced to jazz through arts and crafts and live music by pianist and composer Jonathan Batiste.

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Joe Wilder remembered, Dolphy fest

Jazz Notes

Joe Wilder, the understated trumpeter with the smooth tone, a longtime member of Count Basie’s Orchestra and one of the first African-American musicians to play in the pit bands of Broadway shows, died on May 9. Wilder was 92 years old and a resident of Manhattan for many years.

Undead Music Festival’s Final Days, Sosa, Adujah, Palmieri

Jazz Notes

There are only two days left to the Undead Music Festival, which is taking place in Brooklyn and the Village.

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Charles Rogers, popular AmNews columnist, publicist, dies

Charles Rogers, a long-time entertainment columnist for this publication, died on April 29 at the Bishop Henry B. Hucles Nursing Home in Brooklyn.

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Jazzmobile Harlem Shrines Festival, Stanley Clarke returns

Jazz Notes

Before Jazzmobile’s outdoor season begins traveling throughout city streets it will swing indoors from May 4-10 celebrating the fourth annual 2014 Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival.

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Sistas’ fundraiser, Savion tap instrument, Dr. Smith swings

Sistas’ Place will hold a fundraiser for jazz on April 24.

The year of Baldwin, Bronx Music Heritage Center

The novels, poems and essays of James Baldwin are stimulating words, sharpened with the truth, that instigate change and promote activism in some form or another. He was a word warrior-activist rallying for a change in society’s thinking.

Smithsonian, Coltrane and Stewart, jam at Ost, Masekela at 75

Jazz Notes

Recently, jazz fans from as far as Florida, Georgia and Connecticut traveled to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., for the formal donation of one of John Coltrane’s saxophones.

Reid Quiet Pride, Birkett at Mist, Iridium, Voza honored

The Jazz Standard was recently sold-out while bassist Rufus Reid was holding court

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Okaru performs, Donald Byrd tribute, Motown at Schomburg

Jazz Notes

Jazz is happening on Sundays at Harlem’s famous Paris Blues!

Haynes Burns at Blue Note, ‘Sinners and Saints’

Anytime Roy Haynes performs, the venue becomes a sold-out happening, but his recent two-day engagement at the Blue Note became even more significant with the appearance of bassist Ron Carter

Nasheet Waits, Chip Shelton, Eddie Gale remake, ‘Jazz Meets Sports’

Nasheet Waits' ongoing group, Equality, featuring Darius Jones, David Virelles and Mark Helias, will perform two shows on Feb. 28 at at the Cornelia Street Cafe in the West Village.

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MAXJAZZ founder Richard McDonnell dies

Richard McDonnell, who started the small independent record label MAXJAZZ in his living room in St. Louis and went on to gain international attention in the jazz world, died on Feb. 8 at St. Louis University Hospital.

Dianne Reeves at Rose Hall, TK Blue at Sista’s, ‘Ramen and Jazz’

Dianne Reeves, a four-time Grammy winner for Best Female Jazz Vocalist who doesn’t perform in New York often enough, will have a two-day engagement in time for that special day for lovers, Feb. 14 and 15.

Abyssinian Jazz Vespers, Sake and Jazz, McFerrin ‘Spirityouall’

With all the new venues in Harlem, jazz seems to be making some new headway in the community where it was once king.

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Avant-garde trumpeter Roy Campbell Jr. dies at 61

Roy Campbell Jr. was known for wearing his baseball caps pulled down and his rigorous trumpet sound

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Amiri Baraka remembered

Amiri Baraka, a riveting force armed with words that scurried the battle fields of life and pierced the curtains of falsehoods with hard-hitting truth, died on Jan. 9 at Beth Israel Medical Center, confirmed his son Ras Baraka, a member of the Newark Municipal Council.

Bassist Dwayne Burno dies at 43

Dwayne Burno, one of the more creative bassists of his generation who explored the full realm of the jazz idiom—a practice that allowed him to handle any musical challenge as a band leader or first call bassist—died on Dec. 28, 2013, in New York.

Wynton’s street cred, Chris Botti

The Wynton Marsalis Septet was a hot holiday ticket in town. Marsalis was playing at Dizzy’s Club Coca–Cola (Jazz at Lincoln Center) for two weeks, including New Year’s Eve.

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Harris at Ginny’s, Jazz Thursdays, Fortune awarded

On Dec. 21, Harris and the Harlem Night Songs Big Band will take the audiences of Ginny’s Supper Club (310 Lenox Ave., 125th and 126th streets) on an adventurous musical journey that stretches to the outer limits of jazz.

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Inventive drummer-composer Chico Hamilton dies at 92

Chico Hamilton, the composer and drummer whose cool melodic sound kept jazz audiences attentive for over six decades, died on Nov. 25. He was 92. Hamilton’s publicist April Thibeault noted that he died of natural causes at his home in New York.

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Melvin Van Peebles at the gallery

Today (Thursday) is your last day to see “eMerge 2.0: Melvin Van Peebles & Artists on the Cusp.”

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Ronald Shannon Jackson, jazz drummer, dies at 73

Ronald Shannon Jackson, one of the most influential avante-garde drummers of the 20th century

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Jazz vocalist Gloria Lynne dies at 83

Jazz vocalist Gloria Lynne dies at 83

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Tommy Johnson’s $37,000 record, Jazz Masters in Harlem III

When early blues heroes are mentioned, the name discussed most often is guitarist-singer Robert Johnson. However, Tommy Johnson (1896-1956), his senior and no relation, was also a great guitarist-singer out of the Mississippi Delta. He influenced many aspiring musicians in Mississippi and around the country, including such artists as Howlin’ Wolf.

Lady Day, Coltrane House Fundraiser

There are two facts regarding Billie Holiday: She is the most controversial singer in the history of jazz; and she remains the best jazz and blues singer to ever walk across a stage. Today, the only way to comprehend the complicated life of America’s greatest female jazz singer is to see “Lady Day,” starring Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Little Schubert Theater (422 W. 42nd St.). As a singer, Bridgewater wastes no time getting into Holiday’s signature songs “Miss Brown to You,” “Them There Eyes” and “All of Me.”

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