Want to learn more about what’s going on behind the scenes at BuckingJam Palace? Do you want to learn more about Lisa & Tom Buck, the generous souls behind this dynamic concert series?
In case you missed it, check out this CBC Calgary radio feature from January 2019 (also recently re-broadcast this summer) for some background information on this very special and very ambitious Jazz house concert series, happening right here in Calgary:
Even better yet, subscribe to the BuckingJam mailing list and receive up-to-date information on upcoming shows and previews of future concerts.
Mike Allen Trio: Spotlight on Bassist Peter Washington
Mike Allen's "Just Like Magic" trio will be performing two shows at BuckingJam Palace on Sunday, October 20th (2pm and 8pm). Backing up the accomplished Vancouver-based tenor saxophonist Mike Allen will be renowned drummer Lewis Nash and bassist Peter Washington.
Tickets are moving fast for these two shows so don't wait, get your tickets now before they sell out! Find full ticket information at www.buckingjampalace.com
Peter Washington is one of the most-recorded Jazz bassists in current times, his CV reads like a "who's who" of Jazz greats that he's played and performed with, and his appearance in Calgary represents a rare occasion to see and hear this Master Jazz musician up close.
Here's a video of Peter Washington playing an intimate bass-piano duet at New York's Mezzrow Jazz club featuring Washington on bass along with Mike LeDonne on piano (ed. note: LeDonne will also be performing at BuckingJam Palace on October 5th with his own group, The Groovers Quartet!)
Peter Washington – Bass
Perhaps the most recorded bassist of his generation, Peter Washington has also played an integral part in two of the most important and highly praised jazz trios of the last 20 years, in addition to a who’s who roster of jazz artists.
Born in Los Angeles, California, in 1964, Washington attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in English Literature and played in both the UC Symphony and the San Francisco Youth Symphony. In 1986, while performing in San Francisco with alto saxophonist John Handy, he was asked by Art Blakey to move to New York and join the seminal Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
Washington remained with the Jazz Messengers from 1986 to 1989, and during this time was able to establish himself as a ubiquitous, first- call freelance bassist; a position he has occupied to this day.
In the early 1990’s Washington joined the Tommy Flanagan Trio , called by many the greatest trio in jazz, and remained until Flanagan’s death, in 2002. For the past ten years he has been a member of the very highly acclaimed Bill Charlap Trio.
In addition to these long- term commitments Washington has worked and recorded with an extremely large number of top- tier artists, of all generations. A partial list of those he has recorded and performed live with would include Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Golson. Freddie Hubbard, Donald Byrd, Benny Carter, Hank Jones, Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, Kenny Burrell, Phil Woods, Cedar Walton, Joe Henderson, Ray Bryant, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton, Charles McPherson, Jimmy Heath, Percy Heath, Jimmy Cobb, Louis Hayes, the Newport All Stars, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Gerald Wilson,Lou Donaldson, Barry Harris, Lew Tabakin, Sweets Edison, Johnny Griffin, Jackie McLean, Sir Simon Rattle and the Birmingham Symphony, Richard Wyands, Teddy Edwards, Johnny Coles and Frank Morgan. And of the younger generations, Washington has recorded and performed with Mulgrew Miller, Tom Harrell, the Brecker Brothers, Don Grolnick, David Sanchez, Eric Alexander, Benny Green, Javon Jackson, Brian Lynch, David Hazeltine, One For All, Steve Nelson, James Carter, Renee Rosnes, Steve Turre, Regina Carter, Kenny Washington, Grant Stewart, Robin Eubanks, Joe Magnarelli, Geoff Keezer, Billy Drummond, Jeremy Pelt, Ryan Kisor, Walt Weiskopf, and many, many others.
Peter Washington has also enjoyed associtions with vocalists as diverse as Andy Bey, Freddie Cole, Karrin Allyson, Chris Conner, Mark Murphy, Georgie Fame, Ernie Andrews, Paula West, Eric Comstock, Ann Hampton Calloway, Marlena Shaw, and Ernestine Anderson.
A complete discography would list, as of this writing, over 350 recordings, and is expanded on a weekly and monthly basis.
In the scope and breadth of his career thus far, his adaptability, and in his emphasis on creative, supportive, swiging time- playing as well as inventive and intelligent soloing, Washington has been compared to the likes of George Duvivier, Milt Hinton, and Ron Carter.
Interview with Mike LeDonne - The Groover
Mike LeDonne was very gracious to answer a few questions in advance of his October 5th performance at BuckingJam Palace with The Groovers. As you can see from his answers below, LeDonne is very passionate and articulate when it comes to jazz music.
Interview with Mike LeDonne - September 2019
1) How would you describe the style of Jazz music you are bringing to Calgary?
Some people call it “Soul Jazz” but I don’t like that term because:
1. All jazz is “soul" jazz if it’s good and this includes the avant garde.
2. Soul Jazz implies a simpler style of jazz meant to appeal to the masses and that is not really true of the music we play.
3. What the Groover Quartet does is to play the highest level of music we can over tunes taken from R&B and pop hits that people today might recognize. But I swing them and restructure them so they’re good vehicles to play over. They are also tunes I grew up with by people like Earth Wind And Fire, The OJays, The Spinners, Stevie Wonder etc...Pop music has always borrowed from jazz music so I decided to borrow some pop music and turn it into jazz music. The solos of the musicians involved are not dumbed down to make us more popular. We play the same over these R&B tunes as we would over any other jazz tune. The difference is that a younger audience gets to hear a melody they may actually recognize and this brings them into the music. So all we’re doing is what jazz musicians have always done from the beginning, interpreting popular tunes of the day.
4. So to answer your question, we are playing straight up jazz music that swings, is soulful and fun to hear.
2) Who are some of your influences in this genre?
My first was the King, Jimmy Smith, back when I was 10 years old and just starting out. He remains one of my favorites to this day. Then I discovered Don Patterson and saw how Be Bop could be played on the organ. Melvin Rhyne was another big influence for the same reason. Jack McDuff was a major force in my life. I had always loved his playing and arrangements. I had stopped playing organ in my college years and one night, after I moved to New York, a friend of mine took me to one of Jack’s gigs in Harlem. It was at his urging that night that I bought another B3 and made the organ a priority again. Groove Holmes and Charles Earland really shaped my concept of playing the bass on the organ. Charles was also a major influence in taking pop tunes and swinging them. I learned about playing chord solos from Shirley Scott and Wild Bill Davis. They also showed me how to play organ when a bass player is playing. And of course Larry Young showed me how the language of McCoy Tyner and John Coltrane could be translated to the organ. McCoy had already been a major influence for me on the piano. Last but not least, Dr. Lonnie Smith showed me all the incredible sounds that can come out of the Hammond Organ and how to switch from one to the other. I love everything about his playing.
3) How might you briefly describe your long-time bandmates, joining you for this tour? (ie. Eric Alexander, Peter Bernstein and Joe Farnsworth)
They are my musical family. We’ve been together for 19 years now as the Groover Quartet but we were playing together long before that. Besides their role in the band they are simply some of the greatest masters of their respective instruments in the world. All leaders in their own right I am very lucky that they’ve stuck with me all these years. We are one of the few real bands you’ll hear in this day and age.
4) Might you have a few words about the impact that Harold Mabern had on you? (ed. note: Mabern recently performed at BuckingJam Palace in April 2019)
Unfortunately I just found out last night that Harold Mabern passed away. Devastating news since he was like family to me. His impact goes way beyond music but musically he was a huge inspiration. Harold’s energy could have powered the world and I loved being around him. He sparked both excitement and projected love to everyone around him when he played. He was one of the few musicians left on this planet that got me off my butt to go hear him everytime he was playing because I knew the electricity I love in music would be there. His music was all about rhythm and he showed me how to use both rhythm and harmony in new ways.
Mabes could rock the house like no one else but he could also play beautiful ballads. He knew a million tunes and could play in any key. He was a real master and pro but also a beautiful humble man. I want to be just like him when I grow up.
5) What are some of the lessons you've learned from the many masters of this music you've performed with?
The lessons I learned are plentiful. I was lucky to get to apprentice with a wide variety of masters. From Benny Goodman and Roy Eldridge through Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan, 11 years with Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, Bobby Hutcherson and George Coleman to name a few. I’ve been with Benny Golson for 20 years now. Phil Woods called it “tribal music” meaning music you don’t learn in books. It is handed down from generation to generation by wrote. What I’ve learned is that Jazz is an art form that has many branches on its tree but the roots are based in the blues and in African American culture. I feel it is very important to maintain an African American aesthetic in the music for it to be truly called “jazz”. This is what people like Milt Jackson taught me. Not that you have to be African American to play it but that that basic aesthetic that comes from the blues be present. All the masters I played with had it. Milt Jackson was steeped in it. He called the blues progression “magic”. It had something in it that always lit up the audience no matter if they were jazz aficianados or new comers. He would often start the night with it and that is something I often do as well. That aesthetic is found mainly in the underlying rhythm of the artist. Everyone that learns this music gets obsessed with notes, and they are important, but I learned from these great masters that it’s the rhythm and the sound that is most important. And lastly I learned that no matter how I feel physically or mentally, when I hit the bandstand I give it my all. That’s because it takes everything I got, in every note I play and on every beat, to make the music pop and come alive. If you do that you’ve done all you can do and you can feel good about the performance. You’ve done your job.
6) What advice do you have for young, aspiring Jazz musicians?
Enjoy the journey and take your time. You’ll know the kind of jazz artists you truly like by who you listen to the most. But don’t stop with your current favorites. Go back and see who their favorites were and check them out too. Knowing lineage and history is a big part of what gives you substance and depth as an artist. Don’t skim either. Whatever you get into get ALL the way into it. Live it, absorb it and move on. Dizzy Gillespie once said if there’s something you heard and liked but you don’t understand it, figure it out! Keep growing because that’s the fun of this music. There’s always more to discover. Don’t worry about innovating and reinventing the wheel all the time. A good friend of mine used to always say: “Everybody today is trying so hard to be great they aren’t even good!” That’s the bottom line. Make playing good music your priority. Get your ego out of the way and serve the music. Keep your focus on giving and not receiving when you perform. Watch out for jealousy and envy because they are the enemy. It’s a challenging life but also an incredibly rewarding life.
Thank You Harold Mabern!
Master Jazz pianist Harold Mabern has died at the age of 83. It was reported today that he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at his home in New York City. A prolific artist, Mabern performed with the greatest Jazz musicians in the world over the course of a lengthy career and inspired several generations of students as a teacher at William Paterson University.
Patrons of BuckingJam Palace will recall his amazing recent April 2019 performance in Calgary featuring Harold playing so beautifully on the new Yamaha grand piano.
Harold's presence on and off the bandstand was an inspiration to all who those who had the opportunity to play music with him and hear him perform.
Thank you for your beautiful music Harold!
Photo by Jodi Lucas
The Hoffman/Lemish Quartet
Pianist Noam Lemish and guitarist/oud player Amos Hoffman bring their quartet to BuckingJam Palace on Thursday, October 10th featuring:
Noam Lemish - Piano
Amos Hoffman - Guitar/Oud
Solon McDade - Bass
Jon McCaslin - Drums
Here's some background information about these creative and talented musicians (from their website: www.hoffmanlemish.com):
The Amos Hoffman & Noam Lemish Quartet offers an inspired blend of Jazz and Jewish folk melodies. Amos Hoffman is an internationally renowned oud virtuoso and innovator; Noam Lemish is a multi-facteted, world-class pianist and composer. For years, Amos and Noam have been collecting Jewish melodies from different parts of the world including Kurdish, Yemenite, Moroccan, Ladino, Russian and Israeli songs. The quartet's lyrical and vibrant reimagining of beloved Jewish melodies have been captivating audiences all across North America.
“EXUBERANT JAZZ ARRANGEMENTS OF JEWISH SONGS…” – CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
“A LEVEL OF WORLD-CLASS MUSICIANSHIP THAT WILL CERTAINLY RANK AS ONE OF THE BEST THIS YEAR AND YEARS TO COME…” – JAZZBUFFALO
“JAZZ FROM ISRAEL AND ELSEWHERE CAPTIVATES…” – SAN DIEGO JEWISH WORLD
Hoffman and Lemish, both of whom have roots in Israel but have spent much of their adult life in North America, began collaborating in January 2016. Lemish is deeply rooted in Jazz, Arab Classical music and North African vernaculars. Together they create a refreshing and compelling sound, filled with vibrant sonorities, unique instrument combinations and arrangements. Their work together started when Lemish, who grew up admiring Hoffman's pioneering blend of Jazz & Middle-Eastern influences invited Hoffman for a series of performances in Canada. The two musicians clicked on their initial tour and decided to launch the Pardes Project. The pairing of their unique talents and backgrounds brings about this truly exciting project. In their two years of performances of the Pardes repertoire Hoffman and Lemish have played an array of venues in both the United States and Canada.
The meaning of the word Pardes in Hebrew is "Orchard" or "Fruit Garden". The word also carries with it many layers of meaning in Jewish philosophy. Pardes is etymologically rooted in Farsi and is the origin of the word "Paradise". The songs presented in this project are both geographically diverse in origin and cover a wide-range of emotional terrain and sonic landscapes. The renditions are simultaneously faithful to the songs' origins and rooted in the African-American and Afro-Caribbean musical traditions. The result is a joyous, uplifting celebration, texturally rich music, filled with groove, lyrical melodies and outstanding solos. In Pardes, Hoffman and Lemish breathe new life into gorgeous melodies that had been forgotten and create music that is appealing both to listeners completely unfamiliar with the melodies in their original context and to those who recognize these songs.