On The Corner was not received well upon it’s release in 1972. Times change …
The (now) landmark album by Miles Davis was ahead of it’s time. A precursor to 1970’s Funk, Rock and eventually Hip Hop. Miles – as usual, ahead of his time and ahead of the times.
Dave Liebman was on that album with Miles and it gave Jeff Coffin (Dave Mathews Band, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones) an idea. Coffin assembled an All Star band to do a live performance of On The Corner. A ‘gig’ that thankfully was recorded and a ‘gig’ that one day may be considered historic in itself.
Please listen below to my chat with Jeff about the album, Miles and The Dave Mathews Band.
Herb Alpertwas one of the most successful men in the history of music …
Then – along with partner Jerry Moss, Herb Alpert created one of the most industrious and fruitful record companies in the history of the music business.
A & M Records was designed to house artists in an environment which catered to their individual creativity. Herb Alpert believes to this day – creativity and individualism are the keys to a peaceful and effective society.
Please listen to Part One , two and three of my interview with this legendary musician, producer, composer, painter, sculptor and ‘all ’round good guy’;
One of the most exciting nights on the Montreal jazz and blues scene can be found whenever Johnny Beaudine & Deep Blue take the stage with their smoking menu of Chicago style jazz, blues and soul fusion with touches of New Orleans funk.
A veteran of some of the most famous and infamous south-side Chicago blues clubs,the young Beaudine was tutored by masters like Jr. Wells, James Cotton and A.C.Reed. Beaudine and the band have developed a repertoire that ranges from Chess records classics to New Orleans versions of Duke Ellington and updates of jazz classics from artists like Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis and Sonny Stitt.
Johnny Beaudine and Deep Blue hold down the regular Monday night slot at Montreal’s legendary House of Jazz and have done so for over two years, drawing an audience of jazz and blues fans from the US, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, Australia, Europe and China.
Johnny Beaudine on tenor & soprano sax, harmonica and vocals leads a band containing some of the most talented and experienced musicians in Montreal. Adept at sophisticated jazz, blues, ragtime and stride piano styles reminiscent of Fats Waller; Peter Mika’s piano generates a wall of sound that transforms any club into a concert hall.
The great R&B veteran Ben Comeau plays electric bass. Ben’s sheer enjoyment of the music is a pleasure to behold as his bass smolders cool and smooth on the jazz numbers and cuts loose on the funky bluesier material.
Jeff Simons rounds things out on drums. His powerhouse drumming drives the band through his varied repertoire. Jeff is also an excellent vocalist and his renditions of Ray Charles’ hits – bring the house down!
Their Motto is “We Come to Play” and Deep Blue creates that authentic Chicago sensation every night they play.
Please listen below as Johnny and Peter talk about their band which uniquely blends Jazz,Blues and New Orleans Funk into the only genuine unit of it’s kind in Montreal.
A veteran of many Montreal International Jazz Festivals, this will be the first time the guitarist sees other parts of the Province. ‘Sco’ – as he is known, is very excited …
“I am looking forward to seeing Quebec City and the rest of the beautiful province. I am also looking forward to playing with this trio, these are my go – to guys and I call this my Uber – Jam.”
Scofield is referring to bassist Scott Colley and drummer Bill Stewart. Combined with Scofield, a trio which will run the gamut of music. Not just Jazz – a bit of rhythm and blues, Gospel and Country?
“There is always a bit of country in music.” Laughs John. ” I really think that Country, R and B and Blues are the cornerstones of all music. Look at the sixties. It was a fun time because every musician experimented with every genre. It was an innocent time in many ways and everything was new. Musicians had a lot of fun and the music wasn’t categorized like today.”
Scofield admits that categories did exist back then but there was more freedom. Freedom creatively without being ‘cornered’ into a musical label.
” I love to do everything.” Adds John. ” I have to be careful to say if I love Jazz, Jazz – fusion, Blues or whatever …! If I get labelled as a fusion player, then it is easier to be criticized for playing bluesy – type stuff. It is simpler for me to not say too much and be able to branch out in different genres when I feel like it.”
John Scofield considers Miles Davis as his mentor. ‘Sco’ learned a lot playing with Miles on three albums and doing multiple shows. ‘The Master’, as Scofield refers to the iconic Jazz innovator, was in a world of his own. Onstage and offstage …
“I was never ‘buddies’ with Miles, I don’t think anyone outside his family were real buddies. He was the type of guy who needed change. He was always changing and he taught me the single lesson which I continue to live by; keep it fresh!”
Another player who Miles took on as his bass player and played with John in Miles’ band was Daryl Jones, a guy who has played with Sting, Eric Clapton and is now the bass player in The Rolling Stones.
” Just before I starting playing with Miles, Marcus Williams was playing bass. Marcus went to school at Berkley with Vince Wilburn, who is Miles Davis’ nephew. Vince went to school with Daryl Jones ( The Rolling Stones) and Daryl was recruited by Miles to play bass. Miles had a lot of friends and a lot of these guys ended up playing with him at some point.”
” Daryl was just a kid when I played with him. He was what? Eighteen or something? He had no experience at all playing with any ‘famous’ players. Imagine that? I am very happy for him. He has done very well for himself and he was and is a great player.”
Scofield considers himself fortunate to play with so many different players these days. A line – up of his choice when and if he wants. He will not deny an occasion to play with a musician from different ‘walks’ of talent but does admit it is difficult to play with those who are less talented.
” I am not above anyone but playing with lesser talent is hard. You end up bringing yourself down to their level. I like – as I think most people do, to constantly grow and get better. You always want to improve and continue an education upwards.”
John Scofield, Scott Colley and Bill Stewart will play their first show in Quebec on February 6 in Gatineau. The trio will enable John to ‘see’ places such as Victoriaville, Shawinigan, Quebec City and Sherbrooke among other towns in La Belle Province.
What songs can a concert goer expect at any one of these shows?
” We are leaving it open.” Explains John. “Mostly the shows will contain Jazz standards but we will add different songs each night. A little R and B, Gospel and some fusion. A few ballads as well. It will be hard to play songs from my album Piety Street ( a gospel and R and B album recorded in New Orleans) since I cannot sing. Each show we will improvise a bit which is what music is all about. I’m addicted to free – form Jazz so …”
Following his tour of Quebec, Scofield will be releasing an album and touring Europe. Uber – Jam Deux will consist of John, Larry Goldings and Greg Hutchinson.
That tour will be ‘warmer’ for Scofield than his arrival in Quebec at the beginning of February. Warmer temperature – wise maybe. Warmer than the receptive audiences in Montreal? A place where Scofield’s playing has gained appreciation for a couple of decades …?
The trio are playing in Montreal at L’Astral on Feb.13th. Opening act is Rafael Zaldivar
Some people are born to bake cakes. For others – mechanics may be their thing. Steve Hill of Trois Rivieres, is meant to play guitar …
At Club Soda on Saturday night, in a concert dubbed ‘A Return to Montreal‘ – Hill proved once more why he is considered to be one of the best bluesguitarists in North America. How about one of the best blues guitarists period!
” The tour has be great so far …” Says Hill following his two hour performance. ” Everywhere I have played it’s been sold out and my solo performance is getting approval.”
Hill is referring to his latest album; Steve Hill Solo Recordings Volume One. A disc which was released this past summer and is a homage to the great blues artists such as Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Robert Johnson. From the moment the blonde-haired guitarist steps on stage and takes his place behind a bass drum and a high-hat, it is clear. This is the way the Blues are supposed to be played. This is the way Steve Hill is supposed to play …
Once upon a time – Muddy Waters plugged his guitar into an amp and commenced playing on the street in front of his girlfriend’s place. It was fierce, it was unique and it garnered attention from the many passerby on the way to work or play. Now – people gather at a club in Montreal to listen to the same fierceness and uniqueness that Hill provides.
It comes from original compositions such as ‘King of the World’, ‘About Phase’ and ‘Ever Changing World’. Within these songs are a young Robert Johnson and Elmore James. Angry riffs sustaining the music which was at one time the tunes of the oppressed and underprivileged. Anthems to freedom.
Hill is a presence on stage. The way he plays his guitar with conviction. Alone, with no backing band to fill in the gaps. Nobody to supply security as is the case in many groups. If Hill makes a mistake – it would resonate around the room like a weasel attempting to escape a box without holes. Maybe that is what makes Hill so good. Perfection arrives through a self -induced musical coma. A trance which few can match and no player can play along with. Charlie Parker, the great Jazz player was in that zone for much of the time as was Miles Davis.
Steve Hill is the same type of player.
“The first set was okay.” Says Hill. “The second set I really felt it all come together. I can see myself start to gain momentum.”
‘Preachin Blues’ – the Robert Johnson song, was one of the second half songs. Following a brief introduction where Hill asks the crowd if they are aware of the fabled artist who sold his soul at the ‘crossroads’ and if not, they should be because Johnson’s songs have been covered by the Stones, Zeppelin and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Hill then proceeds to play a slide guitar which boggles the mind and ears.His fingers as fast as a mouse scurrying along a vinyl record. Watching this talent within a five foot radius, ‘shrinks’ even the greatest cover band player into a self-induced inferiority complex they may never come out of …
Members of the audience who are witnessing tunes such as ‘Got To Be Strong’ and ‘Coming Back to You’ for the first time will have sore eyes in the aftermath of a show. Their eyes widen like crop circles in the making. Each second Hill does something magically with his guitars. Each song delivering a ‘How did he do that?’ moment. A ‘shake the head’ anthology primed for Ripley’s Believe It or Not segment.
Hill and his ‘non-band’ have a couple of shows left before Xmas and then he is settling down to enjoy the holidays before hitting the studio to record a new album. Steve Hill Solo Recordings Volume Two? Nothing is certain except …
How does it feel? To be on your own … Just like a Rolling Stone …
This is what should have been asked to Mr. Darryl Jones upon our chance encounter at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Who thinks of clever questions when a man who earned some of his chops playing with Miles Davis exits an elevator?
I have been privaleged enough to be able to speak to famous people without stuttering like a drunken fool. Those people were not part of arguably the greatest rock band in history. Those people do not receive phone calls from Mick Jagger.
” You are Darryl Jones …!”
These words repeatedly smacked the soon to be iconic bass player no fewer than five times in the first five seconds following an introductory handshake.
” Yes I am!” Replied the man who has shared a beer with Keith Richards. Luckily, laughter accompagnied his words and not annoyance.
” So what’s up with the Stones?” I asked as if I alone were privvy to this knowledge.
Jones smiled like a cat with a canary firmly entrenched in his throat. “I would love to tell you what I know.” He replied. ” Unfortunately – I am sworn to secrecy.”
‘All privacy and no secrecy’ I thought, quoting lyrics from the 1975 Stones’ song ‘Fingerprint File’ in my mind. I knew quickly the man was not going to divulge anything. I tried anyway …
Darryl Jones was born in 1961.
Six months previous to Brian Jones forming a band by the name of the Rolling Stones. Brian named his band after the Muddy Waters’ song; Rollin’ Stone. Mr. Darryl Jones was born in Chicago – the home of the blues. A place where Chess Studios became the meeting and recording ‘ place to be’ in the fifties for guys like Muddy Waters.
Like Brian – the first instrument Darryl Jones began playing was the guitar before a neighbor convinced him to try bass.
Two men named Jones. Two men with a connection to the blues in Chicago. One started Britain’s greatest blues- based band; the other will be an ‘unofficial’ member when it ends. An ironic twist to a musical life which began because of Miles Davis’ nephew …
Darryl, the bass player, befriended Miles Davis’ nephew; Vince Milburn Jr, while the pair were attending Southern Illinois University Carbondale. When Miles himself was looking for a bass player, Darryl auditioned with a raving recommendation from Vince. That tenure as Davis’ bassist, led to a recommendation from Charlie Watts, the Stones’ drummer, when the Stones had to replace original bassist Bill Wyman.
Charlie Watts’ roots are embedded in Jazz music and the connection between the Stones’ drummer and Jones was enough to satisfy Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
” This is a situation that’s about everybody having fun making music. The Stones have opened their arms and tried to make a place for me, so it’s been really cool.”
Jones’ resume leading to the gig with the Stones is impressive.
Sting, Madonna, Peter Gabriel and Herbie Hancock are some of the folk the fifty year old bass player has provided a strong foundation for. It was while working on Sting’s album ‘Bring on the Night’ – Jones met Jagger and later on; Keith Richards. The Stones’ guitarist was working on his solo album ‘ Talk is Cheap’.
“My first thought was that if Keith’s gig became available, I’d be into trying out. It didn’t, but when Bill Wyman left, I thought, why not the Rolling Stones?”
Why not indeed?
Jones auditioned playing time- tested songs such as ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘ Start Me Up’. The Stones were impressed enough to invite the boy from SouthSide Chicago to play on the recording of 1994’s Voodoo Lounge. Upon Watts’ urging- Jones joined the band for the subsequent tour. A tour which led to Jones having to learn 250 songs and witnessing something for the first time.
” During the show, I found myself watching the jumbotron quite a lot. I had never seen them live – I wanted to watch the show!”
Jones is a salaried employer of the Stones. A position which allows him freedom to pursue different projects. Tasks such as a tribute to his mentor Miles Davis. Jones was in Montreal as part of the Jazz Festival. ‘Miles Smiles’ is something which is dear to his heart and allows him to play with jazz drummer ( and friend ) Omar Hakim.
Hakim followed much the same route as Darryl. Madonna, Sting along with Bryan Ferry, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie being the names on Omar’s resume.
Darryl Jones ‘ father was a drummer. Charlie Watts’ love of Jazz was the reason Jones has been a part of Brian Jones ‘ group for eighteen years. A band which is celebrating it’s fiftieth anniversary now or next year …?
“There is a tour coming up.” Says Jones. ” A few gigs will be stationary. Like ten shows in New York – that type of thing. A new album is coming and that is about as much as I can say. There are quite a few surprises and I will be surprised by many of them myself …!”