Charlie Davidson, the legendary 86-year-old proprietor of The Andover Shop, doesn’t often condescend to pose for the camera, but he acquiesced last week for my long-gestating profile in The Rake. Consider the shot above a sneak peek and expect the story sometime this summer.
The headline, for those of you who don’t listen to music written before your time, is a reference to the 1925 popular song “Clap Hands, Here Comes Charley,” which was also a 1961 album by Ella Fitzgerald.
When Charlie finds out you dig jazz, conversation gets pulled magnetically to the topic. So when I visited Charlie in Cambridge, Ella Fitzgerald came up somehow. I remember telling him that she was the first jazz vocalist I discovered at age 18, and I had half a dozen of her records, but that I’d long since lost the taste for her, and these days she frankly annoys me. Not in a Julia Roberts way (for reasons I can’t explain, if I were trapped on a desert island with her for the rest of my life, I think I’d rather have sex with coconuts), but I’d certainly prefer to listen to, say, Anita O’Day.
Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis film project is apparently climbing slowly but surely through the rings of development hell, though the light of day may be miles away.
According to reports, the music rights have been secured and there’s a script that focuses on one 36-hour period of the jazz great’s life. Perhaps befitting a small budget (which it has yet to secure), the project is not a conventional biopic with an A to B narrative arc.
In 1977 Hampton Hawes, a woefully underrated pianist, composer and writer, died at the age of 48 from a brain hemorrhage. Known only to the most astute jazz musician and aficionados, Hawes had accomplished a great deal to be considered a bonafide jazz legend. His brief time here included performances with Dexter Gordon, Teddy Edwards (another criminally underrated black artist) and Howard Mcgee in a band that also counted Charlie Parker among its members. After military service, Hawes toured extensively during the mid ’50s and was recognized by Downbeat Magazine as a “New Star of the Year.”
Beset by an all-too-common heroin addiction, Hawes was arrested in a sting operation and sentenced to twice the mandatory minimum sentence for opiate possession. In 1961, while serving time, he wrote a letter to President Kennedy, the result of which was that he was the second-to-last person granted executive clemency by JFK before his assassination.
During the ’70s Hawes wrote an autobigraphy called “Raise Up Off Me” that was heralded by critics as one of the greatest ever literary contributions by a musician. And in 2004 his posthumous reputation continued to grow, as Los Angeles declared November 13th “Hampton Hawes Day” in honor of his birthday.
With lapped shoulder seam, Hawes is pictured above on his 1964 album “The Green Leaves of Summer,” and can be heard below performing “All The Things You Are.” — JASON MARSHALL (Continue)
Stanley Turrentine, the Pittsburgh-born tenor saxophonist known for a big soulful sound, lyrical delivery and erudite harmonic sense, was one of the few jazz instrumentalists to have crossover success as a popular artist.
Known to play his black-lacquered Selmer tenor saxophone while his R&B star was in the ascendant, Turrentine’s sartorial presentation was always elegant while being very much of the times. He’s seen above in that quintessential Ivy staple the pink buttondown, complete with proper old-school collar roll, showing himself at once traditional and current, relaxed and proper.”
Turrentine’s recordings span from leader on the Blue Note imprint to sessions as a sideman with organist and one-time wife, Shirley Scott. Those new to Stanley Turrentine would do well to start with the recordings “Live at Minton’s” and “Joyride,” but with whatever you choose it’s hard to go wrong with Mr. T.
Below he can be heard doing the wistful “Willow Weep For Me.” — JASON MARSHALL (Continue)