I really thought I was finished with digitizing all the McCoy Tyner Video I found on my friend’s old VHS cassettes. But I discovered that there is even more footage from Montreux 1973 than I thought.
The sad news of drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson’s passing reached the jazz world a few days ago.
When I seriously started to listen to jazz in the early eighties, I was a big fan of all the Ornette Coleman influenced Free Funk bands that were around then: Of course Ornette’s own Prime Time Band was number one, and I saw them several times. Then there were James Blood Ulmer’s different bands – and of course Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society with it’s blend of disparate influences held together by the wonderful multifaceted drumming of Jackson. His name was known quite widely then as the Punk/New Wave scene in its ongoing search for something new turned to Harmolodic Free Funk for a while.
Also quite widely known was Last Exit, the colloborative band consisting of Furor Teutonicus Peter Brötzmann on different reeds, guitarist Sonny Sharrock, bassist Bill Laswell and Jackson that literally made a lot of noise in the mid eighties. I saw Last Exit five or six times and I can tell you that it was a cathartic experience every time.
Unfortunately I never saw Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society live. So I was happy to find nearly half an hour of the band playing at the Jazz Festival Montreux on July 21, 1983 on one of the VHS cassettes in the archive of my friend, the late jazz researcher Otto Flückiger:
You see and hear Zane Massey (as, ts), Henry Scott (tp), Vernon Reid (g), Bruce Johnson and Melvin Gibbs (eb) and of course Ronald Shannon Jackson (dr).
(Click to enlarge) Sleeve for souvenir photographs from the Crown Propeller Lounge, unidentified date. From the Crown Propeller collection
The Crown Propeller Lounge – after which this blog is named – was one of Chicago’s most important venues for R’n'B and Jazz during the 1950s. You can read more about it on my old blog entry here. After reading that post, Mike Medina (aka WayoutWardell) contacted me and identified more of the people pictured in this gorgeous photo, donated to the Crown Propeller blog by the Schlossberg family (also check the comments section over there for more interesting information from Mike).
(Click to enlarge) Dancer Lupita Peruyero, Joe Louis, Norman Schlossberg, Sarah Vaughan, King Kolax and Mitzi Mars at the Crown Propeller, probably 1952. Courtesy of the Schlossberg family
I had recognized trumpeter King Kolax and boxer Joe Louis with Crown Propeller owner Norman Schlossberg and Mike added the name of dancer Lupita Peruyero (far left) who was a regular at the Crown Propeller and knew that the lady on the far right is singer Mitzi Mars – of which I had presented some music in my old blog entry about the CP.
From Chicago Defender, May 31, 1952.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”
Mike also kindly allowed me to use the photo of this bautiful foursome at the Crown Propeller in 1945 – a time when the main audience of the CP was still white.
If you are interested in photographs from Chicago’s South Side, you definitely should check Mike’s Flickr page. It was also Mike who alerted me, that the sign of the Crown Propeller lighting up can be seen in the opening sequence of the old “Crime Stories” TV series. I managed to find that one on youtube. I edited the CP part and let it run backwards and forwards – the way it possibly was. I guess there was something in the middle as well (a crown, maybe?) – I leave it to your imagination.
Ending up our second visit to the famed Crown Propeller Lounge is photo of a young couple at the bar, probably in the 1950s. This was stuck in the souvenir envelope pictured at the very top of the envelope.
Who might they have listened to on that evening? Rudy Greene maybe, the “King Of The Guitar”?
From the early sixties on (check his Impulse! album “It’s Time”) drummer Max Roach started to work with larger formations than his quintet (or quartet) from time to time. He added choirs for several recordings and in the 1980s he sometimes added a string quartet (mostly the Uptown String Quartet in which his daughter Maxine played) to his quartet with Cecil Bridgewater, Odeon Pope and Tyrone Brown.
As far as the larger Max Roach groups are concerned, there seems to be not much footage around on the internet. So I am happy to offer you three actually quite long clips here you may not have seen before.
The first one is Max Roach featured with the Northern Colorado University Big Band at the Jazz Festival Montreux one June 15, 1971. They are playing a very churchy suite here (see comments for possible titles).Pianist/organist is Stanley Cowell, the trumpet player / conductor is Charles Tolliver (thanks, Trane!). I can not identify any of the other band members (are you out there?).
The other two clips are from nineteen years later. First are more than 56 minutes of the Max Roach Double Quartet at the Jazzgipfel in Stuttgart, 1990 – I do not know the exact date. You’ll see and hear Max Roach (dr), Odean Pope (ts), Cecil Bridgewater (tp), Tyrone Brown (b), John Williams (violin), Cecelia Hobbs (violin), Maxine Roach (viola), Eileen Folson (cello). Sorry for the abrupt ending, the cassette ended here, and I did a short fade out.
In the same year Max Roach also took a large choir – The John Motley Singers – along with his quartet and pianist George Cables to Europe playing two hour concerts at the Jazz Festivals in Umbria and Verona in Italy and Lugano (Switzerland). You may have heard part of the material on the Enja 2CD set “To The Max!”. The Lugano concert on June 29 was broadcast in full on Swiss TV (do not worry, the voice-over soon stops):
Right after I had finished this post. naturally I found even more footage of McCoy Tyner.
In 1989 Tyner was touring the European Jazz Festival circuit with his Trio featuring guitarist/singer George Benson as an added attraction. I have presented footage from their gig at the Montreux Jazz Festival in my last entry . But i found more. Here are over 40 minutes of George Benson, McCoy Tyner, Avery Sharpe, Aaron Scott playing in Umbria, Italy:
And here are sixteen minutes of the same band playing at the Jazz Festival in Wiesen, Austria:
The final part of this little McCoy Tyner Showcase is his Trio – still featuring Avery Sharpe and Aaron Scott – joined by Freddie Hubbard and Ralph Moore. This footage comes from the Jazztage Stuttgart 1990.
Still in the process of cutting large movie files taken from VHS cassettes into clips, I noticed that my friend, the late Otto Flückiger has quite a lot of concert footage with bands either led by pianist McCoy Tyner or featuring him prominently. The reason for so much footage with Tyner in Otto’s collection is not necessarily because Otto was fanatic about Tyner. Otto taped everything from the TV that was in what way ever connected to Jazz. And McCoy Tyner made a lot of tours in the 1970s and 1980s, his group was a regular feature on Jazz festivals around the world. So it really is no wonder that there is a lot of McCoy here.
Mainly to get a grasp of what is there, I have extracted all of the McCoy Tyner footage on these cassettes. Now that I am finished doing so, I thought why not present these rare clips on this here blog.
So here we go, starting with the earliest footage I found of one of Tyner’s own groups. Here is the McCoy Tyner Quartet at the Jazz Festival Montreux, July 7, 1973
The band consists of Tyner (p), Azar Lawrence (sax), Juini Booth (b), Alphonse Mouzon (dr). The way I understand it, parts of this concert also have been released on an LP. Since I do not own this one, I can not tell you what exactly is being played here.
Going on chronologically we stay in Montreux with a clip from July 18, 1981 showing the concert of a band called “The New York – Montreux Connection:
The band: Arthur Blythe, Paquito D’Riviera, Jimmy Heath,Percy Heath, McCoy Tyner, Chico Freeman, Slide Hampton, Phil Woods, Ronnie Burrage, John Blake, Stanley Cowell, John Hicks, Steve Mc Call. Note that there is also an unidentified alto saxophonist taking a solo later in the program. He is adressed as “Paul ….”, but I can’t understand his last name. So if you have an idea …
Next are more than fifty minutes of the McCoy Tyner Quintet at the Saalbau in Aarau, Switzerland, on February 24, 1984:
The Quintet in this clip: McCoy Tyner (p), Gary Bartz (sax), John Blake (violin), John Lee (eb), Wilby Fletcher (dr).
In 1985 McCoy Tyner was in Europe again, with a new trio featuring bassist Avery Sharpe and drummer Louis Hayes. At their apperance at the Estival Jazz in Lugano Pharoah Sanders was featured with the band. But the concert was started by the trio alone:
I do not have the whole concert, just three different parts from three different source VHS cassettes. The chronologically next portion of the Lugano concert is the one that features Sanders. I had alredy presented that one here some time ago, but for the sake of completeness, here it is gain:
I do not know if Pharoah Sanders was featured even longer on this concert, all that is here is the encore from that gig, featuring just the trio again:
Next up are two clips from Italian TV. Unfortunately quality is not too good here. Here are Tyner, Sharpe and Hayes at the Jazz Festival in Umbria 1985:
And here they are a year later at the Jazz Festival in Pescara:
In 1986 the trio also appeared on the German TV series “Jazz im Subway”, the Subway being a Jazz Club in Cologne:
I just have this excerpt from the show, showing McCoy playing a solo version of “You Taught My Heart To Sing” (Notice the funny subtitle, maybe someone from the TV station did not like the music?).
Last but not least a clip that was a personal surprise for me in more than one way. First: I did not know that Tyner played with George Benson – which he apparently did more than once. Secondly because I had dismissed George Benson as being xxx (well I do not want to hurt any sensitive George Benson fans). But I actually like this one very much:
The above clip comes from the 1989 Montreux Jazz Festival. Besides Benson and Tyner you will see and hear bassist Avery Sharpe and drummer Aaron Scott.
First: Sorry for the empty last post – here comes the second try:
Since I guess I have about 3 1/2 readers in Zurich, I rarely advertise my own DJ gigs here. But surely this one has to be an exception:
For tomorrow night Herr Wempe (aka DJ Soul Sonic) and DJ Crown Propeller (yours truly), the most beloved vintage black music DJs in town, will for the first time ever swing and funk up the Helsinki Klub – home turf to both – together! You can’t miss that!