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Ruth Cameron

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Sunday 12/24/2017 Show: Winter Jazz Fest & Geri Allen Tribute

Photo: Geri Allen | © Joyce Jones/ Suga Bowl Photography. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Used with Permission.

The next show will air on Sunday, December 24, 2017 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.orgThis broadcast is our second 2018 Winter Jazz Festival preview program. The Winter Jazz Festival will present a tribute program on Monday, January 15, 2018 to the late pianist Geri Allen, who made her transition this past June 27. We will hear remembrances from former Suga’ guests: long time Manager and friend Ora Harris, Motema Records President Jana Herzen, Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, Professor and Author Farah Jasmine Griffin, Pianist Vijay Iyer, Ruth Cameron Haden (widow of bassist Charlie Haden) and Radio Announcer Sheila Elaine Anderson.

 

Who was Geri Allen? Just an award winning pianist and composer who was also an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan. Professor Allen’s last post was as Director of the Jazz Studies Department at the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a master’s degree in ethnomusicology.

Geri Allen, pianist/composer, bandleader, educator and Guggenheim Fellow, was the first recipient of the Soul Train, Lady of Soul Award for Jazz. In 2011 Geri Allen, was nominated for an NAACP Award for her Timeline, Tap Quartet Project. Allen was the first woman, and youngest person to receive the Danish Jazz Par Prize. She was a cutting edge performing artist, and continues to concertize internationally.

She was a product of the Detroit Public School System, Howard University and the University of Pittsburgh. Allen moved to NYC in 1982 after she completed her advanced degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh, and for the past thirty years has recorded, performed and collaborated with some of the most important artists of our time including Ornette Coleman, Ravi Coltrane, George Shirley, Dewey Redman, Jimmy Cobb, Sandra Turner-Barnes, Charles Lloyd, Marcus Belgrave, Betty Carter, Jason Moran, Lizz Wright, Marian McPartland, Roy Brooks, Vijay Iyer, Charlie Haden and Paul Motion, Laurie Anderson, Terri Lynn Carrington and Esperanza Spalding, Hal Wilner, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Dianne Reeves, Joe Lovano, Dr. Billy Taylor, Carrie Mae Weems, Angelique Kidjo, Mary Wilson and the Supremes, S. Epatha Merkerson, Farah Jasmin Griffin, Howard University’s Afro-Blue and many others.

Allen a recipient of the Howard University, Pinnacle Award presented by Professor Connaitre Miller and Afro Blue. Ms. Allen has been a faculty member at Howard University, the New England Conservatory, and the University of Michigan where she taught for ten years.

In 2014, Allen was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Music Degree by Berklee College of Music in Boston. The Honorable Congressman John Conyers Jr. presented the 2014 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Jazz Legacy Award to Ms. Allen.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra commissioned Geri Allen in 2013, to compose new works for the 50th Anniversary celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. She composed a piece “Stones & Streams” a work for orchestra, chorus, piano and narrator.

She was the musical director of the Mary Lou Williams Collective, recording and performing the music of the great Mary Lou Williams, including her sacred work, Mass For Peace. Allen collaborated with S. Epatha Merkerson and Farah Jasmin Griffin on two music theatre projects, “Great Apollo Women”, which premiered at the legendary Apollo Theatre, and “A Conversation with Mary Lou”, which premiered at the Harlem Stage, as an educational component for the Harlem Stage collaboration. The featured artist was Carmen Lundy, and Allen’s long time trio members Kenny Davis and Kassa Overall). The University of Pittsburgh hosted the first ever Mary Lou Williams Cyber Symposium where ViJay Iyer, Jason Moran, and Allen performed a three piano improvisation from Harvard, Columbia and the University of Pittsburgh, in real time using Internet 2 technology.

Geri Allen was the product of a family of educators. Her father Mount V. Allen Jr was a retired Detroit Public School Principal, and her mother Barbara Jean was a defense contract administrator for the U.S. Government. “Our parents insisted my brother and I go to college. We took their advice. I pursued a career as a jazz performer, and completed my undergrad degree at Howard, and my master’s at Pitt. Mount pursued a career as a jazz advocate and presented, completing his masters at Lehigh University. He is currently Director of Operations, at the San Francisco Jazz Center.”

Geri Allen, a mother of three, acknowledges her family for making it possible for her to sustain longevity in a sometimes challenging and always changing field of the music industry.

Allen had enjoyed a very successful over thirty-year performing career as a NYC jazz musician. She returned to Pittsburgh to continue her legacy as a cutting edge pianist/composer, recording and performing artist. Allen was just as passionate about her work with her undergrad and graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh, and she firmly believed that “meaningful access to music was one of the keys to success in any field, and music informs our sensitivity to others”. She was a fierce advocate for all children of all ages to have direct hands on access to music, and the creative and empowering process jazz inspires.

Geri Allen is survived by her father Mount Vernell Allen, Jr., brother Mount Vernell Allen III and three children: Laila, Wally and Barbara Antoinette.

(Bio adapted from the Geri Allen website)

This program is hosted, engineered, produced, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

Geri Allen will be the subject of a tribute concert at the 2018 Winter Jazz Festival at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium (63 5th Avenue in Manhattan) on January 15. Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington will be the musical director of a spectacular cast, including Angela Davis, Esperanza Spalding, Craig Taborn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Ingrid Jensen, Jack DeJohnette, Jaimeo Brown, Jeff Tain Watts, Kassa Overall, Kris Davis, Linda May Han Oh, Maurice Chestnut, Mino Cinelu, Ravi Coltrane, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tia Fuller, Vijay Iyer and more to be announced. Concert proceeds will go to the Geri Allen estate.

 

Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system.

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Sunday 1/8/2017 Show: Winter Jazz Fest/ Liberation Music Orchestra

charlie_haden_carla_bley_suga
Photo: Charlie Haden and Carla Bley.
 
The next show will air on Sunday, January 8, 2017 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This broadcast concludes WBAI’s coverage of the 2017 Winter Jazz Festival. Our focus is the Liberation Music Orchestra, founded by late bassist Charlie Haden that is closing out the 2017 WJF. Featured guests are multi instrumentalist Joe Daley and Ruth Cameron: Haden’s widow, longtime manager and producer of several of Haden’s albums.
 

 
Synonymous with the legacy of late jazz bassist Charlie Haden, the Liberation Music Orchestra was one of the most influential groups to emerge from the avant-garde jazz period of the 1960s. Founded by Haden and pianist/collaborator Carla Bley in 1969 as way to protest social and political injustices — and as a vehicle for exploring large-scale works of free and forward-thinking jazz — the Liberation Music Orchestra was a vital component of the bassist’s career until his death in 2014.
 
The group’s landmark 1970 album, Liberation Music Orchestra, featured original and well-curated cover compositions arranged by Bley that touched upon an array of sociopolitical topics, from the Vietnam War to the civil rights movement. It also showcased the group’s stylistic eclecticism, incorporating jazz, folk, and world music elements. Helping to achieve this sound was a cadre of jazz luminaries including trumpeter Don Cherry, saxophonist Gato Barbieri, drummer Andrew Cyrille, trombonist Roswell Rudd, trumpeter Michael Mantler, and others.
 
Over the next five decades, Haden and Bley would reconvene the LMO with varying lineups for a handful of albums including 1982’s The Ballad of the Fallen, 1990’s Dream Keeper, and 2005’s Not in Our Name. Throughout these recordings and various live performances, Haden displayed both his abundant musical vision and his profound commitment to supporting progressive political movements, environmentalism, and social justice worldwide.
 
Having contracted polio at age 15, Haden’s health suffered in later years and he was eventually diagnosed with post-polio syndrome. The condition left him in a weakened state and severely limited his ability to perform. Haden died in Los Angeles in July of 2014. He was 76 years old. In 2016, Impulse! released Haden’s final album with the Liberation Music Orchestra, Time/Life (Song for the Whales and Other Beings). Produced by Haden’s wife, Ruth Cameron Haden, and Carla Bley, the album featured a live performance Haden gave with the Liberation Music Orchestra in Belgium in 2011, along with three new studio recordings the LMO made after his death with bassist Steve Swallow, one of Haden’s many longtime friends.
 
 
Partial bio adapted from Allmusic.
 
This program is hosted, engineered, produced, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.
 
Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra will be closing the 2017 Winter Jazz Festival at Le Poisson Rouge at 8:00 PM on January 10 with pianist Geri Allen. This concert will be preceded by a panel discussion on social and environmental justice at 6:00 PM.
 
Web Extras
 
Read our report from Haden’s NYC memorial service on our blog. Also listen to Joyce Jones’s interview of Charlie Haden and Ruth Cameron on an earlier show.
 
Watch the Liberation Music Orchestra play “Throughout” in this live clip.
 

 
Watch the Liberation Music Orchestra play “La Pasionaria” in this live clip.
 

 
Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system.

Sunday 7/20/14 Show: Charlie Haden Memorial

Charlie Haden & Kenny Barron, 16/08/2009, Jazz Middelheim 13-16/08/2009, Antwerp, BE
Photo: Bruno Bollaert, Jazz Middelheim – 8/16/2009

The next show will air on Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of the program will be a memorial to bassist, composer, and former yodeling cowboy Charlie Haden, who died on July 11th. As a tribute to this great artist, we’re re-broadcasting our interview with Haden and wife/musical collaborator Ruth Cameron, originally aired on April 10, 2011.



Born in Shenandoah, Iowa, Charlie Haden began his life in music almost immediately, singing on his parents’ country & western radio show at the tender age of 22 months. He started playing bass in his early teens and in 1957 left America’s heartland for Los Angeles, where he met and played with such legends as Art Pepper, Hampton Hawes, and Dexter Gordon.

In 1959, Haden teamed with Ornette Coleman to form the saxophonist’s pioneering quartet (alongside trumpeter Don Cherry and drummer Billy Higgins). In addition to his still-influential work with Coleman, Haden also collaborated with a number of adventurous jazz giants, including John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, and Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny.

In 1969, Haden joined forces with pianist/composer Carla Bley, founding the Liberation Music Orchestra. The group’s self-titled debut is a true milestone of modern music, blending experimental big band jazz with the folk songs of the Spanish Civil War to create a powerfully original work of musical/political activism.

An acoustic bassist of extraordinary gifts, Haden’s talents as a musician have been in constant demand by his fellow artists. As a result, he has collaborated with a genuinely stunning array of musicians, including Hank Jones, Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Paul Motian, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Brecker, Kenny Barron, and Pat Metheny (with whom Haden shared a 1997 “Best Jazz Instrumental Individual/Small Group” Grammy® Award for their Beyond the Missouri Sky).

Haden’s love of world music has also seen him teaming with a variety of diverse international players, including Brazilian guitarist Egberto Gismonti, Argentinean bandoneon master Dino Saluzzi, and Portuguese guitar giant Carlos Paredes. In addition, Haden has explored diverse streams of American popular music with both his acclaimed Quartet West, as well as on such recent collections as 2002’s inventive alliance with Michael Brecker, American Dreams.

Haden was invited to establish the jazz studies program at California Institute of the Arts in 1982 and has earned countless honors from around the globe, including and the Los Angeles Jazz Society prize for “Jazz Educator of the Year”, two Grammy Awards (alongside a multitude of nominations), myriad Down Beat readers and critics poll winners, a Guggenheim fellowship, four NEA grants for composition, France’s Grand Prix Du Disque (Charles Cros) Award, Japan’s SWING Journal Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. Montreal Jazz Festival’s Miles Davis Award.

On Friday, July 11, 2014, Charlie Haden left this world. He is survived by his wife Ruth Cameron, his four children, Josh, Tanya, Petra and Rachel, a brother, Carl, a sister, Mary, and three grandchildren. Tanya Haden is married to singer and actor Jack Black.

Show engineered, produced, hosted, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

We’re not aware of any NYC Metro area tributes or memorials to Haden at this time. Follow our “On the Bandstand” segment on air and on our blog and we’ll pass on info as we get it.

Web Extras:

Watch Haden and Pat Metheny perform live in 2008.



Watch Haden conduct (and play with) the Liberation Music Orchestra in this 1987 performance with Dewey Redman live in Africa.

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