Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Cleveland Eaton Probably The Greatest Jazz Bassist Ever!

One of the true greats! Cleveland 'Cleve' Eaton

What can I say about this wonderful bassist except to say that I consider "Cleve" to be one of the greatest ever.

His wonderful timing and swinging driving bass and improvisation are just mind blowing. at it's absolute best!

To illustrate his superb talent take a look at "Cleve" with Count Basie at Carnegie Hall March 20 1981 playing Bootie"s Blues featuring the great Booty Wood,and also the Kansas City Five clip working with Count Basie Zoot Sims and Roy Eldridge.

I would give my right arm to have the chance to play Jazz with this wonderful bassist and it must have been the ultimate honour for him to be asked to join the Count Basie Orchestra.

was born August 31 1939 in Fairfield Alabama.He played many giggs with the Ramsey Lewis Trio and later with the Count Basie Orchestra.His entertaining style has earned him great respect in the jazz community.

was raised with an intensive comprehensive musical background.He was playing his mother's piano at the age of 5. He then turned to Saxaphone by the time he was 8. Eaton took up the trumpet two years later and when he reached the age of 15,music teacher John Springer introduced him to the Tuba and string bass.

Cleveland played in a jazz group in college at Tennessee A&I State University(now Tennessee State University)where he earnrd his Batchelor's degree in music in 1960.

He then moved to Chicago and toured with the Ike Cole Trio. He later performed memorable concert tours with bands led by Larry Novac,Ramsey Lewis and the legendary Count Basie.

Over the years Cleveland Eaton became a consumate , producer, composer, publisher, arranger and head of his own Birmingham based record company.

As a recording artist Cleveland's version of became a phenominal best seller in the United Kingdom,Germany,Switzerland,France,and Australia.

Eaton's numerous honours include his induction into the , The Playboy Jazz Poll, Canada's Cultural Enhancement Award and the achievement award at the Count Basie Tribute concert.

He was nominated to the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame in 1993 and has a bronze star in the Walk Of Fame.

He received the Govenor's Arts Award in 1995(Alabama) and the Don Redman Lifettime Achievement award in 2004.

Eaton has played on notable recording sessions with nearly all genres,jazz with John Klemmer and Bunky Green, R&B with the Dells and Bobby Rush, pop with Minnie Riperton, Jerry Butler and Rotary Connection, big band with George Benson, Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstein and Ella Fitzgerald.

Eaton was dubbed "The Count's Bassist" during his 6 year stint and over 10 recordings with the Count Basie Orchestra.

Cleveland returned after 17 years on the road to Birmingham Alabama where he now teaches music and Jazz at the UAB's music department.

Still going strong, but Cleveland Eaton will go down in and indeed, history as one of the greatest 's ever!

Haydn Huckle

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Buddy Rich The Worlds Greatest Drummer

was born in 1917 Brooklyn New York and was without doubt the worlds greatest drummer,known
for for his vituoso technique,power,speed,and ability to improvise.

was born to Jewish parents.His talent for rhythm was first noticed at the age of one keeping a steady beat with spoons.

He began playing drums in vaudeville when he was 18 months old and at the peak of Rich's childhood career he was reportedly the second highest paid child entertainer in the world after Jackie Coogan.

At 11 he was performing as a bandleader.He received no formal drum tuition and went so far as to claim that tuition would only degrade his musical talent.He also never admitted to practising claiming to play the drums only during performances.

He expressed great admiration for,and was influenced by the playing of Chick Webb,Gene Krupa,and Jo Jones,among others.

He first played in 1937 with Joe Marsala,and then played with Bunny Berigan in 1938 and in 1939.

In addition to Tommy Dorsey, Buddy Rich also played with Benny Carter, Harry James, Les Brown, Charlie Ventura and the band, at the Philharmonic.

For most of the period from 1966 until his death he led a hugely successful big band.

Buddy Rich remained active until the end of his life.
Prior to heart surgery, when asked by a nurse if he was allergic to anything, he replied "YES-----COUNTRY MUSIC".

The great Buddy Rich, one of the greatest ever! died in 1987.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Count Basie

was born in Red Bank New Jersey in 1904 and took piano lessons from his mother.When he was in his late teens he moved to Harlem where he met Fats Waller, who taught informally.
In 1924 toured the vaudeville circuit as a soloist and accompanist to blues singers.

He eventually arrived in Kansas City.

In 1928 he joined Walter Pages Blue Devils and the following year he became the pianist with the Benny Motem band.

started his own band in 1935 after Moten died.This band included a number of Moten's band members.

In 1936 he moved the band from Kansas City to Chicago where the band did a recording session in association with John Hammond, and with the help of this gentleman, by the end of 1936 the band was playing in New York City where the band remained until 1950.

Many jazz musicians know the Band as"The band that swings".

The reputation that followed the Count Basie orchestra was helped very much by Count Basie's selected accents of his own .

"He never wasted a note!!!!!

Basie also showcased some of the best blues singers of the era ,Jimmy Rushing,Big Joe Turner,Helen Humes and Joe Williams.

Count Basie was able to hold on to his musicians for lengthy periods.
During the 1930s and 1940s musicians like Buck Clayton,Herschel Evans, Lester Young and the bands great rhythm section Walter Page, Freddie Greene and Joe Jones.

During the late 1940s Basie was forced to reduce the size of the band for a short while, when it seemed the Big Band Era had come to an end, but Basie reformed his 16 piece orchestra in 1952 and led it until his death in 1984.

The legendaryalso toured with the band and is well remembered for the 1963 album Ella and Basie.This is remembered as as one of Ella Fitzgerald's greatest recordings.

Basies band of the 1960s was helped by the wonderful arrangements of Quincey Jones.
also had a fruitful association with Basie. provided the punchy arrangements for the Basie band on Sinatras biggest selling album, Sinatra Live At The Sands.

I personally first saw the band in concert during the Bands tours of England during the 1960s
and I will list some of the band members that I can remember.The first tour of England included the wonderful Sarah Vaughn and Joe Williams.

Later tours were with 'Lamberts Hendricks And Ross' and on a third tour I remember Jimmy Rushing.

I appologise if I have missed anyone, but the main band members I remember were Frank Wess,Frank Foster,Marshall Royal, Charlie Fowlkes, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Al Grey,Bill Hughes,Thad Jones,Snooky Young, Don Rader, Freddie Greene, Eddie Jones, Sonny Payne and Sonny Cohn. Sonny Cohn played lead trumpet for many years and later went on to manage the band.

Count Basie died of Pancreatic Cancer in Hollywood, Florida on April 26th 1984.
We are left to celebrate a wonerful man and his superb Orchestra and hope the Orchestra will go on for another 50 years.

Bill Hughes is now directing the Orchestra and we wish him and the Orchestra every success for the future.

Haydn Huckle

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Jazz Piano

What is Jazz piano?

Having played Jazz piano for the last 45 years, I can only describe Jazz piano as a matter of improvisation of any tune, in other words being able to play a tune a hundred different ways. Not everyone can play Jazz.

You first learn to play piano by taking basic music lessons, and learning to read music, then progress into Jazz piano.

Probably the worlds greatest ever , is the wonderful . Improvisation and Swinging piano at its very best.

The amazing is another example of a great improvisor and swinger, working a wonderful Orchestra.

Having been taught piano with a classical grounding, I found I was Jazz orientated from an early age. I was soon Jazzing up my classical pieces which I was given to do, much to the consternation of my music teacher.

After just 5 years of tuition, I found myself in a position to go out gigging, first on drums, as I was also learning this instrument. Later on, I started gigging on piano with my trio.

I have now been playing for 45 years as a with combinations from trio to big band.
For anyone thinking of getting into playing Jazz piano I can highly recommend the life.

I have played just about every type of gig you can think of including my time on the road with various big bands. I have had a wonderful time, having been associated with hundreds of musicians, including some of the great .


Count Basie

Count Basie

His Early life

William James “Count” Basie was born on August 21,1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey to Harvey Lee Basie, and Lillian Ann Childs who lived on Mechanic Street. He had a brother, LeRoy Basie. His father worked as coachman for a wealthy family. After automobiles replaced horses, his father became a groundskeeper and handyman for several families in the area. His mother took in laundry, and was Basie’s first piano teacher when he was a child. He started out to be a drummer. But the obvious talents of another young Red Bank drummer, Sonny Greer, who was Duke Ellington’s drummer from 1919 to 1951, discouraged young Basie and he switched to piano. While he was in his late teens, he gravitated to Harlem, where he encountered Fats Waller who he was taught informally. [1] The Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank was named in his honor.

Basie toured the Theater Owners Bookers Association (T.O.B.A.) vaudeville circuit, starting in 1924, as a soloist and accompanist to blues singers. His touring took him to Kansas City, Missouri, where he met many jazz musicians in the area. In 1928 he joined Walter Page’s Blue Devils, and the following year became the pianist with the Bennie Moten band based in Kansas City. It was at this time that he began to be known as “Count” Basie (see Jazz royalty).
He started his own band in 1934, but eventually returned to Moten’s band. After Moten died in 1935, the band unsuccessfully attempted to stay together. Basie formed a new band, which included many Moten alumni.

New York City, and later years

Basie and band, with vocalist Ethel Waters, from the film Stage Door Canteen (1943)
At the end of 1936 he moved his band from Kansas City. They honed their repertoire at a long engagement at a Chicago club. In that city in October 1936 members of the band participated in a recording session which producer John Hammond later described as “the only perfect, completely perfect recording session I’ve ever had anything to do with”. By the end of 1936 they began playing in New York City where the Count Basie Orchestra remained until 1950.
Basie’s music was characterized by his trademark “jumping” beat and the contrapuntal accents of his own piano. Basie also showcased some of the best blues singers of the era: Billie Holiday, Jimmy Rushing, Big Joe Turner, Helen Humes, and Joe Williams. More importantly, Count Basie was a highly successful band-leader who was able to hold onto some of the greatest jazz musicians of the 1930s and early 1940s: Buck Clayton, Herschel Evans, Lester Young, and the band’s brilliant rhythm section, Walter Page, Freddie Green, and Jo Jones. He was also able to hire great arrangers that knew how to use the band’s abilities, like Eddie Durham and Jimmy Mundy.
The big band era appeared to be at an end, but Basie reformed his as a 16-piece orchestra in 1952 and led it until his death. Basie remained faithful to the Kansas City Jazz style and helped keep jazz alive with his distinctive piano playing.

Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, New Jersey
By the mid 1950s, Basie Band had become one of the preeminent backing big bands for the finest jazz vocalists of the time. Joe Williams was spectacularly featured on the 1957 album One o’Clock Jump, and 1956’s Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings. In 1942 Basie moved to Queens New York with Catherine Morgan after being married for a few years. He appeared as himself (along with his band) in the Jerry Lewis film Cinderfella (1960) and in the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles (1974).
Ella Fitzgerald is sometimes referred to as the quintessential swing singer, and her meetings with the Count Basie Orchestra are highly regarded by critics. Fitzgerald’s 1963 album Ella and Basie! is remembered as one of Fitzgerald’s greatest recordings. With the ‘New Testament’ Basie band in full swing, and arrangements written by a youthful Quincy Jones, this album proved a swinging respite from the ‘Songbook’ recordings and constant touring that Fitzgerald was engaged in during this period. She toured with the Basie Orchestra in the mid-1970s and Fitzgerald and a much tamer Basie band also met on the 1979 albums Digital III at Montreux, A Classy Pair, and A Perfect Match.
Frank Sinatra had an equally fruitful relationship with Basie, 1963’s Sinatra-Basie and 1964’s It Might As Well Be Swing (the latter arranged by Quincy Jones) are two of the highest points at the peak of Sinatra’s artistry. Jones provided the punchy arrangements for the Basie band on Sinatra’s biggest selling album, the live Sinatra at the Sands.
Count Basie died of pancreatic cancer in Hollywood, Florida on April 26, 1984 at the age of seventy-nine.


One O’Clock Jump and Jumpin’ at the Woodside were among Count Basie’s more popular numbers. Basie was also known for his band’s version’s of April in Paris and Lil’ Darlin.
Jerry Lewis used Blues in Hoss’ Flat, from Basie’s Chairman of the Board album, as the basis for his own “Chairman of the Board” routine in the movie The Errand Boy, in which Lewis pantomimed the movements of a corporate executive holding a board meeting. (In the early 1980s, Lewis revived the routine during the live broadcast of one of his Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons.) Blues in Hoss’ Flat, composed by Basie band member Frank Foster, was also the longtime theme song of San Francisco and New York radio DJ Al “Jazzbeaux” Collins.
Basie and his band made a cameo appearance in Mel Brooks1974 comedy film Blazing Saddles.
He received one of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1981.
Basie was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
Basie is one of the producers of the “world’s greatest music” that Brenda Fricker’s “Pigeon Lady” character claims to have heard in Carnegie Hall in 1992’s Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

Count Basie, being one of the greatest jazz musicians in musical history, will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
Basie was also a world-renowned member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated.