Jazz and Blues Day in Des Moines

Well, wouldn’t you know it. The Community Jazz Center (CJC) and the Central Iowa Blues Society (CIBS) which I am honored to be a member of, decided to have their celebrations on the same day here in Des Moines. SO….What to do?

Both, of course. The CIBS event held at Des Moines Social Club began earlier so I did stop down and see Bob Pace’s smokin’ set before heading down to Noce to witness the newest inductees into the CJC Jazz Hall of Fame.

Old friend Nancy Bierma (accompanied by husband Jim and a pretty big family contingent)

Nancy Bierma CJC Hall of Fame honoree

was honored along with Dan Hartzer, Phyllis Leverton (congratulations and heartfelt thanks to her for years of commitment to the music here in Des Moines), and Bryan Schumacker. The Next Generation award went to Robert Espe and young bassist Sophie Roberts was honored with the Bobby Dawson Youth Award.

Des Moines’ newest and classiest jazz venue, Noce, hosted the event and was honored with a Certificate of Recognition for their efforts.

Max Wellman and Maria Filippone   (NOCE) accept CJC honor

Dan Hartzer (right), CJC Hall of Fame honoree

Scott Smith (piano), Jim Ecklov (drums), Julius Brooks (saxophonist who turned 90! this week) and Jim Bierma (bass) were

Sophie Roberts CJC Youth award

the house band for the CJC event.

It was obvious that the CJC community is alive and well (and looking for new members!!) Big congrats and heartfelt thanks to Abe Goldstien, John Krantz, Phyllis Leverton, Dwight Deason and all CJC board members, contributors and community who do a great job of introducing young people to the joy of making your own music.

When we were introducing jazz education to schools in the 70’s through the Iowa Arts Council, working with Willie Thomas (CJC’s founder) was always a joy. Willie, Preston Love Buddy Baker, Larry Ridley, Rich Matteson, Art Taylor, Jamey Aebersold, the great David Baker, all a part of a coalition of musician/educators dedicated to bringing fresh language and ideas to the world. I left Iowa in 1980 to begin working with the National Endowment for the Arts “Artist in Schools Program” (AIS). In the years since then, nearly every school in America now has a jazz band. All of us who love this music should be very proud of what jazz  has done to transform music education.

….now if we can just find some gigs!

 

 

 

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Now, I won’t say that Blues people have more fun than Jazz people but, damn, the CIBS 25th Anniversay Party, held at Des Moines Social Club, was more than fun; it was a celebration of the blues. An all-day affair, I didn’t get to see all of it, but listening to Saxman Del Jones rip it up sitting in with Bob Dorr, and the Blue Band with Tom Giblin on keys was like blasting down the highway in Del’s Corvette!

Featured acts during the day were the Bob Pace band, The Soul Searchers, JC Anderson Band and Malcom Wells and the Two-timers.

Since my induction into the CIBS Hall of Fame in 2003,  I’m more proud of my association with them then ever. Fine people with a great mission (just like CJC). I look forward to the days ahead bringing more young people into the world of jazz, blues, Rock ‘n Roll and every other form of American music. This was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Victor Gomez with Rob Lumbard.

Spotted in the blues crowd was Victor Gomez, guitarist whose star is rising on the local blues scene. Too bad he didn’t play yesterday, but look out for Victor when we’ll be playing at Lefty’s for the 2nd Annual So’s Your Mother’s Reunion gig November 22nd. We headline a bill that includes Pat Hazell and Bob Dorr so bring dancing shoes and earplugs.

It would be nice to see more young people at both of these events but the ones who were there are dedicated and definitely still having fun doing it. What more can we ask?

Updates to come…

 

 

 

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Jaimeo and The Rolling Stones Win Big in London! 2017

London– Jaimeo R. Brown, New York City-based composer, percussionist and producer was honored April 25 as the Jazz Innovator of The Year   at the 2017 JazzFM Awards ceremony in London. It was an evening that also saw the Rolling Stones snagging Blues album and Album Of The Year awards.

That Jaimeo would be recognized as an innovator on the world jazz stage is a great honor confirming the early praise of critics including Giles Petersen at BBC UK who heard something special in that first 2013  release Jaimeo Brown Transcendence.  Petersen (himself recognized as Digital Innovator of the Year)  heard a band and a vision firmly guided by Jaimeo and his college friend guitarist, producer Chris Sholar.

 

Jaimeo Brown in London to accept JazzFM’s Jazz Innovation Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It   goes without saying that we’re proud of our native Iowa drummer (just like Bill Stewart  who brought a fresh perspective on drumming to his generation.)  

I’ll have some more pics and maybe some comments from Jaimeo when he returns from London on Thursday but for now just know that the 2017 Jazz Innovator of the Year, recognized by the U.K. Jazz community, is a Des Moines-born, SF-Bay Area and NYC-seasoned audio artist Jaimeo R. Brown.

ABOUT THE AWARDS
Jazz FM launched the Jazz FM Awards in 2013 with the aim of celebrating the work of jazz, blues and soul musicians. The Awards are a partnership between Jazz FM and Serious. They promote excellence, recognise distinction and commend those that have made an exceptional contribution to genres from rising stars to established British artists and international musicians. This prestigious event receives considerable build up on-air on Jazz FM before the red-carpet evening of stunning performances and a celebrity-hosted Awards ceremony

If you haven’t heard Jaimeo Brown Transcendence, join me at the Des Moines Social Cub Happy Hour Friday April 28, 5:30-7:30 and I’ll give you a taste of his music as well as my own. A great way to celebrate the end of Jazz History Month.

Jaimeo is the son of Iowa  Jazz, Blues and Rock ‘n Roll hall of famer Dartanyan Brown and Woodwind star Marcia Miget.  His Grandfather, the late Ellsworth T. Brown along with Ernest “Speck” Redd, were mainstays of Des Moines’ African-American Jazz scene of the 1950’s. Jaimeo has been in NYC since 1999 playing with a variety of artists including vibist Joe Locke and tenor saxophonist Gregory Tardy for the legendary Steeplechase recording label.

Congratulations kid!

 

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Thanks for the Inspiration

Glad you came to visit from dartanyan.com.  I was inspired early in my career by local Des Moines musicians who were great players and also humanists who imparted a sense of the cultural responsibility inherent in being a musician and artist. They may not have said  it in so many words, but the way they went about learning, performing, listening, analyzing, transcription and memorization of the music spoke emphatically of their commitment and its deep rewards. I learned that first and foremost from my father Ellsworth Brown.

Ellsworth Brown Jazz in Des Moines 1951

 

There are pungent memories of him playing piano and saxophone. He also embraced singing and drumming. Being a radio officer in the Merchant Marine, he loved electronics with radios bringing in music from around the world. This was between 1951-58 when we lived on Walker Street on the swingin’ East side of Des Moines. Ernest Redd and his family lived a few blocks down the street and either his house or ours was the scene of many a session and discussion about issues of correct elements of Charlie Parker’s and Dizzy Gillespie’s bebop revolution.

In my own revolutionary years 1964-70 (encompassing middle-, high school and 3 years of college) I transformed from a spectator to a player.

I credit Marlowe and Fran Cowan and  as being  primary musical inspirations in my early life. The Cowans directed the YMCA Boys Chorus and Bellringers. Marlowe was a phenomonal pianist in the ragtime tradition and could rock a piano as hard as anyone I knew. As a 13-year-old I also looked up to him as a mentor of sorts and his personal example still serves as a guide to me today as I work with young people.

George T. Clinton, introduced me to the idea of self-created Rock ‘n’ Roll and Jazz as something I could do too.

George Clinton, keyboard genius pioneering Iowa rock star.

George Clinton and I were both “junior leaders” at the YMCA camp also directed by Marlowe and Fran Cowan. It was there in 1965 where we first played blues together on the old camp piano.  I played bass on the left end of the piano and GT went nuts on the chords and melody on top. He was already a ridiculous pianist having absorbed  gospel, blues and jazz in his studies with Ernest Redd. I went home to the basement and started learning to play the blues on a (bad) upright bass.

I was mildly affected by the Beatles at first (Junior Walker and the All-Stars were much more my favorite) but the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced album changed his life. By 1967 GT had played in two HOT! rock bands of the day. The Upsetters featuring Jimmy Brown on drums and GT’s own group Captain Beefheart and the Shipwrecks. Both of these bands perfectly captured the newly-minted frenzy that was British Invasion and Blues revival all at the same time. You.had.to.be.there!!

When we weren’t out at The Clique or The Place or The Know Where teen dance palaces of the 60’s in Des Moines, GT would kidnap me from home and we would go to the First Unitarian Church to catch the Des Moines Jazz Festival to see Speck Redd and his trio, or The Darling Brothers bass/piano duo, or JoAnn Jackson completely killing it, singing Ella as good as Ella.

Sam Salomone, Organist and Inspiration

Then we ventured into the world of Des Moines’ African American clubs and after-hours joints where you’d hear and see some of the craziest doings imaginable (well, for a 17-year-old they were..) Sam Salomone on Hammond organ with Don Archer on guitar is what we were there to hear. I had no idea this kind of music was being played in town but GT did and we’d go into the clubs near downtown where Sam was playing and do our best to act like we were old enough to be in these places.

Once I heard Sam and Don with Bobby Jackson (Joanne’s brother) on drums there was no way you were going to get me OUT of the club. It was a revelation and a homecoming of sorts because my father had been playing this kind of music since I was born.  While I have always been a bopper by culture, I’ve also a deep love of simpler folk music forms both harmonic and rhythmic. So in 1967 when I finally understood enough about myself to know that music was integral to my being, I was thankful to have had GT Clinton, Sam Salomone, Don Archer, the great Ernest (Speck) Redd, Wally Ackerson (RIP) Marlow Cowan, Fran Cowan, Jimmy Brown, John Carlsten (my middle school clarinet teacher who first noted that I was “improvising” my music lesson) Delbert Jones and Frank Perowsky (one of Dad’s most successful students)

Now, saving some of the best for last, I credit blues legends Harlan Thomas, Gene Jackson, Rick Lussey and George Davis with giving me one of my first real gigs. Their band was called The Soul Brothers and George’s brother was the bass player who was absent for a gig.  I got a phone call and it was Harlan asking me if I would play with the Soul Brothers at the Chesterfield community Center. I still remember it to this day and I’m still grateful that they gave me a chance to earn a place on the bandstand. As I write this post, I am reviewing in my mind,  a  lot of really great times that were unique to the era.

Dartanyan Brown and Frank Perowsky

I was privileged to have access to great jazz, blues, R&B, and the best of the British invasion/Blues revival stuff including Paul Butterfield’s blues band that would shape the next generation. So as Jazz Appreciation month rolls on, I don’t know how much more content I’ll get posted but paying respect to the musicians who influenced and inspired me is one bit that I’d better not leave out.

Sincere respect and thanks to all who have inspired me on my journey to inspire others.

 

 

Peace, Persist

D

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Jazz Appreciation Month!

I almost literally owe my life to Jazz and now that  April is here once again I can crow about America’s greatest gift to the world of art and music.

Jazz means freedom! Jazz means having some class! Jazz means that you’ve got something to say–and that you know what you’re talking about.

Jazz doesn’t suffer fools either! If you don’t know the changes, keep your ass off the stage!

Some music is all about gettin’ everybody together and havin’ a good ol’ time singin’ and pickin’!  Jazz, on the other hand, is communal but the price of admission are the hard earned lessons taught by life and the music itself. Success for a jazz musician at the dawn of jazz–almost by definition an African-American– was seen as a definite step up the achievement ladder in a world of hard core racism and legalized social barriers. To say that material success for musicians was fleeting was understatement and the competition at all levels from local to national was intense. That intensity however, served as the crucible for new forms of music and performance that rightly earned my father’s generation of swingers, boppers and theorists eternal respect.

Ellsworth Brown Jazz in Des Moines 1951

Jazz means you have to know your role, know the music, know the time, know the style AND know how to forget-it-all-and-just-play…Yeah right, you say?

YEAH,RIGHT!! say the jazz musicians! Those are our standards, those are our rules, those are our constitution and if you think certain politicians are conservative… come on the bandstand and fuck up the changes to “Autumn Leaves” and you’ll hear from musicians who don’t want their chords messed with. THAT’S conservative.

In the end though, we understand that music is a lot more than the notes, scales, chords or rhythms that comprise the experience. There is no music that will sound good if your mind is not receptive. No music will have an effect without the connective tissue of shared human experience. Like all of our old stories, myths, parables, memories and fairy tales. Music is a vehicle for carrying a lot of what might be called our story into what might be termed the ‘future’.

Ok well day 2 of Jazz Appreciation Month almost done. I’ll repost interesting jazz related content during the month.

Enjoy some of the real thing [Lonesome Blues] from Louis Armstrong 1925

and some James P. Johnson playing “You’ve got to be Modernistic” 1930

 

More later. Happy Jazz Appreciation Month

 

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New Year Many Challenges

Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Urban myth? folk wisdom? Darwinian imperative? dartanyan.com has been up and running with very few interruptions since I first became the master of the dartanyan.com domain in 1999. As digital real estate goes, it’s a humble place, a place where things are still hand made for the most part.

I appreciate this place more now that I was unceremoniously disappeared by an incompetent ISP that I will name later. At this time I’m going to lavish praise on Network Solutions, my new domain mothership. NS has been there since before the dawn of the internet and thank god, they have retained a solid operation both in front and in back of the server cages. This blog is the second iteration of what had previously been a fine collection subjects, discussions and observations. That is now gone because a lazy or overworked contract worker at my old ISP simply didn’t take the time to do a complete job.  So after many years, I’m forced to try something new. Crisis? Opportunity!

Got Stress? Try some of my personal Sonic Somatics. Headphones are suggested.

The sounds, original music, interviews, mixes, soundtracks, archives and field recordings you hear at this site are part of the copyrighted audio palette produced by Dartanyan. To my brothers and sisters. Let’s make 2017 the foundation for a more just future!

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