Link Roundup - Jazz Edition: President Obama, Prince, Chris' Jazz Café, Rufus Harley, Alan Segal, Jef Lee Johnson, Donald Byrd


Jazz comes in all shapes: hot, cool, noisy, serene. As America’s indigenous brand of classical music, jazz is an exceptional, unique sound in which to honor Presidents’ Day. For this special holiday roundup we celebrate Rufus Harley, Alan Segal, Chris' Jazz Café, Prince and the Montreux Jazz Festival, Jef Lee Johnson, Thomas Chapin and Donald Byrd. We're also highlighting an archival link featuring Presidents with jazz cats - photos include Richard Nixon with Duke Ellington, and Barack Obama with Sonny Rollins.

In America we elect Presidents, but we also have our very own Prince - he'll be headlining the 2013 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. The rest of the bill will be announced in April, tickets go on sale this Friday.

NPR recently launched a wing of the online New Jazz Archive titled Weird Jazz Instruments; we're including a link below for the 59-minute audio of their first subject, Philadelphia jazz bagpiper Rufus Harley. Speaking of Philly, jazz bassist Alan Segal survived a brain operation and came out of the recovery process a better player as well as a benefactor. He books the nonprofit Jazz Sanctuary live event series that brings music to those who want it, for free. Also in Philly, yours truly recently reported on one of this city’s (and the country's) most venerated clubs, Chris' Jazz Café; the venue is changing its booking policy to include live blues, funk and comedy. Some jazz-bos are unhappy about it, some are pragmatic.

We're also remembering wonderful players who have passed on. Philly guitarist and composer Jef Lee Johnson left us at age 54 on January 28, 2013. A memorial honoring him will be hosted by The Musicians' Fellowship tonight, Monday, February 18, 7:00 p.m., at the Cedar Park Presbyterian Church (7740 Limekiln Pike, Philadelphia, PA, 215.549.9775); musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments.

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Stephanie J. Castillo has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about the late avant-garde great Thomas Chapin. The saxophonist was a Downtown NYC giant throughout the 80s and credited with bringing esoteric jazz to a broader audience before his death in 1998 at age 40, following a bout with leukemia.

Lastly, there’s the news of the passing of legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd at age 80. Byrd did it all from hard Bop to hip hop; he will be missed.

  • Pictures Of Jazz Players With Presidents! [LA Weekly]
  • Prince to headline Montreux Jazz Festival [BBC News]
  • Weird Jazz Instruments - AUDIO [NPR]
  • Positively Philadelphia: Alan Segal and His Jazz Sanctuary [CBS Philly]

Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013