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Jazz in Maine: Maine Public's Jazz Hosts Talk about Genres, Songs & the Jazz Scene in Maine

Maine Public

Maine Public jazz hosts Sufiyah Yasmine and Rich Tozier join us to talk about the jazz scene in Maine and which jazz genres and artists are particular favorites.

Sufiyah Asia Yasmine, producer, Maine Public Classical; host of The Jazz Flower with Saylove
Rich Tozier, Maine Public host of Jazz Tonight

Playlist - The Jazz Scene in Maine – Maine Calling – Friday June 25, 2021

1. Track: Acknowledgement by John Coltrane Album: A Love Supreme

John Coltrane/“Acknowledgement" from A LOVE SUPREME: The Complete Masters, Impulse! 23722-02 (a double disc, but also available as a single album on A LOVE SUPREME, MCA Impulse! 5660/JVC-467} This is the first movement from Coltrane’s iconic masterpiece. Coltrane was a seeker and you can always hear the query in his music, the search for something beyond. A LOVE SUPREME is spiritual music — you could even call it a prayer — but you can hear his quest even in just about all of his other work.

2. Track: Blues for Huey by The Jazz Epistles Album: Verse 1 (1960)

The Jazz Epistles - Blues for Hughie (Verse 1, 1960) Foremost, I grew up with bass in the home. My father is a bassist, so I have a natural ear for bass. For a short time, I played trumpet, so I also developed an ear for the trumpet. My roots in jazz are most in the Hard Bop style. With that said, Verse 1 by The Jazz Epistles, is the first hard bop album out of South Africa. I love the album, group, the bass and trumpet intro, as well as the musician’s other works such as the trumpeter Hugh Masekela whose work ranges from Hard Bop to Afro-Beat, Indigenous South African musical traditions, etc.

3. Track: The African Queen by Horace Silver Album: The Cape Verdean Blues

Horace Silver/"The African Queen" from THE CAPE VERDEAN BLUES, Blue Note 84220. Horace’s parents came from Cape Verde and its rhythms frequently inspired his music. You can always hear the soul and a tinge of melancholy in Silver’s sound, even in his up tempo, joyous pieces, and this track, a relatively lengthy one of almost ten minutes, although slower in tempo than his up tempo and usually joyous pieces, evokes all kinds of moods.

4. Track: Cristo Redentor by Donald Byrd Album: A New Perspective (1964)

Keeping with my ear for trumpet, I have long been a fan of Donald Byrd, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis, to name a few. Donald Byrd's music crosses genres, as funk, soul, and R&B, which is one of the reasons his music stands out to me. This track is off the album "A New Perspective" which he put together as a hymnal. Although there are many other tracks I could have selected, I think the spiritual significance adds a whole other layer of soul in the music. In addition, Donald hails from Detroit, Michigan (where there is a lot of history in music, and in the black spiritual community. I do think of regional influences as being significant.)

5. Track: I Can’t Give You Anything but Love by Jimmy Smith Album: Groovin’ At Small’s Paradise

Jimmy Smith/"I Can’t Give You Anything but Love," from GROOVIN’ AT SMALL’S PARADISE, Blue Note 99777-2. Jimmy Smith took possession of the Hammond B-3 organ. This live double-disc recording of his organ-guitar-drums trio from 1957 caught him in top form. It was hard to pick which track to include on this show. On a personal note, a high point of my musical listening, if not of my life, was catching Jimmy’s trio one summer night at the late, lamented Lennie’s-on-the-turnpike back in 1967.

6. Track: Fiddlin’ by Trudy Pitts Album: Introducing The Fabulous Trudy Pitts (1967)

Trudy Pitts - Fiddlin' Women are underrepresented in jazz, so I had to highlight at least one female artist. I also have an ear for the organ, and I am inspired by soulful jazz organists, such as the fabulous Trudy Pitts out of Philly!

7. Track: The Sidewinder by Lee Morgan Album: The Sidewinder

Lee Morgan/"The Sidewinder" from THE SIDEWINDER, Blue Note Records 95332. This was a breakthrough album, not only for trumpeter Morgan, but for the Blue Note label. A funky, infectious “straight-ahead” track recorded in 1963, it became somewhat of a best-seller for a jazz record when rock’s tsunami was about to overwhelm popular tastes. It was also my introduction to Lee Morgan, forever a favorite, and his impressive sidemen on this date, including saxophonist Joe Henderson.

8. Track: It’s Jay Are by John Robinson and J Rawls Album: The 1960's Jazz Revolution, Again (2009)

Jay Are is comprised of John Robinson on the rhymes and J Rawls on the beats! These are my comrades and fellow hip hop educators who are also inspired by jazz. This was a concept album, that sampled jazz, and spoke of themes in jazz music. It was one of my favorite albums of that year. (There is a history of jazz samples in hip hop music, as well as the influence of hip hop in jazz music over the last almost 50 years.)

9. Track: Better Git It in Your Soul by Charles Mingus Album: Mingus Ah Um

Charles Mingus, with the Booker Ervin saxophone solo, excerpt from “Better Git It in Your Soul,” from MINGUS AH UM, Columbia/Legacy 65512. As mentioned in my note above, hearing this particular moment back when I was just discovering the richness of jazz in the mid-1960's, was a revelation, and changed the way I listened to jazz thereafter. This brief clip includes the end of pianist Horace Parlan’s solo, which builds up the tension nicely before Ervin shouts his sermon from the pulpit. The entire album would be, for me, a so-called “desert island disc” if I had to pick one. I still hear new things in it.

10. Track: Macona by El Mike Album: Arriesgarlo Todo, 2017

El Mike - Is a beloved friend, Mi Hermanito, a little brother to me, is one of my producers and is the founder of Hip Hop Colombia, which I’m part of. He's an artist, producer, songwriter, videographer, a pillar in Colombia and Latin American Hip Hop. He left this Earth on February 12th to continue his soul journey, and he left us work to continue! In the video, you'll see he is in one of his neighborhoods, Little Havana, Miami, which I also represent. In this song, he samples Celia Cruz's song "Quimbara" representing Little Havana, Miami, Colombia, Central and South American Hip Hop AND JAZZ!

11. Track: Street Sociologist by Saylove Album: Street Sociologist (Single, 2019)

Saylove - Street Sociologist (Single, 2019) This is a song produced by El Mike, and in collaboration with Zulu King Image. Some of my songs sound a little more street knowledge like Wu Tang, others are more "jazzy" like A Tribe Called Quest. Also, I like to write songs on instruments. Either way, you will hear a soul/jazz influence in my music.

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Jonathan was born in Monsey, New York. A field trip to Washington, DC when he was in 7th grade started him on his circuitous path to a career in public radio. The trip inspired a love of politics and led to his desire to one day call DC home. After graduating from Grinnell College, he worked on a couple of campaigns in Iowa (presidential and congressional) and moved to Washington, DC.