June 25, 2003
Jazz Stars Honored With WLIU 88.3 FM Jazz Legends Lifetime Achievement Awards
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Some of jazz's most gifted musicians will be on hand to receive the WLIU 88.3 FM's Jazz Legend Lifetime Achievement awards at the July 5th fund-raising celebration. In all, WLIU 88.3 FM will honor six jazz legends: Argentine jazz saxophonist and winner of Billboard's Jazz Album of the Year Gato Barbieri; the inimitable jazz vocalist Anita O'Day; and Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Carla Cook, the first recipient of the Jazz Legends Young Artist award. Henry Grimes, the avant-garde jazz bassist having recently resurfaced from obscurity and isolation, and the Juilliard-trained classical pianist and jazz vibraphonist Teddy Charles round out the Jazz Legend honorees on hand at the event. The late Bob Berg, whose tragic and untimely death last fall stunned the jazz community, will also be honored posthumously; Percy Heath, friend and fellow fisherman, will present the award.
The evening will begin with an opportunity to meet and greet the Jazz Legends at the 6:30 pm cocktail hour. A seated dinner will be served at 8 pm, followed by music and dancing. The Jazz Legends Awards will be presented throughout the evening. The Henry Mancini Institute Alumni Big Band, conducted by Cecil Bridgewater, will provide the entertainment. The event is being planned by LaForce + Stevens, catering is provided by Creative Edge, the event is being designed by Tansey Design Associates, and Megna Glass of Sag Harbor will create the crystal awards that will be presented to each honoree.
WLIU Jazz Legends celebration takes place Saturday, July 5th, at the Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, NY. Tables of ten are available for $3,000 and $5,000, and individual tickets are $300 and $500. All proceeds benefit WLIU. For tickets and additional information, contact Genna Blackman at LaForce + Stevens, 212.242.9353, ext. 146 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the honorees: Originally from Argentina, Gato Barbieri is a celebrated saxophonist and composer, well known for his wide, romantic vibrato and emotionally charged performance style. He began playing alto saxophone as a teenager in Buenos Aires and his five-decade career has covered virtually the entire jazz landscape, from free jazz to film scoring and his ultimate embrace of Latin music throughout the 70's and 80's. Barbieri gained worldwide recognition with his numerous Latin-tinged recordings and explosive festival performances, but he shot to stardom with his Grammy award winning original score for Bernardo Bertolucci's controversial film The Last Tango in Paris. Barbieri's latest recording, The Shadow of the Cat, was named Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year at the 2002 Billboard Latin Music Awards ceremony.
Bob Berg was one of the most gifted tenor saxophonists ever to play jazz. With his passionate delivery and his no-holds-barred hard-bop groove, Bob was a true original. He joined up with the legendary B-3 player Brother Jack McDuff while still in his teens, and went on to play with the likes of Horace Silver and Cedar Walton in the 70's and early 80's. He eventually became a member of the Miles Davis band in the mid-80s. His solo career includes albums with Denon and Stretch, including 1990's In the Shadows and 1997's Another Standard, an album of jazz interpretations of popular songs. Berg died in a car crash last December.
Vibraphonist/composer Teddy Charles studied percussion at Juilliard, but taught himself to play the vibes. He toured throughout the 40's and 50's with Benny Goodman, Chubby Jackson, Artie Shaw, and later with artists like Anita O'Day, Oscar Pettiford, Roy Eldrige, and Slim Gaillard, among many others. Charles participated in Charles Mingus' legendary and influential Jazz Composer's Workshops in the late 50's, and was a prolific record producer as well. He relocated in the 1960's to the Caribbean and founded his own sailing business. Charles eventually returned to the New York area and continues to divide his time between his love of music and the sea in Greenport.
Grammy-nominated vocalist and composer Carl Cook is one of jazz's best and brightest artists performing today. She grew up in Detroit and played acoustic bass before turning her attention to singing full-time. Cook credits her hometown with her musical ?eclecticism? and is known for incorporating elements of blues, R&B, classic soul and gospel into performances. Her debut CD It's All About Love, earner her a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, and her latest album is a combination of original songs and standards titled Simply Natural.
Henry Grimes is one of the most respected bassists of the avant-garde jazz scene of the mid-60's. He is known for his distinctive bass sound and "his ability to alternate from long eastern-sounding bowing to hard pizzicato plucking" according to a recent New York Times story. Trained at Juilliard, Grimes performed regularly with Charles Mingus, Anita O'Day, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and many more while still in his 20's. Before Grimes dropped out of sight in the early 70's, he had played on some of the seminal albums of the "free jazz" era, with such musicians as Billy Taylor, Albert Ayler, Don Cherry and Pharaoh Sanders. Now 65, Grimes disappeared and was discovered 30 years later living in a one-room efficiency apartment in Los Angeles by Marshall Marrotte, a young social worker from Athens, Georgia. William Parker, a New York bassist who as a teenager had gone to Brooklyn to hear Grimes play, provided the musician with a new bass late last year. Grimes has recently played concerts in Los Angeles and New York.
Anita O'Day started singing professionally at 19 in Chicago's nightclubs and got her first big break when she joined Gene Krupa's big band in 1941. She scored her first hit with Krupa and trumpeter Roy Eldrige with Let Me Off Uptown. Known for her exuberant vocals and intense improvisation, O'Day, much like her colleagues Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, shattered the traditional image of a demure female vocalist by swinging just as hard as the other musicians. After stints with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, O'Day went solo, recording her first album Anita in 1955. She earned worldwide fame with her classic recordings for Verve Records, and continues to tour and record as one of the last true divas of Jazz's "golden era."