Ronald Shannon Jackson, a drummer and composer who worked largely within the realms of free jazz, funk and fusion, died Oct. 19, in Ft. Worth, Tex. Jackson’s passing was confirmed by his cousin, Tobi Hero, on Jackson’s Facebook page. Jackson was suffering from leukemia and had been living in a hospice. He was 73.
Jackson recorded more than 20 albums as a leader and served as a sideman with such pioneers of jazz’s avant-garde as Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler. (The drummer was in fact the only musician to work with all three.) Jackson’s band the Decoding Society, formed in 1979, incorporated contemporary elements such as rock, funk and dance and included, at various times, such now well-known players as Billy Bang, Byard Lancaster, Zane Massey, David Fiuczynski, Jef Lee Johnson, Melvin Gibbs, Robin Eubanks and Vernon Reid.
Being myself an Iranian I’ve been always looking for Iranian or American-Iranian musicians living and playing here in the States. Iranian musicians who either don’t play the LA type of “Iranian Pop music” nor Persian classical music, but a kind of music which is contemporary and original. One of them I found out is the Iranian-American composer, saxophonist, theorist and educator Hafez Modirzadeh who lives and teaches in LA. Unfortunately since coming to New York I haven’t have the chance to meet him. In fact I missed two of his New York concerts in the last two years due to my own music commitments.
The first time I heard of Modirzadeh was about ten years ago, when I still lived in Tokyo. A Japanese jazz journalist surprised me with a cassette of Modirzadeh’s music which sounded “oriental jazzy,” very cool and original. I was impressed by what I heard. At that time I didn’t understand what he was playing. Today I know: he played “chromodal” which is a a cross-cultural musical concept and music style, developed from his own American jazz and Iranian dastgahheritages.
But I liked his music and the tone of his tenor sax. Last spring with the release of my CD SoSaLa Nu World Trash I used this occasion to mail Modirzadeh and introduce myself. He responded to my mail shortly writing:
Madison Square Garden, on the cold, rainy night of November 27th, 2012, Thousands filled every inch of the venue, and hundreds more stood outside and in Time Square, gathered around the enormous video screens and speakers that, after months of haggling with Mayor Bloomberg, were permitted to be set up. Major networks, live internet streaming throughout the world, and the unprecedented use of 3D hologram imaging simulcast live in Paris, London, Tokyo, Moscow, Dubai, and the Mayan ruins in Chichin Itzu, Mexicio carried the event. Millions waited with anticipation for what promised to be a defining musical moment.
On that night, the world celebrated the 70th birthday of one of the greatest musicians of our age, Jimi Hendrix.
Their original line up consisted of Duane Allman (guitar), Greg Allman (keyboards), Barry Oakley (bass), Butch Trucks (drums), Jai Johanson (drums), and Dickie Betts (guitar). They gained national notoriety with the 1971 release of their live album At the Fillmore. The album and the live performance it documented became legendary. Their effortless blend of rock, blues, and country with jazz inspired extended improvisation forged the group’s sound and legacy.
Februaru 27th one of the great living Blues musicians left earth! Known as the “Gypsy of the Blues”, Eddie Kirkland, an 88-year-old blues legend was killed in Florida when his car turned into the path of a Greyhound bus.
Born in Jamaica, grew up in Alabama, Kirkland eventually moved via Indiana to Detroit. He toured for 7 1/2 years with John Lee Hooker, became a bandleader for Otis Redding and performed with artists, such as Little Richard, Ben King, Ruth Brown and Little Johnnie Taylor. Eddie Kirkland was not only a great bluesman, but a folk legend.