Jazzin' Magazine

Jazzin' Magazine
Jazzin' Magazine

domingo, 1 de noviembre de 2009

The Harlem Hellfighters

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, James Reese Europe emerged as the most renowned bandleader of New York's entertainment world. Famed for his syncopated orchestral accompaniment of the dancing team of Irene and Vernon Castle, Europe became a major figure in promoting the popularity of social dancing and engendered a ragtime-based music that contributed to the emergence of jazz. During World War I, his 369th Infantry Band the “Hell Fighters,” was hailed by French and American troops as the finest ensemble in the Allied Army.

The Harlem Hell fighters was a combination of musicians from Harlem and Puerto Rico:

James Reese Europe - Director, Conductor, Arranger Eugene Mikell - Assistant Conductor Felix Weir Assistant Conductor

Dope Andrews, Herb Fleming, Amos Gillard, Rafael Hernandez,Trombones - Arturo B. Ayala, Gregorio Felix Delgado, Rafael Duchesne, Antonio Gonzalez, Jesus Hernandez, Elige Rijos, Genaro Torres, Clarinets - Sixto Benitez, Alex Jackson, Lee Perry, Jose Rivera Rosas,Tubas - Frank DeBroit, Pops Foster, Jake Porter, Russell Smith, Cornets - Pablo Fuentes, Bassoon - Calvin “Piccolo” Jones,Piccolo, Flutes - Ceferino Hernandez, Pinkhead Parker, Saxophones - Froilan Jimenez, Nicholas Vazquez, Baritone Horns - Eleuterio Melendez, Francisco Melendez, Mellophones - Noble Sissle, C. Creighton Thompson, Vocals - Hurbert Wright, Steven Wright, Karl Kenny, and Whitney Viney - Drums

Rogelio "Ram" Ramirez


Born: September 15, 1913

Ram Ramirez - piano, organ, composer, (1913 - 1994)

Rogelio Ramirez (also known as Roger or “Ram”) was born in San Juan on September 15, 1913. He arrived on Ellis Island in 1920.He was raised in New York, was recognized as a prodigious talent and by 13 was a professional musician, and a member of the American Federation of Musicians.

Ramirez worked with the Louisiana Stompers, The Spirits of Rhythm, and Monette Moore in 1933. The following year, he joined trumpeter Rex Stewart for a set of recordings that are available today on the Columbia and Classic labels. In 1935, he joined Willie Bryant and in 1937, he went to Europe with a group led by Bobby Martin.

A highlight in Ram Ramirez's career carne at the age of 21, in 1934 when he literally substituted for Duke Ellington in a small group led by Rex Stewart, with whom he recorded “Stingaree,” and “Baby Ain'tcha Satisfied.”

Ramirez backed the legendary Ella Fitzgerald in 1940, in the band she took over after the death of Chick Webb, and worked with Frankie Newton and Charlie Barnet in 1942. In 1944, he joined the John Kirby Sextet and this was followed by stints with his own trio.

He proceeded to play in bands led by Frankie Newton and Ike Quebec, appearing with the latter on some early Blue Note Records, Ramirez also recorded under his own name in 1946, leading a trio with guitarist Jimmy Shirley and bassist Al Hall.

In 1944 Billie Holiday recorded Ramirez's composition, “Lover Man,” a song which is still strongly associated with her, and subsequently became a jazz standard. This has been his biggest claim to fame, and his enduring contribution to jazz.

In the late '40s and early '50s he continued to play in and around New York, and in ‘53 began to play organ on more occasions, where he started to make a name for himself in the clubs.

In the '60s he toured Europe with bluesman T-Bone Walker, and the following decade was with the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band. He continued to make appearances with this group into the early '80s.

A blues-orientated pianist and organist that could swing with the best of them Ramirez is perhaps less well known than his skills warrant. He participated in approximately 62 jazz recording sessions between 1934 and 1981.His best solo effort was “Live in Harlem,” from 1960, where he puts on a dazzling display of his skills on the organ. There was a reissue release in 2005 of “I’ll Remember April,” by the Ram Ramirez Trio.

Ram Ramirez died on Jan. 13, 1994.

Ramón Usera

Ramón Usera

One of Puerto Rico's premiere band leaders in the middle 20th century was Ramón "Moncho" Usera. He organized his first bands in New York and subsequently became a bandleader in his native homeland.

Ramón Usera was born in Ponce in 1904. He arrived in New York (via Ellis Island) in 1924. By the time he arrived in the U.S. mainland, Usera was a well-trained musician who played piano, flute, clarinet and saxophone. Usera stayed briefly in New York and by 1925, was enrolled at the Escole Normale de Musique in Paris, France.

Unlike most of his compatriots, Moncho Usera entered the jazz scene in Europe, when he joined Lew Leslie's Blackbirds, an all-black musical in París. In 1928, that band traveled through Europe and also recorded there. In 1929, Usera returned to New York, where he joined the Noble Sissle Orchestra. It is possible that he had been recruited by the older Puerto Rican musician Rafael Duchesne, who was also a band member. Both were in the band when it went to the recoding studios in February and April of 1931.

In 1933, Usera joined the band led by trumpeter Arthur Briggs and returned to Paris, where he performed at the Ambassadeur Club. In 1934, the band traveled to England to perform at the London Jazz Club. That band included the great players Sidney Bechet and Noble Sissle. Usera participated in approximately 10 jazz recording sessions (between 1928 and 1937) as a violinist, clarinetist, and tenor and alto saxophonist.

Usera left the jazz scene to return to the Latin American music scene, where he performed with outstanding bandleaders such as Enrique Madriguera, Desiderio "Desi" Arnaz and Eliseo Grenet. Usera participated in numerous recording sessions and traveled throughout the United States, South America, and Europe. Afterward, he recorded and arranged music for several bands led by Vincent López and Don Maya, among others.

Moncho Usera was a composer of different genres. Among his compositions, we find the tune titled Under the Creole Moon, which he wrote with Sidney Bechet and Noble Sissle. His other compositions include Añoranzas, Boga Boga, Caribbean Fantasy, Ha Ha Ha, Moment that We Fell in Love, Mosquito El, Tal Es la Vida, and There is No Tomorrow, among others.

A number of recordings in which Moncho Usera is featured as a participant or bandleader are available. Most recently, Harlequin Records released a CD titled Ramón Moncho Usera 1941-42.

Appears On:
Violon Jazz 1927 - 1944 (2xCD) Kansas City Kitty Frémeaux & Associés 1996

L'Histoire Du Jazz Vocal - The Story Of Vocal Jazz: Part 1 (1911 - 1940) (10xCD, Comp) Camp Meeting Day (192... Le Chant Du Monde 2004

Swing De Paris (1922-1951) (2xCD, Comp) Daughter Of The Latin ... Frémeaux & Associés 2004

Ralph Escudero

Ralph Escudero

Sometimes credited as Ralph Escudero, this Puerto Rican musician was a valuable rhythm section member in some of the most prominent of the larger classic jazz ensembles, such as the bands of Fletcher Henderson and the popular McKinney's Cotton Pickers. These bands featured challenging arrangements and the leaders depended on players who could swing with an accurate sense of time, such as Escudero, to keep things from falling apart in all possible confusion between sections. When the audience for this genre began to dry up, he opted to return to Puerto Rico rather than remain on the American jazz scene and finished out his career as a musician in his homeland. He originally started music as a bassist at the age of 12 and came to New York to play professionally under the auspices of the New Amsterdam Musical Association. His first recordings were classic blues or jazz numbers featuring vocalists Ethel Waters and Lucille Hegamin, recorded in 1920-1921. He was working a gig with the hard-working Wilbur Sweatman at the Howard Theatre in Washington when bandleader Fletcher Henderson, always with an ear out for new talent, heard him and recruited him on the spot. He became one of the hearty rhythm section men who were able to handle this particular boss's adventurous musical undertakings up through 1926. "The Stampede" from 1926 is a good example of the Henderson rhythm sound when the composer was attempting to create the effect of all hell breaking loose. He appeared with McKinney's Cotton Pickers under the musical leadership of reed artist Don Redman in 1926 as well and stayed with this band for five years, appearing on many of their recordings. The historic jazz drummer Kaiser Marshall used Escudero on tuba in his band the Bostonians, and he also toured with W.C. Handy as part of a traditional-sounding classic blues combo. Into the late '30s, he was based out of both New York and Los Angeles but returned to Puerto Rico where he worked as a jazzman through the '60s. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

Appears On:
Bessie Smith (Box + 10xLP, Comp) CBS Special Products 1977

Giants Of Jazz (3xLP, Comp) Copenhagen Time Life Records 1980

Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man: 1923-1934 (4xCD, Comp + Box) Sugar Foot Stomp, Alon... Columbia 1994

The Quintessence . New York Camden Londres Paris Chicago 1926 - 1944 (2xCD, Comp)
The Stampede Frémeaux & Associés 1995

The Empress 1923 - 1933 (2xCD, Comp) Frémeaux & Associés 1997

The Essential Bessie Smith (2xCD, Comp, RM) Cake Walkin' Babies Fr... Columbia, Legacy 1997

The Rough Guide To Classic Jazz (CD, Album, Comp) Sugar Foot Stomp World Music Network 1997

L'Histoire Du Jazz Vocal - The Story Of Vocal Jazz: Part 1 (1911 - 1940) (10xCD, Comp) Beadle-Um-Bum (1929-0... Le Chant Du Monde 2004

Intégrale Louis Armstrong Vol. 1 - Chimes Blues 1923-1924 (3xCD, Comp) Frémeaux & Associés 2007

I Ain't Got Nobody (2xCD, Comp) History
In New York 1924 (LP) Napoleon (2)

McKinney's Cotton Pickers 1929-1930 (LP, Mono) Do Something, Nobody's... RCA Victor
Odeon Swing Music Series Vol. 2 (LP, Comp) Star Dust (New York, 1... EMI Electrola

Il Jazz Club - Um lugar para o Jazz em Puerto Rico

Il Jazz Club - Um lugar para o Jazz em Puerto Rico

Il Jazz Club, é o primeiro Jazz Club de Puerto Rico com música ao vivo, desde a terça feira ate os sabados.

Nesta quinta feira, outubro 15, o artista invitado foi Jorge Laboy, um dos melhores violinistas de Puerto Rico. Jorge Laboy é um violinista com muita experiencia na música, tem tocado com artistas como Jose Feliciano, Mark Anthony, Christian Castro, Emmanuel, David Bisbal, Ednita Nazario, Ricky Martin, Armando Manzanero, Gilberto Santarosa, Victor Manuel e Olga Tañon.

O show começou as 9:30 com uma música original de Laboy, e excelentes solos no violao e teclado. A segunda música foi uma boa versao de Cantaloupe Island de Herbie Hancock, seguidas pelas música originais Nunca digas nunca e Telerebel. Sem dúvida o estilo que Jorge gosta e se sente mais comodo é o Jazz Fusión. Tem influencias de violinistas como Larry Carlton e Lee Ritenour. Mas a quinta música foi uma surpresa pra mim pelo o estilo, com influencia de Be Bop. Acho que é a primeira vez que escuto a Jorge tocar nesse estilo, brilhante fraseado nos solos com um surpreendente acompanhamento de Samuel Morales no Baixo e Efrain Martinez na bateria.

Agora os fãs do Jazz tem um lugar para ouvir boa música.

IL' Jazz Club
1016 avenida Ponce de León,
Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico


Wilbert Sostre
Jazz and Bossa