Editorial
 


 
Magic Sound "Bite"


Sound News Volume 86 - The Walking Distance-Spring 2020-A New World

Sparrow Sound Design, Southport Records News & Commentary

www.chicagosound.com

by b. p. sparrow

 

Bradley Parker Sparrow & Joanie Pallatto on Southport Records
AFTER HOURS WITH RICK KOGAN

https://wgnradio.com/after-hours-with-rick-kogan/bradley-parker-sparrow-joanie-pallatto-on-southport-records/

Musician and singers Joanie Pallatto & husband Bradley Parker Sparrow.

WGN Radio’s Rick Kogan is with Bradley Parker Sparrow and his wife Joanie Pallatto to talk about what’s cooking at Southport Records, listen to some amazing voices and talk about the incredible music at available www.chicagosound.com.

# # #



by b. p. sparrow

Soundnews 86 Update: 6/4/2020

During these troubled times we have used music and words as a type of medicine. First the virus and then civic unrest beneath the shadows of George Floyd. As a half black and half white man I have skipped into the social river of life. The gangs on the South Side in Woodlawn of my youth. The smell of fire with the riots of 1968 as many black businesses burned to the ground creating the wasteland that we can not look at. On the Southport cover page you see a picture of George Freeman, proud and lean at "his" home. For what I have seen in 65 years is but a shadow of
what George and all the Freeman's have seen.

40 years ago I was standing at a bar in Chicago on Lincoln Ave. The door flew open and two large white men came up to me and said. "Come with us." I said: "Who are you?" The man on the left pulled his tight jacket back and it had an holstered gun. "We ask the questions." It was dark and raining as the plain clothed police put me in the back seat of their police issue Chevy. We went west on Cortland Ave. and then past the Chicago river. I said... "Officer where are we going?" They said, shut up or you will end up over there, pointing (in the river) and no one will know it... or... why. They pulled up to a white frame house and a young white woman was on the stairs, her head bent over. The cop said... "Come here and look at this boy... is it him?" She shifted down the steep stairs and looked at me. "No, that is not him... he was blacker..."

Silence as we drove away back to the bar on Lincoln. "Get out." I did not go back in the bar.

-Sparrow
 

# # #

The Walking Distance

Do I have a 6' 2x4 to keep the sweating, heathing large man away from me while jogging on the sidewalk by Whole Foods? Will he guide his healthy body away from me, or ignore me because I am a large, bald ancient black man? Does he know that I am from the arts and streets, a musician/composer or am I just another black man stranded from the L train on the perfect North Side of Chicago. What is the walking distance? Is the virus a large George Orwell strainer that filters out the chosen perfect? So many years since 1984, or 2001, or 911 as the earth, like a giant forest fire clears away the trees?

What is the Walking Distance?

October 30, 1959, Episode 5, "The Walking Distance"

- the first year of The Twilight Zone.

"Martin Sloan, age thirty-six. Occupation: vice-president, ad agency, in charge of media. This is not just a Sunday drive for Martin Sloan. He perhaps doesn't know it at the time, but it's an exodus. Somewhere up the road he's looking for sanity. And somewhere up the road, he'll find something else." Opening narration, Rod Serling. Original score, Bernard Herrman.

Sparrow, born 1954, from 47th and Drexel, Chicago, moved to the "pocket" on 70th and Woodlawn at age 6. Can I go back in time to "The Little Store" that sold butter cookies from a plastic container for 1 cents, like the penny candy? Would the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Fain be there in their 1959 purple Buick? Would young Blackstone Rangers be trying to force me in their gang so that I could fight the west side Disciples? Could I hear the sound of the Illinois Central electric train, next to the Oakwoods Cemetery by the secret path and the sounds of tall, cheap cottonwood trees bending in the wind. And like that back in time episode of the Twilight Zone, when I got back in time, would I see myself as a child, my parents and my relatives as the sun sets next to "Daddy Harry's" chrome barbeque grill and taste Harry's secret barbeque sauce as his wife "Grandma Brown" smoked Kool cigarettes?

What is the walking distance? Gig Young plays the ad executive that goes back in time.

If you look closely you will spot Ron Howard from The Andy Griffith show in this episode as the Wilcox boy... Ronny and I were both born in 1954. I wished at age 5 that my father was really more like Andy Griffith.

# # #

Unsound Perforations.

How many times have you tried to tear off a payment section from a bill and the quick tear perforations are so close and weak toward the fold of the bill that you have to stop. You say to yourself, "I will destroy this bill if I am not patient." Then you go into very slow hand motion and try to define the perforations with smooth even strokes. Oh no, your new crease increases more perforation confusion. You lose patience and try to go for it. Then, and only then do you destroy the stub.

# # #

Toilet Paper, Tortillas and Joggers

Mother nature is complex. The way we treat our world, as humans is a mess. Pollution,

damage to all rain forests. The use of fossil fuels. And now Covid 19. Did the people

that hoarded all the toilet paper also buy all the fresh tortillas? Did they stuff the tortillas with chorizo and lard and then need all the toilet paper in the world? A rare site these days is a whole wheat tortilla! As far as staying away from people 6 feet while outside, what about joggers on the sidewalk...massive, breathing, sweating and coming right at you like a vulture. Are they eating all of the tortillas and using all the toilet paper?

# # #

John Prine

See the smoke from that brown mountain,

Lost in anxious hill, you will find. John Prine.

Early 70s joints on Lincoln Ave, beer/bourbon/guitar in hand,

Place a dollar in the pickle tip jar

For a young John Prine at the Plug Nickel, The Earl Of Old Town

Guitar in hand.

Folk of the folk bending notes...

beer/bourbon/guitar in hand,

A young John Prine.

So dark the hair and eyes that shoot right through you,

The melodic view, a southern northern stew

Of working class and dancing fast.

So young the man from Maywood, Illinois

This is his time.

John Prine (RIP)

# # #

Southport CD Projects in the works... Art marches on!!!!!!

George Flynn "Duo Diorama" (S-SSD 0149)

performs music by George Flynn and Winston Choi

MingHuan Xu, violin and Winston Choi, piano

Composer/Pianist/Producer Flynn returns with his 13th CD project from the Southport Composers Series, "Duo Diorama."

This CD includes three works performed by Duo Diorama (violinist MingHuan Xu and pianist Winston Choi). Those works are: Flynn's Seeking Serenity, Winston Choi’s Tetrachromatic Musings and Flynn's Meditative Fantasy. A fourth piece

on the CD is Flynn's piano solo American Icon, performed by Winston Choi.

Recorded live on September, 2018 and May, 2019 as part of the Chicago Soundings Concert Series at Queen Of Angels Church in Chicago by engineers Carl Beitler and Todd A. Carter on the 9' Steinway concert grand.

George Flynn (b. 1937) has performed and organized concerts of new music in a variety of New York City and Chicago venues. Many of Flynn's works reflect extra-musical interests, including images of this country and the Vietnam experience. His chamber duos consider human relationships, and several piano solos seek to extend the limits of gestural, technical and poetic elements.

The Boston Globe called Flynn's 2011 Tanglewood performance of his "Pieces of Night" "a furiously virtuosic, brilliantly chiseled 50-minute monument to Vietnam-era insomnia, turbulence both historic and timely."

# # #

Joanie Pallatto "My Original Plan" (S-SSD 0150)

"Joanie's engaging warmth, easy precision and sweet sense of rhythm..."

Howard Mandel - journalist, author and jazz critic

Singer/Songwriter and label co-owner Joanie Pallatto returns to the Southport Records catalog with her brand new creation "My Original Plan."

"My Original Plan" will be Joanie Pallatto's third recording of all original songs! Master Guitarist Fareed Haque will add the credit of Music Producer to this project.Pallatto and Haque continue to fine-tune the arrangements and production. Haque is featured on "As You Spend Your Life" (Southport 2011) and "It's Not Easy" (Southport 2008).

"My Original Plan" features the Southport session rhythm section of Fareed Haque on guitar, John Devlin on electric bass and Luiz Ewerling on drums. Together, they tracked 14 new original songs in 3 session days, engineered by Todd A. Carter (TV POW) and Sparrow, her partner in sound and life. On select tracks, Harp Master Howard Levy is along for the ride, plus creations from pianist/composer Bradley Parker-Sparrow. Sessions were tracked at Sparrow Sound Design (The Library) in the winter of 2019 (December 6, 7 & 8). JP wrote all the songs (music and lyrics) with a couple of cuts co-composed by Sparrow.

Joanie Pallatto has performed over the years at Pangea and The Iridium in New York City, City Winery, The Green Mill, Andy's, and Katerina's in Chicago and at The Chicago Jazz Festival in 2019. This is her third CD of all original music, and she has released a total of 15 recordings, including CDs with Bradley Parker-Sparrow.

Since we are all stuck at home/studio now... JP is polishing the creation! Lock-ins, keep your digital eyes open for the CD's first video "Do Butterflies Cry."

Due out, as soon as we can finish the mix!

# # #

Josie Falbo "You Must Believe In Spring" (S-SSD 0151)

Chicago Writer and WGN-AM host Rick Kogan says of Josie Falbo: "Stunning...astonishing...a revelation"

Following Chicago vocalist Josie Falbo's first Southport CD "Taylor Street" (Southport 2010) she returns with a new opus, "You Must Believe In Spring." You'll hear new recordings of classic material from The Great American Songbook, including Billy Strayhorn's "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing", Harold Arlen/Truman Capote's mesmerizing "A Sleepin' Bee" and the title track, "You Must Believe In Spring" where Falbo soars with complete authenticity (Michel Legrand/Jacques Demy/Marilyn & Alan Bergman).

Arranger and Co-Producer Carey Deadman arranged and conducted tracks for an 18-piece string orchestra, and multi horns to splendid effect! Veteran Jim Massoth is the main recording and mixing engineer at Crystall Recorders, and he swings the tenor sax solo on "Just You, Just Me." Musicians include Jeremy Kahn on piano, Mark Colby, Jim Gailloreto, Dave Onderdonk, Mike Smith, Ernie Denov, Andy Baker, Roger Ingram, and Rob Parton.

Josie is a true Italian American soprano that works in many forms of music- jazz, pop, R&B and classical. Signed to Vee-Jay Records in 1963, she released a '45 "Leave Me Alone/Easy To Love" which was an early catalyst for her life in music and recording. Over the years you have heard her sing on countless radio and TV commercials, including McDonalds, United Airlines, Sara Lee, Green Giant... the list goes on and on. Josie Falbo has also been featured in conductor and singer Bob Bowker's critically acclaimed "Lakeside Singers", touring the Chicago area with concerts.

# # #

THE THING! (1951/1982/2011)

James Arness plays "The Thing" in the 1951 version of this RKO film. Fame came to Arness when he landed the role of Marshal Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke. The black and white horror movie was directed by Christian Nyby. John Carpenter directed the 2nd version in 1982 starring Kurt Russell as a helicopter pilot. JP and I actually saw this outside of Cincinnati, Ohio at a shopping mall complex... it was a very bloody epic with a walking head with it's own legs!

The third version of "The Thing" I had not heard of (2011) was directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. It came on late night cable and was actually pretty good. In that film one of the lead actors barked to the group: "This is a monster, a virus! And what do you do when there is a virus?" Her fellow actor answered: "Quarantine! We can't let it get out into the world, it is the only way."

And sadly that is the way of the world with the new Covid 19 virus, or The Thing is what they called it in Hollywood... as we quarantine.... away, from "The Thing."

-b. p. sparrow (April 2020)

Sound News Volume 85 - UNSTOPPABLE GEORGE FREEMAN!
Sparrow Sound Design, Southport Records News & Commentary

by J. Pallatto

Hot off the heels of the new CD release from legendary jazz guitarist George Freeman- "George The Bomb!" comes the latest and perhaps greatest gig in the culmination of this journey...

George Freeman and Billy Branch are to headline the 41st annual Chicago Jazz Festival!

Pairing up the ever-young genre-breaking musician George Freeman with the far-reaching blues master Billy Branch for a Southport recording became a musical connection of jazz and blues. Our friend in jazz, Steve Saltzman would attest, as he helped to bring them together for the Jazz Institute of Chicago in 2008 for the 30th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival.

The bond between George and Billy can be heard in their delightful banter on "Where's The Cornbread?" which is typical of the joy they share as friends.

Of the eleven tracks on "George The Bomb!" are nine new, original songs composed by George Freeman. "Uncle Funky" and "Cha Cha Blue" were created in the studio, on the spot during the recording sessions.

As we assembled the "Southport House Band" of the versatile and rock-steady drummer, Luiz Ewerling and Chicago's unsung hero, John Devlin on electric bass, accordion and vocal, the recording process was easy. Everyone shared the same sense of support and curiosity, a winning combination!

George Freeman has played with all the "greats" - from Charlie Parker, to Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz, Johnny Griffin, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins and his brother Von Freeman, to name only a handful. Jazz History runs deep in his veins, and George Freeman is a royal member of the first family of Chicago Jazz, along with Von, brother Bruz Freeman and Von's son/George's nephew Chico Freeman.

# # #

We'd like to acknowledge the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Jazz Institute of Chicago for presenting George Freeman and Billy Branch at the 41st annual Chicago Jazz Festival!
Special thanks go out to DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly and Frayne Lewis, along with JIC's Heather Ireland Robinson, Adriana Prieto and much-appreciated assist from Lauren Deutsch.
http://www.chicagojazzfestival.us
Follow the Chicago Jazz Festival on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoJazzFestival/

Preview for the 2019 Chicago Jazz Festival by Lloyd Sachs
https://jazzinchicago.org/jazzfest/george-freeman-and-billy-branch/

Produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events | Programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago

Chicago Jazz Festival Schedule – Friday, August 30, 2019
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
4:15–5pm - George Freeman and Billy Branch
https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_jazz_festival5.html

# # #

Special thanks go out to our promotions team for the Southport Records CD by George Freeman - "George The Bomb!":
Greg Pasenko, Blujazz
http://www.blujazz.com
Greg has been an enormous help in getting the word out to press and radio. It's been such a distinct pleasure working with Greg, as he has a full understanding of running a successful record label and living his life as a musician. Thank you, Greg!

RADIO:  OVER 350 TERRESTRIAL, SATELLITE, AND INTERNET STATIONS SPINNING GEORGE THE BOMB!

***JAZZ WEEK JAZZ CHART TRACKING – 10 weeks in top 100, peaked 80, 17 weeks in top 200
***ROOTS MUSIC REPORT – 3 weeks  at #5
***NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY AND COLLEGE RADIO CHART (NACC) – top adds, top 20
***SATELLITE INTERNATIONAL
REAL JAZZ, LUNA, SIRIUS XM – top 20 currently – 11 spins per week
***THE VOICE OF AMERICA/VOA 1 / Jazz America – 19 spins to date, international broadcast
***WFMT Radio Network / Jazz Network - The Jazz Network is the preeminent hosted Jazz music service heard on over 270 outlets nationwide.

MAJOR MARKET RADIO
KCSM FM 91 – San Francisco; WDCB – Chicago; Jazz from Gallery 41 – Berkely/SF; Jazz 91.7 KRTU – San Antonio; KBEM-FM – Minneapolis; KCSB-FM – Santa Barbara; WCLK.91.9 FM – Atlanta; WLRN – Miami; KUVO/KVJZ – Denver

PLUS OUR CHICAGO RADIO STATIONS
WDCB 90.0fm (Paul Abella, Al Carter-Bey, Jay Greene, Matthew Hermes, Leslie Keros, Bruce Oscar, John Radio Russell, Marshall Vente, Barry Winograd and Dan Bindert & Ken Scott!, ; WRRG 88.9fm (Tom Macek and The Jazz Arena); WNUR 89.3fm (Eric Ricks, Stann Champion, Paul Brown, Daniela Ruiz-International Jazz Show); WLUW 88.7 fm (Live From The Heartland Show with Michael James, Katy Hogan and Thom Clark, Lynn Orman-Weiss, Jake Levy,); WHPK 88.5fm (Al Carter-Bey, Richton Guy Thomas, John Litweiler-Zounds!, Brenda Phillips & Linda Hall)...

and MORE RADIO SUPPORTERS!
WWSP 90fm; WUMR 91.7fm; WOWD 94.3fm; WNMC 90.7fm; WICN 90.5fm; WCSF fm; WBLV 90.3fm (Lazaro Vega); KPUP; KMUW (Chris Heim); KFAI & KBEM (Janis Lane-Ewart)...

# # #

Ralph Lampkin, Lampkin Music Group
http://lampkinmusicgroup.com
Ralph is a lifelong friend and collaborator in all things music! We've enjoyed and cherished our work together and appreciate your distinct promotional efforts. "A Toast to George Freeman" on April 28th, 2018 at City Winery, Chicago was co-produced by Lampkin Music Group to a packed house!

Lynn Orman-Weiss, Orman Music Media Group
https://www.ormanmusicmedia.com/
Lynn knows the blues and loves the music, the musicians and the venues. She also loves George Freeman!
Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 George Freeman received a Resolution from President, Toni Preckwinkle and The Cook County Board of the State of Illinois for his dedication and his musical contributions to Jazz music, recording and his community! This proclamation is part of a salute to “Jazz Music Appreciation Month” and was spearheaded by Lynn Orman-Weiss.

# # #

A special shout out to Mark Freeman, George's nephew. He's always there to help George in so many ways, and shares in the joy and the fun of having such a great uncle!

Special thanks to Al Carter-Bey, "the impressario" for his lifelong friendship with George, and his contributions to the CD statements. George wrote the song "Al Carter-Bey" and you can hear it on Al's radio shifts at WDCB 90.9fm and WHPK 88.5fm.

Thanks to Steve Saltzman for his support and knowledge, and for his historic CD statement on George & Billy. Steve is a conduit for everything jazz, and promotes the youth of today as tomorrow's jazz heroes!

Thanks to our Southport Records production team:
Over the years, we couldn't ask for better "ears" than we found in Todd A. Carter. His excellence in recording, editing and mixing and musicality during the sessions for  "George The Bomb!" resulted in pro levels and a world class sound! An artist whose work is always meticulous, creative and on-target, Al Brandtner gave the CD design life and verve, such a beautiful CD package!

# # #

Our good friend Rick Kogan honored us with his conversation with George Freeman on the radio at WGN 720 AM on Sunday, April 14, 2019 for his "After Hours with Rick Kogan." Listen Here:
https://wgnradio.com/2019/05/12/after-hours-with-rick-kogan-george-the-bomb-artist-patty-kirk-chicago-film-society-jazz-genius-chris-greene/

# # #

Our friend Mark Ruffin shows his love for The Freeman Family of Chicago, Bruz, Von, George and Chico Freeman through the years! Thank you, Mark!
Mark featured the music of the Freeman family Thursday, April 25th on Sirius XM's Real Jazz channel in honor of Jazz Appreciation and George's 92nd birthday.
Since 2007, Mark has been the program director of the Real Jazz channel on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

# # #

MORE GEORGE!
Chicago Tonight repeated last year's story on George Freeman (April 25, 2019) at 7:00 pm. Many thanks to Marc Vitali
George Freeman Tells Us How to Lead a Life in Jazz (WTTW) Watch Here:
https://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2018/04/11/george-freeman-tells-us-how-lead-life-jazz#.Ws9raUga-UI.email

# # #

Always grateful to Howard Reich, a true George supporter!
https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/reich/ct-ott-music-george-freeman-reich-0412-story.html
Guitarist George Freeman celebrates his 92nd at the Green Mill
"On Friday night, Chicago guitarist George Freeman will take the stage at the Green Mill Jazz Club to celebrate two remarkable milestones: his 92nd birthday (April 10) and the release of his latest album, “George the Bomb!” (Southport Records). ... Its tracks cast his scorching guitar lines alongside the harmonica wizardry of Chicago blues musician Billy Branch."
by Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

AND:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/reich/ct-ent-george-freeman-birthday-review-0415-story.html
Review: Chicago guitar legend George Freeman at 92 - Unstoppable
Guitarist George Freeman, 92, performs at the Green Mill Jazz Club on April 12, 2019, in Chicago.
"Is it possible for an artist to improve at age 92?
If you’re a Chicago jazz guitarist named George Freeman, the answer assuredly is yes."
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

# # #

Mike Jeffers has been enthusiastic about every artist he profiles in Chicago Jazz Magazine, and came up to Southport Studios to interview George Freeman during the recording of "George The Bomb!" one afternoon. His support is ongoing, thanks, Mike!

https://www.chicagojazzmagazine.com/blog/cd-review-george-freeman-george-the-bomb
CD Review: George Freeman "George the Bomb" with Billy Branch - April 1, 2019

“…a unique blend of blues and other related genres delivered in a laid back and almost ethereal ambience. Joining him are longtime friends who are among the stalwarts of the Chicago music scene. The warm camaraderie among them gives the album a celebratory feel that is simultaneously enjoyable and satisfying.”
Chicago Jazz Magazine, Hrayr Attarian

# # #

MORE REVIEWS!!!

http://www.tomhull.com/ocston/blog/
"Jazz guitarist, born 1927 so he's edged over 90, leans heavy on funk and blues here, with the Southport house band, with vocals shared by Billy Branch and Joanie Pallatto. Couple of standout food songs: "Where's the Cornbread?" and "Home Grown Tomatoes." B+(**)
-Tom Hull, Music Critic, Emeritus

# # #

https://www.makingascene.org/george-freeman-george-the-bomb-featuring-billy-branch/
Making A Scene (Richard L’Hommedieu, Publisher) 4/1/19

“There’s no doubt that George Freeman is a living legend. This is one of this year’s best surprises so far.”
Making A Scene #1 Independent Music Magazine, Jim Hynes

# # #

http://midwestrecord.com/MWR1503.html
April 1, 2019  Volume 43/Number 162
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record

"You don't give this guy a pass for being in his 90s. The guitar ace doesn't need a pass. Still standing after standing on the bandstand with Charlie Parker a few years ago, he's just as progressive now as he was then and he's still looking forward. With a contemporary sound behind him that doesn't need to bend the knee to anything, this set is an experiment that works and he's more than a legend as this set easily proves. Another well done outing from the master."
-CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher 

# # #

http://www.doctorjazz.nl/
Dr. Jazz Magazine, Eddy Determeyer, the editor
DJM 245, Summer 2019
"Bebop he left for what it is and now plays a mix of blues and mainstream music. ... Home Grown Tomatoes and Al Carter Bey, both with vocal harmonies reminiscent of gospel."
by René van Kalken (translated by google from Dutch to English)

# # #

http://www.jazzweekly.com/2019/04/blue-guitarsrobin-trower-coming-closer-to-the-day-the-duke-robillard-band-ear-worms-jimmie-vaughan-baby-please-come-home-gary-hoey-neon-george-freeman-george-the-bomb/
LA Jazz Weekly April 29, 2019
Creative Music and other forms of Avant Garde

“Chicago native George Freeman takes you to neighborhoods unknown…As bonafide Chicago as a deep disher.!”
LA Jazz Weekly, George Harris

# # #

https://www.rootsmusicreport.com/reviews/view/749
5 stars May 2, 2019

“George Freeman’s new album George The Bomb! is quite an entertaining album on many levels and it will surely bring a smile to the faces of so many jazz and blues guitar fans.”
Roots Music Report, Robert Silverstein

# # #

http://www.cadencejazzworld.com/
Cadence Magazine, July 2019
The Independent Journal of Creative Improvised Music. In publication since 1976.

“I rather enjoyed what has to be George Freeman’s most unique release.” Cadence Magazine, Robert Rusch
Robert D. Rusch, Papatamus Column

# # #

https://www.osplacejazz.com/
O's Place Jazz Newsletter
George Freeman - George The Bomb!
O's Notes: This is classic Chicago blues featuring lead guitarist, composer and vocalist George Freeman, still cooking at 92 years! It's a taste of Chicago blues centered on life.
by D. Oscar  Groomes

# # #

“George The Bomb! is an accessible blues-oriented set that celebrates the continued playing of the apparently ageless George Freeman."
Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Great Jazz Guitarists

# # #

 

SOUND NEWS VOLUME 84 - A NEW YEAR 2019
Sparrow Sound Design, Southport Records News & Commentary

George Freeman - George The Bomb!
GEORGE plays the BLUES with BILLY BRANCH!
Watch for the "George The Bomb!" CD Release Party Coming Soon!

Inspiration from our Elders:
George Freeman, George Flynn & Bob Dorough
by J. Pallatto

NEW RELEASE FROM SOUTHPORT RECORDS
STREET DATE: APRIL 2, 2019

GEORGE FREEMAN – GEORGE THE BOMB!
SPECIAL GUEST – BILLY BRANCH

“You will always have jazz; jazz is not dead—as long as you have kids coming into this world who have rhythm and soul and a feeling.”
– George Freeman (Chicago Jazz Magazine, 2015)

Guitarist George Freeman turns up the volume in his Chicago living room as he listens to "George The Bomb!" and he is smiling. He turns 92 on April 10, 2019. He remembers a time when Charlie Parker wouldn't go onstage without him. He is one of the few remaining living musicians who recorded with Bird ("An Evening In Chicago" Savoy, 1950). The music of George Freeman is not restricted to swing, blues, bop, rock or modern because George has been a living part of all of these eras.

On track #1, "George The Bomb!" harp master extraordinaire Billy Branch sends out a sound that explodes! His sly way of comping on the title track gets the groove rocking and rolling. The surprise here is when Freeman breaks into a full vocal scat! Is it jazz or is it blues? Who cares, it's hot! On track #3, "Where's The Cornbread?" George and Billy have a fun ride with their vocal conversation... "Hey Billy!" - "Yes, George..." To hear Billy Branch sing the blues standard "Help Me", track #5, while showcasing his authentic blues harp alongside Freeman's searing guitar is the breakout culmination of their collaboration.

John Devlin's accordion creates a lush canvas on track #2, "Gorgeous George" -a masterful composition from Freeman. Could this be a new "Steppers" song, with it's smooth groove? Drummer Luiz Ewerling adds the right spice with his percussion.

The entire recording was a joyful collaboration! Pianist Bradley Parker-Sparrow opens track #4, "Tonto" with a moody swing groove, while Freeman delivers a strong and happy scat! Track #9, "Home Grown Tomatoes" features a vocal bluesy duet between Freeman and vocalist Joanie Pallatto. Freeman penned track #11, "Al Carter-Bey" for his lifelong friend and radio impressario.

George Freeman is a living legend and has toured and/or recorded with musical legends from Charlie Parker to Lester Young, Johnny Griffin, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Gene Ammons, to Dinah Washington, along with his brothers Von Freeman and Bruz Freeman and his nephew Chico Freeman.

"George The Bomb!" features:  George Freeman, electric guitar and vocals; Billy Branch, harmonica and vocals; John Devlin, 6-string electric bass, accordion and vocals; Luiz Ewerling, drums and percussion; Joanie Pallatto, vocals and Bradley Parker-Sparrow, piano.

All of the tracks are original songs by George Freeman, © 2019 Porkpie Music BMI  (with the exception of "Help Me" by Ralph Bass, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Willie Dixon (BMI) and "The Music Goes 'Round and Around" by Edward Farley / Michael Riley / Red Hodgson (ASCAP).

Produced by Joanie Pallatto & Bradley Parker-Sparrow
Recorded August - December 2018 at Sparrow Sound Design Recording Studio, Chicago, IL
Promotions: Blujazz Records, Lampkin Music Group, Orman Music Media Group

STREET DATE:  APRIL 2, 2019 – SOUTHPORT RECORDS
A NEW RELEASE: S-SSD 0148
1. George The Bomb! (5:47)                        7. The Music Goes 'Round and Around (3:42)
2. Gorgeous George (7:20)               8. Cha Cha Blue (3:43)
3. Where's The Cornbread? (7:22) 9. Home Grown Tomatoes (4:20)
4. Tonto (5:57)                                   10. Intimate (5:05)
5. Help Me (7:29)                              11. Al Carter-Bey (3:14)
6. Uncle Funky (5:20)

#  #  #

GEORGE FLYNN
LET’S EAT CAKE! Green Mill, 1/27/19 at 2PM
Southport Records acknowledges pianist and composer George Flynn for his contributions to American classical and new music with his twelve recordings for the Southport Composers Series. Flynn will celebrate his birthday at his annual performance on January 27, 2019 at Chicago's famed Green Mill (4802 N. Broadway, Chicago 60640, 773-878-5552) from 2 - 5 PM, featuring 12 music performances and one poetry reading event from various artists.

George Flynn (b. 1937) has performed and organized concerts of new music in a variety of New York City and Chicago venues. He has composed over 150 works in all media, and has recorded for Turnabout, ATCO, Finnadar, Titanic, Wounded Bird and Southport labels. LP recordings include his own music as well as works by John Cage, Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen and Jan Akkerman (a member of the Dutch group Focus), and CD recordings include many works of his own. Many of Flynn's works reflect extra-musical interests, including images of this country and the Vietnam experience. His chamber duos consider human relationships, and several piano solos seek to extend the limits of gestural, technical and poetic elements.

Flynn received his academic degrees from Columbia University, New York City, and taught at Columbia and Lehmann College (CUNY) as well as DePaul University (Chicago). He has been visiting lecturer/composer at many music venues throughout this country, Canada, and Europe, and has contributed articles to several American publications. As a pianist Flynn has performed and recorded new music for many years in the US and Europe. He is the recipient of awards from many individuals and organizations, is a member of ASCAP, and is entered in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Baker's Biographical Dictionary, and Maurice Hinson's Guide to the Piano Repertoire.

The Boston Globe called Flynn's 2011 Tanglewood performance of his "Pieces of Night" "a furiously virtuosic, brilliantly chiseled 50-minute monument to Vietnam-era insomnia, turbulence both historic and timely."

#  #  #

BOB DOROUGH
2019 NEA JAZZ MASTER
vocalist, pianist, composer, arranger
b. 12-12-23, d. 4-23-18

Some people are instantly recognizable from hearing a few spoken words, Morgan Freeman, Andy Rooney and Marlo Thomas come to mind... but the unique sound of Arkansas-raised jazz legend Bob Dorough was like no other... and is like no other on the many recorded works that we can still hear and enjoy. Bob's voice had an irrepressible smile that was always positive, generous and encouraging.

Sparrow and I were to present a Tribute to Bob Dorough and his songbook on October 23, 2017 in New York at Pangea, along with celebrating Southport Records 40th Anniversary: Jazz Legend and Schoolhouse Rock composer Bob Dorough with Jazz Vocalist Martha Lorin, Broadway's Bill Nolte and pianist Deanna Witkowski - Presented by Ralph Lampkin/Lampkin Music Group and Christopher Gines!

9/4/17: I called Bob, he gave me the news... he said "I'm gonna make a lot of people cry..." he couldn't make our gig, but he would play at COTA on Sunday 9/10/17. He talked about the Oliver Wendell Holmes book about the Buggy that ran and ran, then fell & crumbled. He canceled the Norway trip with Sally. He said he would be 94 on December 12, the same age as when his father died. 10/10/17 Bob left a phone message: "Have faith, and Float Out to Sea... I love you..."

Bob did get the news about his NEA honor before he passed:
Monday, April 15, 2019 8:00 PM. The National Endowment for the Arts will honor the 2019 NEA Jazz MastersBob Dorough, Stanley Crouch, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Maria Schneider. The honorees will be celebrated at a free tribute concert on April 15, 2019 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in DC.

Bob Dorough was born in Arkansas and raised in Texas and lived a life of music. A pianist and master of bebop, singer of scat and vocalese and a prolific songwriter, Bob is best known for his work as musical director, composer and performer of songs for Schoolhouse Rock! - the Saturday morning ABC-TV series created to help children with a wide range of studies, from math to politics, with songs such as "Conjunction Junction" and "Three is a Magic Number." His own recording career was off to the races in 1956 with "Devil May Care" for the Bethlehem label, and continued with more of his own sublime recordings. Bob was the featured vocalist on the Miles Davis "Sorcerer" album singing his own composition "Nothing Like You." He also wrote and sang "Blue Xmas" for Miles in 1962, which remains a dark and daring holiday classic. Davis also recorded an instrumental version of Bob's classic song, "Devil May Care," that same year. In 1995, Bob signed a contract with Blue Note Records and recorded three CDs for the label.  In 2002 his trio was chosen to represent the State Department and Kennedy Center, as an Ambassador of Jazz and Blues. Bob Dorough, "Better Than Anything."

On a personal note, I had the privilege of recording with Bob for our label after writing him a letter in 1979. He wrote back "Dear Joanie Pallatto..." You can hear Bob on two of my CDs. "Who Wrote This Song?" (S-SSD 0021, 1994) with Bob's lovely composition "Love Came On Stealthy Fingers" where Bob plays piano, and I sing. "As You Spend Your Life" S-SSD 0133, 2011), included my 30-year desire to record Bob playing and singing Frank Foster's "Simone." April Aloisio and I vocalize with Howard Levy on harmonica (my lyrics, with Frank's blessing. Frank said to me "If Bob is playing AND singing, I know it will be right!")

#  #  #

Southport Records
Real Jazz Made In Chicago
www.chicagosound.com

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

SOUTHPORT RECORDS AFTER THE FEST JAM SESSION!
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2018: 9:00pm – 1:00am
LANGE’S LOUNGE
3500 N. Southport, Chicago, IL 60657 ~ 773-472-6030

SPECIAL GUEST: GEORGE FREEMAN, GUITAR LEGEND!

SPARROW and THE MACHINE BAND:

JOANIE PALLATTO-VOCALS ~ SPARROW-KEYBOARD
JOHN DEVLIN-BASS ~ LUIZ EWERLING-DRUMS

Join us for the party of the summer!
Stop by after the Chicago Jazz Festival

LET’S GET DOWN!

Southport Records
www.chicagosound.com

# # #

Sound News Volume 86 - The Walking Distance-Spring 2020-A New World

Sparrow Sound Design, Southport Records News & Commentary

www.chicagosound.com

by b. p. sparrow

# # #

The Walking Distance

Do I have a 6' 2x4 to keep the sweating, heathing large man away from me while jogging on the sidewalk by Whole Foods? Will he guide his healthy body away from me, or ignore me because I am a large, bald ancient black man? Does he know that I am from the arts and streets, a musician/composer or am I just another black man stranded from the L train on the perfect North Side of Chicago. What is the walking distance? Is the virus a large George Orwell strainer that filters out the chosen perfect? So many years since 1984, or 2001, or 911 as the earth, like a giant forest fire clears away the trees?

What is the Walking Distance?

October 30, 1959, Episode 5, "The Walking Distance"

- the first year of The Twilight Zone.

"Martin Sloan, age thirty-six. Occupation: vice-president, ad agency, in charge of media. This is not just a Sunday drive for Martin Sloan. He perhaps doesn't know it at the time, but it's an exodus. Somewhere up the road he's looking for sanity. And somewhere up the road, he'll find something else." Opening narration, Rod Serling. Original score, Bernard Herrman.

Sparrow, born 1954, from 47th and Drexel, Chicago, moved to the "pocket" on 70th and Woodlawn at age 6. Can I go back in time to "The Little Store" that sold butter cookies from a plastic container for 1 cents, like the penny candy? Would the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Fain be there in their 1959 purple Buick? Would young Blackstone Rangers be trying to force me in their gang so that I could fight the west side Disciples? Could I hear the sound of the Illinois Central electric train, next to the Oakwoods Cemetery by the secret path and the sounds of tall, cheap cottonwood trees bending in the wind. And like that back in time episode of the Twilight Zone, when I got back in time, would I see myself as a child, my parents and my relatives as the sun sets next to "Daddy Harry's" chrome barbeque grill and taste Harry's secret barbeque sauce as his wife "Grandma Brown" smoked Kool cigarettes?

What is the walking distance? Gig Young plays the ad executive that goes back in time.

If you look closely you will spot Ron Howard from The Andy Griffith show in this episode as the Wilcox boy... Ronny and I were both born in 1954. I wished at age 5 that my father was really more like Andy Griffith.

# # #

Unsound Perforations.

How many times have you tried to tear off a payment section from a bill and the quick tear perforations are so close and weak toward the fold of the bill that you have to stop. You say to yourself, "I will destroy this bill if I am not patient." Then you go into very slow hand motion and try to define the perforations with smooth even strokes. Oh no, your new crease increases more perforation confusion. You lose patience and try to go for it. Then, and only then do you destroy the stub.

# # #

Toilet Paper, Tortillas and Joggers

Mother nature is complex. The way we treat our world, as humans is a mess. Pollution,

damage to all rain forests. The use of fossil fuels. And now Covid 19. Did the people

that hoarded all the toilet paper also buy all the fresh tortillas? Did they stuff the tortillas with chorizo and lard and then need all the toilet paper in the world? A rare site these days is a whole wheat tortilla! As far as staying away from people 6 feet while outside, what about joggers on the sidewalk...massive, breathing, sweating and coming right at you like a vulture. Are they eating all of the tortillas and using all the toilet paper?

# # #

John Prine

See the smoke from that brown mountain,

Lost in anxious hill, you will find. John Prine.

Early 70s joints on Lincoln Ave, beer/bourbon/guitar in hand,

Place a dollar in the pickle tip jar

For a young John Prine at the Plug Nickel, The Earl Of Old Town

Guitar in hand.

Folk of the folk bending notes...

beer/bourbon/guitar in hand,

A young John Prine.

So dark the hair and eyes that shoot right through you,

The melodic view, a southern northern stew

Of working class and dancing fast.

So young the man from Maywood, Illinois

This is his time.

John Prine (RIP)

# # #

Southport CD Projects in the works... Art marches on!!!!!!

George Flynn "Duo Diorama" (S-SSD 0149)

performs music by George Flynn and Winston Choi

MingHuan Xu, violin and Winston Choi, piano

Composer/Pianist/Producer Flynn returns with his 13th CD project from the Southport Composers Series, "Duo Diorama."

This CD includes three works performed by Duo Diorama (violinist MingHuan Xu and pianist Winston Choi). Those works are: Flynn's Seeking Serenity, Winston Choi’s Tetrachromatic Musings and Flynn's Meditative Fantasy. A fourth piece

on the CD is Flynn's piano solo American Icon, performed by Winston Choi.

Recorded live on September, 2018 and May, 2019 as part of the Chicago Soundings Concert Series at Queen Of Angels Church in Chicago by engineers Carl Beitler and Todd A. Carter on the 9' Steinway concert grand.

George Flynn (b. 1937) has performed and organized concerts of new music in a variety of New York City and Chicago venues. Many of Flynn's works reflect extra-musical interests, including images of this country and the Vietnam experience. His chamber duos consider human relationships, and several piano solos seek to extend the limits of gestural, technical and poetic elements.

The Boston Globe called Flynn's 2011 Tanglewood performance of his "Pieces of Night" "a furiously virtuosic, brilliantly chiseled 50-minute monument to Vietnam-era insomnia, turbulence both historic and timely."

# # #

Joanie Pallatto "My Original Plan" (S-SSD 0150)

"Joanie's engaging warmth, easy precision and sweet sense of rhythm..."

Howard Mandel - journalist, author and jazz critic

Singer/Songwriter and label co-owner Joanie Pallatto returns to the Southport Records catalog with her brand new creation "My Original Plan."

"My Original Plan" will be Joanie Pallatto's third recording of all original songs! Master Guitarist Fareed Haque will add the credit of Music Producer to this project.Pallatto and Haque continue to fine-tune the arrangements and production. Haque is featured on "As You Spend Your Life" (Southport 2011) and "It's Not Easy" (Southport 2008).

"My Original Plan" features the Southport session rhythm section of Fareed Haque on guitar, John Devlin on electric bass and Luiz Ewerling on drums. Together, they tracked 14 new original songs in 3 session days, engineered by Todd A. Carter (TV POW) and Sparrow, her partner in sound and life. On select tracks, Harp Master Howard Levy is along for the ride, plus creations from pianist/composer Bradley Parker-Sparrow. Sessions were tracked at Sparrow Sound Design (The Library) in the winter of 2019 (December 6, 7 & 8). JP wrote all the songs (music and lyrics) with a couple of cuts co-composed by Sparrow.

Joanie Pallatto has performed over the years at Pangea and The Iridium in New York City, City Winery, The Green Mill, Andy's, and Katerina's in Chicago and at The Chicago Jazz Festival in 2019. This is her third CD of all original music, and she has released a total of 15 recordings, including CDs with Bradley Parker-Sparrow.

Since we are all stuck at home/studio now... JP is polishing the creation! Lock-ins, keep your digital eyes open for the CD's first video "Do Butterflies Cry."

Due out, as soon as we can finish the mix!

# # #

Josie Falbo "You Must Believe In Spring" (S-SSD 0151)

Chicago Writer and WGN-AM host Rick Kogan says of Josie Falbo: "Stunning...astonishing...a revelation"

Following Chicago vocalist Josie Falbo's first Southport CD "Taylor Street" (Southport 2010) she returns with a new opus, "You Must Believe In Spring." You'll hear new recordings of classic material from The Great American Songbook, including Billy Strayhorn's "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing", Harold Arlen/Truman Capote's mesmerizing "A Sleepin' Bee" and the title track, "You Must Believe In Spring" where Falbo soars with complete authenticity (Michel Legrand/Jacques Demy/Marilyn & Alan Bergman).

Arranger and Co-Producer Carey Deadman arranged and conducted tracks for an 18-piece string orchestra, and multi horns to splendid effect! Veteran Jim Massoth is the main recording and mixing engineer at Crystall Recorders, and he swings the tenor sax solo on "Just You, Just Me." Musicians include Jeremy Kahn on piano, Mark Colby, Jim Gailloreto, Dave Onderdonk, Mike Smith, Ernie Denov, Andy Baker, Roger Ingram, and Rob Parton.

Josie is a true Italian American soprano that works in many forms of music- jazz, pop, R&B and classical. Signed to Vee-Jay Records in 1963, she released a '45 "Leave Me Alone/Easy To Love" which was an early catalyst for her life in music and recording. Over the years you have heard her sing on countless radio and TV commercials, including McDonalds, United Airlines, Sara Lee, Green Giant... the list goes on and on. Josie Falbo has also been featured in conductor and singer Bob Bowker's critically acclaimed "Lakeside Singers", touring the Chicago area with concerts.

# # #

THE THING! (1951/1982/2011)

James Arness plays "The Thing" in the 1951 version of this RKO film. Fame came to Arness when he landed the role of Marshal Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke. The black and white horror movie was directed by Christian Nyby. John Carpenter directed the 2nd version in 1982 starring Kurt Russell as a helicopter pilot. JP and I actually saw this outside of Cincinnati, Ohio at a shopping mall complex... it was a very bloody epic with a walking head with it's own legs!

The third version of "The Thing" I had not heard of (2011) was directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. It came on late night cable and was actually pretty good. In that film one of the lead actors barked to the group: "This is a monster, a virus! And what do you do when there is a virus?" Her fellow actor answered: "Quarantine! We can't let it get out into the world, it is the only way."

And sadly that is the way of the world with the new Covid 19 virus, or The Thing is what they called it in Hollywood... as we quarantine.... away, from "The Thing."

-b. p. sparrow (April 2020)

SOUNDNEWS VOLUME 83~THE SUMMER OF 2018
1977 – 2018: THE NEXT! 41 Years of Music and Recording!
Sparrow Sound Design, Southport Records, News & Commentary

1978 A YEAR IN TRANSITION by b. p. sparrow

Southport Records wants to salute The City of Chicago, The Chicago Cultural Center and The Jazz Institute of Chicago for their 40 strong years of  live music support with regard to the world famous Chicago Jazz Festival.  This is the year 2018, but it all began in the year and time around 1978...

Joanie Pallatto and I were recently at a meeting downtown at the Cultural Center on December 1, 2017 (hosted by Mark Kelly, the new Commissioner).  It was about ways to improve The Chicago Jazz Festival.  They mentioned that 2018 was the 40th anniversary of the festival.  Way back then I played in 1978 and 1979 so it made me look back in time on the Internet.  Not much information, and at the age of 64 my memory was a bit clouded.  At the record label and studio we keep pretty good archives so this is me looking back in time at life, art and history.

1972 - The Very Early Years
I got rejected from Northwestern University, the school my older brother went to the year before.  So I went to DePaul University and commuted from Hyde Park.

1973
I met a composer at DePaul, Raymond Wilding-White, and he inspired me to be a composer. I built some bookcases for his house in Oak Park in exchange for "lessons."

I rented a space on Rush Street, 11 & 1/2 West Cedar, 2nd floor with an indoor spiral staircase and opened "Photon Montage", a photo gallery.  Raymond Wilding-White and Bob Shiller had exhibits there, my sponsor and partner was a Doctor from Hyde Park, I think his name was Philip Ulrich.  Back then photography was not considered an "art form" and I was working in both still photography and 16 mm film.  The gallery lasted about 1 year.  We had a newsletter called "Manipulation."

1975
This lead had to a construction company called "Loyal Building Services" that I started.  My father, Bill Parker was an auto mechanic and carpenter and he taught his 4 sons how to do those things, I left Hyde Park and migrated the "northside."  Found an apartment at 1857 N. Dayton for $65 per month, the bathtub was in the  kitchen.  I got it from Joe Vitale real estate that had an office on Webster and Racine.

Got a call from some hippies on West Armitage (1008) just off Sheffield Ave. that needed some work done.  They wanted some plaster work and tables built. At the end of the work they could not pay me so I took over 1/3 of the restaurant, after a couple of months 2 of the hippies left and that space became what I called "Sparrow Restaurant."  No one called me Sparrow before that, but since I was cooking and running the joint and also playing the big old Mason & Hamlin upright piano just past the kitchen area, everybody started calling me Sparrow.

In 1974 the Armitage Avenue Lincoln Park area was in transition.  The streets were controlled by the Latin Kings.  One day walking out of Arroyo's Liquor store on Armitage and Sheffield a young Latin King sucker punched me in them mouth.  It did not knock me out, but I did see cartoon lights... this was across the street from Sparrow restaurant and it was the summer of 1975.

We had a 75 cent breakfast special, 2 eggs, toast, bacon or sausage and it did not include coffee.  Sparrow restaurant lasted about 2 years and I was having more fun playing the piano than cooking sausage and eggs.  Also someone purchased the 3 flat Greystone with coach house and store.  The new insurance company came by and did not like our operation.  I closed the restaurant one day, sold off all the equipment and went to Barcelona, Spain (1 way ticket) with alto horn man Jeff Vega. We met tenor man Marco Garcia in Barcelona. We were gonna take over Europe as a duo.  Disco was in real big at the time and we did get some gigs between disco sets.  Jeff and I got into a fight so I left him in Barcelona and I went to Paris.  It was winter and I had about $200.  1 solo piano gig at The American Center. No place to stay so I squatted in a small jewelry store with some other Nomad gypsies. Ran out of money, figured I got to England where they spoke English.  Met an older man with a black Bogart top hat and we walked the British streets, I still had my gray ghetto blaster radio.  He let me sleep on his living room floor but his wife did not like that.  I left early in the morning and gave him my ghetto blaster.  Got stopped by the police (no sidearms for beat cops in London)... and went back broke to Chicago.

With no money or home I got a part time job doing construction with my old friend Roy Schoop. He let me sleep on a sofa in storefront the worked as his construction office.  I also got a job driving Yellow, then Checker Cab.  Driving a cab is like being a cop without a gun.  One day while working a client jumped over from the back and grabbed me by the neck. I punched him in the mouth, pulled in front of District Police Station in Uptown and dragged him up the stairs letting him fall to ground in front of the beat sergeant.  The man was white and I am not white so the sergeant asked me for some identification.

1977
This was a pivotal year for me, the official start year of Sparrow Sound Design recording studio (eventually later changing the record label division name from Sparrow to Southport Records). Our first reel to reel recorder was a Tandberg 2 track, eventually adding a Tascam 4 track.

Has it really been 40 years since the birth of The Chicago Jazz Festival?  The seeds of the Chicago Jazz Festival started at the old band shell that was across the street (outer drive) from the Museum of History.  The original band shell historically presented "Classical" music.  Then, in 1974, after the death of Duke Ellington noted Chicago musicians held a Festival to honor the great man... the start of jazz in the park.

This is the road that led me to The Chicago Jazz Festival.

The details and history that are listed below are from the City of Chicago website:
"The great composer/bandleader Duke Ellington died in the summer of 1974. Just a few weeks later, several dozen Chicago musicians held a festival to honor him, at the old bandshell at the south end of Grant Park. Ten thousand music lovers came, marking the first of what would become annual memorial concerts that drew crowds of up to 30,000. Then in 1978, musicians working with Chicago's Council of Fine Arts held the first John Coltrane Memorial Concert in Grant Park, another popular success. The next year the Jazz Institute of Chicago began planning its own August festival. That meant that three different groups of jazz people were working to present concerts at the end of August.

The Mayor's Office of Special Events proposed the solution: Get together to create the first Chicago Jazz Festival. It had an Ellington night, a Coltrane night, and five other programs organized by the Jazz Institute and it was held at the new Petrillo Music Shell. And 125,000 people came to listen, dance, picnic on the grass, and enjoy the birth of what was to become the most extensive free jazz festival in the world. Every year since then the Chicago Jazz Festival has been held on the week before Labor Day. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events coordinates it and the Jazz Institute programs it."

source:  https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_jazz_festival2.htm

Late August 1977, Jimmy Carter was president and the unemployment rate was very high.  Interest rates were also high, we were in a recession.  I had switched to driving Yellow cab from Checker and working the jazz clubs and college circuit for gigs.  The FEDs started a CETA program for unemployed artists in several US cities, it was called The Artist In Residence Program, in conjunction with the Chicago Council On Fine Arts (City Of Chicago).  Open auditions were held in the basement rehearsal area at Orchestral Hall.  I drove my cab down and parked in the Grant Park Garage.  With my black Fedora on I played a part of my Spanish sonata for the judges.  Corky Siegel and Studs Terkel were included in the judge's team.  This is the first time I met a fine woman by the name of Mary Young (one of the projects coordinators with the program.).

I was selected to be a part of the Artist-In-Residence Program.  Musicians also selected for 1977 were:
Cedric Gay, Clay Rogers, Webster Phillips, Lucius Bell, Ken Chaney, Malachi Favors, Marvin Sparks, Phil Cohran, Curtis Robinson, Eugene Easton, Alberto Gianquinto and Hugh Hart.  Composer John Austin was selected as the first City Of Chicago Composer-In-Residence.  I was selected for that honor in 1978.  Note:  I have yet to find any historic mention of Chicago Composer-in-Residence program which ended in 1981 when funding for the CETA program ended with the new Republican administration and Ronald Reagan.

From the above City Of Chicago website:
“Then in 1978, musicians working with Chicago's Council of Fine Arts held the first John Coltrane Memorial Concert in Grant Park, another popular success.”

The stable of musicians that were selected to be Artists-In-Residence musicians were used to form the first year (1978) of The Chicago Jazz Festival.  This was the year before The Jazz Institute of Chicago began their programming efforts, or the "missing" year a period of transition and also the first year for the new Petrillo Music Shell.

Historic press clipping footnote-1
Sunday, August 27, 1978 Main Edition, The Chicago Tribune
Jazz Tributes by Harriet Choice

The Fifth annual "Tribute To Duke Ellington" will be held at 7pm tomorrow at the James Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park.  More than 35 Chicago area artists will take part in the celebration of Ellington's contribution to American music.  The musicians include the big bands of Willie Randall and Art Hoyle, the Larry Novak Trio, The Johnny Frigo Quartet, The Jimmy Ellis Quartet, Willie Pickens Trio, The Fred Anderson Quartet, Don DeMicheal's Swingtet and the Art Hodes-Franz Jackson Sextet.  Singers Geraldine de Hass and special guest Joe Williams also will participate in the program which includes such songs as "Caravan," "Solitude," "Mood Indigo," "Satin Doll," "Black Butterfly," "C-Jam Blues," and "Take The A Train."

Also at the bandshell:  Ken Chaney's Jazz Experience with guests Eugene Easton and Bradley Parker-Sparrow, will present a salute to John Coltrane and Bud Powell at 7p.m. Saturday, (September 2, 1978).  Musical pieces to be performed include  "Giant Steps,"  "My Favorite Things," and Parisian Thoroughfare." – Harriet Choice

And so 1978 was a transitional year for the birth of The Chicago Jazz Festival.  That was also the year that I joined The Chicago Musicians Union.  On that date I played, by way of CETA, the solo grand piano at Petrillo in Grant Park, Saturday, September 2, 1978, the "hidden" year. It was the first time that my father, Bill Parker heard me play in public, my mother Dorothy was there also.

 

1979 
from the above City of Chicago website:
"The next year the Jazz Institute of Chicago began planning its own August festival. That meant that three different groups of jazz people were working to present concerts at the end of August."

1979 is considered the first year of The Chicago Jazz Festival.  This is the first year that The City of Chicago and The Jazz Institute worked in unison.  I played again, this time with my ensemble that included Marvin Sparks, John E. Magnan and Hal Ra Ru.  The festival ran from Monday August 27 thru Sunday September 2, Jane Byrne was mayor!  My ensemble played the 2nd set Friday.

Time moves by so fast and things blend
What is history, a dream.
Does it stand still or blur like the wings of a hummingbird
Was it 1978 or 1979
In time just past the park and lake or was it an
Ocean?

- b. p. sparrow

press footnotes:
Jazz at Grant Park-The Chicago Defender, Saturday, August 18, 1979

Jazz Dimension-They Cooked At The Big Gig, The Chicago Defender, Saturday, Sept 8, 1979 by Earl Calloway

Chicago Plans First Jazz Fest-Chicago Sun-Times Wed. August 15, 1979

Blues, Swing Featured at Jazz Festival-Chicago Sun-Times Thursday, August 30, 1979

 

###

Southport Records celebrates the documentation of recording Chicago artists for the past forty-three years!
Sparrow Sound Design (1977 - 2020)

See and hear Joanie & Sparrow on YouTube!
www.youtube.com/JoaniePallatto

Southport Records
www.chicagosound.com
773-281-8510