Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King -#Jazz – Ted Nash – Saxophonist and Composer – Portraits in Seven Shades


Welcome to the music column with William Price King and this week the featured artist is Ted Nash, Saxophonist and Composer  and his work Portrait in Seven Shades.

About Ted Nash courtesy of Ted Nash Website

Born in Los Angeles into a musical family (his father, Dick Nash, and uncle, the late Ted Nash, were both well-known jazz and studio musicians), Nash has that uncanny ability to mix freedom with substance, blues with intellect, and risk-taking with clarity. He is a co-founder of the New York-based Jazz Composers Collective, a musician-run, non-profit innovative entity dedicated to presenting the original works of composers pushing the boundaries of their self-expression. Nash is also a long-standing member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, with Wynton Marsalis.

Nash has become one of the most significant jazz composers of the 21st century. His recordings have received wide critical acclaim, appearing on the “best-of” lists in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, and The Boston Globe. Portrait in Seven Shades, his first big band recording, garnered two Grammy nominations. His following big band album, Chakra, received critical acclaim and charted on Billboard. Jazz Times Magazine on Chakra:

A lover of film and television scores as well as symphonic works and big-band jazz, Nash turns what could have been an esoteric, new-agey affair into music that swings and pops with tension and release as much as it beguiles.

Receiving two Grammy® Awards, Presidential Suite is Nash’s most significant work. Inspired by great political speeches of the 20th century dealing with the theme of freedom, it is rich with social and political awareness. It also involved a very creative approach; Nash transcribed the speeches for their actual musical pitches and created themes, placing them into contexts that embraced the speakers and the location and era of the speeches. For the recording, each track is introduced by an excerpt from the speech that inspired it, read by significant figures from the world of entertainment, politics and sports, including actors Glenn Close and Sam Waterston; Ambassador Andrew Young; Senator Joe Lieberman; authors Deepak Chopra and Douglas Brinkley; diplomats William vanden Heuvel and David Miliband.

You’ve learned how to make your instrument beautifully sing. You ‘slap’ the listener in the face with your daring and the unexpected (creating vital anticipation) at one moment, then later sooth it with even more precious, deeper feelings of the heart. Bravo!!!Benny Golson

About Portrait in Seven Shades courtesy of Wynton Marsalis

Portrait in Seven Shades, performed by the word-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and composed by JLCO reedman Ted Nash. Nash s suite consists of seven movements, each inspired by a master of modern art who worked in the century around the apex of jazz; Chagall, Dali, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Pollock and Van Gogh. The recording also features special guest musicians Nathalie Bonin (violin), Wycliffe Gordon (tuba), and Bill Schimmel (accordion). The writer Will Friedwald said Music is like painting in time, painting is like music in space. Portrait in Seven Shades illustrates this point masterfully.

Chagall

This piece is inspired by two of Chagall’s iconic works: “I and the Village (1911) and Calvary (1912) “ and by costume designs and renderings Chagall created for the character of Zemphira, a gypsy from the ballet Aleko.

“Chagall” opens with an accordion on a short cadenza.* The theme is played by the clarinet and by the violin – an instrument that appeared often as a subject in his paintings, like a muse. The movement ends with a klezmer*- styled romp in celebration of the artist and his heritage.

*Klezmer-style – Originally, the word “klezmer,” from the Yiddish language, meant ‘vessel of song’ and later, simply ‘musician.’ However, it has come to characterize the style of secular music played by Ashkenazi Jews for joyful celebrations.

*Cadenza – In music, a cadenza is, generically, an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a “free” rhythmic style, and often allowing virtuosic display. During this time the accompaniment will rest, or sustain a note or chord.

Dali

Nash’s motivation for this piece comes from Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” which depicts a barren landscape populated by melting clocks. This surreal scene is what inspired Nash to develop the time signature 13/8, a time signature which is quite unusual. An ostinato bass line opens this composition and the persistent drum groove exposes the aggressive quality of Dali’s painting. There are many intricate melodic patterns flowing over the beat and it culminates with flamenco – style claps coming from the band, paying tribute to Dalí’s Spanish heritage.

Van Gogh

To compose this piece, Nash had many references from which to choose, but there was one in particular which stood out and that is “The Starry Night “,  the view of the night sky from Van Gogh’s sanitarium which he painted from memory. This composition features the wistful, melancholic playing of Wynton Marsalis who expresses, with his trumpet, the broad strokes and textures that one finds in Van Gogh’s paintings. Marsalis’ solo ends with an allusion to “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out”, a blues standard popularized by Bessie Smith. This is also the first composition in which Nash wrote his own lyrics, interpreted by Vincent Gardner.

Picasso

Nash thought of Picasso as the Miles Davis of the art world. Picasso was responsible for analytical and synthetic cubism whereas Miles pioneered bebop and modal jazz, becoming more daring in the development of fusion just like Picasso dared to overturn established conventions. This piece, inspired by “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, is divided into two movements and expresses Picasso’s romantic and emotional side as well as his intellectual side – cubism. To do this Nash explored the idea of fourths* (four sides to a square – cubism) with four tonal centers, though its root is in the standard flamenco key, which is E major.

*Fourths – A fourth is a musical interval encompassing four staff positions in the music notation of Western culture, and a perfect fourth is the fourth spanning five semitones.

Matisse

Nash, inspired by “Dance “, set out to express the joyful childlike-quality and playfulness which he found apparent in Matisse’s paintings and in particular this one. Unlike Picasso who became more sophisticated in his art, Nash found that Matisse, a master of color, had a quirkiness in his works and was more simple. Nash compares Matisse’s non-conformity to that of jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and was inspired by Monk’s rhythmic quirkiness when he approached this composition. Matisse wrote, “I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces in me”. That’s about how Nash felt when he composed this piece.

Buy Ted Nash Music: Amazon

Additional sources: https://tednash.com/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/tedrnash

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

As always we would love to receive your feedback.. thanks Sally and William

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round up – Waterford Castle, Romance, Great Food, Music and a few Laffs.


Welcome to the weekly round up and I have been off on a jaunt this week. As a birthday treat we went down to Waterford, which is David’s home town for a couple of days and stayed at the Waterford Castle Hotel on its own private Island.

You reach the island by a chain link ferry which only takes two minutes and runs every 15 minutes during the day and 30 minutes at night. We had a suite overlooking the magnificent gardens and all the rooms have wonderful features introduced over the long history of the castle. Such as this fireplace with a Wedgewood insert.

History of Wateford Castle

Throughout the centuries, the Island’s strategic location, in a pivotal position near Waterford City, brought it historical fame playing a major role in the history of the region.

From the 6th century settlement of Monks to the Vikings in the 9th – 11th Centuries. Followed by Norman Invasion of 1170 were Maurice Fitzgerald became the potentate of the Island and the Fitzgerald family legacy lasted for over 800 years.

You can download the full history of the castle
Click here to download our History brochure.

The food was wonderful and we ate in their award winning restaurant on the first night – freshly sourced produce, deliciously prepared. The service was brilliant and it was a meal to remember. We were treated to some live music in the form of a talented pianist and each course was much appreciated. Certainly a stunning venue for a Wedding.

The next day we had a wonderful breakfast (great poached eggs) in an atrium overlooking the gardens, with some of the wildlife in attendance. Including a red squirrel, unusual to find in Ireland but clearly the grey squirrels who decimated the red population have not learnt to use the ferry to get to the island. As we walked to the car park, we also encountered to deer intent of feasting on the new crocus shoots.

We spent the day touring the coast and revisiting some of David’s childhood and teen haunts as well as the cottage, right on Woodstown beach where Geoff Cronin (you might have read his memoirs here) grew up. Also Dunmore and Tramore, holiday spots in the summer when the family lived in the centre of Waterford.

That afternoon we went in to the city and checked out the regeneration that took place in the 1990s up to the present day. We had a birthday tea in The Vintage Parlour Tea Rooms and I had the best Victoria sponge I have ever eaten… with fresh cream… and David had a delicious piece of apple tart. Fortified with a couple of cups (porcelain) of tea, we explored the local estate agents with a view to moving to Waterford once we sell our house here in Wexford next spring (or sooner). Certainly Waterford is on the list of options as the city has great facilities and is close to some stunning coastline.

We ended the day with dinner at The Bodega Mediterranean Restaurant and I can highly recommend, especially the monkfish scampi starter. The  food, atmosphere and service was excellent and brought back happy memories of our years in Madrid.

If you are planning on visiting Ireland I do recommend that you put Waterford on the schedule. If you are travelling with family then I suggest you book one of their lodges which sleep six people and are self-catered, but you can still eat in the restaurant or clubhouse if you wish. There is a golf course, tennis courts and fabulous walks around the island. You are central for the coastline to the south of Wateford towards Cork, and when the new bridge is completed (the longest in Ireland) later this summer, it will be a much faster trip to Dublin.

Now time to catch up with the posts on Smorgasbord you might have missed during the week.

This week Paul Andruss shares part two of his recommendations for early spring bulbs.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-this-week-spring-bulbs-part-two-daffodils-narcissus-jonquils/

And on the subject of food…. something from the Thai kitchen of Carol Taylor.. a three course meal that should get Valentine’s evening off to a good start.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-st-valentines-day-thai-three-course-dinner/

A new series of Posts from Your Archives and to kick the series off, one of D.G. Kaye’s heartfelt and heartbreaking – Memoir Bytes where she shares her childhood memories. Details of how you can share previous articles from your archives are in the post.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-memoir-bytes-love-notes-and-other-words-by-d-g-kaye/

This week my guest is author Abbie Taylor who shares her inspiring story as well as some interesting responses to the questions.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-abbie-taylor/

Here is my response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 123

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebro-weekly-poetry-challenge-etheree-romance-by-sally-cronin/

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction this week prompted 99 word stories on the subject of Valentines.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-flash-fiction-challenge-together-forever-by-sally-cronin/

In this week’s music column, I share a song from each of the decades that I have been listening to music… and next Friday I will be sharing the requests that you shared, the songs that you felt were the most romantic.

Now time for the round up of the posts this week that you might have missed.

An extract from Tales from the Irish Garden to celebrate romance. Queen Filigree meets the roguish Prince Ronan.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/tales-from-the-irish-garden-valentines-day-story-the-magic-garden-comes-to-life-by-sally-cronin/

Last year I wrote this post for USA Today Bestselling romance author Jacquie Biggar on keeping the magic of romance alive…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/keeping-the-magic-of-romance-alive-every-day-by-sally-cronin/

This week in the R’s of Life, part two on the subject of relationships, and the impact of a dysfunctional childhood on our ability to connect as adults.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-relationships-in-a-modern-world-part-two-adulthood-by-sally-cronin/

I reviewed two books this week.. the first being The Beast Within (Mended Souls Two) by Jacquie Biggar.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/smorgasbord-book-reviews-the-beast-within-mended-souls-book-two-by-jacquie-biggar/

And the second book was first book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/smorgasbord-book-reviews-mystery-academic-curveball-by-james-j-cudney/

Author Updates and reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-claire-fullerton-darlene-foster-and-angie-dokos/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-jacquie-biggar-clifford-browder-and-christine-campbell/

Many foods have been labelled aphrodisiacs through history, some deservedly so…but they also tend to be highly nutritious and have a positive effect on the whole body and not just the libido.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/smorgasbord-health-column-foods-to-get-you-in-the-mood-for-st-valentines-day-by-sally-cronin/

This week’s chapter looks at the impact of an overgrowth of Candida Albicans on our overall health. The symptoms number around 125, and I included some of the key signs that your gut may have been compromised.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-candida-albicans-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-valentine-special-you-knows-i-loves-you-right/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-valentines-day-special-and-a-parrot-with-moves/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and for your visits this week. Your comments and sharing on your own social media is much appreciated as always. Have a great week and hope to see you again soon.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Bloggers Bash Nominations, Winter Warmers, Arizona, Spring Bulbs and all that Jazz


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed on Smorgasbord this week.

We are actually enjoying some sunshine despite very cold temperatures and we are hoping it is a sign spring is on its way. I know for many of you in the UK and USA, this has been a very tough couple of weeks with snow and storms, so hopefully you too will have a more settled week ahead.

It is hard to ignore the turmoil going on in the world, especially as the press is having a field day with fake news, assumptions, predictions, fear-mongering, pot-stirring and allegations. There may be a reason that we as yet have not been invaded by an alien species. I suggest that they have popped in from time to time, to the excitement of the UFO buffs, and exited rapidly when they see what they might be getting into.

The actions of those in power are completely at odds with the promises made in their wonderful election speeches, and at the very least they should be prosecuted for false advertising and misrepresentation.

Meanwhile, in the real world, all we can do is keep doing what we are doing and try to stay as positive as possible.

If all else fails………..

My thanks to my regular contributors who continue to spread a positive message and to your for dropping in and liking, commenting and sharing..

And on that note……

I was very honoured to be nominated for the Best Book Blog award, and my thanks to those who put my name forward. Voting begins at the end of March and you still have time to nominate your favourite bloggers in the new categories. The links are in the post.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-bloggers-bash-awards-2019-nomination-best-book-blog/

This week William Price King shares the life and music of legend Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-jazz-charlie-bird-parker-saxaphone/

Paul Andruss with some suggestions to bring colour to your garden with early spring bulbs.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-rewind-light-up-your-life-with-brilliant-bulbs-part-1-early-spring-bulbs/

Carol Taylor shares some recipes that are easy to prepare and that will warm the cockles of your heart…..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-winter-warmers-stews-and-casseroles/

Debby Gies is still on vacation in Mexico and busily creating future travel posts about this fantastic vacation spot, but in the meantime, she gives us a guided tour of Jerome, Arizona which is a preserved copper mining town that generated billions for investors.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-jerome-arizona-mining-town-with-d-g-kaye/

Joy Lennick shares two poems that bridge the end of winter and the start of spring.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-poetry-spring-by-joy-lennick/

Welcome to the blog for the first time to romance author Laura M. Baird who shares her love of country, music and tattoos, as well as one of the craziest and most detailed dream

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-romance-author-laura-m-baird/

I am now participating in is Diana Peach’s monthly speculative fiction challenges and this month she had a delightful photo prompt. My story is called ‘The 1812 Overture”

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/smorgasbord-short-stories-diana-wallace-peach-februarys-speculative-fiction-prompt-the-1812-overture-by-sally-cronin/

Another of my weekly challenges is the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/03/smorgasbord-short-story-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-sea-mist-by-sally-cronin/

It is that time of the week when I get my syllables in lines in response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 122.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/smorgasbord-poetry-colleens-weekly-poetry-challenge-122-poets-choice-etheree-metamorphosis-by-sally-cronin/

It is February 1986 and we are preparing for my birthday and I get a new car.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1986-birthday-party-and-new-car/

Relationships – So far I have covered respect, recognition, relations in Previous Chapters, which leads me very conveniently into relationships. In this first part, I am looking at the socialisation of children before and during school that form the basis of their relationship skills in the wider world.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-relationships-in-a-modern-world-part-one-childhood-by-sally-cronin/

Author Updates and reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-bette-a-stevens-fiona-tarr-and-jan-sikes/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-miriam-hurdle-linda-g-hill-and-mark-d-giglio/

Every year, 4.2million people die worldwide within 30 days of surgery. This is a staggering 1.23million more deaths than HIV, TB and malaria combined makes up 7.7% of all fatalities – with only heart disease and stroke killing more. You can make a difference to this statistic by preparing for elective surgeries in the weeks before the operation.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/smorgasbord-health-column-new-statistics-on-surgery-recovery-that-are-shocking-and-preparing-for-an-operation/

The next chapter in my rollercoaster weight gain and loss history, with a pattern emerging that linked a number of physical events in my life, antibiotics, candida albicans and stress together.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-morbid-obesity-a-physical-rollercoaster-anti-biotics-candida-hormones-yo-yo-dieting/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-some-funnies-and-things-kids-say/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-3/

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have an amazing week……

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – #Jazz Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker #Saxaphone


Today William Price King shares the life and music of Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker. His name is very familiar to jazz lovers, but I had not idea that he was only thirty-four years old when he died. He certainly left an amazing legacy behind of unique and memorable music. I am sure that you will enjoy the music that William has selected to showcase this remarkable talent.

Charles Parker Jr. (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), also known as Yardbird and Bird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.  He  was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique and advanced harmonies.  Parker acquired the nickname “Yardbird” early in his career on the road with Jay McShann. This, and the shortened form “Bird”, continued to be used for the rest of his life, inspiring the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as “Yardbird Suite”, “Ornithology”, “Bird Gets the Worm”, and “Bird of Paradise”.

“Swingmatism”, recorded in 1942 by Charlie Parker, was written by William Scott. This piece, composed in F minor and modulates to its parallel major, is noted for its implied 12 – bar blues in a 16 – bar form. This structural ambiguity is highlighted both by the composer and Parker because whatever he played, and however complex it was, he always managed to make it swing (as you will hear in this piece), illustrating how a good ‘swing’ rhythm section can play bebop and make it fit. Parker’s tone on the alto sax was clipped, light, skittering – actually more like solo piano than other saxophone players of the time.

Charles Parker was born in Kansas City to Charles and Adelaide Parker, Her was raised there and then Westport. His father was a pianist, dancer and singer on the vaudeville circuit for African American performers in the 1920s and when home provided the early musical influence for Charlie.After a year in high school he left to join the local musicians’ union and to pursue his music career full time. He had begun to play saxophone at the age of 11 and joined his high school band at 14, with an alto saxophone which was a gift from his mother.  This led to Charlie meeting a young trombone player called Robert Simpson who taught him improvisation.

“Yardbird Suite”,* composed by Charlie Parker in 1946, is a bebop standard. The title comes from Parker’s nickname ‘Bird.’ This piece is not a suite, rather, it follows an AABA* form. Charlie Parker was fascinated by Igor Stravinsky, the classical composer. In Carl Woideck’s book “Charlie Parker: His Music and Life” he states that ‘although Parker generally tended to only write new melodies over pre-existent forms, “Yardbird Suite” whose title is a pun on the piece “Firebird Suite” by Stravinsky, is a wholly original composition in both melody and chord progression.’ You will hear that each note is articulated with focused energy, each phrase smoothly executed but infused with an acerbic aftertaste. Parker made the most radical innovations seem instantly understandable, masking both the bristling complexity of the musical language and the disciplined intellect behind it.”

*Suite – In music a suite is a collection of short musical pieces which can be played one after another. The pieces are usually dance movements.

*AABA – The AABA song form (a thirty-two-bar form) is a song structure commonly found in Tin Pan Alley songs and other American popular music, especially in the first half of the 20th century.

Charlie was a dedicated musician despite being so young and in an interview he said he spent the first three to four years of his career practicing and mastering improvisation up to 15 hours a day. His other early influences included band leaders such as Count Basie and Bennie Moten. As he played with local bands around Kansas City, he continued to perfect his technique with the help of Buster Smith, whose dynamic transitions to double and triple time helped develop Charlie Parker’s unique style.

In 1936 when on the road with a band to play in Missouri, the cars carrying the musicians were involved in a serious accident resulting in Charlie breaking three ribs and fracturing his spine. This led to a lifetime struggle with painkillers and opioids. Despite the accident, Charlie continued to play and in 1938 joined Jay McShann’s band which toured nightclubs in the southwest including Chicago and New York and it led to Charlie’s first recording.

“Now’s The Time” was first recorded in 1945 by Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Curley Russell, and Max Roach. This is a riff* – based blues. Parker drew on his Kansas City jazz roots to craft this simple, bluesy composition. It goes without saying that Parker is at the helm here. His beautiful, soulful tone and his technical expertise are out of this world. The melody of “Now’s the Time” was used for the recording ‘The Hucklebuck,’ which became a hit for saxophonist Paul Williams four years after Parker’s original recording. Despite being released by the same record label and the same producer, Parker was not given credit; instead, the composition was attributed to Andy Gibson, who recorded it as ‘D-Natural Blues.’

Riff – a short rhythm phrase, an ostinato, a repeated chord progression or melody used in music that is often played when a soloist is performing or when chords and harmonies are changing.

In 1939 Charlie moved to New York City to pursue his career but also had to work other jobs to pay the rent. However, this was to be a pivotal moment in his musical career as he played with the established musicians in New York, and he returned to Kansas City in 1940 bringing this new sound with him. He would later state in an interview in the 1950s, how one night in 1939 he was playing “Cherokee” in a jam session with guitarist William “Biddy” Fleet when he hit upon a method for developing his solos that enabled one of his main musical innovations. He realized that the 12 semitones of the chromatic scale can lead melodically to any key, breaking some of the confines of simpler jazz soloing.

Early in the development of bebop, this new type of jazz was rejected by many of the established, traditional jazz musicians who disdained their younger counterparts. The beboppers responded by calling these traditionalists “moldy figs”. However, some musicians, such as Coleman Hawkins and Tatum, were more positive about its development, and participated in jam sessions and recording dates in the new approach with its adherents

He rejoined Jay McShann’s band and played some prominent gigs in the summer 1940 before embarking on a tour of the region. In 1942 Charlie left the band and played for a year with Earl Hines whose band also included Dizzy Gillespie, who would go on to play with Charlie as a duo. Few professional recordings were made during the musicians’ strike of 1942-1943 by the American Federation of Musicians, but Charlie Parker joined other young musicians and played in after-hours clubs in Harlem. These included Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Thelonious Monk and drummer Kenny Clarke.

“Moose the Mooche” was, supposedly, named after Parker’s drug dealer, Emry ‘Moose the Mooche,’ who dealt him drugs for years. This composition is in the key of B-flat, with a 32-bar AABA structure. The chord progression is based on the George Gershwin piece “I Got Rhythm”. It was recorded in Los Angeles for Dial Records in 1946 as the Charlie Parker Septet with Miles Davis, Lucky Thompson, Dodo Marmarosa, Vic McMillan, Arvin Garrison and Roy Porter.

Because of the two-year Musicians’ Union ban of all commercial recordings from 1942 to 1944, much of bebop’s early development was not recorded. As a result, it gained limited radio exposure. It was not until 1945, when the recording ban was lifted, that Parker’s collaborations with Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Bud Powell and others had a substantial effect on the jazz world. Bebop soon gained wider appeal among musicians and fans alike.
Charlie Parker with Strings

A longstanding desire of Parker’s was to perform with a string section. He was a keen student of classical music, and contemporaries reported he was most interested in the music and formal innovations of Igor Stravinsky and longed to engage in a project akin to what later became known as Third Stream, a new kind of music, incorporating both jazz and classical elements as opposed to merely incorporating a string section into performance of jazz standards. On November 30, 1949, Norman Granz arranged for Parker to record an album of ballads with a mixed group of jazz and chamber orchestra musicians. Six master takes from this session became the album Charlie Parker with Strings: “Just Friends”, “Everything Happens to Me”, “April in Paris”, “Summertime”, “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was”, and “If I Should Lose You”.

Parker died on March 12, 1955. The official causes of death were lobar pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer, but Parker also had an advanced case of cirrhosis and had suffered a heart attack. The coroner who performed his autopsy mistakenly estimated Parker’s 34-year-old body to be between 50 and 60 years of age.

“Ornithology” was composed by Charlie Parker and Benny Harris. The title of this piece is in reference to Parker’s nickname ‘Bird’ – ornithology is the study of birds. This piece was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1989. “Ornithology” is a contrafact, a newly created melody written on the chord progression of another song, in this case from “How High The Moon”. Back in those days, jazz musicians could create new pieces for performance by using pre-existing chord progressions on which they could improvise without seeking permission or pay publishers for copyright materials.

Buy the music of Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker: https://www.amazon.com/Charlie-Parker/e/B000APVGYY

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Parker

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

As always we would love to receive your feedback.. thanks Sally and William

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Good music, food, books, humour and great guests.


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed and I hope you have had a great week. This morning the sun is shining although it is cold. Being close to the south east coast we rarely get snow here, although last year it was an exception and it lasted a week. I know that some of you are facing extremely harsh conditions and whilst I may moan about the rain here in Ireland, we don’t have the extremes of weather that cause havoc.

It has been a busy week offline as I am back to writing everyday, posts for the blog and also new projects. One of those projects is to revive some of the stories and books that were started and then fell by the wayside. Apart from paper copies from long ago, there are also digital files that have been designated to a folder and then forgotten. I am enjoying reading stuff I wrote long ago, including some song lyrics from my 20s that have been lying dormant. I don’t remember the angst that I clearly felt when penning some of them, nor to be honest the people who caused such emotional outpourings!  Anyway, some of it will find its way into stories and poetry going forward and at least it won’t have gone to waste.

It is a lesson however, to make sure you do revisit previous stories or poems, as it is amazing how time, age and experience can bring new life to them.

Here are the posts from the week and as always my thanks to the team who contribute such amazing posts and for you for coming in to read and share them.

William Price King shares the life and music of Wee Pee Russell… Jazz Clarinettist

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-with-pee-wee-russell-clarinettist-jazz/

Carol Taylor, who is in the middle of her summer, kindly creates some winter warmers for those of us who are freezing…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-winter-warmers/

This week my guest is American author Karina Bartow sharing her craziest experience, fashion sense and her love of country life.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/27/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-karina-bartow/

The R’s of Life – Recognition

As a young manager over forty years ago, I was tasked to manage an established team who were all at least twenty years older than I was. I had already run my own business and also managed good-sized teams in the catering industry, but this was daunting. Thankfully I had been lucky enough to have worked for a wonderful manager, when beginning my career, who had given me a valuable piece of advice. That was to identify as quickly as possible, what motivated an individual member of staff and to develop a relationship based on the recognition of that motivation.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-recognition-our-place-in-a-modern-society-by-sally-cronin/

It is 1998 and we move into our new home in Ireland, find the dog of our dreams and I buy a business.. all to the beat of Shania Twain.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-and-memories-1998-new-home-meeting-sam-a-health-food-shop-and-shania-twain/

This week’s  Colleen Chesebro poetry challenge – Freezing and Tempest – My first attempt at a Butterfly Cinquain

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-poetry-challenge-120-freezing-and-tempest-sally-cronin/

The second part of our trip to New Mexico.. with a hike in McKittrick Canyon and a visit to the living desert.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/25/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1986-new-mexico-mckittrick-canyon-and-the-living-desert-part-two/

This week the accumulation factor of food and life.

It is very easy to think that a couple of biscuits with coffee every morning and with tea in the afternoon, will not make any difference to your weight.. but the accumulation factor tells a different story. Over a year having four digestive biscuits a day adds up to 32lbs or nearly 15kilos in body fat! Having a healthy diet is not about giving up everything we enjoy, but moderating how much of it you eat.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/smorgasbord-health-morbid-obesity-size-matters-the-sequel-chapter-two-the-accumulative-factor-of-food-and-life-sally-cronin/

Now that I have scheduled more time to write, I thought that I might join the many participants of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge under the dedicated management of Charli Mills. It is a great exercise in brevity and I am looking forward to challenging myself. Here is my response…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/smorgasbord-short-story-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-challenge-broken-by-sally-cronin/New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-the-bright-side-of-darkness-by-j-e-pinto/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-price-life-in-a-conversation-by-geoff-le-pard/

Author update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-update-reviews-teagan-riordain-geneviene-robbie-cheadle-elsie-hancy-eaton-and-vashti-quiroz-vega/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/25/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-update-reviews-c-s-boyack-balroop-singh-and-patty-fletcher/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-debby-gies-and-another-dip-into-my-archives/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-jokes-from-the-archives-3/

Thank you again for being part of my week and for all your support.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King with Pee Wee Russell #Clarinettist #jazz


This week in the series on Jazz instrumentalists, William Price King shares the life and music of Pee Wee Russell, whose unique style as a clarinettist was later recognised as innovative and an early example of ‘free jazz’.

 

Charles Ellsworth “Pee Wee” Russell (March 27, 1906 – February 15, 1969), was a jazz musician. Early in his career he played clarinet and saxophones, but he eventually focused solely on clarinet.

With a highly individualistic and spontaneous clarinet style that “defied classification”,[1] Russell began his career playing Dixieland jazz, but throughout his career incorporated elements of newer developments such as swing, bebop and free jazz

Pee Wee Russell was born in Missouri and was raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He was encouraged to play violin as a child, but disliked it, moving onto the piano that he also found onerous, particularly having to learn scales and chord exercises. This was followed by a period of learning to play the drums, before his father took him to see a band playing locally, led by New Orleans Jazz clarinettist, Alcide ‘Yellow’ Nunez. Pee Wee was captivated and he decided that his primary instrument would be the clarinet.

He approached the clarinettist at his local theatre called Charlie Merrill for lessons until the family moved to St. Louis in 1920. The now 14 year old Pee Wee was enrolled in the Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois and he stayed there for a year, although he spent much of his time playing clarinet with a number of dance and jazz bands. At 16 he began touring professionally in tent show and on the river boats, with his first recording in 1924 with Herb Berger’s Band in St. Louis. This was followed by a move to Chicago where he began to play with some of the better known musicians of the time such as Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke.

The Very Thought of You” is from the album “Swinging with Pee Wee” with Buck Clayton on trumpet, Tommy Flanagan on piano, Wendell Marshall on double bass, and Osie Johnson on drums. This song was written in 1934 by Ray Noble and used in the film “Lost Lady” (1934) starring Barbara Stanwyck. As you can hear in this piece, Russell has a soft, caressing, breathy tone which he produced in the chalumeau* range of his clarinet and his solo is beautifully complemented by Buck Clayton, muted and tender. He was a master of mood and quite effective with slow and mid-tempo ballads.

*The chalumeau is a folk instrument that is the predecessor to the modern-day clarinet.

His style was always distinctive and unorthodox and he was sometimes accused of playing out of tune. At 20 he joined Jean Goldkette’s band and after a year left for New York to join Red Nichols. While with Nichol’s band, Pee Wee also freelanced with studio work on the clarinet, soprano, alto and tenor sax and bass clarinet. As well as working with the top bands of the day he also began a series of residences at the famous jazz club, ‘Nick’s’ in Greenwich Village in 1937.

That Old Feeling” was composed by Sammy Fain and Lew Brown in 1937. The song first appeared in the film “Vogues of 1938” and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song the same year. Russell’s interpretation of this piece with his un-orthodox, un-clarinet-like tone, is warm, expressive, and musically intelligent, with a very natural sense of swing.

He began to play with Eddie Condon and would do so until the end of his life although he did comment on their association at one point which gives an insight into his lack of self-esteem. “Those guys [at Nick’s and Condon’s] made a joke, of me, a clown, and I let myself be treated that way because I was afraid. I didn’t know where else to go, where to take refuge”.

“Englewood”, composed by Pee Wee Russell is a strong blues. Russell gets to show how funky his clarinet can be in this video and the horn solos are brilliant, sustained by a stringy bass and slapping drums. Check out Russell’s high hard notes and airy lines. He uses his tone as a means of expression as he growls, squeals and then drops down into his lower register with an occasional sotto voce.*

*Sotto voce – In music, sotto voce is a dramatic lowering of the vocal or instrumental volume — not necessarily pianissimo, but a definitely hushed tonal quality.

From the 1940s onwards, Russell’s health was often poor, exacerbated by alcoholism – “I lived on brandy milkshakes and scrambled-egg sandwiches. And on whiskey … I had to drink half a pint of whiskey in the morning before I could get out of bed” – which led to a major medical breakdown in 1951. In his last ten years he often played at jazz festivals and on international tours and he formed a quartet which included trombone player Marshall Brown.

“Midnight Blue” from the album “Swinging with Pee Wee” 1960, is a happy blues which climaxes with a fantastic exchange between the horns. But before that happens Russell makes his instrument whisper and rasp in a very intimate and sensuous manner.

Though often labeled a Dixiland musician by virtue of the company he kept, he tended to reject any label. Russell’s unique and sometimes derided approach was praised as ahead of its time, and cited by some as an early example of free jazz. At the time of their 1961 recording Jazz Reunion (Candid), Coleman Hawkins (who had originally recorded with Russell in 1929 and considered him to be color-blind) observed that ‘”For thirty years, I’ve been listening to him play those funny notes. He used to think they were wrong, but they weren’t. He’s always been way out, but they didn’t have a name for it then.“.

“The Blues in my Flat” is from the Earl Hines Album “Once Upon a Time” 1966. Russell accompanies Ray Nance who was one of the finest jazz violinists of the 1940s who played in the Duke Ellington orchestra. He was also an excellent jazz singer as you will hear in this video. As for Russell, he begins his solo in a cool swing with a pattern of staccato notes moving downward and then veers off into the falsetto register of his instrument. He reverses the pattern and breaks into a delicate rush of notes that become intensely multiplied improvisational phrases.

Pee Wee’s  last gig was at the inaugural ball for President Richard Nixon on January 21, 1969. Russell died in a hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, less than three weeks later.

You can buy Pee Wee Russell Music HERE

Additional sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pee_Wee_Russell

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

Thank you for tuning in today and we hope you have enjoyed the music. We look forward to your feedback.. thanks Sally and William.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – #Jazz – Duke Ellington


Welcome to the first of William Price King’s music columns for 2019. And today he is sharing the work of the iconic Duke Ellington, composer, pianist and Jazz orchestra leader for over 50 years.

Edward ‘Duke’ Ellington was born in 1899 in Washington D.C. to James and Daisy who were both pianists. At the age of seven, Edward began taking piano lessons and with his mother’s guidance began to adopt an elegant and well-mannered approach to life. Daisy dressed him with style, which resulted in his childhood friends calling him ‘Duke’, a nickname that stuck with him throughout his career. Despite Daisy’s efforts, Duke preferred baseball over the piano… and whilst at high school is first job was selling peanuts at the Washington Senators baseball games.

At age 15 and working as a soda jerk at the Poodle Dog Café, Duke wrote his first composition “Soda Fountain Rag”… also known as “Poodle Dog Rag”.

“I would play the ‘Soda Fountain Rag’ as a one-step, two-step, waltz, tango and fox-trot”, Ellington recalled. “Listeners never knew it was the same piece. I was established as having my own repertoire.” In his autobiography, Music is my Mistress (1973), Ellington wrote that he missed more lessons than he attended, feeling at the time that playing the piano was not his talent.

Ellington started sneaking into Frank Holiday’s Poolroom at the age of fourteen. Hearing the poolroom pianists play ignited Ellington’s love for the instrument, and he began to take his piano studies seriously. Duke began listening to, watching, and imitating ragtime pianists, not only in Washington, D.C., but in Philadelphia and Atlantic City,where he vacationed with his mother during the summer months.

To improve his technique he took private lessons and he was also inspired by his first encounters with James P. Johnson and Fats Waller. Eventually he began playing in cafes and clubs around Washington and it became his focus and he turned down a scholarship in 1916 to the prestigious Pratt Institute in New York. To pay the bills Duke worked as a freelance sign-painter and began assembling groups to play for dances. In 1919 he met drummer Sonny Greer from New Jersey, who encouraged Duke to become a professional musician. His career was helped by his growing sign-writing business as he would offer his services to anyone who asked him to make a sign for a party or an event.

He formed his first group “The Duke’s Serenaders” in 1917 and from the mid- 1920s he was based in New York City where he gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the world famous “Cotton Club”.

Although widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase “beyond category” as a liberating principle and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music rather than to a musical genre such as jazz.

Some of the jazz musicians who were members of Ellington’s orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered to be among the best players in the idiom. Ellington melded them into the best-known orchestral unit in the history of jazz. Some members stayed with the orchestra for several decades. A master at writing miniatures for the three-minute 78 rpm recording format, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions; his extensive body of work is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, with many of his pieces having become standards. Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol’s “Caravan”, and “Perdido”, which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz. In the early 1940s,

Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his writing and arranging companion. With Strayhorn, he composed many extended compositions, or suites, as well as additional short pieces.

Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, in July 1956, Ellington and his orchestra enjoyed a major revival and embarked on world tours. Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era, performed in several films, scored several, and composed a handful of stage musicals.

Ellington was noted for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and for his eloquence and charisma. His reputation continued to rise after he died, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Award for music in 1999.

Here are some of only a few of the exceptional pieces written by Duke Ellington.

“It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” written in 1931 by Duke Ellington with lyrics by Irving Mills was characterized as a legendary, prophetic piece with a prophetic title, by historian Gunther Schiller. Critic Spike Hughes called Ellington a prophet. Nonetheless, Ellington was not a fan of reading too much into a song.

However, this song took Ellington out of the category of being simply a ‘bandleader’ and elevated him to the league of ‘composers’. According to trumpetist Bubber Miley, this song was the expression of a sentiment which prevailed among jazz musicians at that time and has since been covered by practically all of the jazz greats, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Nina Simone, and Lionel Hampton.

“Sophisticated Lady”, composed as an instrumental mood piece by Duke Ellington in 1932, featured solos by Toby Hardwick on alto sax, Barney Bigard on clarinet, Lawrence Brown on trombone, and Ellington on piano. This recording entered the charts in May 1933 and peaked at number three. The tune was actually a composite musical sketch of three women, three of young Ellington’s grade school teachers in the U Street neighborhood of Washington D.C. Ellington said: “They taught all winter and toured Europe in the summer. To me that spelled sophistication.”

Tin Pan Alley lyricist Mitchell Parish (Stardust, Ruby, Moonlight Serenade ) added words to Ellington’s melody, telling a story of a wealthy, love-lost socialite. Ellington accepted Parish’s lyrics, though they did not entirely fit his original conception. “Sophisticated Lady “ was featured in the musical revue “Sophisticated Ladies” on Broadway in 1981 which celebrated the work of Duke Ellington. This song also appeared on the soundtrack of the 1989/90 documentary “Sophisticated Lady”, celebrating the life of singer Adelaide Hall, who recorded with Ellington in 1927, 1932, and 1933.

“ Prelude to a Kiss” Ellington’s success allowed him the privilege of becoming more ambitious and experimental in his compositions, thus abandoning the « Tin Pan Alley »* style hooks and dance tempos for melodic lines and harmonies mostly found in classical music. The result was « Prelude To a Kiss. » Its blending of classical and jazz sensibilities contributed to the song’s originality and splendor. This song was originally recorded as an instrumental in 1938. Weeks later, Ellington recorded it again, adding lyrics by Irving Gordon and Irving Mills.

  • Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century – a reference to the sound of pianos, comparing them to the banging of tin pans, coming from songwriters modifying their pianos to produce a more percussive sound.

“Take the ‘A’ Train” is a 1939 composition by Billy Strayhorn which referred to the ‘A’ subway service that ran through NYC, going at that time from eastern Brooklyn, on the Fulton Street Line (opened in 1936) up into Harlem and northern Manhattan, using the Eighth Avenue Line which was opened in 1932. Strayhorn wrote this piece after Ellington offered him a job in his organization. Ellington sent him directions to get to his house by subway, directions that began with “Take the ‘A’ Train… “. Strayhorn initially wrote the lyrics to this song which was recorded by the Delta Rhythm Boys. Later, Joya Sherrill, 20 years old at the time, wrote new lyrics for the instrumental version of this piece. Thanks to her poise, vocal ability and her unique take on the song, Ellington hired her as a vocalist and adopted her lyrics which became the main stay.

“Satin Doll” was written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn in 1953, with lyrics added after the song was a hit in its instrumental version, by Johnny Mercer. According to Mercer Ellington, the Duke’s son, his father wrote “ Satin Doll “ for his longtime mistress Bea ‘Evie’ Ellis. Capitol Records released this song in 1953, peaking at #27 on Billboard’s Pop chart. This piece is well known in musical circles for its unusual use of chords, and its opening with a turnaround.* Ellington used “Satin Doll” as the closing number in most of his concerts.

  • In jazz, a turnaround is usually the two measures at the end of a section of music whose function is to help you segue into the next section of music creating a strong sense of forward motion, harmonically.

Buy Duke Ellington Music: https://www.amazon.com/Duke-Ellington/e/B000APLKAY

Additional Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_Ellington
Discover more about ‘Duke’ Ellington: http://www.dukeellington.com/home.html

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

Thank you for tuning in today and we hope you have enjoyed the music. We look forward to your feedback.. thanks Sally and William.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Promotions – William Price King – Music for Christmas and New Year –


William Price King shares some of the classic Christmas music that has entertained us all at this time of year..

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve was written in 1947 by Frank Loesser and unusually for the time was not associated with a movie or musical. Frank Loesser was well known for his lyrics for Guys and Dolls and his Oscar winning song Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

In December 1949 the song reached No 9 in the charts for The Orioles. It has been a hit for many artists in the last 65 years including Lena Horne, Johnny Mathis, The Carpenters, Harry Connick Jr, Barbra Streisand and Diana Krall.

This lovely version is by Nancy Wilson Amazon

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-colum

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas Celebrations – The Weekly Round Up – More parties, books, stories and music..


We are almost there with the last of the Christmas book promotions and just one more Christmas party to go tomorrow. I have had so much fun over the last few weeks and I hope you have too.

We have had a family dinner this week, and apart from one or two other visits, we shall be spending Christmas quietly. There will be a few packages left for you to open including a very welcome short story over four days from Paul Andruss. Paul has been working on a number of projects that will continue into 2019, but he has kindly sent a wonderful Japanese themed story for us all to enjoy. There will also be a special post on New Year’s Eve to round this series off. Hopefully we will see Paul from time to time in the coming year.

I will be spending time offline working on the new promotional series for 2019 and also one or two of my own writing projects. I do like having something humming away in the background.

As always my thanks to contributors and guests this week who you will be meeting shortly, and if you are around tomorrow between making last minute arrangements, the Twelfth Day of Christmas will be paying a tribute to some of those not already featured.

My husband has told me he has done finished his shopping for Christmas and sent me a photo of our tree to prove it! Me thinks he is telling fibs….either that or Father Christmas is using our lounge as a sorting office!

Anyway.. on with the posts from the week and you have just 2 days left of my Free book offer as it ends at midnight on Christmas Eve wherever you live….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-the-last-author-to-be-self-promoted-and-free-giveaway-sally-cronin/

A short series of classical hits for Christmas shared by William Price King..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/21/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-celebrations-william-price-king-music-for-christmas-and-new-year-sleigh-ride/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/22/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-celebrations-music-for-christmas-and-new-year-part-two-ill-be-home-for-christmas/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-celebrations-william-price-king-music-for-christmas-and-new-year/

The Most Dependable Fight of the Year.

Daddy took his hunting very seriously. This was a man’s sport, an entitlement. Real men hunted and fished. A man’s outdoor gear was a reflection of his manhood. Daddy would have sooner worn lace panties than not follow the unwritten rules. His hunting gear was a necessity, not an extravagance like a dependable car, bills paid on time, and clothes for the family. Daddy always had money held out of his paycheck weekly for the Christmas Club, but Mother never could remember that deer season came around the same time as the Christmas Club checks were issued’  Read on….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/20/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-guest-post-the-most-dependable-fight-of-the-year-by-linda-bethea/

Three Mince Pies

The little girl lay in bed asleep, blonde hair spread over her pillow. From her restless movements it was obvious that she was in the grip of a disturbing dream, and dark rings beneath her eyes gave her small face a pinched and unhappy look.

Downstairs, Jenny looked at the Christmas decorations and cards around the room. In the corner, the tree lights sparkled and flashed through the tinsel, and presents for Sophie were piled beneath its green spiky branches in a colourful heap. Family and friends had rallied round, determined Sophie would have everything her father would have bought her this Christmas. Read on....

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/21/smorgasbord-short-stories-for-christmas-three-mince-pies-by-sally-cronin/

You are never too old for love

He was getting on a bit in years, his eyesight was very dodgy, and his hip was definitely causing him gyp. His teeth were still okay; he still enjoyed his meat slightly chewy, instead of that pap that they gave the real oldies in this residence. And if truth be told, despite his advanced years there was still a little fizz left when it came to the ladies. In fact there was a rather saucy looking old gal in the residence four down from him, who despite the silver threads through her glorious mane of hair, still had a twinkle in her eye. Read on

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/22/smorgasbord-short-stories-for-christmas-youre-never-too-old-for-love-by-sally-cronin/comment-page-1/#comment-175893

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-dystopian-thriller-a-justified-state-by-iain-kelly/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-historical-brandon-tudor-knight-by-tony-riches/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-the-widows-son-by-daniel-kemp/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/20/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-soul-taker-the-council-of-twelve-book-1-by-a-j-alexander/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-wealth-relationships-humour-sharon-marchisello-lisa-thomson-barb-taub-and-molly-stevens/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-fifth-day-of-christmas-with-guests-d-g-kaye-lizzie-chantree-and-joy-lennick/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/18/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-sixth-day-of-christmas-with-guests-william-price-king-annette-rochelle-aben-and-jan-sikes/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/19/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-seventh-day-of-christmas-with-guests-jessica-norrie-and-marjorie-mallon/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/20/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-eighth-day-of-christmas-with-guest-donata-zawakzka-and-robbie-cheadle/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/21/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-celebrations-the-ninth-day-of-christmas-with-guests-linda-bethea-and-sandra-j-jackson/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/22/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-celebrations-the-tenth-day-of-christmas-with-guests-alison-williams-and-patty-fletcher/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-eleventh-day-of-christmas-with-guests-colleen-chesebro-and-anne-goodwin/

As we get fully engaged with the festive season there is one particular organ in the body which deserves some consideration. When you are offered your fifth mince pie or another glass of eggnog – it is not usual for you to think…….

“OMG NO my poor liver cannot take another drop”!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/19/smorgasbord-health-column-buy-your-liver-a-gift-for-christmas-moderation-and-milk-thistle-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/18/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-more-christmas-funnies/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/20/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-with-more-christmas-funnies-and-a-joke-or-two-from-the-archives/

I hope you have enjoyed the week’s posts and one more party to go tomorrow, a Letter from America special and another classical Christmas hit from William Price King.

From 27th of December there will be a four part story from Paul Andruss with a beautiful Japanese theme. And more treats on New Year’s Eve.  On Christmas Day and the 26th there will be some funnies and videos should you need a rest from the festivities.

Thank you for being here during the week, the blog would not be the same without you.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord blog Magazine – Christmas Celebrations – William Price King – Music for Christmas and New Year –


William Price King shares some of the classic Christmas music that has entertained us all at this time of year..

There are a number of ‘historical’ notations about the origins of Jingle Bells. It was composed around 1850 by James Lord Pierpont in or around Savannah or Massachusetts and was allegedly inspired by the town of Medford’s sleigh races. Hence the song’s original title of One Horse Open Sleigh.

It might well have been composed around Thanksgiving rather than Christmas and it its long history it has been a drinking song. Some to the lyrics might imply this and also to the fact that going on a sleigh ride offered a rare opportunity to be alone with your sweetheart!

Anyway here it is performed by the lovely Natalie ColeAmazon

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-colum