The third season of The Vinyl Report will premiere this month, featuring an 8-part series that offers viewers an exclusive look into Jazz albums with a strong connection to Pittsburgh. Each episode will showcase the work of some of Pittsburgh’s legendary Jazz innovators from various generations and styles. The series will be available every third Thursday throughout the Spring on both the AWAACC YouTube channel and pittsburghjazzfest.org.
Episode 14: August 17, 2023
Wayne Shorter Etcetera (1965, Blue Note)
Tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter has had one of the most unique and storied careers in American music. But in 1965, he was a bright new star on the Jazz scene who had already spent time with Pittsburgher Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and who also had a contract with Blue Note records. His 1965 album Etcetera was his fifth for Blue Note and featured the amazing rhythm section of Herbie Hancock on piano (Shorter’s Miles Davis quintet bandmate), Cecil McBee on bass and Joe Chambers on drums. For this new episode of The Vinyl Report, we welcome special guest drummer David Throckmorton to the show to share some of his thoughts on this classic album.
Episode 13: July 20, 2023
Doug & Jean Carn Infant Eyes (1971, Black Jazz)
In the early 1970s, keyboard Master Doug Carn and vocalist Jean Carn’s marriage was both personal and musical. On this new episode of The Vinyl Report, we take a listen to their 1971 Black Jazz debut masterpiece, Infant Eyes. The now infamous record label, Black Jazz, signed the couple in 1971 making a total of 5 albums together for the label by 1975. This album features both Doug Carn originals, as well as Jazz classics arranged by Doug. Along with the uniquely beautiful vocals of Jean Carn, Infant Eyes features a great lineup including saxophonist George Harper, bassist Henry ‘The Skipper’ Franklin and drummer Michael Carvin. There’s something for everyone on Infant Eyes!
Episode 12: June 15, 2023
Eastern Rebellion Eastern Rebellion (1975, Timeless)
In 1974, pianist Cedar Walton teamed up with tenor saxophonist George Coleman, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Billy Higgins to form the group, Eastern Rebellion. After both touring Europe and playing here in the states, the group recorded their first self-titled studio album in December of 1975 for the Danish Jazz impresario Wim Wigt’s Timeless record label. On this episode of The Vinyl Report, we spend some time with this now Classic gem. Featuring both original compositions and Jazz standards, Eastern Rebellion was a group that did not defect to the popular styles of the time, but rather continued to play honest, swinging music in their own way. The group’s personnel would change over the ensuing years, but Master Walton would keep the name and the group playing and recording into the 1990s.
Episode 11: May 18, 2023
Jon Hendricks Fast Livin’ Blues (1961, Columbia)
This episode of the Vinyl Report features vocalist Jon Hendricks’ 1961 Columbia album, Fast Livin’ Blues. By the early 1960s, Hendricks had made a name for himself as one of Jazz’s best male vocalists, along with being a founding member of the Jazz vocalese trio, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. But, Fast Livin’ Blues is all Hendricks featuring an all star band with the great rhythm section from LH&R (augmented with Count Basie guitarist, Freddie Green) and several A-list horn players: saxophonists Billy Mitchell and Pony Poindexter and Basie brassmen Al Grey and Joe Newman. Most of the songs on the album are Hendricks originals showing off his talent as a lyricist, as well as his unique mastery of scat singing. Master Hendricks left us in 2017, but Fast Livin’ Blues still stands as one of the best recordings in his discography.
Episode 10: April 20, 2023
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Moanin’ (1958, Blue Note)
This episode of the Vinyl Report features the great Pittsburgh multi percussionist, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’ classic Blue Note album, Moanin’, from 1958. Joining us as a special guest is tenor saxophonist and the former music director at the famed Westinghouse High School, Calvin Stemley. During this episode, we focus on the personnel and compositions, as well as engineer Rudy Van Gelder’s world class audio. Mr Stemley recounts how this album changed his life and continues to inspire him. Join us for this brand new episode recorded live!
Episode 9: March 16, 2023
Carmen McRae Sings Lover Man and Other Billie Holiday Classics (1961, Columbia Records)
In the summer of 1961, singer Carmen McRae made what would become an essential Jazz vocal album for Columbia Records in the form of a tribute album to the then recently deceased Billie Holiday. McRae used her working band of pianist Norman Simmons (who also contributed all of the arrangements), bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Walter Perkins. Guitarist Mundell Lowe was added along with cornetist Nat Adderley and saxophonist Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis. The resulting record helped solidify McRae’s place as one of the music’s most important artists. Vocalist Vanisha Gould joins us as a special guest for this episode offering her valuable and unique insights into this most important American artist.
Episode 8: September 15, 2022
Sean Jones and Donald Byrd
In this special edition of the Vinyl Report, we welcome special guest trumpeter, bandleader and educator Sean Jones to the show. We will be profiling four different albums that Master Donald Byrd recorded in the 1970s. These albums include Ethiopian Knights, Stepping Into Tomorrow, Places and Spaces and Donald Byrd and 125th Street, NYC. We’ll listen to one selection from each of these classic albums and enjoy some of Sean‘s important insight into the great Donald Byrd and his career. This episode also serves as a preview of the special Donald Byrd project Sean will be presenting at this year’s Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival presented by Citizens Bank.
Episode 7: August 18, 2022
Dr. James T. Johnson Jr. Meets Kenny Clarke
Shortly after pianist Dr. James T. Johnson Jr. arrived in 1977 to pursue his doctorate in ethnomusicology at the University of Pittsburgh, he found himself living with a true Pittsburgh Jazz legend. Dr. J and his wife Pamela opened their Homewood home to Master drummer Kenny Clarke while he was taking Nathan Davis’ place teaching at Pitt. For this episode of the Vinyl Report, Dr. J offers his unique insights into Kenny Clarke’s life and music as we listen to Clarke’s 1956 recording, Kenny Clarke Meets the Detroit Jazzmen.
Episode 6: July 21, 2022
Dr. Harry Clark Remembers bassist John Heard
Dr. Harry Clark has been one of the most essential figures in Pittsburgh Jazz for many years. Originally a trumpeter, Dr. Clark went on to teach music before founding the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts in 1979. Dr. Clark befriended legendary Pittsburgh bassist John Heard while the two were just beginning their musical journeys as still high school students. For this episode, we focus on a 1985 album by vibraphone master Bobby Hutcherson, Color Schemes, which finds Heard in great form doing what he did best: playing for the band. Dr. Clark shares his personal memories of John Heard as well as some of Heard’s original artwork!
Episode 5: June 16, 2022
Jeff Bush and The Two Sides of Slide Hampton (1961, Charlie Parker Records)
Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra lead trombonist and Pgh native, Jeff Bush, has been a fan of the great Slide Hampton, since he was a kid. A native of Jeannette, PA, Slide is one of the most revered trombonists in Jazz, as well as one of the truly great composers and arrangers of the music. In this episode of The Vinyl Report, we spend some time with Jeff listening to Hampton’s 1961 album, The Two Sides of Slide, as he shares his insights as a fellow trombonist and composer / arranger.
Episode 4: April 21, 20222
James Brown – Soul on Top (1970, King)
For the fourth new episode of The Vinyl Report, we spend some time with The Godfather of Soul, James Brown. His 1969 big band collaboration with Jazz saxophonist and arranger Oliver Nelson, Soul on Top, is an album certainly worthy of more recognition. Pittsburgh bassist, Dwayne Dolphin, is our special guest and, as a member of James Brown’s music director Fred Wesley’s band, Dwayne offers his insights into why Funk and Jazz are one and the same.
Episode 3: March 17, 2022
Jimmy Ponder – JUMP! (1988, Muse)
The Vinyl Report’s third new episode features Pittsburgh Jazz guitar Master Jimmy Ponder’s 1988 recording, JUMP!. For this episode, we welcome another Pittsburgh guitar Master, Mark Strickland, as our guest. Ponder is one of Jazz’s most underappreciated Masters and Mark shares some of his memories of Jimmy and how their special friendship has informed his music, as well as how he approaches life.
Episode 2: February 17, 2022
Archie Shepp – Montreux One (1975, Arista/Freedom)
The second new episode of The Vinyl Report focuses on one of Pittsburgh’s true unsung Jazz Masters, drummer Beaver Harris. We are joined by Beaver’s daughter, dancer and artist Verna Vaughn, to listen to Archie Shepp’s 1975 live album, Montreux One. Shepp was a long time collaborator of Beaver Harris’ and this album features Shepp’s working group at the time. Verna reflects on their relationship, as well her memories of her father and his career.
Episode 1: January 20, 2022
Charlie Parker – Bird with Strings (1950, Mercury)
For the first episode, we spend some time with two true Greats: Charlie Parker and Thaddeus Mosely. In addition to being one of the world’s great visual artists, Mr. Mosely is also a lifelong Jazz fan. We explore the classic Charlie Parker album, Bird with Strings. Mr. Mosely saw this band live right here in Pittsburgh at a club called Johnny Brown’s and gives his insightful recollections about the music. This is an episode you don’t want to miss.