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“Jazz is not a case of learning two chords and off you go; you have to know your instrument,” she points out. “Know [what’s good],” she adds, “and you can’t ever be fooled.”
For information about Carmen Lundy’s new DVD/double live CD, Carmen Lundy: Jazz and the New Songbook – Live at the Madrid, see www.carmenlundy.com.
Sat., Sept. 24, 4 p.m., Radisson stage
Considering Jazz on the Rocks’ educational mission, it’s only fitting to have Saturday’s lineup build up to a Master’s class from a legend who brings the accumulated wisdom of the “old school.” James Moody received a sax as a gift from his uncle at age 16; at 21, he got an education players today can only fantasize of, beginning what would become a long-running association with the legendary Dizzy Gillespie in the age of bebop in 1946. His widening reputation was secured in 1949, with his recording of “Moody’s Mood for Love,” a classic that has been revisited by other artists ever since, including Van Morrison in 1993, and Queen Latifah in 2004 – the same year Moody released his own first recordings in six years (for a discography dating back to the ’40s, see www.jamesmoody.com). And along with keeping the torch burning on stage, he’s supporting the next generation in the classroom: In honor of his 80th birthday, a James Moody Scholarship for Jazz Studies at the Conservatory of Music of New York’s Purchase College was established this past April.
Sat., Sept. 24, 11:30 a.m., Radisson stage
How excited was Winston Byrd when, in grade school, he heard the high school jazz band perform? “I was a flea on a hot brick,” he laughs. “What I thought was, I don’t know what this is, but I want to be a part of it.”
Inspired by hearing players like Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie, and digging into his father’s deep record collection, by eighth or ninth grade, “I turned into a sponge,” Byrd says. He began soaking up not only Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, but the legends who built Nashville like Hank Williams, rock-jazz hybrid hitmakers Steely Dan, and R&B greats like Marvin Gaye. “I tried to be a purist for a minute,” he says. “But what it comes down to is, if [music]’s cool, there’s no reason to have blinders to any of it.”
His path to the present, contributing to the next chapter in the history of jazz trumpet innovation – both on his own and in the band of 2004 Jazz on the Rocks artist T.S. Monk – hit a bump when the jazz program at his high school in New Jersey came upon hard times. Luckily, he was given the freedom to play at schools with music programs on firmer footing, even though he wasn’t enrolled there. By age 17, he was on the road in the touring band of R&B vocalists The Stylistics.