Public Libraries For the Win!

(BOOKS)

books

Libraries have been a big part of my education since elementary school, when I regularly checked out books from the libraries at Cleveland Court and Southwest elementaries in my home town, Lakeland, Florida. I also recall getting my parents to buy me some books at the annual Scholastic “book fairs” at those schools.

In high school, I researched and wrote several papers via the resources of the Lakeland Public Library, still located on the shores of the beautiful Lake Morton, home to a family of nesting swans and the annual Mayfaire by-the-Lake art festival.

There, at age 14 or 15, I checked out one of my earliest “real jazz” albums, a vinyl (of course) copy of Miles Davis’s “Milestones.” I distinctly recall listening to the record, and then asking my Lakeland High School band director, Ron Wilder, why Miles made so many “mistakes.”

(BTW, Ron remains a first-class trumpeter, and he played on two tracks on the 2016 CD release by my band, Acme Jazz Garage).

Books, of course, can open doors for kids, particular those for whom buying a book might be out of the question.

“A kid who thinks critically and reads” can go far in life,” as bestselling author Karin Slaughter said Saturday at Bouchercon, the huge annual crime/mystery fiction conference, this year held in St. Petersburg. Someone who develops those skills will have the opportunity to find a job, and contribute to society.

“It’s so much cheaper to give a kid a book than to imprison him for the rest of his life,” said Slaughter, founder of the Save the Libraries project. The initiative has raised more than $300k for the DeKalb County (Georgia) Library Foundation. She writes about her fight for libraries here.

“According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, about half of all Americans ages 16 and over used a public library in the past year, and two-thirds say that closing their local branch would have a “major impact on their community,” according to sociologist Eric Klinenberg, writing for the New York Times.

” … in New York and many other cities, library circulation, program attendance and average hours spent visiting are up. The real problem that libraries face is that so many people are using them, and for such a wide variety of purposes, that library systems and their employees are overwhelmed.”

Read more here. 

All of this is to say that … public libraries are important. Get a library card today — or renew yours if it has expired.

Support libraries when and where you can.

 

Note to readers: Thanks, and follow me!

Thanks to all who follow my blog, as well as to those who visit only occasionally.

Jazzlands is purely a labor of love, a way to kind of document my comings and goings in the music and jazz world, and to share my magazine work with a larger audience.

If you like what you read, please follow my blog, and I’d also invite you to follow me on Twitter at @pboothmusic.

You may know that in addition to writing about jazz and other music, I actively play with several bands around Florida, including: Acme Jazz Garage (also on Facebook; and @acmejazzgarage on Twitter ), Swan City Jazz Project (on Facebook), Trio Vibe, and Zensemble. I occasionally play with blues band the Juke Joint Kings, and the Blue Guava Orchestra (on Facebook), and once or twice a year I sub with the Tomkats Jazz Orchestra.

Also, I have a Facebook page offering info on my all of my various music-playing activities — Philip Booth Music.

So … stop by one of the above online locations if and when you can, and please follow me.

If you’re in Tampa on a Thursday or Friday night, you can catch me with Acme Jazz Garage at Timpano, 1610 W. Swann Ave. in Hyde Park Village. We start at 7 pm both nights (until 10 on Thursdays; until 11 on Fridays).

Lately, I’ve been doing more gigs with Swan City Jazz Project, with my Lakeland pals Jody Marsh (fellow LHS classmate) on piano, and Rick Runion on sax; sometimes we’re joined by a drummer to make it a quartet.

Ahead for Swan City:

I’d love to bring one of my bands to your festival, special event or nightclub. We’re actively looking for paying gigs. And I’m always looking for a way to a label home for my next CD project. The Acme Jazz Garage CD, released in 2016, was played on 35 or so radio stations across the country, and was reviewed in Relix and other national and local publications.

So if you have any ideas on gigs or on helping me fund a recording of original music, hit me up at jphilipboothAThotmailDOTcom

Meanwhile, back to your usual programming.

 

Acme Jazz Garage — Ascending?

I seldom write about my own projects here, but thought I’d throw out a quick note about the CD recently released by my band, Acme Jazz Garage, on my Solar Grooves label.

relix review

Acme Jazz Garage is gaining momentum via national jazz-radio airplay, and good reviews in magazines and newspapers.

A few updates:

RADIO :

  • Our CD is in its fifth week of airplay on jazz stations across the US (check its progress on the JazzWeek chart).
  • It has aired on Tampa’s WUSF and WMNF; WFCF in St. Augustine, FL; KEWU in Cheney/Spokane, WA; WCLK in Atlanta, Ga.; WAER in Syracuse, NY; KSDS in San Diego, CA; Jazz From Gallery 41 in Berkeley, CA; WTJU in Charlottesville, Va.; WSHA in Raleigh, NC; WWSP in Stephens Point, WI; KRTU in San Antonio, TX; KCCK in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and KRFC in Fort Collins, CO, among other stations.

PRESS:

  •   Relix magazine critic Wayan Zoey calls the CD “a solid collection of revivalist funk and swing … influences are rooted in ’70s fusion, and the various contemporary pop styles that surrounded it … a much more enjoyable experience than your average ‘trad jazz’ album … a capable excursion through one of the most playful eras of America’s cultural history.”
  • Creative Loafing/Tampa just gave us a four-star review: “The 10-track set is not only fun but a rather excellent demonstration of what four vet musicians can accomplish with some quality time in the studio and a little help from their friends.”
  • Howard Mandel, president of the Jazz Journalists Association and a contributor to NPR, says the CD “mixes the best bits of the Meters, Santana, Robben Ford, Grover Washington, Anita O’Day, Joe Sample, Roy Ayers and Marcus Miller into a refreshingly breezy sound.”
  • “Some funky R&B, and straight-ahead jazz, and it coule be one of the outstanding local releases of 2016,” says Randy Wind, program director at WMNF in Tampa.
  • ” ‘Resonance’ immediately made me think of Steely Dan,” says Louis Maistros, New Orleans singer/songwriter and acclaimed novelist. “And (I hear) hints of the Crusaders. The rest felt like its own thing. This is really a hot little combo. Mission accomplished. It’s a damn fine record. Bravo!”

Acme Jazz Garage, the band’s debut full-length set of original compositions, features an eclectic mix of original jazz compositions played by the core quartet (Matt Swenson, guitar; Bryan Lewis, keys; Tim Diehl, drums; me on bass) plus special guests.

We were joined by conga master Gumbi Ortiz; who tours with Al Di Meola; singer Whitney James; saxophonists Jeremy Powell (Arturo O’Farrell Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra), Rick Runion and Austin Vickrey; vibraphonist Sam Koppelman; and trumpeter Ron Wilder. The music was recorded and engineered by John Stephan at his Springs Theatre studio in Tampa, and mixed in L.A. by Ruairi O’Flaherty.

The tracks:

^  “Mongo Strut” (Booth) — Latin-edged funk spiked with congas

^ “Resonance” (Lewis) — multipart contemporary fusion (some folks hear Steely Dan)

^ “Sandprints” (Booth) — a 5/4 piece inspired by Wayne Shorter, featuring Powell on soprano sax

^  “Last Call” (Booth) — a retro vocal tune (Manhattan-romance theme) with vocals, trumpet and vibes

^  “Acmefied” (Booth) — straight-up jazz funk

^  “Zag” (Booth) — straightahead, swinging jazz with two tenor saxes (Vickrey and Runion) and vibraphone

^  “Mr. G.P.” (Booth) — New Orleans-style R&B named for Meters bassist George Porter, Jr., with a tpt-tenor-bari horn section

^  “Rubberman” (Booth) — jammy-leaning jazz with flute (Vickrey) and tenor (Runion)

^ A bluesy version of “America the Beautiful” (arr. by Lewis) — think Ray Charles; perfect for airplay on the July 4 weekend.

To get your very own copy of the CD, as a physical disc or download, click here

For more information on the band, visit us on Facebook; go to our web site; or stop by Solar Grooves. Twitter: @acmejazzgarage

 

 

All Hail the Jazz DJs, and Saluting WUSF and WMNF

It’s National Disc Jockey Day

So let’s give props to all the great, hard-working, well-informed radio DJs out there, and the significant role they play in getting good music to the public.

In particular, I want to say thanks to Bob Seymour, longtime jazz guru at WUSF, 89.7 FM in Tampa.

Bob Seymour

I remember first listening to Bob during my high-school days in nearby Lakeland. Bob and Vic Hall and the others provided a great on-air jazz education. Then, and now, Bob and Co. served as a sort of jazz clearinghouse of the airwaves, alerting everyone in the Tampa Bay area to all of the local worthwhile concerts.

Bob, too, always has made a point of supporting the scene with his presence at concerts by national artists as well as gigs featuring local musicians (including my own bands).

I felt privileged to take a turn at the WUSF mic in the late ’90s, when I did some jazz announcing for a few years. And I’ve had the chance to get to know Bob and his wife Marian via hanging out together at local jazz shows, festivals at home (Clearwater Jazz Holiday) and abroad (Montreal Jazz Fest), and at jazz conferences (the old IAJE gatherings).

So …

KUDOS to Bob and all the other current WUSF jazz DJs, including Mike Cornette, Whitney James, Mark Feinman, and Richard Jimenez.

KUDOS to Randy Wind and all the great on-air talent at WMNF, 88.5 FM, in Tampa, including Scott Hopkins, Thomas Dickens, Ray Villadonga, Cheryl Mogul, Cameron Dilley, Ronny Elliott, Rev Billy C. Wirtz, Jeff Stewart, Speedy Gonzalez, Lee Courtney, Cricket Larson, Ed Greene, and Peter Tush.

Greatly appreciate all the support the folks at WMNF and WUSF give to local music, too, as they’ve played recordings I’ve done with Acme Jazz Garage, Trio Vibe, Ghetto Love Sugar, The Irritable Tribe of Poets, Greenwich Blue, the “Monk in the Sun” CD, and other projects.

(And extra thanks to WMNF for asking my bands, including Acme Jazz Garage, Ghetto Love Sugar, and Trio Vibe, to perform at special station-sponsored events, including the Tropical Heatwave and concerts at Skipper’s Smokehouse and the New World Brewery).

I’ll also give a shout-out to some of the nationally syndicated shows that provide hours of listening pleasure, including Christian McBride‘s new “Jazz Night in America” on NPR and the shows hosted by Mark Ruffin, Eulis Cathey, Dermot Hussey, and Les Davis on Sirius XM’s “Real Jazz” channel.

As the National Day Calendar explains, “National Disc Jockey Day is celebrated in remembrance of the death of Albert James Freed.  Freed, also known as Moondog, was an influential disc jockey in the 1950s.  He is credited with introducing the term ‘ rock ‘n’ roll’ to the world. Within our research we were unable to find the creator of National Disc Jockey Day.” More information

Stay tuned … to your local jazz DJ. Let them know you care.

 

What the Critics Are Saying About Acme Jazz Garage

Acme Jazz Garage (Solar Grooves SG-001) is available here.

“Without a doubt, Acme Jazz Garage is the Tampa Bay area’s most adventurous jazz band. Its debut recording project finds the 5-year-old quartet in a jam-band groove, dipping its collective toes into straight-ahead jazz, Latin-tinged funk, R&B and a more modern jazz/fusion sound.

Bassist Philip Booth, drummer Tim Diehl, keyboard ace Bryan Lewis and guitarist Matt Swenson comprise the core band on this eponymous session, with a little help on various tracks from a variety of musical friends with whom the players have worked over the years. Lewis’s keyboard work, particularly on Hammond B-3, and Swenson’s melodic, often searing, guitar, dominate the group sound, layered over an infectious groove set by Booth and Diehl.

And who, you ask, stopped by to have a bit of fun on this session? Singer Whitney James is featured on Booth’s Manhattan romance- and-bebop-inspired “Last Call.” Veteran Al Di Meola percussionist Gumbi Ortiz spices up “Mongo Strut” and “Mongo Jam.” Jeremy Powell, now making his mark on the New York jazz scene in a variety of top-flight bands, is featured on soprano sax on “Sandprints,” a clever 5/4 piece inspired by Wayne Shorter’s best-known jazz classic “Footprints.”

Saxophonists Rick Runion and Austin Vickrey, vibes player Sam Koppelman and trumpeter Ron Wilder also bulk up the band on a variety of tracks, most notably “Zag,” “”Rubberman” and “Mr. G.P.,” the latter a N’awlins groove tribute to The Meters’ bassist George Porter Jr.

From start to finish, Acme Jazz Garage and friends make it clear that the Tampa area is blessed with great jazz talent.

–KEN FRANCKLING, author/photographer, “Jazz in the Key of Light”; Ken Franckling’s Jazz Notes; contributor, JazzTimes, Hot House, allaboutjazz.com

************************************************************

“Have you ever had a CD get stuck in your player? Not physically, but because it is so darn good you need to hear it over and over again?

That’s what happened when I popped the new recording from Acme Jazz Garage into the player. I’ve seen these guys in different settings, from purely straight ahead to all-out funk, but I simply wasn’t prepared for a disc this superb, start to finish.

They come out swinging straight out of the starting gate with “Mongo Strut,” a reworking of a tune by bassist Philip Booth. This jazz/funk outing features guest percussionist Gumbo Ortiz, long a Tampa Bay area star and Al Di Meola bandmate. Bryan Lewis gives his clavinet a workout, and Ortiz and drummer Tim Diehl are in perfect sync, powered by Booth’s electric bass.

The next track, “Resonance,” still blows me away, and that’s after more than a dozen times through the disc. Composer Lewis opens with electric piano, and then Matt Swenson gets to work. His playing throughout is nothing short of spectacular. This tune goes through a variety of changes, and he nails every one. Booth and Diehl are a monster rhythm section. Lewis takes a great solo as well.

“Sandprints” is Booth’s homage to Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints,” magnificently rendered with Jeremy Powell on soprano saxophone. Powell is another Tampa Bay area jewel who moved to New York. (Jeremy and NYC trumpeter brother Jonathan played with Booth in Ghetto Love Sugar). Rick Runion, a fine tenor player from Lakeland, plays harmony with Jeremy here. The track begins with Booth’s beautiful double bass tones, then Jeremy and the band join in.

Booth adds a vocal tune to the mix with “Last Call,” his impressions of New York City during his time there and historically as well. Whitney James is the singer here, and her voice perfectly accents Booth’s lyrics. The tune also features vibraphonist Sam Koppelman, a truly impressive player whose contributions here and on “Zag” are first-rate. Ron Wilder plays trumpet… and he was Booth’s jazz instructor back in the day!

“Zag” is a gorgeous tune Booth used to play with Trio Vibe. Koppelman is perfect here, and Austin Vickrey and Runion join in on tenors, with a solo from Vickrey. This song swings so hard, driven by Booth on bass. Beautiful acoustic piano from Lewis adds to the sheer delight of this track.

Booth next honors George Porter, Jr., the king of New Orleans bass players and a member of the legendary Meters, with “Mr. G.P.” (a reference to Coltrane’s tune “Mr. P.C.”). If you’re going to do NOLA, you’re gonna need a horn section: Wilder, Runion, and Vickrey (this time on baritone sax). Swenson takes another blistering guitar turn while Booth and Diehl channel that second-line rhythm.

Badass bass launches “Rubberman,” the oldest tune in Acme Jazz Garage’s repertoire. Vickrey plays gorgeous flute here with Runion on tenor. Lewis stands out on Hammond B3 organ, funk dripping from every note. Diehl nails this one, and Swenson delivers a beautiful solo invoking so many great jazz guitarists. Booth gets an extended feature as well.

“Acmefied” opens with a nifty drum roll into the tune, another fine funky jazz piece. Swenson again channels the masters beautifully, and Diehl’s work on the kit is of special note. Lewis comps underneath with great electric piano.

Lewis arranged a very bluesy version of “America the Beautiful” which was released in time for Independence Day. His gospel-tinged Hammond B3 provides a very different reading of this, reminiscent perhaps of Ray Charles.

The disc closes with a percussion workout with Diehl and Ortiz, “Mongo Jam,” a logical extension of the opening tune.

This wonderful recording was enhanced by the remarkable production job done at the Springs Theatre, where local Tampa musicians have been producing music of the highest quality.

–SCOTT HOPKINS, “Colors of Jazz” announcer, WMNF, 88.5 FM; TieYourShoesReviews.com; editor-in-chief, musicfestnews.com

************************************************************

“The influences felt scattered (which is good), but the song ‘Resonance’ immediately made me think of Steely Dan. That, too, is a good thing. Oh, and (I hear) hints of the Crusaders now and again. The rest felt like its own thing. This is really a hot little combo. Mission accomplished. It’s a damn fine record. Bravo!”

LOUIS MAISTROS, New Orleans singer/songwriter and writer, author of acclaimed novel “The Sound of Building Coffins,” and former jazz record store owner

Philip’s gigs — 2015

philip-bass

Upcoming——————-2015

Acme Jazz Garage: Every Thursday and Friday at Timpano, 1610 W. Swann Ave., Hyde Park Village (Tampa), starting at 7:30 (until 10:30 on Thursdays, until 11:30 on Fridays).

Monday, March 30 — subbing with TomKats Jazz Orchestra, Blue Parrot Cafe, 85 Corey Circle, St. Petersburg Beach, 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 30 — PBJQ, Frescos, 132 S. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland

Upcoming—————- (2012)

Sunday, Dec. 2 – Acme Jazz Garage, Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, Seminole Heights, 4 to 7 p.m.; free admission

Fri-Sat, Dec. 7-8 – Trio Vibe, Della’s After Dark, Brandon, 7 to 10 p.m.; free admission, reservations suggested

Fri-Sat, Dec. 14-15 — Trio Vibe, Della’s After Dark, Brandon, 7 to 10 p.m.; free admission, reservations suggested

Dec. 31 – (private) Tomkats Big Band, NYE gig

Older————————————

(Most Sundays): P&W Band, South Tampa Fellowship, 9 and 10:30 a.m.

Monday, Feb. 14 – Trio Vibe, with vibraphonist Sam Koppelman and drummer Jose Munoz, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon.

Friday, Feb. 18 – Philip Booth Jazz Quartet, with saxophonist Jeremy Powell, pianist Jody Marsh, and drummer Ryan Marsh, Tampa Museum of Art, 8 to 11 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 20 – Acme Jazz Garage, with guitarist Matt Swenson, drummer Tim Diehl, saxophonist Jeremy Powell, more, Skipper’s Smokehouse (Rockin’ for Raulton 2 benefit), 5 to 9 p.m.

Friday-Saturday, Feb 25-26 – Trio Vibe, with saxophonist Sam Koppelman and drummer Jose Munoz, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon, 7 to 10 p.m.

Friday-Saturday, March 4-5 – Trio Vibe, with saxophonist Sam Koppelman and drummer Jose Munoz, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon, 7 to 10 p.m.

Saturday, April 16 – Trio Vibe, Child of the Sun Jazz Festival, Lakeland

Previous (2011)———————-

2010———————————–

Monday, Feb. 1 – Tomkats Big Band, The Blue Parrot, St. Petersburg Beach, 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20 – Trio Vibe (with vibraphonist Sam Koppelman and drummer Jose Munoz), Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon; free admission, reservations suggested.

Sunday, March 21 – Trio Vibe with vibraphonist Sam Koppelman and drummer Jose Munoz, dinner cruise from Tampa Convention Center

Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3 – Trio Vibe, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon; free admission; reservations suggested

Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10 – Trio Vibe with vibraphonist Sam Koppelman and drummer Ryan Marsh, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon; free admission, reservations suggested.

Sunday, April 18 – Philip Booth Trio with vibraphonist Sam Koppelman and saxophonist/flutist Willie Lawson, Jazz/Poetry event,  Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 West Bearss Ave., 2 p.m.; free

Wednesday, May 12 – Trio Vibe playing with others at the tribute to late drummer Don Capone, Lenny’s Latin Cafe, Temple Terrace, 7 to 10 p.m.

Sunday, May 16 – Andy Irvine‘s “Enter the Thunder Dome” with Andy and Beanstalk hosting, and many other bassists, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 5 p.m.

Tuesday, June 1 – Free Time Trio with pianist Jody Marsh and drummer Ryan Marsh, Red Rose Inn, Plant City, 6 to 9 p.m.

Tuesday, June 15 – Free Time Trio with pianist Jody Marsh and trumpeter Ron Wilder, Red Rose Inn, Plant City, 6 to 9 p.m.

Sunday, June 20 – Praise & Worship Band, South Tampa Fellowship, 9 & 10:30 a.m.

Thursday, July 8 – Duo with vibraphonist Sam Koppelman, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon, 7 to 10 p.m.; free admission

Fri-Sat, Aug. 13-14 – Trio Vibe with vibraphonist Sam Koppelman and drummer Ryan Marsh, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon, 7 to 10 p.m.; free admission, reservations suggested

Sunday, Aug. 22 – Praise & Worship Band, South Tampa Fellowship, 9 & 10:30 a.m.

Friday, Aug 27 – Trio Vibe with vibraphonist Sam Koppelman and drummer Ryan Marsh, Play, 1701 E. 8th Ave., Ybor City, 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.; (813) 443-075

Sunday, Aug. 29 – Praise & Worship Band, South Tampa Fellowship, 9 & 10:30 a.m.

Fri-Sat, Sept. 10-11 – Trio Vibe with vibraphonist Sam Koppelman and drummer Ryan Marsh, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon, 7 to 10 p.m.; free admission, reservations suggested

Thursday, Nov. 4 – Ybor Jazz Festival (more info TBA)

Fri-Sat, Nov. 5-6 – Trio Vibe, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon, 7 to 10 p.m.; free admission, reservations suggested

2009———————

Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7 – Trio Vibe, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon; free admission, reservations suggested.

Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, October 3 – Trio Vibe, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon; free admission, reservations suggested.

Thursday, July 30 – Duo with pianist Ron Delp, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon; free admission, reservations suggested.

Friday, July 24 and Saturday, July 25 – Trio Vibe, Della’s Delectables (restaurant), Brandon; free admission, reservations suggested.

Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13 – Trio Vibe, Della’s Delectable’s (restaurant), Brandon; free admission, reservations suggested.

Sunday, May 31 – Trio Vibe (with Sam Koppelman and drummer Dave Hamar) at First WMNF Jazz Jam, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 4 p.m. (Kevin Mahogany heads this mini-festival. For more info, click here)

Thursday, May 28 – Trio Vibe (with Sam Koppelman and drummer Dave Hamar) + singer Edgar Wilcox, Side Door Jazz Series at Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, 7:30 to 10 p.m.; $20, general admission; $15 for members of jazz associations, Palladium members, seniors, and students with ID. (727) 822-3590. More info.

Friday, May 8 – Ghetto Love Sugar REUNION SHOW (guitarist Joel Lisi, keyboardist Raulton Reichel and drummer Jonathan Priest), with Infinite Groove Orchestra and Rocksteady@8 and special guests, 9 p.m.; $5 at the door. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, April 29 – Free Time Trio (w/pianist Jody Marsh and trumpeter Ron Wilder), Red Rose Inn, Plant City, 6 to 9 p.m.

Thursday, April 2 – Free Time Trio (w/pianist Jody Marsh and drummer Ryan Marsh), private event, Lake Wales

Wednesday, April 1 – Free Time Trio (w/pianist Jody Marsh and drummer Pat Close), Red Rose Inn, Plant City, 6 to 9 p.m.

Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7 – Trio Vibe (with Sam Koppelman and drummer Don Capone), Della’s, Brandon

Band links:

Trio Vibe

Ghetto Love Sugar