‘73 Artist Revue
FREDDIE KING hails from early 1930’s Texas. His family picked guitar along with the first records Freddie ever heard – by Blind Lemon Jefferson, Big Bill Broonzy and the like. In the 1940’s the King family moved to Chicago where 16-year-old Freddie would sneak in clubs to listen to and absorb the blues according to Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and other masters of the thriving Chicago scene. Despite several successful regional hits on the King label, Freddie remained relatively unknown except to black audiences and other hardened blues fans until recently, when he was “discovered” by Leon Russell. Freddy now records for Leon’s label, Shelter. His performance at last year’s Festival brought a roaring crowd right to its feet – it can be heard on the Atlantic LP of the 1972 event.
LEON THOMAS – attributes his first major flash of direction to experiencing the Miles Davis group with John Coltrane sitting in. “He was doing on the horn what I was trying to do with my voice.” Inspired by Trane’s music, Leon decided to go to New York, where he managed to cop an RCA Victor record date and a chance to sing at the Apollo Theatre on the same bill with Art Blakey’s big band. Leon toured with Blakey and later Count Basie up until 1965, while also working with Roland Kirk, Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders and other emerging New Music innovators. Besides his own recordings for Flying Dutchman, Leon’s lilting, trilling vocal feats can be heard accompanying Pharoah Sanders on Karma, Jewels of Thought, all on Impulse.
COUNT BASIE AND HIS ORCHESTRA – Born in Red Bank, New Jersey in 1904, Bill Basie spent his formative years in New York. He hit the southern vaudeville circuit and soon gravitated to Kansas City, where swinging night spots flourished immune to the Depression Blues. Kansas City at that point became the stomping ground for some of the most creative musicians of all time: Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Oran “Hot Lips” Page, Ben Webster, vocalists Jimmy Rushing and Big Joe Turner. Basie look over the reins of his own orchestra in 1935. and soon swept out of the Missouri River basin to take on an unsuspecting national public. Eventually his band became a backbone of the Swing Era, and a phenomenal influence on future jazz movements. Appearing with the Count you won’t be able to miss vocalist Jimmy Ricks, an R and B star of the 40’s and 50’s.
J. B. HUTTO AND THE HAWKS – One of the lesser-known blues greats, JB Hutto is coming to Ann Arbor straight from a closet-sized tavern on Chicago’s sprawling South Side. Known for his pure, raw vocal power and electric bottle-neck guitar work, Hutto first started screaming vocals as a childhood member of the Golden Crown Gospel singers in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia. His recordings are available on the first volume of the Chicago/The Blues Today series on Vanguard, and also on the Testament, Delmark, Blue Horizon and Blues Classics labels.
THE REVOLUTIONARY ENSEMBLE – “A musical organization composed of three creative musicians portraying change of consciousness through sound.” Drummer Jerome Cooper comes out of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. LeRoy Jenkins began with Chicago’s ACCM, then moved to New York where he made wave upon musical wave with the likes of Ornette Coleman, Roland Kirk, and the Jazz Composers Orchestra, Sirone (Norris Jones) has played with Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Marion Brown, and with LeRoy alongside Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, and Cecil Taylor. Tightness without rigidity, free music of the Black American experience. “It’s therapy. The music helps people to live.” The Ensemble has recorded one album, Vietnam I and II, for ESP, which released the side to high critical acclaim this past year.
ROOSEVELT SYKES – Bom January 31, 1906, Roosevelt “The Honeydripper” Sykes’ first musical experience carne while playing his grandfather’s church organ down in West Helena, Arkansas. Sykes soon jumped to the barroom piano, playing whorehouses and speakeasies. He cut his first record, “Boot That Thing,” in 1929, and in 1943 signed with Victor along with his band, the Honeydrippers. Sykes currently holds forth in the French Quarter of New Orleans, with followings in Europe, Chicago, and Ann Arbor.
JOHN LEE HOOKER – is the best-known Detroit Blues musician. Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1915, but raised in Memphis, Hooker settled in Detroit in 1943. Supporting himself through a succession of jobs, he began performing with a small group in taverns and nightclubs along Hastings Street, in the city’s neareast-side black ghetto. In 1948 he made his first recording, “Boogie Chillen,” which was an immediate success. The record led to a succession of recordings for a large number of labels, some of which were issued under a variety of pseudonyms. His best-known sides were cut for the now-defunct Chicago Vee-Jay Records label, which he joined in 1955. Hooker is one of the most powerful singers the blues has yet produced and plays a fierce guitar. “The blues is different from other music because of the feeling.” he once explained. “It’s something that comes in your life – once in a while you had a hard time. Maybe it’s love affairs, or money affairs, or food – anything, any kind of hard time. And when you sing these songs it reaches you so deep down.”
YUSEF LATEEF – first received recognition under his original name, William Evans, as tenor saxophonist for the final version of Dizzy Gillespie’s big band. Near the end of those days he began a study in Mohammedanism which changed his whole life. Starting in the mid-sixties Yusef worked with his own group, playing a uniquely integrated sound which combines Afro-American music with Middle-and Far-Eastern influences. Before that he played with Donald Byrd, Charles Mingus, Olatunji, and Cannonball Adderly, among others. A renowned master of the flute, Lateef rejects the term “Jazz” for his music. “If you must define what I play, the term is auto-physio-psychic. That means music that comes from the physical, mental, spiritual and intellectual self.”
CJQ – The Contemporary Jazz Quintet is a Detroit-based, community-oriented contemporary music ensemble made up of Charles Moore (trumpet), Leon Henderson (tenor saxophone), Kenny Cox (piano), Ron Brooks (bass), and Danny Spencer (drums), all of whom are long term veterans of the Detroit/Ann Arbor progressive music scene. Survivors of two hastily produced recording sessions for Blue Note records, the CJQ recently released an album, Location, on its own label, Strata Records, a non-profit venture which is but one related component in the umbrella organization known as the Strata Corporation. Strata also operates a cooperative new music concert house (the Strata Gallery in Detroit), a musical educational program at various colleges in the area, its recording arm, and other self-determination projects. The CJQ will be featured on the Music of Detroit show along with, John Lee Hooker, Yusef Lateef and the Detroit Blues contingent.
DETROIT BLUES – A special three-hour DETROIT BLUES show will take the Festival stage Saturday to introduce over 15 authentic Michigan-based artists and the rich blues heritage of the Motor City to a large national audience for the first time. The show will be recorded in its entirety by Rainbow Productions for release as a two-record Detroit Blues album package. Highly respected in Europe but hardly known in their home state, the musicians in order of appearance are:
DOCTOR ROSS – a one-man band from Flint (“Little Detroit”), currently on the Motor City’s notorious Fortune label, known for singles like “Industrial Boogie,” “General Motors Blues,” and “I’d Rather Be an Old Woman’s Baby than a Young Woman’s Slave.”