Ozzie Cadenza R.I.P.

Ozzie cadena, a producer for the famed Savoy Records who played a key role in recording a long list of jazz luminaries and later led an effort to commemorate the role of Hermosa Beach in the history of West Coast jazz, has died. He was 83.

Cadena, who suffered a stroke last year, died of pneumonia Wednesday at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, said his daughter, Lori Cadena.

The height of his career in recording came during the 1950s and '60s, but Cadena later owned record stores and booked acts for several clubs in Southern California -- including the legendary Lighthouse Cafe and the Sangria restaurant in Hermosa Beach -- a role he continued to play until shortly before his death.

"I think Ozzie must have lived and breathed jazz every day of his life," said jazz writer Don Heckman. "He obviously had an impact via his production work for Savoy. . . . But his biggest contribution was the love and support of jazz that impacted everyone who knew or had any contact with him."

Born Oscar Cadena on Sept. 26, 1924, in Oklahoma City, Cadena moved with his family to Newark, N.J., where he spent his childhood. As a kid, he shined shoes on the street and made weekly trips to Harlem to hear music. His love for music also led him to regularly visit African American churches.

After graduating from high school, Cadena enlisted in the Marines and served from 1941 to 1945 in the South Pacific. After the war, he studied bass and piano at a music school in New York.

In the early 1950s, Cadena was working with a jazz radio show in Newark when the owner of Savoy hired him. Savoy Records has a storied role in jazz history. The label was the early recording home of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.

The owner of Savoy was a businessman with a spotty reputation among musicians, who thought his contracts were unfair.

Cadena took a philosophic view: "Whether you like the cat or not, at least he made the music available," Cadena said in a 2002 article in Newark's Star-Ledger.

At Savoy from 1951 to 1959, Cadena was responsible for the early recordings of Cal Tjader, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, Donald Byrd, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, and many others, according to his resume.

He also recorded or produced Kenny Clarke, Gillespie, Davis, Fats Navarro, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus.

"I was able to coordinate all these great talents, hear them make marvelous music," he said in the Star-Ledger article.

He recorded vocalists Little Jimmy Scott, Esther Phillips and John Lee Hooker. Cadena also played a key role in the careers of artists working in other genres. In the world of gospel, he recorded Clara Ward, James Cleveland and a group that included Cissy Houston, the mother of Whitney Houston.

After leaving Savoy, Cadena worked for other labels, including Prestige, Blue Note, and Fantasy Records. In 1974 he and his family relocated to Hermosa Beach, which he began visiting in the late 1940s.

"It was such a perfect place," he said in a 2005 issue of South Bay People magazine. "I could have the beach and the sunshine by day and jazz during the night."

In Southern California he promoted jazz and booked talent at such clubs as the Hyatt on Sunset. Since the '70s he had promoted jazz and become involved with the Lighthouse, a club that is renowned for its role in the birth of West Coast jazz. In 2000 he began organizing free concerts on the plaza in Hermosa Beach every Wednesday. He also led the effort to place plaques on the city's Pier Avenue Plaza honoring the Lighthouse and the musicians who played there.

In addition to his daughter, Cadena is survived by his wife, Gloria, of Redondo Beach; two sons, Pru of Madison, N.J., and Dez of Newark, who is a member of the punk band the Misfits; two grandsons, Kyle and Bret Cadena of Madison, N.J.; and two sisters, Victoria Shear and Beatrice Festagallo of Union, N.J. A daughter, Janus Cadena, died in 1959.

Services are private. A public tribute is to be announced at a later date.

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John Young R.I.P.

John Young 1922 ~ 2008
Pianist played with the greats

By Howard Reich

Tribune critic

April 21, 2008

Chicago jazz pianist John Young never attained the global fame of Ramsey Lewis or Ahmad Jamal—slightly younger musicians who also launched their keyboard careers in this city.

But Mr. Young achieved an impressive résumé, collaborating with Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams, Dexter Gordon, Gene Ammons and practically everyone else who mattered in mid-20th Century jazz.

In a career that spanned more than six decades, Mr. Young in the 1940s crisscrossed the country with a vastly popular big band—Andy Kirk's and His Clouds of Joy—and subsequently became a revered figure in Chicago jazz.

Mr. Young, 86, died Wednesday, April 16, of multiple myeloma at South Shore Hospital.

"I think Ahmad got a lot from listening to John," said Chicago saxophonist Eric Schneider, who often worked with Young. "John Young had a totally individual style," observed Joe Segal, founder of the Jazz Showcase. "He had a very sparkling style, very swinging."

Mr. Young's pianism amounted to an alluring mixture of several elements: He merged an earthy blues sensibility with a remarkably refined technique; he brought the hot dance rhythms of the swing era into the newer idiom of bebop.

"He was the man to get the band cooking," said Richard Wang, vice president of the non-profit Jazz Institute of Chicago and music professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Mr. Young attained his distinctive virtuosity and built a prosperous career despite a variety of obstacles. Born in Little Rock, Ark., as the youngest of eight siblings, he came to Chicago with his mother, who sought "a better life for herself and her family up north, where there were more opportunities," said Alan Young, the pianist's only child.

Mr. Young's mother supported the family working as a seamstress and running a butcher shop on the South Side.

At DuSable High School, Mr. Young studied under the great bandleader-instructor Capt. Walter Dyett and performed alongside such future stars as pianist Dorothy Donegan and comedian Redd Foxx.

When Mr. Young began touring with Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy, he was struck by the breadth of the country's racism.

"I was introduced to white and colored drinking fountains and white and colored waiting rooms as we traveled throughout the South by train," Mr. Young said in Dempsey Travis' landmark book, "An Autobiography of Black Jazz." "It was the worst thing in the world because they would put us [blacks] in the front car of the train, right next to the coal car. There was no air conditioning and, if you opened the windows for air, the coal cinders would blow right in on you."

After a tenure in the Navy in the mid-1940s and a period living in Cleveland, Mr. Young moved back to Chicago in 1955 and became one of the most sought-after pianists in the city.

"He worked with almost everyone I had at the Showcase," said Segal, who also produced some of Mr. Young's first albums. But Mr. Young's recorded work was more popular among connoisseurs.

Mr. Young, however, did not express disappointment in his career, his son said.

Ebullient on stage, Mr. Young typically wore a dapper cap and often was billed as "Young John Young." He played frequently with Chicago tenor saxophone icon Von Freeman and masters of comparable stature.

"He built up a real good reputation in Chicago. . . . I think he was happy," said his son. "One of his favorite phrases, which will be on his headstone, is 'Everything's mellow.' "

In addition to his son, Mr. Young is survived by his second wife, Jessie.

Visitation will start at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Leak & Sons Funeral Home, 7838 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, 4501 S. Vincennes Ave.


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Phil Urso R.I.P.

One of those names of musicians who pops up regularly has left us recently. Phil Urso, mainly known for his work with Chet Baker passed away on april 7th. A very complete obituary wriiten by marc Meyers can be found here!

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Ornette Coleman

A conversation between Howard Mandel and Ornette Coleman can be listened at here or you can download an MP3 of it (320 bitrate) here.


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Glenn Gould

BBC Radio 4 broadcasted a documentary on Glenn Gould called "Gould's Mind". You can listen at an MP3 of it here. Enjoy!

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Karlsruhe 1957

Thought i'd share this beautifull picture with you :



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Max Roach Memorial

The University of Massachusetts Amherst wil be presenting a day long tribute to Max Roach. It will take place on March 25th. You can read more about it here.

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