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Bob Cooper Gets a Day in His Honor; American Cinematheque to Hold Film Series

Jazz Notes

September 06, 1989|ZAN STEWART

Long, tall Bob Cooper, the redoubtable tenor saxophonist, will be honored this Sunday when the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Jazz Society join in proclaiming "Bob Cooper Day." Cooper, whose career has included stints with Stan Kenton and the Capp-Pierce Juggernaut Big Band, is among those who will be feted at the jazz society's seventh annual Jazz Tribute and Awards concert. The concert culminates the city-proclaimed Professional Musicians' Week and will be held at the Regency Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel (711 S. Hope St.).

Cooper is the recipient of the jazz society's annual Tribute award--which recognizes artists for accomplishments and contributions to the Los Angeles jazz scene. Also to be celebrated by the jazz society this Sunday will be saxophonist Vi Redd, who receives the lifetime achievement award; pianist Horace Silver, the Jazz Composer/Arranger honor; Cal State Northridge jazz band leader Joel Leach for his work in jazz education, and guitarist Steve Gregory, who receives the Shelly Manne Memorial New Talent award.

The concert, which is open to the public and runs from 8-11 p.m., will spotlight performances by Cooper, pianists Jimmy Rowles and Wiggins, trumpeters Conte Candoli and Edison, bassists Red Callender and Monty Budwig, among many others. KKGO's Chuck Niles will provide the introductions and the wisecracks.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the nonprofit jazz society, whose activities include free community concerts, such as the Jazz Mobile West, and the public access TV show, "Jazz in Review." Information: (213) 469-6800.

"Jazz on a Summer's Day," the stellar 1960 Bert Stern-directed documentary, and "The Benny Goodman Story," a 1955 very Hollywood-ish biography of the clarinetist, are examples of the highs and lows of jazz on film that will be screened when the American Cinematheque presents "Real Jazz: Movies, Music and the People Who Make Them."

The 10-film program will be headlined by the West Coast premiere of John Holland's 1988 documentary, "A Night in Havana: Dizzy Gillespie in Cuba," which details the trumpeter's trip to the Caribbean island in 1987. It screens Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Pacific Design Center Theater, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.

Gillespie--who appears tonight with Phil Woods, Cedar Walton, Billy Taylor and George Shearing at the Hollywood Bowl and in a free concert Saturday night at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica--will be on hand, along with Benny Carter, to discuss his experiences.

The other nine films on the Cinematheque's program include such documentaries as 1944's "Jammin' the Blues" and 1988's "Ernie Andrews: Blues for Central Avenue" and such fictional features as Clint Eastwood's "Bird" and Martin Ritt's "Paris Blues" (1961). They will be shown Friday-Sunday at the Directors Guild Theatre, 7920 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood.

The thrust of the series is "the portrayal of the jazz musician and and jazz music on film, with the mixed results that have come out of Hollywood and from documentaries," said Judy Stangler, who coordinated the program for AC.

Stangler also arranged for many others of those involved in the films, or their production, to appear. Clarinetist Artie Shaw, who is showcased in the brief "Artie Shaw's Class in Swing" (1939), will be on the Friday 6:30 p.m., bill, which also includes "Jazz on a Summer's Day." "Artie is one of most important people in jazz and one of the most articulate, and he's long voiced the opinion that 'Jazz on a Summer's Day' is the finest jazz film ever made," she said. Times arts editor Charles Champlin will conduct a post-screening question-and-answer session with Shaw.

The vibrant Singer Andrews will appear with "Blues for Central Avenue" producer Lois Shelton on a program Sunday at 3 p.m. that also includes 1979's "The Last of the Blue Devils," which details the jazz scene in Kansas City, Mo., in the '30s, '40s and '50s. Composer Lennie Niehaus and bandleader Bill Berry will discuss "Bird" after it screens Saturday at 5 p.m.

All screenings are $5. Information: (213) 461-9737.

Until about two years ago, singer Julie Kelly had at least one musical foot planted firmly on jazz/fusion turf, and her accompanists sometimes cranked the volume way up as they worked out on electronic gear. But then pianist Tom Garvin, known for his way around an acoustic piano and his keen backing of vocalists, showed up and changed everything.

"He subbed for my regular keyboardist at a gig at the (now-defunct) Alleycat Bistro (in Culver City) and I said, 'This is it!' " recalled Kelly, who appears Sunday with singers Stephanie Haynes, Barbara Morrison and Yvette Stewart at the Dana Point Resort in Dana Point. "Tom's playing got to me. He was so subtle it blew me away and the straight-ahead genre he comes from struck a chord with me. I've been concentrating on that ever since."

Garvin will be at the keyboard behind Kelly when she offers mainstream material on Sunday in a program dubbed "Ladies Sing the Blues," where all four singers will do individual sets, then group together to do two tunes as a finale. "My set will have Miles Davis' 'All Blues,' threading all through it," said Kelly, an Oakland native who's lived in Los Angeles for nine years, "but I'll also do older tunes like 'Royal Garden Blues' and Bobby Troup's 'The Meaning of the Blues.' "

Kelly--whose new LP "Some Other Time" (Chase Music Group) is due out at the end of September and features arrangements concocted by Garvin--is happy with her current direction. "It feels totally right," she said. "And it's creative. It's not like I'm only doing (pieces like Ellington's) 'Satin Doll.' I do some contemporary mainstream jazz tunes too, like some by Chick Corea. Overall, I've found it to be a much more creative area."

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