Monday, April 21, 2008


Last week, Irvin Mayfield performed at the Blue Note with his quintet, garnering praise for both his abilities on the trumpet and his brand new record, "Love Songs" with Ellis Marsalis. The first picture is of Mayfield, and the second, his drummer Jaz Sawyer. Both made a recording for Half Note Records together titled "20/20" almost a decade ago.


Half Note Records' upcoming recording, "The Latin Side of Wayne Shorter featuring Conrad Herwig & Friends," will be released on May 27 and 28 at the Blue Note. For more information on that show and others coming up at the club, please visit :

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


If you haven't seen this, you're not going to believe it - Pops and Diz, together, singing and playing their trumpets! Check it out...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Interesting New York Sun Article on Irvin Mayfield's Trumpet...

Blow, but Don't Touch, That Horn

Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 10, 2008

Sergeant Ernest Gabriel III, of the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Department, has what is arguably the best beat in all of policedom. His duty is to guard the bejeweled Elysian Trumpet, a handcrafted, brushed-gold instrument that is played by jazz musician Irvin Mayfield Jr.

The trumpet — which has been blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, inspected by President Bush, and insured by Lloyd's of London — is a traveling musical symbol of New Orleans. According to the terms of its creation and maintenance (the latter of which is paid for by a group of citizens), an armed guard must accompany the trumpet at all times. So when the Irvin Mayfield Quintet played the Blue Note last night, Mr. Gabriel was prominently in attendance.

Wearing a black collared shirt, black pants, a handgun, and a palm-size star-shaped badge on his belt, he strolled jovially through the seated crowd. The trumpet has not seen serious threats, according to Mr. Gabriel, who comes from a long line of New Orleans musicians. "Mostly, people want to touch it. It cannot be Truth be told, the compact Mr. Mayfield, 30, is strapping enough to fend off any would-be trumpet molesters. With his shaved head, dramatic facial expressions, and muscles bursting out of his black T-shirt, he could easily be a male model. If he weren't a thoroughly talented musician, that is.

Mr. Mayfield, the artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and the cultural ambassador of New Orleans, is also the artistic warden of the Elysian trumpet. (The spiritual warden is the Very Reverend David Allard du-Plantier, the dean of Christ Church Cathedral.) He is personally connected to the instrument because it was commissioned in memory of the victims of Hurricane Katrina — including his father, Irvin Mayfield Sr., whose body was found on Elysian Fields Avenue in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans.

Built by David Monette, a noted trumpet designer based in Portland, Ore., and a team of artisans, the horn is loaded with details that honor the music and spirit of the Crescent City. The outer bell has cutout designs of Elysian Field lilies. Near the mouthpiece is a miniature replica of a stretch of the 30-mile-long Mississippi River — inlaid with Sleeping Beauty turquoise — with a faceted ruby at the point where New Orleans stands along the river. Engravings and saw-piercings celebrate Mardi Gras, local cuisine, and famous musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Mahalia Jackson.

Portland jewelry designer Tami Dean designed the engravings on the valve casings to evoke French Quarter wrought iron. At the end of the valves are delicately inset gemstones in Mardi Gras colors. The tops of the finger buttons are inlaid with semiprecious stones. When Mr. Mayfield plays the trumpet onstage facing the audience, these tiny details are not easily apparent. But when he turns to the side, it is clear that the panels (or braces) between the instrument's curved tubes are decorated with sharp, wave-like shapes that suggest the violent winds of the hurricane. The elaborate portions are also apparent when Mr. Mayfield stops playing and talks to the audience, while holding the trumpet so that the horn is pointing to the floor. This shows off the colorful finger-buttons and some of the larger design elements.

During the nearly two-hour set, Mr. Mayfield played only the Elysian trumpet. For all its decoration, the instrument's sound is standard, with only the talent of the player to make it exceptional. Mr. Mayfield and his band — trombonist Vince Gardner, pianist John Chin, bassist Neal Caire, and drum player Jaz Sawyer — performed a number of songs from Mr. Mayfield's new album "Love Songs, Ballads and Standards." The album is the first to be produced by Basin Street Records since its studio was destroyed by Katrina.

All the while during the show, the armed Sergeant Gabriel kept watch. Though it might delight some cops to spend every night walking such a relatively enjoyable beat, Sergeant Gabriel says it's only professional: "It's a job."

Sunday, April 6, 2008


And here is the real David Helfgott performing at a wedding as a present for a friend, followed by a performance at his home of Rachmaninoff op 32 number 5 and op 32 number 12. He'll be at the Blue Note tomorrow night. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

David Helfgott portrayal in the movie "SHINE"

David Helfgott was portrayed in the 1996 film "Shine" by Geoffrey Rush, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Here is a clip from the movie in case you haven't seen it! He'll be at the Blue Note for one night only on April 7, 2008.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


The 80s Never Sounded So Good

April 4, 2008

This week, the New York clubs are dominated by a "Subway Series"-style battle of the generations: It's the 70-somethings versus the 80-somethings. At Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, the co-headliners are the 79-year-old singer Ernestine Anderson and the 73-year-old tenor saxophonist Houston Person, while downtown at the Blue Note, the 86-year-old singer-songwriter Jon Hendricks is sharing the stage with one of the few surviving first-generation beboppers, the equally brilliant saxophonist and entertainer James Moody, 83. The program is officially billed as "James Moody Quartet with special guest Jon Hendricks," but during the late show on Tuesday night, the two octogenarians split the set evenly, doing four numbers each.

The program was even more symmetrical than that, because each star favored the four B's: a bopper, a ballad, a bossa, and a blues. Mr. Moody started with a stomping "Eternal Triangle" (a classic "I Got Rhythm" variant by his contemporary, Sonny Stitt) before effortlessly launching into a moving and tender reading of "Body and Soul," with a dramatic opening cadenza; here, bassist Todd Coolman (generally introduced by Mr. Moody as "Cool Man") heavily quoted from the leader's legendary solo on "I'm in the Mood for Love." Mr. Moody then switched to flute for Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Wave," on which it was pianist Renee Rosnes's turn to quote (from "Love for Sale").

Mr. Moody wound up his portion of the set with Charlie Parker's famous blues "Au Private," which he recorded on his 1966 album, "Moody and the Brass Figures," after first calling the expert trombonist Steve Davis to share the stage with him. The saxophonist then introduced his guest vocalist by telling us that Mr. Hendricks is "wise beyond his years" — considerable (and accurate) praise, considering that he is 86. As a representative sample of his wisdom, the singer's first move was to invite Messrs. Moody and Davis to remain onstage and keep the blues mood going with "Jimmy's Blues." The classic 12-bar tune is rocking and funny enough as Jimmy Rushing originally sang it with Count Basie, but with additional erotically comic verses by Mr. Hendricks, it's even more of a crowd pleaser.

Back in the 1980s and '90s — and for at least 30 years before that — Mr. Hendricks was omnipresent on the New York jazz scene: If he wasn't headlining or filling in when a scheduled act was ailing (as he did at least once for the late Joe Williams at the Blue Note), Mr. Hendricks was usually sitting in, or sometimes just kibitzing from the sidelines. Then, in September 2001, right around Mr. Hendricks's 80th birthday, he watched as terrorists nearly destroyed Battery Park City and the apartment he keeps there. He was already spending a lot of time at the University of Toledo, but seeing his neighborhood attacked undoubtedly reinforced his decision to concentrate on teaching and leading his 13-voice choir in his native Ohio. We never quite took it for granted that Mr. Hendricks would always be on the scene, but now that he only works occasionally in New York, his appearances here are, more than ever, cause for celebration.

On Tuesday, Mr. Hendricks's Brazilian number ("Chega de Saudade") and his bop number (Thelonious Monk's "Evidence") both pivoted around instrumental impressions. On the first, he transformed a drumstick into a flute (following Mr. Moody's example of using that horn for Jobim) with a whistling solo; on the second, he played both a pantomime tenor sax (at one point adjusting his imaginary ligature in between bleats and blasts) and bass. Mr. Hendricks remains one of the few scat singers to whom I can listen and enjoy for durations of a whole chorus or longer; he's no Paul Robeson (or Billy Eckstine) vocally, but he has a strong harmonic sense and even more imagination. Mr. Hendricks then introduced his next song as a request from … himself. This was his favorite ballad of recent years, "The September of My Years" (written by Cahn & Van Heusen for Frank Sinatra on the album of that same title), on which the extroverted bopper suddenly became intimate, personal, and vulnerable. Again, he never had Sinatra's chops, but, like the Chairman, he transformed the song into a microcosm of his decades of experience. In addition to teaching and conducting in Toledo, Mr. Hendricks is also said to be working on his autobiography; I doubt that it could be more revealing than his performance of this song.

Mr. Moody then reclaimed the stage and played a chaser of "St. Thomas." The closest thing to a disappointment during the set was that the two principals did not get together for a spectacular finale: I was waiting for "Everybody's Boppin'" or "Moody's Mood." But then, though the set seemed like it had just started, it was actually midnight; the two stars had been going for a full 90 minutes, and considering that they brought nearly 170 years of experience to the stage, that ain't too bad.