TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT JIMMY SLYDE
by Kay Bourne
It was the 40′s and the 50′s, the big band era, a period when tap dancer JIMMY SLYDE was on the road with Duke Ellington and Count Basie both.
Yet, he was never so busy that he didn’t have the time, when his mom asked for some assistance putting on shows whose proceeds would send city children to camp in the summer. Patti Holtzclaw of Roxbury recalls Slyde choreographing her and her partner Helen Coy.
“We wore clogs, the scene was Holland, and we tapped to “Someday my Prince Will Come,” recalls Holtzclaw who continues to hoof for the 464 Workshop which celebrated its 50th year of charitable performances under the auspices of the Women’s Service Club.
Union United Methodist Church, Slyde’s home church, will celebrate the renowned tap dancer and his mom, Lillian Godbolt, a founder of the 464 Workshop and a past president of the Women’s Service Club. “A TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT JIMMY SLYDE,” produced by T. Brooks Shepard, will see tap dancers from around the country converge on 475 Columbus Avenue church in Boston’s South End, Saturday, JANUARY 26, for a night of jazz music and tapping —and lots of memories. The event is part of an on-going series Jazz At Union. The church has a long history of presenting jazz going back to the first church performance of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert, conducted by the Duke himself, says Shepard.
Among the artists expected to perform are Tina Pratt, Rocky Mendes, and Tezz Yancey – all noted tappers – along with jazz poet Larry Roland, multi-instrumentalist Curtis Rivers, saxophonist Andy McGhee, and pianist Tuffus Zimbabwe, and more to be added. The dancers will be accompanied by the Yoko Miwa Trio.
Shepard says that the tribute acknowledges the debt today’s artists owe to Slyde for “creating a platform we get to perform on. He mentored younger dancers and he reminds the artist starting out that you can go to the top.” Shepard has an extensive background in jazz, including managing Gillespie in the late 80′s and early 90′s at which time he also produced three of Gillespie’s CDs: “New Faces,” “Closer to the Source” (with Stevie Wonder, which had a Grammy nomination), and “Endlessly” (which was the number one jazz album on the Billboard charts).
A BEAT FOR HERBIE KING
by Kay Bourne
A memorial concert for drummer HERBIE KING is slated for Sunday, JANUARY 20, from 3-5 pm, at the Whaling Museum Auditorium. The popular drummer, jazz supporter, and father of three passed away unexpectedly, November 6.
A native of Savannah, Georgia, King attended New England Conservatory of Music and worked in big bands and small ensembles with such diverse performers as Helen Humes, Sheila Jordan, Slide Hampton, Webster Lewis, and Claudio Roditi. He began his career in southern resort hotels backing the Pips, Sam and Dave, and Little Willie John. He is particularly associated with singer Semenya McCord for whom he played many, many appearances in clubs and concerts, and in schools where he and McCord spread the word about the music of African Americans.
Many of his friends who are fellow musicians will perform at the 12 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford event. A goodwill offering will go to benefit students at the Symphony Music Shop in North Dartmouth, a store that also rents instruments and offers music lessons taking into account a person’s ability to pay.
A resident of Massachusetts since the mid 60′s, King taught drums through the Symphony Shop when he wasn’t touring this continent and Europe with popular blues and jazz artists. He was an instructor, as well, through programs sponsored by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the New England Foundation for the Arts, and Young Audiences of Massachusetts, Inc.
King partnered with vocalist/educator Semenya McCord for over twenty years and together they established an annual musical tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “Journey in a Dream.” King co-produced McCord‘s debut CD “Good For Me!” in 1996. He was inducted into the East Coast Jazz “Hall of Fame” in Savannah in 1993.
Among the musicians who will perform at the memorial concert are Armsted Christian vocals, drummer Yoron Israel, dancer DeAma Battle, bassist Lenny Bradford, vocalist Wanetta Jackson, reeds player Rick Britto, bassist Archie Kubota, pianist Yasko Kubota, brass player Bill Lowe, vocalist Semenya McCord, brass player Mike Peipman, pianist Matt Richard,and vocalist Candida Rose.
Also on the program are pianist George W. Russell, Jr., Sean Skeete drums, Stan Strickland reeds, Alvin Terry drums, Bobby Tynes reeds, Frank Wilkins piano, Adrienne Williams percussion, bassist Wesley Wirth, and Dave Zino bass.
RENT FOR LIFE
by Kay Bourne
(photo: JENNIFER COLBY TALTON as Mimi in RENT)
“Your existence on earth isn’t permanent, you’re only renting – so make the most of the moment” is pretty much the message of Jonathan Larson‘s musical “RENT,” whose panorama of young urban dwellers on their own strikes a chord that rings as true today as a generation ago. The only telltale differences is the phones – the ubiquitous cell phone had yet to debut in young people’s lives – and Mark’s video camera which looks almost antique by today’s standards.
Artists and other bohemians squatting in vacated lofts and those who are out-and-out homeless in New York’s alphabet city make up the cast of characters in the musical that shook up Broadway in 1996. AIDS is decimating their numbers; heroin has many of them in its grip. It’s a sorrowful situation, yet a time that’s made wonderful all the same because of friendships and love affairs. The production of “Rent” at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre only this week, ending JANUARY 13 makes the ins and outs in the lives of these modern day bohos wonderfully clear and so more touching than other versions that have come through Boston, over the years.
The performances are excellent all around. Mimi as played by Jennifer Colby Talton was magnetic, and she is well partnered with Heinz Winckler as Roger the guitar player, erstwhile composer (Winckler is a graduate of the American Idol TV show, as is the slightly tentative Anwar Robinson as Tom Collins, in his first stage show). Jed Resnick is smooth as Mark and a little demon of a dancer. Mimi Jimenez in the ensemble knocked out the audience with her vocalizing in the second act opener “Seasons of Love.” Credit for the choreography goes to its originator Marlies Yearby but associate choreographer Yasmine Lee has given it zest which makes this production of “Rent” high octane, as well as emotionally moving.
IT’S BETTER WHEN YOU SHARE
by Kay Bourne
(photo: Emcee and Kit Kats)
The little theater with the big heart, METRO STAGE COMPANY again shares its annual fund raiser with a charity. This year the fringe company, which specializes in musicals, will split the take with AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.
Chris Teague, who produced the company’s recent top flight production of “Cabaret,” says that the concern for others is written into Metro‘s mission statement. “Part of our mission is to raise awareness and funds for local charities while producing quality theater,” he said. The beneficiary varies from year to year; last year’s well attended benefit raised money for Transition House, a domestic violence shelter in Cambridge. While Teague, the founder of Metro Stage Company and an attorney, is a graduate of Connecticut College and Northeastern School of Law, many of the regulars behind the scenes are graduates of Boston Conservatory of Music. The company is deservedly proud that the best of Boston singers perform in their shows.
Kicking up their heels for Metro and AAC will be the chorus line from “Cabaret,” the raucous, bad girls known as the Kit Kat girls, including Monica Stein, Kimberly Suskind, Rydia Q. Vielehr, Kerri Nicole Wilson, and co-dance captains Donald Gregorio and Julie Ann Silverman. Among their numbers are “Don’t Tell Mama” and “Tomorrow Belongs To Me,” the chilling masterpiece by Fred Ebb and John Kander so often sung as a romantic ballad that in actuality is a Nazi claim that they will control Germany.
Also reprising their sensational appearance in “Cabaret” will be Mary O’Donnell and Harry Rothman, who were superb as the ill fated couple Fraulein Schneider and Herr Shultz whose love affair is endangered because he is Jewish and she isn’t. They’ll sing “It Couldn’t Please Me More” and “Married.” O’Donnell will also be singing a number from “Ruthless,” Metro‘s spring production. Metro‘s share of the benefit proceedings goes to staging the hilarious musical about a tiresome 8-year brat with visions of starring on Broadway; “I’ve had a normal childhood, it’s time to move on!” she prates in this spoof on shows such as “Gypsy” and “Mame.”
Special guests for the “Heart And Music” evening include the IRNE nominated Kandra Kachadoorian who is singing the belter “Once Upon A Time” from “Brooklyn.” The event is Saturday, JANUARY 19, at 8pm at the Cambridge Family YMCA Theater in Central Square, Cambridge. Tickets are priced at $32 for reserved seating and $27 for general admission and can be purchased on-line or by calling 617-524-5013.
’07 ROXBURY FILM FEST RECAP AT ICA
(Photo: image from Boston youth-produced film, THE COUNTDOWN)
Been to the new ICA? You shouldn’t miss it, especially on FEBRUARY 7 and 10 when Roxbury Film Festival, there for the first time, will present films from the 9th annual RFF.
Jump in your car or catch the Silver Line and come out and catch the films you missed. You can take a tour of the museum, have lunch in the cafe overlooking the harbor and browse in the gift shop, but most of all you can see some GREAT films. Youth films on February 7th at 11am and 12:30pm – make it a field trip! Best Short, February 10th 3 and 5pm, make it an afternoon! Click on the image or the link below for more information.
By the way, mark you calendars now for this year’s 10th annual Roxbury Film Festival, JULY 29 – AUGUST 3!
Institute of Contemporary Art website
BURNETT RETROSPECTIVE & ALL DAY CLASSICS
by Robin Saunders
(photo from www.TCM.com)
On JANUARY 21, TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES (TCM) PRIME TIME FEATURE presents a must-see retrospective of CHARLES BURNETT films which will quietly or perhaps, loudly scream out and lay bare his true and never-ending passion to producer quality, independent thought (and discussion) provoking films, demanding audiences to see more than just a superficial glimpse, but to actualize the every-day, authentic, three dimensional African-American characters’ as they live in and live through their everyday, true-to-life, situations. TMC will show five hardly seen BURNETT-productions, back-to-back, starting at 8pm until 12:30am, repeating until 5am:
8pm – KILLER OF SHEEP (1977) (repeats 1/22 12:30 am) 9:40pm – THE HORSE (1973) (1/22 2:10am) 10pm – MY BROTHER’s WEDDING (1983) (1/22 2:30am) 11:30pm – WHEN IT RAINS (1995) (1/22 4am) 12am – SEVERAL FRIENDS (1969) (1/22 4:30am)
To read TCM’s description, click here.
Actually, if you have all day, or any time during the day, on January 21, being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, TCM will feature a variety of classic movies, starring classic actors such as Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Rudy Dee, Jackie Robinson, Paul Robeson and others. For the complete day’s line-up, click here.
P.S. AND, If you do (or don’t) get to see Lorraine Hansberry‘s original ‘A RAISIN IN THE SUN’ on TCM at 5:45pm that evening, just before BURNETT’s run of films, here’s a KBAR suggestion to mark your calendars for FEBRUARY 25, 8pm to catch the ABC tv world premiere of the made-for-tv reproduction of (the Tony Award-winning production of) ‘A RAISIN IN THE SUN’, starring original Broadway cast: Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Phylicia Rashad, John Stamos, Sanaa Lathan, Audra McDonald. Click here for more information.
(pictured: ICP (Intensive Community Program) musicians of Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO))
The Sacramento Street Gallery presents “TROPICAL SEASCAPES” paintings by CAMILLE SAUNDERS MUSSER, on display from JANUARY 11 until FEBRUARY 8, at The Sacremento Street Gallery, 20 Sacramento Street, Cambridge, MA.
WORLD MUSIC/CRASH ARTS presents LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO on Friday, JANUARY 18 at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge. For ticket information call 617-876-4275 or click here.
The CAMBRIDGE MULTICULTURAL ARTS CENTER presents ‘A JOYFUL NOISE CONCERT’ honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Back by popular demand, this year’s Gospel concert will feature the internationally acclaimed Harlem Gospel Choir made up of the finest singers and musicians from various Black Churches in Harlem. State Representative Byron Rushing will be the Master of Ceremonies. The program also includes the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School Vocal Ensemble, and a dance performance by OrigiNation NIA Dance Troupe. Ticket are $20, $16 for WGBH Members, $15 for CMAC members, seniors & students, $10 for children 12 and under. For ticket info call the Harvard Box office at 617-496-2222 or click here.
JANUARY 20 The BOSTON YOUTH SYMPHONY (BYS), under the artistic leadership of Music Director Federico Cortese, will perform a semi-staged version of ‘CosÃ¬ fan tutte’, Mozart‘s celebrated opera buffa, with some of the region’s finest professional soloists. The performance, part of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras’ (BYSO) 50th anniversary season is at Sanders Theatre, Harvard University at 3 pm. Performed in Italian with surtitles. Tickets are $25 and 30, with discounts for groups, students and senior citizens. For info, call the Sanders Theatre Box Office at (617) 496-2222. Free parking available at the Broadway Garage on Felton Street. In Mozart’s bittersweet comedy of manners, the love interests of two sisters pretend to go off to war, but actually disguise themselves to try to seduce each other’s lovers. The ensuing story underscores timeless questions of fidelity and love. Many of the arias are considered among Mozart’s finest. This will be the first full opera the BYS has ever performed. For more info, click here. BYS is the most advanced of four different orchestras that comprise the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. This 119-member ensemble is made up of students in grades 7-12 from communities all over New England.
The MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY invite you to Celebrate the Life and Work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, JANUARY 21, 3pm at Walsh Theatre, Suffolk University, 55 Temple Street, Boston, with a family concert featuring the BOSTON YOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA’S INTENSIVE COMMUNITY PROGRAM (ICP) musicians, pictured above. led by Artistic Director, Bonnie Black. Enjoy the musical talents of the ICP orchestra in this annual family event including gospel, spirituals, classical music and readings from the speeches of Dr. King by Ron Bell, Director of Massachusetts Office of Civic Engagement and Klare Shaw, Senior Advisor of The Barr Foundation. Children in the audience have the opportunity to hold and play the instruments in this interactive musical encounter. RSVP at 617-725-0022 x 25. For more info, click here. The event is free of charge. Donations appreciated. ICP is a string training program preparing musicians for membership into BYSO orchestras.
The 2008 AFRICAN AMERICAN THEATRE FESTIVAL, takes place JANUARY 24 – FEBRUARY 9 at the BCA Plaza Theatre. The festival opens with “Zooman and the Sign” by Charles Fuller and directed by Jacqui Parker. Tickets are $38 for adults, $10 off for seniors, children and groups of 10+ Groups of ten or more – $10 off, call (617) 933-8600 or click here for festival information.
SOVEREIGN BANK MUSIC SERIES AT BERKLEE presents GEORGE DUKE on Thursday, JANUARY 31, 8:15pm at Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Tickets are general admission, $30, $22.50 seniors, and are available at Berklee Box Office, 617-266-7455 or Ticketmaster 617-931-2000.
SAVE THE DATE: FEBRUARY 15, for THE COLOR OF FILM & HALEY HOUSE BAKERY & CAFE‘s next “DINNER & A MOVIE” event starting at 6:30pm. More information in the next issue of KBAR.