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Accurate Records,
New England's premier 
jazz label since 1987
(Above: Live performance of "Meditations" from April 19, 1964, mislabeled as "by Eric Dolphy")

Jazz Listening Session #5 with Russ Gershon
via Zoom
A Mingus Masterpiece: "Meditations On Integration"

Two separate takes including live discussion with attendees:
Thursday June 3, 7-9 PM EDT Register here
Saturday June 12, 3-5 PM EDT Register here  

Bassist and occasional pianist Charles Mingus was one of the great composers of the 20th Century. Innovative in melody, harmony and rhythm, and overflowing with emotion, his music also expanded the dimensions of form in improvised music. He was a master of blues and standard forms, but brought new kinds of extended hybrid forms to jazz, as well as new levels of intricacy to repeating “song” forms.

JLS#5 will concentrate on one of his many masterpieces, “Meditations On Integration” (1964). The extended work was composed for his sextet of that year, featuring the genius multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy, top level tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, trumpeter Johnny Coles, vastly under appreciated pianist Jaki Byard and Mingus’s other half at the drums, Danny Richmond.

The group debuted the piece at concerts in NYC and at Cornell University, and then took it on the road for a three week tour of Europe. Part way through the tour, Dolphy told Mingus that he would be staying in Europe at the end, and leaving Mingus’s group for the second time (the first was after a period in 1960-61).

Two months following the end of the tour, Dolphy died after receiving inadequate medical treatment for diabetic shock in Berlin.

Our session will take a close look at the elements that go into this complex and beautiful piece, from the structural features to the dazzling range of stylistic references and innovations that the musicians brought to the group. We will look at transcriptions of several performances, many of which were fortunately recorded and even filmed by European producers.

Spotify playlist, which will evolve from now till the session HERE

Documents, including links to many performances on YouTube HERE
"Just Kissed My Baby" to raise funds for the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic
I was invited to contribute a song video to Wolf's Virtual Mardi Gras Ball, an annual event, which premiered on Fat Tuesday, along with an array a fine contributions from musicians all over the country.

Mike Castellana of the great Blue Ribbons and many other bands plays guitars; I played all the other instruments and did the singing; Andy Plaisted mixed the track.

The Virtual Ball may be over, but you can still donate to the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic any time to help them with their great work.

Russ Gershon
The Quarry Dance IX film is now online here

Music by Russ Gershon

For the past eight years, the end of July has found me improvising music to accompany "Quarry Dance" at various locations on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Dusan Tynek choreographs his dancers in a variety of setting around, on and sometimes inside of the beautiful rocks, trees and water found in these settings.

The 2020 challenge for Dusan and his dancers was to transform what have been in the past ensemble works performed in front of sizable in-person audiences into something safe and appropriate for pandemic times. With the help of videographer Anders Johnson, they created intimate takes within grand settings, using smaller groupings and and the power of the closeup.

Instead of improvising on a series of instruments in response to the dancers, setting and audience, I locked myself in my dimly lit studio and created a variety of music, using virtual instruments, that is, samples and synthesizers. You can hear drum ensembles, all kinds of keyboards, woodwinds and percussion, along with sounds of nature. 

As with the live Quarry Dances, the choreography was created first and the music in response. For musicians and others interested in such things, there was no click track or sequencing used except a drum loop on one of the fourteen segments. I'll leave it to you to guess which one...

Hundreds attended the online premiere and Q&A sessions a month ago, but for those who were unable – and those who want to enjoy the work again – as of today the entire 34 minute dance is available for viewing at your pleasure.

As always, I thank Dusan, Alex, Jessie, Liz and Gary, and this year for the first time, Anders, for their extraordinary work. And I give special thanks for the opportunity to Windhover Executive Director Lisa Hahn, who carries on her late mother Ina Hahn's vision of Quarry Dance and Windhover.

And it's FREE

Quarry Dance is produced by the Windhover Performing Arts Center

Quarry Dance composer with pandemic beard (right)

Quarry Dance IX trailer (below)

Accurate Records space available for band rehearsals

The fabulous space that many of you have enjoyed over the years is available as a rehearsal room. Large volume space – over 10,000 cubic feet. Drum set, amps, PA. Room for distancing.

Contact: 617-899-9685