Rutgers University Libraries
Jazz Research Roundtable
The Institute of Jazz Studies
Department of Visual and Performing Arts
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Rutgers - Newark
22nd year of IJS Roundtable sessions - 1995-2016
Ted Greene’s legacy is immense, yet he remains largely anonymous to the jazz community. In addition to being an important guitarist, he was an educator, author, and self-made historian, scholar and theorist. Chord Chemistry, Greene’s 1971 book on guitar voicings and harmony is perhaps his best-known work, written when Greene was only in his mid-20’s.
Incredibly, Greene had only one recording as a leader, 1977’s Solo Guitar. Because of that, the key to understanding his music is to study informal recordings of student lessons, workshops and gigs, which show a mastery of voice leading, use of neo-Baroque counterpoint, an ethereal sound and a deep feel
This presentation will offer information about Greene’s life and music, important features present in his work, his complex personality, and what things may have led to his anonymity.
Terrence McManus is a guitarist, composer and sound artist described as “a guitarist drawn to abstract texture” by the New York Times. He has performed with many of the most important figures in contemporary music including John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Don Byron and Gerry Hemingway. Terrence’s 2015 thesis on Ted Greene, Ted Greene: Sound, Time, and Unlimited Possibility, is the most complete analysis of his work that exists.
A singular voice on both tenor and soprano saxophones, Eli “Lucky” Thompson (1923-2005) spent a significant part of his career performing and recording in Europe. Between 1957 and 1962, most of his recordings were not for labels but rather as part of radio and television broadcasts. Several of these are the subjects of this presentation, namely those involving Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (RTF) in France and Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR – North German Broadcasting) in Germany.
Audio and video examples will be played that demonstrate not only Thompson’s unique skill as an instrumentalist, but also his under-recognized talents as a composer and arranger. Heard as sideman are European stalwarts including saxophonists Hans Koller, Barney Wilen and pianist Martial Solal as well as American expatriates drummer Kenny Clarke and guitarist Jimmy Gourley. In addition, the French videos provide rare performances of Thompson’s wife, Thelma Love, an accomplished but little recorded vocalist.
Originally from Rochester, NY, Noal Cohen is a Montclair, New Jersey-based jazz researcher and discographer whose main interests involve artists he considers worthy of greater recognition. He has published detailed discographies of several musicians that he feels fit this category. He also writes and edits liner notes and has contributed articles to Coda Magazine, Discographical Forum, Names & Numbers and Current Research in Jazz Online. With Michael Fitzgerald, he co-authored Rat Race Blues: The Musical Life of Gigi Gryce, an award-winning biography of the saxophonist and composer.
Jazz's biggest problem is, I think, complacency. Hence a lot of its conservative reaffirmation of certain kinds of 'traditional' values. Yet the music has survived by virtue of its paradoxically revolutionary traditionalism - it's ability to look at its past (and the past, really, of all American music) through the slightly distorting yet transforming lens of sonic variation, out of deeply African and African American sources altered, even as they changed internally, by the pressures of white, Euro-American economic hegemony. The result is a Creolization of certain kind of sonic habits, black to the core yet never shy about their borrowings from both outsiders and insiders.
Hence this talk: We will play a series of recordings illustrating aspect of varying styles of black American music from the years 1900-1950, and discuss the ways in which they both fit into and deviate from conventional ideas of this American sonic heritage.
Jazz Research Roundtable
The trombonist Grachan Moncur III, since his first recordings for Blue Note in 1963, has been synonymous with Newark’s jazz culture. Yet he’s become undervalued and even unknown as a jazz artist. By paying attention to the music he created, we can understand how he was informed by Newark, and how Newark might be informed by him. Moncur’s family was important to Newark’s African American community. His father was a Swing Era bass player, and his parents’ home on High Street was frequently filled with their friends, the elite of Newark’s African American cultural figures. Moncur’s unique sensibilities refocus the beauty of Newark’s culture in contrast to perceptions of its social and political problems.
Sean Singer is a poet and creative writer. His books include Honey & Smoke, Discography, Passport, and Keep Right on Playing Through the Mirror Over the Water. He is the recipient of a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was the first person to receive a Ph.D. in American Studies from Rutgers-Newark.
Since 1995, IJS has hosted its monthly Jazz Research Roundtable meetings, which have become a prestigious forum for scholars, musicians, and students engaged in all facets of jazz research. Noted authors, such as Gary Giddins, Stanley Crouch, and Richard Sudhalter have previewed their works, as have several filmmakers. Musicians who have shared their life stories include trumpeter Joe Wilder, pianist Richard Wyands, guitarists Remo Palmier and Lawrence Lucie, trombonist Grachan Moncur III, and drummer/jazz historian Kenny Washington.
All programs are free and open to the public, and take place
Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the Dana Room, 4th floor, John Cotton
Dana Library, Rutgers University, 185 University Ave., Newark, NJ. For further information, please call (973)353-5595.
Click here for online directions
Note: Financial support for the Roundtable is provided by the Rosalind & Alfred Berger Foundation.
Background photo: Kenny Washington demonstrates drum
technique at a Roundtable session.
Institute of Jazz Studies
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
John Cotton Dana Library
185 University Ave.
Newark NJ USA 07102
Tel: (973) 353-5595
Fax: (973) 353-5944