Much to my concern scheduling problems began to occur at Pine Manor. We were, however, able to secure March date for a reprieve of “Women in jazz know the score….” However, we had to settle for a Friday night. The college told me that they could get more revenue from other renters on a Saturday night. So as far as March dates were concerned it was Friday night or nothing.
In April Herb Pomeroy returned with a reprieve of “Reminiscin in Tempo!”, his tribute to Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. He was joined by Jon Wheatley on guitar, bassist John Rapaucci and drummer Artie Cabral.
May introduced the husband and wife team of Lynne Jackson and Mike Palter. Their program was entitled “Happy Birthday Irving Berlin.” Berlin, born May 1888 would have celebrated his 112th birthday the week following the concert. Lynne and Mike were known for their interpretations of the American songbook. According to musician and composer Dave Frishberg, “I can’t exactly describe what Lynne and Mike do, but whatever it is they do it better than anyone else on earth!” Doubly talented they both sang and played- Lynne on piano and Mike on bass. They were joined by Jim Repa on reeds and flute.
The next newcomer to the Highland Jazz series was Ron Gill. Ron had been part of the Boston jazz scene for over twenty years, performing in concerts, on radio, television, jazz festivals and variety shows. At the time of his appearance he was the host of the Jazz Gallery on WGBH-FM, Monday mornings from 1 to 5 a.m.
Ron chose a provocative theme for the concert. “Tribute to the 90’s” featured the music of five jazz greats: Miles Davis, Billy Eckstine, Antonia Carlos Jobim, Carmen McRae and Dizzy Gillespie. All of these giants had passed away in the 90s. Ron was accompanied by the Frank Wilkins Quartet with Frank on piano, Bobby Tynes on sax, Skip Smith on bass, Antonio Dangerfield on trumpet and Eric Preusser on drums.
The fall series began with a reprieve of Dave Whitney’s successful 1994 concert “Satchmo’s got it!” – a tribute to Louis Armstrong. The band featured Dave on trumpet and vocals, John Wheatley on guitar, Peter Kontrimas on bass and Chuck Laire on drums. Try your luck at the jazz quiz from that concert. The answers can be found at the end of the post.
Leonard Hochman, another Highland Jazz newcomer, performed at the October concert. “Manhattan Morning,” was a salute to Lester Young and Billie Holliday. Lennie was a veteran reedman who played both tenor sax and bass clarinet. His career included performances in leading clubs, theaters and on radio and television throughout the U.S., Europe, Mexico and Canada. His first CD “Until Tomorrow” was widely acclaimed and a received a Boston Music Award nomination. According to jazz critic Bob Blumenthal “On bass clarinet Lennie already has his own niche…he is a true original.” Rounding out the band was vocalist Sally Worthen, Irv Galis on piano, guitarist Tony Wolff, bassist Dave Zox and drummer Harvey Brower.
Lennie’s story is an interesting one. Born in Philadelphia he grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He started playing tenor when he was 11 and freelanced from the time he was 15 until he turned 24. Among the musicians who he performed with were Kai Winding, Al Haiag, Phil Woods, Kenny Clarke, Brew Moore, Charlie Barnet and Herbie Mann. In 1957 Lennie moved to Boston and spent six years as a studio musician. He recorded with Phil Wilson in the early 1960’s but was still little-known when he stopped playing in 1963. Hochman then worked at a band instrument rental company and eventually bought the business. After selling the company, he began to play again in the early 1990’s. He was finally discovered at the age of 61 when he recorded Until Tomorrow. With him on the debut recording are guitarist Mitch Seidman, Harvie Swartz and Alan Dawson. He made a follow-up set, Manhattan Morning in 1995 with a quintet that included Swartz and Kenny Barron.
Where are they now?
Lynne Jackson and Mike Palter continue to delight audiences with their interpretations of the American songbook. Their web site offers up-to-date information about their newest CD and other activities. http://www.aahome.com/rainbow/index.html
According to Ron Gill’s official web site (http://www.rongill-sings.com/www.Rongill-sings.com/HOME.html) he has retired to Charlotte, NC. Boston’s loss. In addition to information about his career and recordings, the site includes photographs from a March 2005 Highland Jazz concert. (http://www.rongill-sings.com/www.Rongill-sings.com/Highland_Jazz_Pictures,_cont..html)
Leonard Hochman has died, but fortunately his music is still available. Here’s a recording of “The Dragon” with Lennie playing bass clarinet. The tune is from his first CD Until Tomorrow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GJgIbCh4io
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GJgIbCh4io&feature=youtu.be Faces of Jazz, Ruth Williams Photographs, Boston Publishing Company, Newton, MA c. 2001