From the Desk Of: Eugene Marlow
“Swinger” Stride Pianist Judy Carmichael’s Memoir

Swingers: A Jazz Girl's Adventures from Hollywood to Harlem by Judy CarmichaelMarlowsphere Blog (#142)

When you get to the end of stride pianist Judy Carmichael’s memoir Swinger—A Jazz Girl’s Adventures from Hollywood to Harlem (C&D Productions, Sag Harbor, NY 2017) you’re sorry the set (of chapters) has concluded. You want to know more about this sui generis performer whose multi-decade career has taken her around the world (to China, for example).

Judy Carmichael is a stride pianist. For the uninitiated, stride piano is a style of jazz piano playing in which the right hand plays the melody while the left hand plays a single bass note or octave on the strong beat and a chord on the weak beat. The style was developed in Harlem during the 1920s, partly from ragtime piano playing. Among the several dozen great well-known stride pianists are James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Art Tatum, Willie “The Lion” Smith. Dick Hyman, Dick Wellstood, Thelonius Monk, Jaki Byard, Marcus Roberts, and Herbie Hancock. Most of the dozens of well-known stride pianists are no longer living, a reason, perhaps, why the style has mostly fallen out of favor among jazz pianists.

Judy Carmichael in China Courtesy of the U.S. State Department 1992Among this group of stride piano virtuosos, however, there are three women, perhaps I should say only three women—Dorothy Donegan (no longer living), Stephanie Trick (very much living), and Judy Carmichael!

Carmichael’s pianistic chops are formidable. I’ve heard her perform (at Tanglewood). Her former saxophonist, Michael Hashim (who also performs in my own quintet), once remarked “Her left hand is so strong she doesn’t need a bass player!” How true. Her group consists of her, a guitarist, and a saxophonist. (As an aside, jazz piano virtuoso Oscar Peterson’s playing was so strong that one of his trios consisted of him, a bass player and a guitarist. No drums!).

Swinger provides dozens of insights into the world of being a musician—not just a jazz musician, but a jazz musician who is a woman in primarily a man’s world. Carmichael also provides a perspective on how non-musicians perceive artists who are musicians. On one of her on-the-road gigs a well-to-do audience member asked Judy why she came all this way for this gig, as if to say “This is a long way to come for your art?” Her reply was “I do it for the money because musicians also need money to live!” She makes clear that even though her well-deserved fame brings her well-paying gigs, she still hustles to get gigs. It’s a never-ending process.

Carmichael’s memoir covers a lot of professional ground, from her early development as a jazz pianist, to her multi-year sojourn at Disneyland, then a Jazz Inspired Guests who have been on Judy Carmichael's NPR showUnited States Department of State sponsored tour to China in the early 1990s, to her initiation of “Jazz Inspired” on NPR. And like all memorable autobiographies, her book is full of personal travails, from her difficult relationship with her parents and her brother, to other musicians, to friends and lovers. She also delves unequivocally and unabashedly into her bouts with cancer.

Swinger reads like Judy herself. Full of wit, self-effacement, irony, and verbal virtuosity. Sometimes her narrative is blunt, sometimes subtle, but always direct, compelling, and personal. Her memoir is aptly named. Carmichael—who happens to have been born female—is an artist who has survived several professional and personal challenges, but who has prevailed over time. Her memoir is a testament to focus and tenacity, the kind of characteristics you need to become one of the world’s best stride pianists.

© Eugene Marlow August 7, 2018

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2018 Upcoming Events
2018
January 1 New web site: Eugene Marlow launches new website, MEII Enterprises: A Music & Media Company at www.meiienterprises.com. The company has three categories of product: CDs (jazz/Latin-jazz, classical, world music), DVDs, and live presentations. All products revolve around music in some way.
January 3 Dr. Marlow Talk: “How Knowing What Your Net Worth Is Will Enhance Your Music Career” by Dr. Eugene Marlow at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference, Dallas, TX
January 27 Dr. Eugene Marlow  begins his 60th semester teaching courses in media & culture at Baruch College (City University of New York)
January 30 CD Album Release: “First Voyage” inaugural album from The ArcoIris Sandoval “Sonic Asylum” Trio
February 9 Performance: “Yotam Silberstein Quartet”  performs at the 26th season of the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives Concert Series. Baruch College (City University of New York). Dr. Eugene Marlow is the series’ senior curator & host
March 5 Dr. Marlow joins the Advocacy Committee of the Recording Academy, New York Chapter.
March 14 Performance: Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble performs at Kitano, 66 Park Avenue. (212) 885-7119. Two sets: 8 and 10 p.m.
March 17  Performance: Multi-Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria’s “Multiverse” Big Band performs Gene Marlow’s bembe arrangement of “Maria” as part of the “West Side Story Reimagined” Suite, Hostos Community College Performing Arts Center (Bronx, NYC), 7:30.
March 31 CD Album Release/Digital: “Shira Lissek: Voice Extraordinaire”
April 4 CD Digital Album Release: “The Caverns at Carlsbad: Nine Miniatures for Trombone Quartet.” Composer: Eugene Marlow.
April 13 Performance: “Jane Ira Bloom Quartet” as part of the 26th season of the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives Concert Series, Baruch College (City University of New York). Dr. Marlow has been the series’ senior curator & host since 2000.
April 16  Dr. Marlow launches a weekly, one-hour online radio show “Jazz: America’s Classical Music” on WBMB.
April 22 CD Release (digital single track): Eugene Marlow’s “Strata,” a piece for big band in the Gunther Schuller “Third Stream” tradition. April 22 is the birthdate of virtuoso bassist and composer Charles Mingus who wrote many works in the Third Stream genre.
May 16 Performance (private event): The Heritage Ensemble (duo) performs for the Student Achievement Awards ceremony reception, Baruch College.
May 21 Dr. Marlow begins a third cycle as a mentor in the Immigrant Artist Program sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts.  
June 4-18 Dr. Eugene Marlow participates in the inaugural Mostly Modern Festival 2018 Composition Program, Skidmore College, New York. He was selected “from a large and highly diverse pool of talented composers from around the world” according to Victoria Paterson, Executive Director, and Robert Paterson, Artistic Director. 
June 9  Performance: The renowned Euclid Quartet performs Eugene Marlow’s “La Femme D’un Temps Passe Au Present” as part of the Mostly Modern Festival 2018. Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs). 7:30. 
June 10 CD Album Release/Digital: In celebration of Puerto Rican Day–“The Afro-Caribbean Rhythmic Virtuosity of Bobby Sanabria & Matthew Gonzalez”
June 12 Dr. Marlow Talk: “One Melody, Three Genres,” a talk (with music) on how Marlow used one melody in an original big band piece, a classical solo piano track, and a Latin-jazz rendition. Mostly Modern Festival, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York. 
July 2 Dr. Marlow begins work with high school choreography students as a composer in conjunction with the Young Dancemakers Company program. 
July 4 CD Digital Track Release: Eugene Marlow’s big band chart “Conversation”
July 13 Performance: Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble (trio) performs for the Zicklin School of Business Executive MBA Program Graduation dinner, Pierre Hotel, New York City
July 16 Book release: Dr. Eugene Marlow’s  Jazz in China: From Dance Hall Music to Individual Freedom of Expression (University Press of Mississippi)
July 20 Official CD Release: Bobby Sanabria’s “Multiverse” Big Band “West Side Story Reimagined” Suite (JazzHeads). The album includes Eugene Marlow’s bembe arrangement of “Maria.”
July 24 Performance: Bobby Sanabria’s multi-Grammy nominated “Multiverse” Big Band performs Eugene Marlow’s “Taylored for Billy” in honor of Dr. Billy Taylor’s birthday (the co-founder of JazzMobile) at Co-Op City (in da Bronx, New York City) as part of JazzMobile’s Summer Program.
July 25 Marlow’s commissioned piece for the Young Dancemakers Company–“Breakthrough,” choreography by Hannah Levey–performed @ The Fieldston School, 3901 Fieldston Road, Bronx, NYC. 2 p.m. Free to the public.
July 26  Marlow’s commissioned piece for the Young Dancemakers Company–“Breakthrough,” choreography by Hannah Levey–performed @ The Harlem School of the Arts, 645 Saint Nicholas Avenue, NYC, 2 p.m. Free to the public.
July 26 Marlow’s commissioned piece for the Young Dancemakers Company–“Breakthrough,” choreography by Hannah Levey–performed @ The 92nd Street “Y”  1395 Lexington Avenue, NYC, 7 p.m. Free to the public.
July 29 Marlow’s commissioned piece for the Young Dancemakers Company–“Breakthrough,” choreography by Hannah Levey–performed @ Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Queens, NYC, 2 p.m. Free to the public.
July 31 Marlow’s commissioned piece for the Young Dancemakers Company–“Breakthrough,” choreography by Hannah Levey–performed @ The Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, 1 University Place, Brooklyn, NY.  1 p.m. Free to the public.
August 1 Marlow’s commissioned piece for the Young Dancemakers Company–“Breakthrough,” choreography by Hannah Levey–performed @ Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, Manhattan, NYC, 2 p.m. Free to the public.
August 2 Marlow’s commissioned piece for the Young Dancemakers Company–“Breakthrough,” choreography by Hannah Levey–performed @ University Settlement, 184 Eldridge Street, Manhattan, NYC. 2 p.m. Free to the public.
August 4 Marlow’s commissioned piece for the Young Dancemakers Company–“Breakthrogh,” choreography by Hannah Levey–performed @ The Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 West 55th Street and Ninth Avenue, Manhattan, NYC. 7:30 p.m. Free to the public.
August 10 Performance: Multi-Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria’s “Multiverse” Big Band performs Gene Marlow’s commissioned bembe arrangement of “Maria” as part of the “West Side Story Reimagined” at Jazz @ Lincoln Center Out-Of-Doors concert.
August 27 Dr. Eugene Marlow begins his 61st semester teaching courses in media & culture at Baruch College (City University of New York) 
September 7 Performance: MEII Enterprises recording artist pianist Nada will perform Marlow’s “Berceuse Pour Une Bebe De Mon Amie” (“Lullaby for my friend’s baby”) at the New Albany (Indiana) Public Library as part of the KAMS lunchtime concert series. Nada will also perform works by Chopin, Debussy, and Brahms. New Albany is across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, where Nada resides. “Berceuse” is from Marlow’s “Les Sentiments D’Amour” 2006 album.
September 14 Performance: Multi-Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria’s “Multiverse” Big Band performs Gene Marlow’s bembe arrangement of “Maria” as part of the “West Side Story Reimagined” Suite (Jazzheads 2018), Marcus Garvey Park Alliance/Jazzmobile Summerfest 55 Latin Jazz Festival, Richard Rodgers Amphitheatre, West 124th Street & Fifth Avenue, New York City, 7:00-8:30.
September 19 Radio Interview: Dr. Eugene Marlow appears on Aspen (CO) Public Radio’s “Jazz From Aspen” with long-time host Jeannie Walla to talk about his recently released book Jazz in China: From Dance Hal Music to Individual Freedom of Expression (University Press of Mississippi 2018).
September 20 Dr. Eugene Marlow gives a lecture/demonstration on his book Jazz in China: From Dance Hall Music to Individual Freedom of Expression (August 2018) at the Pitkin County Library, Aspen, Colorado, starting at 6 p.m. His presentation will include clips from the video documentary version of his book (due for release in 2019).
October 1 CD Release: MEII Enterprises releases its first double CD album by pianist Nada: “Capriccios & Intermezzos: Nada & Brahms.” 
November 3 Private Event Performance: Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble returns to the Music School of the Lighthouse Guild for a performance/demo.
November 10 Classical guitarist Tom Torrisi performs Eugene Marlow’s “La Femme Dans Un Lumiere D’Or” in concert as part of the 2nd Saturday Series presented by the Legato Foundation. Savage Classical Guitars, 385 Central Avenue, Bohemia, New York. 7:30.  
December 7 Private Event Performance: The Heritage Ensemble (duo), private event, Department of English “Wassail,” Baruch College (City University of New York).

Please check back often as updates with new dates and more details
will be added to the schedule.

Click here to learn more about Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble

EMHE

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The Heritage Ensemble @ The Kitano New York 3-14-18 8pm &10pm

Jazz at the Kitano, New York

Wednesday, March 14, 2016
Jazz At The Kitano
66 Park Avenue (at E.38th St.)
NY, NY 10016
The Jazz Poems of Grace SchulmanRESERVATIONS: 212-885-7119
TIME:  8:00pm & 10:00pm

TICKETS: $18 cover + $20 minimum
Reservations Advised

Please arrive at least 15 minutes                                         early for all performances.

Audience members will be among the first to hear original compositions from The Heritage Ensemble’s forthcoming album “The Jazz Poems of Grace Schulman” (MEII Enterprises), melodies from the Great American Songbook and several of leader Marlow’s original compositions in their unique sound that melds the melodic & rhythmic commonalities among Jazz, Afro-Caribbean & Brazilian musical cultures.


Jazz At The Kitano

New York City’s most intimate Jazz Lounge offers the best in world class Jazz entertainment. Our ever-changing schedule of acts include the legends of the genre and the next generations stars. Located on the lobby level, The Kitano New York Hotel’s JAZZ at KITANO , features Contemporary American cuisine with Pan Asian influences and a full bar, including rare malt Whiskeys, Classic Cocktails, Fine Wines, Champagne and Sake.

Enjoy a small plate or a full dinner while you enjoy world class jazz performances. See menu.


Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble

Eugene Marlow QuartetEugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble’s music is a fresh sound and experience that audiences can access and be inspired by. This imaginative and tight quartet melds the melodic & rhythmic commonalities among Jazz, Afro-Caribbean & Brazilian musical cultures. This is why the New York City Jazz Record called the ensemble “a cross-cultural collaboration that spins and grooves.”

The Heritage Ensemble is multi-cultural: Drummer and 7X Grammy-nominee Bobby Sanabria is Nuyorican. NEA Performance Grantee saxophonist Michael Hashim is of Lebanese descent. Phi Beta Kappa bassist Frank Wagner hails from an eastern European background. Eugene Marlow’s own heritage is Russian, Polish, German, and British.

See all Heritage Ensemble Albums at cdbaby.

More Live Dates @ http://www.eugenemarlow.com/

 

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Veterans Day and The Draft

Marlowsphere Blog (#141)

Marlow Receives AwardThere are two reasons why I am focused on Veterans Day.

The first is the Vietnam War. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from what is now known as Herbert Lehman College in the Bronx, NY in 1966. Two weeks later I received a draft letter from the United States Army. This led to one of the most important decisions of my young life. Instead of being drafted into the Army, I decided to voluntarily join the United States Air Force in June 1966. It meant four years of my life, rather than two, but I perceived I would have more control over my life in an Air Force uniform than in the Army. I was right as it turned out.

This decision leads to the second reason: The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill—signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt—a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as G.I.s). The bill has been updated several times by the United States Congress and is still providing benefits to ex-servicemen and women.

As a direct result of this bill, FDR, and the Vietnam War I was able to complete an MBA for almost no expense, and then several years later a Ph.D. for almost no expense. That Ph.D., plus extensive experience in print and electronic media helped me land a position as a professor in the then journalism program at Baruch College, CUNY. This position further gave me the opportunity to garner two more degrees: in music composition. I have now completed 30 years of teaching courses in media and culture at Baruch College.

In effect, a man by the name of FDR, together with the GI Bill of 1944—a year after I was born—plus the advent of the Vietnam War and the attendant draft had a direct impact on my personal and professional life over several decades that I could not have imagined when I was in high school or starting an academic pursuit in 1961.

Talk about unintended consequences!

I’d like to point to another unintended consequence that is directly related to the draft. The nation’s first military draft began in 1940, when President Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act. The draft continued through war and peacetime until 1973. More than 10 million men entered The Military Needs to Reflect All Strata of Societymilitary service through the Selective Service System during World War II alone.

One of the consequences of the draft and military service is that it creates a universal and immediate bond among those men and women who serve and have served in the military, regardless of branch of service. Whether in wartime or peace time, whether in combat or behind the lines, so to speak, putting on a uniform immediately creates a universal experience that can be shared with those who have also worn a uniform. This shared experience cannot be easily explained or even described to those who have never worn a uniform. And even though in today’s time the expression “Thank you for your service” is much more in vogue and prevalent than when I returned from active military service in 1970, when I hear it from someone who is too young to understand, it does not have the ring of authenticity in the saying of it.

In my opinion, the end of the active military draft in 1973 has resulted in the unintended consequence of at least two generations of Americans who do not share the universal military experience. And it is the absence of this shared experience that has contributed and does contribute to the economic and social divide in the United States.  As the most recent national election showed the United States of America is not united: it is two countries. One country on the east and west coasts, together with a smattering of states in the north Midwest, and the rest of the country, essentially the middle of the country—those sections of the country that either don’t directly experience the influx of immigrants from all over the world or are perceptually threatened by so-called illegal immigrants taking away job from those who are already here. Campaign rhetoric to the contrary, it’s been a while since this country was a manufacturing dominant country; this is primarily a service-oriented economy requiring higher levels of education and inter-personal and technical skills.

A Maturing ExperienceDuring the draft, young men from many walks of life, from different parts of the country, with varying levels of education, with a spread of ethnic backgrounds came together for basic training, further training, and living, working, and fighting together. It was a melting pot environment and surviving it, dealing with it, and profiting from the experience was an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Further, in the 2001 book The Millionaire Mind by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley, among the many lessons presented there I was struck time and time again by how many of the multimillionaires described in the book had military experience. It came up as part of their backgrounds over and over again.

The Selective Service is actually in force today and men up to the age of 30 are required to register with it, but it is not an active draft. The question is: should it be? There are many reasons for and against. But I think there is a strong argument to be made for this country to institute some kind of national service, whether military or not. I perceive this kind of service would re-kindle the experiential homogeneity brought home by the GIs after WWII, and more recently the regional conflicts in the Middle East. Over 70 countries out of 196 countries in the world have some kind of mandatory military or national service. Perhaps we should take their lead.

© Eugene Marlow November 11, 2017

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Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble CD “A Not so Silent Night” Earns Four Stars from Downbeat Magazine

Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble’s “A Not So Silent Night” album (2016) has earned four stars in the December 2017 issue of Downbeat Magazine. It’s featured in Frank-John Hadley’s “Stellar Stocking Stuffers” article, p. 87.

 

The review is as follows:

 

Downbeat cover & review of Eugene Marlow's Heritage Ensemble's "A Not So Silent Night" December 2017 issue

 

"A Not So Silent Night" Eugene Marlow's Heritage Ensemble

 

“A Not So Silent Night” is the eighth album from The Heritage Ensemble featuring multi-Grammy nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria, saxophonist Michael Hashim, bassist Frank Wagner,  percussionist Matthew Gonzalez, and Leader/pianist Eugene Marlow.

 

“A Not So Silent Night” along with other Heritage Ensemble albums can be found at can be found at www.cdbaby.com/artist/eugenemarlow

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