BoMuse News, v 15, n 1

BoMuse News, vol. 14, no. 12 / vol. 15, no. 1

BoMuse News is a monthly newsletter from BoMuse Music. It presents items of interest related to jazz, and advocacy for music education, as well as news of releases from BoMuse Music and the performing activities of Paul Combs. Questions and comments should be sent by visiting  “Contact” at Paul Combs’ Web-site.

Follow @BoMuseMusic on Twitter.

1. Season’s Greetings
2. Jazz at Chit Chat in Limbo
3. 2016 Grammys
4. SoCal Jazz Society
5. Congratulations
6. Passings
7. The Schedule

1. Well I have slipped so far behind that I might as well combine these two issues. First, I hope all of you had good Holidays, whatever you might celebrate. When I upgraded my Website I had thought to make the BoMuse News a blog, posted at the site. Now, might be a good time for me to make that change.

Happy New Year,


2. It looks like the Jazz at Chit Chat series I started a dozen or so years ago at the Chit Chat Lounge in Haverhill Massachusetts may be coming to an end. It was always a struggle. First was the location, not exactly a hot-bed of interest in jazz. Second was the fact that being on Sunday evenings it took place at the same time as at least two other jazz series in the same general Northeastern Mass/Southeastern New Hampshire area. Third, especially in the fall, was competition with sporting contests, especially football.  We have been told that the series is “on hiatus.” Negotiations regarding the series are on-going.

I want to thank all those who supported the series all these years, both audience and musicians, as well as the several excellent bartenders we had over the years, and the original owners of the Chit Chat. While it is possible that the series will resume after the Super Bowl, we will have to wait and see, and hope for the best. While I could go on to rant about the state of live music, and those that my friend Rocky Rockwood calls “clubonahs,” I prefer to keep a positive attitude. Perhaps there will be good news about the Jazz At series in the future.

3. I am afraid I was MIA in this year’s voting for the Grammy nominations. While dealing with the many details around my move to the West Coast, I neglected to change the address on my NARAS profile, and by the time the ballots were forwarded to me there was not enough time to listen to all the nominees and vote. Here, in place of my own reflections, is a brief article from the Los Angeles Times, my new go-to newspaper. As Joe Lovano said to me one year when he won one of the awards, “it’s a crazy scene.”

4. I have been gushing on to my friends about how wonderful it is that I have stepped into a very full and rewarding life here on the Left Coast. I will report on this happy situation over the next few issues, and spare you my gushing. One of the many bright spots is the invitation I received to join the Board of the SoCal Jazz Society, a fairly new organization dedicated to educating public school children about not only the joy of jazz, but its place in American history and society. While we have programs in only a few schools at this time, we are hard at work looking for the funding to expand our programs to as many of the San Diego Unified School District schools as possible.

For those of you in the San Diego area, we will be having a fundraising party 7:00 pm, Thursday, January 28 at Shooters Bar & Grille, in the Sheraton La Jolla, at 3299 Holiday Court, La Jolla. The event will be hosted by John Cain and Katy Cat, as part of their regular Thursday evening performance, and there will be several guest performers as well. It will also be chance to meet SoCal Jazz Society board members and teachers.

We also have an online fundraising effort at FundRazr. Unfortunately this one went out rather quietly at the beginning of December and got lost in the Holiday shuffle. I am as much to blame for this as anyone else. However, one can still contribute, and every dollar counts towards expanding our program to more schools.

In line with these efforts I was presented with an opportunity to work with young musicians in one of the San Diego High schools. Through my long-time friend Claudia Russell of KSDS, our 24/7 jazz radio station, I met Burton Grant who is the band teacher at Lincoln HS. He invited me to come coach his wind students when I can. I gave them a talk on embouchure and breathing, and will return periodically in the New Year. Here are the choir students and their accompanists at the Holiday concert. The band also performed, and I will have more on these young musicians in future issues.LincolnHS121715






5. Congratulations to saxophonist, composer/arranger, and educator Bob Mintzer on being appointed Director of the WDR big Band of Koln (Cologne), Germany. WDR is the West German Radio station, and in Germany the government sponsored radio stations take  culture very seriously. In the words of the Bach Cantatas Web-site “The WDR Big Band Cologne serves as a group of musical ambassadors, promoting culture to audiences around the world by performing jazz and jazz-related music. Grammy awards in 2006 and 2007 and numerous Grammy nominations over the years reflect the band’s international acclaim, which continually evolves and strengthens.”

Congratulations as well to composer and arranger Vince Mendoza. Mr. Mendoza has a long standing relationship with the WDR Big Band, and has been appointed Composer-In-Residence. Here is the press release from PRNewswire.

Congratulations go out to N.C. Heikin on the release of her documentary The Sound of Redemption on saxophonist Frank Morgan. It has been shown in New York and Los Angeles so far, and may be coming your way.

Congratulations also go out to jazz broadcaster Larry Reni Thomas on receiving the Meade Legacy award from the African-American Jazz Caucus. The award will be given at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Louisville. I will be attending and will have more to say in the next issue.

6. In this space I usually try to honor musicians and others of the jazz community at large who have died recently. Being pressed for time I am going to take advantage of the obituaries published by the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt. As I have mentioned in the past, this is a terrific source of jazz news. If I remember correctly, either someone subscribed me, or the Jazzinstitute folks found me, probably as a result of the release of the Dameron book. In any event, I believe you can subscribe by contacting <>. Here are the obituaries from the most recent Jazzinstitut newsletters:

“We learned of the passing of the pianist Norman Kubrin at the age of 73 ( Palm Beach Daily News), the trombonist Howard Jones at the age of 79 ( Clarion-Ledger), the trombonist Rick Davies ( Burlington Free Press), the drummer Rusty Jones at the age of 73 ( Chicago Tribune), the Swedish pianist and organist Kjell Öhman at the age of 72 ( Sveriges Radio – it’s in Swedish, but if you work through it you will see his jazz credits), the trombonist Don Doane at the age of 83 ( Bangor Daily News), the German vibraphonist Manfred Burzlaff at the age of 83 ( Der Tagesspiegel – in German, but you can see who he played with), and the Austrian free-jazz trumpeter Sepp Mitterbauer at the age of 69 ( Die Presse ).”

To these I will add bassoonist Daniel Smith, and pianist Sam Dockery, who passed on Christmas Eve. He was best known for his work with Art Blakey in the 1950s, but remained active in the Philadelphia area into the 1990s and taught at the University of the Arts. Here are a couple of YouTube videos featuring Sam, one from 1999, and one from 1962.

7. The Schedule

While I am still getting settled here, I have no scheduled gigs to list for myself, although some things do come up at the last minute. In a couple of months I will go back East for a visit and I have a couple booked then. Jazz at Wherever is on hiatus, but there is lots of jazz to be heard. If you are in Boston check the listings at Jazz Boston. In San Diego visit the Calendar section at If you are on Twitter follow the very hip Ms. Donna M @ElemantsOfJazz who regularly posts live jazz listings from various locations. And if you don’t already, follow me @BoMuseMusic

* Thu, Jan 28, 7:00 PM SoCal Jazz Society Meet & Greet Fundraiser featuring John Cain and Katy Cat with many guest artists, Shooters Bar & Grille, in the Sheraton La Jolla, at 3299 Holiday Court, La Jolla, CA

As always, thank you for supporting LIVE MUSIC!

Follow @BoMuseMusic

Paul Combs Quintet Plays Tadd Dameron

Ssaturday, February 23, 8:00
Chelmsford Center for the Arts, 1A North Road, Chelmsford, MA 01824 – 978-250-3780

Tadd Dameron was one of the fathers of “Modern Jazz.” Close friend of and frequent collaborator with Dizzy Gillespie, he was known on the 1940s as the “architect of bop.” His influence extended into the 1950s and 1960s as a mentor of musicians such as Miles Davis and Benny Golson, and a primary influence on composer/arrangers such as Horace Silver, Quincy Jones, Frank Foster, and John LaBarbera, among others. Dameron’s biographer, Paul Combs has assembled a quintet dedicated to presenting Tadd’s music, much of it either unjustly neglected or previously unknown. Of course, the quintet will be playing Dameron’s well-known compositions such as “Good Bait,” “Hot House,” and “Lady Bird,” as well.

Saxophonist Paul Combs is Tadd Dameron’s biographer. His book, Dameronia – the Life and Music of Tadd Dameron, has been published by University of Michigan Press. In his research, he has discovered many previously unknown Dameron compositions, almost all of them more than worthy of addition to the jazz “canon.” The veteran saxophonist has performed in the Boston area for the last thirty years, as well as nationally. He has recorded as both a leader and a sideman.His most recent CD is “Paul Combs’ Pocket Big Band – Live At Chit Chat,” Sea Breeze Jazz SB-3073. []

Saxophonist Jim Cameron has performed internationally at jazz clubs, concerts and at festivals around the world, including London, Tokyo, and Vancouver. Jim can be heard on several CDs from such labels as Brownstone, GM and Sea Breeze. He currently divides his time playing in three big bands, Paul Combs’ Pocket Big Band, a sextet and various smaller jazz ensembles in the New England  area. Hi most recent CD is “Disturbing the Air,” Invisible Music IM-2046

Pianist Don Hemwall established himself in the Boston area late 1970s after studying at Berklee and the New England Conservatory. He currently performs with his own trio and quartet, as well as a solo pianist. He is also a charter member of the Pocket Big band and has worked with Paul Combs in several other of his bands. He can be hard on the “Live At Chit Chat” CD, as well as Paul Combs’ “Be Bop Christmas Card'” BoMuse Transcriptions BTCD 1004. []

Bassist Herman Hampton is an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music where he teaches in the Ensemble Department. A graduate of both the University of Massachusetts Amherst and  Berklee College, he performs extensively in the Boston area not only in jazz, but blues and Latin music, as well. He has performed with Yusef Lateef, Jay McShann, and Archie Shepp. He can be heard on several recordings, including  Philippe Le Jeune’s  “NIght Mist Blues,”  Black & Blue 701.2.

Drummer Stanley Swann is one of the Boston area’s busiest. After 20 years playing drums in various bands in the U.S. Air Force, he quickly established himself on the Boston scene with his virtuosity and versatility. He has been a long time associate of Paul Combs, having recorded two CDs with him. Like others in the band Stanley is also involved in education and is the founder and director of the Lowell Jazz Day Camp. This past fall he toured Russia with Trombonist Ron Wilkins.

Jazz Historiography Course Update

Hello–the “sign up” link I posted before was wrong–the correct info is at the bottom of this revised email. Also, I got some requests about auditing (taking the course for fun, no homework or grade). I am waiting for answers on this but it does not appear that auditing will be possible.

Finally–and this is IMPORTANT–if enough people sign up for this course, we will put other courses online soon. After four courses you will get a certificate in jazz history, and after 12 you’ll have a Master’s degree! (You may combine online courses with classroom courses, of course, if you live near Newark.)

So if you are interested in signing up for this first course, it will be a good investment towards a certificate or degree!

All the best,

First Online Course of Jazz Historiography now Open for Registration; Starts week of January 22

PLEASE NOTE: The sign-up info on the last announcement was incorrect.
Correct sign-up info is at the bottom of this one. THANKS

With the invaluable help of my former graduate student and protégé Evan Spring, my course Historiography has been prepared to be offered online starting in January, and anyone anywhere can register for the course starting now! Please FORWARD this announcement to any and all who might be interested.

This is the first course from the Jazz History and Research program to be available online. Our own Mike Fitzgerald took an earlier version of this course many years ago – before the MA program, when I taught it at the New Brunswick campus – and he told me it started him on a lifetime of jazz research.

Evan Spring was an editor of the Annual Review of Jazz Studies for seven years, spearheaded the effort to convert it into the “open access” Journal of Jazz Studies, had a WKCR show for 20 years,
and – significantly – already taught the Research Methods portion of Historiography as a full-semester course in my M.A. program for three years.

I have been teaching this course since 1997, and it is a regularly updated distillation of everything I’ve learned about the practice of being a jazz historian. Each class features extensive text, several of my pre-recorded audio lectures, embedded illustrations and music audio, and relevant links. However, it should be clear that Evan will provide the follow-up, interactive teaching role – guiding class discussion, giving and grading assignments, monitoring each student’s research projects, and so on. This is why he is listed as the Instructor, even though I have designed and provided the course content (with Evan’s ample editorial assistance and suggestions). Because Evan has already taught Research Methods very successfully, he clearly has the expertise and dedication necessary to provide individual guidance for each student. Students will also interact extensively in an online class forum.

My blog postings, which can be heard at <>, will give you a rough idea of the look and feel of the course, but please note that the course content will be far more thorough and sophisticated in its presentation, as befits a graduate-level course. And of course if you want academic credits, there is homework to be done–listening, reading, short writing assignments, etc.

The course is an introduction to the critical-thinking approach and multimedia research methods that I have used with graduate students in the Rutgers M.A. program in Jazz History and Research. This course is not a survey of jazz history, and it assumes you already know something about jazz history. It is about the ways jazz history has been written, and how we can “rewrite” jazz history by doing our own research. I like to say, “It’s not about what happened; it’s about what they say happened.”

Students in this class must have basic musical literacy and should know how to notate music (by hand or on the computer). There have been exceptions, however, and if an exception is made for you, please consult your instructor whenever you’re having trouble with musical terms and techniques.

There are three “mini-courses” within this course:

1. Mindset/point of view (classes 1–2). This introduction to the class explores the nature of knowledge, the practice of historiography, and jazz myths that have proliferated over the last century. The first class uses case studies from the Bible and Shakespeare, and the second class explores the evolving practice of writing history, from Herodotus to postmodernism. Both classes delve into “jazz myths” ranging from the origins of jazz to the critical response to John Coltrane.

2. Conducting your own research (classes 3–5). This mini-course provides the practical tools required for jazz historical research, from online research to genealogy to interview technique to music transcription. All of the assignments in this portion of the course will be directed toward research for your final term paper.

3. Intensive listening (classes 6–7). The course concludes with extensive listening to the music of Louis Armstrong, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Jelly Roll Morton, and other early jazz artists. Students listen on their own time while keeping a listening journal, and transcribing at least 32 bars of music. Classes provide additional context and introduce related recordings.

Porter’s Jazz: A Century of Change (Schirmer, 1997; the Thomson version, 2004, is an exact reprint of the original, so that’s fine too)

There will also be required articles which will be distributed for free.


Essentially you have to fill out a basic (NOT full) application, so you can get a Rutgers I.D. and be on the list of people who can take graduate courses. The only hassle is that you do need to get your undergrad transcript.

ALSO I should mention that they are considering adding more of my grad courses online, in which case this will count towards a four-course Certificate Program in Jazz History, the only such program anywhere!

with your questions!

All the best,

Interviews Re: Dameronia

Three interviews with me regarding Dameronia – the Life and Music of Tadd Dameron have been made available so far, and there are more in the works. Tune in to WCPN, Cleveland at 10:00 PM this coming Monday to hear Joe Mosbrook’s interview with me. Another is available as a podcast. Jeffrey Siegel has posted this at his Straight No Chaser Web-site. Please note: for some reason there is a long pause between Jeffrey’s introduction and the interview itself. Then, on Saturday January 19, at 4:00 PM, tune in to WICN, Worcester, MA, When I will be Bonnie Johnson’s guest on Colors of Jazz.

Next week I will be interviewed by NPR’s Tom Vitale, and there are other interviews scheduled. Stay Tuned.

Dameronia Update

Dameronia is now available the The University of Michigan Press site, Barnes & Noble’s site (and should be available on order at their stores) and If you order from Amazon, think about entering Amazon through a worthy non-profit that has taken advantage of their policy of giving a commission to them. Starting next month, the book will be also available, signed, directly from me. If you cannot come to the JEN Conference, or meet up with me personally, you will be able to contact me directly in regard to this. I am still working out the details, but at the very least you can just e-mail me with your order.

Joe Civardone Memorial

The late trombonist Joe Ciavardone had asked me to help him write his memoir. Sadly, he died before we could do any more than some basic ground work. A biography of this eye-witness to and participant in jazz history in the post WWII era will be posted at this site, along with photographs and other memorabilia. Stay tuned.

Paul Combs in the news

There are three postings on various Websites involving me in the last few months. I finally have them linked here. In January I was interviewed by Professor Rich Falco, of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. A couple of years ago I was interviewed for a project by the Cambridge Historical Society regarding music in Cambridge. This project was finally completed in the spring of this year. Lastly, I was honored to present the prestigious Duke DuBois Humanitarian award to Eric Jackson of WGBH. You can now find links to these at the Articles About page.


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