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Irvin Mayfield 

'Irvin Mayfield' (1999)

'Live at the Blue Note' (1999)

Jaz Sawyer & Irvin Mayfield's 'Live at the Blue Note' (2000)

'How Passion Falls' (2001)

Los Hombres Calientes' 'Vol. 3: New Congo Square' (2001)

'Half Past Autumn Suite' (2003)

Los Hombres Calientes' 'Vodou Dance, Vol. 4' (2003)

click to enlarge mayfield-0333.jpg

Young and Caliente: Irvin Mayfield has talent to burn.

Bop City

Irvin Mayfield paints his own shades of cool

By Greg Cahill

It's one of the most ambitious, one of the best, and one of the mellowest jazz recordings of the year. The recently released Half Past Autumn Suite by 26-year-old New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, with contributions by Wynton Marsalis and Renaissance man Gordon Parks, is an impressive neo-bop jazz suite written three years ago for an exhibit of Parks' paintings held at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

As jazz critic Stanley Crouch has written, "The Half Past Autumn Suite has a special glow."

The recording is the cross-generational meeting of two great minds. Parks, 91, is an award-winning author, photographer (in 1948, he became the first black photographer for Life magazine), and filmmaker best known for 1971's Shaft. Mayfield is a young jazz lion who has made a name for himself as a soloist, bandleader, and the driving force behind Los Hombres Calientes, the ultratalented New Orleans jazz outfit that has featured veteran jazz drummer Bill Summers and trombonist Jason Marsalis.

Mayfield returns to the North Bay on Saturday, Aug. 23, for a show at the Powerhouse Brewing Co. in Sebastopol. He brings an ace touring band that features Ronald Markham on piano and Hammond B-3 organ, Aaron Fletcher on alto and soprano saxophones, Jason Stewart on bass, and Jaz Sawyer on drums.

Not one to rest on his laurels, the Grammy-nominated Mayfield--executive director and artistic director of the Institute of Jazz Culture at Dillard University in New Orleans, and the university's first artist in residence at the department of humanities and African world studies--in October will premier his new composition for orchestra and chorus, Strange Fruit. The event will be broadcast live on the World Wide Web by WWOZ.

Mayfield's Strange Fruit is a story about love, hatred, death, and hope, and, he adds, "It's about the reality of the American struggle for democracy in a world and time that attempted to deny blacks the right to consider themselves as human beings in everything from love to their legal rights."

Tickets to the Irvin Mayfield Quintet's upcoming Sebastopol show are $15. Call 707.829.9171 for details.

Random Notes

Marin jazz fans are in for a treat when singer Jackie Ryan takes to the Falkirk Cultural Center stage on Friday, Aug. 29, at a show dedicated to the Divine Divas of Jazz. Following a recent date at the legendary Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London, music critic John Fordham of the Guardian (U.K.) hailed Ryan as "a real discovery of a singer--a theatrical, spontaneous, and technically immaculate American with a Betty Carter flavour."

Her third and newest CD, This Heart of Mine, featuring special guests Toots Thielmans on harmonica and Ernie Watts on tenor saxophone, is a sensuous outing that reflects her Mexican, Irish, French, and Spanish ancestry. Ryan will be accompanied at Falkirk by Larry Vuckovich on piano, Harold Jones on drums, and Jeff Chambers on bass. Showtimes are 8pm and 10pm. 1408 Mission Avenue at E Street in downtown San Rafael. For ticket information, call 415.485.3328.

To call David Sydney Scott an eclectic artist is an understatement. Probably most familiar to North Bay audiences as the saxman for Gator Beat, the popular zydeco dance band, Scott makes a strong showing on his new self-produced solo CD Saxophone Pennywhistle. With 19 Sonoma County musicians along for the ride--and what a fun ride!--the 13 tracks run the gamut from Australian and Celtic roots to New Orleans R&B and jazz ballads, with stopovers in the Hawaiian islands and a few other exotic ports of call. Just try to keep your toes from tappin.'

Catch up to Gator Beat on Aug. 30, from noon to 7pm, at the big Cajun Zydeco Festival at Laguna Park in Sebastopol. Tickets are $8 advance, $10 at the gate (children 12 and under are free). Louisiana's own Gino DeLafose and the French Rockin' Boogie and the Zydeco Flames also perform. For details, call 707.823.1991.

[ | Metroactive Central | ]

From the August 14-20, 2003 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

© Metro Publishing Inc.

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