Aug 9, 2012
Jack DeJohnette, one of the most influential and talented percussionists of the past 100 years, turns 70 years old today. A series of concerts in his native Chicago will take place this fall to honor the newly minted septuagenarian, but today is the day we honor him with a “mixtape” podcast of his recordings.
From his earliest moments as a jazz musician, DeJohnette has been in demand by the most talented, adventurous and demanding players. Within his first few years as a professional he was playing the Richard Abrams and Roscoe Mitchell, to say nothing of John Coltrane. By the time he was 24 he was anchoring the rhythm section of the Charles Lloyd Quartet with a young Keith Jarrett. After stints with Jackie McLean, Abbey Lincoln and Bill Evans, he was tabbed by Miles Davis to replace Tony Williams in Davis’ touring band in 1969.
For the next five years, DeJohnette redefined what it meant to be a jazz drummer on Miles’ projects like Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson and On the Corner. He can be heard laying down thunderous grooves on the two Davis live albums recorded at the Fillmore East and West.
Since then, whether as a leader of his own groups (with many recordings on ECM) or a valued sideman, whether electric or acoustic, he has personified the sound of the greatest jazz drummers. He can play intimately, as he has with trios like the piano trio with Keith Jarrett and Gary Peacock, or the Gateway Trio with John Abercrombie and Dave Holland. He can push boundaries with his New Directions Trio or Special Edition band, the latter of which has included the likes of David Murray, Arthur Blythe, Chico Freeman, John Purcell, and Rufus Reid. Or he can just cut loose playing in electric quartets with Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny and Holland, or in the Trio Beyond, with John Scofield and Larry Goldings. He has dabbled in Latin, World and New Age sounds, winning a Grammy Award for the meditiative Music in the Key of OM.
This tribute to DeJohnette merely scratches the surface of his recorded output, but I hope you enjoy Podcast 291, which includes DeJohnette as leader and sideman on:
Jack DeJohnette – “Welcome Blessing” from Oneness.
Jack DeJohnette – “New Muse” from Sound Travels.
John Scofield – “Fat Lip” from Time On My Hands.
David Fiuczynski – “Meditacion” from Planet MicroJam.
Miles Davis – “The Big Green Serpent” from The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions.
Jack DeJohnette – “Nine Over Reggae” from Parallel Realities.
Jack DeJohnette & Bill Frisell – “Otherworldly Dervishes” from The Elephant Sleeps But Still Remembers.
Ron Carter – “Opus 2” from Pick’Em/SuperStrings.
Keith Jarrett – “Facing East” from Always Let Me Go.
John Patitucci – “King Kong” from Imprints.
Sonny Rollins – “Sonny Side Up” from Reel Life.
There will be a 70th Birthday Concert for Jack at the Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY on August 12th featuring the Terri Lynne Carrington Quartet. Special guests will include Sheil Jordan, Greg Osby, Joe Lovano, Matt Garrison, Tim Ries, Don Byron and many surprise guests.