Bob Danziger - Video, Music, Sound and a book or two

For 2017, The Monterey Jazz Festival has produced several videos that are playing in front of specific artist appearances in the Arena. I produced (with Dan Ouellette) five of the videos. The videos will play on the jumbotron’s flanking the main stage in the Arena.

 

The videos we produced are:

Tribute to Dizzy Gillespie at 100 (performed by Kenny Barron and friends)


Herbie Hancock: Monterey Jazz Legend


Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with special guests Gerald Clayton Trio: Stories of a Groove: Conception, Evolution, Celebration


Celebrating the Thelonious Monk Centennial (John Beasley Presents MONK’estra)


Next Generation Jazz Orchestra Celebrating Paul Contos

 

In addition I also produced three videos that will not be shown in the Arena:

 

Regina Carter: Simply Ella (tribute to Ella Fitzgerald)


Dee Dee Bridgewater: Memphis to Mali to Memphis


Masterpieces of Monterey Art and Photography

 

 


In addition to these videos we also did high-definition scans of all of the Monterey Jazz Festival programs from 1958 to the present, and over 1,000 pictures from the MJF archives.

 

I had help from a lot of people:

 

Dan Ouellette: Co-Producer, Writer, Dan also did numerous interviews that are the foundations of many of the videos. He wrote a detailed bio that is set out below.

 

William Minor: Historian, Advisor, Friend and Inspiration

 

Stuart Brinin: Photographer and advisor

 

Tim Jackson: Advisor and Narrator

 

Colleen Bailey: Asked me to do the project and supported me throughout.

 

Jan Stozer: Frequent guide and invaluable assistance throughout the project.

 

Bill Wagner: Provided extraordinary access to MJF archives and was just always there when needed.

 

Paul Contos: Advisor and provided major assistance with the students doing the narration on the Thelonious Monk video. Incredible musician, educator, and teller of stories.

 

Jim Costello: Provided many previously un-seen photographs and also took the time to teach me a lot about MJF and Monterey history.

 

Dizzy Gillespie for President photos contributed by Robert Skeetz/DownBeat Archives (Courtesy of DownBeat Magazine by Bobby Reed).

 

A crucial resource has been Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original by Robin D.G. Kelley.

 

Photographs and Video contributed by: Library of Congress, Smithsonian Black History Museum, New York Public Libraries, John Clayton, Gerald Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Regina Carter, Paul Contos, Timothy Orr, Bob Monand, Jayson fann, Drew Waters, Brandenburg 300 Project, Google Images, Harvard University, UCLA, Gail Monk, Clint Eastwood, NASA-JPL, Essie Foundation, Wikimedia Commons, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, United Nations, Wikimedia Commons, Felix Diaz-Contreras, Monterey Herald, Crocker Museum, Josh Hardy Gallery; Armin Hansen; Chip Hooper; David Ligare and Gary Smith; Evelyn McCormick;  Alfred Mitchell; Monterey Herald; Kenneth Parker;  Rollo Peters; Joseph Raphael; Granville Redmond; RND Archives; Guy Rose;  Jim Stone; Jules Tavernier; Trotter Gallery; Jack Vartoogian; Weston Gallery; and, Cara Weston.

 

Additional video of Kenny Barron produced by Dan Ouellette with videographer Michael Luppino.

 

Straight, No Chaser footage contributed by Clint Eastwood, and special thank you’s  to Daniel Seeff and Tom Carter of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

 

Additional background information available at:
www.montereyjazzfestival.org

www.facebook.com/MontereyJazzFestival

http://bobdanziger.com

http://brandenburg300.com


Bob Danziger is a regional film maker, musician, composer and writer living and working in the Monterey area. In 2011 California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB) awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts for Music, Invention and Pioneering Sustainable Energy. In 2013 Bob was CSUMB’s Commencement speaker.

 

The Music portion of the Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts was for soundscapes produced in connection with three years of Exhibitions at the National Steinbeck Center on the 500 year history of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Mexican and mixed-race people (and couples) in the Monterey area. By focusing on their stories from the standpoint of music and sound, aspects of their lives are emphasized that generally receive little notice in traditional histories. By including them a more balanced and nuanced view of Monterey County history emerges.


Tens of thousands of previously un-seen images were contributed to these National Steinbeck Center exhibitions by families, historical archives and an extensive range of institutions. Bob produced a book and a movie in addition to the soundscapes from these materials.

The 2012 movie “Steinbeck’s Chinatown” was a final summary documentary of the three-year project, and was the first movie Bob ever produced. Prior to that, all projects he produced or performed were books, sound and/or music.

 

Prior to the Steinbeck’s Chinatown project Bob produced a soundscape for the Monterey Museum of Art exhibition “Painting by Moonlight” that focused on early California masterpieces depicting evening or early morning scenes.

 

Following the Steinbeck projects, Bob spent the next seven years completing the Brandenburg 300 Project, the culminations of a 25 year long project to re-write the Brandenburg as a jazz-classical crossover arrangements of all six Brandenburg Concertos. As part of the project, the works were written to be played by any two instruments playing in any octave, and could be played forwards or backwards. The Brandenburg 300 Project (which anticipates the 300th anniversary of Bach’s completing the Brandenburg Concertos in 1721) then improvisationally re-orchestrated six of the movements.

 

Other members of the Brandenburg 300 Project are Albert Wing who was a soloist with the California All-Star High School Jazz Band that appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1971; and, guitarist Mike Miller, who appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the Fowler Brothers in 1992.   Albert, Mike and Bob improvised hundreds of tracks to accomplish the orchestral arrangements. The Project produced a double CD and also several solo versions of various movements.


Other unique offshoots of the Project include “Magic Steps” that melds John Coltrane’s solo in “Giant Steps” with the aria in Mozart’s “Magic Flute”; and, BirdBach Badinerie that is based on Charlie Parker’s solo in “All the Things You Are” with Bach’s Orchestral Suite “Badinerie.”


Bob produced 15 videos in connection with the Brandenburg 300 Project, most available on YouTube. Four were selected for inclusion in the Monarch Film Festival held in Pacific Grove, and shown there on the big screen.

 

Bob’s interest in the Brandenburg concertos comes in part from his work in the Systems Analysis section of Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 1978 to 1986. Shortly after arriving at JPL, JPL’s Voyager spacecraft did a flyby of Jupiter. As the first leg on its Grand Tour of the Solar System, it is now the first man-made object to leave our solar system and begin a journey that will take hundreds of millions of years to reach neighboring stars and their solar systems. Attached to Voyager is a Golden Record, and the first music on that record is the Brandenburg Concerto.


To put the Voyager mission in perspective, a recent PBS special on Voyager had some insightful quotes: 1) noting that Voyager is designed to travel outside our solar system for millions of years, and that it will be 176 years before the planets will align again in a way that allows us to repeat this journey. Frank Drake, Golden Record Technical Director said that, "[the Voyager] may, in the long run, be the only evidence that we ever existed."

 

In 2014 Bob was commissioned to produce two unique soundscapes for the Oklahoma City Museum of Art to accompany its Exhibition of Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures. Showing in three adjoining gallery spaces, Bob produced the two asynchronous soundscapes so that any portion of one soundscape could be playing harmoniously with any portion of the other soundscape and would repeat only once every 12 years.

 

In 2014 and 2015 Bob produced 27 high-definition videos that accompanied the 40-piece orchestra on the big screen at the Golden State Theatre for the City of Monterey’s 4th of July celebration concert that replaced its traditional outdoor fireworks display (because heavy fog usually made the fireworks invisible).

 

In addition to composing the videos, he also played the cannons and bells on the 1812 Overture. Over 4,000 images were contributed for these productions, many of them first-time showings of ultra-high resolution scans of masterpieces of Monterey art and photography, including: Armin Hansen; Chip Hooper; David Ligare and Gary Smith; Evelyn McCormick;  Alfred Mitchell; Kenneth Parker;  Rollo Peters; Joseph Raphael; Granville Redmond; Guy Rose; Jules Tavernier; and, Cara Weston.

 

Two other unique facts are that in 1987 Bob was awarded the Gold Medal for Best Original Music at the New York Film Festival, while in the midst of his career in alternative energy and environmental technology. He was the only non-professional nominated, and received the only Gold Medal awarded for Original Music that year. (in the other music categories no Gold Medal was awarded). In 1972 Bob was Cecil Taylor’s first electric bass player using techniques developed after breaking his back and learning to play lying down during recuperation.

 

Bob has worked in 20 countries and 40 states during his career in energy and environment, and played his kalimba and keyboards in all of them. In 2008 Bob switched most of his performance recording to the electronic wind Instrument focused on English horn, trombone, piano and cello due to deterioration of his back.  In 2017 he started studying the Kora - a West African Instrument that has many similarities to the kalimba. 

 


Dan Ouellette is a long-time feature contributor to DownBeat (30 years and going)

 

 

Many people know me as a writer/journalist, but I bring more skills to the table. I’m a project manager, a co-producer of audio/video projects (recently finishing up a project for between-show content at the Monterey Jazz Festival), a curator of artist conversations in front of a live audience at major jazz festivals (Monterey for 22 years and for the past 15 years the North Sea Jazz Festival), a senior editor (all the latter-day Schwann magazines and currently a pro bono gig with ZEALnyc.com), a former teacher at The City College, and a guest speaker this fall at NYU, Baruch and Berklee. I have traveled the world covering the music, including Beijing, Cape Town (South Africa), Melbourne (Australia), Mali, Istanbul, many places in Italy.

 

As a long-time feature contributor to DownBeat (30 years and going) with a passion for jazz (and beyond music), I also have extensive experience editing and writing for numerous other music publications and websites (including Billboard, rollingstone.com, San Francisco Chronicle).  I bring extensive project management expertise to the table too, having worked as a managing editor for publications outside the music realm, from Adweek to The New Yorker’s special sections, where I wrote a weekly column. 

 

One of my fortes has been doing live Downbeat Blindfold Tests, annually at Monterey Jazz Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival—but also including sessions at the Umbria Jazz Festival, the Barcelona Jazz Festival, the Detroit Jazz Festival and this fall at Berklee College of Music. (Note : A Blindfold Test is a listening “test” where an artist is “blindfolded” as to what music is playing and is asked to make educated guesses and reflect on the music.)

 

I also know the music industry from the inside out. After completing Ron Carter’s biography, “Finding The Right Notes” (which the legendary bassist hand-picked me to write), I wrote “Bruce Lundvall: Playing by Ear” (also per his request) during Bruce’s final active years at Blue Note Records. During that time, I witnessed the transfer of power to Don Was, who then tasked me with several jobs re: Blue Note. I wrote his professional bio and numerous press releases, scripts for his Blue Note radio show, and liner notes for the digital re-issues of Blue Note classic recordings in its “Spotlight” web page, and several bios of Blue Note legendary artists (including Charles Lloyd, Wayne Shorter).

 

For a deeper look, I used to be a middle school teacher in Berkeley, Calif., then a curriculum consultant in middle school education at UC Berkeley. Before that I grew an acre of corn for two years in a small town south of Hollister for sale at my roadside truck stand.

 

In the midst of all that I wrote The Volkswagen Bug Book—A Cultural History of the Beetle (Angel City Press, 1999) and am presently working on a book about Joni Mitchell’s artistic explorations in jazz between 1974-1980.