Jack McDuff Passes - 1/23/2001

Jack McDuff Dies in Minneapolis. He was 74.

McDuff recorded with several well-known labels, including Prestige in 1960. His latest work, yet unreleased, was recorded under his current label, Concord Jazz, said John McCauley, McDuff's Minneapolis-based agent.

Collaborators during his career included guitarists George Benson and Mark Whitfield and horn player Red Holloway.

``Jack McDuff gave me the most important foundation for communicating my music to others,'' Benson stated in a release given to the Associated Press. ``He pointed out the elements that are universally common to us all.''

Born Sept. 17, 1926, in Champaign, Ill., McDuff fronted Heatin' System, a popular band of the mid-1960s that featured Benson, Holloway and drummer Joe Dukes. As late as 2000, he was traveling with a re-creation of Heatin' System that featured horn players Andrew Beals and Jerry Weldon, guitarist John Hart and drummer Rudy Petschauer.

McDuff spent most of his career in Chicago and New York City and also traveled internationally. He met his wife, Kathy McDuff, while playing at the Artists' Quarter in Minneapolis and moved to Minnesota in 1990. He continued to play at Artists' Quarter, now located in St. Paul, as well as the Dakota Bar & Grill in St. Paul.

McDuff was recovering from a series of strokes and died of an apparent heart attack. He is survived by his wife and two stepchildren

Jack McDuff Benefit at Showman's Cafe in NYC - 11/20/00

Last night my brother Mike and I attended this event, unfortunately I was only able to stay for about an hour and a half (you will find out why later)

Once again, my apologies to Rickey Vincent for the format of this review


Ya know, people here on the internet talk a good game about Funk, but what is it really and how can you identify it?
Here it is, less than 12 hrs. since I left there and I can't even give you any kind of set listing except for a few songs

· Breezin
· This Masqurade
· My Favorite Things
· Assorted JAMMING from a bunch of tunes that I know in my head, but I can't name for you right now

All I can tell you was that it was one of the BADDEST SHOWS I HAVE EVER BEEN TO

Here is a list of the perfomers
· George Benson
· Seleno Clarke
· Joey DeFrancesco
· Larry Goldings
· Nathan Lucas
· Melvin Davis
· Tony Malone
· Kyle Koehler
· Joe Friedman
· Rob Bargad
· Radam Schwartz
· Wayne Henderson
· Anthony Nelson
· Vincent Seneri
· Ian McDonald
· Jerry Weldon
· Andrew Beals
· Joe Mahnarelli
· Micheal Ledonne
· David Lee Jones
· Gerald Brazel
· Jonathan Hartman
· Jimmy "Preacher" Robbins
· Karell Ruzika
· Joey Morant
· Tootsie Bean
· Max Schweiger
· Paul Bollenbach
· James Stewart
· Jean DuShon

Obviously Benson dominated the show, playing a few of his hits and, talking about the difference between "Harlem Crowds" and "Downtown Crowds", jamming with the other musicians and talking about how he started his career, at the age of 18, playing in Jack McDuff's band



We got there around 8pm
We opened up the door of the Showmans Club, located on 125th St in the village of Harlem to enter…

The Showmans club is a very simple place
When you walk into the door, the first thing that you see, to your right is a very long bar with a mirror that runs the full length of the bar. To your left there is a wall that also runs the length of the bar
The distance between the mirrored wall on one side and the wall on the other side is about 10-12 feet.
At the far end of the bar is a small stage that is no more than 7X7 squared
This joint seats no more that about 25 people

As we entered, there was a sea of people inside.
I would estimate that there were well over 200 people inside
They were all there for the same reason I was, to pay tribute to one of the GREATEST organ players in history, Jack McDuff!!!!!!!!!!

This was a SERIOUS "old school" Harlem Jazz crowd, mostly people in their mid 50's and up.
There was SERIOUS conversation going on, SERIOUS drinking going on and BLASTING in the background was some SERIOUS FUNK.
That's right, I said FUNK…
This was not cerebral mind expanding type of Jazz that people who write for Downbeat magazine or that "music critics" prefer.
This was the type of FUNK that the older people in the neighborhood that I grew up in would be playing on their record players when they had their "Saturday Night Fish Fry's". Hell this is the type of Jazz that (god forbid) you could even dance to if you wanted to
That's right, these were the REAL FUNKATEERS, people wearing pinky rings and stuff :)

One lady there said to me…
"Are You from Harlem"
I said ….NO, I live in New Jersey
She said: "That's ok baby, you can stay here…"

Every time a new performer came into the door they had to make their way to the back of the place thru the crowd to get to the bandstand I got my face CRUSHED up against the wall on the right side


Mike and I weren't sure of the start time of the event.
We met in midtown Manhattan
As we drove thru the streets of Manhattan, we joked about some of the places we passed that we remembered from when we had grown up, talked about some of the redevelopment going on in Harlem and about the continuing proliferation of poverty, on the RICHEST island in the world.

Once inside, we talked about the way that the people inside were bonded to each other, most seemed to know each other and at times it felt like we had crashed a party of.

The people inside were defiantly ON THE ONE with each other, brought together to salute a great musician who had impacted their lives. Perhaps even more so it was a community celebrating a Harlem music scene that barely exists anymore, that they have to wonder what the future holds.

As we left (we had to after an hour and a half, we couldn't breathe anymore) and walked to where the car was parked, Mike said" I gotta come back here again" and I said "yeah me too, this place is badd, as a matter of fact, they are having Gloria Lynne here tomorrow night.

We both looked at each other and laughed, knowing full well that neither one of us would be able to come back again the very next night.

However, we both agreed that when we went back we would do so together and maybe even bring our father, cuz "this was his kind of joint".

For me, that was the best part of the whole evening…

--Bob Davis

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