I was struck immediately by the beauty of your tone. I thought of Hubert and Kent Jordan. – Tom Schnabel, KCRW's Rhythm Planet.
This new Gerald Beckett is killin'! – Dr. Brad Stone, The Creative Source, SoulandJazz
Gerald Beckett’s latest release is not only showcasing finely played covers but also features four original compositions that reflect some of his life experiences. An ensemble cast of San Francisco’s finest musicians accompanies Beckett as together they explore hard post bop and other compositions that will get the listeners’ feet tapping.
Down Low– Gerald Beckett
Composing this song brought to mind the many “juke joints” once owned by relatives and family friends. In my youth, these were meeting places for old and young. This is where I got to hear live music played by some very fine local musicians, who inspired me to want to play.
Spirit Song – Kenny Barron
This is another of many great songs written by Kenny B. and recorded by him in 1999 on an album with the same title. With its driving bass line and syncopated melody, it will surely make you want to groove along.
Doom – Ron Carter
Doom was written by Ron C. but when it was first recorded in 1965 with Miles, on his ESP LP, the title was changed to Mood, maybe because Miles added his own melody over the original composition. On Ron’s second album as a leader, Uptown Conversation, in 1969 produced by Herbie Mann, he recorded it as Doom. This jazz waltz has a very simple but haunting melody. The title of my CD is a reflection of the songs two names.
John Neely-Beautiful People – Harold Mabern
This hard swinging song, recorded in 1970 on Mabern’s album Greasy Kid Stuff, in my opinion should be a jazz standard. I didn’t discover it until 1991, one day while driving. It is a song I wanted to record years ago and now I’ve finally gotten the chance.
Club Raven – Gerald Beckett
The Raven, a nightclub from bygone days, in my hometown of Beaumont, TX, was part of the “Chitlin Circuit” in the 50’s. Greats such as, B.B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Muddy Waters, and many others performed there regularly. The now famous blues guitarist Johnny Winter, from Beaumont, used to sit in with B.B. King when he was young. My father, in his early 20’s, worked there part- time at night. Club Raven is a tribute to what must have been a great scene for music.
Waterfalls – Wynton Marsalis
A young Wynton, in January of 1982, performed this song live with Art Blakey at the famed Keystone Korner in San Francisco. Though originally written for trumpet, alto and tenor sax, I recorded with alto flute, C flute, and tenor. This song, written in 12/8, has a Latin feel with interesting harmonies and counter melody lines. The solos go from Latin to a fast double time swing feel. A very well thought-out song making it yet another of the many great ones written by Wynton.
Shacktown – Gerald Beckett
When I attended University of North Texas this was the name of a predominately African American neighborhood. To make a long story short, back in 1923 the city passed the “City Beautiful Movement” initiative which forced black inhabitants to move out of their neighborhood, called Quakertown, to an area near the city’s sewer disposal system so that people wouldn’t have to drive through Quakertown to get to the new and expanding Texas Women’s University. The city desire to turn this area into parks and land for college use, resulted in mass displacement. This song reflects my memory of Shacktown during my time at UNT.
Minor Funk – Cyrus Chestnut
This 14 bar fast swing song, which appears on the great pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s album Soul Food in 2001, gives the band a chance to stretch out at break neck speed. It also features the talented drummer Greg German.
Ode to Ray Wood – Gerald Beckett
Raywood, TX is named after a person named Raymond Wood. For me Raywood, located 35 miles from my home of Beaumont, TX, is a place where we frequently visited most of my mother’s relatives. Located off Hwy 90 at JCT FM 160 on a road about half a mile long as you crossed the railroad tracks, were homes of aunts, uncles, and cousins. After dark, with no street lights, all you could see were stars and all you could hear the deafening sounds of frogs, crickets, and the occasional trains going by. This song is dedicated to that memory.
Dr. Jazz Operations