That Eric Alper! – October 14, 2011

“Retire to what?” – Duke Ellington

Today in 1963, Tenor saxophonist Ben Webster and pianist Joe Zawinul record the album Soulmates, with trumpeter Thad Jones, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Philly Joe Jones, 1963. Webster will always be remembered as one of the most classical jazz musicians of all time, and is one of the most outstanding jazz soloists ever remembered on the tenor sax. Playing with Duke Ellington’s orchestra for the first time in 1935, he left the band in 1943 after an angry altercation, during which he allegedly cut up one of Ellington’s suits.  Here’s Ben Webster & Oscar Peterson – I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good:

Duke Ellington records the Lively jivin’ tune Tootin’ Through the Roof, featuring cornetist Rex Stewart and trumpeter Cootie Williams, 1939:

Something Else! Reviews’ One Track Mind blog hands the reins over to jazz drummer Chico Hamilton. The 90-year old living legend talks about playing with Lester Young in the late 1940s, and takes us inside the initial meeting of the minds that became the legendary Gerry Mulligan-Chet Baker quartet:

Remembering innovative drummer Billy Higgins with a series of interviews and reminisces, and a classic interview with bassist Fred Hopkins:

cymbal manufacturer Sabian aims to bring the player directly into the product creation process, with their inaugural Player’s Choice poll. Sabian artisans have created 12 new cymbal models across the spectrum from rides to hats specifically for the contest; these in turn will be played on video by various powerhouse Sabian endorsers, including fusioneer Dave Weckl and Rush’s Neil Peart:

Sonny Rollins’ letter to Coleman Hawkins: “you have ‘lit the flame’ of aspiration within so many of us and have epitomized the superiority of ‘excellence of endeavor’ and you stand today as a clear living example for us to learn from.” :

Roy Harper remembers his fellow folk pioneer, Bert Jansch, who died earlier this month at aged 67:

The Muppets are covering Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. That’s all you need to know.

Brian Wilson Remakes ‘Bare Necessities’ From ‘The Jungle Book.’ Track is from forthcoming covers album ‘In the Key of Disney.’ You can hear it here:

Did you ever create paintings in the fogged up car windows? Check out Evelyn Evelyn cool video for Have You Seen Evelyn:

Richard Gere has auction off his collection of classic guitars for nearly $1 million. The Pretty Woman actor donated over 100 instruments to the charity sale. Out of the 106 instruments he gave to the auction house, only four failed to sell, with the most successful lot being his 1960 Gibson Les Paul which was snapped up for $98,500, while a 1931 CF Martin model fetched $62,500. The actor, who donated guitars once owned by Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Peter Tosh and blues musician Albert King, claimed that he had never intended to assemble such a lavish collection. “I just bought the ones that I liked, the ones that sounded good and played well,” he said. “Some are very special.”

Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper on Twitter) has worked with thousands of artists over his 20 years in the music industry.  He’s also CTV’s Canada AM’s Music Correspondent, and recently named to  Billboard Magazine’s Best on Twitter and has too much fun doing what he’s doing.