Reviews that mention Booker Ervin

March 6, 2012

The New York City Jazz Record Interview

With Pierre Favre
By Ken Waxman

During a career of more than 55 years, Swiss drummer Pierre Favre, who turns 75 in June, has been a constantly innovating musician. One of the first Swiss players to embrace free music in the late ’60s, since that time he’s explored a variety of musical concepts from giving solo percussion concerts to composing notated works and collaborating with folkloric-influenced improvisers. Making a rare New York apperance this month, Favre plays three times in diffemt configurations during the two weeks Intakt Records curates The Stone. MORE

August 12, 2010

Lest We Forget:

Booker Ervin (1931-1970)
By Ken Waxman

Most advanced of the fabled Texas tenors, Denison-born Booker Telleferro Ervin II was able to adapt the state’s distinctive bluesy and gutsy tenor saxophone style to the advanced compositions of bandleaders such as bassist Charles Mingus. Yet as the classic mid-generation jazzman, his playing was deemed too traditional by the avant-gardists and too far-out for the mainstreamers.

A late bloomer, Ervin who played trombone in high school, only took up the tenor saxophone during an Air Force stint in the late1940s. He took to it so well that by the end of that decade he was a professional, working with various R&B aggregations throughout the country. Gigging in Pittsburg, he discovered a like-minded player in pianist Horace Parlan, and the two set off for New York, where by the end of the 1950s both joined Mingus’ Jazz Workshop. Ervin would stay until 1963 working alongside players such as alto saxophonist Eric Dolphy and pianist Jaki Byard. Ervin’s heavy-toned, impassioned playing is featured on such classic Mingus LPs as Blues and Roots, Mingus Ah Um and Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, soloing on tunes like “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting”. MORE