Jimmy Winokur

My Favorite Musicians -Page 4

Mostly Mainstream
and some personal background




Website Home/Index
Music Index


My favorite Musicians:
Page 1
Page 2

Page 3




Over many years now, I've had the pleasure of listening to, and coming to love, many jazz musicians  -- many of them mainstream jazz players, and some outside the main stream, or more unconventional  (e.g., Oregon, Gary Burton, and the sort of music produced on the  ECM label ). 

The jazz artists most important to my musical life are interspersed throughout these 1st 3 pages of "My Favorite Musicians."  This page is reserved for most of the mainstream artists I love, and promoters who introduced me to many of them.. 

Though I have always explored jazz and other music through browsing and acquiring a wide array albums of interest, a disproportionate part of my exposure to mainstream jazz has come through live performance at a few jazz festivals and the like -- notably, the Gibson Jazz Concerts (below), the Portland ("PDX) Jazz Festivals, the Newport Beach Jazz Parties, and The Jazz Cruise voyages (including the one-time-only North Sea Jazz Cruise).


Dick Gibson

After the concert series
wound down,
the Gibsons divorced,
and 'Gibson' --
who'd injured his
hip in an early
Rose Bowl game  --
died not long after
the concert series ended.

Gibson Jazz Concerts

The Gibsons have been Denver's premiere Jazz impresarios.  Dick Gibson  assembled the line-ups and Maddie made it all happen logistically (while keeping 'Gibson' in line when possible).  Among the  great performers I saw play were Zoot Sims, Bob Haggart, Ray Brown, Doc Cheatham, Jake Hannah, Paul Smith, Phil Woods, Joe Newman, Sir Roland Hanna, Scott Hamilton, Joe Wilder,  Benny Carter,  Ray Brown , 'Sweets' Edison, 'Lockjaw' Davis, Bill Watrous, Emily Remler, Milt Hinton, Plas Johnson, Ross Tompkins, Warren Vache

Their 15 year Gibson Jazz concert series at Denver's Paramount Theater was the finest concert series I've heard of any kind (including, e.g., series of the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra ).  Most of what I know of jazz I learned in the front row of these concerts, six times a year through the 70s and 80s.  Each concert featured about 10 of the finest, often very senior, mainstream jazz players at each concert, often playing together for the 1st time, jamming in larger and smaller ensembles .  On a grander scale, the Gibsons' Rocky Mountain Jazz Parties ran 'round the clock through Labor Day weekend for many years.


  Maddie Gibson

In buying my current Garfield St. townhouse, I had the privilege of having Maddie as my real estate broker.  What good fortune!  We would talk jazz while the sellers tried to show their houses!  A lovely step up from the norm in the difficult real estate brokerage profession!


Click here for:

Gary Burton
Dave Holland
Manfred Eicher _ECM
Ella Fitzgerald
Billie Holiday


Listening to Live Jazz:

Other Great
   Jazz Celebrations:








Chet Baker

  Along with Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond, Chet Baker was quintessentially West Coast Cool Jazz, from the '50s on.   His rendition with Mulligan of My Funny Valentine is the classic version, and their best known number.                   


The "& Strings" album featured the late Zoot Sims) became a classic of the genre (of note), and was another of those choice morsels that mysteriously ended up in my boyhood home, was ignored by whoever had brought it in,  and was pinched by me. 

In liner notes to the terrible "Jerry Jeff Jazz," Jerry notes that - in an odd coincidence - he first came upon Chet's music in much the same way! 



Anyway, "& Strings"  holds special meaning for me as my 1st exposure to jazz (along with Ahmad Jamal's Poinciana, which since faded as a favorite).

Chet's style was as lyrical as any player in jazz, his tone exquisitely buttery, his trumpet sounding often like a flugelhorn, even when playing trumpet. He is one player whose music is accessible enough to become a wonderful entry point for those wanting to understand jazz better.

  Beginning as a 50s good looking bad boy a la
James Dean, Chet went on to tragic involvement in drugs.


 Drugs ended up costing him his original front teeth and a badly broken jaw, destroyed in a mid-60s drug deal gone bad.  Amazingly Baker fought his way back, redeveloping his embouchure to the point where he later created some of his most beautiful work. It has been speculated whether his 1988 fatal "fall" from a 2nd story Amsterdam hotel window was a drug induced fall, or suic cide; his body was loaded with cocaine and heroin at the time.






Charlie Haden

Beginning in around 2000, Charlie Haden has become perhaps my favorite jazz musician -- clearly the most lyrical, which is amazing considering his pedigree. 

He has played most notably with sax player Ornette Coleman, including on Coleman's  The Shape of Jazz to Come in 1959 -- a foundation nor the 'free jazz' the early avant garde jazz of the 1960s --where the improvisation was not based on chord structure.






Always politically active, he also led The Liberation Music Orchestra with Carla Bley - and was arrested in Portugal for playing his Song for Che.  A magnificent compilation of interviews is here:  Charlie Haden remembered - Terri Gross, Fresh Air-NPR:



IN 2010,










But by the time I was exposed to Charlie haden's music, in the process of seeking performers for my Cafe Communique,  he had formed Quartet West, which has been presenting lush romantic music ever since.  This is the music I came to adore!


In 2010, Keith Jarrett reuinited with Charlie Haden for a simple duet album, Jasmine, which attracted attention throughout the jazz world as one of the top albums of the year.  It is exquisite, and I recommend it to all! Jasmine was followed soon after with Haden's final recording, drawn from the same recording sessions.: The Last Dance




A Jazz Cruise discovery, Israeli wunderkind Anat Cohen has swiftly ascended to the top rank of Jazz Clarinetists. (She also plays Tenor Sax.  One special evening, standing and cheering after Anat's magnificent set, I spied an older woman looking on with extra-special pride.  Instinctively, I called out to her: "Ima!" Hebrew for Mother.  She shouted back, "Ima", and we were soon wrapped up in conversation, which Anat briefly joined.

Here is Anat's Ima.

  Anat Cohen

2016 Jazz Cruise
Clarinet Summit, with Paquito D'Rivera
and Ken Peplowski

Anat and Paquito play beautifully on this video of And the World Weeps

  If you're so enthusiastic, she urged, tell the Cruise organizers to bring Anat's brothers  next time!"  The siblings came along this past year, togetehr as The 3 Cohens: Anat joined by the celebrated Avishai, trumpet, and Yuval, bass.




--The Clayton Hamilton Extended Family--


Jeff Hamilton
















John Clayton


 Jeff Clayton


Tamir Hendelman

Christopher Luty




Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra


Gerald Clayton



John & Jeff



       Horace Silver




Dave Brubeck & Gerry Mulligan


Roy Hargrove




Blue Mitchell

Having come up as part of Horace Silver's great quintet, Blue Mitchell was somewhat of an obscure mainstream jazz player.  But for me, he was the turn of a corner.  I'd stopped listening to jazz -- mostly Chet Baker (also noted in these pages)-- early in college, and remained oblivious to this great musical realm for almost 20 years. 

When I thought of returning to the exploration of jazz, I had the good fortune to attend a Blue Mitchell concert in support of his Stratosonic Nuances album (also featuring tenor sax player, Harold Land, in a real jazz supper club ...on Leetsdale Ave. in Denver/Glendale, of all places.  





  This evening was the first bug in my ear influencing me to idealize the supper club idea, which was the format for my short-lived Cafe Communiqué in 1996-97.

(The Leetsdale Ave. club was closed within months of its opening. 
I can relate!)

From that special
night, I recall the tenderloin, and
too much Jack Daniels.  But mostly I
recall sitting real
close up to
Blue Mitchell, and reveling in the  'funkadelic' music of "
Blues for Thelma"
and the like. 
I was hooked
(on the music,
not the booze.) 





Milt 'Bags' Jackson
and The Modern Jazz Quartet.









         Benny Carter...et al.    








                 Herbie Hancock 


Freddie Hubbard



         Zoot Sims

Zoot Sims & Al Cohn   











Scott Hamilton








Art Blakey








Doc Cheatham


            Nicki Parrott



Thelonious Monk



Benny Green





Kristin Korb
     protégé of Ray Brown


Ray Brown





Harry "Sweets" Edison


Eddie "Lockjaw






Ben Webster
tenor sax balladeer extraordinaire


Ben Webster (w/ hat) and Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Lester Young,






Carl Fontana



       Joe Newman & Joe Wilder
trumpet balladeers



Houston Person



Bob Haggart
(friend of my mom
in her San Miguel de Allende days)

Jake Hanna


Paul Smith



Jay "Hootie" McShann

Sir Roland Hanna


Eubie Blake


Al Grey



"Slide" Hampton



Ross "the Phantom" Tompkins

Plas Johnson


Bill Evans

"Slide" Hampton and Bill Watrous


Nick Brignola