#WATCHMOVIE HERE: RIP Donald Meade Griot Jazz Historian filmed by Jon Hammond
Topics Jazz Griot, Donald Meade, JEN Atlanta, Historian, Impromptu, Education, Chitlin Circuit
Atlanta GA — Jazz Historian Donald Meade here at the Jazz Education Network conference 2013 telling some wonderful jazz stories, and actually explains how the Chitlin Circuit got it’s name! This was totally impromptu at a table including Jon Hammond, Javon Jackson, Joe Chambers, and Martin W. Mueller from The New School for Contemporary & Jazz Music – listening to Jazz Griot Award Recipient Donald Meade tell these fascinating stories in his engaging style, enjoy folks!
Jazz Griot, Donald Meade, JEN Atlanta, Historian, Impromptu, Education, Chitlin Circuit
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Producer Jon Hammond
Donald Meade Jazz Griot December 8, 1928 – May 22, 2015
Meade, born December 8, 1928 in Joliet Illinois, was raised in Joliet and later in the Watertown area of East Moline during the time when jazz was coming of age. Meade speaks fondly of growing up musically in the time of Duke Ellington. Nat Cole. Pat Patrick. Louis Armstrong. Clark Terry- and many other pioneers and innovators of the day. He has been a lifelong friend and confidant to many of the jazz legends and innovators, and has traveled extensively with jazz giants such as Ed Thigpen. Ray Brown. Oscar Peterson. Milt Jackson. Cedar Walton, the Heath Brothers. Art Farmer, and Ella Fitzgerald to name a few. “At one time jazz was the popular music” he says.
A friend and mentor to many, as well as a great jazz historian, Donald “Papa” Meade passed away on May 22, 2015. Donald’s spirit and dreams live on through those friends, mentees and the recipients of the Donald Meade Griot Award.
— RIP my friend Ron Polte – manager of Quicksilver, Ace of Cups, Wild West Fest – Jon Hammond
(my band opened for Copperhead on one of the very few live gigs they played in 1972 at The Longbranch Saloon)
Tam Junction and Piatti Mill Valley Restaurant – Breakfast with Ron, rest in peace Ron Polte – Jon Hammond : *Note: We had a lot of fun in
the old days at 759 Harrison Street San Francisco when we shared rehearsal space with The Quicksilver Messenger Service at Bruce Hatch’s San
Francisco Radical Laboratories aka SF Rad Lab in years 1968 / 1969 (not to be confused with radiation lab folks! I am still in touch with
QSM guitarist Gary Duncan, sending my condolences Gary! – JH
*Note: This was Ron’s big project some years ago folks:
JON HAMMOND REFLECTIONS ON WILD WEST FESTIVAL – LINK: http://kernelpanichammondcast.blogspot.com/2016/09/wow-folks-i-was-there-jon-hammond.html Wow folks, I was there! This was very nearly the biggest Rock Music Festival that almost happened – it was very close. I went to many meetings with Ron Polte and a lot of very heavy San Francisco Rock bands were down to play the “Wild West Festival” (1969) Posters were already made up, we had meetings in the Zoetrope building now owned by Francis Ford Coppola and The Straight Theatre on Haight Street – Ron Polte was part owner of Straight Theatre in addition to being the manager of Quicksilver Messenger Service, Ace of Cups and for a time Sons of Champlin as well. I highly recommend watching and listening to this very rare footage of the press conference with Big Daddy Tom Donahue speaking about the project – Jon Hammond Band
photo by Jon Hammond – breakfast with Ron
I just saw Ron’s obit by Paul Liberatore in the Marin IJ:
“Quicksilver Quicksilver Messenger Service – Band manager Ron Polte dies in Mill Valley at 84″
” By Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal
Posted: 09/16/16, 5:53 PM PDT | Updated: 6 hrs ago
Ron Polte, who managed the psychedelic rock band Quicksilver Messenger Service and the all-female quintet the Ace of Cups during the glory days of the San Francisco Sound, died Wednesday at his longtime home in Mill Valley. He was 84.
Mr. Polte had been suffering from multiple health problems and had been under Hospice care since May, said his wife of 20 years, Sally Robert.
“He was a good man,” said Quicksilver band member David Freiberg, speaking by phone from Florida while on tour with the Jefferson Starship. “I could always trust him to do what he thought was right.”
Born on the south side of Chicago into a family of nine children, Mr. Polte had a tough childhood, but managed to turn his life around after being in and out of trouble with the law as a teenager, his wife said.
In Chicago, he became friends with blues singer-songwriter Nick Gravenites (“Born in Chicago,” “Buried Alive in the Blues”) when they were teenagers and followed him out to San Francisco in the early 1960s. They were the first of the Chicago blues crowd, including Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop and Mark Naftalin of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, to relocate in the Bay Area, most of them settling in Marin and Sonoma counties.
In 1967, Mr. Polte took over management of Quicksilver and the Ace of Cups after their original manager, Ambrose Hollingworth, was seriously injured in a car crash near Muir Beach.
“When we needed somebody, there he was,” Freiberg said.
Quicksilver was the last of the San Francisco hippie bands to ink a major label deal when they signed with Capitol Records in late 1967.
“He took it slow and steady and wouldn’t take a deal if he didn’t think it was right,” Freiberg recalled. “It took a while, but we got a really good deal with Capitol.”
Mr. Polte was known as a dutiful and resourceful manager who did what he could to meet the needs of the young musicians in his bands. Freiberg remembered that when he and his Quicksilver bandmates were living together in a house in Mill Valley, they informed him of their desire to move onto a farm in the country with a barn where they could rehearse. Mr. Polte wasted no time making that wish come true.
“Within a week and a half, we were living on an old dairy farm in Olema,” Freiberg recalled, chuckling. “He really cared about making sure everybody was taken care of.”
Diane Vitalich of Novato, drummer for the Ace of Cups, recalled that when she and her bandmates needed transportation, Mr. Polte went to an auction of state vehicles at San Quentin and bought cars for all of them.
“He bought us five 1963 Dodge Darts,” she said. “They were all blue and all looked the same.”
During this time, Mr. Polte started Westpole, a booking agency that handled Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, the Sons of Champlin and other seminal Bay Area rock groups.
He’s also credited with inspiring the name of the band Electric Flag, a short-lived supergroup formed by Bloomfield, Gravenites, keyboardist Barry Goldberg, bassist Harvey Brooks and drummer Buddy Miles. According to Gravenites, Quicksilver had somehow come into possession of a light-up electric flag after a gig at a veterans hall.
“He brought it over to where we were all living and rehearsing in Tam Valley,” he recalled. “We plugged it in and it lit up and started waving. We said, ‘Hey, look at that. Let’s call ourselves the Electric Flag.’”
Eventually, Mr. Polte escaped from the hard living and tumult of the music business, spending time on a remote lodge in the New Mexico wilderness owned by Frank Werber, the charismatic manager of the Kingston Trio and owner of the Trident, a legendary Sausalito restaurant.
Through it all, he never lost the values that defined the ‘60s generation in San Francisco.
“All the altruistic thinking that came out of that era he agreed with a thousand percent,” Gravenites said. “He remained a firm defender of all the idealism from those years.”
In addition to his wife, Mr. Polte is survived by two daughters, Pamela Polte of Sutter Creek, Amador County, and Patti Ann Lindecker of Chicago; two sons, Thomas Polte of Chicago and Jeremy Polte of Dunsmuir, Siskiyou County, and two sisters, Marilyn McMinn and Nancy Brunanchon of Pine Grove, Amador County.
A private memorial service is being planned. ”
JON HAMMOND REFLECTIONS ON WILD WEST FESTIVAL – LINK: http://kernelpanichammondcast.blogspot.com/2016/09/wow-folks-i-was-there-jon-hammond.html
Wow folks, I was there! This was very nearly the biggest Rock Music Festival that almost happened – it was very close. I went to many meetings with Ron Polte and a lot of very heavy San Francisco Rock bands were down to play the “Wild West Festival” (1969) Posters were already made up, we had meetings in the Zoetrope building now owned by Francis Ford Coppola and The Straight Theatre on Haight Street – Ron Polte was part owner of Straight Theatre in addition to being the manager of Quicksilver Messenger Service, Ace of Cups and for a time Sons of Champlin as well. I highly recommend watching and listening to this very rare footage of the press conference with Big Daddy Tom Donahue speaking about the project – Jon Hammond *long-time member Local 6 Musicians Union (but not then!)
*LINK: https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/sfbatv/bundles/201631 **From KQED piece:
” KQED News report from 1969 featuring a press conference by
Tom Donahue (1928-75), who discusses the Wild West Rock Festival that was to have taken place in Golden Gate Park but was cancelled due to protests by locals. Donahue believes that even though the concert never happened, this was a positive experience for the San Francisco community. He states that: “We also felt that a great deal of the good things that have come out of the artistic community in this country have originated in San Francisco. That it’s a starting point. Thay may sound chauvanistic but I also think it’s the truth.” Ends with brief comments from another spokesman, who refers to the “unecessary and … unwarranted paranoia” that the Wild West project had to deal with. It is worth noting that Donahue was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as a non-peformer, one of only three disc jockeys to receive that honor to date (2011). Tags: golden gate park, kqn 486, news cameras, rock concerts, ron polte, tom donahue, wild west festival Added to San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive on November 18, 2011. ”
Tom Donahue on the Wild West Festival (1969) (Updated over a year ago)
Drummer, Bandleader, NEA Jazz Master Award Recipient CHICO HAMILTON on HammondCast KYOU Radio, excerpted from interview by Jon Hammond, organist and host of HammondCast Show 7 mornings a week on KYOU. ©2008 *Info: http://www.HammondCast.com Jon’s MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jonhammondshow Visit Chico’s MySpace site: http://www.myspace.com/chicohamilton
Most Important Jazz Photos In Recent History by Jon Hammond and Film:
Topics Chico Hamilton, Drums, NEA, Jazz Master, Jon Hammond, Fred Katz, Sammy Davis Jr., Fred Astaire, HammondCast, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Danny Kaye, KYOU Radio
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9/11/2016 — SFO International Airport is lit up in the Red White and Blue tonight in honor of and tribute to 9/11 folks, god bless the souls of those lost – Jon Hammond
Donald Meade, Jazz Historian, Archive, #JEN #GRIOT #Jazz #HammondOrgan #Atlanta