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Fathers & Sons of the Jazz Scene

Blog
Fathers & Sons of the Jazz Scene

05.12.2017

Text: Cem Kayıran

Inspired by Swiss guitarist Ulf Wakenius and his son Eric Wakenius, who will be performing for the Istanbul audience during Akbank Jazz Festival, we are taking a look at fathers and sons of jazz history.

Ulf & Eric Wakenius

Among this year’s guests of Akbank Jazz Festival, Ulf and Eric Wakenius are one of the recent examples of the “family tradition” that is a common phenomena in all periods of jazz history. John McLaughin’s “he was probably born with a guitar” comment for Swiss guitarist Ulf Wakenius, who has worked with names such as legendary musician Oscar Peterson and Korean singer Youn Sun Nah, is also very true for his son Eric. The duo’s Father & Son named album came out last year from the prestigious ACT label. The album includes various songs written by Ulf Wakenius, who is credited as one of the most creative guitarists of his generation, as well as interpretations of The Beatles, Ennio Morricone, Cat Stevens’s songs and more. Produced by Ulf Wakenius, the duo’s debut album also makes a tribute to the legendary jazz musician Esbjörn Svensson.

Don Aliquo Sr. & Don Aliquo Jr.

Known by his work with names such as Clay Jenkins, Dan Gailey and Billy Price; jazz saxophonist Dan Aliquo Jr. has released an album earlier this year together with his father Don Aliquo Sr., who has been the greatest inspiration for his son’s musical journey. Aliquo Jr states that his father is not only a role model but also a great mentor, and the duo is paying homage to the jazz scene in the city they live in, Pittsburgh, with their Fathers and Sons album. Working with siblings as well as fathers & sons from the jazz scene in Pittsburg such as Johnson, DeFade, Benack, Ashby and DePaolis families in the album, Aliquo Jr. and Sr. are documenting that jazz is a family business.

Dave Brubeck and his children

Credited among the most important jazz pianists, Dave Brubeck was also one of the rare musicians who got the chance to make music with all of his three children. Sharing the stage with his sons frequently, Dave Brubeck recorded his Two Generations of Brubeck album with his three sons (Chris Brubeck at trombone, Darius Brubeck at keyboard and Danny Brubeck at drums) in 1973. Honoring their father’s memory with special performances after his death, the Brubeck brothers are continuing to record albums and go on tours with the orchestra they lead.


Von & Chico Freeman

One of the first families that comes to mind when we are talking jazz and Chicago are the Freemans who have been in many inspiring collaborations, released impressive records and gave unforgettable performances. Von Freeman, who passed away in 2012 at 88 years of age, was a Chicago jazz legend. Starting his music career with his brothers George and Bruz, Von Freeman went on to work with countless names as well as releasing solo records. His son, Chico Freeman, also became one of the respected saxophonists of the jazz world in a short time. The father & son duo released their debut album called Freeman & Freeman in 1989 under India Navigation label. Von also contributed to Chico’s solo album You’ll Know When You Get There that came out same year and accompanied his son on several songs. Von Freeman was honored with the most prestigious award of the jazz scene, NEA Jazz Masters, short time before his death.

Ellis Marsalis and his children

Know as ‘‘the first family of jazz’’, the Marsalis family left their mark on the second half on 20th Century. Started his career with tenor sax and switched to piano later, Ellis Marsalis collaborated with names such as ‘Cannonbal’ Adderley and Al Hirt before becaming a teacher in the 70’s and mentoring many important names. Wynton Marsalis, one of the children of the Marsalis family, stood out as he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers when he was only 19 years of age. The other members of the Marsalis family; Brandon, Delfeayo and Jason also became successful musicians by mastering different instruments. Releasing various records under “The Marsalis Family” name, the Marsalises also contributed to Fathers and Sons compilation that came out from Columbia label in 1982 together with the Freemans.

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