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Musicians to Honor a Piano Man : Retailer David Abell is credited with helping ‘more musicians than you can believe,’ donating instruments to schools and lending instruments free to various functions.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Ahmad Jamal, Terry Trotter, Clare Fischer, Monty Alexander, Mike Lang, Gerry Wiggins and Lou Levy are among the pianists taking part in “A Tribute to David Abell,” a fund-raiser for KLON-FM (88.1) beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday in Murphy Hall, Loyola Marymount University, 7101 80th St., Westchester. Singers Ruth Price and Bill Henderson are also on the bill.

“In addition to raising money for the station, we’re paying the highest honor we can pay David for being so great. He has helped more musicians than you can believe,” Jimmy Bond, event chairman and former jazz bassist, says of Abell, who for several decades has owned a retail piano business in Los Angeles. “He’s donated instruments to almost every school in town and if a function requires a piano, he’ll often send one free of charge.”

Abell’s Beverly Boulevard store was devastated by fire Sept. 30 and his entire stock of more than 60 pianos was destroyed. (He reopened a week later in a nearby location.) “But the next day, instead of crying about his situation, he was trying to figure out a way to get a piano for another musician,” says Bond. “He’s that way every day. You don’t have to catch him on a good day. He worries about musicians all over the country.”

Bond stresses that the show will not financially benefit Abell, who was slightly underinsured for fire losses.

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The ex-bassist, who played with Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker and George Shearing in the ‘50s, did a lot of studio work in the ‘60s and ‘70s and now is involved in real estate, says musicians jumped at the chance to play for Abell. “Monty Alexander is staying over in town to perform and I called Mike Lang and he said, ‘When and where do you want me?’ ” Bond says most of the players will work solo, though Trotter and Fischer are scheduled to play duets. Tickets, $88. Information: (213) 985-5566, 597-9911.

Hammond Hailed: John Hammond, the remarkably opened-ear producer who had a dynamic effect on jazz and pop music, will be feted in a 13-part National Public Radio special, “The John Hammond Years,” which airs Fridays, 11 a.m.-noon, on KCRW-FM (89.9), beginning today.

Hammond’s work spanned five decades and included several areas: He was instrumental in advancing the careers of scores of artists, from Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Count Basie to Bob Dylan, George Benson and Aretha Franklin; he encouraged Benny Goodman to form the first major-name intergrated small jazz band, which featured Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa; and he was a major force in opening new venues for jazz, including the first jazz concerts at Carnegie Hall in the late ‘30s and the first jazz festival in Newport, R.I., in 1954.

“The help he gave me was fairly typical of his nature,” says Times jazz critic Leonard Feather, who had a lifelong friendship with Hammond until the latter’s death at 76 on July 10, 1986. “When I first came over from England in 1935, he was at the pier to meet me, and that evening took me to the Savoy Ballroom, and then to the Apollo Theatre to meet Bessie Smith. He generally introduced me all around. And later, John was directly responsible for my writing ‘The Encyclopedia of Jazz.’ ”

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“The John Hammond Years,” written and produced by David Tarnow, will include recorded music as well as interviews with Hammond, producer George Wein, trumpeters Buck Clayton and the late Roy Eldridge, and folk singer Leonard Cohen, et al. Information: (213) 450-5183.

Club Crawl: Central Park West, the Brentwood bistro offering good singers such as Ruth Price (she is there tonight and Saturday, with pianist Mike Wofford and bassist Monty Budwig), Cathy Segal-Garcia (next Friday and Saturday) and Fatima Guedes (next Sunday), has expanded its format to offer horn-piano duos on Thursdays. Upcoming pairings include trumpeter Sal Marquez with Tom Garvin, Thursday; reedman Bill Perkins with Frank Strazzeri on Jan. 24, and trumpeter Stacy Rowles with father Jimmy on Jan. 31. Information: (213) 207-9998.

In the Bins: Pianist and singer Joyce Collins’ “Sweet Madness” (Audiophile) features a number of spiffy originals as well as standards--"Sometime Ago"--and modern jazz works--McCoy Tyner’s “Inception,” for one. . . . Quincy Jones’ “Smackwater Jack” (Mobile Fidelity) is a reissue of the 1971 session that found Jones mixing R&B; and pop elements with a lot of sizzling jazz soloing. Milt Jackson, Jim Hall, Bill Cosby and Freddie Hubbard are featured. . . . Dexter Gordon’s “Nights at the Keystone” (Blue Note) is a three-CD reissue of 1978-79 live performances at San Francisco’s now-defunct Keystone Korner by the late tenor savant and his quartet, spotlighting pianist George Cables--heard in Los Angeles last week with Frank Morgan’s quartet. Close to 20-minute versions of “You’ve Changed,” “As Time Goes By” and “The Panther” highlight the release. . . . “Rahsaan: The Complete Mercury Recordings of Roland Kirk” (Mercury), a 10-CD set, documents the multi-reed maestro’s 1962-65 period, when he first received wide acclaim for his considerable talents. A rousing blues-based artist, Kirk could also play three horns simultaneously, offering individual melodies on each.


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