One of two new releases due next month on San Diego-based Time Is Records is a long-overdue solo debut by veteran Big Band reedman Pete DeLuke, who lives in Point Loma.
DeLuke, 62, moved to San Diego in 1985 from New York City, where he had spent the previous 35 years pursuing a career that ranged from jazz to a variety of studio work. He had always wanted to make his own recording, but his energies were devoted to caring for his wife, who died four years ago after a long illness.
Enter actor Leonard Nimoy's ex-wife, Sandi, a jazz aficionado who lives in Beverly Hills and was impressed with DeLuke's music. She and DeLuke met through a mutual friend, and she first heard him play two years ago, when he got on stage and played a Carlos Santana song with his sons' rock band, Nemesis, at a club in El Cajon.
"I came off the stand, and she said, 'Why aren't you recording?' " DeLuke said. Nimoy assembled a crack backup band for DeLuke including bassist John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton and pianist Stuart Elster. Then she footed the bill for a one-day recording session at Pacifique Studios in Los Angeles, the same place where Natalie Cole recorded part of her Grammy-winning "Unforgettable" album.
DeLuke selected several standards and wrote two originals, including "Lament for Stan," a tribute to his close friend, saxophonist Stan Getz, who died last June just as DeLuke was getting ready to record.
DeLuke plays alto and tenor saxes and clarinet. He also sings a pair of songs: "Little Girl Blue" and an old Cole Porter tune titled "I Love You Samantha" that Bing Crosby crooned to Grace Kelly in the movie 'High Society."
"It's a real nice, easy jazz album," said Otto Gust, president of Time Is.
With the new CD, DeLuke hopes to belatedly launch his solo career with bookings in top jazz clubs here and elsewhere.
For the moment, he is playing clarinet Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the Marine Room in La Jolla, backed by bassist Chris Conner and pianist Marv Drucker.
"I think I sound pretty good," said DeLuke, who played in Big Bands led by Gene Krupa, Jimmy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, and names Goodman, Buddy De Franco and Artie Shaw as early role models.
"I feel we've got to do something to get people back into listening to the straight-ahead type of thing, where they really appreciate a beautiful melody, as opposed to some of this fusion stuff that is getting away from the mainstream. It lacks a good melody. I have made a commitment to play beautiful music."
Along with DeLuke's release, Time Is is putting out another debut CD, this one by San Diego jazz singer Marchand. Both recordings should be in music stores by the middle of next month, and the label hopes to get them played nationally on jazz stations.
Michelob Street Scene producer Rob Hagey has been tapped by the city of Carlsbad to produce its summer jazz series. Hagey takes over from San Diego trombonist and Big Band leader Ira Liss, who coordinated Carlsbad's summer jazz the past two years.
"We were very pleased with Ira's work," said Colleen Finnegan, Carlsbad's community arts coordinator. "Rob Hagey has a bigger organization and in just about each category could offer us the potential for a little bit more. He has access to augmenting funds through a foundation he set up (the Festival Foundation Inc.) to present performers. And he has the ability to do in-house PR at a professional level to take that off our backs."
The series opens June 5 at Stagecoach Park. During June, July and August, there will be 12 concerts in three city parks: Stagecoach, Calavera Hills and Magee.
Hagey plans to broaden the music a little beyond jazz for at least a couple of the dates, but jazz will remain the focus. Talent will be mostly from San Diego County, but Finnegan said one reason Hagey was hired was that he deals with national acts through his Street Scene ties, and may be able to land one or two of them for Carlsbad for a reasonable fee.
The city has a budget of $10,000 for the series, including $5,000 donated by the Fieldstone Foundation, a subsidiary of the Fieldstone Co., a home builder seeking good will for its projects in Carlsbad.
RIFFS: Rising young pianist Marcus Roberts' scheduled April 10 date at the Horton Grand Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter was canceled after the hotel refused to provide some outrageous perks. A 19-page rider attached to Roberts' contract called for a piano in his room, limo service from the airport, special microphones and gourmet room service--"The kind of thing you get when you play Lincoln Center," according to flutist Holly Hofmann, who books the hotel's music. "I sent it back saying, 'Get real, there are concert halls and there are small clubs.' His manager said, 'Meet us halfway,' and I said, 'No, Marcus Roberts is not Oscar Peterson.' " The more humble but highly talented La Jolla pianist Harry Pickens will take Roberts' place. Roberts will, however, be in San Diego April 13 to team with pianist Ellis Marsalis for a private performance at the downtown Mariott Hotel. . . .
KSDS-FM (88.3) is hosting the only local showing of the movie "Dingo," which features some of the last music composed and played by trumpeter Miles Davis before his death last year. The movie will be shown April 10 at 8 p.m. in UC San Diego's Mandeville Auditorium. Tickets are free, but they are available only through the station's on-air giveaways. . . . Guitarist Juan Carlos Quintero plays City Colors at the Doubletree Hotel downtown this Friday evening from 5:30 to 9. . . . Drummer Jack De Johnette will be interviewed on drummer/deejay Barry Farrar's "Percussive Profiles" program Monday afternoon at 3:30 on KSDS-FM (88.3).
CRITIC'S CHOICE: RIDEOUT, ANTONSEN PUT BAND TOGETHER
Saxman Ray Rideout moved to San Diego from Wisconsin in 1990. Encinitas pianist Ivar Antonsen came to this area in 1985 from Norway, where he had recorded with Art Farmer and other jazz greats. Rideout was looking to put together a working band and liked what he heard when he checked out Antonsen at a local club a month ago. The two decided to join forces and their new group debuts Saturday at 8 at Jazz By The Way in Rancho Bernardo.
"I liked his viewpoint, which is very professional, including having things rehearsed," Rideout said. Rounded out by bassist Rob Thorsen and drummer Brett Sanders, the group has been rehearsing the music of Michel Petrucciani, Oliver Nelson, Cedar Walton and other first-rate composers, along with original tunes by Antonsen. This will be a relatively earthbound excursion for Rideout, who has lately been offering spacier electronic fare at Jazz by the Way, accompanied only by his trusty tape deck.