Legendary Multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan Pays Homage to Former Bandmate and Trumpet Great Red Rodney

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015 in News | One Comment

New York, NY – Legendary multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan will make a rare appearance next month (April 22-23) at New York’s Zinc Bar (82 West 3rd Street) to celebrate the life of the late jazz trumpet great Red Rodney.

Sullivan, who turns 84 in May, was a longtime colleague of Red’s since the early 50s and co-led the Red Rodney/Ira Sullivan Quintet during the 80s recording a handful of critically acclaimed records while touring extensively throughout the US and abroad.

Beside Sullivan, the tribute will feature some of New York’s finest musicians including trumpeter John Bailey, pianist Dave Kikoski, bassist Ed Howard and drummer Tony Pinciotti. Showtimes on Wednesday, April 22 are at 8 pm & 10 pm and on Thursday, April 23 at 9 pm and 11 pm. For reservations, please call (212) 477-9462 or visit Zinc Bar.

A brilliant jazz improviser who performed with the swing bands of Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Woody Herman, and Benny Goodman before joining (1949-51) Charlie Parker’s bebop quintet, Red Rodney, distinguished by his flaming red hair, was also the first white bebop trumpeter. His innovative playing style was marked by his brilliant technique and purity of tone.

After a long absence from the stage, Rodney made a triumphant comeback in the early 70s returning to his former glory as a skilled balladeer and later reconnecting with his erstwhile bandmate Ira Sullivan. Their collaboration led to a fruitful and much-heralded association during the 80s releasing five albums and garnering a 1982 Grammy nomination for the album Sprint.

In 1988, Rodney served as a consultant on director Clint Eastwood’s film Bird on the life of Charlie Parker and also performed on its soundtrack. Rodney continued recording and touring into the early 90s with various bands and was inducted into the Down Beat Hall of Fame in 1990.

On May 27, 1994, Red Rodney died of lung cancer. His death marked the end of an era as he was one of the last living links to Charlie Parker and bebop.

One Comment

  • Here are two more historical facts… 1st – Ira and Red toured the world, and not just the U.S. and 2nd – Ira remains a direct link to Parker, Diz and Red as Ira was hired by the Byrd, and played with him in Chicago but sadly, Parker passed away shortly before Ira’s arrival in NY to begin his wonderful new job. That’s a chapter that was left out of the movie but should have been included.

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