Monday, November 26, 2012
I've admitted often of having met Mick Jagger in McAnn's Bar on 48th Street back in the 1980s and how I found him a very nice guy, friendly, not pretentious at all. However, anyone who knows me well knows I hate Mick's and the Rolling Stones' music...but then as an American musician from the pre-1964 British Invasion of American music I despise all Brit music...even its classical music. The Brits have no originality; they've stolen their culture from their colonies. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones stole their music, their styles and everything, from the American music that evolved out of ragtime, Dixieland, Swing, boogie-woogie, country & western, country and urban blues, jazz of all venues: Cool, Funk, Be-Bop, etc.
What set me off on this jag against Jagger? A PBS (Public BritishBroadcasting System...our taxpayer-backed public television network on which most shows are from the BBC) special featuring a film made back in 1981 at the famous Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago, when Mick and some of his pals (Ron Wood and Keith Richards) showed up at a Muddy Waters gig and it was filmed by someone in the audience. After Muddy does a few tunes, he calls Mick and his pals up on stage and oh how embarrassing the show becomes from then on. Muddy Waters is cool, this is before he fell into poor health, lookin' good, and singing so fine, but soon this all diminishes into chaos as Mick Jagger and Ron and Keith come on stage...Jagger acting the White fool and singing way off key...though Muddy tolerates these Brit goofballs...Ron and Keith with unlit cigarettes in their mouths as they play passable but boring blues riffs on their guitars (?)...did they show up at this gig with their instruments? And later, Muddy invites his protege Junior Wells up on stage...when Junior first started off on stage as a teenager, Muddy advised him on how to get over his stage fright telling him to take several shots of gin to calm him down...Junior is obviously not too sober and does a semi-OK job on Muddy's classic "Got My Mojo Workin'"---I've seen Junior better---and then Buddy Guy's invited up and he tries to banter around with Ron and Keith with a big smile on his face, trying to keep the White boys in the groove...all the while Mick Jagger overtries to impress a performer he obviously respects...I mean the Rolling Stones took their name from a Muddy Waters classic. I mean, it was OK until Mick and his jack-offs joined the fun and then I got so sick at my stomach, I flipped it the bird and then flipped it off and put on a Muddy Waters video I have from a Canadian TV show called "Blues Masters" where Muddy does one of the damnedest "Got My Mojo Workin's" ever done (in 1966), with James Cotton blowing his harmonica-playin' ass off...and the groove, well Mick Jagger never managed such a groove in his Brit fop over-the-top life...this is the YouTube version of my video...click off the Ties Around the World commercial (don't you hate when YouTube overlays those god-damn commercials on such pure music?)...
Peter Pounder (not his real name)
for The Daddy O'Daily
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
THELONIOUS MONK INSTITUTE OF JAZZ ANNUAL COMPETITION AND GALA, MADE POSSIBLE BY CADILLAC, WILL BE HELD IN WASHINGTON, D.C. SEPTEMBER 22-23
FESTIVITIES WILL HONOR FIRST FEMALE UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
Cast features Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, George Duke, Patti Austin, Nnenna Freelon, James Carter, Ingrid Jensen, Jane Ira Bloom, James Genus, Lee Ritenour, Geri Allen, Vinnie Colaiuta, Ada Rovatti, Claire Daly and special guests Aretha Franklin and Chris BottiRoll, Monk, Roll
I don't get it. What the hell does Monk have to do with that old geezer Madeleine Albright? Was she a Civil Rights worker? NO. Does she play jazz piano? I honestly don't know. And, God, there's Chris Botti on the bill. I'm honest and forthright in stating consistently that I can't stand Chris Botti. Herbie and Wayne are there; that's OK with me, though they were Miles' boys; Jimmy Heath, he doesn't bother me; but George Duke and Patti Austin? And Lee Ritenour? I mean are all of Monk's men dead? I'd rather see Fred Hersh and Joel Forrester (who I can't stand) there; at least they tried to mimick Monk. And Steve Lacy? Where's he. And it's sponsored by Cadillac!! They should. Jazz men bought enough Cadillacs in there golden days that Cadillac should pay them back.
That's an amazing thing, the Monk Institute honoring Madeleine Albright. Blows my friggin' mind. And how commercial can this event be? George Duke and Patti Austin? Lee Ritenour? Even why Aretha? And some of those cats I don't know from Adam. And why is Jane Ira Bloom there? Sorry, folks, I just don't get this one. How 'bout Paul Shaeffer? Why wasn't he invited? Or Sir Paul? Elvis Costello?
I'm busting out my old Monk stuff and listening to several hours of the High Priest doing his unique thing with Charles Rouse, Frankie Dunlop, John Ore, John Coltrane, Little Johnny Griffin. I just this morning listened to one of the great jazz albums of all time, the Bird & Diz album Norman Granz put out on Mercury back in the early 50s with Monk on piano and Buddy Rich on the drums and Curley Russell on bass. Pure jazz.
There are words to "'Round Midnight" so maybe Madeleine's gonna sing it with Aretha playing piano and Chris Botti imitating Miles with his slow draggy self.
Sugar Boy Crawford Passes
I loved the Sugar Boy. First heard him back in the 80s. Loved him so much I put three of his tunes in my repertoire when I was a blues pianist and singer. "Watch Her" (I changed Sugar Boy's lyrics which were pretty brutal but understandable), "Sing Out for Joy," and "I Bowed on My Knees." Sugar Boy gotten beaten up pretty bad years ago and had quit the music biz, but he had come back out and was doing the New Orleans Jazz Festival with his grandson...but, hey, all our times are gonna come.
Give a listen to the Sugar Boy gettin' down: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDPHwuVPeXM
(not his real name)
for The Daddy O'Daily
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Our US PBS loves all things British. They especially love Sir Paul, the old wizened Beatle. Coming up on PBS is Sir Paul singing American standards "he heard as a kid." Oh CRAP, please tell me it isn't true. Sir Paul singing our U.S. standards. Elvis Costello, that drab piece of crap old rocker (yeah, we liked "Psycho"), surely has something to do with this; his wife and her band are going to back old Sir Paul up in this adventure. I've got a video of the late Chet Baker filmed in London shortly before he died and he's blowing trumpet and singing in his unique style and then suddenly in pop Elvis Costello and Van Morrison singing U.S. standards and mucking them up--but poor old Chet was desperate for work so I guess he had to allow this Brit fop and Irish fop to F up his video.
I will not watch Sir Paul sing anything, especially his own crap, and I damn sure won't watch him butcher up US standards that I grew up with--I grew up hearing them sung by Ella, Sarah, Billy Eckstein, Old Blue Eyes, Mel Torme, Bill Henderson, Johnny Hartman, Carmen McRae, Chris Connor, my old pal Johnny Gilbert, etc. Sir Paul's efforts are a mockery of the great songs out of which came some of the greatest singers of all time. But of course Sir Paul and the Fab Four got filthy rich off ripping off U.S. r and b and Black rockers and now we know, U.S. pop songsters.
What's next from Brit-loving PBS, Mick Jagger doing Porgy and Bess?
(not his real name)
for The Daddy O'Daily
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I'm a jerk. I know that. But, dammit, I just can't listen to jazz today, no matter who's playing it. Roy Haynes is still alive and there's the Charles (I can't call him Charlie) Christopher Parker, Jr., Jazz Festival that just flew by here in New York City; started August 17th in venues all over the city ending on the 25th in Tompkins Square Park where it used to only be for two days when it started because Parker used to live in a building across from the park with Chan, but still I did not go. Like who were these people reproducing Parker with Strings? Miguel Atwood-Ferguson? This guy's an L.A. classically trained viola-violinist who dabbles in all kinds of music from hip hop to what he calls avant-garde jazz and claims he's played with --damn, you name them, Miguel's played with them--including Ray Brown and Billy Higgins. My God, I see he's played with Hall and Oates.
Today's jazz stars when I look at eJazz I see are mostly White guys. A lot of Asians are into jazz. Very well-trained White musicians and I'm sure they are very knowledgeable when it comes to their college courses they've taken in jazz history, but what has pissed me off since the 1960s, is that the Beatles put an end to the jazz I knew in depth and loved and these young jazz cats probably think the Beatles were cool or probably don't see them as I see them. The Fab Four put an end to many jazz careers when they came to America to make money in 1964. They came to this country to put Black r and b and blues stars out of commission because Blacks were invading White homes and luring White kids into Black music, including jazz, and White rockers in this country had come out of jazz (via blues). I once had a long discussion about this with Lester Bangs the ultimate rock critic before his death from being hooked on cough syrup in the late 1970s and Lester said growing up in Southern California in the 60s jazz had definitely influenced him and his contemporaries that included Zappa and Captain Beefheart.
Is it jealousy on my part? Maybe. Jazz is dead in New York City...and I know, some cats are going to tell me, hey there's jazz all over the city. But when I moved to NYC in the late 60s, there was a jazz club on every corner with the originators of jazz playing in them...and by originators, I mean Dizzy, Little Jazz, the Hawk, OP, Sam Jones, Newk, Cecil Taylor, Monk, Miles, Raashan Roland Kirk, Mingus, Louis Hayes, Billy Higgins, Chico Hamilton, Lou Donaldson, Zoot Sims, Little Jimmy Rushing, Buddy Rich, the Modern Jazz Quartet, etc. I mean names that had been in my life since I first heard jazz back in the early 1950s. The Bird was still alive when I was a kid learning jazz. Coltrane was making his classic albums. Clifford Brown was still alive and working with Max Roach and still alive and cooking were Booker Erwin, Eric Dolphy, Kenny Dorham, Wynton Kelly, Sun Ra, Ray Charles, Sal Salvador, Art Pepper, Gene Ammons (the Jug), Paul Desmond, Serge Chaloff, Jaki Byard, Horace Silver, Stan Getz, Teddy Kotick, Dannie Richmond, Sonny Stitt, Herbie Nichols, Tadd Dameron, Nat "King" Cole, Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Jimmy McPartland, Fatha Hines, Bud Powell, Paul Barbarian, Bob Brookmeyer, Gerry Mulligan, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges, Phineas Newborn, Lennie Tristano, Tony Scott, Jimmy Guiffre...I could go on for the rest of the blog listing the jazz originators that were still alive and cooking when I was growing up in jazz. Now they are gone and most of them are forgotten.
I'm listening to Errol Garner's famous (in my day) late 1950s recording titled "Concert By the Sea" and it still to this day amazes me. Errol was so original. He reeked of originality. Nobody played the piano like Errol did; nobody has since played it like Errol did. I can't stand imitators. Copy cats, Prez called them. At one time, when I was actively rebellious, I used to harass players like Joel Forrester, a pianist who tried to play like Monk. No, dude, you don't try and play like Monk, you play like yourself--FUCK imitation. Like Bird imitators. Charles McPherson was a Bird imitator, and though I liked Charles as a person, it used to jar my senses to hear Charles struggling to sound like Bird. Art Pepper respected Bird but he took his knowledge of Bird and developed his own sensitivity, his own style.
As I've written before on this blog, Jaki Byard is to me one of the greatest pianists of all jazz time. Jaki taught his students to learn to play in all styles, which Jaki could do, but to use that to form your own style. I am not a piano virtuoso because as a piano student I rebelled against playing Bach and Chopin and doing my Czerny scales in order to first play boogie-woogie and as a young man I became a little boogie boy a la Sugar Chile Robinson. Out of boogie I evolved into a bop pianist and by the time I got to college I had developed my own fingering and set of chordal patterns that to this day distinguishes me from other pianists. One of the greatest compliments I ever got from a dear friend of mine who is a much more all-round pianist than I am in taking a listening test with me and I stuck in one of my own compositions was to immediately identify it as me by saying, "Man, I'll say one thing for you, you got your own bag down pat." Even as a blues pianist in the 1980s, I was popular because I had a flare of my own; I played raw. And that's what I find missing in modern-day jazz students, rawness. Errol Garner had it. Jaki Byard had it all over the place. Bud Powell had it. And certainly Monk had it. One reason I never got deeply into Herbie Hancock was that though he's a brilliant pianist, he was never raw enough for me.
I was listening the other day to the Buck Clayton Jam Sessions put out by Columbia in the early 1950s, 1953-54, and on them is an altoist named Lem Davis. When I first heard these sessions, I bought "Huckle-Buck and Robin's Nest" and "How Hi the Fi" in 1954, I had no idea who Lem Davis was. But on hearing him blowing on the first jammed LP, "The Huckle-Buck and Robin's Nest," I was hooked on Lem. I'm listening now as I write this to the first tune on the second Buck Clayton Jam LP, "How Hi the Fi," a head arrangement called "How Hi the Fi" and I am still intrigued by Lem's playing, from the minute I hear his alto take a release in the opening intro riff. Off that riff that becomes the head melody comes Buck Clayton's first trumpet solo followed by Woody Herman (a raw clarinet player if there ever was one--not slick like Benny Goodman or Artie Shaw but full of off-minor wails)--and Woody's followed by another favorite of mine, Julian Dash, from out of the Erskine Hawkins band--Julian got a little fame in the original r and b instrumental world with his recording of "Zig Zag" in the late forties/early fifties (for those of you who don't know, Zig Zag cigarette papers were the preferred papers for rolling mezzrolls or joints or reefers)--and Julian was followed by a wild old half-Dixie-half-bop trombonist named Henderson Chambers--followed by a Lester-copy-cat Al Cohn (who was with Zoot Sims, Jimmy Guiffre, and Serge Chaloff one of the original Four Brothers in the Woody Herman Herd of the late 40s)--and Al's followed by a trumpet solo from Basie Band trumpeter Joe Newman (he created the Jazz Line in New York City in the 1970s), who's followed by a weird wonderful underplayed piano solo by pianist Jimmy Jones (Sarah Vaughan's accompanist), followed by trombonist Urbie Green, and finally, out of nowhere comes this haunting alto, riding on a riff as delicately as a ballet dancer on point--it's Lem Davis, and his solo expands, widening into a raw tour-de-force that dances into heavy riffing that brings us back to Buck Clayton who leads up to releasing the tune into its final bars--that's Papa Jo Jones punching the whole band into the theme again with Woody wailing out into one his strange out-of-this-world crescendo expressions. And as a young kid, I played and replayed that Lem Davis solo over and over...and fortunately, Buck kept Lem on all three of his Jam Session LPs.
Lem was a mainstay in the Eddie Heywood band during Eddie's heyday in the mid-forties. Lem also worked with Coleman Hawkins briefly. Lem, born in 1914, only lived 56 years, he died in 1970, and except for those Buck Clayton Jam Sessions, has passed on into the obscure jazz world. But Lem was a unique altoist--yes, influenced by Bird, but in his own way flying away on the other side of Bird.
Lost cats like Lem, like Chu Berry, like Hot Lips Page, like Willie Smith (another raw altoist), like the wonderful Clyde Hart (us old cats loved Clyde Hart and he was only with us for a very short time), like Jess Stacey ("Mr. Stacey, ring dem bells!"), like Henry "Red" Allen (as a kid he was taught by Lester Young's father Billy), like the uniquely individual Pee Wee Russell...and once again I could go on and on dropping names like the old jazz cat I am. But I must resign myself to being jealous of the young cats who are getting to play jazz today and making recordings and working what venues there are left for jazz--they are lucky--they are blessed--I hope they are respecting the spirits of the old cats that are still hovering around haunting this city that was at one time the cradle of the best jazz in the world--52nd Street--and 131st Street--and the jazz clubs in the Village--I surround myself with my hundreds of CDs thankful that I'm still able to listen to the best of those cats who elevated me into truly the USA's original classical music--I think I'll put a Duke CD on and wallow and holler in the music of what's now called the Golden Age of Jazz...and like gold, jazz never tarnishes.
An Old Jazz Cat
for The Daddy O'Daily
Friday, July 20, 2012
I first heard Bob Dylan, the Free Wheeling album, via my teenage girlfriend (who I would later marry). At the time, I had a Woodie Guthrie LP; I was into Hudie Ledbetter and related to Woody through Hudie and Cisco Houston and a young Pete Seegar. I also knew of Woody through his brother Jack Guthrie who I knew from the C&W Texas-Oklahoma scene for his hit "In the Oklahoma Hills Where I Was Born"--"Way down yonder in the Indian Nation/Rode my pony on the reservation/In them Oklahoma hills where I was born." But I never got into "folk" music as it eventually became known and ended up following Hudie Ledbetter off into the blues. Eventually even separating myself from Hudie when I heard those early Muddy Waters records that led me deep into the heart of the Electric Blues, the Chicago Blues, what I now simply call The Blues.
My teenage girlfriend had been a rebel, a lover of Socialism and all things anti-Eisenhower-era American. She had posters of Chairman Mao up alongside her Bob Dylan albums. Hey, I must admit, I did like Bob's anti-war lyrics, but that's about as far as it went in terms of his music, which to me was simply copycatting Woody Guthrie. I mean, come on, his vocals, his guitar playing, his harmonica playing were copies of Woody's vocals, guitar playing, and harmonica playing. Bob Dylan had stolen Woody's style and I know Dylan even admitted that at one time.
Then I remember I was living in Dallas when Bob turned on the folk cats and came out with "Like a Rolling Stone," and much to my girlfriend's disgust, I admitted I liked Old Bob better and saw he had a potential to be himself finally, electrified, though in style he still copied Woody. He was electrified Woody.
After I got into jazz (as a piano player and singer), I left Bob and the would-be folkies way behind. Oh, I kind'a dug "Lay Lady Lay" and his basement tapes--I always liked "Maggie's Farm," but in terms of Bob as innovative...sorry, all I heard was Woody gone electric, Woody gone rock 'n roll and Bob rollin' in the dough and makin' it with the hippy babes.
In terms of music, Bob never went much further than "Like a Rollin' Stone," the "rollin' stone" motif coming straight from the real and original Muddy Waters, whose real name was McKinley Morganfield.
From the Blues came the strongest elements of jazz and from jazz came America's true classical music.
Here's a jazz blog I find very interesting, though I'm puzzled as to why it is no longer updated.
Who'd'a ever thought so many great jazz innovators came from North Carolina!
Fatha P. Pounder
(not his real name)
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Dog-gone-it, they've taken the image of Daddy-O Daley we used on this blog off the Internet.
A Saturday Night in Carnegie Hall
I sadly must admit, I hadn't been in Carnegie Hall in many a symphonic moon. I must further admit that though I've been a staunch advocate of Charles Ives's music since I first heard the Concord Sonata (Ives's Piano Sonata #2) performed by John Kirkpatrick on an old Columbia LP (1947) as a teenager, the last time I saw an Ives piece performed live was in the early 1970s when Leopold Stokowski's American Symphony Orchestra put on a marvelous performance of Ives's Holidays Symphony. And, yes, that performance was in Carnegie Hall.
I used to subscribe to several orchestra series at Carnegie every year, especially when the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner or the Cleveland Orchestra under Georg Solti came to town, this back when I had a rich wife who in order to get me out of the house on certain Saturdays and Sundays would buy me seasonal tickets to these concerts. Such concertizing ceased when this woman divorced me in the mid-70s and sent me out into the pits of Gotham City on my own. From that time on I must admit I lost track of the symphony seasons in the city devoting the spending of my music money on jazz and blues LPs and cassettes. After I became a serious musician, a jazz pianist and blues vocalist, my interest in classical music fell by the all-night-gig wayside.
Recently, however, thanks to a good friend's wife whose work allows her access to classical music events and prior notices of what's coming to town in terms of symphonic programs, my attendance at symphony concerts has reblossomed and this is how I happened to be sitting in the Third Tier front row in Carnegie Hall this past Saturday (May 11, 2012) at a concert by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. The Nashville Symphony Orchestra! you're maybe saying with a sardonic grin on your face. Why in God's name would a old New York City resident have an interest in the Nashville Symphony Orchestra? Did Ernest Tubb or Hank Williams write symphonic music on the side? And I must confess, I was very curious about this except the Nashville Symphony Orchestra was in town to be a part of Carnegie's annual Spring for Music series where a vast array of American symphony orchestras are invited to show off their wares. I was especially interested in this particular performance because the Nashville Symphony Orchestra was performing Charles Ives's great eclectic Universe Symphony, as arranged by an old alumni of my alma mater, the University of North Texas, Larry Austin.
What Ives Said About The Universe
"--I started something that I'd had in mind for some time (and [of] which some sketches were made a few years before [the Fall of 1915]--see mss.)--trying out a parallel way of listening to music, suggested by looking at a view (1) with the eyes toward the sky or tops of the trees, taking in the earth or foreground subjectively--that is, not focussing the eye on it--(2) then looking at the earth and land, and seeing the sky and the top of the foreground subjectively. In other words, giving a musical piece in two parts, but played at the same time--the lower parts (the basses, cellos, tubas, trombones, bassoons, etc.) working out something representing the earth, and listening to that primarily--and then the upper [parts] (strings, upper woodwind, piano, bells, etc.) reflecting the skies and the Heavens--and that this piece be played twice, first when the listener focusses his ears on the lower or earth music, and the next time on the upper or Heaven music.
"This was suggested by a few pages of a sketch or general plan for a Universe Symphony or 'The Universe, Past, Present, and Future' in tones (see some marginal notes on back of old manuscript pages--see ms. page marked U s):
"I. [Section A] (Past) Formation of the waters and mountains.
II. [Section B] (Present) Earth, evolution in nature and humanity.
III.[Section C] (Future) Heaven, the rise of all to the spiritual."
I love this guy. He's pure American; he's pure New England; he's pure Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne; he's pure transcendental. He thinks above the horizon. And you have to know, he sketched this Universe out on pieces of paper on which he was also sketching out other pieces, all conceived on the piano, all coming out of his multitasking musical brain, his mind so full of music from the time before he entered Yale University to study with Horatio Parker until he stopped writing music in the early part of the 20th Century due to his having what most believe was a heart attack when he went to work on a neighbor's farm trying to build up his vitality so he could go drive an ambulance in World War I. A complicated man who became a millionaire not from his music but from insurance, the Myrick & Ives agency of New York City. He wrote his music at night--sometimes staying up all night to write it out as fast and furiously as it arrived in his musical brain.
This Universe Symphony is a very complicated piece of music. Ives loved pitting orchestras against each other within his scores. In the Universe, for instance, in the Earth section, Ives put it this way:
"The earth part is represented by lines starting at different points and at different intervals--a kind of uneven and overlapping counterpoint sometimes reaching nine or ten different lines representing the ledges, rocks, woods, and land formations--lines of trees and forest, meadows, roads, rivers, etc.--and undulating lines of mountains in the distance that you catch in a wide landscape. (On p. 6-7 there (are) 15 separate lines, 11 in lower [parts], 4 in upper.)
"And with this counterpoint, a few of the (same kind of) instruments [as those] playing the melodic lines are put into a group playing masses of chords built around (various sets of) intervals, in each line. This is to represent the body of the earth, from whence the rocks, trees and mountains rise. (From 5 to 14 groups of instruments or separate orchestras, each to know its own part before coming together in conclave, the various lines of counterpoint [having one] primary and two secondary [voices]. Each 'continent' has its own wide chord of intervals...."
[From: Memos, Charles E. Ives, WW Norton & Co., New York, first paperback edition, 1991, pp. 107, 108 (edited by John Kirkpatrick}. These Memos dictated by Ives to his secretary in the mid-1930s.]
A complicated man, a complicated piece of UNFINISHED music--Ives's Unfinished Symphony.
Larry Austin wrote in the notes to this Nashville Symphony program: "I began in 1974 to transcribe the musical material and to study Ives' plan for the Universe Symphony and by Ives' open invitation to other composers in his memos to expand on and even to carry out his aspirations for the work. [Ives was notorious about this kind of invitation--I think what he meant was, "If you can figure out what I'm intending here, then have at it; I challenge you to figure me out."]
"Since 1974 I have completed four extended compositions based on distinct orchestral strata in Ives' material. I have since worked to incorporate the material and performance techniques developed for these pieces into what now has eventuated in this composed realization of the entire Universe Symphony. It is certainly Ives' most ambitious and, I believe, his most compelling and visionary work."
The Nashville Symphony's music director (its conductor) is Giancarlo Guerrero, a Nicaraguan who grew up in Costa Rica, who claims to have a passionate interest in American composers, which includes both North and South American composers, though through the Nashville Symphony he leans toward USA composers.
For this performance of the Universe, the Nashville Symphony used 5 conductors conducting 5 different orchestras (A, B, C, D, E) within the whole orchestra and using a computer program also devised by Larry Austin to keep the times and intervals and form each orchestra was executing in the proper sequence--and Larry Austin was one of the 5 conductors--conducting the string orchestra.
A monumental task but one this orchestra pulled off with magnificent order. I was impressed. I had heard Larry's realization on CD by the Cincinnati Orchestra (Recorded in 1994 on Centaur CD CRC 2205; there is also a realization by Johnny Reinhard, first performed in New York's Alice Tully Hall in 1996 and recorded by Mr. Reinhard and the American Festival of Microtonal Music Orchestra in 2005 by the Stereo Society (SS007). Mr. Reinhard's realization, he claims, is totally rendered exclusively from Mr. Ives's sketches, accusing in his extended notes on the subject Larry Austin of using more of his own compositional input into his rendition. Reinhard breaks this symphony down into seven sections that last over an hour whereas Austin combines those seven sections into three overall sections that last 37 minutes) and though impressed by it, it lost something via the CD. Live it came better alive. It's a piece of music that you must take seriously and listen to seriously with both ears and eyes open wide to it. You can't hardly even breathe during its performance. One cough during this performance angered me I was so intensely involved in listening to it. For instance, I can't imagine enduring Mr. Reinhard's 60+ minute realization, though Reinhard claims his version is more pure Ives than Mr. Austin's.
The total work of Charles Ives is to me the ultimate in American symphonic composing. Ives was into polytonal and microtonal music long before Schoenberg came on the scene. Ives even experimented with quartertone music rigging up pianos with quartertone scales built into them. Ives mastered atonal music, like I said, long before Schoenberg got credit for its invention. Ives's 4th Symphony is considered the ultimate in American symphonic composition--no composer has come close to matching its many brilliances. By analyzing the 4th Symphony so masterfully, Leonard Bernstein on a recorded lecture on Ives that originally came with his LP recording of the 4th (on a 45 rpm record included in the set and extant on the Columbia CD) ended by coming to the solid conclusion that Ives was a true musical genius.
Kudos to the Nashville Symphony for a job well done in their Carnegie Hall, May 12, 2012, performance of this work.
I got another surprise at this concert. The second piece the Nashville gang performed was a piece by Terry Riley entitled The Palmian Chord Ryddle for Electric Violin and Orchestra, a work commissioned by the Nashville Symphony, Mr. Riley now a resident of Nashville, teaching at Vanderbilt University. I remembered Terry for his very boring C, his minimalist works, and other boring monotonous works. How surprised was I to find this piece rather traditional, in a Gershwin way, and in some parts rather Ivesian in concept. Mr. Riley was present to take a bow at the end of this piece, well done to by Tracy Silverman playing an electric violin of his own design--it was also noted that this piece incorporated a banjo in its orchestration--I personally saw no sense in the banjo since its parts were limited and hard to hear otherwise.
The last piece on the program was Percy Grainger's The Warriors, Music to an Imaginary Ballet. Though I was once quite fond of an LP I had of Percy playing his own English folk pieces for piano, I saw no place for this piece on the same venue as Ives and Terry Riley.
The orchestra did an encore that was amazing, though I caught only Mr. Guerrero saying it was the last movement of a piece the orchestra had introduced on their last visit to New York City. It was a Latinish movement, a very sprite piece that brought out the scintillational best of this very good orchestra.
Mr. Otho Higgs
(not his right name)
for The Daddy O'Daily
Thanks, Brian, for the info about the American Symphony doing the 4th this fall. The NY Phil. is doing the 4th next year, also.
The Daddy'O gang
(we aren't allowed to answer comments because blogspot insists we're The Daily Growler--of which we are not affiliated)
Friday, May 11, 2012
Why can't I dig these modern musical wonders? I tried to watch Moby tonight on PBS. How does PBS manage to bring these modern musical wunderkins into our faces? Out trots Moby. I mean, he's so hip he's rank. First of all he trots out with his band...and, yep, there's the woman violinist--and, wow, there's the woman bass player--seems like these women are in every wunderkin's band that takes the stage these days--and then this big fat Black woman comes out singing I don't know what--it sounds like a field holler--I mean I hope this woman has her blood pressure checked often--OK, so she has a good voice--and then there's Moby, a little runt of a dude who looks like Phil Collins--and Moby's movin' around, walkin' around all over the stage and so's the big fat Black chick--the woman violinist and the woman bass player are stationary--and Moby's drummer who has enough iron to build a battleship is whacking out 3rds and there's a cool cat keyboard player--come on, Moby, I'm expecting more than this monotonous field holler with your token Black chick. You know in only one of the last blues venues left in New York City if you're a White group you've gotta have a token Black or they won't hire you. I know, I'm sounding prejudice, but it just grinds my ass to have to have a token Black--it's the same thing the Black kid Token represents on the old South Park animated comic strip, what those guys were trying to get across, tokenism keeps us divided, dig? Hey, if I have a Black musician friend and we jive together well, then, yes, hire us, but don't hire us because my friend is Black when if he were White regardless of his talent and how he gels with me you wouldn't hire us. Tokenism. You dig what I'm saying? But old Moby has his token Black, the big fat Black chick. The rest of Moby's organization is pure White. And before Moby sings, the big fat Black chick does her field holler and then Moby trots out this exaggerated White chick Moby announces is from Fort Greene in Brooklyn and she comes out and she sings--the tune is almost note-for-note the same as the Black chick's field holler except it's White and we know field hollers and Whites don't really go together. And then Moby takes over. He starts singing, and, folks, I'm sorry, that's when I cut the teevee off and come downstairs and put Sonny Rollins on my Mac--Sonny's old Impulse album East Broadway Run Down and soon I'm swooning to Sonny's improvisational bliss--I especially flip out over Sonny's "Blessing in Disguise" with the incredible Elvin Jones kicking ass behind Sonny--and Jimmy Garrison keeping the time--with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet--in the title track, "East Broadway Run Down," Sonny plays his mouthpiece and gets more originality out of that than old Moby gets out of his whole boring show.
I apologize to these guys like Moby, but, dammit, man, I'm not into folk music and that's all Moby's shit is, folk music modernized and staged---I mean Moby's got a light show going on behind him and his band is stage designed--which is OK, but.... And with that but I lay off old Moby. Evidently Moby's doing alright for himself since his stage production and band must cost him a fortune--but then Moby must contract out for several big grand dollars per show. Moby reminds me of Lyle Lovett--remember old Lyle the Texan? What ever happened to Lyle? Has he retired to his cattle ranch back home in Texas? Get 'em up drugstore cowboy.
(not his real name)
for The Daddy O'Daily
Sonny Rollins, still performing at 80+
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Terry and Terry on the Steve Allen Tonight Show
In 2009, Terry Joan Pollard died right here in New York City to little or no fanfare. I wrote a whole piece about her on another blog and got nice comments from her brother and bassist Bill Crow. I don't know how many people even knew who she was, but to me she was one of the most talented jazz personalities I ever saw in person and later on the old Steve Allen Tonight Show. Not only was Terry Pollard a top-notch jazz pianist BUT she could also play the vibes. She not only played the vibes but she was as virtuosic a vibes player as any other vibes player I ever saw bar none, and that includes the greatest of the vibes players, Lionel Hampton. As a young man just entering college, I first heard Terry P. on a Terry Gibbs Emarcy LP called Seven Come Eleven. I had already been fascinated by Terry Gibbs's work on the Bethlehem label with the amazing Don Elliott one of the only mellophone players I've ever heard of in jazz then, since, or now. So I expected the liveliest best out of Terry Gibbs, but what a surprise I got when I first saw her photograph on the LP, she was one excitingly pretty and alluring woman, but then when I heard her piano playing, I mean I busted into a long WOW, groovy, and all that cat jazz jive in praise of her. I mean she had no trouble on that LP matching Gibbs's fiery playing, keeping perfect time with him, hitting the ones from the top down with him especially on his blazing version of the old Benny Goodman vehicle "Seven Come Eleven."
How surprised was I to only recently discover Terry Gibbs's Website. To find that T.G. up until January of this year was still performing. But then, how delightfully surprised was I to scroll down the Website and come across Terry's tribute to Terry Joan Pollard by showing a YouTube of Terry and Terry performing on an old 1956 Steve Allen Tonight Show. First they do "Gibberish," then Terry P. gets up off the piano bench and joins Terry G. at the vibes for a wild ride version of Bird's "Now's the Time." You just don't hear jazz played this way anymore. So dig this 5 minutes of jazz ecstasy with Terry G. and Terry P. They are backed by Jerry Segal on drums and Herman Wright on bass--and on "Now's the Time" Steve Allen's at the piano. [I had the privilege of knowing and working with Jerry Segal's son, Jerry, in the 1970s.]
An Old Jazz Cat
for The Daddy O'Daily
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I only listened to about 4 bars of Ed's latest Brit Pop song "Drunk." I'd'a had to have been stoned and very multilayered drunk to have listened to the whole shebang. It was London kiddie music as far as I was concerned. You listen to it sucking on a lollypop. Why do we here in this country have to tolerate all these Brit Pop Fops coming here to get rich? Why? Don't we have any advanced musical talents in this country? I mean is Lady Gaga the best we can come up with?
I hark back to the days of Prince and Larry Graham. Larry Graham's Graham Central Station album "Release Yourself" is still mesmerizing me. It blows a little pimple-faced Brit like Ed Sheeran out of the water like what would happen if you went duck hunting using a drone loaded with American-citizen-assassinating missiles as your weapon.
Yesterday while searching through my hundreds of CDs, I came across one dedicated to Chuck Berry, off a 1980s cassette I had dubbed onto a CD, with the extra-addition of an album by the late great Johnny Otis, also dubbed off an 1980s cassette. I was amazed by the brilliance of Chuck Berry's music--especially "Roll Over Beethoven," "Reelin' and a Rockin'," "Back in the USA," and "Carol." I mean you talk about kicking the gong around. Chuck, who a lot of us give credit for inventing rock 'n roll, was a true hard rocker. Listening to him, and this album was originally made in the 1950s, I thought, my God, this dude still leaves White bands like the Eagles sucking lemons in ditches by the side of his long highway. Forget what Chuck makes the foppy Beatles and The Who sound like to me. I mean Chuck made those albums without the use of 20-foot-high stacks of Marshall amps (Jim Marshall, by the way, just died a month or so ago). Without the use of a 240-track recording board. Without the use of cellos or violins or more than one guitar. And Chuck's guitar work is classifiably to me some of the best ever recorded.
I mean Chuck Berry pissed in better time and rhythm than this Ed Sheeran, but then, like I said, I couldn't even listen to more than a handful of bars of Ed's "Drunk." All British pop music reminds me of Lonnie Donnegan the Brit pop fop who brought "Bubble Gum on the Bedpost at Night" or some such stupid song to this country. Hey, USA White kids seem to hover around this crap it's that White. And that's what this crap is, White music. An extension of the droopy drawer British church mode crap the Beatles gave to White kids back in the 1960s. I mean Black music embarrasses USA White kids. First of all, White kids can't swing. As rockers they pogo up and down vertically. They have no horizontal swing in their stiff White bodies. There is a low-grade Murdoch channel here in New York City that is rerunning all the old "Soul Train" teevee shows and I watched one the other night--and damn, those Black kids were innovatin' like MFers to bands like Earth, Wind, and Fire or Al Green or even the Jackson Five. If you'd'a thrown an Ed Sheeran tune into that mix, these Black kids would have been halted. "How the F do we dance to that shit?"
But, hey, Ed Sheeran's soon to be a big sensation over here--any day now. He's under contract to Asylum Records, so, yeah, they'll overpromote his feeble ass and next Grammy Awards he'll be oohed and ahhed over by the airhead White teenagers who buy this crap. I'd even prefer limp-wristed Josh Groban to this little Brit fart.
Me, I'll still be rediggin' Aretha and Ike and Tina and Chuck Berry and...oh yeah, I didn't mention Johnny Otis doin' "The Signifyin' Monkey." USA White kids are still protected from such vulgar music with White innuendo music....
Sorry, even writing about the pop crap that is perpetrated on USA White kids these days makes me gag and puke--oops, sorry Lady Gaga, I puked all over your latest tacky costume.
Peter Pounder (not his real name)
for the Daddy O'Daily
HOW CHARLIE SHAVERS DIED
by Harvey Shapiro
He had a gig
but he was hurting.
His doctor said, play the date,
then check into the hospital.
That night, when the party ended
and the band packed up,
Charlie started to give stuff away—
his watch, his rings—to the women
in the room. Then
he circled the room with his horn
playing: “For all I know we may never meet again.”
At this point, the man who was telling the story
in the locker room at the Manhattan Plaza gym
and who had sung the line slowly, with
a pause between each word, began to cry.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
The Prez Ain't the President No More
The first time I heard the Prez was when I bought an LP, not because Prez was on it, I'd never heard Prez that I knew of, I was just a stupid kid, but the LP had a cool cover that caught my attention. A human dude was standing under a light pole smoking a cigarette and carrying an overcoat while walking past him went this real cat walking upright, smoking a cigarette, and carrying a trumpet under his left foreleg. It was an Epic album titled "Lester Leaps In," an album that after I bought it I realized it featured Lester Young, the Prez, with the early-day (mid-to-late 1930s) Kansas City smokin' Count Basie Orchestra.
Here's the LP...
I knew who Count Basie was. In my brother's record collection was a 78 rpm Decca album of Count Basie with the All-American Rhythm Section: Walter Page, bass; Freddie Greene, guitar; and Papa Jo Jones on drums. An album that showcased Basie in a laid-back mood playing some cool blues, like "The Dozens," "How Long, How Long," "Boogie-Woogie," "Your Red Wagon," etc. And I had heard of the Basie Kansas City band he had taken over from Bennie Moten in the mid-1930s, but I'd never heard the band and certainly I'd never heard Prez, though I knew slightly of Prez through his relationship with Billie Holiday.
Listening to this LP blew my mind. I couldn't believe what I heard. The damndest tenor saxophone blowin' I'd ever heard in my life. I knew Coleman Hawkins as the king of the saxophone but honestly I'd never really gotten that deep into Hawk. Yes, the sides he had made in France with Django Rinehart and a French pick-up band had blown me away--and listening to those sides even today amazes me--they swing so hard Django has to let out a "yeah" yell during one of them! But with Prez--I mean, Prez was so different from Hawk. So much cooler. So much more sweet in his approach to the tenor, and yet so swingin', so right on the money with his punctuations and lines, drivin' along right on the beat--and, yes, he was leapin' in at just the right time. "Lady Be Good" drove me crazy, man, crazy, and I played it over and over--but also "12th Street Rag" and "Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie" and "Boogie-Woogie"--I mean I wore that LP out in no time.
From then on I was hung up on Prez. I buried my ears in that LP and then any other LPs I could afford, including the Jazz at the Philharmonic volumes Norman Granz issued in the early fifties, especially the volume with Prez and Bird on the same stage. By then, too, I was solidly into the Bird; Bird and Diz; especially that Norman Granz Mercury issue titled "Bird and Diz" with Thelonious Monk, Red Callendar, and Buddy Rich backing them up.
Down through the years I bought as many of Prez's LPs as I could get my hand on. Then came the cassette era--and I got better acquainted with Prez. Then came the CD era. And now I have a whole lot of Prez CDs. In the late 1990s, I got a job where I had my own computer, an iMac Blueberry, and soon I discovered eBay. I started buying stuff on eBay by the hundreds. That was the only way I could save money, and I was making good bucks in those days. I couldn't save money except by immediately turning my excess monies into items I started buying on eBay. One day, I just happened to search for "Lester Young" items and lo and behold, I found something I'd always dreamed of owning, Lester Young's original 78 rpm recordings, starting with all the Philo issues--Philo being Norman Granz's 78 rpm recording company that he later due to the Philco Corporation forcing him to had to change the name to Aladdin records. I began to buy as many of these eBay-listed Lester Young Philos and Aladdins as I could, eventually ending up with a collection that has about 40 of these early Prez recordings in it, plus 40 or more other artists's 78 rpms, too, like Chu Berry; and, yes, Coleman Hawkins; Duke Ellington's Mercer label recordings; the recordings of one of my other fav tenor players, the obscure Julian Dash; the recordings of Teddy Bunn the amazing guitar player; the recordings of Sammy Bentson; the recordings of Mercy Dee Walton; the recordings of Hazel Scott, et al., to the point where now I have this huge collection of 78 rpm recordings covering one whole corner of a room in my apartment. And, yes, I bought a Califone record player that plays 78 rpms as well as 16 rpms, 33 1/3 rpms, and 45 rpms. I was very proud of my 78 rpm collection, but especially my Prez collection. I had paid upwards of $25 for some of my Prez's but usually I could get them for say $15.99. At the same time I also began buying Prez collectibles like old JATP concert programs, like original Prez promo photographs, like Down Beat magazines with articles on Prez, especially the one with Prez's Blind-fold Test, those wonderful old Down Beat pages run by Leonard Feather where he played records for jazz stars and asked them if they knew who the performers were. As a result, I now own a huge collection of Prez 78s and collectibles--the most expensive being some old Gale Agency flyers for Prez's records and one Kansas City concert poster where Prez is featured on a bill with R&B star Ruth Brown and boxing great Joe Lewis.
One day I'm on my way to a paper show with one of my good friends and blues record collectors and I happened to mention my Prez collection. He laughed at me. I got a little pissed and asked him what he meant by so snide a laugh. "Cause, you know, today, those 78s are worthless. I remember when a Philo 'DB Blues' [Prez's first record released under his own name--right after he came out of the army] sold for as much as $400; now you can't get dick shit for them."
And now I realize what my friend was saying. I've noticed now on eBay Lester Young 78s do not sell at any price.
The modern world cares nothing about 78 rpm records anymore. Even when I explain that 78s are as close as you can get to performers actually blowing--78s were mastered directly from the studio blowing--performers blowing into an old RCA mic directly into the mastering groove cutter--then the actual 78s pressed directly off that master. Today, there is a current market for Prez's LPs, but soon that market will dry up, too. Young collectors are now going for these Mosaic CD packages, all these remixed and reengineered rerecordings--and yes they are coolly free of scratches and clicks and things, but the actual artist blowing into the original mic is now miles away from those original sounds--he's remastered into another world.
I just was given a Mosaic set of all the Lionel Hampton RCA Victor recordings from 1937 to 1941--a truly wonderful bunch of recordings where Hamp uses musicians from the Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington Orks in small-group settings. Included in this Mosaic set is a recording Hamp made with the Nat "King" Cole Trio--"Central Avenue Breakdown" on one side and "Jack the Bellboy" on the other. I just happen to have the original 78 and I got it out and compared it to the Mosaic reengineered version. There's a difference--the original 78 is more LIVE, more in your face like you are right there in the studio with the boys whereas the Mosaic remakes are clean and the sound is good, but--hey, you don't hear the instruments as clearly as you do on the 78s.
So here I am stuck with a great collection of Lester Young recordings and collectibles--and now, Prez is pretty much forgotten in the world of new-kids-on-the-block jazz, a jazz that to me, as I've said before, is dominated by White kids--White kids who play according to what their teachers in music schools and colleges have taught them how to play jazz and read jazz--and they don't have very good ears and they aren't very improvisational--even hip-hoppers seem more improvisational than modern-day jazz performers. I can tell when a guy or gal has learned to play from reading a score. Yes, the old cats, like Prez, could read, but what they read were like head charts, quickly sketched out sketches of what the session leader wanted them to play.
So here I sit with my wonderful collection of Prez items watching as their values diminish with every passing era. And now, even these 78 rpms are available to download all over the Internet and on YouTube...
And I suppose that's what I should do, put my collection on YouTube, but shit, that's no way to listen to these wonderful old things.
The Obsolete Jazz Enthusiast
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The Worst Music in the World
Here's who I can't stand: Thom Jayne; Josh Groban; John Tesh; David Foster--and yet these creepy guys get the best gigs in the world--oh, yes, I forgot, Chris Botti--throw him in this mix, too. I mean, yes, these guys are very well-trained musicians and yes they know their instruments very well--and yes Josh Groban has a sweet baby voice that women go ape over--but these guys for the most part drive me batty.
I listened to this Thom Jayne tonight on the PBS kiddie channel here in New York City. These guys are so arrogant. And the players who are in their bands look at them so adoringly--like Thom Jayne's woman fiddle player--and all these bands have babe fiddle players and Thom has a babe bass player--but the music is what we old cats used to call droopy-drawer music. It's too scripted; not improvisational at all. God, it's boring. I endured two Thom Jayne tunes and both were in the same key and sounded like the same tune. BORING, Thom, super BORING. They reminded me of Oregon, a band that actually got recognition in the jazz world; why I don't know; they couldn't swing for shit.
In order to wash this Thom Jayne out of my brain I had to listen to Lester Young for about an hour. Lester on "Lady Be Good" from back in the 1930s with the Count Basie KC band. Lester's solo on that mover and shaker charmed me back down off that Thom Jayne trip that was drivin' me out of my mother-forkin' mind. Lester brought me back; then Lester cooled me down further on "Shoe Shine Boy," from that same recording session, Lester's first with Basie and Jo Jones and Tatie Smith and Walter Page and Freddie Greene in Chicago.
How do these boring bastards get the enormous funding needed for their shows? Like this Canadian fop, David Foster. Where the hell did he come from? And you talk about an arrogant bastard. And he featured this girl singer with a mouth big enough to park your SUV in singing "Love For Sale." I wouldn't buy a nickel's worth of love from her--follow her up the stairs, not in this life. I remember Sarah Vaughn singing it. Ella Fitzgerald. That's how "Love For Sale" should be sung--and you damn right I'd follow Sarah up those stairs, no matter how many flights.
And John Tesh. I see PBS is giving this droopy-drawer fop another big show with a huge orchestra behind him. Howard Stern calls John Tesh the Blond Frankenstein, and that's exactly what he is. Playing his "Learn to play the piano in ten easy lessons" piano and executing his limp tunes as though he's Franz Liszt. Lord a mercy, I'd rather hear myself play my beautiful Kay Jimmy Reed-model guitar, which I can't play for shit, than listen to John Tesh at his best (his worst). Hey, John, what ever happened to Yanni? And while we're on a "What ever happened to" kick, whatever happened to Kenny G? Don't tell me; leave him buried in the cut-out bins out there somewhere.
Professional jealousy? No way. I can swing when I sing or play the piano. Or work with my friends. I work with some blues bands here in NYC who could blow smoke up John Tesh's ass and send him on a rocket ride to Mars--except Mars would reject that freak as too weird for outer space.
Just thought I'd let you know my feelings.
Peter Pounder (not his real name)
Saturday, March 24, 2012
The Absolute Unique Genius of Jaki Byard
I have been listening intently to Jaki Byard's two albums he made on April 15, 1965, at Lennie's on the Turnpike in West Peabody, Massachusetts. Incredible musical events that thanks to Don Schlitten were recorded. The piano at Lennie's was built for Jaki. And Jaki's boldly Jaki throughout these two albums, the Live originally released on Prestige (my LP came to me direct from Prestige slightly warped, which never bothered me) and The Last From Lennie's (Live Volume 2) pulled out of the Prestige vaults by Fantasy (they took over Prestige) and issued on a CD in 2000. Jaki's philosophy on playing the piano had to do with learning every jazz style that existed from Tony Jackson and Jelly Roll on down through the striders and Monk and Budo, doing a duet album with Earl "Fatha" Hines and an album with Ran Blake--and Jaki had all those styles inside his magnificent mind.
I remember when I got that first Live LP. I remember when the first notes of "Twelve" came tumbling out of my stereo's speakers. I remember how I was glued to those speakers. I mean, I'd never heard anything like "Twelve." I've still got it in my head now as I type this, especially Jaki's part, Jaki's riffs and stabbings and punctuations behind and in front of Joe Farrell and George Tucker and Alan Dawson. As I first heard it, I imagined this Lennie's-on-the-Turnpike as a small room, tight, compact, holding the sounds solidly in. Lennie's had opened in the 1950s featuring local talent first, like organist Joe Bucco and trumpeter Herb Pomeroy and his big band. In fact, the first time I ever heard of Jaki was on a Capital recording called Boston Blow-Up, a Stan Kenton Presents album that headlined the great baritonist Serge Chaloff featured with Herb Pomeroy's small band, with Herb on trumpet; Boots Mussulli on alto; Ray Santisi on piano; Everett Evans on bass; and Jimmy Zitano on drums. And, no, Jaki wasn't on the album but his tune "Diane's Melody," a one minute and 38 second piece, was. The first time I met Jaki was at the Top of the Gate in New York City. It was Jaki and a trio and my wife and I sat at the table just across from Jaki at the piano. On the break, I went up to him, met him, and then told him how I'd first come across him via "Diane's Melody" and he gave out with a wonderful smile and said, "Yes, I wrote that for my daughter...and that's right, Herb did that on that album...and you remember it." And when he came back after that break, he played it for me.
Life is so fast and short at the same time. It's hard to believe Jaki's even gone, but that he's been gone this long now, in February of 1999, the victim of a wild gunshot, a gunshot that came from seemingly out of nowhere, though it was precise enough to come through Jaki's apartment window and hit him in that magnificent head as he lay sleeping. A murder that was never solved. A murder that took Jaki away from those of us who heard him as one of the truly unique pianists in jazz...but in music as well.
Friday, January 13, 2012
From www.smoothviews.com : an interview with Chicago pianist Ramsey Lewis:
In 1953, many members of The Cleffs took off for the Korean War. From what was left of The Cleffs’ rhythm section emerged a trio with 18-year old Mr. Lewis on piano, Eldee Young on bass and Redd Holt on drums. They’d play clubs around Chicago on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
“We’re not The Cleffs!” They came to the realization that the trio needed a new band name. Mr. Lewis recalls, “It was Daddy-O Dailey, an important jazz DJ who had been coming to the club on the south side, Lake Meadows Lounge, and heard us play. He says, ‘You guys are pretty good. You guys should have a record deal.’ Of course we should, but it’s not that easy. He said, ‘Let me see what I can do’ and took us under his wing. He later got us an audition with Chess Records. They liked us, signed a deal, and a few months later, recorded us. They asked, ‘So what’s the name of the group?’ We didn’t have one. Daddy-O said, ‘I want you guys to go home and each one of you write down two or three names and we’ll pick the best.’ We came back with 20 names, The Spiders, The Bugs, and so on. Daddy-O said, ‘Look, it’s a piano trio. The piano is taking the lead most of the time, so let’s call it The Ramsey Lewis Trio.’ And he said, ‘Now, first time out, first album, you’re going to want to have a hook. Nobody knows your name anyway because it’s the first album. We need a hook. The way I see it, guys, you’re gentlemen and you play jazz.’” And that’s how the first albums were named: The Gentlemen of Swing (1956). The second album followed as The Gentlemen of Jazz (1958). It took some time for Daddy-O’s influential airplay to get the records and the trio launched. But succeed, he most certainly did.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Some Great American Guitarists to Dig:
1) Teddy Bunn--a wonder on the acoustic guitar--no one like him since--Teddy died early.
2) Bern Nix--Bern Nix when I knew him briefly I thought was the coolest cat I'd ever met. I had the privilege of doing a gig with Bern many years ago--to me a unique guitar stylist.
3) John Lee Hooker--thought by some American bluesologists to be the greatest blues guitarist to emerge from that legendary crossroads--staying on top for many wonderful long years.
4) Albert Collins--check out where Albert used to strap on his capo.
5) Jesse "The Guitar King" Cohen--Never heard of Jesse? Too bad. He currently lives in Upstate New York and plays with a local band in that area.
6) Roy Buchanan--a White boy born with a sad soul; eventually hanged himself in a jail in Maryland--I think it was Maryland.
7) Eddie "The Dread" Gregg--last time I heard, Eddie was working down in the Miami area.
8) Eric Warren--from New Orleans; blind; an absolute Jimi-Hendrix-in-his-blood whizbang guitar player--last seen at a New Orleans Folk and Jazz Festival several years ago now.
9) Herbie Ellis & Barney Kessell--one from Texas (Herbie), the other from up in the heart of Oklahoma (Barney). Both heard Charlie Christian before the rest of the USA, Barney knowing of Charlie when he was not yet discovered and playing on the radio and in clubs in Oklahoma City. Herbie was a graduate of the North Texas State College School of Music. Both Barney and Herbie were part of the Oscar Peterson Trio, Barney first. Barney gave up the trio because of the traveling and went on to become an A&R man and studio musician in L.A. Then came Herb Ellis...and for the years throughout the 50s up until 1960, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, and Herb Ellis were the most in-sync and swinging jazz trio in the business. I mean, check out how integrated these guys were (with the passing last year of Herb Ellis and drummer Ed Thigpen, all the most-famous OP Trio members are now deceased). Wow. And swing! Whoo boy could these dudes swing. And Herbie could play his Gibson like it was a set of bongos--check out the Trio's playing on Bags's "Bluesology" from the phony "Oscar Peterson Trio Live at the Concertgebouw" Verve recording--it was proven later to be a live recording in a Los Angeles auditorium, Norman Granz not letting the cat out of the bag until confronted with it much later and then defending it saying OP and the Trio were scheduled to play the Concertgebouw but it had been canceled--but the album was already scheduled--and they had this concert already in the can...so, hey, dig the record and screw where it was recorded. Anyway, it's a great album even if it is a phony in terms of it being OP and the men in Amsterdam at the Concertgebouw.
10) Eddie Durham--the inventor of the electric guitar. Hear how the electric guitar sounded
when it was first invented on some of those Count Basie band early recordings--Eddie was also one of the top jazz/swing arrangers in the biz in the 30s and 4os.
From Arthur Taylor's great jazz book Notes & Tones (Da Capo, 1993):
Excerpt from interview with Johnny Griffin
NOTE: Johnny Griffin died in France last year. He'd made his final "return to New York City" appearance years before, finally remaining until the end in his adopted France.
From the interview:
AT: What is your reason for living in Europe all these years?
JG: I'm trying to save my life, 'cause it's a cinch that if I had stayed in America, I would be dead by now. I was a stoned zombie when I left.
AT: Can you be more explicit?
JG: I don't have to be more explicit about saving my life. The events that were happening that were happening to me were too much. It was too negative.
AT: What's so positive about European society?
JG: I'm not involved in it, that's what's so positive about it. I'm a tourist. Just look at my passport.
AT: Come on now, Griff.
JG: You're a tourist, too. We're both tourists.... When I came to Europe on that first gig in December of 1962, I was actually coming here to make some bread for my family for Christmas. Instead of staying six or seven weeks like I was supposed to, I stayed three months. I went back for my kid's birthday instead of going to Copenhagen for the next gig. I went from London to New York, and as soon as I got off the plane, I felt like I was doomed. "What am I doing back here?" I just realized how negative everything was.... When I went back to work with the cats, everybody was back to the same thing I grew up with, but I didn't know any better. Everybody is the Great I Am. I am this and you ain't that. It's all me, M-E, and nobody else is anything. It was too much for me. I wanted to get away from it all. That was black, white and indifferent!
They've got all the black musicians on the run. Black musicians all over Europe, running away from America. But that's part of the white power structure that's killing us and our music. Just like they killed it with all that so-called cool school. West Coast jive. They sold us down the line. Took the music out of Harlem and got it in Carnegie Hall and downtown in those joints where you've got to be quiet. The black people split and went back to Harlem, back to the rhythm and blues, so they could have a good time. Then the white power structure just kicked the rest of us out and propagated what they call avant-garde. Those poor boys can't blow their way out of a paper bag musically. But the white power structure said they're geniuses, So-and-so is the natural extension of Charlie Parker. That's what they waited for. As soon as Bird died, everybody turned left, Bird had given them the message. They were so glad to see Bird gone, because he was the truth. I don't mean they all turned left, I mean the critics had a breathing spell so they could finish killing us. Ifit wasn't for the revolution that's taking place, they would probably be writing in fifty years that jazz was all white.
Johnny Griffin telling it like it was and, I'm sorry to say, still is. In going on the most popular Internet jazz sites, most jazz new releases I see on those sites are by White musicians.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Who Made Eric Clapton King of the Blues?
It's creepy to see where Wynton (with dollar signs in his eyes) and Eric Crapton (with
dollar signs in his eyes) are teaming up to "play the blues" at Lincoln Center--and it's
COME ON...HOW CAN WYNTON STOOP SO LOW AS TO WORK WITH A BRIT FOP WHO WHILE HE WAS BECOMING KING OF THE BLUES ALLOWED THE
ORIGINAL CREATORS OF THIS TRUE AMERICAN ROOT MUSIC TO DIE IN POVERTY (i.e., Jimmy Reed, et. al.)--and, trust me, folks, the greatest blues guitar
player who ever lived was JOHN LEE HOOKER and don't you forget it.