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Bebop Spoken There

Lou Donaldson: "(On Art Blakey) Everything changed. Especially when the women came in, sat down in the front row, and raised their skirts above their knees. Then the drums got louder, the tempos got faster, and every tune was a drum solo" - (JazzTimes, November 2019.)

Archive

Today Saturday December 14

Afternoon

Jazz

Anth Purdy - Isabella Community Centre, Ogle Drive, Blyth NE24 5JF. Tel: 01670 543773. 11:00am-1:00pm. Free. Christmas Fair.

Jazz Attack - Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. 3:30pm. Free (concourse). Young Musicians Live! YMP Winter Festival.

Jambone - Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. 4:00pm. Free but ticketed (Sage Two). Young Musicians Live! YMP Winter Festival.

Evening

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regents Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 284 3700. 8:00pm. £12.00. + bf. Second night of two.

Sold Out!

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Blues/Funk/Soul

Loft Boys - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

That "Je Ne Sais Quoi" - Roly

Our little discourse about Kamuca raises a fundamental point. What are we all looking for from music? It was Kamuca who more than anyone focused my thoughts on what it is I look for from music in general, jazz in particular.
It's nothing to do with technique, cutting edge, originality, excitement, surprise - although all these things are very important. No - it's to do with that mystery something that tugs at your heart strings and maybe even brings a tear.
A very subjective thing no doubt.
In my view there are certain players (a small select group) who have that innate quality and it stems from extreme sensitivity. As a teenager it used to be Buddy Holly, then Sonny Terry/Brownie McGhee and now, Bix, Lady Day, Pres, Bird, Chet, Sinatra, Richie K, Ornette, and I'm presently belatedly 'discovering' Schubert's very touching music. Much as I love the guitar (eg. Jim Hall) and great pianists (eg. Bill Evans) neither the guitar nor piano 'does it' for me. I think it needs to involve human breath so it has to be horn players or singers.
If I had to single out for me the most moving player in all of jazz, I would say Bix!

4 comments :

Lance said...

I couldn’t agree with you more Roly. Although we all have our own list of heroes, the names you mentioned will (or should be) on most peoples’ list.
Reflecting back over the years it occurred to me that, whilst I have been to hundreds - maybe thousands - of gigs and concerts, I could probably count the really great as opposed to the very good on my fingers without needing to use my thumbs.
One moment that did stand out was a Woody Herman concert circa 1967.
I had a dance gig that same night so I could only stay for the first set but there were 16 bars played in that first set that have stayed with me ever since!
Amazingly, it wasn’t “Four Brothers” or “Applehoney” or any of the well known Herman classics that floated my boat but the old Jolson song “Sonny Boy”. If anyone had ever told me I could find anything in that piece of maudlin sentimentality I’d have said “no way Jose.”
Wrong!
Woody sung the chorus pleasantly enough then Carl Fontana raised the bar with a blistering trombone solo before Woody returned to sing the chorus once more. Then – just when we thought it was all over - the ‘sound of surprise’. The brass, with Bill Chase on lead, upped it a full tone higher and practically lifted the roof off the City Hall.
To be corny about it – it was like witnessing ‘Sonny Boy’ growing up!
I had to leave for my gig after that and, for some reason, every solo I played turned into a variation of “Sonny Boy”!
I bought Woody’s LP “My Kind of Jolson” but it wasn’t the same because I knew what was coming - that sound of surprise had gone. The arrangement incidentally was by Ralph Burns.

Lance said...

Further to "most moving player in jazz" I think Ben Webster playing "My Ideal" or Wardell blowing "Easy Living" have to be up there then there is ...

RichardC said...

Great to see Richie Kamuca recognised, he's certainly one of my favourites. As to the wider list, my favourites include Louis Armstrong, obviously, but also Henry Red Allen, J C Higginbotham, Dicky Wells, Irving Fazola, Clifford Brown - and Keith Jarrett

Lance said...

Ah! Irving Fazola. Perhaps one of the most overlooked tunes in jazz is his "My Inspiration". Apart from his own version with the Bob Crosby Band I've only ever heard it done by Alan Barnes although I believe Kenny Davern has also recorded it.
It has one of those descending chromatic runs that always gets to me. The same run, if I remember correctly, turns up in MJQ's "Fontessa".