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Bebop Spoken There

Tina May: "It's a broad umbrella, jazz, but to me there has to be improvisation. If that's not there, to me, it's not really jazz." - (Jazzwise March 2021)

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Postage

13,132 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 551 of them this year alone and, so far, 106 this month (April 22).

Coming soon ...

April 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at The Holystone.

May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 2: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.
June 7: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.

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 :

Anonymous 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.

Anonymous 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

Anonymous 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".

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