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Bebop Spoken There

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COVID-19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

CD Review: Ron Davis' Symphronica - Instrumental Music Liberation Front

Ron Davis (piano); Kevin Barrett (guitars/ loops); Aline Homzy, Brielle Goheen (violins); Mike Downes/Louis Simào (bass); Steve Heathcoate (drums/perc.); Laurence Schaufele (viola); Beth Silver (cello).

Ron Davis is a man with a mission - to liberate instrumental music. He points out that the history of western music is one of the instrumental living in harmony with the vocal whilst also stressing that, in recent years, instrumental music has become almost invisible in comparison to vocal music.

This is an interesting opinion and one that I am sure many, myself included, will contest.

Certainly the pop world is 99% vocally loaded but this is nothing new. You only have to go back to the 1940s when the then President of the American Federation of Musicians James Petrillo called the first of two recording bans which saw musicians sidelined from the studios and led to singers such as Sinatra recording with choirs as opposed to bands and orchestras. The Sinatra phenomenon led the way for vocalists such as Como, Laine, Mitchell, Ray, Elvis and, ultimately, The Beatles to sound the death knell for, with the occasional exception - The Shadows and the occasional trad band - instrumental combos in the charts.

However, the jazz world is a wholly different ball game and jazz instrumentals far outnumber jazz vocal recordings. Not that I'm advocating one against the other - just making an observation.

Ron Davis' Symphronica not only seeks equality for instrumental music but he also attempts to merge jazz with classical music(s), i.e. European, Québecois, Sephardic, Manouche etc.

Do they succeed? I think they do. Rather than approaching this with any pre-conceived ideas, I came to this as an album to listen to and enjoy rather than study the blurb which may have put me off from even listening to it! I'm glad I didn't. There's some lovely piano playing from Davis - his Sergio's Shuffle, inspired by Prokofiev, is pure barrel-house - and some fine fiddling from Homzy. Brahms, Django, Stravinsky and Handel are just some of the other 'names' that figure in the mix - Paul Whiteman it isn't!

It's currently available via the usual suspects or, if you live in Canada, a record store near you (if there is one and it's open!)
Lance

1 comment :

Ron Davis said...

I want to thank you for your review of my new record "Instrumental Music Liberation Front" on bebop spoken here. Not because it was complimentary. That's a bonus. Rather because it was crafted with such thought. I'm grateful that you took the time and devoted the mindshare to put it into words.

So, thank you.

I should add that I agree with your point about jazz being predominantly instrumental at present. My greater point is that jazz itself (like classical - also predominantly instrumental) has been squeezed out of the popular music marketplace. As you know, jazz was THE popular music for many decades. Then, although it had to make room for Elvis, The Beatles and their successors, it remained fairly present in the 60s and 70s (Herbie, Miles and others had pop chart hits). Once the 80s come along however, boom. Jazz becomes marginalized. So, while jazz today may be 75% (let's say) instrumental, it holds only 2% of the listening market.

I could go on and on, but I shall spare you my ranting.

Keep up the great work on your blog. Please look me up if you are ever in Toronto. Pints are on me.

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