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David Guyatt
02-13-2009, 06:44 PM
Unlike Charlie I am not a Jazz aficionado, but I have always enjoyed Hendrix ever since I saw him play his guitar with his teeth.

So when Jamie Cullum came along with his rendition of "Wind Cries Mary", it was a breath of fresh air.

You probably have the album anyway, but if not check your mail Charlie...

Charles Drago
02-14-2009, 02:47 PM
David,

I don't have the album, and I thank you indeed for forwarding the clip.

FYI, I've been listening to jazz -- of the unadulterated variety -- since before I could walk (my mother's brother John was a celebrated clarinet and soprano and tenor saxophone player who worked with Louis Armstrong and managed the career of the legendary trumpeter/cornetist Bobby Hackett). I've published jazz criticism nationally, written liner notes for LPs and CDs, and produced major jazz festivals in New England and California.

Why the resume? Only to underscore the fact that I'm thrilled to hear the music evolve. And I'm not surprised that you're drawn to jazz and its unique ability to reconcile intellect and viscera.

You're aware, I'm sure, of Britain's great practitioners of the art. I direct your attention to alto saxophonist Peter King for starters.

As for the aforementioned Mr. Cullum: I'm not a fan, but I respect his work.

Do yourself an immense favor and find vocalist Mark Murphy's CD titled The Dream. I believe that it's available via Amazon. Then find any CD by vocalist Madeline Eastman.

For starters.

You will be richly and repeatedly rewarded.

CD

Mark Stapleton
02-18-2009, 02:45 PM
Has anyone seen the Ken Burns doco on the history of Jazz? I thought it was great but I would like to know how others rated it.

Charles Drago
02-18-2009, 03:11 PM
Mark,

In a word: travesty.

It is a survey course led by a blind surveyor. Key innovators are ignored, living legends who were in at the birth of stylistic innovations are cast out in favor of politically correct, market-friendly pseudo-experts ...

Burns commonly produces films that are ideal for CinemaScope -- wider than they are deep. But with Jazz he compressed the breadth of his product even as he maintained its customary shallowness.

An example: Burns chooses Wynton Marsalis to illustrate the groundbreaking rhythmic and harmonic aspects of Charlie Parker's music. And true to form, the Jive Ass of Our Time procedes to make minstrel show faces and jungle sounds in an insulting, ludicruous effort to shed light on bebop phrasing and rhythms.

At the time, Charlie Parker's protege, Jackie McLean, was alive and well and eminently qualified to discuss his mentor's genius in a manner that surely would have reconciled the academic and the artistic. Jackie was a noted educator and cultural historian/commentator as well as a world-glass alto saxophonist.

But in lieu of his eloquence, Burns went with a fool in blackface.

There are many more instances of such ignorance masquerading as enlightenment. How does Burns get away with it?

Just remember: Yuppies look to Ken Burns to tell them what they should be interested in. So you must understand the political subtext of Burns' productions if you are to answer my question.

The deep political reason why Jackie McLean was banished from Jazz is that he likely would have talked about Charlie Parker's c. 1940s insight that drugs were allowed into African-American ghettos in order to control their populations. He would have provided deep political context to a production that by intention was disinformative.

And that's just for starters.

Now I'm angry, and I'd rather send this off and go listen to Jackie's The Connection and Swing, Swang, Swingin'.

Mark Stapleton
02-18-2009, 03:50 PM
I see. Very interesting.

I thought Burns' Jack Johnson doco was pretty good, although it skipped a lot of interesting parts of his life and career.

Ed Jewett
07-20-2009, 04:56 PM
Ooooh, I wish we could get together for dinner et al and trade favorites.

I've been listening to jazz on and off for years and consider myself still in elementary school. And I can't play a lick on any instrument except the ones of the "air" variety. On my wish list is a CD or two from Mapleshade Audio, and I have about 12 hours or so of the stuff stocked on my iPod. I was at a Borders music and books outlet browsing the jazz section some years ago and a younger black woman came up and asked me what kind of jazz I liked and I froze like a deer in the headlights and mumbled some nothing.

But the list includes:


any version of "Summertime" or :God Bless the Child" I can find;
a lot of Dave Brubeck (early, mid and late);
some Ahmad Jamal and Keith Jarrett (especially "The Moth and the Flame" and the Koln concert;
a smattering of Miles (especially "Kind of Blue" and "Sketches of Spain");
a tiny bit of Coltrane ("May Favorite Things" is in my top five);
Cannonball Adderley Quintet's "Autumn Leaves" is exquisite; and
a little Freddie Hubbard (his "All Blues" along with the original is a nice brunch in itself);
several versions of "'Round Midnight";
three of "My Funny Valentine";
six of "Take Five";

et alia.

If anyone knows of a recording (an Ampex tape recorder was there jus oiff-stage, going round and round) of a live extended version of "Koto Song" (Brubeck et al) with Bobby Millitello chanting across the mouthpiece of the flute (seen live by me at the Harvard Saunders Theatre, thought by Pierre Sprey to be the best place to record jazz in the world), there is a serious reward offered.

My theme? Probably the three versions of Brubeck's "Forty Days".