Bing Crosby: High Society, with Sinatra and Armstrong
It’s summertime and warm thoughts of Newport Jazz Festivals gone by invade my being! “High Society”, although not specifically about the Newport Jazz Festival, is about a jazz festival in Newport and Crosby’s pairing with both Sinatra and Armstrong are highlights of this very entertaining film.
Transcriptions are a frightening thing and a valuable learning tool. This transcription of John Coltrane’s solo on Mr. P.C., from the Giant Steps session, is a wonderful exercise to follow and study, and even to try to play. Had Coltrane looked at this music on that day, I have no doubt that he would have had a very different reaction. I remember when I was producing the One Night With Blue Note concert in 1985, with a variety of all-star groups playing music across the history of the label. When I passed out Don Sickler’s transcribed parts from Eric Dolphy’s Gazzeloni for the original members of the band that recorded Out To Lunch, both Bobby Hutcherson and Tony Williams looked at the music and said, “Man, are you sure this is what I played?!!!!!”
When Bill Evans made this 70-minute television taping on Club 625 in London, his trio with Chuck Israel and Larry Bunker had been in place for about two years, and they were developing a communal language similar to what Evans had 5 years earlier with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian.
Charles Lloyd Quartet 1966: at Molde Jazz Festival, Norway
Ah, what a time warp. This video of the original Charles Lloyd Quartet with Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee and Jack DeJohnette performing “The Song My Lady Sings” comes from the 1966 Molde Jazz Festival. This was the first year of this group and their empathy and interaction are already in evidence. The Molde Jazz Festival takes place 2/3 of the way up the western coast of Norway, which is probably the most beautiful country in the world. Molde is set among the verdant fjords on the Norwegian coast ,which are as stunning as the music that Lloyd & company fashion here.
Keith Richards makes a rare appearance on Marc Myer’s JazzWax site. This remarkable musician is the man of infinite invention when it comes creating rhythm guitar parts that are the embryos of hit songs and the mobilizing force in great rhythm tracks. Here he discusses “Street Fighting Man” but roll the dice and he could have discussed several dozen other amazing pieces of music. What always distinguished the Rolling Stones from every other rock group was their grasp of American R & B records are made. The Stones learned the lesson of building a record from the essence of the rhythm section and adding and customizing each layer above it. They learned how to build a track as a song developed and the learned the power of introducing percussive ingredients as the record builds. And all of it starts with a signature riff from Keith Richards.
As the summer heat rises, and our thoughts turn to summer music (preferably by a lake), Richard Scheinin tipped us to this clip of Miles Davis and his imposing group, from the stage at Tanglewood in the summer of 1970. With Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette and Airto Moreira. A teaser posted by Music Vault.
Although both Nelson Riddle and Ella Fitzgerald were nearing their final years, they still brought some outstanding music to the table. Ella was still touring and Riddle was going to have another best seller by backing Linda Ronstadt which started a trend of rockers covering popular standards. Richard Williams recalls a 1984 reunion of Ella and Riddle.
Stuart Nicholson’s 2001 interview with Horace Parlan for Jazz Times is emblematic of the kind of gentle, generous and pragmatic man this great pianist was. His heritage and recorded legacy is indeed rich and his career speaks for itself. A smart man without a hint of self-delusion.
Photo of Horace Parlan by Francis Wolff.
The Poem Inspiring A Love Supreme: in John Coltrane’s Own Handwriting
This is mesmerizing. Watch this video construction by James Cary of the poem that inspired a key segment of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. We know that the final movement, Psalm, stemmed from Coltrane’s interpretation of the words of the poem, but here Cary does more: we hear Coltrane’s performance of Psalm, while we read the words of the poem — in Coltrane’s own handwriting. An essential experience for anyone touched by Coltrane and this masterpiece.
Jess Stacy: Swing Pianist Extraordinaire, Often forgotten
Jess Stacy is well known for his momentous solo on “Sing, Sing, Sing” from Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall concert. But he seems to be a forgotten figure these days and unrightfully so. JazzWax shines a well deserved spotlight on the great Stacy.
The wonderful British journalist Richard Williams wrote this great piece on Las Vegas and Wardell Gray, inspired by a recent reissue that arrived in his mail. The mystery surrounding the tragic death of the brilliant saxophonist continues to fascinate.
In my opinion, the Don Pullen-George Adams Quartet with Cameron Brown and Dannie Richmond was one of the greatest groups that modern jazz produced. Their live performances were exceptional as this 1984 Italian video of “City Gates” attests. I had the honor of producing their two final albums on Blue Note and spending a lot of time with these remarkable people.