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Tag Archives: jazz

Cab Driver

I grew up listening to the Mills Brothers; think my mother had every LP they ever recorded.  I love their music and love the memories that surface.

one day I’ll fly away

Goodbye – Jasmine – Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden

If you love jazz . . . as I love jazz . . you will find this piece so very moving . . .

 

When I grow too old to dream . . .

Little Girl Blue

oh . . . yes . . .

how great thou art

Is you is or is you ain’t . . .?

Anita O’Day

Jazz Singer

jazz on a summer’s day

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The camera moves from O’Day to those in the audience; this is all jazz – in `1957!

abracadabra

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A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B – R – A
A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B – R
A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B
A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A
A – B – R – A – C – A – D
A – B – R – A – C – A
A – B – R – A – C
A – B – R – A
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A – B
A

I love jazz!

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Jazz Fantasia
by Carl Sandburg
DRUM on your drums, batter on your banjoes, sob on the long cool winding saxophones. Go to it, O jazzmen.

Sling your knuckles on the bottoms of the happy tin pans, let your trombones ooze, and go hushahusha-hush with the slippery sand-paper.

Moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome tree-tops, moan soft like you wanted somebody terrible, cry like a racing car slipping away from a motorcycle cop, bang-bang! you jazzmen, bang altogether drums, traps, banjoes, horns, tin cans—make two people fight on the top of a stairway and scratch each other’s eyes in a clinch tumbling down the stairs.

Can the rough stuff … now a Mississippi steamboat pushes up the night river with a hoo-hoo-hoo-oo … and the green lanterns calling to the high soft stars … a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills … go to it, O jazzmen.

jazz!

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Those following jazz ought to keep an ear on the bassist ESPERANZA SPALDING, who is going about things her own way. She’s got good tone and conservatory training, but so does everyone else these days. More important, she already sounds distinct. Essentially she’s a singer, using both her instrument and her voice to similar ends. Her musicality is all integrated: The Esperanza Spalding experience is light, melodic, joyful, always sort of minimalist and airborne.”- Ben Ratliff, The New York Times

If “esperanza” is the Spanish word for hope, then bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding could not have been given a more fitting name at birth. Blessed with uncanny instrumental chops, a multi-lingual voice that is part angel and part siren, and a natural beauty that borders on the hypnotic, the 23-year-old prodigy-turned-pro might well be the hope for the future of jazz and instrumental music.

“Irresistible, Interpretive, Perceptive, such expressions are very much at the core of Spalding’s life story, but the story is anything but typical. She was born in 1984 and raised on what she calls “the other side of the tracks” in a multi-lingual household and neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Growing up in a single-parent home amid economically adverse circumstances, she learned early lessons in the meaning of perseverance and moral character from the role model whom she holds in the highest regard to this day “ her mother.

“She was very strong-willed, very independent,” says Spalding. “She did a million things. She was a baker, a carpenter, she worked in foster care homes, she worked in food service, she worked with Cesar Chavez as a labor organizer. She was an amazing woman. She was hip enough to put a lot of negative things I saw as a child into some kind of context “ even before I fully understood what she was saying.”

But even with a rock-solid role model, school did not come easy to Spalding, although not for any lack of intellectual acumen. She was both blessed and cursed with a highly intuitive learning style that often put her at odds with the traditional education system. On top of that, she was shut in by a lengthy illness as a child, and as a result, was home-schooled for a significant portion of her elementary school years. In the end, she never quite adjusted to learning by rote in the conventional school setting.

“It was just hard for me to fit into a setting where I was expected to sit in a room and swallow everything that was being fed to me,” she recalls. “Once I figured out what it was like to be home-schooled and basically self-taught, I couldn’t fit back into the traditional environment.”

However, the one pursuit that made sense to Spalding from a very early age was music. At age four, after watching classical cellist Yo Yo Ma perform on an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the roadmap was suddenly very clear. “That was when I realized that I wanted to do something musical,” she says. “It was definitely the thing that hipped me to the whole idea of music as a creative pursuit.”

Within a year, she had essentially taught herself to play the violin well enough to land a spot in The Chamber Music Society of Oregon, a community orchestra that was open to both children and adult musicians. She stayed with the group for ten years, and by age 15, she had been elevated to a concertmaster position.

But by then, she had also discovered the bass, and all of the non-classical avenues that the instrument could open for her. Suddenly, playing classical music in a community orchestra wasn’t enough for this young teenager anymore. Before long she was playing blues, funk, hip-hop and a variety of other styles on the local club circuit. “The funny thing was, I was the songwriter, but I had never experienced love before. Being the lyricist and the lead singer, I was making up songs about red wagons, toys and other childish interests. No one knew what I was singing about, but they liked the sound of it and they just ate it up.”

At 16, Spalding left high school for good. Armed with her GED and aided by a generous scholarship, she enrolled in the music program at Portland State University. “I was definitely the youngest bass player in the program,” she says. “I was 16, and I had been playing the bass for about a year and a half. Most of the cats in the program had already had at least eight years of training under their belts, and I was trying to play in these orchestras and do these Bach cello suites. It wasn’t really flying, but if nothing else, my teachers were saying, ‘Okay, she does have talent.’”

Berklee College of Music was the place where the pieces all came together and doors started opening. After a move to the opposite coast and three years of accelerated study, she not only earned a B.M., but also signed on as an instructor in 2005 at the age of 20 “ an appointment that has made her the youngest faculty member in the history of the college. She is the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Boston Jazz Society scholarship for outstanding musicianship.

In addition to the studying and the teaching, the Berklee years have also created a host of networking opportunities. Since her move to the East Coast, Spalding has worked with several notable artists, including pianist Michel Camilo, vibraphonist Dave Samuels, bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Pat Metheny, singer Patti Austin and saxophonists Donald Harrison and Joe Lovano. “Working with Joe was terrifying,” she recalls, “but he’s a really generous person. I don’t know if I was ready for the gig or not, but he had a lot of faith in me. It was an amazing learning experience.” [All about Jazz]

Charismatic and Soulful [Nate Chinen article]

Video of Esperanza Spalding in her Austin, Texas home.

New Orleans Memories

Some of the snapshots from the 1970s and 1980s just aren’t that clear and ‘good.’  Camera technology has come a long way (and maybe the lady behind the camera has learned a thing or two).

The New Orleans memories are good memories.

Jazz at Pat O’Briens (remember one evening when Al Hirt played – ohyes!).

The Sonesta Hotel.

A Streetcar Named Desire.

Beignets at Cafe du Monde

Strolling Jackson Square

Touring some of the old homes in the Garden District

Visiting the beautiful home of Lindy Boggs in the French Quarter

Breakfast at Brennan’s (is that restaurant still in New Orleans?)

The delicious delicious meals at Antoine’s . . . and The Commander’s Palace . . . and anywhere at all in New Orleans

AND MUCH MUCH MORE . . . and NOW – the Saints won the Super Bowl (I’m sure everyone already knows that!).

Would love to be in New Orleans in March for the 24th Annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival!

[Family trivia; Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams and I descend from the same Welsh John Williams – not that anyone cares for such trivia – but it interests me . . .]

Ah – New Orleans Memories – brought to the fore as I sort and organize the tons of scattered photographs I’ve carelessly stored . . .

music interests

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “people tend to  most prefer musical recordings that were released when they were teenagers or young adults,  with their interest peaking at about 23½ years of age, according to studies by researchers at Columbia University and Rutgers University.”

JAZZ!

One of my first cross-stitch pieces (le Jazz Hot!)