ONE LAST LOOK, PERHAPS?

In the great stories, looking back over your shoulder is emotionally understandable.  But it often ends up badly.  Ask Eurydice; ask Lot’s wife. 

But I am having a hard time parting from my videos of the 2009 Jazz at Chautauqua, so I thought I would post yet another set, recorded at 10:30 Sunday morning, undiscovered territory for most jazz musicians, nocturnal by occupation and habit.  Some of the players look unusually impassive, but even in the unaccustomed bright light, the set has an undeniable casual splendor.

On the stand were Duke Heitger, Andy Schumm, Dan Barrett, Scott Robinson, Bob Reitmeier, Ehud Asherie, Marty Grosz, Frank Tate, and Pete Siers — gathered together for a medium-fast one, a ballad medley, and a short romp through an ancient Good Old Good One.

Here they are, caught a few bars too late, into LINGER AWHILE, a song I always associate with the 1943 Dicky Wells recording featuring Bill Coleman, Lester Young, Ellis Larkins, Al Hall, and Jo Jones.  You’ll admire Pete’s splashing cymbal work, the neatness of Dan’s solo, Scott’s winding lyricism, and the way a hidden Andy comes from nowhere:

One of the highlights of Jazz at Chautauqua is the opening ballad medley, where just about everyone is asked to play one chorus at a slow tempo of a ballad — the musicians climb on and off the stand, the rhythm section learns at short notice that the next endeavor is, say, SKYLARK in F, and everyone handles it magnificently.  (It’s so much more rewarding than asking everyone to play BODY AND SOUL for twenty minutes.)  Duke decided to repeat this treat in miniature, beginning with his own MEMORIES OF YOU, followed by Bob playing STARDUST, Scott weaving his way through PRELUDE TO A KISS, Andy recalling Willard Robison on OLD FOLKS, and Dan Barrett bringing everyone together to intone IF I HAD YOU.  But the bad news is that YouTube wouldn’t let me post it: it ran longer than ten minutes.  Grrrr.  But here’s some consolation — an ideal get-off-the-stage performance, a brisk CHINA BOY, compact and hot:

How many days is it till Jazz at Chautauqua 2010?

4 responses to “ONE LAST LOOK, PERHAPS?

  1. Pingback: ONE LAST LOOK, PERHAPS?

  2. I’ve been saving up your “Jazz Lives” emails to savor at a later date but today I had my first chance to catch one (Linger a While) & want to thank you for taking the time & making the effort to capture & share these unique moments.I don’t know yet if this is typical of your camera work (there’s room for improvement here – it’s always nice to see the soloist’s faces) but the main thing is that you’ve captured the moment – which otherwise might be lost forever. I’ve been doing the same sort of thing since 1955 when I joined the photo staff of METRONOME. Those were great days! All the giants were still alive – from Willie the Lion, thru Lester, Roy & The Hawk. I got a chance to hear & shoot them all, but I didn’t start video until I got an NEA Grant to collect Oral Histories from Survivors of the Big Bands (most of which have been donated to the IJS at Rutgers. 60 years of club dates on tb & bass were enough, but I’m still playing & doing the interviews & documenting rehearsals, record dates, jam session, concerts & Memorial Services. Once I learn how, I may be able to share stuff with YOU. Thanks again for your efforts,

    Bill Spilka

  3. Michael, that’s one of the joys of Facebook. You can load up video that stretches up to 20 minutes in length. Think about it. 😉

  4. Thanks for the tip, Jamaica, but Facebook makes me a-feared . . . as one who spends too much time at the computer as it is. But this is very Luddite of me, I admit! Cheers, Michael

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