“A gift that cannot be given away ceases to be a gift,” writes Lewis Hyde. The music we love immediately resonates with generosity, “those pretty notes” given freely from the musicians to us, as we give back our gratitude.
Generosity isn’t always restricted to the great players. This morning, I must thank Nou Dadou (a fellow jazz-researcher) for letting us know about a rare radio interview Billie Holiday did in 1952. Never mind that Billie has interpreted historical facts in a rather affectionately loose way; it is a joy to hear her speak, to hear the pleasure with which she pronounces the names of Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and Oscar Peterson. The interview can be heard here.
My young friend Austin Casey — I can even say my young hero — then reminded me of some video footage of that Louis fellow, along with Kid Ory, Monette Moore, Johnny St. Cyr, and other home boys — at Disneyland in 1962. It’s reassuring to know that even then the crowd couldn’t clap on the right beats, but no matter. What a good time the band is having! Click here to be dee-lighted.
Those gifts will never grow old, wear out, or have to be returned. And if you’re in the holiday mood, send them on to someone you love . . . !
May your happiness increase.