Jake Hanna said — more than once — “When you get too far from Basie, you’re just kidding yourself.”
Reedman Matthias Seuffert knows this well, and put his knowledge into action at the 2014 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party, with a delightful set of Basie music. Matthias diverted us with his tenor saxophone and clarinet; Enrico Tomasso played trumpet; the rhythm section, essential, was Martin Litton, piano; Henri Lemaire, rhythm guitar; Malcolm Sked, string bass; Richard Pite, drums.
EASY DOES IT:
Eddie Durham’s TOPSY:
THESE FOOLISH THINGS:
COUNTLESS BLUES, in honor of the 1938 Kansas City Six:
SHOE SHINE BOY:
BLUE AND SENTIMENTAL, for Herschel:
and moving into the Fifties, FLIGHT OF THE FOO BIRDS (don’t let all that manuscript paper seem intimidating):
“Easy does it” isn’t just a bumper sticker or a catchphrase: it’s a way of life both inside and outside jazz. What would happen if we tried to live the Basie way? Worth considering.
And on a more pragmatic note, each of the musicians seen in the videos will be playing at the 2015 Mike Durham Classic Jazz Party — November 6-8. I’ve already started to look into airplane tickets and fares . . . a sign of great moral commitment to this Party. If you’ve never been there, and you can get there, and you don’t . . . why, you’re just kidding yourself. Where have I heard those words before?
May your happiness increase!