The neophyte at a jazz performance asks with the proper mixture of curiosity and awe, “How do they know what they are doing, I mean, without any music? How do they know where they are going?” Deep questions, and the musicians can answer in terms of experience, craft, practice, the common language. All true. But I’d suggest it comes down to a combination of courage and faith — faith in what they feel, in the deep listening necessary to make any collaboration work, and the courage to launch oneself into the blue air, with expertise and a delight in risk as equal factors. How lost can you be with friends to support you when you strike out into the unknown . . . making it known and beautiful?
I think of Emerson’s SELF-RELIANCE embodied over a swinging, melodic four-four heartbeat. I’ve written here about the music made by Tamar Korn, voice; Dan Block, reeds; Rob Adkins, string bass, on a sunny Sunday afternoon — May 24, 2015.
Here are three more beautifully surprising and satisfying explorations by this trio, where the original melodies and harmonies are never obliterated, but the formal boundaries are delightfully made elastic. Song becomes speech becomes sound; singing becomes theatre; solo becomes accompaniment; tempo and pitch are flexible and meant to be so. Beautiful sounds become the reason these there are where they are, and we are grateful.
Fats Waller and Andy Razaf’s I’VE GOT A FEELING I’M FALLING:
Irving Berlin’s most tender declaration of unbroken fidelity, ALWAYS (at such a beautiful tempo):
Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer’s most wistful SKYLARK full of birdsong:
This music is bold and gentle both, a remarkable offering. And a few more marvels will emerge in time.
May your happiness increase!