I will indulge myself in a slight repetition of the first part of this blogpost, which you can read and hear here. It explains the beautiful image above.
Dan Block, one of the most consistently inspired creators I know, respects the music of the Swing Era and knows it deeply, but has chosen his own path through these two polarities. It’s hard to explain verbally, but it works in the same way the Möbius strip does: one reveres the original but opens it up innovatively (the artists we respect now were in some way all radical innovators) before returning home to the Palace of Swing. Dan and his comrades: Godwin Louis, alto saxophone; Adam Birnbaum, piano; Jennifer Vincent, string bass; Alvester Garnett, drums, did this ten times at an ecstatic musical evening at Smalls on February 3.
The three performances I’d already posted were HARLEM CONGO, NIGHTFALL, and BUGS PARADE. And here are four more uplifting explorations. I thought these performances were explosions of sensory pleasure when I heard and recorded them on the spot; they reveal more each time I listen.
Mary Lou Williams’ WALKIN’ AND SWINGIN’:
And the 1934 Henderson romp, which I think featured Red Allen, among others:
Edgar Sampson’s BLUE LOU:
and, finally, for this segment, a masterful reconsideration of DON’T BE THAT WAY that, to me, owes more to Lester’s 1938 solo than to any big-band (possibly industrial) version:
A wonderful musical intelligence and deep feeling here, for which I am immensely grateful.
May your happiness increase!