I’ve been told that I sound like a New Yorker, which doesn’t surprise me, although I think there are many strains of New Yorkishness, all subtly different. But to think I carry the inflections of my native land even when I’m in Sedalia, Missouri, for the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, is pleasing. So before I walk two blocks to hear more delightful music, I will offer some genuine sounds of New York for you, wherever you may read this.
I made another trip — a pilgrimage, rather, to the shrine for delicate and forthright creative improvisation (call it what you will), The Ear Inn, 326 Spring Street, Soho, New York City, on Sunday, May 13. And the spiritual guides for that evening convocation were Danny Tobias, various brass instruments; Scott Robinson, taragoto, tenor saxophone, and other instruments; Chris Flory, guitar; Pat O’Leary, string bass. Here are three splendid songs and improvisations created for us by four splendid players.
Hoagy Carmichael’s ROCKIN’ CHAIR, at a very Bixian tempo:
Victor Young’s SWEET SUE, now ninety years old:
KANSAS CITY MAN BLUES, associated with Sidney Bechet, but theoretically written by Clarence Williams:
I couldn’t stay for the second set — my semester was still hobbling to a close — but I hope to make it to The Ear Inn more often this summer. You should, too.
May your happiness increase!