I could introduce this post in several ways: a reference to Irving Berlin’s THE SONG IS ENDED in my title, a memory of Faulkner’s character Gavin Stevens, “The past isn’t dead; it’s not even past,” or perhaps Shelley:
Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
All true. But I’d prefer to start with the mundane before presenting magical vibrating sounds. I have spent more than a month in the emotion-charged task of tidying my apartment. No sandwiches under the bed — in my world, food gets eaten — or inches of dust, since I do know how to use standard cleaning tools (even when I neglect to). It is more a matter of sifting through things that had been put into piles “for when I have time,” which I now do. And I was rewarded by objects I once thought lost coming back to me of their own accord.
One such delight is an assortment of videos, created but now often forgotten, that I had shot at Jazz at Chautauqua: I’ve shared some of them already: fourteen such postings since February 2018: search for “Chautauqua” and they will jump into your lap.
But here are three “new” previously unseen masterpieces from the informal Thursday-night session at Chautauqua — by a quartet of subtle wizards of melody, Harry Allen, tenor saxophone; Rossano Sportiello, piano; Jon Burr, string bass. And Joe Wilder, not the young hero of the Fifties but — if possible — more subtle, more deep, more able to touch our hearts.
The videos aren’t perfect. The piano could have been tuned more recently. Heads are in the way, some famous, and the image I achieved with that camera is not perfectly sharp. DON’T BLAME ME ends abruptly and incompletely — my fault. But I marvel at the music and hope you will also.
‘DEED I DO, where Joe leaps in exuberantly:
JUST SQUEEZE ME:
I am saving the closing two performances from this session for another post: it would not be right to choke you with an excess of beauty all at once. And when I think about the blessings of the second half of my life, I include the friendly respect of the musicians here — the gracious living trio and Joe. When I think that Joe spoke to me, wrote to me, and laughed with me, my joy and awe are immense . . . but he extended the gift of his warm self to so many, I know I am not unique.
This post is sent as a gift to Solveig Wilder. And it is dedicated to the memory of Ed Berger and Joe Boughton, each of whom made beauty possible.
May your happiness increase!