Daily Archives: February 13, 2021

WITH OPEN EARS

For your consideration, a drum solo, under two minutes.

For the moment, the player — a professional jazz drummer playing live in 1973 — will be unidentified. It’s not a trick, and the player isn’t me.  That the photograph is of a Rogers snare is coincidental.

I offer this as a test run for listeners, because I think even the wisest of us are conditioned by evidence other than what our ears tell us. If we’re given the name X, judgments, associations, preconceptions, likes and dislikes spring to mind.  It’s then difficult for most listeners to actually respond with open-eared curiosity to what they actually hear, rather than guessing who the player is, and other kinds of artistic irrelevancies.

“I don’t know who that is, but wow, she sounds great. . . . ” is a start to true hearing.  “She Sounds Just Like ______,” to me, isn’t.

“What do I hear?” is the central question. This is a “blindfold test” of sorts, but  distinctly not the DOWN BEAT version.  There are no prizes for “getting it right.”

Your thoughts?  I will reveal all in two days, so check back . . .

Since JAZZ LIVES isn’t Facebook, I reserve the right to ignore comments that are unkind.  To anyone.

And just sending in a name — “That’s Big Beat Smoochy! His Chicago period!” — misses the point.  Tell me what you hear . . .

May your happiness increase!

 

ROMANTIC SOUNDS from DUKE ELLINGTON IN CLEVELAND (August 29, 1942)

 

Duke and Evie [Ellis] Ellington

Deep wartime romance, recorded four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor:

I might have heard the music that follows in 1990, but it’s more than memorable to me.  Yes, it’s a medley of current hits for the dancers — but what hits, and how gorgeous they sound.  I only dimly remembered Tricky Sam being inimitable on TANGERINE, but Ben Webster’s absolutely romantic reading of I DON’T WANT TO WALK WITHOUT YOU by Jule Styne and Frank Loesser is a paean to intimacies, never to be forgotten.

It’s the post-Blanton, post-Bigard, but still celestial Ellington orchestra on an NBC broadcast from the Palace Theatre, in Cleveland, Ohio, August 29, 1942 — proving once again Barbara Rosene’s assertion that everything good comes from that state, even if the band was only passing through.

Rex Stewart, cornet; Wallace Jones, trumpet; Ray Nance, trumpet, violin; Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton, Lawrence Brown, trombone; Juan Tizol, valve-trombone; Chauncey Haughton, clarinet, tenor saxophone;  Johnny Hodges, alto saxophone; Otto Hardwick, alto saxophone, clarinet; Ben Webster, tenor saxophone; Harry Carney, baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass-clarinet; Duke Ellington, piano, arranger; Fred Guy, guitar; Junior Raglin, string bass; Sonny Greer, drums.

TANGERINE (featuring Tricky Sam Nanton) / WHO WOULDN’T LOVE YOU? (Lawrence Brown), / (unidentified interlude for Chauncey Haughton[?]) / I DON’T WANT TO WALK WITHOUT YOU (Ben Webster) //

May your happiness increase!