How do you honor the past? By being yourself and letting the ancestral beauties and lessons flow through you. Here are three young musicians who not only understand that deep truth but embody it: Rob Adkins, string bass; Evan Arntzen, tenor saxophone (and a surprise vocal on DREAMS); Ehud Asherie, piano. I offer you two lovely performances recorded at Casa Mezcal on February 7, 2016.
I knew this gorgeous song through Louis’ Decca recording, then through Ruby Braff and Scott Hamilton (separately) but it was a thrill to hear this trio explore it with such deep fwwling but such a light tread. And its title — and unheard lyrics — ask the eternal question:
Then, a Swing Era anthem — beloved of James P. Johnson, Lester and Billie, and many more. The sheet music below credits Benny Goodman and Irving Mills along with Edgar Sampson, but I’d give the latter full credit.
Incidentally, I’ve left the Louis version of WAS I TO BLAME? and the James P. and Billie-Lester versions to those willing to embark on a few YouTube clicks. I revere those records and have done so for decades, but comparison is — not necessarily odious — to me, disrespectful. We should honor the giants who walk and create among us, shouldn’t we? And thank them, not posthumously, but now, for their gracious, eloquent playing and singing.
May your happiness increase!
Posted in "Thanks A Million", Bliss!, Generosities, Hotter Than That, Ideal Places, It's All True, Jazz Titans, Pay Attention!, Swing You Cats!, That Was Fun!, The Heroes Among Us, The Real Thing, The Things We Love, Wow!
Tagged "If Dreams Come True", Billie Holiday, Casa Mezcal, Edgar Sampson, Ehud Asherie, Evan Arntzen, Gus Kahn, Irving Mills, James P. Johnson, Jazz Lives, Lester Young, Louis Armstrong, M.Neuman, Michael Steinman, Rob Adkins, Victor Young, WAS I TO BLAME?
The most lasting art produces an immediate visceral delight, nearly overpowering.
I could go on at length about why this version of IF DREAMS COME TRUE, recorded live at the 2009 Jazz at Chautauqua, is so intellectually satisfying: the conversational inventiveness of the players, the spirited, inventive soloing, the splendid pulse of the rhythm section, the unique sound of each player . . . but I have to leave my analytical self behind when this music begins. I can’t watch this clip without jogging up and down, back and forth in my chair, in pure pleasure.
Blessings on Jon-Erik Kellso, Scott Robinson, Ehud Asherie, Andy Brown, and Arnie Kinsella. May their porridge always be nicely flavored; may their pillows be fluffy but not too fluffy; may they always have reason to smile as they do here — because they spread joy generously. How they rock!
Posted in "Thanks A Million", Irreplaceable, Jazz Titans, Pay Attention!, Swing You Cats!, The Heroes Among Us, The Real Thing, The Things We Love
Tagged "If Dreams Come True", Andy Brown, Arnie Kinsella, Ehud Asherie, Jazz at Chautauqua 2009, jazz blog, Jazz Lives, Jon-Erik Kellso, live video, Michael Steinman, Scott Robinson
I happened upon this YouTube clip (click the picture to play it) by accident, web-surfing in hopes of finding a CD issue of James P. Johnson’s solos that had both takes of “If Dreams Come True” together. That didn’t appear — but I now know about the French stride wonder M. Lancelot, caught here in his native habitat. He’s played with Paris Washboard, and has appeared in the United States before. And he will be appearing later this year with Dan Levinson at a number of gigs. But, for now, admire the lightness and dexterity of his left hand, performing what Louis Mazetier calls the “windshield wiper” motion so essential to stride. And if he’s loosely based this performance on James P.’s famous 1939 solo, that is an asset, not a liability. People like myself who have been listening to that record for years (I first encountered it in my local library sometime before 1970 . . . !) can now SEE how James P. made some of those sounds. Three minutes of bliss, it seems like.
For information about Lancelot and his United States gigs, check www.lancelotmusic.com., and www.danlevinson.com.