We all know what a ballad is — a rhapsodic experience, possibly melancholy, played or sung slowly. But a “rhythm ballad” is something created in the Thirties: a sweet ballad played at a danceable tempo, so that you and your honey could swoon while doing those steps you had practiced at home. Even when the lyrics described heartbreak, those performances had a distinct pulse, or as Marty Grosz says below, “I gotta wake up.” Here are some moving examples of the form, performed during the closing ballad medley at Jazz at Chautauqua in September 2012. First, Marty evokes 1931 Bing Crosby, then Rossano Sportiello honors Hoagy Carmichael, and Dan Barrett tenderly expresses a wish for gentle romantic possession:
Howard Alden’s melodic exposition of an early-Fifties pop hit:
Finally, Dan Block — incapable of playing dull notes — woos us in a Johnny Hodges reverie over imagined real estate:
It’s appropriate that this post begins with THANKS — words cannot convey my gratitude to these artists who continue to enrich our lives. And I am particularly grateful to those who allowed me to aim a camera at them . . . so that we can all enjoy the results.
May your happiness increase!
Posted in Bliss!, Generosities, Ideal Places, Irreplaceable, It's All True, Jazz Titans, Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!, Pay Attention!, Swing You Cats!, That Was Fun!, The Heroes Among Us, The Real Thing, The Things We Love, Wow!
Tagged ballad, banjo, Bing Crosby, Dan Barrett, Dan Block, Hoagy Carmichael, Howard Alden, IF I HAD YOU, Jazz At Chautauqua, Jazz Lives, Joe Boughton, Johnny Hodges, Kerry Lewis, Marty Grosz, Michael Steinman, PENTHOUSE SERENADE, Pete Siers, rhythm ballad, Rossano Sportiello, Stardust, THANKS, THE THINGS WE DID LAST SUMMER
How beautiful: a quietly impassioned reading of IF I HAD YOU by Dawn Giblin, voice; James Dapogny, pianoforte; Mike Karoub, violincello. Recorded for us by Laura Beth Wyman of Wyman Video on January 30, 2017. The sharp-eared will catch admiring echoes of WILLOW TREE and IF THE MOON TURNS GREEN, but these evocations are created with the most subtle art.
Beautifully in balance, in sound and emotion — this is one of those rare deeply egalitarian ensembles where the three players are supportive, emotive, and generous — no star turns here but sweet feeling shared and intensified. You’ve already heard a good deal (although not enough) from Professors Dapogny and Karoub on this blog, but I predict you will hear more, and admire more, of the lovely singing of Ms. Giblin.
And serious gratitude to Laura Wyman of Wyman Video, videographer to the Stars. Without her, this would have been a moving interlude, remembered only by the people performing and watching. Now we have it to enjoy more than once.
May your happiness increase!
Posted in "Thanks A Million", Bliss!, Generosities, Ideal Places, Irreplaceable, 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 Dawn Giblin, IF I HAD YOU, James Dapogny, Jazz Lives, Jeff Dunn, Jim Dapogny, Laura Beth Wyman, Michael Steinman, Mike Karoub, Wyman Video