What does one say when the Divine decides to pay a social call? I don’t know if there’s only one answer, but mine was a quiet “Thank you,” and held-back tears.
JEEP’S BLUES — if examined analytically — is a mixture of the simplest blues phrases, phases that were part of the common musical lexicon in 1938. But what transforms it as a composition and a performance is what Louis called Tonation and Phrasing — which I translate as musicians achieving vocalized sounds through their instruments, singing with deep feeling, becoming a wordless choir.
The Jonathan Doyle Swingtet (for this set at the Redwood Coast Music Festival, Jonathan, tenor saxophone and arrangement; Jacob Zimmerman, alto saxophone; Charlie Halloran, trombone; Kris Tokarski, piano; Jamey Cummins, guitar; Steve Pikal, string bass; Hal Smith, drums) sang their pure and impure songs to us, to the heavens, and for the musicians present, past, and future. . . . secular hymns that elated us.
I’m sure some listeners will say, “Oh, that’s just a blues.” Too bad for them, say I. Blessings on these musicians, on Mark and Valerie Jansen of the Redwood Coast Music Festival (hint: May 7-10, 2020!) on Johnny Hodges and Duke Ellington, all of whom make holy music and make holy music possible.
May your happiness increase!