Tag Archives: Kelley Rand

LOVE NOTES: TIM LAUGHLIN, CONNIE JONES, DOUG FINKE, CHRIS DAWSON, MARTY EGGERS, HAL SMITH, KATIE CAVERA at the San Diego Jazz Fest (November 29, 2014)

Today I keep thinking of Tommy Wilhelm, the center of Saul Bellow’s inescapable novel SEIZE THE DAY.  Tommy not only endures failure; he seems drawn to it and perpetuates it.  Yet he is one of those rare beings — in fiction or in life — who seems on the edge of perceiving deep truths about himself. These perceptions do not give him the strength to steer clear of the next disaster, but in one of Tommy’s interior monologues, he thinks three strong words.  Never mind the past tense.

Recovery was possible.

Words to hold on to, even when what we define as “the world” can be terribly dark, and the people in it, on their own orbits, somewhat heedless.

Recovery was possible.

For me, recovery takes the form of love in the shape of music.  No line is drawn between the two expressions.  The floating sounds say to me, and I hope to you, “We send love.  Our notes are embraces.  Our vibrations say that no one is alone. Feel the hope we offer, that you can make a choice to turn towards beauty.  Our sounds may heal those who can hear.”

Living proof: Tim Laughlin, clarinet; Connie Jones, cornet; Doug Finke, trombone; Chris Dawson, piano; Marty Eggers, string bass; Katie Cavera, guitar; Hal Smith, drums.  Recorded at the San Diego Jazz Fest on November 29, 2014.

IF YOU WERE THE ONLY GIRL IN THE WORLD:

I thank these musicians for embodying such dear truths.

May your happiness increase!

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THE SWEETNESS OF FRIENDSHIP: NEW ORLEANS / NEW YORK CITY (April 2015)

Friends keep us afloat in this world.

Pianist / composer Kris Tokarski is a dear friend I’ve not yet met in person; the same is true for videographer / free spirit Kelley Rand.  Together with the fine tenor saxophonist Rex Gregory they conspired to give me a delicious gift.

Recently, Kris and I were in conversation online about his upcoming gig (April 23, 2015) at the Bombay Club in New Orleans in duet with Rex . . . and the subject of the 1956 quartet session, PRES AND TEDDY [that’s Lester Young, Teddy Wilson, Gene Ramey, and Jo Jones] came up.  I told Kris my story about seeing Teddy in person at a shopping center in 1971 and asking him to autograph my record, which he did, speaking only two words, “Thank you.”

Half-facetiously, I said to Kris that he and Rex should play LOUISE, one of the great lyrical songs from that session — one rarely performed by jazzmen, Bix and Tram being a notable exception.  I thought that would be the extent of my cyber-meddling, until Kelley dropped this gem at my feet.  Don’t miss the spoken dedication:

How lyrical, how joyous.  And connoisseurs of improvisation will note that Kris and Rex know the places where one could insert an easy cliché, a glib quotation; they nimbly dance around such temptations to create something light and heartfelt.

I’m both honored and delighted — by the lovely music and the generous intent behind it all.  And if you subscribe to Kelley Rand‘s YouTube channel, there are more videos of Kris and friends . . . . and I know other surprises are on the way.

The other instance of what I call Love in Swingtime — after the Ellington performance — came during a Sunday afternoon appearance on April 5, 2015, at Casa Mezcal on Orchard Street in New York City by Tamar Korn, that celestial butterfly of song; Ehud Asherie, piano; Rob Adkins, string bass.

I had told Tamar, whom I count as a dear friend and cosmic marvel, of some rough times I had been having, and she was compassionate and sympathetic. When she began her set, I expected nothing more to come of her affectionate concern, but when she launched into that wonderful bit of optimistic philosophy, WRAP YOUR TROUBLES IN DREAMS, she delivered a great gift at :27.

I was and am immensely touched, and the memory of this moment has made me more buoyant ever since.  Yes, the people at Mezcal are talking, but the music — that bright spiritual beacon — cuts through:

“Say my glory was I had such friends.”  W.B. Yeats, “The Municipal Gallery Revisited.”

May your happiness increase!

MR. SMITH GOES TO NEW ORLEANS (HAL SMITH, JAMES EVANS, KRIS TOKARSKI at the BOMBAY CLUB, APRIL 11, 2015)

I feel surrounded by friends.  There is the superb drummer Hal Smith (whose mastery of sounds is quite delicious), whom I’ve known for years, pianist Kris Tokarski, whom I hold dear although we’ve not met, reedman / singer James Evans, who is even more un-met but much admired . . . and the nimble new videographer Kelley Rand — who captured this wonderful trio at New Orleans’ Bombay Club on April 11, 2015.

Here are three samples:

MEAN TO ME

LOVE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER

LESTER LEAPS IN

Kelley’s also captured SUGAR, OLD FASHIONED LOVE, MY SILENT LOVE, JUST YOU, JUST ME, ROSETTA, BODY AND SOUL, and ‘DEED I DO by this trio, as well as wonderful solo performances by Kris. Here’s a tenderly swinging DROP ME OFF IN HARLEM, the title of his CD:

What wonderful music.  Thanks to everyone for spreading the gospel of swinging love.

May your happiness increase!

EXPANDING THE COMMUNITY, or WELCOME, KELLEY!

I think of the small group of people who are so devoted to jazz that they become video archivists as a dear community.  None of this “standing on the shoulders of giants” for me, because my balance is not so good when I am standing in that way.  Merely envisioning this gives me vertigo.

No, my image is a small circle of people holding hands, close enough to look in each others’ eyes and grin, proud of their own work and happy that others are doing it as well.  Here are a few friends I know personally, who have done so much to make the music accessible to people who can’t be everywhere.

My first role model was — and continues to be — the diligent Rae Ann Hopkins Berry, the reigning monarch of California Hot.  Since March 2008, she’s kept up a steady flow of videos on her YouTube channel.  I was inspired by her and continue to be so, even though I am no longer in California.  The people I first thought as the dear heroes of music I saw on her videos.

I started videoing on YouTube a bit later, and my first videos were of David Ostwald’s Gully Low Jazz Band / Louis Armstrong Centennial Band / Louis Armstrong Eternity Band in October 2008.  And I upload while you are sleeping, often while I, too, am sleeping.

New friends and videographers came along.  Eric Devine, the master of multiple cameras, who’s known as CineDevine, creates very polished videos at concerts, parties, and festivals from New England to Florida.  He started in 2008, too, although we continue to have an older brother – younger brother relationship when we talk shop.

A few years later, the Michigander flautist and friend of jazz Laura Beth Wyman set up shop in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, and has provided JAZZ LIVES with so many gorgeous videos of Professor James Dapogny and friends that she was asked to be the Chief of the Michigan Bureau, a task she accepted with great grace.

The newest member of the hand-holding video community is very welcome: her name is Kelley Rand and although her first videos have only shown up on Facebook about a week ago, her work is astonishing.  For one thing, she is getting splendid results with her iPhone (which means that, unlike me, she is not carrying an eighteen-pound knapsack of cameras) and she has made about a half-dozen astonishing videos in New Orleans.  Several feature the ever-astonishing Dick Hyman and the melodic wonder Tim Laughlin in duet: WHO’S SORRY NOW, ONE HOUR, A NIGHTINGALE SANG IN BERKELEY SQUARE, and Hyman solos on JITTERBUG WALTZ and S’WONDERFUL.  She’s also captured Tim and the brilliant young pianist Kris Tokarski in performance at the Bombay Club: IF DREAMS COME TRUE, LOVE NEST, OH DADDY BLUES, RIVERBOAT SHUFFLE.

Since I am in New Orleans once a year, so far, at most, I have appointed her the Chief of the Louisiana Bureau.  She will only find this out when she reads this far, and I hope she agrees.  The health benefits are not delineated in any contract: they simply mean that more people will get to know her, thank her, and appreciate her diligence and generosities.

The nicest part of all this is that we all respect each other, make subtle courteous agreements not to step on each others’ turf, get in each others’ shots, and so on. We are united in the name of MUSIC, and the deep notion that as many people should get to enjoy it as possible.  And we capture the evanescent and make it tangible, even eternal.

And — as an afterthought — I know there are many people videoing at clubs and concerts around the world, and I mean them no offense by not including them here.  But these four people are dear to me, and I am proud to know them.

May your happiness increase!