One of the privileges of being who I am at this moment is the ability to burst into tears while watching a video at the computer.
I clicked on the video below, of trumpeter / singer Jeff Healey and friends swinging through I’M GOING TO SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER and found myself crying.
I felt grief that Jeff is no longer alive and joy at the music he created and creates. No one who can create such beauty is dead, I think, although I mourn his departure from the scene.
Here’s the music; all the details are explained at the end:
Posted in "Thanks A Million", Irreplaceable, Jazz Titans, Pay Attention!, Swing You Cats!, The Real Thing, The Things We Love
Tagged Fats Waller, grief, hot jazz, Jazz Lives, Jeff Healey, joy, Michael Steinman, romping, swing, weeping
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The world would be a better place if more people knew about guitarist / singer Teddy Bunn.
There! I’ve said it again!
Most people who know anything about Mr. Bunn associate him with the Spirits of Rhythm and with deep blues playing. But he could also fly over that fretboard in a most swinging fashion!
Here are two examples: IT’S SWEET LIKE SO (1931, Victor) a duet between Bunn and pianist Spencer Williams. Williams — more often known as a composer — is equally adroit, mixing Hines and stride, although he tends to get faster and faster as the already fast tempo continues. The song (if you can call it that) is a rapid-fire vaudeville piece with the same chord changes as a dozen other slightly naughty ones:
And here is one of Bunn’s masterpieces — a solo rendering (1940, Blue Note) of KING PORTER STOMP, where his enthusiasm and invention seem boundless, as he keeps his only indetity while impersonating a thirteen-piece swing band:
Listen and admire — the bent notes, the overall sonority — even if you’re not a guitarist. And if you know a guitarist, do all of us a favor by sending this post along. I have kept up my Bunnian missionary zeal for years now: when I meet a student who brings his or her guitar to class, I say, “Your homework is to check out Teddy Bunn.” And a few — the rare few — have come back and thanked me. “Professor, Teddy Bunn is really cool.”
That he is.
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 acoustic jazz, Blue Note Records, blues guitar, Earl Hines, jazz guitar, Jazz Lives, Michael Steinman, romping, Spencer Williams, Spirits of Rhythm, Stride piano, Teddy Bunn, vaudeville