Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Walking outside and toward a local Starbucks, I cannot mistake the jazz saxophone greeting me from the speakers. Now, who is it? Is it Coltrane? Not quite. That means it is probably Dexter Gordon, although I have not heard the particular piece he is playing.
I asked the worker (who was my age, I wager) behind the register to tell me who was playing. She eagerly went back to check, and replied with a smile, "Dexter Gordon!"
"I have been listening to a lot of Dexter lately," I said. "Are you a jazz fan?" (One can sense these things.)
"Yes, I love the way jazz emotes one's feelings..."
We exchanged a few more words of jazz talk (not small talk) before I left. "My mother saw Duke Ellington in New York in the 40s and 50s," I bragged. "Oh!" she exclaimed with a smile while touching her heart with her hand.
Jazz grace strikes again (when needed; as it was).
Friday, August 19, 2011
In all my years of listening to, savoring, and comparing jazz pianists, my ears and soul have never heard anyone play the instrument as did Edward Kennedy Ellington. Yes, his orchestra was his instrument, but so was his piano--and no one could touch his touch, his humor, his spacing, his quirky perfections. I marvel and am thankful to you, Duke Ellington wherever you are.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
I just discovered this idiosyncratic, but delightful piece by Duke Ellington called, "Moon Maiden" (from "The Intimate Ellington"). Duke recites a poem with the backing of a keyboard of some kind, not regular piano. Perhaps it is a harpsichord.
Notice how perfectly Duke intones the lyrics--having fun, ahead of the beat, behind the beat, on the beat. It is "beyond category" once again.
My link to this music features a video created to accompany it. I suggest you not watch it, at least the first time you listen.