Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.


faults in the clouds of delusion

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Lost treasure

I just came across this amazing collection of old jazz videos.

It features, for instance:
- Nine whole minutes worth of Trane and Getz dueting, the only known occasion. Backed by Paul Chambers on bass, Jimmy Cobb on drums (that's the line-up!) and Oscar Peterson and Wynton Kelly both on piano (watch it to see)
- Five minutes worth of Trane's quartet, yes that one: Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison, McCoy Tyner.
- A full sixteen minutes of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1963, featuring Freddie Hubbard and a young Wayne Shorter(!)
[I keep wanting to stop typing this post and go back and watch the clips again.]
- Half an hour of Cannonball Adderley, featuring a young Joe Zawinul.
- Over twenty minutes of Mingus.
- Over a dozen minutes of Monk.
- Even a few seconds of Bird and Diz! Playing the theme to A Night in Tunisia :-)
And if you thought that was a little one track (pun unintended ha ha) (pity you), they even have some Zappa.

But for all that (and I haven't seen all the clips yet), the highlight for me is Billie Holiday's legendary CBS Jazz All-stars TV performance of "Fine and Mellow", with Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Vic Dickenson (trombone), Lester Young, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Mal Waldron (piano) Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), Danny Barker (guitar), Milt Hinton (bass), Ossie Johnson (drums). Why is it legendary? Well, the full story is here. But the gist of the matter is as follows. Bille Holiday (Lady Day) and Lester Young (Prez) had been lovers, once, long ago.

They had made their first unforgettable records together 20 years earlier and had subsequently fallen out, most likely over Holiday's drug use. "They had grown way apart," Hentoff said, "and when we were there for the blocking and the sound check, they very carefully were on different sides of the studio." Young was too weak to play in the big band section of the show, so Hentoff told him he should save his strength for a small-group session with Holiday. "And you can sit down. You don't have to stand."

They were to perform Fine and Mellow, Holiday's own song and one of the very few blues she ever recorded. Gerry Mulligan played the first solo, in double time. Ben Webster came next, blowing a single breathy, heartbreaking chorus. "Then, Lester got up," Hentoff remembered, "and he played the purest blues I have ever heard, and [he and Holiday] were looking at each other, their eyes were sort of interlocked, and she was sort of nodding and half-smiling. It was as if they were both remembering what had been — whatever that was. And in the control room we were all crying. When the show was over, they still went their separate ways."
Watch it and see.


Blogger wildflower seed said...

Did you get this link off the GDH list? It showed up a while ago, and I had it bookmarked for a possible post, but you beat me to it!

The interesting thing about Zawinul's gig with Cannonball Adderley is that he was already experimenting with electronic sounds (appropriately, in one of the funkiest jazz bands ever) before his gig with Miles. Some of the stuff that band has put out is awesome.

9/09/2006 11:22 PM  
Blogger MockTurtle said...

Finally got through the videos, and then S made me play them all over again.
Thanks for the link.

9/10/2006 7:48 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

ouch. hadn't meant to steal it off you. i just went through about two months of gdh-list backlog yesterday and was transfixed by this. wish i hadn't deleted the digest with the link.

i can't stop watching / thinking about the lady day - prez duet. it had featured pretty strongly on the ken burns series and had caught me back then as well, and seeing the whole thing makes it even more overwhelming. imagine -- twenty years down the line, both of them close to death, and such a moment.

glad you guys liked it. please share it round!

9/10/2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger km said...

Good lord, man, don't you want us to do *anything* productive this week?

9/11/2006 10:59 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

welcome back. had a nice weekend? :-)

9/12/2006 1:56 PM  
Blogger scout said...

where'd you go. too many mid-sem papers to correct?

ps: im gonna get word verification wrong - i can't tell if its kJwdgp or kIwdgp. hmph.

9/12/2006 5:42 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

it's my non-teaching semester so don't even think about it! that said, there's so much to do i wish i could just xkapw.

9/12/2006 10:31 PM  
Blogger gaddeswarup said...

Somewhat off topic. If you have not already seen this, it may interst you:

9/15/2006 8:54 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

thanks a lot! i hadn't heard of this one, but it looks like a follow-up to a paper that came out a few years ago. it's quite a reasonable finding, isn't it?

9/15/2006 9:52 AM  

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