The term “sideman” can be misleading. It suggests a leader/soloist who reigns supreme while the other musicians serve merely as accompanists. But the strongest jazz performances, especially live ones, rarely work that way—they’re all about interplay. Here, on piano, bass, and drums, are three of the finest jazz musicians in recent memory. Each contributes mightily to the quality of this performance. All, alas, are now gone.
David Murray, tenor saxophone, with John Hicks, piano; Fred Hopkins, bass; Ed Blackwell, drums; “Morning Song,” live, New York (Village Vanguard), 1986
Here are just a few of the things I love about what these guys do:
:14-16, :45-48, 1:17-20: Hopkins can be both fat and precise, funky and elegant. What other bassist pops so impeccably?
4:04-4:22: This is pure Blackwell: a delicate counterpoint dance that lifts everything without ever calling attention to itself.
5:25-42, 6:00-05: Some musicians play “inside” the chord changes and structure, some play “outside”; only a few, like Hicks, are able to do both at once, delineating the changes and structure while at the same time subverting them.
Great! [T. L. Barrett]
I love your music clips . . . . Listening to Gil Scott-Heron right now, in fact.
love this . . . thank you for including me! [Jimmie Dale Gilmore]