When your kids go back to college (as my older son Alex did Saturday and my younger son Luke ten days ago), it’s not just their voices you no longer hear around the house; it’s also the voices they listen to—like this guy, for instance (a Luke favorite).
Mike Posner, “Cooler Than Me,” live, Los Angeles, 2010
He’s [Tom Jones] got a new gospel album out on Lost Highway that is really good.
Absolutely love your latest clips. Was that Kermit Ruffins and Trombone Shorty on the Rebirth clip [don’t believe so]? If you haven’t already, please check out Praise & Blame by Tom Jones. I picked it up after reading a review by Jim Fusilli in the WSJ. It is very good. Thanks for what you do. I look forward to your email each day.
The other day I happened upon a wonderful photography exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center (through September 19th), The Jazz Loft Project, W. Eugene Smith in NYC, 1957-1965.
From Smith’s loft (821 Sixth Ave. [near W. 28th St.])
It is hard to believe of the world that there should be/music in it . . .
—William Bronk (from “The Nature of Musical Form”)
If you were a musician, could anything be worse than to find, one day, that unlike the day before, and the day before that, and all the other days you could remember, you were no longer able to play your instrument? That’s what happened, in 1958, to this man, the great British classical pianist Solomon Cutner (known professionally simply as Solomon). Then 56 years old and at the height of his career, he suffered a stroke. It left his right arm paralyzed, silencing him for the rest of his life, which lasted another 32 years.
Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor (“Appassionata” )/Solomon, piano
Andras Schiff on Beethoven’s piano sonatas
In London a couple years ago, pianist Andras Schiff explored Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in a series of much-acclaimed lecture-recitals, which can be heard here.
Thelonious Monk and Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, et al.
Thelonious Monk possessed an impressive knowledge of, and appreciation for, Western classical music, not to mention an encyclopedic knowledge of hymns and gospel music, American popular songs, and a variety of obscure art songs that defy easy categorization. For him, it was all music. Once in 1966, a phalanx of reporters in Helsinki pressed Monk about his thoughts on classical music and whether or not jazz and classical can come together. His drummer, Ben Riley, watched the conversation unfold: ‘Everyone wanted him to answer, give some type of definition between classical music and jazz . . . So he says, ‘Two is one,’ and that stopped the whole room. No one else said anything else.’ Two is one, indeed. Monk loved Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, and Bach, and like many of his peers of the bebop generation, he took an interest in Igor Stravinsky.—Robin D. G. Kelley, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (2009)
(Originally posted on 11/3/09.)
Since yesterday I’ve been listening nearly nonstop to WKCR-FM, which (as mentioned in yesterday’s post) is devoting three straight days to the music of Lester Young and Charlie Parker, in celebration of their respective birthdays (LY’s was Friday, CP’s is tomorrow). Something happens—something delicious—when you surrender your ears and yourself to someone’s music for such a sustained period of time. Little by little, that musician moves in, taking up residence in your brain. Their distinctive voice becomes, for a time, inseparable from everything else you’re hearing and seeing and thinking and feeling. If you’d like to experience this for yourself, go here (you won’t regret it).
Lester Young, August 27, 1909-March 15, 1959
(nicknamed “Pres” [or “Prez”] by Billie Holiday, who called him the “president of tenor saxophonists”)
Who else is at once so earthy and so ethereal?
Jammin’ the Blues (1944)
On Lester Young
One of my favorite radio stations, WKCR-FM (based at Columbia University and available on-line), is celebrating Pres’s birthday in the best possible way—playing his music all day. (Actually, they’re playing his music for 36 hours straight, until the middle of the day tomorrow, when they’ll begin playing the music of Charlie Parker, whose birthday is Sunday, for the next 36 hours.)