This guy, whom I worked with in the 1970s, co-producing this track and a few others for Alligator Records (Living Chicago Blues, Vol. 1), just turned ninety. One of my sons, now older than I was then, heard him the other night at a Chicago club, where, he said, his guitar playing was “robust.” How wonderful to be ninety years old and robust. How wonderful, too, to be able to share music with a son.
“Breaking up Somebody’s Home” (T. Matthews, A. Jackson), 1978
Here he is forty years later.
“People Get Ready” (C. Mayfield), “That’s All Right,” Chicago, 2018
Makaya McCraven (drums, compositions), et al., live (studio), 11/19/18
They’re playing tonight in Dublin, tomorrow in London, and Thursday in Chicago (MM’s hometown).
Right now his music, which, I realize, may be an acquired taste, is giving me as much pleasure as anything.
Enno Poppe (1969-), Stoff (2015); Ensemble Dal Niente (Enno Poppe, guest cond.), live, Chicago, 2016
Tyshawn Sorey Trio (TS, compositions, drums [2017 MacArthur Fellow]), Cory Smythe (piano), Chris Tordini (bass), live, New York, 2015
This I could listen to—I could lose myself in—for a long, long time.
They’re playing Thursday night at the University of Chicago.
last night, Oak Park, Ill.
“When the Gates Swing Open” (T. A. Dorsey)
Otis Clay (1942-2016), live, Chicago, c. 2007
Al Green (1946-), live, Memphis, 1983
“The Only Way Is Up” (G. Jackson, J. Henderson)
Otis Clay (1942-2016), 1980
A few years after Otis Clay recorded this song for his small Chicago label, another version was released in England, where it topped the charts for several weeks.
Yazz (1960-), 1988
It is Spring in the mountains.
I come alone seeking you.
The sound of chopping wood echoes
Between the silent peaks.
The streams are still icy.
There is snow on the trail.
At sunset I reach your grove
In the stony mountain pass.
You want nothing, although at night
You can see the aura of gold
And silver ore all around you.
You have learned to be gentle
As the mountain deer you have tamed.
The way back forgotten, hidden
Away, I become like you,
An empty boat, floating, adrift.
—Tu Fu (aka Du Fu, 712-729), “Written on the Wall of Chang’s Hermitage” (translated from Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth)