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Tag: Woody Shaw

Tuesday, December 17th

sounds of New York

More of one of my favorite drummers—again at the Village Vanguard.

Ed Blackwell (drums, 1929-1992) with Mal Waldron (1925-2002, piano), Charles Rouse (1924-1988, tenor saxophone), Woody Shaw (1944-1989, flugelhorn), Reggie Workman (1937-, bass), “Git Go” (M. Waldron, excerpt), live, New York (Village Vanguard), 1985

 

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lagniappe

random sights

yesterday, Chicago

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reading table

Do you imagine that writers speak ‘as themselves’? No such selves exist.

—Peter Schjeldahl, “The Art of Dying,” New Yorker, 12/23/19

Tuesday, December 11th

voices I miss

This drummer never fails to lift my spirits.

Ed Blackwell (drums, 1929-1992) with Mal Waldron (piano), Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone), Woody Shaw (flugelhorn), Reggie Workman (bass), “The Git Go” (M. Waldron), live, New York (Village Vanguard), 1985

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Wednesday, July 26th

voices I miss

Ed Blackwell (drums, 1929-1992) with Mal Waldron (piano), Charles Rouse (tenor saxophone, flute), Woody Shaw (trumpet, flugelhorn), Reggie Workman (bass), live (“The Git Go,” “All Alone,” “Fire Waltz”), New York (Village Vanguard), 1985

 

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lagniappe

art beat: other day, Art Institute of Chicago

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Irises at Horikiri, 1857

Monday, July 7th

voices I miss

Drums, too, can breathe.

Mal Waldron Quintet (MW, piano; Charles Rouse, saxophone, flute; Woody Shaw, trumpet, flugelhorn; Reggie Workman, bass; Ed Blackwell [1929-1992], drums), live, New York (Village Vanguard), 1985


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lagniappe

art beat

Bruce Davidson (1933-), New York, 1980

davidson34

Wednesday, 10/20/10

Few musicians, on any instrument, give me so much joy.

Ed Blackwell, October 10, 1929-October 7, 1992

Mal Waldron Quintet (Mal Waldron, piano, with Ed Blackwell, drums; Reggie Workman, bass; Charlie Rouse, saxophone; Woody Shaw, flugelhorn), “The Git-Go,” live, New York (Village Vanguard), 1986

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Part 3

Want more of Ed Blackwell? Here.

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lagniappe

I’ve been playing with Blackwell over 20 years. We used to play when I first went to Los Angeles. Blackwell plays the drums as if he’s playing a wind instrument. Actually, he sounds more like a talking drum. He’s speaking a certain language that I find is very valid in rhythm instruments.

Very seldom in rhythm instruments do you hear rhythm sounding like a language. I think that’s a very old tradition, because the drums, in the beginning, used to be like the telephone—to carry the message.

Ornette Coleman

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In one of my clearest memories of the drummer Ed Blackwell, he sat in an Indian restaurant drawing percussion notation on the tablecloth with a felt-tipped pen. The waiters looked on, aghast, as the splodgy black figures spread across their white linen, but Blackwell, rapt in concentration behind his dark glasses, remained oblivious. Music was all that mattered to him, the drums in particular, and there was a particular point he needed to make.

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Blackwell was a deeply serious artist who, whatever his circumstances, put the music first and insisted his associates did likewise. In New York percussion circles he was seen as a teacher. He often quoted the Chinese adage, ‘Neglect your art for a day, and it will neglect you for two’, and would actively pursue other drummers whom he respected, should he feel they reneged on commitment.

I never saw him without a pair of drumsticks or homemade mallets in his hand; these he would employ constantly as much to accentuate a point as to strengthen his wrists. Some percussionists have made a cabaret act from beating out rhythms on any available surface; Blackwell would do it to fill in gaps in conversation. He played drums like that, too: the perfect listener, who could equally stimulate and inspire with his enviable grasp of polyrhythmic possibilities.

No jazz musician can claim greater authenticity than a New Orleans birth. It is the most African of US cities, where Yoruba religious practice continues and the Second Line that accompanies street-parades moves with an African strut. From the moment he could walk, Blackwell was part of that Second Line and as a child he danced in the street for pennies. That characteristic dancestep and the ‘double-clutching’ two-beat of the parade bass drum remained features of his playing, securely anchoring his adventurousness in an earlier memory.

Val Wilmer

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More from the Albertina Walker Musical Tribute

Michael McKay (voice), Delores Washington (voice), Juli Wood (alto saxophone), “I’m Still Here,” live, Chicago, 10/14/10

Saturday, 8/7/10

Let’s lift the bandstand.

—Thelonious Monk

Woody Shaw/Johnny Griffin Quintet (Woody Shaw, trumpet; Johnny Griffin, tenor saxophone; John Hicks, piano; Reggie Johnson, bass; Alvin Queens, drums), “Night in Tunisia,” live, Germany (Koln), 1986

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lagniappe

Now there’s a great trumpet player. He [Woody Shaw] can play different from all of them.

—Miles Davis

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Anthony Braxton on playing with Woody Shaw.

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reading table

Look after the sound and the sense will take care of itself.

—Adam Phillips, London Review of Books, 7/22/10 (reviewing Christopher Ricks’ True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht and Robert Lowell Under The Sign Of Eliot And Pound)

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