Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Fun with Fats...Blues with Jack... Art with Art... Boogie Woogie with Jerry Lee... Testifying with Aretha and Ray... and Charles Mingus...

Let's have some fun... first off the blocks – the incomparable Fats Waller, playing a completely idiotic pop song from the thirties - one of many he recorded, for reasons of contract and money, no doubt. And which he usually joyously butchered – (Pre-post-modernist irony, old boy? Whatever...). This is a glorious solid romp that ends up as a paradigm for small band thirties jazz, just before the cataclysms of bop to come.

Jack Teagarden was a white man from Texas (well, half-white. Check out his cheekbones – they signify Native American with a vengeance) who was one of the great jazz trombone players, equipped with a smooth and fast technique years before J.J. Johnson came along and patented it. And a wonderful jazz/blues singer with a lazy drawl and deep, warm voice. Here's his famous take on the 'Basin Street Blues.' Recorded many times, this version is with Bobby Hackett on trumpet (from a 1950's session) – who also plays a sublime solo.

Art Tatum was – just incomparable. One of those musicians whose concept stretched across the generations, equipped with a fearsome technique. Here he takes my other favourite standard for a ride on the roller-coaster – 'The way you look tonight.' Listen to how he points the melody in single notes and chords from within the florid runs and arpeggios in the first chorus. The spirit of improvisation. This is superb piano playing from any era. Some critics disliked his technique and slagged him off accordingly - one feels pity for the deaf...

Jerry Lee – doing the Lewis boogie, the Lewis way... if you know the song. This goes by the title of 'Boogie woogie country piano man.' Says it all really...

When you put Aretha Franklin with a scratch band directed by King Curtis into a live setting (The Fillmore) and let her loose – you get oddities for the cross-over market – which are fantastic. 'Bridge over troubled waters' gets the soul/gospel treatment and this re-contextualisation makes the song really live for me. I actually like Paul Simon on some levels, but this blows him away, in my opinion. Mind you, Aretha would blow anyone away... except maybe her special guest that night – an improvised jam from Brother Ray Charles invoking the spirit...

Gospel, soul, blues – add some jazz and you have Charles Mingus from his searingly beautiful album 'Mingus Ah Um. 'Better git it in your soul.' Better believe him...



Fats Waller

Download

You're not the only oyster in my stew


Buy

Jack Teagarden

Download

Basin Street Blues


Buy

Art Tatum

Download

The way you look tonight


Buy


Jerry Lee Lewis

Download

Boogie woogie country piano man



Buy


Aretha Franklin

Download

Bridge over troubled waters


Ray Charles

Spirit in the dark

Download


Buy


Charles Mingus

Download


Better git it in your soul


Buy

48 comments:

St Anthony said...

Fats Waller - what a funny old bugger - and were would 'Eraserhead' be without him?

Everything I've read about Mingus points to him being a stubborn, curmudgeonly old bugger - then again, who could blame him?
'Beneath The Underdog' is one of the best books I've ever read about, among other things, the jazz life.

Rod... said...

Had to rack my brains for a minute there! Then I got it - the organ playing... of course, Waller would probably have been quite happy as a classical musician if the race issues of the time hadn't militated against it - which would have been our loss... I agree with your comments about 'Beneath the Underdog' - raw and vibrant - and posing interesting questions about the line between biograohy and fiction... read it a long time ago and lost my copy so may hunt it down - it would be interesting to read again

Molly Bloom said...

Fantastic post again Rod. Your music goes all over the place. I love it, I love it, I love it. Keep up the great work.

Molly Bloom said...

I've just come here to chat to you Rod. It's Friday and my first rest after my first week back at work. It has been good. Very tiring though. I've enjoyed it and after thinking that I'd never be able to get back, it is a relief having money coming in....

I wonder what you will be doing this evening. Out with Murray? Out in the AQ? Performing somewhere? Whatever you are doing, I hope you have a great one. Have a drink for me. I think I'm going to have a few this eveningxxxx

Have you got any more Doowop tracks? I had a good old cry to the last lot...it was marvellous.

Rod... said...

Hi Betty - actually I'm at home tonight - a wee bit tired andgoing to Market Harborough tomorrow for recording... next post imminent but mainly jazz (surprise) - although... the one after is going to be vocals - so may squeeze some doo wop in

Molly Bloom said...

Oooh, hello Rod. I'm just listening to Teagarden. It's really lovely. It's got a touch of Sinatra to it. I like the piano, very relaxing and soft and relaxing. Lovely....

Molly Bloom said...

In fact, this is so nice, I'm staying here for a bit with nice company....get myself a drink of Bailey's and sit here....great...pissed off with my blog, so staying here. It's nice and calm here.

Molly Bloom said...

The middle instrumental section is marvellous too, isn't it? I can feel a takeover bid on your comments box again. Shall we set out some chairs and a table? Excellent. What's your tipple?

Rod... said...

My blog has gone a bit astray - in a pleasant way - back into jazz again - but I want to limit that to maybe 2 posts of music a week and then expand outwards to deal with other things - but I do enjoy the form - which can take in anything, reference anything through hypertext links and be serious and fun at the same time -

Rod... said...

well - I'm sat here drinking budweiser - to remind me of New York where I was supposed to be in a few weeks - not sure now as may have to postpone - I also drink it to piss off the real ale freaks tee hee

Molly Bloom said...

Right, well, now I'm onto Spirit in the Dark.

Molly Bloom said...

This is more fast and furious and atmospheric.

'Just like a movie star' - ooh.

Who is the woman singing? It sounds like Aretha???

Molly Bloom said...

I do like those old fashioned organs. What are they called?

ooer.

Rod... said...

Probably - don't have the track to hand - Ray Charles was her guest- he was in the audience and got called up for an impromptu play and sing I think

Molly Bloom said...

Oh, that's really marvellous. Right, what do you suggest next?

Rod... said...

Billy Preston was on organ and Ray on Aretha's electric piano (she is a fine pianist) - the organ would be a Hammond I think

Molly Bloom said...

Ah, that's it, a Hammond. Just waiting from 'Bridge over' now. 57% downloaded.....

If I suddenly disappear (in a puff of smoke) it's because I've been disconnected...the connection is a bit wobbly here....

Rod... said...

Dunno - have you listened to Aretha yet? Or Jerry Lee? The Mingus is wild - and some wild music coming up when I finish the uploads

Molly Bloom said...

Oh, oh it's that Hammond organ again. I really like this song, whatever anyone says. I'm just in the mood for this.

The sound of that organ reminds me of when I was really little and my dear old Pa took me to a Wurlitzer organ museum, it was fantastic. All of these massive great Wurlitzers came out of the floor. I was fascinated by it. This old man was playing them all. It was very exciting. They should still have them in cinemas. It took away some of the magic. I played piano for an Eisenstein film once in a cinema and it was really fantastic, but totally knackering.

This version is magic!

Molly Bloom said...

I'm going for the Mingus next. This is so nice sitting here.

Rod... said...

Cor - I love the Internet - I'm sat here taking emails re our coming festival and replying, engaging in conversation with you, uploading music and doing a bit on the next post - all on my laptop - and playing music through it as well - hope the bugger doesn't crash!

Molly Bloom said...

Oooh, wild music - what's that then?

Sorry, am I getting on your nerves?

Molly Bloom said...

The internet is fab isn't it? I love it.

Molly Bloom said...

Goodness, this Mingus is taking a long time to download...time for another drink.

Rod... said...

Not at all - I enjoy the conversation! I think a miss-spent youth re-arranged my brain so that I can multi-task! Time for another Bud, I think - cheers!

Molly Bloom said...

Damn and blast. It keeps saying that there is a problem with my browser...

Damnation and buggery.

Molly Bloom said...

Cheers!

Molly Bloom said...

You can always delete these comments in the morning if you like. Ha ha ha! Hee hee! Giggle.

Molly Bloom said...

You can always delete these comments in the morning if you like. Ha ha ha! Hee hee! Giggle.

Molly Bloom said...

Oooh, goodness, the battery is running out. Hang on....oh god, I'm getting too old for this kind of contortion over the sofa. Ha ha ha. This Jerry Lee Lewis is fantastic.

I wish I could play like that. With your hands and feet and all that. Marvellous. This is really fast and frantic. I wonder who is playing the harmonica. I can play the harmonica. Do you think it's him?

Oooh, internet connection fading a bit..

Molly Bloom said...

Oh dear, I posted that comment twice. It's the Baileys...

I'm going to play that Lewis again now.

Molly Bloom said...

I love that rock 'n' roll blues.

Fancy a dance?

Molly Bloom said...

When your hips start rockin'...

Rod... said...

one two three four...

Molly Bloom said...

Right, just the Art Tatum left.
Then it might have to be Dion again, which I've saved I love it so much.

Rod... said...

Palais glide? Or that old Irish dance - the Wexford Watusi - not for the fainthearted...

Molly Bloom said...

Oh, another slow one. Piano.

There is a dance in the air and the Martini on the top of an old grand. You can almost see your face in it. It has been polished by a soft, young hand.

You can hear the quiet conversations from the years gone by.

And the lost tales. You can see the red, satin dress.

You can feel the glow of the evening. And the gentle chill of an ice-cube against your lips.

The delicate nights of the past. When all was innocent. When all was quaint and divine. Joan and Bette. Marlene. Lovely Lillian.

Molly Bloom said...

Hang on a mo, better not put Bette and Joan together. You know what happened in 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?'

Molly Bloom said...

A very clever interpretation of a classic song. I think I might have to get some of this on CD.

Molly Bloom said...

What on earth is a Wexford Watusi?

Molly Bloom said...

I've just realised there's the Fats Waller.

Here goes.

God I wish I could play that beginning part on the piano.

Not the only tea leaf in the tea...

Apple on the tree?

Perfectly logical...

Mercy!

Susceptible and weak...

So to speak...

7 million people in NY? Oh you could still go, why don't you? You should.

And in the instrumental pause....more sips of drink.

Do you like Robert Crumb? Have you heard the marvellous soundtrack to 'Crumb' and the selection of music you can get of his favourite music? It is brilliant. You might like it. I've got both of them on CD. Poor old Crumb - much misunderstood. And what a hoot when he rides those Amazonian women.

Rod... said...

I remember Crumb from way back - had some of his comics - long since abandoned by the wayside - as for New York - it depends on how fast I can get my daughter and the boy fixed up with a house (i.e. - how much cash Ihave left) - and my health as well as back on sick leave indefinitely - but if I don't go next month - I'll go in september. Actually noticed that The Fall arfe in NY at the Knotting Factory I think early in June...

Rod... said...

new blog episode about ready...

Molly Bloom said...

How many comments have I written? Tee hee.

I'm back to 'Bridge over' again. That Hammond organ is like...lovely soft marshmallows.

I didn't know she could play the piano. You never see her playing it when you see her. You just see her in that classic Aretha pose don't you? She has got a fantastic voice.

I'm having a good old sing. Another drink. Fabulous.

I promise I'll let you get on in peace soon. Promise.

Molly Bloom said...

Ooh, I thought you'd gone. Another post? You've been busy. We'll have to move along to a new comments box!! Hee. Did you say it was going to be frantic?

Molly Bloom said...

So what did you do in your youth that was so wicked then?

Molly Bloom said...

Damn - you've evaded the question by sticking up the new post. See you upstairs if you see what I mean...

Rod... said...

I majored in stupidity, drugs and excess and music - boy it was fun!