"deliberate distortions", beignets, Bill Evans, Billie Holiday, Blood Sweat & Tears, Carol Mansfield, chicory coffee, Hurricane Katrina, Louis Armstrong, Nathan Hubbard Quartet, New Orleans, San Diego, Stage 4 Entertainment, The Studio Door, Tin/Bag
When I think about Hurricane Katrina, I think, too, of the phrase used to describe another – and different – tragedy in the music world, “The day the music died.”
Hurricane Katrina, as we all know, wreaked havoc on New Orleans and the surrounding communities, but the spirit of New Orleans is not so easily conquered. For a time, the music became very, very quiet while the city, including its musicians, wrestled with the devastation, but the heart of New Orleans never once stopped beating and the music never died.
On this tenth anniversary of Katrina, I can smell the chicory coffee and taste the powdery sweetness of the beignets and hear the saxophone player on the corner. (Full disclosure – I can also taste the drinks at more than one New Orleans bar.) Viva, New Orleans. Long may your music live! In a JazzCookie salute, here’s Louis with the “New Orleans Stomp.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRyUcI6TmbM
When someone mentions “jazz” what kind of music comes to your mind? Some of us have a fairly generous bandwidth when it comes to jazz. Others are attached to one particular jazz genre or another: Dixieland, cool, straight ahead, East Coast, West Coast…the list goes on.
A couple of months ago I wrote about an art show coming up here in San Diego that ties visual art with jazz, “adjacent possibilities where music and visual art collide.” Entries for this national show, “deliberate distortions” have now been juried and hung, and the official opening is Friday, September 4 at The Studio Door in San Diego with a reception from 6-9 p.m.
The Studio Door is a beautifully cool gallery and if you think this is a blatant plug, it is. I’m loosely associated with The Studio Door and have found both art and jazz compadres there, a fine and mellow combination.
In addition to the opening, The Studio Door is hosting two jazz performances. The first takes place Wednesday, September 2, when the unique Tin/Bag duo will share the evening with San Diego’s Nathan Hubbard Quartet from 8-10 p.m. There’s a $5 cover for the evening.
For my money, the music of these two groups suits the “deliberate distortions” theme of the show perfectly as neither is what anyone would call mainstream or straight ahead.
I used to listen to a great jazz drummer in Oregon who could have worked with these groups, and he allowed as how he had no idea what to call his music. Whether it’s music, visual art, writing or any other creative activity, the new mostly defies the boxes of definition. I call the music provocative, the kind of jazz that invites a listener to pay attention and to be open to the new in the same way experimental art invites a viewer to do the same.
To wrap up the opening weekend, The Studio Door will host an hour of jazz by Stage 4 Entertainment from 8:30 to 9:30 on Saturday, September 5. This event is free.
Carol Mansfield, whose work is featured above, is one of the more than 30 artists who’ve offered their artistic interpretations of places where music and visual art collide. Carol is a San Diego County artist, and I find her colorful exploration of jazz right on the money. You can see more of her work and read about her at http://carolmansfield.fineartstudioonline.com/
You can also read more about the art and/or the jazz at http://thestudiodoor.com/inside/. Tell Patric, JazzCookie sent ya.
And for a sample of what’s happening Wednesday evening, go to http://tinbag.net/music to give a listen to Tin/Bag (California trumpeter Kris Tiner and New York guitarist Mike Baggetta). You can choose the tune. I particularly like “Bienvenue.”
Bill Evans is a world away from Tin/Bag, but Evans epitomized the adventurous heart of jazz with his very personal and thoughtful way of approaching every tune he played. His attention to the spaces in between made the sound particularly memorable and unique. One of my favorites is his interpretation of a simple and very old melody, “Londonderry Air,” otherwise known as “Danny Boy.” You may know it as a favorite of Irish tenors, but you’ll never hear it that way again after you listen to Evans. He manages to touch a great range of emotions with this interpretation, including the melancholy of departure. I invite you to listen and enjoy the story. If you’ve ever said goodbye to someone you love dearly, hold onto your heart. From his 1962 solo album, Easy to Love.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5Sg0WGy9YA
While we’re listening to those who traveled new ground with their music, let us not forget the lady that every girl singer hopes to replicate only to find it can’t be done. This would, of course, be Lady Day whose voice and style of selling a song broke hearts, started fights, transcends generations. Here she is on a 1937 recording with “This Year’s Kisses,” and she’s backed by the best: Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Freddie Green, Walter Page and Jo Jones. Who could ask for anything more? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAy0ZIE51zk
I’ll segue as smoothly as I can here from Billie Holiday to a group that’s probably not in your collection of jazz albums or CDs – Blood Sweat & Tears. BS&T is more usually found in the rock section at any music emporium, but I include them today in the spirit of experimentation and new sounds because BS&T incorporated jazz and jazz instruments – horns, including the flute – into their music. And because they ventured out of the rock oeuvre for material. Lest you think I’ve lost the thread of where I was going with this, here they are from their eponymous 1968 album, Blood Sweat and Tears, with Billie’s anthem, “God Bless the Child.” A great song and some very cool and jazzy riffs in the bargain. That’s David Clayton-Thomas on the vocal and I’m pretty sure he’s wearing his signature white pants for the occasion.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04rClGsbWp4
That’s a wrap for this Sunday, JazzBabies – art, music and spirit. Go, thou, and enjoy all three.