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jazz music quotations

Jazz Quotations 5

It’s singing with soul that counts. Billie has so much soul. When I sing a tune, the lyrics are important to me. Most of the standard lyrics I know well. And as soon as I hear an arrangement, I get ideas, kind of like blowing a horn. I guess I never sing a tune the same way twice.

Sarah Vaughan

But Bird never encouraged me to do anything that would prove wrong for myself. And on that record date, he really told me what to do so far as music and my life was concerned.
He asked me how I had been doing because he knew I was a young wild kid running around and not knowing what was happening. That day he showed me the thing he wanted me to do and the thing he stood for. The purpose of his whole existence was music and he showed me that music was the paramount thing and anything that interfered with it, I should stay away from. Later on I was able to take advantage of his advice, but he died before I had a chance to see him and tell him I had.

Sonny Rollins

What is most important is not the style itself but how you are developing that style and how well you can play within it. You can definitely be more creative exploring specific things within a style. Sometimes, Paul, Scott, and I play the same tune over and over again. Occasionally, everything falls in right, and we think it’s sensational. Of course, it may not mean much to a listener at the time, but, then, most people in clubs don’t listen closely anyway.

Bill Evans

It turned out that Milhaud was the one who convinced me to go back, saying I couldn’t possibly give up jazz, that it was in me and if I wanted to represent the culture, jazz was such an important part. He said it was more important to express the culture and not gain the technique. And he pointed out that every great composer had expressed his culture in which he was familiar and was completely familiar with the folk idiom and jazz was the folk idiom of America. He talked me back into it. It took a period of six months, I guess, and then I became interested in jazz again.

Dave Brubeck

I’ve never been in jail so I can’t write about chain gangs or cotton fields. Then I remembered when I was in Chicago and the watermelon man used to go through the alley-a couple of times a day-and he had a little song, ‘Wah tee mee lo-w.’ There were cobblestone alleys, and the first idea I got was to try to make some kind of rhythmic sound like a soulful wagon going over the cobblestones, with the horse’s hooves and everything. For the melody I started thinking, ‘Suppose somebody were calling the watermelon man-what would they say?’ They’d say, ‘Hey, watermelon man.’ So I tried to write a melody that sounded like that. And even before the lyrics came out, any time anybody joked with me about ‘Watermelon Man,’ they’d sing, ‘Hey, watermelon man,’ to the first melodic phrase, even though they didn’t know I had this in mind. I guess the melody sounds so strongly like it that you automatically get that kind of verbal image.

Herbie Hancock

Categories
geology jazz may mixes music

Granite Mix 10

The last Granite Mix had a track by Bill Evans in it (not to mention earlier appearances in the geological section) and now I’ve decided to dedicate a whole mix to the man, just to show how much I love his music. His world is a curious mixture of beauty and tragedy perfectly expressed by the way he would hunch over the piano in his simultaneous role as servant and master. Here’s a clip to show what I mean.

Tony Scott was another character who found his contemporary world hard to deal with. There aren’t many clarinetists in so-called Modern Jazz (so-called because I don’t like labels/genres in music, but unfortunately the alternative is to redefine musical history which would be tedious).

1957 was a very productive year for Charles Mingus and as well as East Coasting he put out The Clown, Mingus Three and A Modern Jazz Symposium Of Music And Poetry as well as recording Tijuana Moods which wasn’t released until later.

Kind Of Blue was my first (as far as I’m aware) encounter with Bill Evans and it is no doubt the most well-known album that he played on. There is a certain amount of controversy over whether Bill should have had any of the composition credits on the album, specifically on Blue In Green. In his autobiography Miles insists

Some people went around saying that Bill was co-composer of the music on Kind Of Blue. That isn’t true; it’s all mine and the concept was mine. What he did was turn me on to some classical composers, and they influenced me.

On the other hand Evans has told how Davis gave him a piece of paper with 2 chords (Gmin13 & A7(#9#5)) and asked what he’d do with it. It seems he did a fair bit with it and all he did with it was used. So on the original album the track is credited to Davis and on subsequent recordings that Evans did of the track it’s credited to both men.

The live recordings taken from the 2 albums released in 1961 – Sunday At The Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby which were recorded on June 25th 1961 for me are up there with the finest ever live recorded music. It’s all a matter of taste come to that but certain things affect the whole shape of what comes after and other things just disappear down a black hole.

Jim Hall – hugely underrated. Here’s his obituary from a couple of years ago.

So my favourite things by Bill Evans are the June 25th live recording, the contribution to Kind Of Blue and then there’s the solo session recorded on January 10th 1963 which Evans requested never to be released. For me that’s like Kafka saying in his will that all his unpublished manuscripts should be destroyed. Luckily in both cases it didn’t happen. Basically he was so strung out on heroin at the time that he did the session to get some money to score. I don’t remember the exact story. Obviously I wasn’t there, but I’ve read about it. Most of the time in this world you’re not there. Unless it’s yourself of course. But the thing about the session is that the deliberative, totally introspective nature of the performance means that… well it’s difficult to explain, but the most I can say is that listening to the music from that recording is like eavesdropping on a genius when he thinks he’s alone and musing with the universe.

After that there’s a couple of live tracks with the 2 main bassists that Bill found to replace Scott LaFaro (I haven’t even covered that, I’m going to have to save it for later). Firstly Chuck Israels and then Eddie Gomez.

And then finally another solo piece another popular song by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse a ballad that was one of his favourites not least for the title. Fool though he might have thought himself sometimes for his massive heroin and then cocaine intake the legacy’s there. Few can claim to have achieved more.

here’s the mix

Granite Mix 10
Artist Title Album
Tony Scott Five The Modern Art Of Jazz
Charles Mingus Celia East Coasting
Miles Davis Flamenco Sketches (alt take) Kind Of Blue
Bill Evans Trio My Man’s Gone Now Sunday At The Village Vanguard
Bill Evans & Jim Hall Romain Undercurrent
Bill Evans Everything Happens To Me Solo Sessions Volume 1
Bill Evans Trio Stella By Starlight At Shelly’s Manne-Hole
Bill Evans Trio Blue In Green Live In Paris Volume 3
Bill Evans What Kind Of Fool Am I Alone Again
Categories
jazz music quotations

jazz quotations 4

more in my series of quotations connected to jazz. these ones are not actually from downbeat.

So here you’ve got a case where I was playing with Fletcher Henderson, and Fletcher Henderson’s fellows always said to me, “You play those strange chords! Why don’t you just play like a piano player?” And I said, “Well, Fletcher plays piano, he likes the way I play, and hired me, and you just play horn, so you should shut up! I think a piano player would know what I’m capable of, and he likes what I’m doing; he ain’t saying nothing, so you should shut up!” So then it was a big problem. I put in my notice. I said, “I’m not going to put up with this, because I’m not what you would call a human being. I deal with precision, and if they keep on messing with me, they’re going to get an explosion.” I had to do something about it, it was irritating me. I said, I’ve got to do something to teach these humans don’t mess with me. So the next night I got me a straight razor, and I put it right on the piano, by one of the trumpet players, and I said, “Tonight, I’m going to cut somebody’s head off if they say something about my playing, `cause I’m very evil tonight, and I’m not going to take nothing from no human being. Off goes somebody’s head!” So he didn’t bother me no more. And then the next thing that happened, I just put my notice in. So I came back to see who Fletcher got to play piano. And he was down there directing. He had no piano player. And Fletcher said if I didn’t play, they wouldn’t have a piano. He said, “Come back on the stage!” So I went back on the stage, and Fletcher smiled, and I had my job back.

Sun Ra

I used to run into Paul Motian in the Sufi center in the late ’60s and early ’70s and we’d see Hazrat Inyat Khan speaking and this guy is a very, very high person. And he would stand up in front of the 40 or 50 people there who were into him and he’d just be looking out at people in the audience without saying anything for about three or four minutes, which is a long time if you’re waiting for somebody to speak. But he’d be like in the ozone but in a very special way, waiting for the words to come and being totally real and totally spontaneous with the people. And this is really beautiful to see. In fact, it’s the most natural state of human beings. Anyway, that’s kind of an analogy to what I feel about music, which is to say we’re really ourselves most naturally when we’re being spontaneous with each other, which is the best way to be in life anyways. You know, when you have a family, everybody is spontaneous with each other and sometimes a little brutally honest, but nevertheless it’s spontaneous so it cannot really be bad. And that is really my philosophical foundation, if you like, about how groups should be. And maybe this is why I always want great players. I need stimulation, I need them to kick my ass, as it were, and provoke me in some way that will push me to a place that I don’t know, that I’ve never been before.

John McLaughlin

It interests me more to have a human relationship with you than a musical relationship. I want to see if I can express myself in words, in sounds that have to do with a human relationship. At the same time, I would like to be able to speak of the relationship between two talents, between two doings. For me, the human relationship is much more beautiful, because it allows you to gain the freedom that you desire, for yourself and for the other.

Ornette Coleman

Categories
geology music

granite mIX

first i must explain the ethos behind this the 9th granite mix. which is that i used my box to create a playlist. the songs chosen to make up the playlist all are chosen with 2 common letters – in this case m and y. this conceit has caused some repetition in artists that have previously featured but ultimately that’s taste…

the advantage of the playlist is that it does a segue/fadein-fadeout between the tracks. just about everything that was selected in this case seemed to have a long fade-out which pretty much negates the effect of the segue. still nothing becomes improvisation but artifice as they say in the old guignol street presentation…

mys mr fahey suffered from epstein-barr syndrome when he recorded this album. somehow that’s not a problem for me. i also love bill evans solo album … which was not released at the time because it was thought to be so bad. see further down the playlist for mr evans but not that album. a new film about john is going to be shown on bbc4 on dec 6.

i think french rap could have been sold better in the uk if we hadn’t been so up ourselves. here’s the video if you like this.

myt the only myth on my unit. sun ra is a big myth. and not only is he a myth but he is also a mystery.

my(+space) i am fortunate to have seen sharon van etten twice. once on her own and once with a band. i do not know which to prefer the beauty of inflexions or the beauty of innuendos.

my romance. now it’s getting quite intimate. that’s the trouble with m and y maybe i should have chosen something a bit more random, like a and s

and then gerald finzi comes along and sorts it out. hopefully.

joseph spence makes me reconsider my whole approach to singing. somehow i feel he is challenging me to reassess and reorder. above all in 2014 i want to write a song in esperanto.

whereas rambling on my mind tracks into the veracity of priesthood. the crossroads are literally that – roads where you might find the cross.

what was born in those gospel tours that monk did when he was just a lad?

a couple of british guitarists to end with. why didn’t anyone at island records make sure that there were decent live recordings of the many gigs that chris spedding did with john cale? were they coked out of their brains or something?

sorry song for my mother is from a vinyl digitisation and i increased the gain slightly but it’s a bit distorted. i’m sure you can download it for a small fee if you want to hear it perfectly. i could quote a 3rd great british guitarist on this subject but won’t right now.

finally chris spedding showing his mettle. thanks to michael mantler for this great album which along with no answer and the hapless child are i think the best literary albums ever.

here’s the mix

Granite Mix 9
Artist Title Album
John Fahey The Evening Mysteries Of Ferry Street I Remember Blind Joe Death
Soon EMC Elucider Ce Mystère Giant Steps
Sun Ra And His Myth Science Arkestra Big City Blues The Singles
Sharon Van Etten Where Is My Love Home Recordings
Bill Evans Trio My Romance The Village Vanguard Sessions
Finzi Singers My Lovely One Gerald Finzi Choral Works
Joseph Spence Gonna Lay Down My Sword And Shield Gospel At Newport
Robert Johnson Rambling On My Mind The Collection Johnson 20 Blues Greats
Thelonious Monk This Is My Story, This Is My Song Straight No Chaser
John Cale My Maria Helen Of Troy
John McLaughlin Song For My Mother My Goal’s Beyond
Michael Mantler I Walk With My Girl 2 Silence