Bebop, Swing, Drugs and Fusion: Part II

More student howlers, to round off the weekend…

“Jazz has the technique of classical music, the feeling of blues, and the hope of children everywhere.”

“I know what troubles musicians now when I watch and listen to them play.”

“My ties to jazz were through Bleeding Gums Murphy, a character on TV show called the Simpsons. It comes on at 8pm on Sunday nights.”

“I was surprised to find out about the different styles of jazz like hard, be, and post bops.”

“I thought that jazz was a certain amount of instruments that you played and was composed for you, not believing that it was their improvisation and the jazz musicians who made up the music on the spot doing what they wanted to do with the tunes. I know this is hard to explain but it is true.”

“When I try to play jazz, I mess around with the instruments pounding out random notes that were just me making nonsense up and it sounding like a big pile of crap.”

“Jazz is more profound when it doesn’t help pay the bills.”

“The first thing I learned in jazz history that happy birthday is the most played jazz classic. You want to hear happy birthday in swing BAM! You got it You want to hear happy birthday in classic jazz BAM! You got it. You want to hear happy birthday in be bop BAM! You got it. It’s great! The second thing I learned is free jazz is where its at. I think that I could be a free jazz musician cause it all sounds like a drunk 7 year old jamming down on some notes and making the sweet sweet music fly. Free jazz was defiantly the best part of the class but unfortunately you didn’t play free jazz enough. My one suggestion for your next class is that you start out every class with a 5 minute free jazz intro. Over all and all, I defiantly learned a lot in jazz history class.”

“Hip hop and pop are fine, going out for fame and bling bling. Jazz has been around for a while, is out of style, but can really sing.”

“Jazz musicians sing and play music because they can’t contain their passions. Their music starts in the soul radiates out in every direction.”

“Jazz is a very dynamic kind of music. Loud and Soft.”

“Swing makes you want to get up and dance and free jazz just makes you want to get up.”

“If any kind of music can calm a hectic day, its cool jazz. If you feel like going out and dancing, however there is ragtime.”

“In conclusion, jazz is music.”

“Jazz has come from the fields of New Orleans to my 2pm class, and beyond.”

“Unlike other forms of music, jazz is listened to by old people as well as us.”

“I learned what intros and outros were in this class. Now I look for them when I go searching for good music.”

“I went to do my (jazz) listening report at the house of blues.”

“Jazz has taught me a lot about the Civil War, World War I, and World War II.”

“I thought of jazz as a thing of the past, something old African American men listened to on old record players while sitting on their front porches smoking cigars.”

“Steve Turre has taught me that sea shells should be left on the ground instead of his mouth.”

“Over the course of the semester my knowledge of jazz has gone from nothing to practically nothing.”

“Even though I probably won’t listen to jazz after this semester, it has given me a greater appreciation of movies.”

“My favorite person to study was Sonny Rollins. He knew that he had to throw his saxaphone off the bridge when he heard how good Charlie Parker was.”

“Jazz to me was the shoo opps. From groups in streets downtown in the olden, golden days.”

“Happy birthday: That song is just amazing to me.”

“My all-time favorite jazz artist to listen to was Buddy Baldwin, AKA the jazz king. I think I’m going to go out and buy a couple of his CDs.”

“I was surprised to find musicians with such odd names such as Vilage Von Guard.”

“Jazz is not as popular with all of the adolescence going around.”

“I like jazz more in books than on cds.”

“I remember coming into class with no facts but a whole plate of bullshit to dish out.”

“I found myself learning about Blues, Early Jazz, Dixieland, Swing, Be Bop, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Cool Jazz, Hard Bop, Free Jazz, Third Stream, Japanese, Post Bop, Fusion, Smooth, Modern Jazz, and the list goes on.”

“Call and Respond is where one musician plays and the other one tries too hard to figure out what he’s doing.”

“The people in Dixie Land originated jazz music.”

“Jazz is now a part of me from 2pm-3:15pm every Tuesday and Thursday.”

“Jazz started in the fields where they used hand-me-down instruments and wore hand-me-down clothes.”

“If Wynton Marsalis said jazz was dead in the 1970′s, what was he playing at the time?”

“Weather Report was the final big band back in the day.”

“My girlfriend and I both agreed the next morning that jazz-club food was something we could’ve done without.”

“Jazz agitates me.”

“I like jazz, but I need something else besides rhythm, melody, and harmony.”

“I had no clue that so many (musicians) used drugs. Thinking about that, there is no doubt that they are living the life I dream of.”
“They are spending money on things that they don’t really need or even want.”

”I noticed that there weren’t many jazz women in our textbook until I looked to see that the author was a guy. All guys are sexist, women bashers, who don’t ever give us our credit.”

“The part I most enjoyed was studying and appreciating slavery.”

“Its hard to imagine where Winton Marsalis gets his ideas from.”

“I’d like to see midgets getting bribed in every jazz club. Not just with Birdland. I’m of course talking about the jazz club, not Charlie Parker.”

“We’ve had our share of good times and bad times over the semester. By bad times, I mean my tests.”

“Count Bassie WAS the swing era.”

“This class increased my intelligence with aptitude.”

“Duke Ellington had the ability to turn jazz compositions into pure magic.”

“Swing died in World War II when the soloists took over.”

“I could go on and on about jazz, but I won’t.”

“Tony Williams was my favorite drummer because his group, Lifetime, is the same name as my favorite channel that I watch.”

“How do the musicians know what to play when their eyes were closed the whole time? And what was with the piano player talking while played his solos. His musician friends must have been thought he was crazy.”

“I technically wasn’t in your class but I was happy to be along for the ride.”

“I was in jazz band in high school but we didn’t play jazz music.”

“Dizzie Gillespie was the one who jammed on the drumss.”

“I thought doing our listening report would be a painful sort of torture.”

“I was bummed out at the beginning of the semester because I thought Louis Armstrong was going to be one of the guest lecturers.”

Freddie and Me

Freddie Hubbard, 1938 – 2008

Rochester, NY – 1976 (Image: Tom Marcello)

Freddie Hubbard – Keep Your Soul Together (Excerpt)
From Keep Your Soul Together: CTI [Buy]

There was a time when I didn’t know who Freddie Hubbard was.

I was just starting to learn about jazz. A friend’s father (himself a well-known pianist and jazz broadcaster around town) thrust two dusty cassettes into my hand, which I duly took home and thrashed to death in my bedroom.

One tape was a copy of Miles’ Someday My Prince Will Come. The other was Herbie Hancock’s Empyrean Isles. The Herbie tape had a hastily scribbled playlist and personnel listing: Herbie… Ron … Tony… Freddie. Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, I’d heard of. But this Freddie guy… playing the … cornet?

Pretty soon Freddie Hubbard was a familiar sound in my house. His solos from that album – on One Finger Snap, Oliliquy Valley – were melodies I could sing in the shower. At that time, all trumpet players sounded fresh and exciting to me. Lee Morgan, Wynton Marsalis, Clifford Brown were all early additions to a small trove of cassettes that filled the family home with sound on evenings and weekends and annoyed my sister in her room down the hallway.  Freddie, with his loud-high hard bop style, probably annoyed her more than most.

At university we formed little jazz bands that played cafés around town. Somehow we managed to persuade the owners that we were actually good, and sometimes the owners even paid us.  By that time, we had discovered Freddie’s early 1970s recordings for CTI, and Red Clay inevitably ended up on our setlist.   We played it EVERY gig. Along with Chameleon, Wayne Shorter’s Footprints and a couple of Cole Porter ballads.

And then one January day, one of the band was killed in an accident. He was the youngest of us. Hell, the oldest of us was only 23.  We put together a band that played at his funeral.  Stevie arrived there before us, and we did our soundcheck next to his coffin. We played four songs before the start of the service. One of them was Red Clay.

Now Freddie Hubbard’s gone too, to join the ever-expanding jam session in the sky.  Through his most powerful recorded work (from, say, 1961 to 1975) many of his phrases have spun themselves into the DNA of all young jazz trumpet players today.  I never got to see him play live, but more than most trumpeters, it felt like I knew him a little bit through his records and the way they influenced me and my bandmates.   So, thanks, Freddie.  We’ll remember you.

Let’s Give Wynton Marsalis a Break…

The guy sure can play. So, without taking sides in the politics of American jazz, here are two recordings of a young Wynton, cementing his place in the history of the music. With Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams in Japan in 1981, and with his own band (Kenny Kirkland, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Phil Bowler) in New York in 1983.

Herbie Hancock Quartet – Clear Ways
From Quartet: Columbia CGK 38275 [Buy]

Wynton Marsalis Quartet – My Ideal
From Think of One: Columbia CK 38641 [Buy]