Lee Konitz: Everything Happens To Me

Lee Konitz playing "Everything Happens To Me" with a drummer-less trio. Could that be the perfect combination of player, tune and format? It could, if the pianist was, say, Martial Solal. Unfortunately, Monsieur Solal was nowhere to be found on the night this set was recorded live at Los Angeles' The Jazz Bakery. Instead, a callow Brad Mehldau sat at the piano. As an accompanist, Mehldau does passably well. He lets Konitz's stunningly beautiful solo breathe and grow. In general, he stays out of the way. As a soloist himself, however, Mehldau's ornate grotesqueries slobber all over what up until that point had been a lovely performance. Full of "look-ma-no-hands" technical gloss and irrelevant reharmonizations, his Art Tatum impersonation is one of the most tasteless examples of jazz piano one will ever hear. Haden is fine, and Konitz outdoes himself, but Mehldau's stupendously incongruous contribution sticks painfully in the ear.

October 22, 2008 · 0 comments


Charlie Parker: Everything Happens to Me

Following Bird’s triumphant solo in 1947 on Neal Hefti’s masterpiece "Repetition," Clef Records producer Norman Granz set up another orchestral date. This time, six sides were recorded with strings, harp and oboe. (Yes, Mitch Miller and Bird on the same record date!) Though "Just Friends" would become a big juke-box hit from the session, "Everything Happens to Me" actually features a finer arrangement and superior playing by Bird—who seems to be channeling Sinatra’s vocal here. From the pizzicato opener and shimmering strings to the Big Ben-like closer, Jimmy Carroll’s Axel Stordahl-inspired chart frames Bird’s vulnerability well.

March 12, 2008 · 0 comments


Tom Harrell: Everything Happens to Me

In a 2005 report on the $14 billion anti-schizophrenia drug market, forbes.com focused on "renowned jazz musician" and diagnosed schizophrenic Tom Harrell. "For years, he has fought not only his disease, but also the crippling side effects of the drugs used to treat it. He still cuts an otherworldly figure, a grey-shocked wraith who stands stooped until he puts his horn to his mouth to play. But many of his symptoms—at least the drug-related ones—have improved." In this light, "Everything Happens To Me" assumes singular poignancy. Tom Harrell's deeply moving performance is a victory not of medicine but of one man's indomitability. $14 billion cannot buy such courage.

November 24, 2007 · 0 comments


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