Don Byron: I've Found A New Baby

"Ivey-divey" was an expression Lester Young created and used to convey resignation, sadness, or frustration, and Don Byron adapted it both as the title of his CD and the name of his trio with Jason Moran and Jack DeJohnette. The CD was intended more as an acknowledgment of, rather than a tribute to, the inspirational performances of Lester Young, Nat Cole, and Buddy Rich in a Los Angeles studio in December 1945. The Ivey-Divey trio recorded four of the same standards Young, Cole, and Rich interpreted back then, and the new version of "I've Found a New Baby" stands out from the other Ivey-Divey tracks as an astonishing tour de force.

DeJohnette introduces the piece with a marching-band-like fanfare that precedes Byron's rather tongue-in-cheek—and nearly cloying—tootling of the theme, backed by Moran's very Ellington-sounding hammered chords. When Byron enters his solo, things suddenly become more serious. The clarinetist's intensity increases as he plays tempestuous riffs and phrases, along with piercing dissonance-laden shrieks and cries. Moran is with Byron all the way, almost telepathically anticipating his every twist and turn. DeJohnette meanwhile sustains an active, rumbling rhythmic layer that resides squarely between the traditional and modern guideposts of jazz. Moran's solo, like Byron's, is developed thematically, and features irresistible two-handed interwoven textures. Byron reappears for another divertingly playful examination of the theme, ending with a clever circular treatment of a melodic fragment. You might say this is Lester Young's sensibility as filtered through Byron's liking of Klezmer, Spike Jones, Raymond Scott, and Steve Lacy.

April 26, 2009 · 0 comments


Dexter Gordon: I've Found A New Baby

“I’ve Found a New Baby” is the first track listed on the first Dexter Gordon-led recording session in late 1943. Situated in time after Gordon’s period with Lionel Hampton and before his big band work with Louis Armstrong and early bop work with Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Parker, these recordings present a young Pres disciple bursting at the seams with bouncy accents and sweet, bluesy lines. His entire solo here, but especially his first few phrases, are as cool as it gets—chock full of those dominating sixths and ninths that ruled the Pres-to-Bird era of harmonic development. This performance also proves that, aside from the overwhelming Pres influence, Gordon was also flirting with an earthy, aggressive tone that seemed part reminiscent of Coleman Hawkins and Illinois Jacquet, the latter being Gordon’s tenor partner in Lionel Hampton’s group. While there are a few hints of some rhythmically investigational playing here, Gordon is never one to push too far too fast, making “I’ve Found a New Baby” the prime example of swing-era trained musician developing the proper tools to make bop headway in the near future.

April 14, 2009 · 0 comments


Dizzy Gillespie & Roy Eldridge: I've Found a New Baby

Known at times for having a contentious relationship, Gillespie and his idol, Roy Eldridge, are united for this recording on Norman Granz's Verve label. The competition between the two—both of whom were known for winning "cutting" contests—produces a stellar album. This piece opens and closes with a drum-and-trumpet feature in the New Orleans "street beat" style, which complements the unwavering swing of the melody and solo sections. Gillespie and Eldridge are backed by one of the best rhythm sections in jazz history (the Oscar Peterson Trio, with the addition of Louie Bellson here), which wisely stays clear of the limelight, providing a solid foundation on which this great trumpet battle is staged.

February 05, 2008 · 0 comments


Sidney Bechet: I've Found a New Baby

Bechet's band, at this celebrated session, was called the "New Orleans Feetwarmers"—but it's clear from the opening chorus that no one in this ensemble has cold feet. They plunge into "I've Found a New Baby" with gusto, and it would be hard to find a more driving example of New Orleans jazz. This style of music, with its interweaving counterpoint lines, was already old-fashioned by the time of this 1932 session, but Bechet and company were not ready to become museum pieces. The musicians who recreate the New Orleans sound today rarely achieve this degree of intensity—perhaps they are too respectful of the tradition. Bechet, for his part, entitled his autobiography Treat It Gentle, but the directions he gave his fellow musicians on this date must have been treat it roughly and kick it in the pants. Great late vintage New Orleans music by one of the masters.

December 18, 2007 · 0 comments


Lester Young: I've Found a New Baby (1946)

Lester Young, by Herb Snitzer

During World War II, Lester Young felt a draft. Facing induction or imprisonment, Lester selected service, and wound up in the slammer anyway. Six months into his Army hitch, the 35-year-old conscript was busted for drug possession. After 10 months in the disciplinary barracks, Pres was dishonorably discharged. He then returned to the civilian company of his peers for one of the great moments in recorded jazz. During stop-time exchanges, Cole's and Rich's spontaneous synchronicity so joyously epitomizes musical communication that it sparks expressions of delight from the players themselves. Pres was a miserable soldier, but an immortal jazzman. Salute!

October 27, 2007 · 0 comments


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