Dizzy Gillespie: St. Louis Blues

Dizzy Gillepsie, photo by Herb Snitzer

W.C. Handy wrote "St. Louis Blues" after witnessing the British bombardment of Baltimore's Fort McHenry at twilight during the War of 1812, thus explaining its opening line: "I hate to see that evenin' sun go down." Enacted by Congress in 1931 as the U.S. national anthem, the song is dutifully discharged before ball- games, but also lends itself to jazz, where listeners are not required to stand. A year after Hollywood's star-spangled Handy biopic, a Harmon-muted Dizzy Gillespie serves up a jim-dandy Handy salute of his own. With its with rousing open-horn finale, this may get listeners on their feet after all.

October 26, 2007 · 0 comments


Jaki Byard: St. Louis Blues

This recording brings together veterans of three of the most adventurous small groups of the 1960s. Byard had chaired the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop, Izenzon trekked with the Ornette Coleman Trio, and Jones wrote history in the John Coltrane Quartet. All three were freelancing near the end of the decade, and here they bring to bear their advanced techniques on a classic of the jazz repertoire. Byard delivers the melody in traditional fashion, plinking saloon-piano style, but as his solo develops, he trades jaunty ragtime syncopation for dizzying left-right rhythmic sweeps. The offbeat arrangementórolling, bending tympani; shuddering bowed bassócharms its way in, then haunts the way out. An affecting and meditative reading.

October 22, 2007 · 0 comments


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