Friday, September 19, 2008

Bob's Bird

Chasing The Bird

The sun sets unevenly and the people
go to bed.

The night has a thousand eyes.
The clouds are low, overhead.

Every night it is a little bit
more difficult, a little

harder. My mind
to me a mangle is.

- Robert Creeley

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Music Where Our Mouth Is

This is a playlist from a early morning broadcast on KDVS in Davis. I went on the air at about 5 minutes after 3 and was off by 6. All though there were no mistakes I felt that towards the end, due to some extra bookkeeping at the request of BMI, my timing was a little off. I would have liked to have played the 1946 duets by Ellington, Strayhorn (on the same piano!) and something from Sterling Brown. The purpose of playing the poetry along with the jazz is not a mere hip contrivance. In fact, as those who have followed this blog know, it is meant to illuminate the deeper and perhaps more subtle meanings of the music itself. I look at the show in its entirety as a single composition and just as a color or a shape in painting "brings out" a color or a shape in proximity so does a clarinet, a drum, a turn of the phrase. The most successful of these sequences in this particular broadcast, I believe, were as follows;

Ella Fitzgerald & Ellis Larkins playing My One & Only, followed by Duke Ellington's Orchestra playing Snibor

Margaret Walker (pictured above) reading For My People, followed by Johnny Hodges playing Day Dream

Snibor & Day Dream are, of course, compositions by Billy Staryhorn, which, I think, speaks to the depth of his genius and intuitive response to African-American culture in general and Jazz in particular.

I would have also liked to have spent more time on the small groups lead by Ellington sidemen. Perhaps in a future broadcast that's all I will play!

Ella Fitzgerald & Ellis Larkins - Someone To Watch Over Me
Ella Fitzgerald & Ellis Larkins - My One & Only
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - Snibor
Langston Hughes - I Have Known Rivers
Langston Hughes - I, Too
Bud Powell - Blue Pearl
Bud Powell - Reets & I
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra featuring Lil Greenwood - Walkin' & Singing The Blues
Abbey Lincoln - Long As Your Living
Lee Morgan - All At Once You Love Her
Louis Smith - Tunesmith (excerpt)
Louis Smith - Au Privave
Herbie Nichols - Argumentative Variation
Herbie Nichols - Riff Primatiff
Countee Cullen - Heritage
Barney Bigard & His Orchestra - Brown Suede
Barney Bigard & His Orchestra - Noir Bleu
Barney Bigard & His Orchestra - "C" Blues
Barney Bigard & His Orchestra - June
Anita O'Day - I Didn't Know What Time It Was
Anita O'Day - The Very Thought Of You
Anita O'Day - Anita's Blues '76
Kenny Burrell Septet - I Never Knew
Ella Fitzgerald - I'm Just A Lucky So & So
Margaret Walker - For My People
Johnny Hodges & His Orchestra - Day Dream
Johnny Hodges & His Orchestra - Good Queen Bess
Johnny Hodges & His Orchestra - That's The Blues Old Man
Johnny Hodges & His Orchestra - Junior Hop
Claude McKay - If We Must Die (Introduction)
Claude McKay - If We Must Die
Miles Davis Sextet - Milestones (Miles)
Bill Evans Trio - Milestones (Miles)
Miles Davis Quintet - Milestones (Miles)
Gwendolyn Brooks - Kitchenette
Abbey Lincoln - Afro-Blue
Abbey Lincoln - Lonely House
Abbey Lincoln - Let Up
Bill Evans Trio - Solar

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Carter G. Woodson, September 9, 1915

Perhaps no field of study is more crucial to the understanding of jazz than that of the African-American, or Black Studies. Carter G. Woodson, often considered to be the father of Black History, founded on this day in 1915 the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. It behooves us to be responsible for our own education. As Malcom X said, "If you don't know, learn. If you do know, teach." The name of the organization Woodson founded has changed. It is now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. But its mission stays the same. The crisis in access to education continues, see Cecil Brown's Dude, Where's My Black Studies Department?. The fight that began with Woodson, and continued with people such as Nathan Hare, who founded the first Black Studies Department, to tell our own story, continues to this day. Therefore, it is imperative that we not only honor Woodson and his example but also honor ourselves. Ours is a story of dignity and triumph, best told by us.

Monday, September 8, 2008

On The Air This Sunday Morning Thinking About Sonny Rollins

Here is a recent playlist from a broadcast on KDVS. The occasion was, among other things, the birthday of Sonny Rollins. For those of you interested in Rollins, the man and his music, the most insightful short reading to date can be found in Ishmael Reed's new collection of essays, Mixing It Up (DeCapo).

Thad Jones - Something To Remember You By
Waring Cuney (read by James Earl Jones) - No Images
Lou Donaldson - The Things We Did Last Summer
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley - Alison's Uncle
Beverly Kenney - If I Were A Bell
Beverly Kenney - Do It Again
Beverly Kenney - A Woman's Intuition
Beverly Kenney - You're My Boy
Sonny Rollins - Without A Song
Sonny Rollins - Come, Gone
Jayne Cortez - Solo
Betty Carter - Do Something
Betty Carter - Everytime We Say Goodbye
Betty Carter - My Shining Hour
Kenny Dorham - Jazz-Classic
Ernie Henry - Free Flight
Jack Kerouac - Lucien Midnight: The Sounds Of The Universe In My Window Part 2
Ralph Burns - Lover Come Back To Me
Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners
Sterling Brown (read by James Earl Jones & Moses Gunn) - Ol' Lem
Bennie Green - Soul Stirrin'
Charles Mingus - Fables Of Faubus
Kenneth Patchen - Do The Dead Know What Time It Is?
Annie Ross - This Time The Dream's On Me
Chet Baker - Mythe
Chet Baker - Not So Slow
Sarah Vaughn & Billy Eckstine - I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
Billy Eckstine - All Of My Life
Sonny Rollins - Reflections
Beverly Kenney - Why Try To Change Me Now?
Beverly Kenney - A Summer Romance
Woody Herman & His Orchestra - Summer Sequence (Parts 1,2 & 3)
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - On A Turquoise Cloud
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - New York City Blues
Sonny Rollins - Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise

As ever, these selections were played from vinyl only.