[JPL] Soccer Has Defenders, Jazz Has `Compers'

DPolletta at aol.com DPolletta at aol.com
Wed Jul 19 15:29:33 EDT 2006

In a message dated 7/18/2006 2:28:06 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
jaejazz at yahoo.com writes:
  Red Garland and Wynton Kelly brought two different perspectives to Miles' 
group and their harmonic choices and rhythmic concepts were considerably 
different than Bill Evans. There were advantages and disadvantages from all three - 
depending on which musical direction Miles wanted pursue. The clear and 
obvious profound difference and particularly considering the day, was that Bill 
Evans was white. I think the same thinking can apply to Sonny. He loved what he 
heard from Jim Hall who just happened to be white. It wasn't that he was better 
than Wes or Joe but he played differently than they did. This is what I think 
both were after when they decided to work with these great musicians - a 
fresh, unique and original sound. >

Jae raises a good point and one that Miles also discussed in his bio. Not 
only could Evans play his instrument with great proficency, he also brought 
something different to the sound of the band than Garland and Kelly, both of whom 
brought something different to the sound than Evans and each other.  Check out 
Kenny Burrell's solo and fills on "alfie's theme."  They are both killing and 
fit what Rollins needed perfectly for that piece.  Hall fit what was needed 
for "The Bridge."  While both players look to Charlie C for inspiration, each 
took it to a different place.

However, too many people fail to hear the distinction between Red, Wynton and 
Bill and judged the issue in racial terms, instead of listening to them as 
individual players.

Putting the issue of race aside, I see this often happen in jazz programming. 
 Too often, programmers talk about diverse playlist and then lump Horace 
Silver, Ruby Braff, John Scofield, Vic Dickenson, Joe Henderson, Lester Young, 
Winard Harper, Jo Jones, Hank Mobley, Steve Bernstein and Paul Desmond into the 
catch all bin of "straight ahead jazz."   Sure, they are all part of the same 
tree, but the stylistic periods from which each emerged and their individual 
approaches does them a great diservice to just randomly toss them all together 
as being one thing.  A program containing all of those artists is diverse, in 
and of itself.

Dan Polletta

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