[JPL] Revisiting Ray and Basie

Lazaro Vega wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com
Fri Sep 29 00:49:42 EDT 2006


(spell check)

It's hard to get peeved about pieces of a recording being flown in, or
phoned in, or heavily edited, since it's been happening for so long.
Where would Miles Davis and Gil Evans be without a sharp razor?

For instances? "Blue Rose," the Columbia recording with Rosemary
Clooney and the Ellington Orchestra wasn't a live in -studio recording
according to Gordon Darrah, record collector, record store owner and
former host of "(Meet Me) In the Land of Jazz" on Blue Lake Public
Radio. Gordon maintained that the "Blue Rose" session was a singer
being recorded singing to a recording by Ellington. He loved it less
than I did because of the distance between musicians in an art form
predicated on immediate musical interaction as living beings in the
same time space continuum. Gordon wanted musicians within hearing
distance responding to each other. That's what jazz recording do, they
snapshot a working band, a star soloist. They're part of an artistic
flow not an end in themselves. To be other is to commodify.

Yet, sometimes it works. There are musical exceptions through the
years which bridge any aesthetic divide erected by the machines. Louis
Armstrong scat singing with himself on the Satch Meets Fats album --
that's successful; even Sidney Bechet's one man band recordings; Bill
Evans over dubbed recordings; The Incredible Ira Sullivan on Stash
where Ira plays all the horn parts. He makes unison passages. Of
course those are parts created at the same time as the rest of the
album, unlike Rosey and the Duke or the Ray and Basie disc. More
separation from whatever and whenever the genuine moment of creativity
is supposed to be born, now, captured in real time.

We teach our children when Ray Charles is singing please be quiet. We
need to hear him. There's no exception for this new recording because
Ray is whalin'. The "Let the Good Times Roll "chart is an update of
the one recorded by Ray's band with Marcus Belgrave, Fathead and Hank
Crawford, joined by members of the Basie and Ellington Orchestras. The
new recording is an imperfect second chapter but one I'm ready to read
because Ray knew and you will too.


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