Sunday, February 28, 2016

Jazz Quotes 5

In fifth grade my teacher had a quote of the day that we read each morning. Our task was to think of the quote and write what we felt about it in our journals. Then, we had a class discussion, sharing our thoughts, and reflecting on each different point of view.

 Looking back, I realize how important this twenty minute task was for us. We were able to find inspiration from Robert Frost, compassion from Anne Frank, and critical thinking from John F. Kennedy. Above all, we were able to learn empathy.

In this light, I wanted to go back to my series of inspirational jazz quotes to allow us to empathize with each musician.

Pat Metheny
Photo by Paul Burega


Jazz Quotes 5

1. Miles Davis
The thing to judge in any jazz artist is, does the man project and does he have ideas.
Listen to Miles Davis play, "In Your Own Sweet Way":

2. Stan Getz
As far as playing jazz, no other art form, other than conversation, can give the satisfaction of spontaneous interaction.
Listen to Stan Getz play, "Corcovado": 

3. Pat Metheny
For me, let's keep jazz as folk music. Let's not make jazz classical music. Let's keep it as street music, as people's everyday-life music. Let's see jazz musicians continue to use the materials, the tools, the spirit of the actual time that they're living in, as what they build their lives as musicians around.
Watch Pat Metheny play, "James": 

4. Ray Brown
Well, jazz is to me, a complete lifestyle. It's bigger than a word. It's a much bigger force than just something that you can say. It's something that you have to feel. It's something that you have to live.
Listen to Ray Brown play, "Have You Met Miss Jones": 

5. Louis Armstrong
The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.
Listen to Louis Armstrong play, "When You're Smiling":

Final Thoughts: 
I love the power of quotes - from changing your mindset to seeing a new side to life. The pen is truly mightier than the sword. 

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem and my musician website.

Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

There's not a monopoly

Recently I came across this quote from Jimmy Heath:
We still practice because nobody knows all of the music and there's not a monopoly on it. 
Listen to Jimmy Heath play, "Gemini":

It is inspiring to know that the most talented musicians are at a high level because they never stop going forward. This forward momentum not only exists in their life, but you can hear it in the fiery intent of their music.

Art Tatum

In this light, I wanted to share the music of a few musicians known for their practice habits.

There's not a monopoly

1. Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie revolutionized music by creating a new style called bebop. Parker would practice fifteen hours a day and go to endless jam sessions to hone his skills. His saxophone became as essential as a limb to him. 

Listen to Charlie Parker play, "Donna Lee":

2. John Coltrane

John Coltrane is one of the most monumental figures in jazz, and progressed from a technical showman to a sort of spiritual leader with such albums as A Love Supreme and Ascension. Coltrane showed one of the greatest transitions of a musician, and would play all hours of the day as if in a prayer-like trance. 

Listen to John Coltrane play, "Equinox":

3. Clark Terry

Clark Terry is known for playing in the bands of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and the NBC Tonight Show band. Even in old age with failing health, Clark seemed to live on music, and hummed to practice ideas even when he wasn't able to play the trumpet. 

Watch Clark Terry play, "Stardust":

4. Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy became a prominent voice on alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute. This level of mastery on all his instruments was done with a disciplined practice schedule - Dolphy was known to practice anywhere, even in bathrooms if there was no other place to practice. 

Listen to Eric Dolphy play, "God Bless The Child":

5. Art Tatum

Art Tatum is known for having some of the most extraordinary piano technique and was able to create music flourishes using complex harmonies. His level of mastery was a gift - yet he was known to play piano into the early hours of the morning, showing that any talent needs practice to bloom.

Watch Art Tatum perform, "Yesterdays":

Final Thoughts: 
The unparalleled level of commitment of these artists shows the the possibilities within any field. Even if you are not a musician, practice, routine, discipline and commitment leads to success. And knowing that we all have the same hours in a day that Charlie Parker had lends some perspective to what can be accomplished by one person if you put your mind to it. 

Listen to Jimmy Heath play, "Gingerbread Boy":

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem and my musician website.

Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

It's all in the phrasing

Recently I came across this Louis Armstrong quote, "I don’t need words – it’s all in the phrasing."

Louis Armstrong

I've taken this quote to mean many things, but mostly how you can obtain the intent of music by the way it is played, not just by what is played.

Love can be seen as joy, tranquility, purpose, energy and sentiment. This can be displayed through holding out a note, emphasizing a syllable, punching out a line. In videos you can see performers lean forward, tilt back and dance to display this passion.

I find myself always going back to listen to Louis Armstrong, because his music makes me so happy. And what I've discovered is that the happiness I receive from his music comes from the absoluteness and intent of his phrasing. In the following video, you can feel the buoyancy Armstrong gives to the song with vibrato in his vocals and trumpet playing.

Watch Louis Armstrong play, "Mack The Knife":

This week I wanted to share some videos of jazz musicians who exude love in their playing.

It's all in the phrasing

1. Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins' big, bold sound makes it feel like his heart is exploding as he continually goes back to the melody throughout the song.

Watch Sonny Rollins play, "Falling In Love With Love":

2. Erroll Garner 

Erroll Garner's smile and ornamental flourishes make "Misty" full of love, especially with the dynamic contrast in the stride passages. 

Watch Erroll Garner play, "Misty":

3. Ella Fitzgerald

Ella's sentiment, stage presence and clear enunciation helps her connect with the audience, sharing her love of music with others. 

Watch Ella Fitzgerald sing "I've Got a Crush On You":

4. Billy Taylor and Tommy Flanagan 

This delightful duet shows how love can be displayed as complete respect and camaraderie for your bandmates. 

Watch Billy Taylor and Tommy Flanagan play, "Our Delight":

5. Duke Ellington 

Johnny Hodges takes a different approach to displaying love by creating climax points within the tranquility of the initial melody. 

Watch the Duke Ellington Orchestra play, "All Of Me":

Final Thoughts: 
Another Armstrong quote I came across was, "Jazz is played from the heart. You can even live by it. Always love it." 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Listen to Miles Davis play, "If I Were A Bell":

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem and my musician website.

Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Energizing jazz songs

This week we had a giant snowstorm in Boston. With the cold weather and lack of sunlight, it is easy to feel tired or sad or just lazy throughout the day. In this light, I wanted to share some music that helps me feel happier and ready to tackle the day, even in the midst of winter.

Charlie Parker

Energizing jazz songs

  • Jumpin' at the Woodside
I recently played this song in a big band, and was overwhelmed with the buoyancy and liveliness of the ensemble parts. This Count Basie recording brings an outstanding sense of forward momentum at a fast tempo.  

Watch the Count Basie Orchestra perform:
  • Stompin' at the Savoy
Stompin' at the Savoy was originally a dance song dedicated to the famous Savoy ballroom. I love hearing Benny's warm, round clarinet sound, and how his orchestra seems to articulate as one person. 

Lisen to Benny Goodman's Orchestra perform:
  • Donna Lee
Charlie Parker's bright, clear sound along with his crisp, lightning fast lines and fun melodies make bebop the perfect music to listen to when I have the winter blues. The energy from this recording transfers to me, and I love singing along with this recording while the lines zig zag up and down. 

Listen to Charlie Parker perform:
  •  It Don't Mean A Thing
Duke Ellington had the power to unite a diverse group of personalities within his own compositions. I love this particular song, because it emphasizes jazz's rhythmic swing. Jazz was dance music and can still be if we move to the music!  

Watch the Duke Ellington Orchestra perform:
  • On The Sunny Side of the Street
I'm currently finishing up reading Dizzy Gillespie's autobiography, To Be Or Not... To Bop! and it always brings me joy to watch videos of Dizzy. He was truly a genius performer and entertainer, and in this video you can hear Dizzy's humor while he sings and adds new lyrics to the standard. 

Watch Dizzy Gillespie perform:

Final Thoughts: 
Even in the depths of the winter blues, we can all take away joy from fun-loving music! 

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem and my musician website.

Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene.