One thing that I find so interesting about music is how it can elicit different reactions from different people. Take jazz for example. Some people love jazz. Others can’t seem to get into it. I’ve been on both sides of the fence. However, as I get older I think I understand more and more what it is about jazz that appeals to me.
Jazz has the ability to stimulate people in a variety of ways.
I speculate some people are really attracted to improvisation, envisioning a player wail over a chorus and perform as if their whole body was a part of their solo. I imagine the aficionados seek enjoyment in understanding how well a player can perform off of their surroundings and the context of the chart they’re playing.
Maybe others are wrapped up in the incessancy and trance that comes of an improvisor’s ability to solo for several minutes over a single tune.
Furthermore, I think some are simply astounded by the idea of improvisation. A concept that a performer could play without music in front of them.
Jazz improvisation, to my ear, is not a language that I presently tune into. I have, however, realized that I am very interested in jazz’s more song-like approaches. And here by song I’m referring to an instance where the tune or written-out part plays an equal or greater role than the improvisatory aspect. With the added idea of a performers’ tone and the techniques used for recording, every song in this mix goes one step further by exhibiting a combination of timbres that triggers a kind of beautiful alchemy in my head.
I used to play regularly in a quartet called The Last Resort, just me and some high school friends. We were all kids. All under 21 when we started. But we had a saxophonist in our group named Bill Stuart who was old enough to be our father. No, we weren’t a train wreck or anything to play with, but we were all young players. Looking back now it seems that Bill possessed a great deal of humility to play with us.
We gigged over the summer. We recorded our original music. Our song that appears in this mix is a song that I wrote for the group.
Then we went our separate ways as each of us left for school. It happens. Bill pursued his utopia, quitting his day job and moving to Myrtle Beach. Before he left he let us know how much being a part of The Last Resort truly meant to him.
Shorty after moving to Myrtle Beach, our friend Bill was diagnosed with cancer. He died in October, just about 2 years ago.
- Boplicity / Miles Davis from Birth of the Cool [Capital, 1957]
- La Rosita / Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster from Encounters [Verve, 1957]
- Self-Portrait in Three Colors / Charles Mingus from Mingus Ah Um [Columbia, 1959]
- But Not For Me / Chet Baker from Chet Baker Sings [Pacific Jazz, 1956]
- Central Park West / John Coltrane from Coltrane’s Sound [Atlantic, 1964]
- The Fall / The Last Resort from Slightly Seasoned [self-released, 2004]
- Flim (Aphex Twin cover) / The Bad Plus from These Are The Vistas [Columbia, 2003]
- Darn That Dream / Billie Holiday from Body and Soul [Verve, 1960]
- Jade Visions / Bill Evans Trio from Sunday at the Village Vanguard [Riverside, 1961]
- Zagreb / Chicago Underground Trio from Slon [Thrill Jockey, 2004]