Friday, January 29, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Bill Evans's contributions included, as I say, an abiding lyricism. Such a remark is an observation and a description; it also may seem a limitation. But would one complain that Lester Young was always playful? Coleman Hawkins dramatic? Or, for that matter, Beethoven humorless?
No, it would be as foolish to deny that lyricism pervades all aspects of Evans's work as to deny the element of privacy in some of it. There were times when I heard Bill Evans and thought that this music—so exposed and so vulnerable emotionally,so unprotected by the spirited ironies of the blues, so naked in its feeling—if you took it into the real world, that world would crush it and crush the man who made it. Perhaps after all that is what happened." - Martin Williams
Monday, January 18, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
He is not only his own soloist, but his own harmonist and his own rhythm section as well. He is Coleman Hawkins!
Coleman Hawkins. Hawk reminds me of that Mowlana (or as some says, Rumi, the Persian mystical poet - 1207-73) conception, that we all have been Adam’s children and we all have heard these tunes that mesmerize us, some times before we were born in Eden. And that’s the truth about Coleman Hawkins and his heavenly sounds. It's quite familiar in every note, like we have heard them before, long before birth, and at the same time it has the pleasure of discovering a totally new thing. So everybody in the jazz world must sooner or later come to Hawk. And everybody his his or her own way of discovering his sound. He was musician’s musician. Every new jazz fad came, Hawk was standing there like a tower. Even during the time of major changes in the mid-forties, the avid bebop partisan accepted Hawkins as a part of their world. "One might call Hawkins a thorough professional, but he was also a major performer and he belonged to a generation in which these two things might go together as a matter of course. Periodically Hawkins also seemed to rediscover himself. He listened to everyone, but however much his own playing reflected what he heard around him, Hawkins remained Hawkins," says Martin Williams about the first decades of Hawk's musical life.
Howard McGhee (tp)/Coleman Hawkins (ts)/Sir Charles Thompson (p)/Allen Reuss (g)/John Simmons (b)/Denzil Best (d); Los Angeles, March 9, 1945
A couple of months ago we talked about Hawk’s homecoming from Europe and how Herschel Evans’ death hit him pretty hard. Mr. Williams also talks about this critical period when Hawk became the tenor saxophonist we know today: “When Coleman Hawkins returned from Europe in 1939, he entered his great period as a jazz soloist. He had continued to expand his basic harmonic techniques. He had come to terms with his own lush and sentimental temptations, which means that he had learned to sustain a true lyric mood and therefore no longer needed the sometimes forced and usually brittle edge to his tone that he had apparently found necessary before. The sharpness of vibrato heard on One Hour cannot be heard on Body and Soul.
Body & Soul
Body and Soul (1939) is the accepted Hawkins masterpiece. The record reveals not only Hawkins's knowing use of increasingly sophisticated techniques but his brilliant use of pacing, structure, and rhythmic belief. He saves his showiest arpeggios, opening melodiously and introducing implied double-time along the way. He uses arpeggios and cyclical patterns of harmony, much as they were J. S. Bach's in certain moods.
From mid to late career of Hawk, he succeed in combining the robustness of his early work with a sophisticated melodic sense and a touching, almost nostalgic lyricism. The choruses seem also to have been highly influential: they outline the essentials of the style used by Herschel Evans and his associates and successors, Buddy Tate and Illinois Jacquet. It is possible that this so-called Southwest tenor style was first expounded by Coleman Hawkins in a New York recording studio!
Hawkins in the fifties is my Hawk. During that period he seems to me at the pick of his artistic creativity. Straight masterpieces like I Never Knew and La Rosita from Hawk Eyes (1959); September Song from The Hawk Returns (1954) are few among so many. His Hawk flies high LP with Idrees Sulieman is one of the most lasting musical companions I ever had. Every moment of Night Hawk (1960) is a revelation, if we don't talk about his majestic encounter with Sonny Rollins in 1963. Not long ago listening to a live recording from 1962 [Bandstand 18003] changed my life once more. There was a 14-minute long Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho who made me cry and another 21-min mind-blowing jam, Disorder at the Border. His right arm on this live session was Roy Eldridge who Martin Williams identifies his sound as a synthesis of Hawkins and Louis Armstrong, plus the youthful challenges of Beiderbecke and Red Nichols.
I'm absolutely in tune with Williams when he says: "probably everyone who knows Hawkins' work has a favorite, relatively late recording on which he feels the saxophonist played particularly well. My own is the Shelly Manne-Hawkins LP called 2 3 4. Coleman Hawkins' contribution has been so comprehensive that it is impossible for any tenor saxophonist to avoid some reflection of his influence unless that player were to do a fairly direct imitation of Lester Young or perhaps Bud Freeman.”
“The standard term for Hawkins's sensibility is romantic. Terry Martin has suggested, however, that, if Johnny Hodges and Ben Webster were romantic saxophonists, then Hawkins's work was by comparison both too ornate and too detached to be called romantic, and that it would be better to describe his talent as dramatic. I am inclined to agree, and I further suggest that the best critical touchstones and analogies for Hawkins's kind of drama lie outside jazz. His sense of drama was like that of the great aria and lieder singers, the special declamatory drama of the concert singer and the concert stage, a tradition which Hawkins himself deeply admired. One might call Ben Webster a player of great natural musical instincts, and Hawkins a player of great, natural musical curiosity making use of the techniques that his innate curiosity led him to acquire and assimilate. Thus Hawkins survived more than four decades, a player whose commitment to improvisation was essential.”
Maestro's 106th birthday special update, November 21, 2010.
All Martin Williams' quotations from Comments on a Phoenix, Jazz Tradition, published by Oxford University Press.
Monday, January 4, 2010
آلبوم دوشنبه ها، پس از دو هفته: سال فرنگی عوض شد و تقریباً هفت ماه از عمر این وبلاگ گذشت. به شهادت "سایت میتر" که مثل کنتور آب و برق آمار بازدیدکنندگان و ممالکی که از آنها آمده اند را نشان می دهد – و خودتان در پایین ترین قسمت صفحه می توانید وارد آن شوید – بیشتر بازدیدکنندگان این وبلاگ (77 درصد) از کشورهایی غیر از ایران بوده اند و این می تواند نشان دهنده شکست نسبی من در این چندماه باشد. نیت اصلی این وبلاگ معرفی موسیقی جاز به خواننده ایرانی بود، اما به نظر در نزدیک شدن به آن چندان موفق نبوده ام. هنوز مطمئن نیستم که گذاشتن بخش های فارسی معنایی دارد یا می توان آن ها را حذف کرد و به این فرض اکتفاء کرد که آن 23 درصد خواننده فارسی زبانی که به این موسیقی علاقه دارند می توانند به انگلیسی هم گلیم خودشان را از آب بیرون بکشند. اما لذت فارسی نویسی و حرف زدن به زبان مادری درباره چیزی که تمام زندگی ات را وقفش کرده ای – به قول یکی از دوستانم "وقف صدا" ! – مانع از این می شود که در این باره عجولانه تصمیم بگیری. من در سال 2010 میلادی هم به روش سابق خود ادامه می دهم، اما از نوروز و سال نوی خورشیدی این اجازه را به خودم می دهم تا در صورت نرسیدن به نتیجه ای روشن تصمیم تازه ای درباره این وبلاگ بگیرم.
اما آلبوم امروز یکی از شاهکارهایی است که برای خودم هم تازگی دارد و هنوز دو ماه نیست که شروع به شنیدن آن کرده ام. این آلبوم حاصل ملاقات دوک الینگتون (آسمان) با کنت بیسی (زمین) است، ملاقات دوک و کنت مانند ملاقات پادشاهان مملو از جلال و شکوه و زیبایی توأم با تواضع دو غول بزرگ تاریخ موسیقی جاز است. آنها تقریباً یکی درمیان آهنگ های همدیگر را اجرا می کنند؛ اجراهای الینگتونی از استانداردهای کنت و اجراهای بیسی وار از بزرگ ترین تصنیفات الینگتون (و بیلی استری هورن)، با اضافه یکی دو قطعه بی نظیر که احتمالاً مخصوص همین دیدار نوشته شده است. چندجای آلبوم گفتگوی دو پیانیست شنونده را میخکوب می کند. آنها با تواضع در کنار هم سویینگی جانانه می کنند و سولوهایی عالی را در اختیار نوازندگان متشخصشان می گذارند. در این CD تازه چند تِرَک اضافه هم وجود دارد که آهنگ های اوتی (اجراهای ناقص یا خارج یا ایراددار) و تمرین هاست. محیط استودیو را بر مبنای این چند قطعه محیطی گرم و دوستانه و برخلاف دیدارهای مشابه میان غول ها که معمولاً مملو از تنش است، در اوج روحیه جمعی دو ارکستر بزرگ می بینیم.