Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bud and Buddy: Two Beautiful

If you are a regular visitor, you've probably noticed that recently the sound archives of David W. Niven (no relation to the charming actor, nevertheless a charming collector) and the writings of Whitney Balliett have been the focus of this blog. I hope you're enjoying this feast as much as I do.

This week's edition presents a recording from my favorite format in jazz, "A Meets B", in this case, two ténor extraordinaire meeting gently, passionately and unforgettably: Bud Freeman and Buddy Tate.

This is a live date recorded at the New Orleans Jazzclub, Holland, on March 31, 1976. Released by RIFF and also Circle on vinyl.

The local rhythm section is consisted of pianist Chris Smildiger, bassist Koos van der Sluis and drummer Ted Easton.

Buddy Tate was 63 when this was recorded. Mr Balliett here:

"Tate's solos do not depend simply on improvisation, or even on design, but on burst after burst of emotion. These are shaped into long, falling blue notes, crooning phrases that end in fluttering vibratos, and  cries that arch upon the upper register. Tate's emotions, which are blue and and sorrowing, have none of the self-pity and boohooing that leak from the work of some contemporaries. He seems to say, Damn, my heart aches; hear it. He has Herschel Evans' tone, fine rhythmic agility, and a neat harmonic sense."

Bud Freeman, whose anglophile tendencies were compared to T. S. Elliot's ("looks and behaves more like a traditional Englishman than most of the citizens actually born within this tight little isle," said Charles Fox) was 70 when this meeting in Hague took place. Charles Fox in the liner note to one of the handful of albums Bud recorded in England writes:

The American jazz writer, George Hoefer, once revealed that Bud Freeman has at various times wished he could be a tap dancer, a drummer, a Shakespearean actor, the leading man in a bedroom farce, a golf pro, a card shark and a phsical culture instructor. Every jazz aficionado worth his salt should rejoice that all these various and Mittyish temptations got resisted and that for the last half century Bud has been content to mommunicate most of his wit and wisom - and that dandysh suavity - through the bell of a tenor saxophone.

Shall we call Bud Freeman the Noël Coward of jazz?

Enjoy the album!


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