Saturday, February 9, 2008


I just stumbled upon this story from the Chronicle of Higher Ed and thought I'd post it for MP2. I hate having flu...I have important things I need to be reading and doing!
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Jacques Berlinerblau directs the program for Jewish civilization at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He once played jazz vibraphone, and although he never made it as a jazz musician, man did he try. We asked him to name his five favorite jazz albums.
1. Betty Carter Betty Carter Droppin' Things (1990) The first track of this album, titled "30 Years," lends considerable plausibility to the conjecture that a spouse's philandering will make you love that spouse oh so much more. I credit her incandescently original interpretation of Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" with having inspired my theory of how biblical interpreters read their sacred scriptures.
2. Charles Earland Black Talk (1969) The "Mighty Burner" offers an independent study in the concept of groove. And, Lord, could he lock into one on that Pleistocene-era Hammond organ!
3. Bobby Short You're the Top: The Love Songs of Cole Porter (1999) Incorrectly pegged as a cabaret singer, the sublime Mr. Short should be reckoned as one of the most brilliant exegetes of the Great American Songbook. Had he solicited a larger audience, it would have become clear that he "owned" a few dozen jazz standards. Mr. Short's voice was the voice of the secular — of excess, of sophistication, of ribaldry, and of folly.
4. Passion Dance, the first track on McCoy Tyner's album The Real McCoy (1967) ranks as one of the single greatest jazz recordings ever made. And that's not merely because Joe Henderson's saxophone solo achieves such velocity that it sounds like it was blasted out of a bazooka. The track, to borrow a line from Salman Rushdie, crackles with "dark, negative electricity."
5. Don Pullen/George Adams QuartetBreakthrough (1986) When I was a teenager I used to hear these gentleman play at the Village Vanguard. I sat so close to the stage that I could smell their cologne. Between sets they held court at the back of the club, joking scandalously with the clientele. Graduates of the Charles Mingus band, they created a combustive mix of avant-garde, bebop, soul, and blues.


Anastasia said...

mccoy tyner rules. saw him live. one of the highlights of my jazz viewing life. a close second, I think, behind herbie hancock. just loved him.

Auto Ethnographer said...

Lucky you. I had to resort to YouTube earlier today. (BTW, hang in there with Dr. Mentor -- not for her sake, but for yours --although she is clearly LAME-O!)