C. Michael Bailey

All About Jazz user C. Michael Bailey

Michael wants to know if Gene Harris is playing "Summertime" in Heaven with Ray Brown.

Senior Contributor Since: 1997 | From: United States | Profile Views: 55,417

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I am convinced that music is a spiritual expression. It may be the only appropriate way to communicate with Providence. It is certainly Divinely Inspired (though I don’t know if anything else is).

I am a simple country druggist who fell into the world of clinical research quite by accident. Talk about “a long, strange trip.” So, by day I am a clinical data analyst, mining the statistical evidence that separates Advil from Aleve. By night, I am an intrepid music writer and cultural critic trying to figure it all out. I grew up in the late '60s and early '70s when the greatest popular music was being recorded and discovered the blues, that subatomic music that cannot be divided first hearing “You Shook Me” from Led Zeppelin (Atlantic, 1969). It took several more years to discover where the blues really came from.

My jazz interests are in post-World War II acoustic small ensemble jazz, both from the East and West Coast, specifically Miles Davis and Art Pepper. My classical music interests are Renaissance and Baroque Choral Music, all 18th Century music (specifically music for the clarinet), and Opera, primarily the Baroque operas of Vivaldi and Handel, the classical operas of Haydn and Mozart, and the Romantic Operas of Puccini, Verdi, and Wagner.

Through no fault of my own, my editors believe me some kind of authority on jazz vocals. I devote the majority of my writing time to jazz vocals for which I have found an abundance of fine players and recordings. It is a tough crowd to break into and I have respect for all who try.

The first song I learned all the words to was Elvis Presley's “Return to Sender” in 1964 (on which one young Bobby Keys played baritone saxophone and who would change my life forever on The Rolling Stones' “Brown Sugar”), I sold my soul to the Devil at the crossroads of Biscayne and Evergreen in Little Rock, Arkansas when I heard the monolithic slab o' rock “Mississippi Queen,” during the blistering hot Summer of 1969, not long after hearing two other great cowbell songs: ”Honky Tonk Women” and “Time Has Come Today.”

I have never recovered from the stark terror of “Gimme Shelter” or the languid Summer groove of “Green River,” or the sonic crunch of “A Whole Lotta Love” and “Heart Breaker.” I was introduced to jazz and classical music as an adult by two incredibly wise teachers and a great deal of reading, studying, and listening.

I have been writing for All About Jazz since 1997 and was recently honored to have been appointed a director on the Board of the Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation for the 2013-2014 term. I hope they knew what they were doing.

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