After bringing it to a graceful close, Burrell suggested that playing Ellington had put him in the mind of Strayhorn, to which Bennink suggested "Chelsea Bridge."
"I have to play that all the time with David," Burrell answered with a chuckle. "I won't say which David."
Instead they set into "Lush Life," playing with time and phrasing, pushing the first half of the verse, slowly punctuating the second and then settling into a mid-tempo swingwhich is where Bennink is always happiest.
Burrell announced the much demanded encore, his "Margie Pargie (A.M. Rag)," saying he would start the piece and Bennink would return in a minute. But Bennink entered sooner than that, laying rhythm with the green room door before returning to the kit. (If there's something to beat, why wouldn't you beat it?) They gave Burrell's ragtime piece a more straight-ahead readlike Burrell's beloved "Jelly Roll Joys" (he doesn't call them "blues")they seemed even more intent than before on not allowing the slightest slip, because this was the real thing. This was syncopation! And then, after a perfectly taut drum solo, Burrell came back in at something like 1.75 time, causing a momentary imbalance that only upped the ante. Bennink caught up quickly and after a couple more choruses they fractured again and split down the middle. Burrell eventually found dotted lines and parallelograms within the melody upon which to fixate again before ending with a shared intuition.
With all the starts and stops and sudden turns, this was still an old-school jazz show, filled with familiar tunes and swinging rhythms. And yes, swing is what these gentlemen relentlessly did. Not a swing dance; closer to a tire swing maybe, moving in easy patterns, and moving in its sentiment as well.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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