Jazz music is much like the sea, with surface tensions failing to corroborate the underlying mutinous vibeand you can drown in it. Meet Paco Pastorals for example: piccolo jazz-moister extraordinaire and great entrepreneurial genius of late. Late-night drinking sessions of old; way back before the newer, rather ambiguous although legal, 24/7 binge promos, though!
Enter the valiant-vainglorious: Victor, in propria persona ex-naval functionary sea-dog struggling on the dry, dry land whilst, rather shakily trying to balance the log in his cul-de-sac public house: The Chequers. In the nick-of-time, he was approached by familiar, after-hours acquaintance, Pacowith a view to the establishment of an auxiliary, once-a-month only, Musicians" Club. To be held in the back room, away from the mainstream, c/w entry feevirtually all-night.
In actual fact, the pair of them went way back to '75 when Victor, under the wing of the illustrious Captain Peter Jackson, post [last orders] military career worked as head barman on The QE2; no doubt enjoying The Royal-Connection en route: Mr Pastorals was currently cruising along with one of the resident dance bands, on flute; a free passage to New York. To the famous "Birdland" night club where he was to further his knack for improvisation, Victor"s nemesisJAZZ! Until this little revelation they had enjoyed many a mutinous, after hours boozing session alone/together in splendid isolation.
This was [probably] their finest hour.
Isolated as journeymen in limbo before Old Victor, the proverbial drunken sailor, jetsam washed-up on the floundering shore of the South Hamptons somewhere; before he came into his bar. Literally: inherited a last-chance-saloon, out in the sticks; a bottle-bottom kickback from his dear, late Uncle Romilly. Paco was soon to follow in Victor"s wake, though. Accused, on a return booking, of being "too precious." Far too "jazzy" now, as he condescended to the cabaret [my friend] music, and walked the short pier that was effectively his plank to the promenade. He tracked Victor down. It wasn't hard to do as the bullish man left a trail of broken china all over the shop, as if a loose canon off the rails; a runaway train gunning it upcountrynorth of Windsor, High Wycombe way.
So, there was Pacopost-Cunnard, and his scruffy entourage, to include chairman; treasurer [himself] and vice-presidentVictor, of course would be nominally elected as the Main Man presiding over the victuals, he would have to sanction the issue of meal/off-the-roll raffle/tickets (a legal requirement for any late drinking club at that time) on receipt of the café-culture entry fee. Such fee to cover the costs of guest musicians... blah, blah and, that was it! A done deal so it seemed: with Victor effectively having to do Sweet Fanny Adams.
Strangely, there was a conspicuous lack of any music whatsoever in the pub proper; just the brittle ambience of well-worn bar billiardsclonk; the addled grandfather (if time were a river this one would be an eccentric eddy) clockwhir, clinkety-clank, set against the contrapuntal, dulcet church bells beyond: no conflict of interest by juke-box, then. No loss of disco revenue.
However, round about midnight, just when things were getting nicely mellow; the guest player"s swinging and singing, it didn't mean a thing. The proprietary "Old Vic" ran into a sudden squall; bawled them out! Pulled out the proverbial plankTHWACK! A broadside on the bar; first off they all thought he"d decided to join in, liven it up... have a bit of a go at it himselfpost-modern-jazz being as it does (?) Outside the box, he was right there on the down beat, though: the old bugger meant it"Treason!"
The rocking boat downscaled on a high "C" of Star-Spangled nonsensical fusion... stuff as the much dreaded post-maritime migraine ensued: THWACK! THWACK!! "The Yanks Are Coming" he further declaimed. What musical brouhaha, the planky end grain staring like loaded barrels of sawn-off menace, straight at them: Thelonious Monk's classic "Round about Midnight" at the deviant blowing section really yanked his ball-and-chain (loose from the metaphorical dungeon of p.m. melodies) it seems.
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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