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WOW! Bird and Bach: Them two cats really could play!

Mort Weiss By

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O.K. Now that I've got your attention, what should I write about? The many articles here at AAJ have damn near covered each and every aspect on the topic of jazz and its place (albeit) always in flux and change with each and every up and coming generation of players. Where is jazz in the scheme of worldly import and does its relationship to the here and now pay proper respect to all the cats that came before, laying each foundation brick on the yet to be house of pain—sorrow—love—happiness—hopes and dreams of the artists who were destined to dwell within its sacred hallowed walls? Some, if not all, were to be walls that would sing the songs of yesterday's tears and laughter.

O.K. Very poetic but! What words come to my mind answering the questions that come to me from all parts of the world by the few highly motivated young people who have the flame of creation burning within—wanting to know my advice on the pursuance of a career in the music. If you've read my many articles here and there you know my feelings about a life in jazz. Not a very positive, upscale feeling. I was born 1935 and started playing clarinet professionally in 1948. We all know about the many dangerous roads and pitfalls that those of us who lived only to play the music were to travel and man, I took every one of them—well damn near!

How can you tell someone—a young one—who has once had a glimpse of the truth, e.g. 2+2=4, has felt deep within the beat. Has seen the elephant, so to speak, that this nectar the gods wave before you is not for you to partake of. I was told that in 1950 my parents took me to see Buddy DeFranco, Art Blakey, Eugene Wright and Sonny Clark at a club. Eugene came to our table and joined us in conversation (he became a friend to this day), and I was educated in no uncertain terms. The second set started with "Billy's Bounce," medium up. That was the end of any advice I was given about a life in the music, Ahhh, man! It fucked up my life, I'm happy to say!

I am not happy to say that, a bit cavalier I must admit, being in and a part of the music was analogous to sex, in that even when it's bad it's still pretty good. So, then, coming full circle to my original question, what to say to young people seeking advice as to whether and how they should go about this business of jazz and devoting their entire lives to it? Well I guess that dude at the Globe Theatre—near the river—put it quite succinctly with those few words, "Aye, there's the rub."

I'm hip that certain technologies have kicked in and one can self promote like never before—given Facebook, Twitter and the whole plethora of social networking that is now available to all—I've often said as of late that if I would have had Facebook back in my day when the juices were flowing, I could have owned the world—or a good part of it. Oh yeah!

Clubs? Forget it! Going, Going...Gone. Concerts? Soon to follow. Real musical instruments? Soon to be replaced by user friendly electronically pre- or post-programmed devices, with any desired tone-sound-rhythm or emotion that one can think of, brought to life anytime the "performer" (no more an artist) so desires. In some respects life is like a bad drummer in that the times, they are a changing!

Ya know, I just looked back at what I've written thus far. There isn't any continuity of thought—just a rant! You may never see this, 'cause I doubt my old chum Michael Ricci will allow something so banal to be shown on his site. I wouldn't blame him, as in Groucho Marx's old throwaway line, "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member." Ha Ha—Oh man!

All right! Comin' up on the out chorus. I better lay something down here that takes care of Biz!

Some concluding words about jazz; thus:

Who turned off the stars? Were they ever on? Was it all amidst tranquility that came upon us in that hour of need, serendipity of thought, and the forsaking of a true variety of meaningless endeavors that we held oh so close and dear next to our feeling the sublime creases and edges of thought, sensual feelings of unabashed joy and longing to search for the complete matrix of a soul so engrossed in the exercise of just being, not of this or any other moment in the overall darkness of a truth that we can't even begin to withhold, grasp or know-yet alone—love—love to the very end.

God bless Tiny Tim, y'all.

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