Friday, September 19, 2008


When I heard "Caldonia" on Sirius Disorder earlier today I decided that hearing it was not enough. I began to search my memory for any image of Louis Jordan and came up with nothing. Thank god for YouTube! (Although today it is also making me feel a little bit sorry that I haven't yet had occasion to sit on a grand piano in high heels)

Speaking of great horn players, I was lucky to have the chance to meet Wynton Marsalis last week when he spoke at the Y and was totally charmed. He's written a new book - a manual, with a little autobiography mixed in, "Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life." The truth is that I would never pick up a book with this title, finding jazz a little intimidating and being very skeptical of anything claiming it can change my life. Surprise! The book is lots of fun - engaging in a way that makes me forget I'm being educated.

From the book:
"There's something strangely personal about how you play the blues. It's impossible to imitate another person's blues feeling. You can learn some runs or licks, but you can't find the same sound. No two people play the blues alike. Someone can sound like John Coltrane but not on the blues. Especially when it's played slow. The slower a blues is, the less you can imitate and the more you are forced to find your own holler, your cry, your thing. That makes the blues musician easy to identify. A listener can hear the difference between artists by the way they play the blues."

So, who plays the best blues for you?

Marsalis photo credit: Jonathan Feinstein


Joanne said...

You wouldn't think so, but Steve Miller Band. When you see him in concert, he plays tunes you'd never heard before. He just recorded a new blues cd this spring.

tut-tut said...

Ah, you have a great job! I'm not much of a blues person at this point. Sometimes there is too much blues in my life as it is!

JGH said...

Joanne, I would love to re-discover Steve Miller and will be on the lookout for that CD!

Tut, I hope the blues in your life don't stick around. Maybe swing is more your style?

d. chedwick said...

Those Marsalis Brothers have some talent. Hard to choose between all the blues. I always have had a thing for bb king, also Howlin Wolf who I accidentally discovered when i was a kid --a stack of old records got me hooked. well, I like women singing the blues, Big Mama Thornton (A sibling broke the album because they got sick of hearing it played relentlessly) The lady who wrote Freight Train, Robert Johnson, and now all the current bluesmakers.
Maybe some of the people I listed would not be considered blues, there are so many labels.