3003 SE Milwaukie Ave
Portland, OR 97202 (503) 239-9969
Set Time(s): 7 PM
Details: Significant changes happened to jazz in the 1940s. Big bands became impractical to maintain, and jazz as dance music evolved into a more complex small group listening style. Some of the complexities began to overburden the music for some listeners. Bebop is demanding.
In the 1950s, a balance began to be restored and jazz compositions became more easily memorable — even singable. Horace Silver’s music was gospel influenced and other composers were moving away from what had become daunting for some listeners (and even some players).
John Lewis was among the pioneers of Bebop, but he developed a more restrained, elegant and economical style in both his playing and compositions. We’ve often played his blues composition, Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West. On this concert, we’ll play his graceful Afternoon In Paris.
Tadd Dameron wrote a number of jazz classics in the 1950s, including the lovely (and rather complex) ballad, If You Could See Me Now. It’s a lovely melody with unusual harmonic twists, and I’ve written a personal and expressive arrangement of it for this concert.
Sometime in the 1970s, while I was living in New York and occasionally teaching at Jersey City College, I was on a bus from the PATH train to the college and the driver, a middle aged black man, was singing it — just the tune, wordlessly, without Carl Sigman’s excellent lyric. The song is full of melodic details that make it an unlikely candidate for amateur singers. I sat on the bus, just across from the driver and listened — so taken aback I couldn’t think of what to say, although I wanted to let him know that I heard, knew, and appreciated what he was singing. It was such an unexpected and unlikely experience my memory of it seems dream-like. Did it really happen?
Clifford Brown was a brilliant trumpet player with an overwhelming warmth in his music. He’d have been likely to become one of jazz’s biggest stars if he hadn’t died in a tragic auto accident at the age of 27. At least two of his pieces have become standards of the post bop repertoire — the joyous, Joy Spring and Sandu. We’ll play both of them.
Benny Golson, a prolific composer, will be represented by Blues March, and we’ll play Lee Konitz’s Kary’s Trance.
There are more things on the program that remain among the memorable pieces from the repertoire of music I grew up hearing — music that seemed to be in the air we breathed and is now nearly absent from our everyday culture. I miss both the music and the knowledge that my interest in it was shared by many.
Each of you who come to share our experience with this music helps anchor our sense of (or maybe illusion of) relevance in the contemporary stormy sea of cultural upheaval that has yet to turn up much that interests us. You are our community. Please join us at our next performance, Saturday, November 9th at Classic Pianos at 7:30.
featuring: Charlie Porter - Trumpet, Joe Manis - Alto Saxophone, David Evans - Tenor Saxophone, John Moak - Trombone, Dan Gaynor - Piano, Chuck Israels - Bass, Andres Moreno - Drums