Coincidental Timing?

For my listening pleasure today while in the HBOT tube, I chose The Bill Holman Band Live. Big band studio recordings are nice, but the live recordings get the listener a little closer to that indescribable experience of being there, up close, with a 16-piece swinging ensemble. There really are no words to sufficiently convey THAT feeling, so if you’ve never experienced it, please seek out an opportunity at your soonest convenience.

This disc, recorded back in Sept of 2004 in Los Angeles, includes several excellent Holman originals starting with Woodrow, dedicated to Woody Herman. But it was the second tune that surprised me — A Day In The Life by John Lennon and Paul McCartney — and provided coincidental timing #1: immediately my thoughts turned to this past Sunday’s post by Marc Myers at Jazzwax where he discussed how a group’s tune choices can invite or alienate audiences. Marc suggests that including some recognizable selections is one of the things that can help bring audiences into the fold. To me, that sense of recognition not only can make a listener feel ‘in the know’ and ‘at home’, but also aids in educating ears, helping one to hear where an improvisor is going and then allowing one to feel the elation of the return when the music comes back from an improvisatory run that might have one well out onto a limb.

Coincidental timing #2 came with the last selection on the disc, another Holman original titled Zoot ‘n’ Al. Bill Crow reported that the Water Gap gig dedicated to the tunes from the Zoot and Al songbook (see last post) went beautifully and he reminded he me that on November 13, at the U of Pennsylvania in East Stroudsburg, where the Al Cohn Collection resides,¬†they’re having a Zoot Fest, celebrating Louise Sims’ gift of Zoot’s memorabilia to the collection. Bill writes:

They’ll be concentrating on the jazz loft music at Dave Young’s place (821 6th Ave) where Zoot, Al, Jim, Jim Raney, Brookmeyer, etc. etc. played frequently, and where W. Eugene Smith took photographs and recorded a lot of the music. ¬†After a morning presentation by Sam Stephenson regarding his Jazz Loft Project and a panel of some of the loft denizens, the afternoon will feature music by Phil Woods, Bob Dorough, Ronnie Free, Lew Tabackin, Bill Goodwin, me, the COTA Festival Orchestra, and “surprise guests.

I don’t believe in coincidence. You just have to open your ears and listen to the universe. Jazz is but one of may excellent ways to connect.

a little nudge

Just received a note from long-time friend Bill Crow, fabulous bassist and excellent writer and jazz raconteur (From Birdland to Broadway and Jazz Anecdotes: Second Time Around).

He asks:

… did you abandon your blog? I miss your comments. Hope it is because you’re doing something that’s too interesting too leave time for Devradowrite.

I keep making elaborate plans to re-launch this blog and life keeps getting in my way. The interesting diversion has been the re-focusing of my Luther Henderson biography and I am now back on track there and in high-gear. I will be describing the re-focus aspect, along with the challenges of biography and of writing about music, in some upcoming blog posts.

For those who want to know, the not-so-interesting diversions have been health-related (see Diver Devra and HBOT, just below).

There are certain tenets to maintaining a successful blog, and primary among them is consistency. When I first began, back in 2005, I posted every weekday, and sometimes more. I don’t know if I will be able to keep up with myself, but it is clear now that I will just have to plunge back in and do the best I can. So, thanks for the nudge, Bill.

If you ever have a chance to hear Bill play live, grab it. Tonight, anyone near enough to Delaware Water Gap, PA should head for the Deer Head Inn where Bill, along with Bob Keller, Lew DelGatto, Jesse Green and Tom Whaley, will be playing tunes from the Al Cohn & Zoot Sims songbook.

Diver Devra and HBOT

Many of you are aware that I beat tongue cancer with heavy radiation and chemo back in 1996. The radiation burned out my salivary glands and the lack thereof over these years has led to dental decay with which even the dentist cannot keep up. The upshot is that I have had more root-canals than I can count and 6 more teeth were pulled in August (2 had been pulled in 2008).

The extractions weren’t so bad (done in hospital, under anesthesia) but my ability to heal from oral surgery is compromised due to the radiation I absorbed during the cancer war — it killed more than just the salivary glands — the diagnosis is osteoradionecrosis (dead bones). Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT) is the prescription, 2-hours a day, five days a week, starting two weeks before surgery and continuing after for as long as it takes for the ‘wounds’ close up. This little image is not me, but it is the actual chamber you’ll find me in from 7-9 AM, M-F for awhile.

You can’t take anything into the chamber with you, no books, nada. There’s no room to move around, but you can listen to music or watch a dvd through a porthole. My preference is to lie down and listen to music. But sometimes I am not given the lie-down option and have to sit in the back compartment (pictured). In chamber I seem to fare best listening to instrumentals rather than vocals, and orchestral rather than small ensemble, though I did spend two days listening to solo piano from the Live at Maybeck Hall series. Recent listening includes Jim Hall’s Textures and By Arrangement, Bob Brookmeyer’s Get Well Soon, and Quincy Jones’ Big Band Complete 1960 European Concerts.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by “force-feeding” pure oxygen to the bloodstream, tissues and cells. Treatments make me feel like DiverDevra (do you remember Diver Dan on TV?) – you are placed in a submarine-like compartment which is then pressurized. The earth’s atmosphere normally exerts approximately 15 pounds per square inch of pressure at sea level. That pressure is defined as one atmosphere absolute (abbreviated as 1 ATA). The chamber gets pressurized to 2 ATA, and by elevating the atmospheric pressure and increasing oxygen intake, oxygen is transferred through the membrane of the red blood cells at a much greater, more effective rate to saturate the bloodstream, tissue and cells.

The hoped-for end result is that the gum tissue will grow to fill in the gaps and cover all exposed bone. But until the bone is buried, you’ll find me popping antibiotics and diving.