Christmas In August

Several weeks ago I shopped online at Concord’s Blowout Sale, filling some gaps in my CD library and stumbling across some old treasures. The package finally arrived.

Many years ago I feel in love with Brubeck’s Time Out and wore out several LPs. It was released when I was four years old; I probably didn’t hear it, or pay attention to it until I was 10 or 11. By the time I was 12 I had the printed music as well, and acquitted myself adequately playing “Blue Rondo A La Turk,” ‘Three To Get Ready,” and “Kathy’s Waltz.” I found the CD some years ago and bought it. It wasn’t until later that I heard Jazz At Oberlin, released before I was born, but I never owned that one…now I do.

I also learned and loved to play Bill Evan’s “Waltz For Debby.” Never mind that it wasn’t written for me, it was my calling card and I wowed a bunch of London musicians by playing it with Bill’s voicings at a party when I was 10 years old and the printed music wasn’t yet available overseas. (Mom and I were on the road with Dad who was playing six weeks at Ronnie Scott’s Club.) Now that you know that you’ll not be surprised that I had to buy the complete set of Bill Evans’ Riverside Recordings. If you’re surprised that I hadn’t yet owned them, don’t be — I bought the Fantasy set instead some years back. Now I’ve got both.

Long ago and far away (1970s, Boston and New York City) I took some lessons with some other noted pianists including Jaki Byard and Walter Bishop, Jr. Strangely enough I owned not a single Bish CD and only one by Byard (the solo recording at Maybeck Hall). Now that omission has been rectified with the purchase of The Walter Bishop Jr, Trio recorded in 1962-63 with Butch Warren and Jimmy Cobb, and Jaki’s Freedom Together recorded in 1966 with Richard Davis on bass, Alan Dawson on drums, and Jaki on piano, celeste, vibes, tenor saxophone and drums. I spent many a night at Bradley’s in NYC listening to Jaki on piano, but I don’t think I ever knew he played all those other instruments. Another gap in my education. The Bishop CD has a nice mix of standards and originals, but I wish it included “Giant Steps;” at the time I studied with him he was using that tune as a teaching tool and had worked out this exercise that, if my hazy memory serves, we used to work through key changes and full-fisted voicings.

And then there’s Wiggin’ Out — Gerry Wiggins playing Hammond organ with Jackie Mills on drums and Harold Land on tenor sax. As long as I have known Wig, about 35 years, I have never heard him play organ. I called him up to ask about it and he just laughed, saying “that’s probably the only time I ever did.”

What else did I buy? Four more that I haven’t played as yet. 1) A Leonard Feather production titled The Jones Boys with Thad, Reginald, Quincy, Jimmy, Jo and Eddie.
2) The MJQ’s Django — by that time I became familiar with the group Connie Kaye was playing drums. The tracks on this CD were recorded in the early 1950s with Kenny Clarke on drums.
3) Sonny Rollins with The Modern Jazz Quartet (I own several recordings by each but nothing with them together).
4) The Ellington Suites, recorded in 1959, 1971 and 1972 with Duke, Cat Anderson, Harry Carney, Paul Gonsalves, Johnny Hodges, Butter Jackson, Clark Terry…..

And lest you think me selfish, I did buy a few others for my husband. He got first dibs on Milt Jackson/Wes Montgomery – Bags Meets Wes!, Cannonball Adderley – Know What I Mean?, and Cannonball Adderley/Milt Jackson – Things Are Getting Better.

This should keep us busy for awhile.

PS: Easy Listening — Talk about discovering oldies, I just browsed by The Overgrown Path where I read Sweden’s best kept secret – Jan Johansson and listened to the short audio clips — very pleasant and mildly reminiscent of John Lewis’s Bach’s Preludes & Fugues and Claude Bolling/Jean-Pierre Rampal’s Suite for Flute & Jazz Piano.