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.