Friday, December 21, 2007

Beautiful Love

I'm still feeling the love today after two mesmerizing sets of jazz storytelling from Kenny Barron, Kiyoshi Kitagawa and Johnathan Blake at the Jazz Bakery last night that jumped off with "Beautiful Love" and the soul thrilling songs, standards and new originals just kept coming. I'll return to that majestic trio in a sec, but first I have to say I can't really hear that song without feeling Shirley Horn and Toots T in that tug-of-war of yearning when they recorded "Beautiful Love" on my fav disk of hers: "You Won't Forget Me". Toots accompanies her piano-less voice with both guitar and harmonica while Shirley wails:

"beautiful love, you are a mystery
beautiful love, what have you done to me?
i was contented til you came along
thrilling my soul with your song

beautiful love, i've roamed your paradise
searching for love, my dream to realize
reaching for heaven, depending on you
beautiful love, will my dreams come true?"

Haven Gillespie, Egbert Van Alstyne, Victor Young and Wayne King responsible for that beautiful/excruciating love. I have major gratitude for these old Tin Pan Alley cats...did a little googling and found out Young also wrote "When I Fall in Love", "My Foolish Heart" and "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance" and Gillespie's credited with "You Go to My Head" and (right on time) "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"...I like noticing that Gillespie was still alive for the Jackson Five version...hope he grooved.

This makes me think of one of the last Christmas's my pop's was alive and his main cd that winter was Al Jarreau's live, "Tenderness" and the track that stayed on repeat was Al and Kathleen Battle singing "My Favorite Things." At some point pops is like, "Quiet as it's kept, this is right up there with Coltrane's for me." Then we all had to turn around and give love to Julie Andrews too, no question. And right now I wanna give love to those mostly Jewish composers writing these joints listed above a generation or two before Dinah Washington, Keith Jarrett, Trane, Toots, and the organic Michael Jackson recorded the versions I hold so dear. I wonder what music Haven Gillespie and Victor Young would compose and debut at the Duke Ellington Center for the Study of Sacred Jazz.

If you happen to read this before Saturday night, Dec 22, please catch Kenny Barron's trio at the Jazz Bakery before they head back home for the my friend Peter kept saying, "exhilarating! mesmerizing! took us to another level!" And as powerfully as they played, all three were just as gentle and open when they came out after two long sets to chat and connect with the lingering crowd. I kinda stumbled trying to tell Mr. Barron about this blog and my vision for the Duke Center...and he said, "it doesn't have to be religious" if to check in and make sure my vibe was inclusive because for him as long as you come together, totally willing to be in synch like that--he holds the hands I've just watched for 3+hours glide across those keys so responsive and resplendent, he holds them together, well, as if he's saying grace--"I guess it is sacred." Beautiful. Love.

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