I finally spent my Christmas money on a new blu-ray player! I had resisted getting one for a long time because HD picture quality is just not all that important to me (sacrilege I know). But here’s what I didn’t know about blu-ray players, you can stream internet content through them! That means not only can I watch my streaming movies on the big screen now, I can also stream podcasts and music. I had on a great old NPR Jazz Profiles featuring Tito Puente yesterday so guess who we get to hear today.
Tito was born Ernesto Antonio Puente in 1923 and he grew up in Spanish Harlem. When neighbors complained that young Tito made too much noise banging on cans and bottles and table tops, his mother decided to channel his energy by getting him drum lessons. He spent three years in the army during World War II and then used the GI bill to study at Juilliard. In the 1950’s, during the height of his popularity, he helped bring Afro-Cuban rhythm to mainstream music. Here’s a video taken from the 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival. It’s an awesome version of “My Favorite Things” from the movie “Sound Of Music.” Of course, Tito is playing the timbal and that’s Jorge Dalto on piano, Carlos Patato Valdez on congas, Mike Viñas on bass and Alfredo de la Fe on the violin.
Speaking of “Sound Of Music,” I’ve been working on a rewrite of “Snow White.” (Yeah I know but a lack of coherent segue has never stopped me before has it?) As I’ve said many times before the Disney movie is a masterpiece. The music is beautiful, and the animation is gorgeous. I love the dwarves and the evil queen but the prince is just boring and Snow White is… well she’s a shrill voiced idiot to put it bluntly. I checked the original tale because I thought maybe old Walt had done her an injustice but no, the movie actually adds a few IQ points to Snow! But I’m gonna add a few more and hopefully interject a bit of humor into the thing. Of course no one ever reads anything I write so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say it’ll be brilliant but, it’s gonna be brilliant!
This video is from a West German TV show filmed on November 24, 1961 in the Sudwestfunk TV studio. The DVD for this one is out of print too but it looks like Amazon has a DVD which includes some of this concert along with footage from the 1965 Antibes Jazz Festival and footage from a San Fransisco concert. I’ll probably get that one because I haven’t stopped playing either of the Coltrane clips since he posted them.
I love “The Sound Of Music.” In fact, I love pretty much everything Julie Andrews ever did. Her “My Favorite Things” is literally one of my favorite things. But Coltrane’s interpretation takes it to a whole new level that has absolutely nothing to do with singing Austrian moppets. I can only imagine what sort of magic he might have wrought if he’d ever gotten ahold of one of the Kristy McNichol/Christopher Atkins duets from 1982’s “The Pirate Movie.”
Train of thought I won’t be pursuing in this post: Addiction destroys lives and that’s a fact. Still I can’t help but wonder if jazz music, or music in general for that matter, would be as amazing without drugs.
I chose Coltrane’s version of “My Favorite Things” from the 1961 album of the same name. Why? I listened to an interview a comedian I like gave last night on internet radio where he said the movie “Mary Poppins” had a huge impact on him when he was a kid. “Mary Poppins” is one of my all time favorite musicals (yes, I do say that a lot). “My Favorite Things” is from “Sound Of Music” but they’re both great Julie Andrews flicks so I figure, close enough! It’s also a great live video with terrific solos by Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, and Eric Dolphy.
A friend of mine likes to hike Mulholland while listening to Coltrane. I wonder where the heck he hikes on Mulholland and still lives to tell the tale. The Mulholland Drive I know is a busy road. It’s twisty and really narrow in spots and people drive it like maniacs. The views are spectacular and the make out spots plentiful but you wouldn’t catch me up there on foot! Of course, it is a long road so there could very well be safe places to walk that I either never saw or don’t remember. Or maybe his middle name is “Danger” so likes his walks on the wild side.