He was actually born Horace Silva but I suspect the fact that he was born in New England (Connecticut) has a lot to do with why he eventually became Silver.
“Senor Blues” was written in 1956 for the album “Six Pieces Of Silver.” This particular recording was done in 1959 in Sweden and, even though this version’s instrumental, the song does have lyrics. The melody is cool Latin jazz with an unusual 6/8 time signature but the lyrics are pure Blues! The singer’s woman, a wanton hussy to be sure, is playing around with the “tall and good looking” Senor Blues. Senor Blues, for his part, is philanderer with wanderlust. In other words, exactly the kind of happy, life affirming story you’d expect in a Blues song.
Once, when I and the internet were both still quite young, a faceless psychic in a chat room told me I’d find love later in life and it’d be with a tall bespectacled man named Richard. Well now it’s much later in my life. Could this video that my friend posted be the second part of the prophecy? Am I destined to end up with a mean mistreater like Senor Blues? Is my friend a super cool jazz fan sharing a great tune with his legions of Facebook friends or is he a harbinger of DOOM for my love life?? Of course we all know the only logical answer. I just hope Senor Blues isn’t a smoker. There’s nothing worse than having to spend happily ever after with a bastard that I’m allergic to!
The song is “Memphis In June” and it was written in 1945 by Paul Francis Webster and Hoagy Carmichael I assume it was written for the movie “Johnny Angel” since the movie came out the same year. Hoagy recorded it himself but it looks like the most famous version was Nina Simone. Like many folks said on Facebook, “The Nearness of You” is my very favorite Hoagy Carmichael song but I really this lazy summertime tune too.
Rejoice gentle reader! You have been spared a self indulgent, overly long, and rambling post that had absolutely nothing to do with this song anyway. It was about something I read on Twitter that made me think about how show folk find the gumption to get back up on the proverbial horse and try again after they’ve bombed. Since I have an opinion about EVERYTHING whether I know what I’m talking about or not, I’m sure the subject will pop up again later.
Ahmad Jamal has been cited as one of the most important influences on the development of jazz after 1945. He recorded this song for his 1970 album “The Awakening.”
Nelson wrote “Stolen Moments” for a 1960 Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis album called “Trane Whistle.” No one thought much of it at the time of the album’s release but it quickly became a jazz standard. Two sets of lyrics were written for the song years later but I prefer it unsung.
I listened to this song while thinking about moments that have been stolen from me. We all have those but happily mine have been few and relatively minor. I listened again thinking about all the stolen moments of pure pleasure I’ve had in my life. I have to say it works both ways. I might just have to pick up “The Awakening” to listen to as I drive to Ann Arbor next weekend to steal a few moments with some dear friends.
“The Jazz Giants Play Jerome Kern” is the album for today. All the songs that I’ve heard on this album are so great it might have been difficult to narrow down the selection. Luckily You Tube did the job for me. I was hoping to play one of the artists I hadn’t put on the thread yet. Unfortunately there weren’t many videos of them so I decided to play pianist Art Tatum’s version of “All The Things You Are.” I’ve only played him once before I think. He was mostly blind and all genius. Fats Waller once called him “a god.” He performed the song on a 1956 duet album with Ben Webster but this is a solo piece.
This has nothing whatsoever to do with today’s video but I think I have found the perfect way to finally start checking projects off my to do list. Apparently I must declare a weekend of complete sloth in order to get my rear in gear. It seems my natural inclination to procrastinate works even when the task at hand is sitting and snacking. I got loads of stuff done this weekend trying to avoid the dreaded popcorn and a movie hell I had planned for myself. I’m totally going to write a best selling self help book about this… tomorrow, after I make some popcorn and watch a couple movies.
I’ve been meaning to post Mary Lou Williams for a while now. She was a gifted pianist, band leader, composer and arranger. She taught herself to play when she was 6 and began performing in Vaudeville as a child. Even though she was a contemporary of greats like Earl Hines, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman, her contributions to jazz music are often sadly overlooked. The video I chose is simply called “Solo Blues Piano.”
My grandma, had no crackpot theories about Mary Lou Williams. In fact, the parallels between the two women’s lives are astounding ( “astounding” here meaning few but sorta neat). My grandmother was also named Mary Lou and she was also a jazz pianist… well she was an IRS tax clerk who enjoyed playing along with her jazz albums in the evenings after work. Grandma was actually pretty good but she could swear with the best of them when she missed a note. There is really nothing more entertaining to a child than a particularly blue string of little old lady swears on a Friday night! Sometimes when I listen to a particularly excellent pianist I stop and say a silent “$^&%$ thank you” to my Beautiful Grandma. =)
In his heyday, Nat King Cole’s albums outsold Sinatra’s. In 1956 he became the first Black host of a television variety show. The show aired without national sponsorship since major companies were unwilling to risk the ire of Southern White consumers. Even though it got excellent ratings, it only lasted a year before Cole himself decided to cancel it citing financial loss. Unfortunately, he was a heavy smoker who believed that cigarettes kept his voice low. He died of lung cancer in 1965.
When you search Nat King Cole on You Tube you’ll find an embarrassment of riches! I had a tough time choosing just one sample to post here today. I finally decided to go with a song called “Let There Be Love” because the video is in color and the happy little song reminds me of spring.
Every spring I get bombarded with junk mail ads from the lawn treatment companies offering to kill the pretty yellows, purples, whites, and pinks dotting my lawn. I throw em straight in the recycling bin. I think my “grass killers” are beautiful and I let them grow as free as the lawn mower will allow on my grass.
I actually made dandelion wine from the pretty yellow blossoms on my lawn once. My daughter, who was two then, helped me pick the flowers. Yes, I made moonshine with my toddler. (Gee, why hasn’t the Mother Of The Year committee called?) I suppose the fact that I don’t drink makes dandelion wine an interesting choice for a summer project, but it was fun. Of course, 4 years later I still have about 3 gallons of suspicious looking yellow liquid sitting on the shelf. I suppose I should either cook with it or throw it out. I get tired of telling people “No I’m not Howard Hughes, it’s WINE!
I know I probably should have uploaded Bing or Judy doing “Easter Parade” today but honestly I’m just not that in to Easter music. I’m listening to Dave Brubeck. Here’s a live video of the song “40 Days” which is from the 1966 album “Time In.” It was the last of Brubeck’s unusual time signature albums.
I once read that very bright people often have cluttered environments. I’ve been using that one for years! “I’m not lazy! I’m gifted!”