For Ben and Raymond, they maintain a sentiment of baseball as religion; men of faith putting their trust both in the word of God and Vin Scully. They both believe in the Miracle of the Resurrection and Game 1 of the ‘88 World Series. Both have been unfaithful baseball bigamists; Raymond with the Angels and Ben with the Red Sox. Their faiths have undergone as much change as their favorite team's roster. So they write about it. They write about Baseball and they write about God.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Is It Too Late to Change the Title?

In the immortal words of Mr. Smee…”abso-friggin’-lutely!” Let’s talk jazz. In fact, let’s talk anything that has the gusto to “dress” itself in nudity. In honor of Andre Previn and the Hollywood Stars, I say we rename our musings, “Naked Chicks with Baseball Caps.” With a title like that, we’re sure to draw more hits. And as one fan on Facebook pointed out, “put her on the hood of a car and you’ll DOUBLE your readership.” Which just might raise our number of readers to a numeral that can be rounded UP to 10.

But back to Jazz. The film “Swing Kids” popped my jazz cherry when I was 12. It sounds odd. A boy in mid puberty, on the verge of teenage angst, living in the age of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, falling for Benny Goodman and Jango Reinhardt. I musta listened to “Sing, Sing, Sing” about a million times. I sang “Bei Mir Bist du Schon” in the shower. “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t got that Swing)” became my anthem. And this was BEFORE the 90’s Swing craze. I was so ahead of my time. Or…behind it…depending on which way you look at it. Either way, it’s fair to say that I’m questioning my sexuality as I type. But I can’t help it. Swing Kids was my gateway drug. Christian Bale’s dark descent into the Hitler-Jugend altered my musical palate forever.

From Swing Kids, I “found my thrill on blueberry hill” with Louis Armstrong. His raw and rowdy trumpet beat my eardrums into obsession. I was the only kid on my block with Armstrong’s “Greatest Hits” album… ON TAPE. Inspired by Louis’ “Kiss to Build a Dream on,” I once wrote an anonymous love letter to my 6th Grade crush with the lyrics from the song altered to suit my sentiments. And, yes. My 6th Grade crush was a girl.

It kinda freaked her out. She ended up getting with my best friend. Who could blame her? He owned “The Chronic.”

And then there was Miles Davis.
And John Coltrane.
And Cannonball Adderley.
Bill Evans, Wilton Kelly, Jimmy Cobb and Paul Chambers.

The album was “Kind of Blue.” The best six tracks in Jazz History. If Jazz has a John 3:16, Miles’ efforts during those two sessions in 1959 wrote it. Kind of Blue is perfection personified. 7 musicians, all at the top of their game, coming together for two spring days in New York City to record half a dozen of the richest concoctions of syncopation and improvisation ever. The tracks, “So What”, “Freddie Freeloader”, “Blue in Green”, “All Blues” and “Flamenco Sketches” became more than just music to me. While in college at USC, I played those tracks so much, its smooth sounds enveloped my soul. It can’t be overstated how miraculous this album is. Except for one track, every recording was done in one take. Bill Evans even admitted that Miles wrote the riffs just hours before recording. Today, the album has gone quadruple platinum. Not bad for cramming.

Dare I say, this album is Spiritual. If God’s first utterings brought about the world, I’d put money on his voice sounding a lot like Miles’ trumpet or Coltrane’s sax. Kind of Blue is a work of art. It’s a Rembrandt. It’s a Monet. It’s a Fernando Valenzuela screwball. Untouchable.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smooth writing

November 15, 2009 1:20 AM


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