Monday, March 22, 2004

Straighten Up & Fly Right

If even as late as this morning
someone had said to me
Nat King Cole, asked me to name
who went before, who came
after, I would have responded Ray
Charles after, Art Tatum before. Could also
have rattled off the antecedents of the
latter, the stride pianists, most of whom
I do not like - it is what we were
taught. &, with a bit more time, I
could have provided a list of those who
I thought had followed on, what I had learnt
through listening to them, tracking
the jumps, bridging those infamous degrees
of separation. But that was before
I played this economy-priced two-CD
collection of tracks by the King Cole Trio
from the late forties / early fifties
& found in them an alternate set of lines,
bits borrowed from the beboppers &
distilled into what would turn up with
further distillation in John Lewis' work
with the Modern Jazz Quartet & on
beyond that. It's like finding a point
where the homology of the past & future
share the same space. A consensus sequence,
or one flower that bears the seemingly
disparate characteristics of many flowers
growing where you least expected it.

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