For the last year or so I’ve been blessed to have not just one but two great writers gracing my apartment. Shahirah Majumdar is one of Sarah’s best friends and frequently stays with us when visiting New York. I learn a lot listening to them discuss prose, poetry, politics, and everything else.
From the uncompleted files from about five years ago: Herbie into Kenny and McCoy into Kenny. The left hand is extremely important, and I just didn’t get around to finishing the left hand with Kirkland.
I remembered these when a student asked me yesterday about “E.S.P,” which in my view is one of the hardest tunes. “Yes or No” is not easy either.
Looking at these now I think I learned what I needed to and am not going to work on these more. They are probably full of mistakes and, again, the Kirkland left hand is crucial. If anyone wants the Finale files to edit you can hit me up on Twitter or FB.
Audio files included…
Herbie Hancock’s solo on “E.S.P.” with Ron Carter and Tony Williams:
Kenny Kirkland’s solo on “E.S.P.” with Eddie Gomez and Peter Erskine:
McCoy Tyner’s solo on “Yes or No” with Reggie Workman and Elvin Jones:
(Most of) Kenny Kirkland’s first chorus with Robert Hurst and Jeff Watts from video at Bottom Line:
(There’s a bad incorrect edit later in the piano solo.)
(Hmm. Tatum and Waldron are just about as far apart as you can get and still call it the same kind of music.)
Aaron Gilbreath researches Jutta Hipp. I went through Hipp’s Blue Note output earlier this year and was struck by an emotionally resonant “After Hours.” This Avery Parrish cover is overlooked in most articles about Hipp but it proves that you can play the blues no matter who you are or where you are from.
Another Hipp track that really stood out is her own composition, “Horacio,” written for her friend and influence Horace Silver, The articulation is perfect. It’s kind of like Horace laced with Tristano. Really hip. (Really Hipp?)
Will Robin writes about Amy Beach at 150. It is unquestionably odd that in this moment of heightened identity politics there are no performances of Beach scheduled this year by major orchestras. The Gaelic Symphony is enjoyable, but for my own taste, that kind of richly upholstered romanticism works even better with a star soloist. Beach’s Piano Concerto is a truly fine work next door to Rachmaninoff. It’s arguably better than those two MacDowell concerti, so, the next time someone wants an “early American piano concerto,” skip the MacDowells and play Beach instead.
I don’t mean to brag, but it takes something for somebody to unearth a powerful jazz pianist I haven’t heard of. Mr. Matthew Guerrieri manages this unlikely feat with an overview of François Rilhac,
“Like any classic videogame, the Hunt had simply reached a new, more difficult level. A new level often required an entirely new strategy.” — Ernest Cline, Ready Player One
Ron and Billy know each other of course, but there are only a couple records that feature them in tandem, the most notable being an early Buddy Montgomery and a later Pepper Adams. (I’ve paid some attention to their Herbie Hancock Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long as well.) As far as I know this is the first time they have played a NYC hit together in decades.
Very special thanks to Mark Stryker, who gave exceptionally valuable feedback to a weak first draft, and Sarah Deming, who sprinkled delicious fairy dust over the structure at the eleventh hour. I had many other readers who influenced major details including Ben Ratliff, Loren Schoenberg, James Newton, Jed Eisenmann, and Anthony Coleman (who is quoted in the piece). I’ve hardly ever worked with a magazine editor but Michael Agger was kind and professional.
A sentence about the Village Vanguard was cut by the New Yorker: “Fifty years later, the Vanguard is still the hippest place in town, with a management that cares more about the audience enjoying a special ambience rather than filling every seat, every set.”
Of course I’m associated with the Vanguard, so it’s certainly fair to cut the plug for the club. Indeed, I’m working there this week, and took a photo last night in the kitchen that validates the idea of it being “the hippest place in town.” Left to right: Harold Mabern, Billy Hart, Steve Coleman, Joshua Redman.