Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

too rad for the ineffectual first mate

* * *

Went to a joint in a nearby neighborhood for dinner tonight, a pizza place with an area for kids to play. Fingers Hilarity is allergic to dairy and eggs, but he loves spaghetti, and he ate it up. As we were leaving a jazz band made up of teen-age boys was setting up by the door. I resisted the temptation to say, "Swing it, boys." (None of the young men were of African descent, which, if they had been, I would not have been tempted.)

I mentioned it to my beloved spouse on the drive home.

"What does 'swing it, boys,' mean?" asked Mr. Hilarity.

"It means, 'play nicely, gentleman.' For people playing jazz. "

My beloved spouse added, " ' Swing' means it has a good beat."

"In jazz style," I said.

Mr. Hilarity said, "Next time I see people setting up to play jazz, I'll say, 'Swing it, boys.' That will be a nice thing to say. I like to say nice things."

I explained to him how men, and even teen-agers, who are young men, don't like to be called boys. It took some explaining, but Mr. Hilarity got it.

"OK, next time I see men or teenagers setting up to play jazz, I'll say, 'Swing it, men.' "

* * *

We had to leave before Mr. Hilarity was finished, because my beloved spouse had to go back to work for an evening meeting. As Mr. Hilarity was finishing his dinner at home, a knock came on the kitchen door. It was our very good friends, our neighbors across the alley.

"John, do you have one or two beers I could borrow? What does that make it that I owe you, a case? I need alcohol."

His wife said, "I got free tickets at work to the Rolling Stones tonight, and he can't go straight!"

My 61-year-old neighbor, who's in better shape than I am, downed one beer in no time and put a second in his pocket as his 54-year-old wife laughed.

* * *

Yesterday in a locally-owned international cafe chain named after the ineffectual Christian who sees disaster impending but is unable to persuade anybody to change course, I heard Miles Davis's recording of "The Man I Love" -- with Milt Jackson, Thelonious Monk, Percy Heath, and Kenny Clarke -- come on. I thought to myself, "No way! They're going to play one of the weirdest Monk solos ever in here?" And then I calmed myself down -- for goodness' sake, it's 2006, there's nothing that startling about a 1954 recording of a soloist playing a thickly, dissonantly harmonized version of a melody in half-tempo (it's the half-tempo that's so startling) in this day and age.

And then the record faded out before Milt Jackson's vibraphone solo was finished, before they got to Monk, segueing to the ultra-smooth (and equally wonderful) Davis tune "All Blues." Apparently some honcho thought Monk's solo was too weird.

Some day he'll come along, the man I love . . .

Isn't that from the session where Miles and Monk got into a shoving match? Mostly myth, I think...

Found this cool site that has an HTML version of the back of LP!

Above from is from JSG.
That was the session -- a Christmas Eve 1954 session to get the musicians some Christmas money. Davis was the leader, but in addition to the Gershwin standard each of the 3 front-liners contributed one tune each. The rumor was that Miles hated Monk's playing so much that they got in a fight. Monk said (paraphrase), "If I'd've hit Miles I'd've killed him," and Miles did not disagree -- Monk was a considerably larger man. In addition to his wonderful solo on "The Man I Love," Monk's solo on Jackson's "Bags' Groove" is one of his most celebrated -- the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz excerpted just that solo for inclusion.
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