Agreed. I grew up on hip-hop; and LOVED IT.
Amber Lisa

I grew up on hip-hop; and LOVED IT.

Don’t worry, Amber, I have heard this is curable. The treatment starts, I’m told, by sitting down, paying close attention, and being washed over by some REAL music. So, for your therapeutic enjoyment, I have put together a little list here. If you have ever heard anything more elegant, sophisticated or civilized than these fellas, please let me know:

A couple of notes on this one: I have only recently begun to explore Oscar Peterson, though for a lifetime I have been told what a senior statesman of the jazz piano he was; notice how the trio is packed right in on top of one another in some little night spot in Denmark, there’s more room for the piano than for the crowd almost — makes for a very intimate and conversational style. Watch how the drummer Ed Thigpen starts out accompanying Oscar with his fingertips on the snare, and how his whole set is the sparsest version for jazz, called a seven-piece trap. Bassist Ray Brown, a legend in his own right on the standup big fiddle, watches the intro in obvious awe of his front man, then joins in on a jam like few I have ever seen recorded. As it happens, Ray was the second jazz musician I ever saw live, at age fourteen. He was in a trio with guitarist Joe Pass (whom I introduced you to earlier with Ella Fitzgerald) and the unmatched Louis Bellson on drums. The players had each arrived late, held up in the intolerable SoCal freeway traffic (even in 1975 it was simply inexcusable for that many automobiles to be in one place at one time, day after day), so Joe had come out alone and started on the guitar, and my life was changed forever.

This was a time when guys like Jimmy Page, Keith Richards or Dicky Betts from the rock world were considered the world’s greatest guitarists, and then here comes Joe Pass. Never mind rock’n’roll from that night on, was what happened to me. Then out came Ray with his bass, and the two old friends began a conversation in notes and rhythm that I had never known was possible until I discovered that kind of close-up session with two jazz masters. Then after a time Louis came out in the middle of a song, sat down to the drums and just joined right in. I’ve been to probably hundreds of live performances of all sorts of music since that night, but as a maiden voyage of concert-going goes, I have yet to see the equal of Pass, Brown and Bellson.

Speaking of, all three of those guys came out of the Duke Ellington organization. If there is a London Symphony or Major Leagues of the jazz orchestra world, I doubt anyone who knows the first thing about jazz would dispute that the Duke Ellington Orchestra was that band, Above here is just the Duke himself making up a quartet with Joe, Ray, and Louis.

Given that jazz is quite possibly the crowning achievement of the American civilization, here are a few more selections I’m honored to recommend:

(Here the Duke takes some liberties with Tchaikovsky’s Christmas favorite “The Nutcracker”; if you can sit still through this you might already be dead.)

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