Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Tribute To Stuff Smith, 1993

For many of the years I listened to jazz I eixisted under the false illusion that modern, freer jazz musicians were constitutionally unable to play more traditional idioms within jazz. But slowly that misconception was dispelled. I heard David Murray - the fire breathing modern jazz icon of the 80's that the Village Voice annointed jazz artist of the 1980's decade - play lovely ballads. I heard Derek Bailey play standards - and I recognized them! This recording is another example of that. Could you imagine Sun Ra, Billy Bang and Andrew Cyrille playing "inside"? That's not to say you could be fooled into thinking you were hearing something from the 1950's. There is an edge to it but what would you expect. They are improvising musicians. One interesting point: Sun Ra made his recording debut playing a duet with Stuff Smith! This great "stuff"...