Jazz meets Rock today in this fusion from Miles that will light my day up!!
A friend – Roger Stenning – introduced me to Ken Nordine back in 1967. I was knocked out. His voice was so cool. He called it Word Jazz. There were a couple of albums – Word Jazz and Son of Word Jazz.
In 1968 I got hold of an album called Colours. That was brilliant. My friends and I would have our jazz woodbines and listen to Ken. Delightful.
Today I’m delving back.
I just felt like getting back into the old fifties Jazz. Jack Kerouac put some of his music to jazz music. It captured something of that mad time – jazz, sex and travel, reefer, zen and crazy. Life was for kicks and Sartori. There was no time to waste. Crazy, crazy, crazy, man.
Back when I was young these were like diamonds. You couldn’t get them. Thanks to the internet we have access to all manner of gems.
The only question is whether having such easy access makes everything less important.
Today I’m listening to Jack creating a whole new era out of black music and the search for truth. Go, Go Jack. You changed the world!!
Now then Anna – this is San Francisco – Beat, Poetry, Jazzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Cool. Just how poetry and Jazz should be.
We concoct our worlds and have to make believe they’re real.
Thanks to Roger Hudson for the link.
This song was written for Billie and she made it her signature tune.
It was a haunting Jazz song, languid and soft, reflecting those hot magnolia scented nights in the Deep South.
Unfortunately it tells of the frequent and arbitrary rough justice handed out to the black community on the slightest pretext. It was the law of the mob, unjust and vicious, without the slightest trace of compassion. They hung people in the most horrifying way. The strange fruit were the corpses of black men dangling from the trees.
Sometimes this was even worse. What happened to Emmett Till was even worse. He was beaten and tortured by a gang of white thugs and killed. His screams resounded all around but no one came to his rescues.
Thank heavens for the Civil Rights Movement. Thank heavens for all the white activists who put their lives at risk supporting the black communities.
This was an important song.
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
How can anyone not love Joni? She is the consummate singer-songwriter and musician. Her voice is sublime and her songs complex, intelligent and intriguing. ‘Blue is one of my favourite albums of all-time.
Right from the off she challenged herself and audience. Her first album was a concept album that did not quite work. Her second was more conventional, less ambitious and more successful spawning a couple of songs in ‘Chelsea morning’ and ‘both sides now’ that reached a wider audience. ‘Ladies of the canyon’ was the move out of the narrow Folk field into the community of the Los Angeles Alternative Scene in Laurel Canyon where all the musicians lived and hung out. It jumped to the great ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ and ‘Woodstock’. But it was with ‘Blue’ that everything came together; the poetry of the lyrics, the musicianship, the themes, range of emotions, the song-writing and voice.
Following that there were highs and lows with increasingly jazz-influenced work. The quality and brilliance was always there whether the material was commercial and accessible or more experimental. She put together an incredible a body of work that has range and depth.
Joni became disillusioned with the Music Business, as can be heard in the lyrics of some of her songs, and prefers to concentrate on her art.
I’d like to see and hear both a lot more.
Joni came out of Canada and had some sad times with polio and giving up a child or adoption affecting her early life. All of that and more have been featured in her work. After busking and playing in small clubs she moved to California and was discovered by David Crosby who recognised the talent and brought her into the fold. We have a lot to thank David for. For me Joni is the greatest female songwriter ever.