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2 ARTICLE | Speak

PETER YORN, ESBJORN SVENSSON, HEINEKEN WITH THE MUSIC: JAZZLANDIA, LILA DOWNS, ELLA FITZGERALD, BILLIE HOLIDAY, GET THE BLESSING, SPEAK, GREAT INSTRUMENTS: GIBSON ES335, MILES DAVIS, DAVE BRUCKBECK TRIO, JUTA HIPP, SWEDEN JAZZ FESTIVAL, CHET BAKER, THE GRACE KELLY QUINTET, B.B.KING, LOUIS PRIMA, TALLER DE MÚSICS...

jazz and modern music magazine #1


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4 ARTICLE | High times hard times < Billie Holiday on the Columbia Theater on 1941

high times hard times

Probably no voice in the history of jazz exerts a deeper fascination than the vulnerable, intimate slur of billie holiday, who died in 1959 at the age of 44. With a vocal range of barely an octave and the timbre of a muted horn, miss holiday's singing was far from athletic, but it spanned the emotional range of the universe, communicating joy and pain with an immediacy that seemed at once artless and profoundly sophisticated.

Billie Holiday was the daughter of Clarence Holiday. Her early life is obscure, as the account given in her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, is self-serving and inaccurate. Her father abandoned the family early and refused to acknowledge his daughter until after her first success. At some point in her childhood, her mother moved to New York, leaving her in the care of her relatives who, according to Holiday, mistreated her. She did menial work, had little schooling, and in 1928 went to New York to join her mother. According to her own story, she was recruited for a brothel and was eventually jailed briefly for prostitution. At some point after 1930, she began singing at a small club in Brooklyn, and in a year or so moved to Pods' and Jerry's, a Harlem club well known to jazz enthusiasts. In 1933, she was working in another Harlem club, Monette's, where she was discovered by the producer and talent scout John Hammond. Hammond immediately arranged three recording sessions for her with Benny Goodman and found engagements for her in New York clubs. In 1935, he began recording her regularly, usually under the direction of Teddy Wilson, with studio bands that included many of the finest jazz musicians of the day. These recordings, made between 1935 and 1942, constitute a major body of jazz music; many include work by Lester Young, with whom Holiday had particular empathy. Though aimed mainly at the black jukebox audience, the recordings caught the attention of musicians throughout America and soon other singers were working in Holiday's light, rhythmic manner. Popularity with a wider audience came more slowly. Holiday joined Count Basie in 1937 and Artie Shaw in 1938, becoming one of the first black singers to be featured with a white orchestra. Then, in 1939, she began an engagement at Cafe Society (Downtown), an interracial nightclub in Greenwich Village, which quickly became fashionable with intellectuals and the haut monde, especially those on the political left. At about the same time, she recorded for Commodore Records a song about the lynching of blacks called Strange Fruit; it was admired by intellectuals, and very quickly Holiday began to acquire a popular following. She started to have success with slow, melancholy songs of unrequited love, particularly Gloomy Sunday (1941), a suicide song, and Lover Man (1944). By the end of the 1940s, she was a popular star, and in 1946 took part in the film New Orleans with Louis Armstrong and Kid. At the same time her career was taking off, Holiday’s private life was deteriorating. She started using hard drugs in the early 1940s and was jailed on drug charges in 1947 after a highly publicized trial. She compulsively attached herself to men who mistreated her, and she began drinking heavily. Her health suffered; she lost most of her by then substantial earnings, and her voice coarsened through age and mistreatment. Although she continued to sing and record, and to tour frequently until the mid-1950s, it was no longer with her former spirit and skill. Holiday is often considered the foremost female singer in jazz history, a view substantiated

by her influence on later singers. Her important work is found in the group recordings made mostly for Hammond between 1936 and 1944. Her vehicles were mainly popular love songs, some of them long forgotten, others among the best of the time. Her voice was light and untrained, but she had a fine natural ear to compensate for her lack of musical education. She always acknowledged her debt to Armstrong for her singing style, and it is certainly in emulation of him that she detached her melody line from the ground beat, stretching or condensing the figures of the melody, as on the opening of Did I Remember? (1936). More than nearly any other singer, Holiday phrased her performances in the manner of a jazz instrumental soloist, and accordingly she has to be seen as a complete jazz musician and not merely a singer. Nevertheless, her voice, even in the light and lively numbers she often sang during her early period, carried a wounded poignancy that was part of her attraction for general audiences. Although Holiday claimed also to have taken Bessie Smith as her model, she sang few blues, and none in the powerful, weighted manner of Smith. She was, however, a master of blues singing, as for example on Fine and Mellow (1939), which she built around blue thirds descending to seconds to create an endless tension perfectly suited to the forlorn text.

Recordings with Teddy Wilson

Holiday was signed to Brunswick Records by John Hammond to record current pop tunes with Teddy Wilson in the new ‘swing’ style for the growing jukebox trade. They were given free rein to improvise the material. Holiday’s improvisation of the melody line to fit the emotion was revolutionary.Their first collaboration included What a Little Moonlight Can Do, and Miss Brown To You. The record label did not favor the recording session, because producers wanted Holiday to sound more like Cleo Brown. After What a Little Moonlight Can Do garnered success, however, the company began considering Holiday an artist in her own right. She began recording under her own name a year later (on the 35 cent Vocalion label), producing a series of extraordinary performances with groups comprising the swing era’s finest musicians. With their arrangements,Wilson and Holiday took pedestrian pop tunes, such as Twenty-Four Hours a Day or Yankee Doodle Never Went To Town , and turned them into jazz classics. Most of Holiday’s recordings with Wilson or under her own name during the 1930s and early 1940s are regarded as important parts of the jazz vocal library. She was then in her early to late 20s. Another frequent accompanist was the tenor saxophonist Lester Young, who had been a boarder at her mother’s house in 1934 and with whom Holiday had a special rapport. He said ‘Well, I think you can hear that on some of the old records, you know. Some time I’d sit down and listen to ‘em myself, and it sound like two of the same voices, if you don’t be careful, you know, or the same mind, or something like that’ Young nicknamed her ‘Lady Day’, and she, in


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turn, dubbed him ‘Prez’. Hammond spoke about the commercial impact of the Teddy Wilson-Billie Holiday sides from 1935 to 1938, calling them a great asset to Brunswick. The record label, according to Hammond, was broke and unable to record many jazz tunes. Because Wilson, Holiday, Lester Young, and other musicians came into the studio without any arrangements, which cost money, and improvised the material as they went along, the records they produced were very cheap. Holiday was never given any royalties for her work, instead being paid a flat fee, which saved the record label money. Some of the records produced were largely successful, such as the single I Cried for You which sold 15,000 copies. Hammond said of the record, “15,000 ... was a giant hit for Brunswick in those days. I mean a giant hit. Most records that made money sold around three to four thousand.” Holiday’s mother Sadie Fagan, nicknamed ‘The Duchess,’ started her own restaurant called Mom Holiday’s. Fagan used the money her daughter earned while shooting dice with members of the Count Basie band, whom she was on tour with in the late 1930s. “It kept mom busy and happy and stopped her from worrying and watching over me,” Holiday said. Soon, Fagan began borrowing large amounts of money from Holiday because the restaurant wasn’t turning a profit. Holiday obliged, but soon fell upon hard times herself. “I needed some money one night and I knew Mom was sure to have some,” Holiday said. “So I walked in the restaurant like a stockholder and asked. Mom turned me down flat. She wouldn’t give me a cent.” The two argued and then, Holiday, in a rage, hollered “God bless the child that’s got his own,” and stormed out of the restaurant. With help from Arthur Herzog, Jr., a pianist, the two wrote a song based on the line God Bless the Child and added music. God Bless the Child became Holiday’s most popular and covered record. It reached number 25 on the record charts in 1941 and ranked third in Billboard’s top songs of the year, selling over a million records.In 1976, the song was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame. Herzog later claimed that Holiday contributed little to the lyrics of her music, adding only a few lines. He also stated that Holiday came up with the line God Bless the Child from a dinner conversation the two had. On June 24, 1942, Holiday recorded “Trav’lin Light” with Paul Whiteman. Because she was still under contract with Columbia records, she couldn’t release the song under her own name and instead used the pseudonym “Lady Day.” The song was a minor success on the pop charts, reaching number 23, but hit number one on the R&B charts, which were called the Harlem Hit Parade at the time. In September 1943, Life magazine complimented Holiday on her work.They wrote,“she has the most distinct style of any popular vocalist and is imitated by other vocalists.” Milt Gabler eventually became an A&R man for Decca Records, in addition to owning Com-

Well, I think you can ear that on some of the old records, you know. Some time I’d sit down and listen to ‘em myself, and it sound like two of the same voices, if you don’t be careful, you know, or the same mind, or something like that.

< Billie at the Club Downbeat on 52nd St. and Mildred at the Blue Angel on the East 50’s.Portrait by William Gottlieb


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8 ARTICLE | High times hard times < Billie at the Club Downbeat on 52nd St. and Mildred at the Blue Angel on the East 50’s.Portrait by William Gottlieb

In September 1943, Life magazine complimented Holiday on her work. They wrote, “she has the most distinct style of any popular vocalist and is imitated by other vocalists.”


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< Billie Holiday singing ‘Fine & Mellow’ with Cozy Cole, James P. Johnson during jam session in studio of LIFE photographer Gjon Mili in 1941

Holiday contributed little to the lyrics of her music, adding only a few lines. He also stated that Holiday came up with the line God Bless the Child from a dinner conversation the two had. On June 24, 1942, Holiday recorded “Trav’lin Light” with Paul Whiteman. Because she was still under contract with Columbia records, she couldn’t release the song under her own name and instead used the pseudonym “Lady Day.” The song was a minor success on the pop charts, reaching number 23, but hit number one on the R&B charts, which were called the Harlem Hit Parade at the time. In September 1943, Life magazine complimented Holiday on her work.They wrote,“she has the most distinct style of any popular vocalist and is imitated by other vocalists.” Milt Gabler eventually became an A&R man for Decca Records, in addition to owning Commodore Records, and he signed Holiday to the label on August 7, 1944, when Holiday was 29. Her first recording for Decca was Lover Man, one of her biggest hits. The success and wide distribution of the song made Holiday a staple in the pop community, allowing her to have her own solo concerts, a rarity for jazz singers in the late 40s. Gabler commented on the song’s success, saying, “I made Billie a real pop singer.That was right in her. Billie loved those songs.” Jimmy Davis and Roger “Ram” Ramirez, Lover Man’s songwriters, tried to get Holiday interested in recording the song in 1941, but she didn’t take interest. In 1943, a flamboyant male torch singer by the name of Willie Dukes began singing Lover Man on 52nd Street. Because of Duke’s success with the song, Holiday decided to add it to her live shows. The song’s Bside is No More, a song Holiday considered one of her favorites. When it came time to record the song, Holiday begged Gabler for strings, which were associated with big name acts like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, to accompany her in the background. “I went on my knees to him,” Holiday said. “I didn’t want to do it with the ordinary six pieces. I begged Milt and told him I had to have strings behind me.” On October 4, 1944, Holiday walked into the recording studio to record “Lover Man” and saw the string ensemble and walked out. The musical director for the session, Toots Camarata said she was overwhelmed with joy. Another reason for Holiday wanting to use strings may have been to dodge the comparisons made

between her commercially successful early work with Teddy Wilson and everything produced afterward. She Her 1930s sides with Wilson used a small jazz combo. Her recordings with Decca often involved string ensembles and presented her voice in a new light. On June 24, 1942, Holiday recorded “Trav’lin Light” with Paul Whiteman. Because she was still under contract with Columbia records, she couldn’t release the song under her own name and instead used the pseudonym “Lady Day.” A month later, in November, Billie Holiday returned to the Decca studio to record three songs, That Ole Devil Called Love, Big Stuff, and “Don’t Explain. Holiday wrote Don’t Explain after she caught her husband, Jimmy Monroe, with lipstick on his collar. After the recording session, Holiday did not return to the studio until August 1945. She recorded Don’t Explain , Big Stuff, What Is This Thing Called Love?, and You Better Go Now. Ella Fitzgerald declared You Better Go Now as her favorite Billie Holiday recording. Ramirez, Lover Man’s songwriters, tried to get Holiday interested in recording the song in 1941, but she didn’t take interest. In 1943, a flamboyant male torch singer by the name of Willie Dukes began singing Lover Man on 52nd Street. Because of Duke’s success with the song, Holiday decided to add it to her live shows. The song’s B-side is No More, a song Holiday considered one of her favorites. Big Stuff and Don’t Explain were recorded again but with additional strings and a viola. In 1946, Holiday recorded Good Morning Heartache. Although the song failed to chart, it remained a staple in her live shows with three known live recordings of the song. In September 1946, Holiday began work on what would be her only major film New Orleans. She starred opposite Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman. Plagued by racism and McCarthyism, producer Jules Levey and scdy, and when she starts crying, the next thing she’s going to e. I know I wore a white, She recorded the track The Blues Are Brewin’, for the film’s soundtrack. Other songs included in the movie are Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? and Farewell to Storyville. Holiday’s drug addictions were a growing problem on the set. She earned more than before working in that bar at he time, but sadly she spent most of it on heroin.


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SPEAK


14 ARTICLE | Speak

For many, introductions to the band Speak came with last April’s Andrew D’Angelo benefit concert at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Sheperd Center.

Cuong brought with him his experience with his own trio and the Pat Metheny Group, both of which are bands with very distinct sounds

For many, introductions to the band Speak came with last April’s Andrew D’Angelo benefit concert at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Sheperd Center. Concluding a night of emotional performances from Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu, Robin Holcomb, and Eyvind Kang, the band, then billed as Cuong Vu’s University of Washington Student Ensemble, was oneof the evening’s great surprises. Speak’s sprawling and unpredictable performance featured complex compositions, spirited improvisations, and a genuine reverence for D’Angelo. (And in many ways, it made perfect sense that a benefit for the saxophonist, a Seattle native and graduate of Roosevelt High School, would feature a young, closely knit, and enormously promising band of fellow Seattle natives.) The performance would later be remembered as a turning point for Speak, marking Vu’s arrival as a regular performing partner and peer.Yet it surely also marked the arrival of a new generation of committed, thoughtful, and immensely talented young improvisers on Seattle’s creative arts scene. Comprised of pianist Aaron Otheim, bassist Luke Bergman, percussionist Chris Icasiano, saxophonist Andrew Swanson, and trumpeter Vu, Speak was born in the idyllic environment of the UW music building’s sub-sub- basement. Otheim, Bergman, Swanson, and Icasiano were long acquainted within the UW jazz program, and early on they understood that they were to eventually form a band. Their first efforts playing together in early 2007 happened to coincide with Vu’s return to Seattle and arrival as a UW faculty member. Vu was assigned to coach the ensemble, forging a creative relationship that few could have predicted. More straight-ahead and swinging than you might hear them today, the band in its early stages lacked a clear musical focus. Under Vu’s mentorship, however, Speak began to develop a cohesive and unique

ARTICLE | Speak 15

identity. As Chris Icasiano explains, “Cuong brought with him his experience with his own trio and the Pat Metheny Group, Aaron Speak was born in the idyllic environment of the UW music building’s sub-sub- basement. Otheim, Bergman, Swanson, and Icasiano were long acquainted within the UW jazz program, and early on they understood Speak was born in the idyllic environment of the UW music building’s sub-sub- basement. Otheim, Bergman, Swanson, and Icasiano were long acquainted within the UW jazz program, and early on they understood Otheim percussionist Chris Icasiano, saxophonist Andrew Swanson, and both of which are bands with very distinct sounds. This certainly encouraged us to sta Comprised of pianist Aaron Otheim, bassist Luke Bergman, percussionist Chris Icasiano, saxophonist Andrew Swanson, and trumpeter Vu, Speak was born in the idyllic environment of the UW music building’s sub-sub- basement. Otheim, Bergman, Swanson, and Icasiano were long acquainted within the UW jazz program, and early on they understood that they were to eventually form a band. Their first efforts playing together in early 2007 happened to coincide with Vu’s return to Seattle and arrival as a UW faculty member.Vu was assigned to coach the ensemble, forging a creative relationship that few could have predicted. Speak’s sprawling and unpredictable performance featured complex compositions, spirited improvisations, and a genuine reverence for D’Angelo. (And in many ways, it made perfect sense that a benefit for the saxophonist, a Seattle native and graduate of Roosevelt High School, would feature a young, closely knit, and enormously promising band of fellow Seattle natives.) The performance would later be remembered as a turning point for Speak, marking Vu’s arrival as a regular performing partner and peer.Yet it surely also marked the arrival of a new generation of committed, thoughtful, and immensely talented young improvisers on Seattle’s creative arts scene.W music building’s sub-sub- basement. Otheim, Bergman, Swanson, and Icasiano were long acquainted within


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16 ARTICLE | Speak

> Their first official concert at the Federal Cafe (Prague).

Speak’s sprawling and unpredictable performance featured complex compositions, spirited improvisations, and a genuine reverence for D’Angelo. And in many ways, it made perfect sense that a benefit for the saxophonist

For many, introductions to the band Speak came with last April’s Andrew D’Angelo benefit concert at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Sheperd Center. Concluding a night of emotional performances from Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu, Robin Holcomb, and Eyvind Kang, the band, then billed as Cuong Vu’s University of Washington Student Ensemble, was oneof the evening’s great surprises. W music building’s sub-sub- basement. Otheim, Bergman, Swanson, and Icasiano were long acquainted within the UW jazz program, and early on they understood Otheim percussionist Chris Icasiano, saxophonist Andrew Swanson, and both of which are bands with very distinct sounds. This certainly encouraged us toSpeak’s sprawling and unpredictable performance featured complex compositions, spirited improvisations, and a genuine reverence for D’Angelo. (And in many ways, it made perfect sense that a benefit for the saxophonist, a Seattle native and graduate of Roosevelt High School, would feature a young, closely knit, and enormously promising band of fellow Seattle natives.) The performance would later be remembered as a turning point for Speak, marking Vu’s arrival as a regular perform remembered as a turning point for Speak, marking Vu’s arrival as a regular perform ing partner and peer.Yet it surely also marked the arrival of a new generation of committed, thoughtful, and immensely talented young improvisers on Seattle’s creative arts scene. Comprised of pianist Aaron Otheim, bassist Luke Bergman, percussionist Chris Icasiano, saxophonist Andrew Swanson, and trumpeter Vu, Speak was born in the idyllic environment of the UW music building’s sub-sub- basement. Otheim, Bergman, Swanson, and Icasiano were long acquainted within the UW jazz program, and early on they understood that they were to eventually form a band.Their first efforts playing togeth For many, introductions to the band Speak came with last April’s Andrew D’Angelo benefit concert at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Sheperd Center. Concluding a night of emotional performances from Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu, Robin Holcomb, and Eyvind Kang, the band, then billed as Cuong Vu’s University of Washington Student Ensemble, was oneof the evening’s great surprises. W music building’s sub-sub- basement. Otheim, Bergman, Swanson, and Icasiano were long acquainted within the UW jazz program, and early on they understood Otheim percussionist Chris Icasiano, saxophonist Andrew Swanson, and both of which are bands with very distinct sounds.This certainly encouraged us to Speak’s sprawling and unpredictable performance featured complex compositions, spirited improvisations, and a genuine reverence for D’Angelo. (And in many ways, it made perfect sense that a benefit for the saxophonist, a Seattle native and graduate of Roosevelt High School, would feature a young, closely knit, and enormously promising band of fellow Seattle natives.) The performance would later be remembered as a turning point for Speak, marking Vu’s arrival as a regular performing partner and peer. Yet it surely also marked the arrival of a new generation of committed, thoughtful, and immensely talented young improvisers on Seattle’s creative arts scene. Comprised of pianist Aaron Otheim, bassist Luke Bergman, percussionist Chris Icasiano, saxophonist Andrew Swanson, and trumpeter Vu, Speak was born in the idyllic environment of the UW music building’s sub-sub- basement. Otheim, Bergman, Swanson, and Icasiano were long acquainted within the UW jazz program, and early on they understood that they were to eventually form a band.Their first efforts playing together in early 2007 happened to coincide with Vu’s return to Seattle and arrival as a UW faculty member. Vu was assigned to coach the ensemble, forging a creative relationship that few could have predicted. More straight-ahead and swinging than you might hear them today, the band in its early stages lacked a clear musical focus. Under Vu’s mentorship, however, Speak began to develop a cohesive and unique identity. As Chris Icasiano explains


INTERVIEW | Esbjörn Svensson 19

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Svensson saltó a la fama con E.S.T (formalmente, Esbjörn Svensson Trio), un trío de jazz sui géneris cuya música bebe de múltiples fuentes: “Estamos inspirados por la música afroamericana, por supuesto, pero también por la música clásica europea, por la música electrónica, el pop, el rock and roll..., si alguien piensa que no es jazz, por mí vale, y si piensa que sí, pues también”.Tuesday Wonderland es su último disco.

esbjörn svensson


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20 INTERVIEW | Esbjörn Svensson

< The band in a promotional image for the tour of this year.

ARTURO MORA | BARCELONA

First of all: what can you tell us about the new record,Tuesday Wonderland? Actually there’s nothing to be told more than to hear the music, which is, of course, a very boring answer, but that’s why we’re making music, it’s because we’re not poets or anything like that, we don’t need to use a lot of words. We tell everything that needs to be told with music. It’s like: we are authors and we write a book, and the book is about a specific story, and each tune is a different chapter. But if you listen to it together you can hear that it’s a whole thing, that there’s one line to the whole record, like it is in the books. Viaticum, sounded a bit dark, but under my point of view Tuesday Wonderland sounds even darker. Were you looking for that kind of sound, or did it come out naturally? Everything you hear on the album has come in a very natural way. We’re not really talking about music, like: we’re gonna try to go for a darker album, a more heavier album, or more distortioned, or more heavy metal, or so. It seems that what’s more or less happening probably has to do with the music that I composed, and also has a lot to do with the trio, about how we are playing, and how we’re approaching the music that we’re trying to play. So we could say that the music reflects your current personal state as musicians. Definitely it does, but specially in E.S.T. It might be something completely different in another context, if we would play with other musicians. But of course we’re working very hard with E.S.T. and it’s definitely reflecting our personalities, that’s for sure.

< Cover of their album Live in Hamburg

Another one of the things I’ve observed in the record is that, maybe, the orchestral concept is higher than in previous records, like there’s more melody and more arrangement and less space for improvisation.Was it a move you made deliberately or did it come out naturally too? I’m not sure if I agree. There might be lots of parts in the music that may sound composed more than

improvised, but it can also be the way you said, I’m not sure really, I mean, if there is a higher percentage of composed material than improvised. It might be that I started to compose the album from a very classical point of view. I was trying to do some kind of Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (The Well-Tempered Clavier, by Johann Sebastian Bach) for the trio, which didn’t really succeed. I was composing lots of suites, lots of preludes, and we were trying to play lots of it, but afterwards we realized: “this is not really working for E.S.T.”. So then I was going back and started to go through the material again and try to find out which of the tunes we could play, which of the tunes needed to be recomposed, or which of the tunes we couldn’t use at all. But I realized that we had some material that could be recomposed or rearranged and we got working on that material. Maybe this album sounds a way that’s not my original idea of trying to do this Wohltemperierte Klavier idea. When you compose, do you think in how the tunes will sound live, or do you just take full advantage of the possibilities in the studio, and live playing will be another problem? I think when I compose I’m trying to think about how we can play things and it’s not really a big difference for us. If it works in the studio it works live, if it works live it works in the studio. It may sound that we use a lot of overdubs, but it’s not a big deal actually, because lots of the things are recorded just in one take, and we actually do sounds that may sound overdubbed, but they’re not. The sound is recorded as we play it. But there are of course some overdubs as well, but only like... when you're making food you use spices in order to make food taste better and this is how we try to use overdubs. Regarding that studio process, which is the importance of your sound engineer Ake Linton in the development of the band? Well, Ake Linton is a very, very important man in this process. He is the fourth member of the trio, he’s been travelling with us for five or maybe six

years now and we have been recording with him before, but this is for a very long time the first album we’re really making together with him, and that was such a joy to work with him.We went down to Gothenburg and used his studio, and we were recording for four days, went into the studio, turned our mobile phones off, we were just concentrating, and worked very hard for these four days, and recorded the whole album. There is a song in the record, “Eighthundred Streets by Feet”, which is in 5/4 time. Did you make it as an exercise of 5/4 composing, or did you just pick the melody and it developed in that meter? Well, Ake Linton is a very, very important man in this process. He is the fourth member of the trio, he’s been travelling with us for five or maybe six years now and we have been recording with him before, but this is for a very long time. That composition actually came from the riff that is played by the left hand on the piano (he sings the riff). Something that I started to play and I kind of liked it and then I worked out the rest, I worked out the melody, the bridge and so on. I never thought about composing in 5/4 before, it was something that it just happened, this riff was in 5/4, therefore I decided to try to keep it that way, and see what I could do with it. There’s another song, “Dolores in a Shoestand” that, to me, sounds with some reminiscence of Pat Metheny, as well as some old songs like “SpamBoo-Limbo”, “Elevation of Love” or the Mohammed suite, for example. Everybody knows you have a great relationship with Pat Metheny. Is he a real musical influence for E.S.T.? Oh, absolutely. Pat Metheny is definitely one of our heroes. All of us in the trio, we’ve grown up with his music, and we were listening a lot to his earlier set up of Pat Metheny Group, and I remember when he came to Stockholm to play with Pat Metheny Group, I think I was 19 years old the first time I heard the band. It was the first time I saw a real jazz concert with great lightning, great sound, more like,

Sweden’s Jazz Festival v


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this piano/keyboard player, composer? You know, people ask me these things, and I’m so bad at names. (laughs) Let me think a little bit, if I can... Do you know this very famous piano player/composer from London? He’s very crazy. He did a total weird arrangement on “New York, New York” for big band. Let me see if I can find...Well, maybe coming back before we stop. You were asking me about musicians: to be honest I’m not that updated, I’m not listening to music very much in general, while we’re touring I try to go and listen to different things that people are playing before or after us, but I don’t buy lots of records, probably because I’m working so much with my own thing...

< The trio performing at Sweden’s Jazz Festival 2007

you know, a rock concert, but still very improvised and jazz music. I think that whole thing inspired me a lot actually, and sometimes I think what we’re doing with the trio is not too far away from what they still are doing. To me there was a very important moment in the recording career of E.S.T., in 1999, when you came up with the tune “Dodge the Dodo” that was stylistically different from the previous recorded material, with that E pedal and that rockish sound. In some way, did that tune mark the path of what was to follow? Might have, might have. I don’t know really. Of course, when we start to play live that tune is kind of a hit tune, and people want to hear it, but at the same time I’m consciously trying to compose music that’s natural, and I never try to compose another “Dodge the Dodo”. We’re just trying to compose and we’re trying to play the music in a natural way, but maybe still, as you said, “Dodge the Dodo” and the tune “From Gagarin’s Point of View” on that album were two strong tunes that actually maybe gave some more identity to E.S.T. Let’s talk about succeeding in the U.S.A., which was , let’s say, your pending subject. How about your recent American tour? It was fine, we played in June public shows, clubs, festivals in Philadelphia, Rochester, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle – in a couple of different places –, we also went up to Canada, and I think it was a big success, it was a lot of fun and, in general, at the start when we started to play the States it was so hard to have people coming to the concerts, because we were totally unknown and, you know, sometimes we went to play for a very few people, but it seems like those days are hopefully over and we have a big audience coming to see us, more or less, everywhere we’re going there, which is fantastic, to be European and go over to the States and play jazz music. Yeah, it should be great. It is, it’s fantastic.

Do you think that, in some way, you’re the image of European jazz, the new European jazz Messiahs, that E.S.T. is responsible for showing what European musicians can do with jazz? I don’t know, I mean... I know that some journalist tried to use us a little bit as typical European musicians, and sometimes against the American jazz. I don’t know, I’m not really involved in that discussion, I love the American jazz, I love some European jazz as well, and I don’t see a war between America and Europe in the question of where jazz is better, or so. Do you think it’s more a matter of labels, more than just a real difference? Yeah, today we’re not so isolated in Europe, so we’re playing music for ourselves and in America they play for themselves. You know, when I grew up I was listening to all jazz music from America and, of course, that music inspired me a lot, so I heard Charlie Parker, Monk, Basie, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock. I’m very thankful to all of these guys for hearing their music when I grew up and it was because of them that I wanted to play jazz. European jazz is much harder for me to hear. It’s so much easy to hear American musicians than European musicians from other countries, and here in Sweden I’m not sure it was this way. It still might be that way, but I think E.S.T. and those other guys like Nils Petter Molvaer, Bugge Weseltoft, maybe Jorge Rossy from Spain and, you know, many great European musicians. I think before, when people were arranging festivals in Europe, they had to depend on American players, but I think that kind of changed a little bit now, and those promoters that are doing festivals in Europe know that there’s really interesting music coming from Europe, some music that actually attract a big audience in Europe. Apart from these names you said, Nils Petter Molvaer, Bugge Weseltoft, which other European jazz musicians would you recommend? Definitely Jorge Rossy, from Spain. He’s one of my favorite drummers. There are some other names, some really nice guys in London. What’s his name,

You don’t have time enough to listen to more stuff. Not really, also when we’re touring I prefer much more to listen to classical music. I wouldn’t mind listening to jazz as well, sometimes I do, but sometimes I’m digging into old stuff, like old Bill Evans, or Herbie or Oscar Peterson, some really more traditional jazz. For some reason, I don’t know why it’s like that, but in general I like traditional jazz. I don’t know why, but there’s a while ago since I don’t hear something that really impresses me that is supposed to be called more than jazz (laughs). Regarding E.S.T., you’re a very collaborative band. What would happen if any of the three current members were not available? We always expect to do everything that we do with all three of us, and also including Ake, all four of us. But let’s say something would happen in a very short notice, that somebody got sick, or couldn’t make it. I would think that we’d probably play duo. If, let’s say we had a show and Dan couldn’t make it, then I think Magnus and I would probably play duo, if Magnus couldn’t make it then Dan and I would play duo, I don’t think we’d be bringing a substitute. That would, of course, depend on how much it was, if it was a whole tour or just one show or... But in general I think we’re very hard to exchange any member in E.S.T. Actually it happened a couple of years ago, for some reason Dan couldn’t play the second set, and then Magnus and I played the second set in duo, with very short notice, we didn’t know what to do at all, but we more or less improvised, we played some standard tune, so it became a total different thing, but still very much E.S.T., and that was exciting. What are you studying now as a musician? I am constantly trying to play some classical music and, just today, I was playing Beethoven, a few sonatas that I’m working on, just because I love the music, but also I’m very much into Johann Sebastian Bach, playing Chopin, sometimes I play some Mozart and... jazz players, I do very often listen to Brad Mehldau, I like his playing very much, and I also listen to Keith Jarrett at the moment, it was a while ago now, because I’ve been listening to Keith a lot before, but I have been listening to his new album, Live at Carnegie Hall, where he’s playing some old

I prefer much more to listen to classical music. I wouldn’t mind listening to jazz as well, sometimes I do, but sometimes I’m digging into old stuff, like old Bill Evans or Oscar Peterson, some really more traditional jazz. tunes, and it’s very nice to hear what he’s doing. I agree. Do you have any chance to come soon to Spain to play live? I would love to, it’s always great to play Spain, but as far as I know, there won’t be anything happening maybe until spring, I don’t think we’ll be able to do anything before. You should never say never, but the schedule looks quite tough at the moment, lots of shows in Germany, France and Switzerland, and we’ve already been playing Sweden. But we’ll see, I would love to come down, playing in Spain is always great. you know, a rock concert, but still very improvised and jazz music. I think that whole thing inspired me a lot actually, and sometimes I think what we’re doing with the trio is not too far away from what they still are doing. I hope you come back soon. My last question: Which are the next steps for E.S.T.? You know, a rock concert, but still very improvised and jazz music. I think that whole thing inspired me a lot actually, and sometimes I think what we’re doing with you know, a rock concert, but still very improvised and jazz music. I think that whole thing inspired me a lot actually, and sometimes I think what we’re doing with the trio is not too far away from OK, it’s enough for me, thank you very very much for your time... I was just trying to remember the name of that piano player... The one from London... Hold on a second! I may have an album here. (Esbjorn looks for the album. He returns 26 seconds later). Sorry, I couldn’t find anything (laughs). My brain is totally empty... (pianist and interviewer try to find out the name of the piano player for a few seconds. At last Esbjorn remembers). Yeah, Django

Esbjorn has performed as a jazz player since he began his career v


INTERVIEW | Esbjörn Svensson 25

24 INTERVIEW | Esbjörn Svensson < Closing up the Sweden’s Jazz festival with a piano piece.

I grew up I was listening to all jazz music from America and, of course, that music inspired me a lot, so I heard Charlie Parker, Monk, Basie, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock. I’m very thankful to all of these guys.

you know, a rock concert, but still very improvised and jazz music. I think that whole thing inspired me a lot actually, and sometimes I think what we’re doing with the trio is not too far away from what they still are doing.

we went to play for a very few people, but it seems like those days are hopefully over and we have a big audience coming to see us, more or less, everywhere we’re going there, which is fantastic, to be European and go over to the States and play jazz music.

To me there was a very important moment in the recording career of E.S.T., in 1999, when you came up with the tune “Dodge the Dodo” that was stylistically different from the previous recorded material, with that E pedal and that rockish sound. In some way, did that tune mark the path of what was to follow? Might have, might have. I don’t know really. Of course, when we start to play live that tune is kind of a hit tune, and people want to hear it, but at the same time I’m consciously trying to compose music that’s natural, and I never try to compose another “Dodge the Dodo”. We’re just trying to compose and we’re trying to play the music in a natural way, but maybe still, as you said, “Dodge the Dodo” and the tune “From Gagarin’s Point of View” on that album were two strong tunes that actually maybe gave some more identity to E.S.T It’s really hard to know, I’m trying to take each day by day, and now we are trying to tour as much as possible with the new album, with the new music, and trying to develop the music live on stage. As I said we’re gonna play France in October, we’re gonna do a lot of Germany, London, Switzerland in November, we have a few shows in Italy, and then we have Asia in January, and just continuing the spring in the summer, and that’s more or less the future plan.

Yeah, it should be great. It is, it’s fantastic.

Then, of course, I’m already now starting to think a little bit about where we could go next, what we should do, but that’s not really anything I like to talk about now, because I have so many different ideas running around in my head at the moment (laughs). I’ll better try to sort it out first before I start to.. Let’s talk about succeeding in the U.S.A., which was , let’s say, your pending subject. How about your recent American tour? It was fine, we played in June public shows, clubs, festivals in Philadelphia, Rochester, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle – in a couple of different places –, we also went up to Canada, and I think it was a big success, it was a lot of fun and, in general, at the start when we started to play the States it was so hard to have people coming to the concerts, because we were totally unknown and, you know, sometimes

Do you think that, in some way, you’re the image of European jazz, the new European jazz Messiahs, that E.S.T. is responsible for showing what European musicians can do with jazz? I don’t know, I mean... I know that some journalist tried to use us a little bit as typical European musicians, and sometimes against the American jazz. I don’t know, I’m not really involved in that discussion, I love the American jazz, I love some European jazz as well, and I don’t see a war between America and Europe in the question of where jazz is better, or so. Do you think it’s more a matter of labels, more than just a real difference? Yeah, today we’re not so isolated in Europe, so we’re playing music for ourselves and in America they play for themselves. You know, when I grew up I was listening to all jazz music from America and, of course, that music inspired me a lot, so I heard Charlie Parker, Monk, Basie, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock. I’m very thankful to all of these guys for hearing their music when I grew up and it was because of them that I wanted to play jazz. European jazz is much harder for me to hear. It’s so much easy to hear American musicians than European musicians from other countries, and here in Sweden I’m not sure it was this way. It still might be that way, but I think E.S.T. and those other guys like Nils Petter Molvaer, Bugge Weseltoft, maybe Jorge Rossy from Spain and, you know, many great European musicians. I think before, when people were arranging festivals in Europe, they had to depend on American players, but I think that kind of changed a little bit now, and those promoters that are doing festivals in Europe know that there’s really interesting music coming from Europe, some music that actually attract a big audience in Europe. That would be all.Thank you so much, it was nice to meet you and I really hope that we will see you often here in Barcelona. I hope so too! It’s been a pleasure


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26 ARTICLE | Speak Chet Baker

CHET BAKER SINGS AGAIN


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28 ARTICLE | Speak Chet Baker

In the 1950s, Baker earned much attention and critical praise, particularly for albums featuring his vocals, such as Chet Baker Sings. Jazz historian David Gelly descibed the promise of Baker’s early career as seemingly representing James Dean, Sinatra, and Bix, rolled into one.Baker died in 1988 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Young Baker at his camerino on 1959. Photo taken by Edward Stephenson v

Chesney Henry “Chet” Baker Jr. was raised in a musical household in Oklahoma (his father was a guitar player), and coming of age in Southern California during the bebop era of jazz, Baker found success as a trumpet player in 1951 when he was chosen by Charlie Parker to play with him for a series of West Coast engagements. In 1952, Baker joined the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, which was an instant phenomenon. Baker became famous on the strength of his solo on their recording of “My Funny Valentine” a piece he was later said to “own”. The Quartet, however, lasted less than a year because of Mulligan’s arrest on drug charges. In 1954, Baker won the Downbeat Jazz Poll, beating Miles Davis among others. Over the next few years, Baker fronted his own combo, playing trumpet and singing. He became an icon of the west coast “cool school” of jazz, helped by his good looks and singing talent. By the early 1960s, Baker had begun playing the fluegelhorn, as well. Then, drug addiction caught up with Baker, and his promising musical career declined as a result. Heroin addiction created a myriad of legal problems for him as well; he served more than a year in prison in Italy, and was later expelled from both West Germany and England for drug-related offenses. Baker was eventually deported from West Germany to the United States after running afoul of the law there a second time. He settled in Milpitas in northern California where he was active in San Jose and San Francisco between short jail terms served for writing his own prescriptions. In 1966, Baker allegedly was severely beaten while attempting to buy drugs after a gig in San Francisco, sustaining severe cuts on the lips and broken front teeth, thus ruining his embouchure. Accounts of the incident vary, largely because of his lack of reliable testimony on the matter. From that

time he had to learn to play with dentures, a difficultprocess for a brass player. Between 1966 and 1974, Baker mostly played flugelhorn, with its wider mouthpiece, and recorded what must be considered slick mood music. He eventually moved to New York City and began recording again in earnest with other well known jazz musicians such as Jim Hall. Later in the seventies, Baker returned to Europe where he was assisted by his friend Diane Vavra who took care of his personal needs and otherwise helped him during his recording and performance dates. Baker recorded extensively throughout his career. As a result, his discography is considered widely uneven. However, some of Baker’s European recordings, made near the end of his career, reveal a more mature and, at times, brilliant talent with simplicity and depth beyond his previous work. Near the end of Baker’s life, he resided and played almost exclusively in Europe, returning to the USA about once a year for a few performance dates. On May 13, 1988, he fell (or was pushed) from his second story hotel window in Amsterdam and died. There was speculation that he was under the influence of drugs at the time, however his autopsy revealed that he was sober. There were also rumors that a suicide note was found but is held in private hands. A plaquette outside the Prins Hendrik Hotel memorializes him. Baker’s body was brought home for interment in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.Jeroen de Valk wrote a biography of Chet Baker, Chet Baker: His Life and Music. The iconic side of Chet Baker was captured by the photographer William Claxton in his book Young Chet: The Young Chet Baker. A documentary film about his career, Let’s Get Lost, also portrayed Chet


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30 ARTICLE | Speak Chet Baker < Young Baker at his camerino on 1959. Photo taken by James N.Gordon

In Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker, author James Gavin gives a no-holds-barred account of the trumpeter/singer/pinup/junkie. Jazz nerds might object to Baker’s music being given what some might call short shrift, but for most of his career the trumpeter’s playing style was as firmly set as his hair in the ’50s: a melodic, mid-register, vocal-like croon that rarely went outside those highly appealing conventions. That’s not where Baker’s most compelling story lies. For nearly 400 pages, Gavin plumbs Baker’s personal life—the difficult childhood and the mysterious death; the triumphs and excesses; the girls and the drugs—and, yes, the tours, records and music. What results is the most well-rounded, clear-eyed profile of the trumpeter ever put to paper. Deep in a Dream is the definitive bio of Baker, and Gavin’s expertly selected companion CD, released by Blue Note, provides the perfect soundtrack to Baker’s not always so melodic and beautiful life. There are a lot of sordid stories about Baker in the book. Were there any stories that you just felt were too sordid to include in the book? Once you’ve written about a man shooting speedballs into his jugular vein and his groin, and about blue-ish bodies of OD victims being dragged out into the street and dumped behind a bush, little else seems that sordid. My only worry involved giving readers too much of a good thing, as it were.There were lots of other aspects of Chet Baker that needed space, such as his music. What was the most surprising revelation that you discovered about Baker?Chet loved to tell the Cinderella story of how Charlie Parker was auditioning trumpeters in LA in 1952, and had picked him out of a roomful of eager young hopefuls—thereby anointing him the Great White Hope of trumpet players. Everyone believed what turned out to be a complete piece of fiction. That was Chet’s seductive power.Virtually every pivotal autobiographical tale he told was, at the very least, apocryphal—and happily perpetuated by other writers who bought into the myth. Most people just do not want to know the truth.Was there any cooperation from the Chet Baker estate? Carol Baker was initially very cooperative, but withdrew her cooperation when she realized that she would not be paid for it. She never asked, she simply expected it, and I certainly did not offer; I don’t pay for interviews. As of this moment, I have had no contact with her for years. Were there any people close to Baker who refused to speak with you? Regrettably, I got to speak with only one of his four children. Otherwise, I approached hundreds of people for interviews, and virtually no one refused. People seemed so eager to have their Chet Baker stories immortalized—lucky for me. The book has a slight tone of contempt for Baker because of his life off the bandstand. Did you start out as a fan of his music? I disagree about the contempt part. It’s hard to admire a man whose behavior could be so incredibly ugly. But as I got swept along on this gruesome Magic Carpet ride, I was far more fascinated than contemptuous. Remember, it takes two to tango, and most people who are treated badly by someone and stick around for it have to accept their share of the blame. I started out by loving all the conflicted emotion in his music—the beauty and clarity of the sound versus the darkness of the feeling. Midway through the research, I found it painful to hear his records; I knew too much. But a few weeks ago, when I heard the CD tie-in I got to produce


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32 ARTICLE | Speak Chet Baker

for Blue Note, I was seduced again—more than ever. If it weren’t for Chet’s image, we would not be having this conversation and I would never have gotten to write my book.The sexy William Claxton album cover photos; the cool, brooding mystique; the drugs; the self-destruction; the mysterious death—right or wrong, this is what makes a legend. Not just great music. In compiling the companion CD, were there any surprise tracks that you unearthed? Also, were there any tracks from other labels you wished you could have included because they would have illustrated certain points you make in the book The two surprise tracks were a pair of unissued a capella vocals—”Blue Room” and “Spring Is Here” that Chet recorded at a 1953 session for Columbia.They are so eerie, it sounds as if Chet is in the room with you. If I could have done a double CD, the second would have picked up where the first leaves off (1965). But I believe that Deep in a Dream [CD] is the crème de la

Baker was arguably a somewhat more expressive trumpet player than he was a singer. Crooning in a vibratoless tenor that contained only the tiniest hint of a sob, his delivery was remarkable for its lack of direct expression.

> Baker recording his album “Chet Baker sings” at Virgina studios

< Baker performing on stage on 1960. Photo taken by Herbert Waxon

crème of the young Chet. As much as any musician of his generation, Baker epitomized a romantic coolness whose mystique involved an alluring strain of danger. Handsome and talented but imperiously self-destructive, the man who has been called ‘’the James Dean of jazz’’ was a connoisseur of fast cars, women and drugs. Addicted to heroin for most of his adult life, he died last May at 58 after a fall from a hotel window in Amsterdam. The West Coast cool jazz that Baker distilled was languid, passive, taciturn. Even though he was a supreme melodist who brought a singing lyricism to every vocal and instrumental phrase, the underlying mood of his music was one of impenetrable sadness and lonely self-absorption. Chet Baker on the trumpet, like his peer Bill Evans on the piano, was a romantic impressionist whose music never essentially changed after its early, brilliant flowering. Instrumentally, both excelled in delicate timbral colorations. Their solos had the quality of elevated conversational reflection on emotional wounds too painful to be articulated in words. Baker’s playing had a particular California flavor in its melodic purity and a tonal refinement that stopped just short of being too buttery. One hears the same qualities in the soaring spindrift harmonies of the Beach Boys. Baker was arguably a somewhat more expressive trumpet player than he was a singer. Crooning in a vibratoless tenor that contained only the tiniest hint of a sob, his delivery was

remarkable for its lack of direct expression. Rather than trying to interpret lyrics, Baker attempted to cast a dreamy spell. But the place from which he communicated was more remote than the trembling mists of Johnny Mathis or the velvet fog of Mel Torme. It was Coolsville, a hipper, more exclusive retreat In this solidly researched biography of Chet Baker, Jeroen de Valk has attempted to dispel myths about Baker, pointing out that he was not a has-been, but quite popular in Europe during his last dozen years, and that he was not pushed out of a window, but accidentally fell, causing his death. Moreover, he claims accurately that Baker continued to play well until his 1988 death. De Valk overrates Baker, but he was a distinctive, lyrical trumpeter and uniquely moving singer. Born in 1929, Baker joined the Army at 16, where he played in a band and heard bop records. He claimed that his first major influence was Dizzy Gillespie, and his playing on live selections from 1952 on Chet Baker Live at the Trade Winds and Bird and Chet Live at the Trade Winds (both on Fresh Sound) supports this. Though his bop lines are Gillespielike, however, his small tone and limited range will remind some listeners of Miles Davis. Later in his career he was strongly marked by Davis, but in 1952 was synthesizing influences. He takes a lot of chances on the Trade Winds CDs, and his solos are substantive, although not always cleanly executed.


ARTICLE | Chet Baker 35

34 ARTICLE | Speak Chet Baker

< An older Chet Baker in his studio of Baltimore recording his lastest album.

He claimed that his first major influence was Dizzy Gillespie.Though his bop lines his, however, his small tone and limited range will remind some listeners of Miles Davis.


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36 ARTICLE | Speak Chet Baker < An older Chet Baker in his studio of Baltimore recording his lastest album.

When Baker recorded with Gerry Mulligan in that year, however, he played less aggressively, partly because he performed in a bop setting with Parker, while Mulligan’s music had more of a Lester Younglike quality. Not given enough credit for marking nonsaxophonists,Young had a strong influence on Baker. Like Young, Baker had a lazy attack, often laying behind the beat, played smooth, legato eighth-note lines and used little vibrato. What’s particularly impressive about his work is his ability to play melodically lovely, smooth and graceful solos, producing a small, velvety tone and working mostly in the middle and lower register. No wonder he was so popular. In 1953 Baker formed a quartet with pianist Russ Freeman that was aesthetically and commercially successful. The trumpeter was on his way, and during the middle and late ’50s had a large following. In 1956, however, he spent time in jail for drug usage, and was also incarcerated in 1959 and 1960. In the late 1950s Baker began absorbing ideas from Davis and other postboppers. This is apparent on Chet, Plays the Best of Lerner and Lowe and In New York, cut for Riverside in 1958 and 1959 with Johnny Griffin, Pepper Adams and Bill Evans. During the 1960s Baker fell out of favor with the jazz public in the States as part of a reaction against West Coast-style jazz. From 1969 to 1974 Baker was out of the jazz scene due to drug, psychological and dental problems. But he came back in 1974, moved to Europe in 1975, and lived the rest of his life as a “high-class hobo,” always on the move, with no permanent address, constantly high, but often working for good money. De Valk has put together a believable portrait of Baker. Despite his admiration for his playing, he’s pointed out the trumpeter’s character flaws, such as unreliability and a lack of consideration for others. There are a number of enlightening interviews here of Baker himself, his widow Carol, his manager Wim Wight, tour manager Peter Huijts, landlord Evert Hekkema and musicians Mulligan, Freeman, Teddy Edwards and Bud Shank. De Valk also deserves credit for citing some

very good latter-day Baker recordings. He thinks the 1988 two-CD Evidence set Chet Baker in Tokyo is his “best recording ever.” It is very good, and surprisingly forceful in places. Other impressive Baker CDs cut abroad include No Problem, with Duke Jordan, and Diane, a wonderful duo record with Paul Bley, both on SteepleChase, and The Last Great Concert (Enja), done mostly with large ensembles. But Baker’s later work isn’t as original as his 1952 to 1956 work; Miles Davis’ influence on him is often apparent. For that reason I’ll have to stick

with the conventional wisdom that Baker’s 1952 to 1956 playing was his best. Born in Yale, Oklahoma December 23, 1929 Chet Baker was destined to touch the authentically American art of jazz music with an unmistakable sound and phrasing that is still celebrated and enjoyed throughout the world. The mission of the Chet Baker Foundation (based in his home state of Oklahoma), managed by Chet’s son, Paul, and his grandsons and Chad and Chet, is to bring awareness through education and events to the life and art of Chet Baker.The mission

An older Chet Baker in his studio of Baltimore recording his lastest album. v


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38 ARTICLE | Speak Chet Baker < An older Chet Baker in his studio of Baltimore recording his lastest album.

Chet Baker, the jazz singer and trumpeter who first gained fame in the early fifties and who, only a few years later (and for the rest of his life ) was better known as a heroin addict . of the Chet Baker Archive is to collect materials and stories related to the life and art of this conic jazz artist. The archive is managed by Chet’s close friend Artt Frank and Bruce Guthrie. Many pioneering artists and celebrities have accepted the invitation to share their love for Chet by joining The Foundation as Honorary Directors and Board members.; from Dave Brubeck, Quincy Jones, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock to Sharon Stone, Hugh Hefner and Jeff Golblum....over 60 artists, thusfar.(Please see the honorary directors and board links below to read about them) All are welcome to join and contribute...in the spirit of jazz improvisation...the spirit of music as a means to bring people together....and mostly in the romantic and unique artistic spirit of Chet Baker. James Gavin’s book about Chet Baker, the jazz singer and trumpeter who first gained fame in the early fifties and who, only a few years later — and for the rest of his life — was better known as a heroin addict as unregenerate as any in the history of the music, was first published in 2002, fourteen years after Baker’s death in Amsterdam, at fifty-eight, almost certainly by er’s death, and screened in a restored version at the Cannes film festival only three years ago, there has always been a Chet Baker cult. Well before the end of his life, after he had lost most of his teeth in a drug-related beating in San Francisco, after he had turned into as charming, selfpitying, manipulative, professional a junkie as any in America or Europe, where for decades he made his living less as a musician than a legend, Baker wore the face of a lizard. In some photographs he barely looks human. But at the start he was, as so indelibly captured in William Claxton’s famous photographs, not merely beautiful, not merely a California golden boy — in the words of the television impresario and songwriter Steve Allen, someone who “started out as James Dean and ended up as Charles Manson.” He was gorgeous, he seemed touched by an odd light, and he did not, even then, look but in a manner that was not alluring .


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40 ARTICLE | Speak

good old PETE


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42 ARTICLE | Speak

Peter Seeger was while his frequently unpopular stances have perhaps cost him a greater and more superficial popularity through media and performance blacklisting for during the ’50s and ’60s, 88-year-old Pete’s fearless contributions have nonetheless earned him a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Harvard Arts

For nearly 70 years as a performer, Pete Seeger has embodied the ideals of folk music – communication, entertainment, social comment, historical continuity, inclusiveness. The songs he has written, and those he has discovered and shared, have helped preserve our cultural heritage, imprinting adults and children with the sounds, traditions and values of our global past and present. A fearless warrior for social justice and the environment, Pete’s political activism – from the Civil Rights movement and anti-McCarthyism to resistance to fascism and the wars in Vietnam and the Middle East – has become the template for subsequent generations of musicians and ordinary citizens with something to say about the world. While his frequently unpopular stances have perhaps cost him a greater and more superficial popularity through media and performance blacklisting for during the ’50s and ’60s, 88-year-old Pete’s fearless contributions have nonetheless earned him a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Harvard Arts Medal, the Kennedy Center Award, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, and even membership in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There’s currently a grassroots movement collecting signatures to nominate Pete for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. Bruce Springsteen’s 2006 We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions CD, subsequent tours and live album (all originally sparked by a 1998 request from Appleseed founder Jim Musselman for a Bruce rendition of a Seeger-related song for the first of the label’s three multi-artist Seeger tributes) have introduced new generations to Pete’s musical and moral legacy. The celebrator who made the most noise and aroused the strongest sentiment during Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday party at Madison Square Garden Sunday night was the one who couldn’t make it. No, President Obama was not there, but his presence loomed large over this gathering of progressives. In an updated version of the 1930s labor anthem “Which Side Are You On?” Ani DiFranco sang, “Now there’s folks in Washington that care what’s on our minds.” Bruce Springsteen told of rehearsing for the recent presidential inauguration with Mr. Seeger, who had relayed the story of “We Shall Overcome,” crucial to both the labor and civil rights movements. Watching the transfer of power, Mr. Springsteen said, “was like, ‘Pete, you outlasted the bastards, man.’ It was so nice.” The new president did send a letter, though, praising Mr. Seeger for voicing “the hopes and dreams of everyday people.” And, as was evident


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44 ARTICLE | Speak

throughout this four-hour-plus event — a birthday party masquerading as a fund-raiser for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a preservation charity founded by Mr. Seeger — many have tried to follow in that path, or at least capture some of his refracted glow. More than 40 performers gathered to pay tribute to Mr. Seeger — one of the lions of American folk music and still indefatigable — who, save for a handful of exceptions, outworked them all. Here rising to the occasion (formally called “The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders”) meant more than showing up and breezily soldiering through a classic protest tune or two, as plenty of singers — Arlo Guthrie, John Mellencamp, Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Emmylou Harris — gladly did, in performances that often felt dutiful, not exuberant. Some, though, shook off the oppressive nature of good intentions to create transcendent moments. Richie Havens revisited the “Freedom/Motherless Child” hybrid he performed at Woodstock 40 years ago in devastating fashion, closing with a high kick and a twirl of his guitar. Billy Bragg fiercely sang part of his revised version of “The Internationale,” lyrics he wrote at Mr. Seeger’s behest and that later appeared in the Industrial Workers of the World’s “Little Red Songbook” alongside the originals. In group settings — most performances included several singers — Rufus Wainwright and Abigail Washburn stood out, as did Bernice Johnson Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock and her daughter Toshi, as well as Ben Bridwell and Tyler Ramsey of Band of Horses. In one of the night’s most riveting moments, Béla Fleck and Tony Trischka played dueling banjos, closing with a clever variation on “Happy Birthday to You.” In the postwar era Mr. Seeger helped popularize the banjo, which was as much an object of celebration here as Mr. Seeger himself, with at least a half dozen musicians picking at their beat-up fivestrings. This show’s lineup showcased folk’s topical range, if not always its emotional range. There were union songs; antiwar songs (the still-relevant “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” and “Bring Them Home”); a Bob Dylan song, “Maggie’s Farm” (but no Bob Dylan); and songs about the river. (Lighting was strung above the stage in the shape of sails.) And, as with any show of this scale, there were plenty of rough patches: awkward letdowns (Ben Harper, Michael Franti), questionable pairings (Tom

Morello, barely keeping up with Mr. Springsteen on “The Ghost of Tom Joad”), and moments of overindulgence, as with Dave Matthews’s overly precious rendition of “Rye Whiskey.” There was also Oscar the Grouch from “Sesame Street” singing “Garbage,” a reminder of Mr. Seeger’s belief that no voice should go unheard. His commitment to singalongs was refortified throughout the night, decentering the authority of those onstage in true folk style. Encouraging those in the sold-out arena to chime in with their voices, the actor Tim Robbins assured them, “Nothing would make Pete happier on his birthday.” Mr. Seeger led the crowd in “Amazing Grace,” calling out lines in a spooky, hole-filled, appealingly weathered voice. It was one of several brawny, moving exercises in mass vocalizing: “We Shall Overcome,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “Well May the World Go,” “This Little Light of Mine.” (No “Kumbaya,” though — something of a relief.) Ninety years after Mr. Seeger’s birth, 50 or so years after the height of the folk music movement, 40 years after the civil rights movement, and 104 days after the swearing-in of the country’s first black president, those songs no longer sound defiant or expectant, but instead matter-of-fact.For nearly 70 years as a performer, Pete Seeger has embodied the ideals of folk music – communication, entertainment, social comment, historical continuity, inclusiveness. The songs he has written, and those he has discovered and shared, have helped preserve our cultural heritage, imprinting adults and children with the sounds, traditions and values of our global past and present. A fearless warrior for social justice and the environment, Pete’s political activism – from the Civil Rights movement and anti-McCarthyism to resistance to fascism and the wars in Vietnam and the Middle East – has become the template for subsequent generations of musicians and ordinary citizens with something to say about the world. While his frequently unpopular stances have perhaps cost him a greater and more superficial popularity through media and performance blacklisting for during the ’50s and ’60s, 88-year-old Pete’s fearless contributions have nonetheless earned him a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Harvard Arts Medal, the Kennedy Center Award, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, and even membership in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There’s currently a grassroots movement collecting signatures to nominate Pete for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. Bruce Springsteen’s 2006 We Shall Overcome:

> A concert in the street at the low neighbourghood of West Harlem in New York city.


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< Seege in his seventies

The Seeger Sessions CD, subsequent tours and live album (all originally sparked by a 1998 request from Appleseed founder Jim Musselman for a Bruce rendition of a Seeger-related song for the first of the label’s three multi-artist Seeger tributes) have introduced new generations to Pete’s musical and moral legacy. For nearly 70 years as a performer, Pete Seeger has embodied the ideals of folk music – communication, entertainment, social comment, historical continuity, inclusiveness. The songs he has written, and those he has discovered and shared, have helped preserve our cultural heritage, imprinting adults and children with the sounds, traditions and values of our global past and present. A fearless warrior for social justice and the environment, Pete’s political activism – from the Civil Rights movement and anti-McCarthyism to resistance to fascism and the wars in Vietnam and the Middle East – has become the template for subsequent generations of musicians and ordinary citizens with something to say about the world. While his frequently unpopular stances have perhaps cost him a greater and more superficial popularity through media and performance blacklisting for during the ’50s and ’60s, 88-year-old Pete’s fearless contributions have nonetheless earned him a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Harvard Arts Medal, the Kennedy Center Award, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, and even membership in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There’s currently a grassroots movement collecting signatures to nominate Pete for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. Bruce Springsteen’s 2006 We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions CD, subsequent tours and live album (all originally sparked by a 1998 request from Appleseed founder Jim Musselman for a Bruce rendition of a Seeger-related song for the first of the label’s three multi-artist Seeger tributes) have introduced new generations to Pete’s musical and moral legacy. reached down with both hands to hoist his left leg so he could climb onto the bed of his red pickup. He is 82, but the years evaporated once he was standing there, lanky in worn jeans and a straw hat, playing a banjo bearing a peace sign and the words, ‘’This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.’’ On the banks of the Hudson River, 150 campers in caps and backpacks reacted as kids have for three generations, joining him in song beside the river Mr. Seeger has serenaded for 40 years. The campers came Thursday to the annual

While his frequently unpopular stances have perhaps cost him a greater and more superficial popularity through media and performance blacklisting for during the ’50s and ’60s, 88-yearold Pete’s fearless contributions have nonetheless earned him a Grammy Lifetime Weed Wallow, wading into the river to pull up thick weeds that are both a nuisance and a sign of how much healthier the river has become since 1961 when Mr. Seeger wrote ‘’Sailing Up My Dirty Stream.’’ ‘’I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing good that doesn’t have bad consequences and nothing bad that doesn’t have good consequences,’’ Mr. Seeger said. Everything Pete Seeger says sounds like a Pete Seeger song. ‘’He was pulling something out of the water and he said, ‘Little by little,’ ‘’ said Carol Prisamt, a counselor. ‘’And I said, ‘Wait a minute, isn’t that ‘’inch by inch, row by row?’’ ‘ He just looked at me and smiled.’’ Raising his voice both as musician and activist, Mr. Seeger galvanized concern about the polluted Hudson beginning in the 1960’s. Alexander Saunders, a friend of Mr. Seeger’s from the early days of river activism, calls him ‘’the conscience of the river.’’ Mr. Seeger sees one more matter of conscience.

revista z  

Z revista de jazz i música moderna. (Projecte en desenvolupament per a l'assignatura de maquetació editorial)

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