Jazz…This Feels Good
I’ve been cruising the ‘net the past week doing of all things using Google satellite maps to see how places I’ve been have changed over time. These were some special places where I heard some amazing music for the first time and met some people that to this day I have yet to forget.
There was a lot of shock as (as expected) some things never stay the same. In one case, I had the hardest time finding one spot in Orlando. Jeez! Where is it?!? I heard Johnny “Guitar” Watson there for the first time! How could it be gone? I just could not seem to pick it out from the images but I could still hear Dexter Wanzel in the back of my mind. I eventually discovered the reason I couldn’t find the spot was because it had been entirely wiped off the face of the planet. Boo Hiss.
But the good news is that recently a copy of Dexter Wanzel’s “What The World Is Coming To” landed into my grubby hands (you know what I did with it right?)
Next I spun the globe a bit further south – landed on Puerto Rico (Mi corazon) – and was
immediately reminded of a few more people who I learned a lot from. Some through conversation and some through observation. This is where Jazz really smacked my up side my head HARD. So hard in fact I dragged a now raggedy taped copy of Rodney Franklin‘s “Felix Leo” (from his “You’ll Never Know” LP) around with me for decades ever since. Thanks “Bing” (the person not the search engine), “Reesie”, Steph, Melvin, Larry, Cully, “NightTrain”, Jessie (bet you wish you kept your Challenger … Or did you?), Jemma and the rest of the gang… After searching FOREVER for a newer copy, a CD arrived in the box this week too! (Yay!)
Sometimes you hear or learn things that stick with you through life. It’s like that thing has been tattooed to your brain.
You don’t even have to try and remember it. It is just there. One fine summer day, I was listening to WBLS in NY and this song came on. Dripping with synths and a bass line that kept up and sometimes led. Stopped me dead in my tracks. This was Return to Forever but different. “Who IS that?”. Naturally the song went off without even a mention of the title.
I must’ve spent the better part of the following month trying to tape it off of the radio (its that old). Finally I got it! George Duke‘s “Dawn” from the out of print “The Aura Will Prevail” LP burned into my brain like oil on concrete as I learned to play every note of “Dawn” on my bass. George Duke’s “Dawn” aimed me at Weather Report, Return to Forever, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham and more… You know what happened right? (Hint: Tune in to hear this week’s Jazz Set)
Continuing on my little tour through time, I looked out “Left” to the west coast and found where I first heard of Steely Dan.
San Diego was an interesting place musically to say the least. I’ve been luck to have met some real people out there too. And, it was the right place to hear Steely Dan’s “Aja” LP. Chuck Rainey‘s work on “Peg” snapped my neck while driving a monster Satellite Sebring Road Runner 4 speed down the 805 (Yeah… I’m kickin’ my own butt for not buying that one…) . “Deacon Blues” played while Balboa Park’s Globe Theater burned (they ever rebuild that?). Anyhoo… you know the drill right? (For the slower pedestrians… CHECK OUT THE JAZZ SET)
Putting together these sets reminded me how good Jazz makes me feel as it reminds me of all the good people and times that thankfully came my way. I hope it does that to you too.