Warming Up

Warming Up

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guess The Trumpet Player Winner

Thanks to all who listened to Thursday’s track and to those who ventured a guess. Because of the short solo that isn’t immediately identifiable, I had thought that this would have been a slightly tricky one, but the correct answer came in right away. The winner of the nineteenth edition of the Outside Pants Guess The Trumpet Player contest is…….ultra-busy and talented Philly trumpet player Adam Hershberger. Nice work, Adam!

And the correct answer is….Dizzy Gillespie. The track is called “Evil Gal Blues” by the Don Byas Swing Seven featuring vocalist Albinia Jones. The recording comes from 1944 and it’s part of a really great three disc compilation, Savoy Blues 1944-1994.

I’ve been waiting for a while to feature Gillespie, waiting to find the right tune. I had one picked out (maybe I'll pull it out sometime down the road) and then I remembered about this track and decided to go with this one instead. The reason why I picked “Evil Gal Blues” is because of its uniqueness in Dizzy’s catalogue of recordings: Dizzy is a sideman, it’s a blues, it’s a pivotal point for the evolution of jazz, and because it’s very early in his career and his style is not yet solidified.

After stints with Cab Calloway and Billy Eckstine and Earl Hines, Dizzy was ready to go on his own; he was about to start recording with Charlie Parker; he was close to starting and recording with his own big band; the music was changing – mainly under the influence of advanced players and thinkers like Dizzy, and Bird, and Monk, and Bud Powell, and Kenny Clarke. The feel of the beat, the harmonic choices when making a melody were evolving, growing more sophisticated. But “Evil Gal Blues” marks a point right in the middle of this period of change. Diz is still playing a sideman role – this time for Don Byas, a fellow compatriot in the experiments with the new music. And more importantly, Dizzy’s sound and style are not yet all his own. Everyone comes from somewhere. I wrote a couple weeks ago about so many trumpet players developing under the influence of Harry James. Well Dizzy had a daddy too. And it was Roy Eldridge. Recordings from the late 30’s show Dizzy sounding very much like Eldridge. The style of the swing and even the tone is very much rooted in the swing style; the bebop phrasing, language, and even the minimalization of vibrato had yet to develop. But by 1944, when this recording was made, bebop had really started to develop. And you can hear these changes even on a straight up blues record like “Evil Gal Blues.” Sure the feeling is a standard blues feeling. The rhythm is four on the floor. The vocalist is really singing in the tradition of a Bessie Smith. There’s no new ground broken here. That is until Dizzy takes his one chorus solo. Though his sound is not yet what it would evolve into, Dizzy is already playing with a tone that is removed from the swing sound. But it is his choice of notes that really identifies him here. This is what Adam heard when he picked Dizzy as his answer. These notes aren’t notes that a straight blues player would play. They aren’t notes that most players at the time would have played. Some would have said that they were wrong notes. These are bebop notes. They aren’t wrong, but they are new. Something was changing, and Dizzy was one of the galvanizing forces of this change. And it’s happening right here in this track.

I also picked this tune because I really like the way Dizzy plays this blues chorus. As much as I like Dizzy’s playing – and I really do; I have loads of his recordings – I’ve honestly never really loved his playing on a blues. Most of my favorite musicians have a really personal and intimate relationship with the blues – Coltrane, Rollins, Miles, Jimi, Woody Shaw, Louis Armstrong, Bird, Monk, Lester Young – they all have their own personal language and style with the blues. Now it’s going to sound stupid and a bit naïve to say that Dizzy isn’t a great blues player – especially since most of his live sets throughout his career usually featured a blues number – but for my tastes, no, I don’t think he’s a great blues player. Not like those other guys. Maybe that’s why I like this track then: I really enjoy Dizzy’s playing on this. Maybe it’s because of the timing. He’s not yet fully-formed. He’s still got one foot in the past. The style is not quite yet the modern style that he would help to create. This is a transitional moment for Dizzy – and therefore, for all of 20th Century music. And it’s awesome. The shape of things to come.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Guess The Trumpet Player

Hello Readers, it’s time for the nineteenth installment of “Guess The Trumpet Player.” While not as difficult as last week’s, this week’s episode is a little tricky too. You only get one short blues chorus to work with. But think about the era of the track and think about the nature of this trumpet solo and that should give you a hint. There are also a few things in the language the player uses that should tip you off. Hope you dig it.

Click the link (it’s safe), click play, listen, guess the trumpet player. The first person to leave the correct name of this trumpet player in the comments section of this post wins a CD – your choice of Outside Pants Vol. 1 – Old School Players or Outside Pants Vol. 2 – Ron Miles Mix or Outside Pants Vol. 3 – Brownie Mix or Outside Pants Vol.4 – Dave Douglas Mix. The contest ends with Monday’s post.

Here’s the tune: http://www.box.net/shared/s2q2f6i3n9

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Listening: Shane Endsley “Then The Other”

Not much of a post today. Just a link really. Shane Endsley is a talented NYC-based trumpet player who is probably best known for his role in the NYC/California band Kneebody (or maybe you’ve heard/seen him with Steve Coleman). Shane has a new-ish CD out right now “Shane Endsley and the Music Band – Then The Other.” Only his second as a leader, it’s a good record. But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself: http://kneebody.bandcamp.com/album/then-the-other.

The whole thing is streaming in its entirety. And if you like it, you can purchase it. So far my favorite track is “Kings County Ramble.” Shane writes some nice stuff and he sounds great. There’s a little Dave Douglas in his sound and approach, and maybe some Ron Miles on the slower stuff, but really he sounds like himself. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Guess The Trumpet Player Winner

Thanks to all who listened to Thursday’s track and to those who ventured a guess. I warned you in advance that this was a tough one and the general consensus was that the trumpet player was great but no one really had a clue who it was. That was totally expected. I dropped a few hints on Facebook and that seemed to help those who were dorky enough (like me) to do some Google sleuthing. So…the winner of the eighteenth edition of the Outside Pants Guess The Trumpet Player contest is…….Matt “Feldie” Feldman. Nice work, Feldie, you Lucky Old Soul, you!

So who was the Mystery Trumpeter? Why it was Paul Serrano, of course – the tune is called “Blues Holiday” and it comes from the 1960 Cannonball Adderley-produced Riverside album “Blues Holiday.” Come on, you’ve heard of Paul Serrano before, right? Right? OK who the hell has heard of Paul Serrano? Well there sure isn’t a lot of info on the web about Paul Serrano. His discography as a player is seriously slim. From what I can tell though, Serrano was a hard bop-oriented player active on the Chicago scene in the late-50’s/early 60’s. But as a player, that’s all I can find. It appears as if he quit active playing and moved into the role of studio engineer, a job at which he seems to have been quite successful.

So why would I pick this player to highlight? Well, there are a few reasons. First of all, I like his playing. He has a great trumpet sound. Bright, but not too much so. There’s fire in that sound too, especially when he fires up above the staff. And Serrano can really play. He navigates the changes nicely – nothing too crazy, but real solid in a straight ahead context. And on a blues like this track he really sounds like he could have been one of history’s more well-known players. Honestly, after listening to this record a few times, I can’t really figure out why he didn’t record more. I could make some guesses but that would just be total conjecture. Another reason I picked Serrano is because of the alto player on this date – the great, but severely-unheralded Bunky Green. This 1960 date “Blues Holiday” is one of Bunky’s first. He plays with some serious fire and chops on this album. He can really burn, just eating up the changes, especially on fast tunes. His sound clearly owes a lot to Jackie McLean at this point, but that’s cool. He sounds great and there’s more than a hint that he’s a special player, someone about to goe on to be one of the most individual – and progressive – voices on the alto. So yeah, let’s use this track to also highlight and bring some attention to Bunky. BTW – monster alto man Rudresh Mahanthappa (who is a huge Bunky fan and a Bunky collaborator) and I discussed “Blues Holiday” and Rudresh told me that Serrano is still alive and well in Chicago. It sure would be cool to hear a reunion record. But in case it doesn’t happen we still have this one record to hear Serrano. This brings me to my third reason for picking this record: who the hell is Paul Serrano? Paul Serrano is like so many other figures in this music. Every town had (and still has) a Paul Serrano or several Paul Serranos. Men and women who can really play this music on the level of the greats but for one reason or another never got their due, never got the big recording contracts, or the top bookings, or the press coverage. These players are everywhere. It’s part of the tradition. I’m sure it always has been.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Guess The Trumpet Player

Before we get to today's post - just a reminder about two gigs. I played my duo show last night with Tim Motzer. Awesome!
On Friday, May 20th, I will be back at Philly’s newest jazz spot, Little Bar (8th and Fitzwater), this time with Matt Davis’s Aerial Photograph. Our set starts at 9:30pm.

On Saturday, May 21st, I will be playing in Wilmington, DE at the brand new
World Café Live at the Queen venue down there with PhillyBloco
. The new venue is supposed to be amazing. If you are in that neck of the woods, please come out and dance. Show starts at 8pm.

Hello Readers, it’s time for the eighteenth installment of “Guess The Trumpet Player.” And this week’s installment really just isn’t fair. No one is going to guess this one unless you are a real hardcore fan of 50’s-60’s era Chicago jazz. If you aren’t then it’s pretty doubtful that you will have ever even heard about this trumpet player. I hadn’t. I found him on a total fluke because I was looking for recordings by the alto sax player who’s featured on this track (this record BTW is one of the alto player’s first. He went on to be, and continues to be, one of the real innovators of the alto – even if his name is practically unknown). So yeah, maybe not cool picking such an obscure player, but listen to this blues. Sounds like this guy should be more well known, don’t you think?

Click the link (it’s safe), click play, listen, guess the trumpet player. The first person to leave the correct name of this trumpet player in the comments section of this post wins a CD – your choice of Outside Pants Vol. 1 – Old School Players or Outside Pants Vol. 2 – Ron Miles Mix or Outside Pants Vol. 3 – Brownie Mix or Outside Pants Vol.4 – Dave Douglas Mix. The contest ends with Monday’s post.

Here’s the tune: http://www.box.net/shared/ijgd0rsfdq

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Most Influential Trumpet Player Ever

OK, I’m gonna say it: Harry James is the most influential trumpet player ever.

End of post.

Well, alright, being the loquacious jerk that I am, I’m not going to just make a statement and not back it up with piles of empirical proof (sarcasm). The only problem here is that I have no proof – just an opinion. And a theory. But I’m still going to try to make an argument for this statement. Harry James. I did not say that he was the greatest trumpet player of all time (or my favorite, for that matter), just the most influential (Archangel Gabriel does not count, ok).

If someone is influential they have exerted a strong influence. Harry James influenced trumpet players. More than any other single trumpet player, Harry James influenced trumpet players and he still does today. Harry James was a popular trumpet player. He played popular music, which at the time of James’ greatest celebrity was “jazz” or at least “jazz-influenced pop music.” Harry James surely did not invent jazz trumpet playing and he probably didn’t invent popular trumpet playing though sure did an awful lot to make trumpet playing popular. Before we go any further, let’s get something clear, Louis Armstrong was jazz’s first master soloist. He was the first trumpet player to really make it big, to really elevate the trumpet into a solo instrument capable of shock and awe. Before there was Louis Armstrong, there was just nothing at all like Louis Armstrong. Sure, Armstrong came from King Oliver, from Freddie Keppard, back to Buddy Bolden, but before Pops no one really played like Pops. He was the beginning, and for many people, because of that fact, he is also the end. Alpha and the Omega. Remember, Miles Davis said “you can’t play nothing on the trumpet that Louis Armstrong didn’t already play.” I’m not going to argue against that. Pops was the greatest. Nuff said. But was he the most influential? I don’t think so. I think Harry James was. Because of his virtuosic trumpet playing, his showbiz abilities and star appeal, and his time-proven chain of influence.

One of the cool things about the art form of jazz is that you can really trace an historical progression of the music and the evolving styles of its practitioners. This is true of jazz trumpet. You can’t have Armstrong without Oliver; can’t have Roy Eldridge without Louis Armstrong; can’t have Dizzy Gillespie without Roy Eldridge; can’t have Clifford without Fats; can’t have Lee Morgan without Clifford, etc. on and on until the present day. Everyone has a daddy. Or two, or three. That’s the way the music goes. It’s a lineage. Here’s my point though: Harry James was a daddy to many, many people. Hey wait, that doesn’t sound right! I’m talking about trumpet and music here, not sexual promiscuity. I don’t know about that side of Harry James nor do I want to. Well, Harry was married to Betty Grable and she sure was hot. But that’s a digression, people, sort of. It’s a fact that Harry James was a huge celebrity back in the late 30’s and early 40’s. He was arguably the biggest star in America (and thus the world?). And he played trumpet. And yes, he was married to pinup legend, Betty Grable. He was the tops. For those facts alone, James’ influence could be proven to be quite large. But I really think that it is his trumpet playing that makes his star endure, which makes his influence so all-encompassing. Here’s what I mean.

Harry James came from somewhere, he didn’t just appear. He surely listened to lots of jazz (maybe secretively) and classical popular music as he was coming up learning the ropes of trumpet playing as a kid growing up playing in the family circus. Yes, it was a family circus, and his dad also played the trumpet – probably forced young Harry to practice and excel. And Harry certainly practiced and excelled. His father must have taught him well because, as far as I can tell, Harry had no physical flaws in his playing. Perfect embouchure, endurance for days, incredibly fast fingers, single and multiple tonguing technique that rivaled top classical players, a screaming high register (when he wanted), and most important of all: a huge, big, fat, round sound – a sound so big you could drive a truck through it. In the parlance, he was an efficient player who could really move a lot of air. There were surely other trumpet players at the time who had staggering technique like this (remember, Raphael Mendez was ten years older than Harry, but Raphael’s star really only ascending parallel or even a little after Harry’s), but there weren’t that many, definitely not in popular music. And after Armstrong had broken the mold, high note players started to pop up in the late 20’s and 30’s. But high notes are just part of technique. Harry had the whole entire package; therefore, one could argue that Harry James was the first great trumpet virtuoso in jazz.

By the time he was 21 years of age Harry was on the road with the Benny Goodman band, the most popular band in the land. And Harry was the star soloist. Such a star, in fact, that people convinced him to go out on his own as a leader. He started his own orchestra, hit the road, and skyrocketed to stardom. Before he was even 30 years old, he had had a string of hits, made tons and tons of cash, was the first name bandleader to employ a scrawny, big-eared singer from Hoboken (soon to become The Voice), had become movie star, had two kids with his first wife (childhood sweetheart), and married Betty Grable. This guy had it all! I’m sure some of this was a result of the old “right place at the right time,” but there had to have been more to it than that. Harry was a pretty good looking guy (I honestly never saw it, but I was never a woman in the 1940’s so what do I know?). And maybe from all of those hours playing with the circus as a kid, Harry surely learned a thing or two about show business (and maybe also the business of show business) - namely how to please a crowd, how to win an audience – and keep them. Harry was groomed for success in this world – from an early age. He had star power and he knew how to pursue it. His ascendancy was meteoric and he was a household name everywhere.

And this is what brings me to the whole chain of influence thing. The guy was, plain and simple, a virtuoso on an unprecedented level. Who could touch him at that time? Sure he played some schlocky pop tunes that were huge commercial hits – “You Made Me Love You,” “Ciribiribin,” “Sleepy Lagoon,” etc. And some staggeringly, technical showboat features that were also hits like “Carnival of Venice” and “Flight of the Bumble Bee.” But those tunes made him ridiculously popular with ordinary people (don’t forgot there was a war going on – The Big One – so people needed diversions and distractions). Musicians may have sneered at that commercial success but no one could argue with Harry’s technical abilities. And not even just the technique. Harry also could swing his ass off with the best. He could really play a blues. He could burn at fast tempos. His ideas were hip and he could sneak in some really tricky turns and embellishments that really made him stand out. Harmonically he was fairly straightforward, but he could sneak in a hip turn if he wanted. He had style and he had a style. He was a stylist. A trendsetter. And he could play with anyone, any band, any singer, and always sound great. Some of the best Harry James, I think, is the small group stuff where he is a guest, often in mixed race ensembles. Just blowing. In short, he could hang with anyone.

So in my mind, it’s his playing that really makes him so influential. The star power is cool and certainly contributed to the pervasiveness of Harry’s presence on music and popular culture in the late 30’s/early 40’s even through the early 50’s, but the playing is what gives him staying power – the power of influence. When someone is as popular as Harry was, people are going to copy, to imitate, to emulate. That happened everywhere. Players worked extra hard to reach for the next highest note, worked extra hard to develop their tones, to open up their sounds, and also, unfortunately (in 70 years of hindsight), to go after a huge, syrupy vibrato in the hopes of scoring a big, romantic hit ($$$). My theory is that Harry James personally set the bar for practically all trumpet players that followed him – either directly or indirectly. Think about it: every lead trumpet player from then on was going for that huge, pure, full sound. I’d be willing to bet that you could trace most lead trumpet players and their sound inspirations back to Harry James. Players like Conrad Gozzo, Snooky Young, Bernie Glow, Al Porcino, Ernie Royal, Jimmy Maxwell, Earl Gardner, Buddy Childers, Bill Chase, Bud Brisbois, etc. (I’m not a lead guy so don’t yell at me for leaving people out). And not just lead players, but commercial players, studio players, dance band and high school and college bands everywhere. Everyone had to be able to have a little bit of Harry James in their sound, in their arrangements. But there’s also the chain of influence in other styles too. Take just one player to illustrate my point: Miles Davis. When Miles was a kid he idolized Harry James. He wanted to sound like him, play like him, phrase like him. He even tried to get that vibrato too (thank goodness he stopped the shaking and went for his own thing!). But do you get my point here? If Harry influenced Miles, and Miles went on to influence practically everybody, could you not then argue that James’ influence carried on through Miles? I really don’t mean this is a stretch.

What about players like Al Hirt and Herb Alpert. Hirt, especially could really play. But those guys achieved a level of fame and commercial success that no other trumpet player has really been able to achieve since, save for maybe Wynton Marsalis (and really Wynton is something else altogether so it’s almost like he doesn’t even fit in this equation). But could Al Hirt and Herb Alpert been as huge as they were without the precedence of Harry James? I don’t think so. Even musically speaking, I think that Hirt and Alpert are influenced by Harry – trumpet players going after hits. Now, if you were to ask players today that came up in the 60’s and 70’s about their influences growing up, who was it that got them playing the trumpet – do you know what the answers will be 80% of the time? Al Hirt and Herb Alpert. Sure those guys made some corny music, but they were huge commercial successes and their influence was absolutely pervasive. My argument is that there would be no Al Hirt or Herb Alpert without what Harry James did first. Chain of influence. I know this might sound like a stretch, and maybe it is, but I don’t know if there is a trumpet player out there today playing popular music or jazz that isn’t directly or indirectly influenced by Harry James – whether they know it or not. If you play the trumpet and you are working on technique, sound, and style, you are following in Harry’s footsteps (and you have a shitload to live up to). If Harry James was the first real virtuoso trumpet player in jazz, then all of those virtuosos that followed, follow along the path that Harry blazed. Players like Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Wynton. And if you are playing the trumpet and you are trying to achieve commercial success like James did, well, tough crap. Those days are gone. But you should still keep practicing. And maybe you should also consider listening to a little Harry James. We can all learn something from listening to Harry James.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Guess The Trumpet Player Winner

Thanks to all who listened to Thursday’s track and to those who ventured a guess. A few of you guess the correct trumpet player but only one answer came in quick enough to capture the prize. The winner of the seventeenth edition of the Outside Pants Guess The Trumpet Player contest is…….my mom. And the coolest thing is that not only did she guess the correct trumpet player but she even knew the name of the tune! And the answers: Harry James performing “Memphis Blues” from the 1952 live album “One Night Stand.” I’ll get more into Harry in tomorrow’s post, but if you didn’t get a chance to listen to this track, go back and give it a listen. It’s some (perhaps) deceptively brilliant and virtuosic trumpet playing. And the blues feeling is there full force, not some kind of pastiche. Harry James was truly one of the baddest of the bad. Again, more on that tomorrow.

For today, I want to put in a few plugs for gigs I am playing this week:

On Wednesday, May 18th, I’ll be performing at Tritone (1508 South Street) as part of the Avant Ascension series. I’ll be playing duo with one of my favorite Philly musicians, guitarist Tim Motzer. Tim and I really enjoy our duo collaborations, but it has been a couple of months since we have played so we are really looking forward to this show. Tim will have just returned from a European tour and I will coming from a rehearsal so yes, we will be warmed up and ready to create some soundscapes and compositional improvisations. There are two other bands on the bill (both guitar-centric I’m told, but I don’t know their music). Tim and I start our set at 10pm – just two dudes with loop pedals and effects boxes. Hope you can make it.

On Friday, May 20th, I will be back at Philly’s newest jazz spot, Little Bar (8th and Fitzwater), this time with Matt Davis’s Aerial Photograph. Aerial Photograph has been around for six or seven years or so, I believe. The genesis of the group came out of Matt’s undergrad experience of writing for a guitar trio plus a string quartet. The band soon added a saxophone and then a five piece wind section. The music is all Matt’s. Kind of a chamber jazz vibe. Beautiful, quiet, moody, elegant, sometimes simple, sometimes complex music. I’m very excited to hear how Aerial Photograph sounds in Little Bar. Plan to arrive early, the parking stinks in that part of South Philly – might take you a few times around the block to get a spot. Our set starts at 9:30pm.

On Saturday, May 21st, I will be playing in Wilmington, DE at the brand new World Café Live at the Queen venue down there with Philly Bloco, a 22-piece Brazilian Carnival band. This band is a blast to play with. Crazy high energy party band. All covers – about half Brazilian tunes and half a mix of New Orleans tunes (Dirty Dozen, Dr. John, Meters, etc.) and American pop/R&B tunes (some Stevie Wonder and some Otis Redding) that get a samba treatment.  If you like to dance this would be a good show to come to. And the new venue is supposed to be amazing. If you are in that neck of the woods, please come out and dance. Show starts at 8pm.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Guess The Trumpet Player

Hello Readers, it’s time for the seventeenth installment of “Guess The Trumpet Player.” And guess what? It’s Old School Thursday so I’ve got a golden oldie for you. The tune comes off of a live recording. Originally I was going to pick a “pop” tune off of this record, maybe because the nature of the tune would perhaps give you a hint as to the identity of the trumpet player. The pop tune is a little cheesy but it really shows off this trumpet player’s HUGE sound. But instead I’m going with this blues tune because the playing is just awesome – some great blues playing which you might not normally associate with this trumpet player. The growling might throw you off. I don’t think of this player as a growler, but there are a few little tricky turns in some of these lines that might tip you off. If that doesn’t, just listen to the cadenza toward the end. If that doesn’t help, then just know that this trumpet player was one of the most influential trumpet players ever (more on that on Monday’s post). Know who it is?

Click the link (it’s safe), click play, listen, guess the trumpet player. The first person to leave the correct name of this trumpet player in the comments section of this post wins a CD – your choice of Outside Pants Vol. 1 – Old School Players or Outside Pants Vol. 2 – Ron Miles Mix or Outside Pants Vol. 3 – Brownie Mix or Outside Pants Vol.4 – Dave Douglas Mix. The contest ends with Monday’s post.

Here’s the tune: http://www.box.net/shared/qzgtq1ur7l

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

RIP David Mason

Ever heard David Mason play the trumpet? No? Oh actually you have, but most likely didn’t know it. David Mason is one of the most-listened-to trumpet players ever. Ever heard of a little band from Liverpool called The Beatles? Ever heard a tune of theirs called “Penny Lane?” Remember the piccolo trumpet solo on that track? That’s David Mason.

Mason was a very accomplished classical trumpet player when he got the call from George Martin to play on “Penny Lane.” Paul McCartney had heard Mason playing Bach’s 2nd Brandenburg Concerto and liked the Baroque trumpet sound (Paul had played trumpet/flugelhorn as a boy). When The Beatles were in the studio recording Penny Lane they knew they needed something/someone to play a “solo” in the middle of the tune. Paul remembered the Brandenburg and he had George Martin call David Mason. That piccolo trumpet solo was the first of its kind on a rock/pop recording. Oh and he was paid a whopping 27 pounds and ten shillings for his performance. That’s roughly equivalent to $300 American today.

David Mason died of Leukemia on April 29, 2011. He was 85. And he was one of the most heard trumpet players in the history of recorded music. Thanks, Mr. Mason.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Copenhagen Pops

Some old Pops videos for your Tuesday. Good Gravy!

Dinah. Dig the band all tapping their feet. So cool.

And from the same concert – Tiger Rag.

Side story: When I was in first grade the music teacher played for the class a Louis Armstrong tune. I didn’t know at the time that it was Pops but I remember very clearly that there was a man with a gravelly voice yelling “Hold That Tiger” over and over again. And then there was the trumpet, singing over the riffing band. I remember really enjoying that song (years later I’ve pieced together that that recording was probably a Louis Armstrong All-Stars recording of Tiger Rag – probably from the late 50’s or early 60’s). Then in second grade (and again in third) I read E.B. White’s “The Trumpet of the Swan.” Between that book (the swan’s name was Louis) and my first grade memory of hearing Armstrong’s “Tiger Rag” I think that the trumpet became imprinted on my mind. So when fourth grade rolled around and they asked me what instrument I wanted to play I said “trumpet.” Pops is still the greatest. My oldest son’s middle name is Armstrong. My youngest son’s middle name is Louis.

Another one from that same Copenhagen concert (why did the Europeans have the sense to record these masters when we didn’t?? Stupid Americans didn’t even realize their own riches!) I Cover the Waterfront – I love how he swings the lyrics. For me, this is THE performance of this tune: