Monday, December 18, 2023

all that


Jason Moran on Broadway Boogie Woogie, by Piet Mondrian.

Dear Listeners,

I have been wanting to talk to you about jazz.  As in music.  I don't know about jazz, but I know what I like, and it often isn't jazz.  But, that isn't talking about jazz at all.  What I wanted to write you about is about what I do like about jazz.  Trying to keep to the parts I like is really what the Dodo is all about.

Here are three, really stellar jazz songs that I love:  

La Llorona, Charles Lloyd and the Marvels

Pedal Up, Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Waltz for Hal Willner, Bill Frisell

Great, you say, but, let's have some detail, some specificity, some something!  Why do I like these three jazz songs?  It came to me when listening to a jazz recording like this one; what I love about jazz is the moment, the light, the flash of recognition, and the perquisite ambiguity.  It comes out of a (clear blue) fog: Aha!  I know this!

It can be more indistinct even than that; it's the recognition of something, some note, some strain, of familiarity.  A memory, a shape, a ghost, a form, a dried leaf skeleton.  That's what I like about jazz music, the shadows and wisps.


If you are like me, it might be a little tricky to love these songs on the first listen.  Maybe come back to them again, a second and third time, and see if they don't grow on you a little.