Sunday, 19 January 2014

Blue January

I decided to try to spend my way out of the January blues – buying things I don’t need and as you would expect from me, we are talking big money here.

First of all, I bought a ‘Lonsdale’ sweatshirt. Obviously, it’s my kind of brand even if in recent years they have become a bit brash for my taste. Luckily this charity shop number came from their golden period (sadly not their really golden period of the 60’s and 70’s that would be asking too much) but still before they discovered fluorescent day-glow and oversized branding. As I handed over my £4, I discovered there was a sale on – 50% 0ff.


The second charity shop I tried turned out to have had a wave of Jazz donations. Wow, who’d have known I was going to be walking by just then?

I bought ‘Alone Together’, a CD by Lee Konitz, a brilliant saxophonist from the golden era of modern jazz. He was the origin of ‘Cool Jazz’, as opposed to Charlie Parker’s more frantic version of modern jazz. Konitz also played on ‘The Birth of The Cool’ sessions with Miles Davis.

It was on ‘Blue note’ records, and anything they issued was always great until the mid 1970’s.

Even if this was released in 1997 – well past their prime and also just a little past Lee’s - what the heck I took a chance on it.

When I put it on, it sang.

This was just Lee, piano and bass (no drums), just jazz distilled down to its pure essence and recorded in a venue not a studio, so it had feeling as well.

Konitz was at an age where he had nothing to prove any more but wasn’t about to give up on it just yet. He was old enough, tired enough, and wise enough to understate it all.

Pared down to the minimum, pure cool at £1-50p

Then I couldn’t resist a double CD; ‘Brother Jack McDuff – The Concorde years’.

This was a ‘best of’, by a man I’d never heard of. I was caught because this was definitely Jazz at the crossroads where the signpost reads out four great destinations; ‘Jazz, Funk, Soul and Blues’.

Even better, Brother Jack, whoever he is/was/maybe, played the mighty Hammond organ. And as you must know by now, I am prepared to travel a long way for a little of what Mr Hammond sells.


It was so good I had to stop the car to listen to it.


I thought I’d never get home.


I gottem.

Do I care?

Well, maybe.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)  

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