The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Wondrous E.K. Ellington (Observation #1)

The more I listen to Duke Ellington recordings, the more amazed I am. Not just by the quality of almost everything the man and his orchestra recorded, but that he was able to bring it all together so consistently.

Think about it with me for a second, children . . .

Here you had what was by all accounts the most undisciplined band of musicians in the business. It doesn't matter which lineup or what period we're talking about; they were a world class gaggle of wineheads, junkies, habitual latecomers and recidivist prima donnas.

And yet . . . night after night, recording session after recording session; whether in some smoke-filled, sleazy Elks Club out in Kallispell, Montana or the Mount Olympus of Carnegie Hall, Ellington could somehow transform this bunch into the most finely tuned instrument in all of American music.

Can this be said about Stan Kenton?

2 comments :

Jacob said...

So true....

Sister Ray said...

perhaps it might be said of cab calloway, who knew a little bit about "dat funny reefer man"...