Sunday 16 March 2008

The Eternal Braid

From 1969 or maybe a bit before, a german tv clip featuring Roy Haynes on drums, Steve Swallow on bass, Jerry Hahn on guitar with the four-hand vibraphone played by the old master Red Norvo fronting Gary Burton's band. I love these sessions where you can catch the evolution live, like the Bird vs the Hawk or Count Basie and Monk, there's a raw awe and appreciation in this conversation that goes both ways, and you really can't tell who is having more fun.

This clip is a good segue from Carla Bley: I had the great good fortune to interview Gary Burton in my basement record shop back in '78 or so, and he told me a tale that isn't often told, not in the Wikipedia page, and not even on his own website, but I asked Mr Burton how it was some kid from Indiana ended up at the forefront of modern jazz and his reply was a telling tale of improvisational music and it goes like this ...

"Mister I met a man once," they always begin, although in this particular incident it was a man and a woman. Paul and Carla Bley were booked to play the campus commons at Yale where Gary Burton was enrolled in Law; one thing led to another, Gary ended up on the stage that night, Paul and Carla had one of their famous post-gig parking-lot business conferences and, he said, "It was two or three stops down the tour road when I called my parents up and said, 'Mom, Dad, I'm not going to be a lawyer anymore. I'm going to be a Jazz Musician!'"
True story.

Amazon: Gary Burton and Red Norvo