Wednesday 18 February 2009

Blue Yodel No. 9

A recreation of the Louis Armstrong and Jimmy Rodgers session July 16, 1960, this time with Bill Walker on piano and J.R.Cash on guitar, vocals and yodels. And I don't care what you may have heard, no, it is not the least bit strange.

Satchmo: Let's give it to 'em in Black and White! :)
I don't know where they got it, but there is a popular misconception (mostly among 'modern' jazz players) that Country Music and Jazz Music are somehow different, parallel universes, twains that never meet. Nothing could be farther from the truth: Not only did Louis Armstrong know Jimmy Rodgers, Sun Ra mentions playing in country bands in Alabama, Ray Charles was well known to both RnB and Country fans and ... well, the South is only so big, y'know. There's also the tidbit on how Merl Travis learned to play from Mose Rager who, like Bill Monroe and his mentor Kennedy Jones, learned the art of microtonal flatpicking and chord substitutions from Arnold Shultz, a black coal miner from Ohio County.

Y'see, country music is a kind of Jazz, a shared aesthetic, rooted in rags and blues and hollers of the african and native american slave and later prison workgangs, virtuoso improvisation mixed with traditional vocabularies of scales, licks, vamps, ornimentations and turn-arounds strung along a folk-form chord progression modified and modulated rhythmically and harmonically according to the jazz of the moment.