It has been several months since I have written any entries in my Seeingthingsblog.com. Of course, much has taken place since then, but I am resurrecting the blog and changing it in a new format. The reason for this is to take the time to decide the direction I wish the blog to continue, and add some ideas that will make it more exciting and entertaining.
The blog will be an outlet for subjects that I am willing to explore, and hopefully will fulfill the desires that my readers have enjoyed in the past, and some new directions in future postings.
One change will be to focus on one specific theme and not over several subjects. This will give me a chance to investigate ideas that I wish to explore and discuss in detail. This will change the amount of information I will bring to the blog, and the amount of postings that I make. The postings will be made randomly, rather than monthly, depending on the information I will bring to you. These changes will be decided as I continue postings to the blog, and, of course, will be subject to change if necessary.
We will start a new volume and a posting, Post One/Volume 3. This will give us an opportunity to start fresh. I hope those of you who enjoy the blog will continue to read and enjoy it. Suggestions are always welcome.
Bits ‘n Pieces Since the beginning of the past year, we’ve seen the loss of many important musicians who have dedicated their lives to the art of making music. These are masters of their art and creativity, and who have made large contributions over the years to their audiences.
Phil Everly, one of the living, Everly Brothers, passed away in 2014. This statement made in a current Rolling Stone commentary about them made it clear what the Brother’s music was all about: ” Nobody sang in that tradition of hereditary fellowship more effectively or memorably than the Everly Brothers , who imbued the sounds of early rock and roll with an ancient resonance born of family blood, Appalachian folk memory and blues, and R&B-informed spirit.” They made music of beauty, desire and loss, such songs as Bye, Bye Love, Cathy’s Clown and Let It Be Me, and the sound of their voices were forever young and the songs they performed as well. However, Phil and Don basically lived separate lives, mainly because they had rifts with one another over the years that destroyed their music with one another.
Jim Hall, master musician, composer and guitarist, made contributions to jazz that places him as one of the most important jazz guitarists of his generation. He was admired by other musicians and guitar players, and his compositions and extensive ability to create music and compositional pieces including classical is remarkable. One of the greats.(Shown here with bassist, Ron Carter)
One of the music adventures I have undertaken is listening to Piano Jazz on NPR, by the wonderful pianist, Marion McPartland. She passed away in August of 2013, and after several decades of her program once a week, I have come to admire her more when I listen to her program. An excellent pianist, and modest at best, she engaged weekly with not only the great piano players, but other musicians and singers as well, and her rapport with them was truly inspiring and delightful.
As her radio programs continued there were so many of them, that when she basically retired from doing them, there were repeated programs weekly and it was obvious that to this listener there were some gems included; the delightful discussions with Dave Brubeck telling stories of his infamous saxophone player, Paul Desmond, who had a wonderful comedic personality, the program that featured vibist, Milt Jackson, who played excellent piano on the program and related stories about the Modern Jazz Quartet that was jazz history, following that program with the great John Lewis, and continued to tell that history to the radio audience. Her programs extended for thirty years or more, and the music she performed with her own trios and her guests will tell the stories of many in the jazz world and beyond.
Iola Brubeck, with her husband, Dave Brubeck at her side for many years, follows him in his passing by only a year. But, Iola who was an outstanding lyricist, did not have to take a back seat by any means. She made contributions to his compositions and her renderings were recorded by many artists, notably, Carmen McRae and Louis Armstrong, two of which are Strange Meadowlark and In Your Own Sweet Way.
Those of us who spend time on our computers have realized the importance of passwords and how we protect them. There have been many suggestions over time by others in publications and such who give those of us who know, and those who are new to the world of computers. Here is a suggestions: make a list of your passwords and user names, and place that list in a safe-deposit box or with your will. This helps your kids or those who look after your personal affairs to be aware of them should you fall ill, be in the hospital or pass away. That information will be helpful for those who pay your bills, notify contacts or answer your emails.
Longevity has its benefits. Especially, when it comes to the music that we enjoy over the years. That comment has a present tense connotation with the use of the word, “enjoy”. In the case of Jimmy Scott, the eighty-eight years old singer who passed away a few days ago, it does explain the use of the word in the present tense. I still and will enjoy his music.
Jimmy Scott in my life, was one of my early singing heroes. When I was listening to the music of Lionel Hampton and Dinah Washington I became aware of his singing as Little Jimmy Scott, small in stature, and in his late teens when he was discovered by Hampton. He became an instant sensation among Black audiences with his version of “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”, and that song became a staple in his repertoire.
As a person who was learning from the mastery of the prominent singers on the radio and the movies, Jimmy Scott was also a prominent staple on my personal playlist with his unusual and sensuous voice. As a young signer, Jimmy stood out in the 78 rpm era of recordings and I think I had all of those recordings at that time. Years later when the Long Playing industry became fashionable I rediscovered his recordings. I always found them enjoyable.
As A singer myself, I do not believe I was influenced by Jimmy, except maybe the use of his time in the delivery of the songs he sang. Besides his unusual voice, that in itself was what made Jimmy Scott, the use of timing in singing a song, which was later adapted by the singer, Nancy Wilson, who was influenced heavily by Jimmy in her early years as a singer. Listen to Nancy’s version of a Scott song, “When Did You Leave Heaven” and that will explain what his interpretation was all about.
It has been written that Jimmy became a voice of the past and that may be true considering the current stability of the music scene, and recordings.
To that point, I was personally involved in a job that enabled me as a graphic designer to travel occasionally. And, I found ,myself in New York City at the time with a couple of colleagues who enjoyed jazz music and we were looking out for an evening of dinner and a night of entertainment. Well, we found it, as I introduced them to a night club entertainment headed up by the incomparable, Jimmy Scott. Jimmy did not disappoint, even though the pianist in the band had difficulty with Jimmy’s unusual use of sense of time signatures and phrasing. But his voice was outstanding and when I returned home I was working as a producer in radio at the time, I was singing the praises of Scott and my attendance at his performances. I did get a chance to speak to him shortly after his performance and he alluded to the fact that he was getting involved in recording dates in the future, but in reality that took a while to be produced.
What did change the course of Jimmy’s life was unknown to the general public and Jimmy’s fans, and that was the story behind the scenes. Jimmy was controlled by a producer from those excellent early recordings on Roost Records, and prevented Scott from doing any recordings outside his contract. There were others who wanted Jimmy to record, but the producer held control over Jimmy and prevented other recordings to be produced. But, as time will have it, the producer passed and Jimmy’s life changed. All the doors were opened for Jimmy and a new audience emerged for Jimmy and he became an instant sensation again. Fortunately he still was young enough to retain that wonderful voice and enjoyed new fame with recordings, international fame and concerts.
This Jimmy Scott story is one for the ages and it would make for a great biographical movie.
There have been several events that have taken place during my last entries. I have been involved in personal matters and that is the reasoning for my lack of entries in the blog. I do plan to continue but I have to reassess my intentions of what this blog will be in the future. Life changes and that accounts for my review of the blog. Look forward to the changes and any comments are welcome.