Sun 星期日 11pm
Jazzy tunes brought right into your home, a perfect companion for those cool, summer-breeze nights.
Facets of Diamonds Jazz artists show different sides of their musical genius in different times and places just as the sides of a gem reflect with many patterns. In this series we will examine some of the many wonderful musicians of Jazz at different times in their careers. Some will show marked changes in style as we go along; others will simply reveal how they apply their established musical personalities depending on mood and circumstance. I have had the pleasure of personal encounters of one kind or another with a few of these players; some have only been my listening friends for a long time. While studying at The Manhattan School of Music, when not practicing, I often spent time rambling in New York City. On one special day, I emerged at the North end of Central Park onto what is variously know as Central Park North or Cathedral Parkway—the “border” between Harlem and Central Park. To my great wonderment, the was a flatbed truck installed on one corner with a remarkable Jazz ensemble playing. The truck, as I later learned, was called the “Jazzmobile” and their organization has since gone on to sponsor Jazz concerts throughout the metropolitan area. The band was lead by none other than Charles Mingus, one the deities of my musical world. To come upon him so unexpectedly was a jolt that not only enriched that moment in a special way, but probably had something to do with the directions taken in my later musical life. Mingus was, of course, one of the seminal figures in the develop of Jazz after Bebop having started there as a leading bassist in the late forties and fifties. As a leader in the “Jazz Workshops” in the late fifties and on he drew his collectively improvising musicians into areas of influence as wide ranging as gospel and classical musical emerging (like his idol Duke Ellington) as a great composer not just in Jazz but in modern American music. Though I am insufficiently rebellious and had not the means to go South anyway, I never-the- less lived through the civil rights eruptions of the sixties and can attest to the energy of the times. Though Jazz musicians are notoriously apolitical, one who dared to use her fame and artistic strength in the struggle was Nina Simone. Trained as a classical pianist (she was at Julliard for a time) she attributed her difficulties in pursuing a career to prejudice based and race and background. This is somewhat less painful to us as listeners since we gained a vocalist and pianist with a very personal styles that shifts from Jazz and Blues to Rock and Gospel with a perfect sense of the appropriate. Having enjoyed commercial success early in her career, “Mississippi Goddam” among other topical songs, grated with her promoters and record producers though establishing her as an icon in both the racial and women’s fields. Again feeling disadvantaged, she spent long periods of her life away from the United States and she softened her persona in much of her later live performances. Once upon a time in Hong Kong there was “The Jazz Club”. Though it cost Hans Lauders and Peter Stone a vast personal investment, it was a very good thing for musicians and Jazz fans here! Through the inspiration of local pianist Dave Packer who had worked with her back in the sixties, the opening of this special venue in 1988 featured another unique vocalist: Anita O’Day. This lady is credited with breaking the stereotype of the big band female singer as a glamorous attachment to the group. Instead, she became a real musician famous for the innovative rhythms and melodic structures in her scat singing. Though there were some significan peaks in her career—witness her stellar appearance in the 1958 documentary “Jazz on a Summer’s Day”, her life was by no means smooth sailing. Battles with drug and alcohol plagued her throughout her life and she was compelled to come back from near lethal accidents more than once. Though born in 1920 Her dedication to music carried her career well into the new century. Though I have often attended his concerts, I never had an opportunity to meet Dave Brubeck in person. I was however fortunate enough to meet his youngest son Mathew, a cellist. He came to Hong Kong and the Academy in the company of the Canadian pianist David Braid. A musician who walks the tightrope between Classical Music and Jazz, something with which I myself am all too familiar, together with David, they played a freely improvised music responding to each other spontaneously to create a genre that transcends both. Brubeck senior was also a musician who derived inspiration from many spheres of music. In his long career, he is credited with many new rhythmic and formal possibilities while remaining one of Jazz’ most widely accepted and popular artists.