#themusicologist [#809] Rocking Chair – Sidney Bechet


“In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do.” -Bob Marley


#themusicologist [799] Sidney Bechet-Rocking Chair

For the rebels who have passed through to the next ‘phase’. .. 

Hwang-Tî said,

‘To exercise no thought and no anxious consideration is the first step towards knowing the Tâo; to dwell nowhere and do nothing is the first step towards resting in the Tâo; to start from nowhere and pursue no path is the first step towards making the Tâo your own.’

Knowledge then asked Hwang-Tî, saying, ‘I and you know this; those two did not know it; which of us is right?’ The reply was, ‘Dumb Inaction3 is truly right; Heedless Blurter has an appearance of being so; I and you are not near being so. (As it is said), “Those who know (the Tâo) do not speak of it; those who speak of it do not know it4;” and “Hence the sage conveys his instructions without the use of speech4.”

The Tâo cannot be made ours by constraint; its characteristics will not come to us (at our call). Benevolence may be practised; Righteousness may be partially attended to; by Ceremonies men impose on one another.

Hence it is said,

“When the Tâo was lost, its Characteristics appeared. When its Characteristics were lost, Benevolence appeared. When Benevolence was lost, Righteousness appeared. When Righteousness was lost, Ceremonies appeared. Ceremonies are but (the unsubstantial) flowers of the Tâo, and the commencement of disorder1.”

Hence (also it is further said),

“He who practises the Tâo, daily diminishes his doing. He diminishes it and again diminishes it, till he arrives at doing nothing. Having arrived at this non-inaction, there is nothing that he does not do1.”

Here now there is something, a regularly fashioned utensil;–if you wanted to make it return to the original condition of its materials, would it not be difficult to make it do so? Could any but the Great Man accomplish this easily2?

‘Life is the follower of death, and death is the predecessor of life; but who knows the Arranger (of this connexion between them)3?

The life is due to the collecting of the breath. When that is collected, there is life; when it is dispersed, there is death. Since death and life thus attend on each other, why should I account (either of) them an evil?

‘Therefore all things go through one and the same experience. (Life) is accounted beautiful because it is spirit-like and wonderful, and death is accounted ugly because of its foetor and putridity. But the foetid and putrid is transformed again into the spirit-like and wonderful, and the spirit-like and wonderful is transformed again into the foetid and putrid. Hence it is said, “All under the sky there is one breath of life, and therefore the sages prized that unity 1,”‘

musicology #0747

Nubag #16 (a year in the life)

Sidney Bechet – Jungle Drums

long time comrades in, (musical), arms of the ‘project/diary/soundtrack’ will know that for me Sidney Bechet is one of the GIANTS of improvisation/jazz/recorded music etc.

One of the MASTERS of the art that I have been blessed enough to have stumbled across along ‘the way’. Apprentice’ and Journeymen are in abundance. Masters are few and far between.

Second time on themusicologist for this one..if i was asked “what is music?” i would pull this one out. listen to Bechet blow and how he drives the intensity, demanding that the other cats on the session step up.Which, of course, they do.

Had me nut down over the past few weeks studying for an exam I sat on Friday.

the incredible drawing is by the legendary, pioneer of contemporary neuroscience,  Ramon y Cajal.  Pathologist, histologist, neuroscientist, and Nobel laureate, (not to mention artist).

musicology #283

twolegendsclash #6

(Louis Armstrong And His New Sebastian Cotton Club Orchestra – You’re Drivin’ Me Crazy)

Judging by this weeks viewer statistics It would be far more effective for themusicologist to roll with some funk/boogie/reggae/etc, boosting the figures, (and the ego), and patting myself on the back for my musical taste and how well it is received around the world but, for me, the unviversal language has a will of it’s own and compells me to follow rather than lead. themusicologist has no destination in mind or even a reason for being other than to share and spread the word.

It’s harder to be and stay positive when under seige from the media and society at large but through thick and thin music is always there to inspire thought and action on the journey and for themusicologist the selection chooses itself…

Armstrong and Bechet, (to name but two), learned, spoke, evolved and taught the language of the underdog, the oppressed and the disenfranchised to millions around the world in a style and formula that needed no translation or formal education. Listening to these Cats blow delivers musical riches beyond my wildest dreams and makes the spirit soar in tandem with the notes that emerge from their weapons.

Doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what you believe in or what colour skin you have, (which it most certainly did back then), the universal language speaks to us all and as always this page is a tribute to the artists on parade.

Today’s cut, featuring Father Armstrong, recorded on December 23rd 1930 in Los Angeles showcases his dexterity as trumpet player, vocalist and authentic man of the people. The way he mixes and blends, weaving in and out is a hallmark of his uniqueness. How many trumpet players are there, (or have ever been), that swing so effortlessy from playing to singing?

The band supporting consist of:

Armstrong, Louis (Trumpet, Vocal)
Hite, Les (Conductor, Alto Saxophone, Bass Saxophone)
Orendorff, George (Trumpet)
Scott, Harold (Trumpet)
Graven, Luther (Trombone)
Johnson, Marvin (Alto Saxophone)
Jones, Charlie (Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet)
Prince, Henry (Piano)
Perkins, Bill (Banjo, Steel Guitar)
Bailey, Joe (Tuba, Bass)
Hampton, Lionel (Drums, Vibraphone)

musicology #274

newyearboogie #2

(Johnny Otis Orchestra – Happy New Year Baby)

what can I say about 2008?..pure ‘hill and gully ride’ for me. Learnt a LOT, more than I would have thought possible. Ended on a real high..New Years Eve up on a rooftop in Spain with my son under the stars listening to Sidney Bechet swing out the old year in finest style. I could go on and on about how much this holiday means to me but I’ll just say that last night, especially, was one of the great moments in my life so far, (and there have been a few I am happy to say), that’s TWO top ranking holidays in 2008 that I will cherish for ever, thanks to the Cyprus cats for the previous one and the Fam for this one.. Weather here is glorious, company is first class and the soundtrack has been led by a diet of cuts from the early part of the 20th century most notably from the master, Brother Louis Armstrong while reading a very informative and well written book on his early life in New Orleans.

Today’s cut is courtesy of bandleader Johnny Otis and his Orchestra. Can’t add any more info at the moment like singers, date, label etc so i’ll leave it at that other than to say:


musicology #234

inmodwetrust #1

(Walter Jackson – That’s What Mama Say)

new theme on themusicologist and one that is very much a part of my musical education due to the fact that both my mum and dad were first generation mod/ernists, (1962-1966). the cuts laid down this week were all played in and around London during the above period.

first up is a piece from one of the premier ‘mod’ labels, operating out of ‘Chi’, OKeh. A label that was one of the first to focus on ‘immigrant’ music in the 1920’s recording many of the early Jazz pioneers such as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Mamie Smith. After some time spent lost in the musical wilderness the company’s fortunes were reignited by employing Carl Davis in 1962 as head of A&R who had the vision to employ Curtis Mayfield as associate producer in 1963 as well as three of the best arrangers Johnny Pate, Riley Hampton and Gerald Sims who is quoted to have said

“the Chicago sound came from basically one source…Curtis Mayfield”

This one from 1963 is sung by one of themusicologist’s favourite singers, Walter Jackson. Produced by the aforementioned Carl Davis, arranged by Riley Hampton and songwriten by none other than Curtis Mayfield with, (possibly), the Impressions harmonising.

musicology #139

theGood,Bad&theUgly #6

(Sidney Bechet & The New Orleans Feetwarmers – Egyptian Fantasy )

penultimate day of the alternative soundtrack and it’s almost over. all three have managed to arrive at the cemetery and it’s time for the showdown. A winner takes all gunfight to the death…no prisoners taken.

Angel Eyes thinks he’s holding all the cards but Blondie has double crossed them both and is still the only one who knows the real name on the grave that contains the Gold. I’ll say no more and leave it to the man himself to elucidate…

the music is courtesy of virtuoso musician Sidney Bechet, (ably backed by ‘The New Orleans Feetwarmers), whose professional career stretches right back to the birth of ‘Jazz’ in New Orleans during the early 1900’s.

Along with ‘Duke’ and ‘Pops’ Bechet is credited with being instrumental, (no pun intended), in the development of the music that we know and love today and a listen to this should give you an indication as to why.

recorded in 1941 he plays both the clarinet and the soprano sax on this one and is joined by ‘The New Orleans Feetwarmers’

Henry Allen, (Trumpet), J.C Higginbotham, (Trombone), James Tolliver, (Piano), Wellman Braud, (Bass) and J.C Heard on drums.