Herb Geller, Activist

At eighty, Herb Geller is playing alto saxophone even better than when he was a key jazz figure in the 1950s and ’60s. He is performing not with the gravity of Brahmsian old age but with full vigor. Nor has he lost the force of his convictions, witness this political song for which he wrote words and music.

In the interest of fairness, the Rifftides staff searched long and hard on the internet for John McCain campaign music to balance Geller’s Obama production. It seems that no jazz artist has come up with a McCain song. This was the closest thing we found to a serious pro-McCain campaign ditty. Like Geller’s, it is not an official campaign song.



Back to Herb Geller, the nonpolitical version. He has lived in Germany for decades and travels throughout Europe playing with a variety of rhythm sections. Last fall he was in Lisbon, Portugal. To see him in action and hear his solo on “Come Rain or Come Shine,” click here. Unfortunately, the YouTube video ends just as a young guitarist starts to develop an interesting solo.

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  1. says

    I loved that. The McCain video isn’t quite there…
    It must be something about Jazz keeping Geller so young in spirit.

  2. says

    It’s mighty even-handed of you to try to find pro-McCain music, but few jazzers seem likely to support the Old Man who in the ’80s tried to destroy the NEA; who is evidently a stranger to urban America’s realities, who doesn’t know his way around a computer much less the Internet and avows that economics is not his strong suit. What does this Senator have to offer lovers of the arts and modernity? I’ve read that there are country music artists performing in support of him, and don’t quite understand how McCain reflects their self-interests either.
    Given the serious decline of the U.S. over the past 8 GOP-dominated years in productivity, world repute, human rights protections and most other markers of what’s made our country great, I feel that this is not a time when even-handedness is the way to go — at least until McC shows that he has clear ideas and has accomplished something during his time in government for anyone but wealthy Arizonans (remember the Keating Five!) Call me biased, but I’m a jazz journalist and blogger for Obama, who says he likes and listens to John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
    (Mr. Mandel is the proprietor of the artsjournal.com blog “Jazz Beyond Jazz.” See the link above. — DR)