Eric Feltenâ€”trombonist, singer, bandleader and occasional Wall Street Journal contributorâ€”is asking for Rifftidersâ€™ suggestions, to wit:
The other day I heard a cut that I had heard a time or two before, “Shine On Harvest Moon,” with that remarkably odd combination of Jimmy Rushing and the Brubeck outfit. I found it weirdly compelling. It got me thinking about what other odd pairings have been made in jazz. Some have been great artistic triumphsâ€”Coltrane/Hartman, anyone? And I imagine there have been others that have been disasters.
Often it seems the odd pairings (as in Coltrane-Hartman) are driven by record company decisions that have nothing to do with musical judgments and everything to do with getting contractual obligations out of the way.
I would be interested in your readers’ candidates for “oddest couplings that worked,” and “oddest couplings that didn’t.”
Send your nominations along. Iâ€™ll forward them to Eric and compile them for a Rifftides posting. Use the e-mail address in the right-hand column, please.
Eric may find those combinationsâ€”Brubeck and Rushing, Coltrane and Hartmanâ€”odd, but they worked perfectly. The Rushing collaboration album with the Brubeck quartet brought out a certain reserve, call it self-editing, in Brubeck that resulted in some of his most economical and attractive solos. It coaxed forth the bluesy side of Paul Desmond. Mr. Five By Five sang at the top of his game. Itâ€™s one of Rushingâ€™s best latterday recordings. As for Coltrane, he was compounding his â€œsheets of soundâ€ style in 1962 and was well on his way to the free approach that led to â€œA Love Supremeâ€ and beyond (way beyond), but in the album with Hartman, he is supremely melodic in his solos on a collection of great ballads.