Charlie Shoemake, the vibraharpist, leader and teacher, checks in with a story pertinent to the Rifftides discussion about swing and jazz values.
Thought you would get a laugh out of a true anecdote that concerns the current topic in your column. 40 years (or so) ago I was playing a night at Dontes in North Hollywood with the guitarist Ron Anthony. (George Shearing, Frank Sinatra). In the group that night was a drummer named Nick Martinis (member of Pete Jollys’ trio for many years among other west coast names) who was (and is) well known for his off-center personality and remarks.
Before the group hit the stand for the first set Nick said to all of us standing at the bar…..”Well cats, do we swing tonight or DO WE HIDE ‘ONE’?” That concept has been around for close to half a century now and yet many of today’s younger players still think of it as “the new thing.” Whenever I hear a group playing like that now I always think of Nick and laugh. It’s certainly a valid concept but I’ll always feel (probably because of my generation) that acheiving what Percy Heath and Kenny Clarke (or Paul Chambers and Philly Joe) did with the time is much more difficult. Old fashioned or not.
Michael J. West says
I fear being labeled an ignoramus or worse, but I don’t get it. (Although I feel like it’s right on the tip of my brain…) Can someone spell it out for me?