Rifftides reader John Fielding writes from Australia:
I am currently reading and enjoying your book about Paul Desmond. I am a lifelong DB and PD follower after seeing them play in Brisbane, Australia, in 1960.
Congratulations on a great contribution to jazz history and the stories and colors of the era of the 50’s.
Amazing that ‘Take Five’ has been so widely recorded. I thought you might be interested to know that I recently heard ‘Take Five’ on a stay in Beijing. There is a very popular group known as the Twelve Girls (actually, there are thirteen of them and I suspect that the band name has something to do with a pun to which all Chinese speakers are addicted). Their forte is playing Western classical and some pop music on Chinese traditional instruments. They also have an extensive Chinese classical repertoire. They do an interesting version of the song. I subsequently found the song on one of their CDs.
I think that Paul would approve – particularly as the twelve (thirteen?) girls are very attractive as well as talented. Interesting that the erhu (one stringed fiddle that looks like a coffee can with a long handle) actually produces a lovely full-bodied cello style note that suits the song very well.
Thank you and all the best from Australia.
You’re welcome, John. And thank you, but wait a minute; four of those 12 (or 13) girls seem to be guys. Could that be the source of the pun?
Dick Vartanian says
I just heard the Chinese “Take Five” . Astounding and indescribable. I can picture that mile-wide grin on PD’s face.
Doug Freeman says
Here’s another interesting take on “Take Five” I discovered recently, recorded in the early ’70s by the Kashmere Stage Band, a high school stage band in a predominantly black area of north Houston, TX, directed by a wonderful bandmaster named Conrad O. Johnson, the subject of a fantastic documentary film called “Thunder Soul.” The first link is audio only. The second is to an L.A. Times story about the band.
Mike Baughan,O.D. says
Dry Martini Music with a Chinese Twist and a ‘Baker’s Dozen’?!
Loved it. Thanks Mr. Fielding……it is a great book isn’t it?