"Silver stars were clinging to an autumn sky/Love was ours until October wandered by"
The comments section on this post is open for all readers (usually it is for paid subscribers only). The previous two threads were pretty active and interesting, so: Say what is on your mind, drop your hottest take, or ask me anything — but please keep it clean and civil.
Thanks to Bill Meikrantz for this photo from the recent Regattabar performance with Linda May Han Oh and Billy Hart. A lot of people came out! It was a great gig. Linda and Billy were instantly on the same page. A heavy vibe.
Last Friday morning there was flash flooding in Brooklyn, so later that day I put a casual rendition of John Coltrane’s “After the Rain” on my socials.
At lunch yesterday, Lawrence Block told me about starting a newsletter in the early 1990’s. Before finally migrating to email, Block had assembled thousands of subscribers, and it cost him about a dollar a person to print and ship the booklets, not to mention all the hours spent creating and laying out the physical object. By that standard, keeping up with the socials and Substack is a light lift.
Block published two books last year, The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown (the latest Bernie Rhodenbarr novel, where Ron Carter and myself make a cameo playing duo in the final pages) and The Autobiography of Matthew Scudder. Both books are wonderful, but both are also for Block’s long-time fan base. For an intro, the go-to remains When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (1986). For those feeling like something particularly dark and stormy, I wholeheartedly recommend the recent masterwork Dead Girl Blues (2020).
The next gig is a big one! Three nights with Buster Williams and Billy Hart at Birdland Theater, Fri-Sun October 27-29.
Thanks so much to Gwen Kelley and Hot House for including me as a pick:
I played with Buster Williams and Billy Hart for my 50th birthday party earlier this year at the Jazz Gallery. Everyone who attended agreed it was a pretty amazing gig. Sincere thanks to this legendary bass and drums team for giving me a long weekend to face down their superlative shared language.
I’m lucky enough to work with Billy regularly, and yes, Linda May Han Oh was truly great. Our regular collaborator in Billy’s quartet, Ben Street, is also more than phenomenal.
But Jabali and Mchezaji together is a whole ‘nother thing.
They met on a Betty Carter gig in Detroit in the early 1960s and immediately felt a kinship. Late 1970 saw them record together with both McCoy Tyner (Asante) and Herbie Hancock (Mwandishi). At that time they took on the Swahili names of Jabali and Mchezaji and continued with Hancock for that legendary sextet for about three years. Since then they have been on countless gigs and records together, and always make any situation that much more serious yet also hilarious. Backstage at the Gallery in February, they were still cracking jokes:
Again, the comments section is open for two or three days. If you don’t chime in this time, I will host another open thread at the top of November. Sincere thanks for reading and listening.
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