Some idle moments surfing YouTube proved to be not so idle when I came across this wonderful performance from Oscar Peterson and Clark Terry…

The unbridled joy of this playing provoked a deep response… All this talk about the death of jazz, oh dear.

It’s time for a reality check and an appointment with our hearts rather than the opinion formers. Can we seriously witness these artists creating such joy and then yield to a musical nihilism? I must chose my words carefully, but can’t suppress the thought that the so-called death of jazz is just a version of “it will never be the same”. Sure, on one level it won’t, Oscar, Bird, Louis, Miles, ‘Trane et al have passed, but might we be confusing the natural passing of time and evolution of an art-form with another perspective – that the essential characteristics of the music are archetypal and therefore timeless? As archetypal qualities (or indeed Platonic Absolutes), joy, swing, groove, pathos and so on can be accessed by every generation of artists, so long as we don’t overly distract ourselves with pity, or dare I say it – vanity.

This is a tad candid, but is there not something wrong when we can’t be inspired by a fully realised expression of joy, whatever the genre, location or date? For the record, in 1959 Panassie and Gautier’s Dictionary of Jazz, 1959 stated that bebop had been “wrongly described as jazz” (page 36). Lets quit our embarrassment and renew our love with this music.

These clips are good too…

Listen to Monk, do the right thing  and check out the scene at Oliver’s in Greenwich.

Tonight’s featured artist is Malcolm Earle-Smith.
A multi-faceted artist, Malcolm is at home in pretty much any improvising environment. Although highly respected as a fine trombonist and expert in classic jazz and swing, he is an incredibly broad musician, a great bopper and brilliant (or reluctant, or so he says) modernist, his open musical approach casting him is projects with musicians as diverse as Jack Parnell, Kenny Baker, Henry Lowther, Martin Speake, Martha Reeves and Bryan Ferry.

At a time when so much jazz is preoccupied with the darker emotions and introspection, it is as well to note that it is often more challenging to evoke joy than melancholy. Tonight’s music will be full of joy! I also have a feeling that he may well sing tonight…

Enjoy.

For full listing of the entire season, click here…
Tomorrow night Anita Wardell with the Simon Purcell Trio