Posts tagged jazz
Quincy Jones describes Dinah Washington’s style: she “could take the melody in her hand, hold it like an egg, crack it open, fry it, let it sizzle, reconstruct it, put the egg back in the box and back in the refrigerator and you would’ve still understood every single syllable.”
…I was struck by the modernity that jazz anticipated and directed, and by its unreasonable optimism. Whatever the truth or consequences of individual entanglements and the racial landscape, the music insisted that the past might haunt us, but it would not entrap us. It demanded a future…
from her “foreword” of the novel “Jazz”
by Toni Morrison
“ I don’t know what I am. I don’t care whether people call me jazz or pop. I just love to sing, and I try to sing whatever I think people want to hear. Songs that fit my style.”
“ I had begun to think my arrangments were not worth much, as no one ever wanted to pay for them…But the work paid off in the long run. Whenever musicians listened to the band they would ask who made a certain arrangement. Nearly always it was one of mine.”
We worked the Copacabana in New York, and at that time they didn’t allow coloured people to come into the club. In fact, we didn’t have any dressing rooms: I had to dress at home, do my show, then get out of there between shows, go round the corner, and have a few drinks. And what I like about that is: the Copacabana went through the Frank Sinatras and the Nat Coles; then business got bad, and they had the rock’n’rollers, who tore the place up; but, as they’re just going out, they always end up getting some jazz people. So, just recently, I returned to the Copacabana. It was a thrill, because it was us at the last thing that they had to relate to, to keep the club going. Soon after that, they went boom-boom and I was glad. I’m sorry it lasted that long! You wonder why those things went on like they did. I don’t know what music has to do with colour, but it does. I can even remember when they had Race records; we had a hit, and then you had a hit—it was a separate thing. Yeah, it’s a dumb world we live in, I think.
more, from 1972.
art: Vaughan and Bob Shad, 1950
My influences were a lot of different kinds of people, but mostly Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand—I love the purity of her sound, the way she used words. That’s what I love about Roberta—the way she infused jazz and classical into R&B and blues and she used the words. It all paid off in the end…
more from Oleta Adams.