Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Buddha Jazz

Image created by TheKamikazen, Mexico City

Branford Marsalis “B.B.’s Boogie” composed by B.B. King / Branford Marsalis from I Heard You Twice the First Time (1992) on Columbia — Branford Marsalis, tenor; B. B. King, guitar and vocals; Kenny Kirkland, piano; Robert Hurst, bass; Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, drums

Elvin Jones “E. J. Blues” composed by Elvin Jones from Very Rare (1993) on EVIDENCE MUSIC INC. — Elvin Jones, leader, drums; Frank Foster, tenor; Roland Prince, guitar; Andy McCloud, bass

Max Roach “Blues Waltz” from Jazz in 3/4 Time (1956) on Mercury Records — Max Roach, drums, leader; Ray Bryant, piano; Sonny Rollins, tenor; Kenny Dorham, trumpet; George Morrow, bass

T. S. Monk “Infra-rae” composed by H. Mobley from TAKE ONE (1992) on Blue Note — T.S. Monk, drums, leader; Bobby Porcelli, alto; Willie Williams, tenor; Ronnie Mathews, piano; James Genus, bass; Don Sickler, trumpet

Gene Krupa & Buddy Rich “bernie’s tune” from Krupa and Rich (1955) on Verve — Gene Krupa & Buddy Rich battling drums

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers “mosaic” composed by Art Blakey from Mosaic (1961) on Blue Note — Art Blakey, drums, leader; Curtis Fuller, trom; Freddie Hubbard, Trum; Wayne Shorter, tenor; Cedar Walton, piano

J.J. Johnson “It Could Happen to You” composed by Burke/Van Heusen from The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson – EP (1953) on Blue Note — Jay Jay Johnson, trom, leader; Clifford Brown, trumpet; Jimmy Heath, tenor; John Lewis, piano; Percy Heath, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums

Bob Brookmeyer “Jive Hoot” composed by B.Brookmeyer from Bob Brookmeyer & Friends (1964) on Columbia/Legacy — Bob Brookmeyer, trom, leader; Stan Getz, tenor; Gary Burton, vibes; Herbie hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Elvin Jones, drums

Curtis Fuller with Red Garland “Stormy weather” composed by Arlen, Koehler from Curtis Fuller with Red Garland (1957) on Prestige — Curtis Fuller, trom, leader; Sonny Red, alto; Red Garland, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Louis Hayes, drums

Jack Teagarden “Mis’ry and the Blues” composed by LaVere from Jack Teagarden – Mis’ry and the Blues (1961) on Verve — Jack Teagarden, trom, leader

Kid Ory And His Creole Band “Blues for Jimmie” composed by Ory from Kid Ory – 1945-1950 (1950) on Classics — Kid Ory, trom, leader; Teddy Buckner, trum; Joe Darensbourg, clar; Morty Corb, string bass

Pee Wee Russell “Tin tin deo” composed by Gillespie from Jazz Reunion (1961) on Candid — Pee Wee Russell, clar, leader; Coleman Hawkins, ten; Emmett Berry, trum; Bob Brookmeyer, trom; Milt Hinton, bass; Jo Jones, drums, Nat Pierce, piano

Don Byron “St. Louis blues” composed by Handy from Bug Music (1996) on Nonesuch

The Jimmy Giuffre 3 “Two Kinds of Blues” from The Jimmy Giuffre 3 (1957) on Atlantic — Jimmy Giuffre, clar; Jim Hall, guitar; Ralph Pena, bass

The Art Tatum and Buddy defranco Quartet “Deep Night – Original” from The Art Tatum and Buddy defranco Quartet

Benny Carter “Memphis Blues” from When Lights are Low (1936)

Barney Bigard “Rose Room” composed by Williams/Hickman from Barney Bigard 1944-1945 (1944) on Classics — Barney Bigard, clar, leader; Joe Thomas, trum; Johnny Guarnieri, piano; Billy Taylor, bass; Cozy Cole, drums

Bud Freeman “The Buzzard” composed by Freeman from Bud Freeman (1938) on Classics

Lester Young “Pagin’ the Devil” from Lester Swings on Verve


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Turban Woman

This entire post came about because of a photograph of a lady’s odd-looking turban. Yes, turban. Jackie was sifting through her old family photographs and came across an envelope with about a dozen or so very old black and white negatives, not the kind from a 35 mm roll of film, but negatives from 620 film developed by Kodak in the early 30’s. The film was possibly used in an old box-style camera, like the Target Brownie Six-20 popular in the early 40’s. It looked something like this:

Camera Details Kodak Brownie Six-20 used 620 film developed by Kodak in the early 30’s (1931)

Camera Details
Kodak Brownie Six-20 used 620 film developed by Kodak in the early 30’s (1931)

We had no idea what was on the negatives. I used a technique I read about online to transfer the negatives to my Photoshop Elements program using a scanner. The digital images came out surprisingly well.

Most old photographs reveal some sort of story about their subjects. One image in particular that I transferred to digital jumped out at me: it was a photograph of a woman, her back turned to the camera, walking away from the scene taking place in the foreground. The photograph was taken somewhere in Tucson, Arizona, sometime in the middle 1940’s. The woman is wearing a very fashionable (for the times) 40’s, pre-war era turban head scarf, a white jacket covered with barely visible random letters printed on the back, and by the look of the position of her arm, her body language suggests to me she is exiting post-haste.

In the foreground, Jackie’s Uncle Lionel (Jackie describes him as the Golden Boy of the family, very successful, and one of the original Marlboro Men), humped over the fender of his car (make is unidentifiable), is peering intently at the engine, the car’s half-hood raised, and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. As a casual observer I might suppose Uncle Lionel’s car broke down, and his turban-clad girlfriend, perhaps fed up with the wait and the possible threat of later having to sit next to her oleaginous boyfriend, decided to strike out on her own, leaving Uncle Lionel on his own. We see only her back as she walks away, her turban securely resting atop her head.

Staring at this photograph, I am curious about that turban she is wearing. It raises some questions in my mind. For example, why the hell is she wearing a turban? The ubiquitous turbans we see today are typically worn by Muslim or Sikh men or members of any number of middle-eastern religious groups who wear this type of head covering for religious reasons. After a bit of research, I learned that as a head covering, American women have worn turbans for a long time and for different reasons, both practical and fashionable. Women have worn cloth head coverings—variously known as “head rags,” “head wraps,” “head handkerchiefs,” as well as turbans— in 19th century America, and have continued to wear them well into the 1950’s and even now in 2015. These head wraps or turbans initially served a very specific and functional purpose for the female labor force, and were far removed from being any kind of symbolic fashion statement. But as the American high fashion world often does, it takes the old and turns it into something new.

black woman wearing a turban, 1870

From this (Brazilian slave women, 1870)—

JayLo in a turban

To this (Jennifer Lopez, singer, dancer, fashion designer, 2011)















To be continued:  The Turban: High Culture vs. Low Culture.

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Jung quoteMy interest in Jung’s principal theories of psychology and myth stems from an initial curiosity about and fascination with T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. Two epigraphs in ancient Greek from Heraclitus of Ephesus introduce the collection. One of the two reads as follows:

 “The way upward and the way downward are the same.”

 What fascinates me is the notion that despite the logical (in a scientific sense) impossibility of two opposites existing at the same time, an inherent truth, nevertheless, exists. Much of Eliot’s poem attempts to extract a sense of truth by confronting the wisdom of paradox. I don’t pretend to have any scholarly understanding of what Eliot is trying to “say”—I am a true believer of the idea that poems do not necessarily have to “say” anything; they just are— in these poems; in fact, without Joe Gilde’s marginalia, I would have little access to any understanding at all. The best I can hope for is an appreciation for specific lines in the work that hold a particular fascination for me. Just for a brief example, I offer the following from “Burnt Norton,” no. 1 of the Four Quartets:

Time present I recognize the misapprehension we have of time. We lack either the willingness or the spiritual strength to understand  any but the narrow definitions of time. By this I mean time is ether past or future—what has happened or what will happen. But what if we at least acknowledge the possibility that time is an illusion? My amateurish attempt describes Eliot’s syllogism is as follows:

Time present 2In other words time is both there and not there, and to attempt to comprehend time without a broader understanding is equivalent to—to paraphrase an Alan Watts metaphor—trying to grab a hold of moving water in a stream. Just as our inability to grab moving water does not disprove that water moves, so also our inability to grab a hold of time does not disprove the existence of time. The analogy that water, in this case, is like time works. The power of a moving river, like time, is “eternally present.” The river begins somewhere, though without maps we don’t know exactly where. Like time, the river “ends” somewhere, though we don’t know exactly where it ends. Because the water moves in a very specific direction—again like time because time does not “flow” backwards—we know or sense that it is going somewhere.

Further, we are all taught at an early age that if we are caught in a powerful current, we must not resist or defy the power of that current. Instead, to conserve our energy, we let it carry us along until, at the most opportune time, we can safely make our way to the shore and pull ourselves out. Like the powerful current of a river, we must not resist the powerful pull of time, must not get caught up in identifying the past and the future (though, like the river, we cannot reject the fact that “being a river” includes the source and the destination), and recognize that they, past and future, are the same. Just as the “passing” of time is a part of the whole of time, so a river’s current is a part of the whole of the river. The river cannot exist without its current and time cannot exist without its passing, cannot exist without its “past” and “future.”Time present 3The paradox of time occurs when we attempt to become more aware, more “conscious” of those ordinary yet significant moments of our lives. If we are controlled by time, we lose those “moments in the rose-garden.” We can live in the moment only if we are not “conscious” of time, but “only in time can the moment” be remembered. The paradox? “Only through time time is conquered.” 

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