The Night Jazz Became Itself,..By Matt Lavelle.
A few months ago,.Giuseppi Logan called me up and said,."man,.we have to work,.I can't get any work,.I'm broke man." Giuseppi is under the impression that we can make enough money playing music to have our rent paid,and and enough food in our stomachs so that they stop growling at us.I had exhausted all my limited options,.and now started to understand that Brother G has just not been received back even close to how brother Grimes was a few years ago.Giuseppi has never been stronger in the time that I've known him,.and we've had some BRIGHT moments,.notably in Philly,.when Dave Burrell came by and we just BURNED the ARS nova arts center to the ground.We opened the ESP Albert Ayler festival about a month ago,.which was also great.G's CD has actually just sold out.
BUT,.that hasn't changed the fact that he has just about no money to live on on a daily basis and has become so much a part of Tompkins square Park in NYC,.that if he wasn't there playing during the day,.the park might not even EXIST.Still,.we refuse to just let it go,..after all,.music is all we have.The 35 years between us don't amount to a hill of beans next to our mutual addiction to music.Play the music we live or die.Being down and wasn't going to stop us.Not this time.
So I reached out again to folks that might be able to send G some LOVE,.and brother John Zorn responded,.literally in about 5 minutes from my email,.saying he was taking action,.knew Giuseppi,.and had heard him in the park.A very short time after that,.Brother G had a gig booked at the STONE.Maybe the number one spot in NYC for the music we love.
Our usual crew was out of town so we called up G's personal friend,drummer Gerard Faroux,.a sweet cat that can swing.Another brother G,.Gerard grew up in France.He's just about the same age as Giuseppi.He was subbing for drum legend Warren Smith.My long term brother Francois Grillot was actually in France,.so we reached out to one of the greatest and favorite bass players in NYC,.brother Hilliard Greene.The stage was set for our concert,.last night,.a 10pm Sunday set.
I had to take a cab from the West side,.after a concert with my great friend Ras Moshe,.and asked the driver to drive up Giuseppe's block.Sure enough,.there was G and his alto boppin up the street,.in a suit and sneakers,.and his wild white beard.I asked the cab to pull over and got G to jump in."Hey man,..where's this Stone at?
9:59:There's about 4 people in the audience,.but G and I are amped up anyway,.ready to play,.to REALLY play,.and he's playing piano for himself as a few people watch,.not sure what's happening,.and then..
BOOM! The place is packed,.and people have that eager anticipation thing going,..somehow just knowing there about to experience something special.I myself was tired from really going for it on the show bout an hour before,.but as soon as I saw Hill next to me ready to go,.I felt like Lee Morgan himself was the front row.
Show me what you got."
Then,.it just HAPPENED...
Giuseppi started into his tune BOP DUES.Everyone thinks of him from his records as the mystery OUT cat,.and he IS that guy,.but he also wants to just PLAY,..the best he possibly can,.and once we escape his crisp little swinging bop line,.we just start bReAkInG iT DoWn.SwIrLiNg and tWiRLInG.I came out and did some WhirLInG.Hill chose to BOB n WeAvE,.while Gerard did the crisp BRisK n' wHisk.
3 different generations,.both In and Out,.free,.and swinging,.all there TOGETHER,.trying to just BE together.Somehow Jazz,.whatever it's supposed to be,.BECAME,.and a slight clue as to what she really is was revealed.Wasn't about the right changes or the most complicated heads.It was about our SOUNDS,.and the stories of our lives.It was freedom of expression above all.Sing your song where you FEEL it,..play the sound of your life.
People may not know what they were being a part of,.but they FELT they were and started yelling to us in support and also letting themselves be a part of us being together.They were now part of US and we were ALL together.I thought about Charles Mingus,.and just why we play.It doesn't happen that often,.but every now and then the music reminds us that what we are really does mean something important,.something special.
It means,.that were alive.
Giuseppi wasn't done,.not by a long shot,..as we got into Under My Skin,"."Cherokee,"."Over the Rainbow,".and more,.all G style,.which had everybody dancing in their skin.Giuseppi finished every one off with his vocal from record,."Love me tonight,".as he told me,."I Want them to Love me!,.I want the people to Love me!" Afterwords a dear friend of mine came to me with tears in her eyes and said,."Bless you."Well,.all of us our blessed with the ability to actually be who we are every now and then.Giuseppi helped show me that to in his own G way.
We can play man! We can play!"
See,.it could be that in that end,..all Jazz really is,.is a 4 letter word..