We tend to think of Bobby Darin as the last old-school pop singer before the American songbook was submerged by the rock-and-soul surge of the 1960s. And in many respects he was. But just as Darin was rising as the heir to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett, he became meaningless almost overnight. One day he was a finger-snapping swinger and the next he was caught leaning in the wrong generation.
But if you listen to Darin's many albums of the late 1950s and '60s, you come to realize that it's a mistake to write him off as a Johnny-come-lately crooner. A good place to start with Darin is In a Broadway Bag. Released in 1966 by Atlantic, the album featured hits of musicals of the day. Arranging duties were split by Perry Botkin Jr. and Shorty Rogers. There are swingers, including Mame, I Believe in You, It's Today, Everybody Has the Right to Be Wrong, Don't Rain on My Parade among others. The ballads include The Other Half of Me, Once Upon a Time and the overlooked Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf. The album has a few flaws but for the most part it illustrates Darin's prowess just as pop was shifting.
On the album, Darin works his voice as if doing tricks with a yo-yo. His swing is so hip and natural, it's impossible to keep your feet still. Though he had a habit of overlarding songs in places, he understood how to freshen up the genre and never seemed to work at it. I'm often struck by his punched-up versions of songs, many of which surpass renditions by Sinatra and Cole. There was an unmistakable modernity to Darin that made the music and the ring-a-ding-ding thing feel young and shrewd. I wish someone would release all of Darin's albums in one set. It's about time somebody did.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.